After the better part of nine months, much hard work, more than a little frustration, and with great anticipation, our overland vehicle was delivered to us on the evening of Friday, 2 November 2018. The next morning, I crashed it into our barn.
We had our house on the market for about a week and had an open house scheduled for Saturday at 2:00-4:00. After about two hours of blowing and raking leaves, it was time to move the Buffalo out of the front drive. We had a circular driveway and wanted people to be able to pull through to get out. We apparently expected lots of cars. We also didn’t want the sight of the vehicle to distract from the interest in our house.
We had a gravel drive that went down along the side of our house, to the back, and in front of the barn. The plan was to park it next to the barn as inconspicuously as you can be with such a vehicle. There was enough room and it was sheltered from view from the upper deck from where we expected most visitors would be viewing the back yard.
So, about 11:00 Saturday morning, I started up the truck and started moving to the back. Unfortunately, with the truck just over 13 feet high, there was a large branch in the way along the side of the house. The challenge is that it was hanging over a steep slope as the drive led down to the walk out basement. The slope of the ground made it a bit dangerous to use a ladder to get at the branch. To solve for this, I pulled the truck just over the edge of the slope and stopped as it neared the branches. I then climbed on top of the safari rack of the truck and used a pole saw to cut down the branches. I managed to get them out of the way preventing the up to four-inch branches from falling on the front of the truck. I must say that I was feeling quite manly at this point. This was the type of git-er-done work an overlander does!
Pulling around the back I turned left and then proceeded to back into the spot beside the barn. It was a pretty good first try. It seemed to me though that I was too close to the bank on the side of the barn. There was about six feet to the side of the barn. I wanted it more centered in the space. Determined not to leave well enough alone, pulled it out to move it over just a couple of feet. In doing so, I ended up hitting both front and back eaves of the barn. There was minor damage to the eaves and I also broke the window in the door and one of the windows just aft of the door. Please take a moment to let that sink in.
I was devastated by what I had just done. I ran up to house to tell Jane. “Sweetie, I just F’ed up.” Jane’s reaction was truly amazing. Considerate, forgiving, loving, and solution focused. Just as you would hope in such a situation. Another hero in this story is my friend Nilson. Within an hour, he was over and up on a ladder helping me make temporary repairs. We were ready for the open house. No one noticed anything wrong about the barn. And a short six months later, we sold the house.
The short-term results of the mishap were $750 to fix the barn, $1700 to replace the door and the window. The long-term results were:
· Knowing that I can count on Jane in a crisis
· Strengthened friendship with Nilson and my neighbors Andy and John who also helped out
· A commitment to never move the truck in tight quarters without a spotter on a walkie-talkie
· A commitment to be calm in a crisis and not make it worse
· Several more lessons learned as Jane and I reviewed the events
· Experience in replacing a window (FYI, not the pane but the entire two window unit)
Emotional distress for a day and a couple thousand dollars. I think I came out ahead.