16-Wheel Drive?  Yeah We Got That.

April 14, 2012

Pictures by Andy Gomes
Story by Larry Gomes

Our third trail work day was another picture perfect day with dry conditions.  A crew of 5 volunteers arrived with lots of equipment to perform two trail projects. The first project was to install hay on a steep trail (called Suicide Hill Trail) to keep it from eroding.  The second project was to build two bridges on the Berlin Trail (PT108).

Preparation had started earlier in the week when trail master Bryan MacDonald picked up a load of 30 bales of hay.  Then a load of lumber was delivered to the clubhouse followed by the delivery of a hay shredding machine.

The crew gathered on Saturday morning and hauled all of they hay, wood, several ATV's and the hay shredder to the Berlin High School parking lot.  Once they arrived, they started placing hay bales every 50-100 feet along the steepest sections of the trail. 

The next step was getting the hay shredder up the steep hill.  This proved to a more difficult task than anyone expected.  We started out with 3 ATV's strapped together (12-wheel drive), but ended up getting stuck so we had to add a fourth ATV (16-wheel drive) to get up the hill.  Getting down the hill was also not that easy and required more experimentation as you will see from the pictures below:

 

Joe and Eric tie 3 ATV's together to create a combined 12-wheel drive that hoped would be enough bring the 400lb hay shredder up the 32-degree grade.

 

Everything started out as planned with Joe, Eric and Larry having plenty of power to get up the first part of the hill. 

 

On the steepest part of the hill, the 3 ATV's lost traction and stopped.  Here Larry ties up a 4th ATV while Joe looks on.
 

With 4 ATV's and 16-wheels pulling, the hay shredder finally arrives at the top of the hill.  Here the guys take a break before turning around and
heading back down the hill.  From left to right is Joe Cote, Nate Falardeau, Carl Bull, Larry Gomes and Eric Johnson.  Andy Gomes is taking the picture.

 

The crew starts making their way down the hill.  Carl is slicing open the bales and handing about 1/4 of the bale at a time to Joe who stuffs it into the shredder.




Nate directs the flow of hay from the shredder while Eric keeps his brakes on to help keep the shredder from barreling down the trail.
In a few spots, the shredder was still inching downhill even though Eric and Larry (on ATV in front of the shredder) had all 8 wheels locked up.
 

The layer of hay on the trail does several things.  First if will slow down the flow of water preventing washouts.  Second it keeps the soil moist for
 a day or two after it rains.  Third it provides some seed for grass to grow and fourth it will decay into a natural mulch.
 



The final task of the day was to build a couple of 8' wide bridges on the Berlin trail.  Our crew is really good at this and it took less than
90 minutes to assemble the two bridges.  It also helped that we able to back the trailer right up to each bridge site saving lots of transportation time.
Carl and Larry use a plank to draw lines for nailing while Eric uses the nail gun to nail down the decking.
 

In between bridges, the crew took a quick lunch break.  Here Joe, Nate, Carl and Larry grab some pizza slices. 
Just as lunch was finishing up, WMRR trailmaster Bryan MacDonald stopped by to help the crew finish off the pizza and the last bridge.

Many thanks to Joe, Nate, Eric, Carl, Andy, Larry and Bryan for their work on this important project.  There is still plenty of trail work left to do and we are always looking for volunteers to help.  Please stay tuned to the WMRR website for more information or send email to larry@twolakeslodge.com if you would like to be added to our email notification list.

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