My pickle is named Elvis.
Just how ridiculous does that sound when first you read it? Almost as weird as when you first look at this army green corrugated forklift on steroids. It is in fact an all terrain vehicle with huge tires and an enclosed seated cab on the front end of the hinge section. Behind the hinge is the engine and the counter weight to help support the 4000# lift capacity. And it has one other attribute that simply blows my mind. The forks not only lift, tilt and move horizontally from left to right, but can turn the entire lift assembly like the wings of a plane in flight. Clockwise lifts the left side and lowers the right. Counter-clockwise…counter revolution. Like in yesterday’s post when I spoke of the uneven terrain on McMurdo base, we are often faced with the road way the vehicle is on being pitched downhill, but the pallets of supplies parked beside the road are on a level portion of the ground outside one of the buildings.
Like any good forklift operation you approach from the front, lower and level your forks to enter the pallet. But did you account for the pitch of the plain? Did you guide the right fork gently into the pallet and pick up 4 inches of dirt on the left? Thank God Elvis is there to rescue you. While he would be nearly useless in the warehouse that I am used to working in, he is a CHAMPION here.
And today, I had my turn. I did the hands on training on my third workday here. But those were empty boxes all stacked cozily beside one of our ware houses, and Mike, my trainer was right there keeping an eye on me the whole time. Today, with my Boss Denise’s blessing, I took the final pieces of that power generator over to the power plant. Believe me when I say we needed the pickle. There were 8 units in the box, each weighing over 100#. (Well, I can only guess at the weight, I just know I couldn’t lift one by hand, at arms length.)
Now. You know about the road conditions. You know about the snowmelt gouging gorges through the camp and crossing the roads willy-nilly. And you know that there is not a flat surface anywhere that doesn’t have a building on it. Yet me and Elvis sang a perfect little duet puttering through the great McMurdo Bay Station. Top speed 15 miles per hour. 3 stop signs. No pedestrian crossings. And I covered over half the distance of the camp in a curiously circuitous route. God I wish I had my camera right then. Didn’t spill a thing, had no problem placing the pallet in the dock doorway despite Elvis being on the uneven road, and the dock being perfectly horizontal. This was the feeling I had so hoped for. Despite the obstacles, I had a perfect run. My confidence soars!
Photo’s Are Here!
And so is a little forklift humor. I saw this box by the dormitory. These are the north and south ends of the same box, but only one of the black worded cautions is real. The other was made by someone on Base who had way too much time on his hands. Cutting out a stencil is very time consuming.
I should explain…When a box contains an unbalanced load, you want the forks to slip in under the heavy side, so the honest caution is the one that says Fork Other Side. The other caution is best left to the imagination. Cheers!