I showed the boys what I needed them to do under the removalist truck if we had any hope of getting the thing out without having to call Heavy Haulage from Broome. To their credit all four of them listened to everything I said without any smart arse comments or silliness. Even Nick, who had seen me preform such rescues before and knew what needed to happen, remained quiet as I spoke.
Basically all we needed to do was dig out the tyres that were bogged, pull the loose sand out from the front of the tyres and shift it out of the way far enough that it didn’t fall into the newly created holes. Steel shovels around rubber tyres full of air were a little bit of a risk but realistically given that we were all adults capable of sensible behaviour the only real difficulty that faced us was digging out the sand in front of the rear tyres of the boggie. The shovel could be carefully pushed between the two outer tyres but clearing sand from between the inner tyres could really only be done by hand whether it was done from under the truck or reaching in through the axles.
Given that it was my rescue and I was being paid for doing it the job I took the more annoying task of digging the sand out from between the tyres. I didn’t take long and within a few minutes of starting I was on my knees reaching through the two axles digging sand out with my bare hands. When it came to getting as much sand out from between the tyres of each axle Nathan and Matthew helped, me from the middle between the two axles, Matthew from the front and Nathan from the rear of the axle.
We were lucky that the sand was as loose as it was, well I was because it made the rescue easier but had it not been that loose when the boys had parked there they wouldn’t have been calling me in the first place. However none of that mattered there and then and in no time at all we had ourselves a neat pile of sand about a shovel handle’s length from the truck and a less than neat pile about and arms length away from where I was kneeling.
The sun was definitely warming the day up and there was no doubt in my mind that the temperature was heading north of thirty five as we finished shovelling and shifting sand. Thankfully the hard and physical part of the job was over because all four of us were sweating despite standing in the shadow of the truck.
Now you could be excused for thinking that with the sand removed from in front of the tyres the truck could simply drive itself out of the hole it was in. Well not only would that have made calling me out and paying me for the rescue a waste of time, because even with their hands Nathan and Derrick could have dug themselves out eventually, it was also not the kind of thing that was guaranteed to work. In some cases, especially with a car, such efforts might be possible but because the sand was so soft and there was such a large area of it the risk of the big tyres loosening more sand and re-burying themselves was too high.
Before jumping to the next step I asked in anyone wanted a break, apparently they all did, Deep down inside I did too but that didn’t stop me making a few comments about how the boys couldn’t handle the work and how they were being shown up by a girl. Matthew and Nick made a few comments in response but it was just a bit of harmless fun and games.
Although Derrick and Nathan had supplies of their own stored in their truck I was happy to offer each of them a cold bottle of water from my fridge. They graciously accepted and the five of us stood around the Beast chatting and catching our breath.
Once the drinks were finished I dived into one of the Beast’s storage boxes and retrieve some MAXX TRAXX. For those that don’t know MAXX TRAXX are long hardened plastic planks you can place in front of tyres in the sand, they wedge under the tyre and sit on the sand giving you a ramp to drive the vehicle up and out of the bog. They are extremely useful and the sort of thing no four wheel driver enthusiast should leave home without, but they aren’t designed for eighteen tonne trucks.
I was fairly confident we wouldn’t break the MAXX TRAXX because of the amount of sand we’d dug out, the softness of it and because we were only using them on one side, but I was still going to be careful and do things very slowly. They only had to offer the tyres something hard to grip too rather than the loose sand surface..
With the MAXX TRAXX in place I hooked the chain between the back of the Beast and the truck and told the boys what I wanted to happen. I could have used the winch but with the right dampners in place it was better to put the strain on a chain than the winch motor. Basically all I wanted was Nathan, he got the job of driving the truck, to slowly drive it forward as I pulled it, similar to what I did with Mr Beckham, only this time I knew Nathan had more usable brain cells.
It was my hope that with the driver’s side axles on solid ground, the passenger side wheels on the MAXX TRAXX and the Beast assisting forward momentum the truck would come out slowly and without drama.
When I use the word hope I will add that I was confident in what I was doing and I was sure we’d have the truck out of the hole within ten minutes but that confidence didn’t stop me thinking about possible failure points.
I stood at the front of the truck running through my mental check list of everything for a third time. Was I ready to go?
Previous Desert Rescue story here.