Pickup Day!

Yesterday was pick-up day! It was a long, and exhausting but the kit is in the garage, and its time to start organizing and getting ready to start building the car! My parents happen to be in town this weekend, which was nice because they could come down and visit Factory Five and see the car kit, as well. 160 pictures were taken, a few of them I uploaded.

For a more detailed description of the day, read more of this posting, or you can go into the ReplicaBuilding.com photos section to see more of the pictures.

The Trip Down

We’re only an hour and a half or so from Factory Five, but we wanted to get an early start to the day. My parents just got in on Thursday night and were still a bit jetlagged, so getting up at six so we could leave at 7:30 was not so easy! The plan was to drive about 20 miles south and pick up the UHaul trailer, since none of the local UHaul places had any of the 12′ trailers available. The pickup of the trailer was uneventful — we got there at 8, and were back on the road!

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No problem. Its 8:15ish, and we have pleanty of time to get to Factory Five to meet Jen’s father there at 9:30. No problem. In fact, my Mom decided she should blow up her travel pillow and take a nap.

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Well, except that a couple of people had bad days yesterday. But as a result, we learned a few lessons. The first lesson we learned is “do not rear end a box truck”. In case any readers plan on doing so at some point, try to do it on a road with a breakdown lane. Unfortunately someone didn’t follow that advice…

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Ah, no wonder we sat stuck in traffic for ten or fifteen minutes. No problem, we can make the time up. Sure the trailer SAYS 45mph limit on it, but we all know 80 is just fine…

Well, a half hour later someone else decides to have a bad day. This was rather spectacular because it happened only a few hundred feet in front of us. This incident could be subtitled “How They Don’t Teach Driving in the U.S.”. A guy and his girlfriend were taking a nice Saturday drive in their truck, pulling a big flatbed with another big pickup truck on it. Apparently this guy was never taught basics of vehicle dynamics because his trailer started to wobble back and forth a bit, and he fought with it with steering input. As his steering input made it worse, he decided brakes were the way to go. A bit of a severe wobble turned into a jackknife, a tandem spinout and… *drumroll*… a flatbed with a truck firmly strapped to it solidly upside down sideways blocking the entire highway.

It was really quite the spectacular wreck. Car parts went everywhere, an explosion of glass. No one hurt, thankfully… the carnage was limited to the truck and trailer and a bit of a crunch of the back of another car which presumably may have triggered whatever led to the initial wobbling.

This was a day-killing event — the wreckage was so complete and extensive, the highway was going to be closed for hours. Thankfully we were only three cars back from it and a few wise people thought to squeeze by before the Staties showed up and closed the highway.

*whew*, on the road again. Only lost another 15 minutes. Off to Factory Five!

In the rear view mirror, the carnage was apparent…

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Ah, Factory Five. This was my fourth time visiting, and the second time in three weeks. For those of you who haven’t been there, its really worth a visit. There are racks upon racks of kits ready to go out the door. In fact, I really recommend it when one of them happens to be yours. Seeing it pulled off the rack is really quite thrilling. Its also amazing to watch the forklift jockeys gingerly pulling the cars out and down from the racks. Mine was up pretty high.

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Ah yes, it was in fact mine!

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They do a bunch of prep work at that point — holes for the second rollbar needed to be drilled (they do not drill them until shipment, since its a less common option to want and it would make the car harder to resell if the order was cancelled). They went over the car verifying nothing was missing, and the shipping and receiving department compared the list of parts backordered when packed yesterday with the inventory today and packed a few more last minute items.

Then it was off to the trailer!

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They’ve packed a few of these UHaul trailers before and knew just what needed to be done to get the car to fit. Out comes four pallets to raise the car up.

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A roll of scrap carpet from a friend rounded out the platform, and it was time to load the car into the trailer. The car isn’t extremely heavy — 600lbs or so. They have a great tool to use to get them on there, though. You’d almost think they do this 15 times a week!

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Gently it was set down in the trailer, and it was time to put some foam padding around it and to strap it down good and tight. A few jokes about upside down trailers were made.item 130

It wasn’t long before the car was loaded up on the trailer and ready to go.

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The other boxes were shrinkwrapped and put into Jens’ Dad’s truck. It was handy having a second truck, although I think in a pinch it would be doable in one truck, although probably not with four people in it.

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On the road! It is about 100 miles or so from Factory Five back to my house. We decided to go back the slow way up Rt 3, to avoid the mess that likely was still gumming up traffic on 24 from the trailer rollover. Its a good thing, too, as we needed to do some taping on the plastic wrap around the boxes and I needed to get gas.

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The rest of the drive was uneventful, although much of it I spent dreading having to back the trailer into my driveway living on a fairly busy road.

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I honestly got the car into the driveway on the first try, but I have no photos to prove it. I do have photos to prove it did get there though!

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The next challange was to get the car off the trailer and onto some furniture dollies so it could be wheeled into the garage and temporarily put under the body buck. Thankfully I got a shop crane for putting the engine in the car, and after someone corrected my rather stupid error of thinking a half ton was 500lbs not 1000lbs, out came the crane.

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A tow strap was wrapped firmly around the transmission tunnel.

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With the arm at its maximum extent, the crane would nicely reach the middle of the car… if only the uHaul trailer didn’t have wheels. This was a bit of a dilemma, but after twenty minutes of failed attempts to think of a solution, I decided to sit in the front of the trailer and shove the pallets back as far as we could without risking the car dumping out the back. That got the car within a foot of where it needed to be for the crane to fit behind the wheels.

A foot away is definitely close enough for government work, so we slowly lifted the car off the pallets and guided it as it slid back a foot and off the pallets. Once airborne, the trailer was pulled forward away from the car. Its worth mentioning for this critical task, especially since I had to walk down the trailer as it was backed out to guide the car, I trusted my Mom not my girlfriend. I don’t know if that cost me points with the girlfriend, but hell, its my Mom. If I can’t trust her, who can I!?

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The car was home! Off the trailer with no straining of pulled muscles… Onto the dollies, and rolled into its new home!

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I’d like to pretend that was the end of the day, but it wasn’t. Since I had the trailer for 24 hours, I decided to take advantage of it to drive the 40 minutes to Costco and buy their 22 drawer stainless steel tool chest. My Dad and I went out there and did that, and I’m quite sure it weighed nearly what the car did, and we didn’t have any help getting it on or off. A couple hours later, the tool chest was assembled and in the garage, and a quick hour drive to return the trailer left the day over. Total time elapsed, 12 hours on the nose.

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Steak tips and potato salad ended the day. What a day it was!