Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hey Y'all! We's Goin' Muddin'!

Some of you have been asking about the weather here and the rainy season/winter in particular. It is called the rainy season but that is actually a highly inaccurate name. The rain is somewhat sporadic but the mud comes quickly and is slow to dry up.

The sand here is much different than the sand we are accustomed to back in the United States. We often hear of ‘grains of sand’ but here the sand is more like a powder. In some areas the sand will actually ‘puff’ when you step on it. When I see this I try to pretend that I’m an astronaut on the moon but so far I have not been very successful in that.

This power sand turns to sticky mud instantly when water hits it. It is routine to get one to two inches of mud built up on the bottom of your boots while you are walking around.

It has been raining steadily for about the last week and a half so it’s going to be a while before things start to dry up. We tried to let our tires know about this so they wouldn’t go flat but I’m learning that tires are not very good at listening. They still go flat and we still have to change them, even in the mud.

When we get to a different base we usually drop our trailers in a staging area so we can drive our bobtails around the base. Some of our trucks have Teflon fifth wheel plates so we have to clean them off every time before we hook up to the trailer again or they will just get ripped up. Here you can see one of the guys using the “field power washer” to clean off the fifth wheel.

This is the reefer trailer I was hauling on one of my last missions and the trailer was white at the beginning of the mission. You can also see the amount of mud in the area.

This is just a gratuitous picture of a helicopter because they are cool. This one is a CH-47 Chinook that is preparing to transport some Marines. You will notice that the helicopters are able to avoid the mud and stay clean.

This is a shot of the trailer with all the mud caked on it.

This is a close-up of the trailer after driving through some mud. It appears that we have ‘super-single’ tires on the trailer but they are actually duals with mud completely packed between them. A ‘super-single’ tire is one that is almost as wide as a set of duals but it’s a continuous tire and they are supposed to get better fuel economy. I don’t think that packed mud will have the same effect.

This is my truck once we got back and got it down to the wash rack. Once the mud dries it becomes almost like cement as there are small rocks mixed in with the sticky mud.

We are fortunate to have a steady supply of “grey” water from the laundry point so we use that in our power washer. You can see the difference in the color of the truck from the picture above to the picture below. We asked if we could just leave the mud on there so we could have better camouflage but that idea was rejected. I believe they were concerned we were trying to get out of work but I can assure you that concealment was our only goal.

It took us about an hour and a half with the power washer but the truck is finally clean.

At least it was when I took that picture. It has of course been raining since then and it’s muddy again.

Stomp your boots off,


Weather is a great metaphor for life: Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and there’s nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella.

-Pepper Giardino

1 comment:

Becky said...

We love your photos of your truck and your Army buddies. However, it would be nice to, at least occasionally, see a photo of YOU! Don't get too lonely for Geb while he's gone.
Love, Mom