Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Trailer Trash

Today's headline task was to use the rebuilt utility trailer to haul scrap metal, including four old engine blocks, to the Marion County Waste Transfer/Recycle Center. They accept scrap metal for free. So this morning I drove my van over to near the site of yesterday's Towing Travails and backed it into place. Lisa cranked the trailer down on the tow hitch and plugged in the connector. The running lights didn't work.

Lisa spent the next couple of hours troubleshooting the wiring on the utility trailer, installing a new electrical connector, replacing the corroded light bulbs in the fixtures, and filing off the connections in the fixtures. This makes it sound easier than it was, but eventually we got the lights working again. There had been no reason to worry about this when using the trailer just around here on the property being pushed by the John Deere mower to haul yard waste; however, although Oregon doesn't require registration for small utility trailers like this, they do need running/brake/turn signals.

Eventually we got the trailer roadable again and I brought it around to the front of the garage, where Lisa cranked up the engine jack and we lowered the old 460 engine block from the Big Orange Van into the trailer. This was the engine we bought in Portland years ago that ran for only a few weeks before failing. It was a tremendous, expensive mistake, but there wasn't much to be done about it, and it's just been sitting here on an engine stand for years. We can't do anything with it, so it had to go, as did a much smaller engine block from another vehicle that had been sitting out in the weather on the side of the garage for years.

I drove around to the other side of the property and gingerly backed in front of the rear gate, with Lisa directing me. I've done very little trailer towing, and I'm inept at backing up, but we got there. It was then that we noticed that the tires were low, so I had to take the hand cart back across the property to get the air compressor. (Had we noticed this initially, we could have easily filled up the tires right where the trailer stood.) This back-and-forthing gave me a chance to retrieve a large box of cardboard waste that also needed to go to the recycler. We have lots of trash to throw away, and we need to save room in the dumpster for things that can't go for recycling.

After that, we had a lunch break. It's just as well we were delayed getting the trailer running, because we wouldn't have been able to back in to the other side of the property until church services were over anyway.

After lunch, we used the hand cart to move two more small Datsun engine blocks. These were much easier to handle than that 460 block. Finally, we retrieved other bits of old metal debris including a rusted-out burn barrel, rusty, unusable fencing, and an old broken lawnmower. Finally, we were able to head in to the transfer facility, fifteen miles away near Salem.

Backing in to the space at the Recycle facility was once again a production number as I don't follow directions well, but at last we got the trailer gate down and started hefting metal into the bins. Fortunately, this is set up so that if you can get stuff down the gate, it will drop into the bins below. The small engine blocks were relatively easy: Lisa and I picked up each one and tossed them into the bin. The 460 block was much more difficult. We could just barely push it down the tailgate ramp and over the lip of the curb, where it landed with a huge crash in the scrap bin. Well, at least it won't go to waste, as the metal will get re-used.

I didn't forget the large box of cardboard in the back of the van, either, thank goodness. This was light enough for me to heft over to its own bin without having to try and move and back in again.

Unexpectedly heavy rain began to fall as we headed back toward Mehama, which washed out plans to do some more mowing and get the Big Orange Van unloaded in preparation for having it towed to Portland for repairs. As usual, nothing happens quickly around here. But it's good to get that utility trailer moving again, because I expect this won't be the last trip we make with stuff for the recycle facility, or even possibly more trash beyond the capacity of the dumpster here.
Tags: lisa, mehama, moving, van

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