I knew when I drove in the driveway that something was wrong. Mike was not supposed to be by the shop, he had planned on working in the woods for the day. It was barely noon when I had gotten home from some errands, he had the Gator parked by the shop and he was putting tools in the bed of the vehicle. This was not a good sign.
I rolled down the window and asked the dreaded question, “Did something break down?” After a few choice words came from the direction of the Gator, I found out that a branch off a fir tree that Mike had fell somehow got stuck under the bulldozer and had gotten jammed under the pedals rendering both the clutch and the brake useless.
The limb was about two inches across, 5 feet long and was wedged in so tight he had to go to the house to grab some chains, a small chainsaw, a come-long winch (a ratchet/cable puller), and various other tools. It took me less than a minute to get out of my town clothes (jeans and a t-shirt) and into my logging clothes (really old jeans and a ratty t-shirt) and joined Mike for the ride back out to the woods to fix the dozer.
Once at the site, Mike used the small saw to cut a 4 ft. long block of wood, raised the blade of the Caterpillar and used the block to rest the blade so it could not fall down accidentally. With the chainsaw idling, I inched my way under the propped blade and under the belly of the beast which is only 2 feet off the ground, and used the saw to cut the offending stuck stick. This was when I noticed the diesel leak that Mike had told me about a couple of weeks ago, a line from the fuel filter to the injector needs to be changed, but that project had not taken place yet because the engine will have to be pulled out in order to fix it.
In my precarious position, I had no choice but to be right under the diesel leak when I cut the stick. My ear got most of the drips, but it also went down my back. Then I turned off the saw and scooted it back behind me and grabbed the chain and wound it around the part that was still stuck inside the belly of the dozer. That’s when I got more drips in my hair and a few in my eye.
Mike hooked the other end of the chain onto the blade of the Caterpillar and I inched my way backward out of the tight spot. After I was safely out from under and was able to move the saw further back, Mike was able to release the safety block from under the blade and lower it down to the ground before tipping the blade to force the stuck stick out from under with help from the chain. Then, with the pedals free of the stuck stick, he backed the dozer away from the chain.
Once back at the house, a half dozen q-tips and two showers later, I still smelled like a diesel locomotive. I realized this cleanup may take a while, in the mean time however, the smell will probably keep most mosquitoes away!