We once had a combine that had more than its fair share of mechanical problems. It frequently left me walking back from the field in the middle of the day, so we spent a lot of money on it for parts and service over the years. Every summer when it came out of the shed, my wife would cringe thinking about how many times she was going to have to run to town for parts over the coming weeks and what that would do to our chequing account. Because of that one machine, I think she developed an aversion to combines in general.
But if a gearhead’s wife ever comes to really hate any particular machine, I think it would likely be the flatdeck trailer. Trailers were made to haul stuff, and what better to do with a flatdeck than load an old machine or truck on it and haul it home to join the collection of yet-unfinished restoration projects waiting for their turn in the shop. And the parts bills on those restoration project, just like that old combine, can start to add up.
With my wife handling the accounting duties, it’s easier for me to look through speciality parts catalogues for all those projects the way a kid looks through the Sears Christmas Wish book. I want that, and that, and that…
Of course, it’s sometimes possible to get projects home without a trailer—if they’re found nearby. One Sunday morning my neighbour Corey and I dragged home a ’60 Ford truck with just his Super Duty pickup and a chain.
When we made it back to the yard, Corey asked me where I wanted to park it. Behind the cattle shelter was my suggestion, that way my wife wouldn’t notice it. He understood the logic behind that, acknowledging it’s best not to taunt wives by leaving a collection of unattended new projects in highly visible locations.
Not having actually owned a flatdeck in the past, I’ve always had to rent one or mooch Corey’s to travel any distance and bring back rusty sheet metal. This winter, though, my wife suggested I buy one so I no longer had that problem. Compared to a combine, I suspect she saw very little that could go wrong with it, but I don’t think she really thought through what possible side affects of owning a trailer can be.
So I bought one. And I very soon put it to use dragging home more rusty gold: a 1956 CJ5 Jeep in desperate need of repair, reassembly and, yes, new parts.
My wife came out to have a look at it when it arrived. She just shook her head. Although she was a good sport and helped me unload it.
The new trailer and the truck in front of it—which itself originally arrived on the back of a trailer as a repair project—handled the trip easily. It was great having my own rig to head off with in search of new old things. Still, I think anything I find may need to be quietly parked behind the cattle shelter until there is room in the shop for it. I don’t want my wife to start disliking my new trailer instead of combines.
Corey’s caution about not taunting wives by letting them see all the cool-to-you stuff you’ve dragged home are words for married gearheads to live by.