Back in my truck driving days one truck I drove was a concrete mixer. It was set up for the mountains. A double-locking differential, with what we called low-low. It was one extra low gear that was engaged by a pneumatic switch and believe you me it got used nearly every day. This post is about one the several experiences I had in delivering concrete to a mountain town call Dixie, Idaho.
This town was THREE hours away from our plant. Literally. We wouldn’t even mix until we got there as it didn’t afford us enough time to ‘pour out’ before the concrete started to set up in our barrel on extremely hot days- even with retardant chemical. Dixie had a small grass airstrip right in town for winter access. The road was completely snowed in during the winter and accessible only by snowmobile.
We would load our drums with gravel first, then sand, and then the cement, keeping an eye on it as we drove to make sure it didn’t rotate at all as we navigated the narrow highway. When I say narrow, I mean it. There was a place where the white strip on the side of the road was washed away and went straight down to the rushing river. It took nerve, skill, and a little bit of insanity to drive it with more than 45,000 lbs of weight beneath that steering wheel. I could tell things that most of you wouldn’t believe about this road and only wished I had pictures and videos to prove it. I digress.
Once on the job site, all the water we had on board was dumped into the drum and we mixed to the proper slump.
The pictures that follow are the process of pouring foundation walls for a home builder. As you can see it was impossible to drive around the perimeter and the cost of getting a pump truck would have been astronomical at this remote location. The jobs was done with a 1/4 yard dump bucket, the contractor, and a very skillful excavator operator.
The contractor on this job, the guy with curly, grey hair, was a supervisor on the sea wall and pylons off the Washington coast.
As a bonus I am going to throw in the pictures that I took while waiting for a helicopter logging crew to finish making a drop in a pullout beside the road. I wish I had more photos of this – these guys are unbelievable! They can literally drop 4,000 lbs. of logs on a log deck no wider than fifteen feet and make it look effortless. These helicopter are moved to/from logging sights int he back of a semi-trailer. They literally fold up and are rolled on board!
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