Friday, August 26, 2005

Give me a big machine and some dirt and I'll be happy...

Doug at CoffeeSwirls writes:

The biggest unlikely thing I’d like to do is create, or at least visit, a theme park that is designed around Tim Allen’s show “Home Improvement” from a few years back. I don’t want to see a park where the roller coasters are named after tools though. What I want to see is a park where tools are the rides.

Think about it. Would you pay good money to have access for only one day to a bulldozer and other tools that are used for road construction? How much would it be worth to fulfill the dream you have had since childhood to run over something like your sister’s Barbie doll with a real steam roller? Could a jackhammer be used as a pogo stick? What if you could push tons of dirt around just for the joy of pushing tons of dirt around? You get the idea.

The park would have to have plenty of room for the guest operators of the “rides” and some serious insurance policies or waivers would be necessary. Unfortunately this would result in a hefty ticket price, but wouldn’t it be worth it… just once?

To which I responded in his comments the following thoughts:

Oh brother, you have struck a chord with me. Every time I drive by a construction site, I marvel at the cool equipment. I think I’ve begun to annoy my fiancee with my comments about how I’d love to operate heavy machinery for a week or two. I’ll pass on the road paver, as it moves too slow and smells too bad. I want a crane, bulldozer, road grader, back hoe, earth mover experience. I want to shape, create, move, make and destroy with incredibly powerful, expensive, noisy, heavy yellow painted equipment. I want to show up for work with no sleeves for a while. I want to be able to pull out my hard hat (yes I own my own orange one), put on some gloves, and smell diesel early in the morning. I want to drink from a gigantic flip top water jug. I want heavy duty boots and orange flagging tape.
For many years I have wasted time watching people operate heavy machinery. I could watch for hours, it's captivating for me. I don't know why, I just know I'm like a moth to a light. This of course isn't my career aspirations, or where I believe God has called me and gifted me, but I sure would enjoy doing this for a week or two. Of course I'd also like to be a race car driver and a few other things, but for now I'd settle for a day behind the wheel of something big, slow, and yellow. I just want a Cat 623G or a D11R to play with for a day or two. Is that too much to ask?

And upon protest from one of my favorite readers, the following has been added....


Bret Capranica said...

I have a ton of work that needs to be done at The Capranica Villa - and you guys sound like just the ones to help out. Listen, I'll rent the machienery, you use it and we'll all get some much needed satisfaction.

mrclm said...

If you could wait a month (and were up for buying plane tickets) I'd gladly come out for half a week and work on your property (with or without large machinery). It'd have to be late September though. Or it could be during my study break. I know you have much nicer weather, so I could probably do it any time for that matter.

Big Chris

Bret Capranica said...

Late September? Perfect. That will be landscaping time at the Villa. Lots-o-landscaping! The weather? Well, still hot here in October, but not like what we've been having (should be in the low 90s by then). AND, when you come, I'll marinate the skirt steak and pull off the garlic (well, maybe ditch the garlic).

Chris Hafner said...

More and more I wonder if we weren't separated at birth - and then you were brought directly to the weight room, perhaps.

My Dad's worked in the John Deere construction and forestry divisions since 1974, and I've spent many a year working in the industry as well - all with John Deere, so I find your Caterpillar logo sickening and abhorrent. Fie upon Caterpillar!

There is nothing more satisfying that moving, destroying, creating with a piece of heavy equipment - a JD 310SE backhoe, a 450LC heavy excavator, or a big dozer. Mmmm .... excellent. The big rollers are pretty fun, too.

But the most fun I've had in a machine came in the smallest machine available - a Bobcat. Chris, if you've never tried a Bobcat, I exhort you to do so ASAP. They're nimble, quick, and can do anything if you have the right attachments.

I've considered buying one just to have one.

The really cool thing is that most of these machines work off of one key - in other words if you have a John Deere key, you can get into and drive any John Deere except for the excavators (which are made by Hitachi). I believe Cat works the same way. I've never tried it, because it would obviously be wildly illegal, but it is kinda fun to drive down the road with that key burning a hole in your pocket.

mrclm said...

I'm a Deere fan, and actually know someone working for Deere at the moment. I grew up in South Dakota, where I was surrounded by Green, but it was all on farms. Plus I have an uncle who worked for Cat, and I'm in Minneapolis at the moment. I haven't had the Bobcat experience, but I have witnessed many hours of what looks to be pure driving fun. I want one to play with and move snow with. I've been tempted to apply for campus maintenence jobs just so I could drive one in the winter. I want one with the track system though, because they look cooler.

Big Chris

Chris Hafner said...

Farm tractors of any kind - Deere, Cat, International - are deeply, extremely cool. I especially love the tracked Cat farm tractors of years past - I don't believe Cat does those anymore.

Bobcats are, simply, amazing. Check out all the attachments you can easily mount:

Plus, the tracks you can mount ... ahh.

If I had enough land, I'd have a full range of heavy equipment to play with, even though I probably wouldn't be very productive with it.

Chris Hafner said...

Just a quick added note - nice JD construction and forestry images here:

mrclm said...

A couple of weeks ago I saw a new piece of equipment. The power company came through our campus and cleaned up some trees growing near and under the high wire power lines. This new toy was similar to the lifts they use on construction sites (a boom lift), but instead of a bucket on the end, it was was two HUGE high speed saw blades. I'm guessing they were 28 inch blades. There were two blades, and they were arranged in a "V" with about 4-6 inches between the two blades at the bottom of the "V". These things cut through trees like a hot knife through butter. there were multiple extentions on the boom, I'm guessing a 40+ foot reach at full extention. Really cool.