Sunday, May 18, 2008

Lloyd Padon, Catskinner.

1957 Caterpillar D7 -17a. Called a "hot-rod 7" because it had so much more power that it's predecessor.

This is called a pony motor when it's being talked about politely. It starts the main engine when you can get it to run. It was the weak link in getting anything done with the dozer. The battery was usually dead or fried or broken from all the impacts that a Cat takes. So it usually had to be cranked by hand, by putting a crank on the rod that sticks up through the cover over the big engine.

Okay, it’s too hot to work, and Twizzie is over her AC vent, and I’m over mine.

My cousin Jim tells me that he runs into Lloyd Padon every now and then in Hiouchi/Crescent City . So, I’ll tell a story on him. Back in about 1963 I was setting chokers behind Lloyd in a canyon south of Lymon Jewetts place in Harris. He was punching a skid trail, with a 17a D7 Cat, up a steep little draw to some logs at the top. He shook loose a hornets nest and they flew at the Cat. They seek out heat, and the hottest thing around is the exhaust stack that comes out the top of the engine compartment. They hit like BB’s You can hear them hitting the metal just like pouring dried peas in a can.

Most Catskinners don’t want to take the chance of sticking around to see if they all hit the exhaust pipe. The hornets are, mean little, very active Son-of-a-guns in the heat. It only takes being stung two or three times to lose interest in fighting them. So, Lloyd threw the winch in gear, and set the winch brake. That will lock the transmission and tracks firmly in place and the Cat won’t move. That’s the theory. It works good if done right.

He then bailed off the Cat, swatting at the bee’s. He ran down the hill and stood by me, quietly congratulating himself, with a big grin on his face, that he didn’t get stung. As we stood there. It looked like the winch line was creeping out. We looked at each other, then looked back at the Cat, looked at each other again, and we both took off running up the hill as fast as we could toward the Cat. Just as we about got to it, the Cat took off back down the hill toward us, spooling the winch line out as it went. We didn’t take the time to look at each other this time we took off back down the hill making tracks like “Old Slew Foot“, at forty feet a leap.

We got behind a tree as the Cat passed us. It rolled down to a flat spot in the road and as it just about stopped we started breathing a huge sigh of relief, then it edged over the side of the bank. We started saying; “Oh shit, Oh shit Oh shit…..” It edged over the bank and darn near tipped over, but it righted itself again and headed down to the dry creek below. It hit the bottom and slowed down again, and we were just about to crap our pants with happiness that it was going to be okay, when it rolled up on the bank on the other side. It rolled up over a stump, it did a little pirouette like a ballet dancer on the drive gear, and it headed straight down a bald ridge about a hundred yards long.

I’ve never heard such a racket of noise in all of my life. The winch was screaming like a siren on a fire truck, and the tracks were clanking loudly. I remember when it started moving fast that the tracks ballooned out from centrifugal force, they were flying so high above the top idlers that they were hitting the cabin fender. Sparks were flying, and dirt and crap was flying everywhere. Again Lloyd and I were saying; “Oh shit, Oh shit, Oh shit….” it rolled down to the bottom of the ridge, through a gentle little swale and up the other side, still moving like a bat out of hell, it missed several big trees and stumps, and it slowed down to just about a complete stop when it started down the other side. It ran into some small pepperwood trees and it stopped right there on the top of the ridge like nothing had happened.

It took us about half an hour to get down to it. Weak kneed, and knowing full well that something must be badly broken. We inspected each and every part, and didn’t find anything wrong, so we pushed a few things with it and tried all the gears everything seemed to be fine. We went back up the hill and spooled the winch line back on, found a turn of logs and headed to the landing. I’m sure that our faces were as pale as ghosts under the dust, and we were expecting Roy Goforth to be standing there with our paychecks in his hand. As we pulled onto the landing, we didn’t see Roy anywhere. We pulled up next to the deck and as I was unhooking the chokers we noticed that both doors were open on Roy’s truck. That’s unusual, because people like to keep the dust out of the trucks as much as they can. I walked over to the truck and Roy was laying on his back across the seat, snoring like a bear.

If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise? Better yet, if a Cat runs away in the woods and the boss doesn’t hear it does it happen?… Hell no it didn’t. You owe me Lloyd.


Ernie Branscomb said...

This disappeared for a while because I realized that I hadn’t checked it for spelling. Then I remembered, spelling is not high on my priorities. Say Hi to Lloyd for me. Tell him not to worry that I ratted on him, Roy died years ago. I think that it might have been partly from stress that Lloyd and I caused him. Check to see if I spelled his name right.

If I get a few comments on this post, I’ve got more Lloyd Paydon stories. It’s had to tell interesting stories when people don’t reply. I don’t know is they are rolling on the floor laughing, or going over to Ekovoxes blog for some interesting stuff.

Twizzle is a little pissed that nobody said what a cute dog she is!

Anonymous said...

Ernie, that is the best woods story I've heard. I can picture the it as clear as I had been there.

I bet you don't remember when we were working out North of Eureka and I got TOP deck.

Ernie and I worked weekends skidding logs and decking them on the landing. It was just the two of us so we had the whole place to ourselves. At the time I worked for the Benbow Sawmill and had a chance to run the frontend loader and found a way to roll the logs off the end of the forks and flip them up higher that the forks would reach. Ernie is a hard act to follow so I was proud that day.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ernie, I'm not so sure Lloyd doesn't see this site. If not, he should. I know Robin is a fan of yours so think her dad is too. Cliff, Robins dad is good friends with Lloyd and that is the reason I see Lloyd now and then.
I will check with Robin, she knows just about everything.

Anonymous said...

I want more Lloyd stories. You can skip the sandwich if you like. That is my all time favorite story. But you said this has to be for polite company.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Lori and Andy live up on that hill behind Eureka that we logged on back in the sixties. They live right up by those power line that buzz like mad bees. Don’t tell anybody but I was real spooked by those lines. I just knew if I got too close to them that they would arc across and bite me.

The story that I remember best about that is the time that the road had to be built around that ridge that had that huge Redwood stump on it. I took the top. I can’t remember what I was driving but I think it was a D6 Caterpillar. And you had that little D4 equivalent that they called the “Hucklety-Buck”. I started my cut as far back up the hill as I could to get a punch down past the stump to cut all of its roots loose from both sides. And you were down below me pushing the dirt out of the way.

When I had moved so much dirt away from around the stump that it was too steep to back up, I decided that it was time to come off of the hill and work from the side. Just as I started to break over and come back down where you were, I saw the top of your dozer go by. I had a hell of a time getting enough dirt under me to dive off and get back onto the road. When dad got back, he thought that we had done I fine job and took the six up the hill and pushed on the far side of the stump and it rolled right into the trail that I made to get off the hill. I remember we acted just like that’s the way we planned it.

Anonymous said...

Those old 6's were a 9U and built back in the 40's I thihk.


Anonymous said...

A good friend of mine got tangled
up in the tracks of one of those
old cats after starting the pony
motor. He had been around heavy
equipment all of his life but they
finally got him. I'm sure you
knew him . His intials were EZ.
This didn't happen that long ago.
It seems like yesterday. He was a
good hard working man. Bigger than
life. I miss he and his wife who
passed on a year and a half later.
Great story E.

Robin Shelley said...

Well, since I'm such a know-it-all, Lloyd's last name is spelled "Padon" not "Paydon", my dad's name is "Clif" (short for Clifton) not "Cliff" & Jimmy sees Lloyd in Hiouchi/Crescent City not Arcata. (None of that annoyance is directed at you, Ernie, so please don't take it personally... I'm a huge fan of your blog!)
Lloyd is an old & dear friend of my family's & he has plenty of stories of his own. He & my dad are not "computer geeks" but I will make sure they see this post & any others you make about Lloyd. Maybe I'll even pass on a comment or two from him. Of course, I want to read more! All you have, actually.
And I don't give a rat's tail what Jimmy says, Twizzle IS, too, a cute dog!

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thanks for the corrections and the kudo's.

Anonymous said...

Great story. I too pictured the whole thing in my mind.

I have a cousin who rolled a skidder over a bank, I don't know the full details, but his Thermos was flying around in the cab and even though he was seat belted in, when the skidder came to a stop upside down, Ricky had crushed his skull against the Thermos. We nearly lost him. He was in a coma for a long, long time. Today, beyond a speech problem and paralysis on his one side, much like that of a stroke victim, he still gets around to go hunting and fishing and dancing.

It just goes to show you, woods work is a tough and risky business.

Ernie: I saw your picture on Estelle's website. My, you look so much taller than you appear in this blog.

Also: Go here for a nice look into logging equipment history.

VanNatta Brothers Logging

Ernie Branscomb said...

Try this...Van Natta Brothers logging

Anonymous said...

Thank, Ernie. Isn't that a great website?

Ernie Branscomb said...

If you wonder why I haven't been posting, I've been over going though the Van Natta museum web site.

If you are interested in logging or equipment at all you can spend hours over there.

Kym said...

Great story as always!

ben said...

Ernie, What a great story. Beautifully told!

Anonymous said...

More, please!!!


Anon.R.mous said...

What, no stories about runaway Detroit Diesels eating shop manuals and spare coverall on their path of destruction? I've heard stories that 6-71T with their injector racks stuck will eat shop manuals and coveralls and shit them out their stacks.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I don't have any experience with runaway 6-71's. But I have an old friend who spent a lot of years pushing one of those. I think I’ll ask him to tell me a few runaway stories.

For those that don’t know what a 6-71 was, it was a General Motors two-cycle truck engine that had a bad habit of going wide open, stuck in full throttle mode, and it was hard to figure out how to stop it. Most people figured that if it couldn’t get any air, that it would die, so they would stuff whatever is handy into the air intake. Like shop manuals and coveralls. A lot of them violently self destructed. Otherwise known a catastrophic engine failure. Big fun!

Do you have any stories like that anon.r.mous?

I’ve been around a long time and I’ve never seen one run away. But I’ve heard that they do. Something about screwing up on the governor ball assembly?

Anonymous said...

I've also heard about the runaway Jimmies but have not witnessed one.
I did hear that even the compression release wouldn't stop them.
I'm looking forward to some of the stories folks have to tell.


Ernie Branscomb said...

I went and talked to my friend today, what the heck, I’ll give you his name; Harrell Snodgrass. He’s my expert on anything diesel. he said that there is no direct connection between the foot throttle and the engine, and the foot throttle only tells the engine speed governor what to do. So if something past the foot throttle sticks open. The engine might stick in full speed. He said that the modern engines have a butterfly valve in the intake that shuts down the engine if that happens. He said that if one injector sticks open it can freeze the whole “rack” open.

He also said that if you pull up to a stop sign going up hill, and try to take off in too high a gear and kill the engine and roll backwards that it will start backwards and blow smoke out the air cleaner. He said if that happens you will have fifteen speeds in reverse. (He thought that was real funny)

He said that the Detroit Diesel 6-71 is designed to run either direction, and can be made to run either way by changing a few simple parts. The military used them in the landing craft. They used two engines on the propellers one ran in each direction. He said that the 6-71 was basically designed for the military.

In the early years they used an oil bath air cleaner, and if you over filled it, it would suck the oil out of the air cleaner and into the engine. And a diesel engine will run on oil, and with no control on what gets into the engine, it can over rev.

The 6-71 is no longer used, because it was designed to use oil to keep the pistons lubed, and it wont pass modern smog tests. So you can kiss it good-bye.

He said that the last one that he saw run away was when his dad decided to clean the oil-bath air cleaner on the landing (Logging Woods) and he washed the element out with gasoline, and put it right back together, so he could leave in a hurry. He had no idea how fast he was going to leave. He said that his dad jumped in the truck and started it, and the engine took out running on the gasoline fumes. He said that it started screaming about five thousand R.P.M’s. That’s fast for a diesel. It just about shook apart, his dad bailed out of the truck and ran for his life, just as the truck motor started to slow down and came down to and idle just as nothing had happened.

That must have been fun to watch!

Anon.R.mous said...

Snodgrass? Yellow Dragon guy? Yeah the Diesel could be made to run backwards for many different reasons, and they are still used in boats alot. Don't see too many of them on the roads though, but they are still used in the Army from what I understand. 6v53T's from the pictures I saw.

Here you go, the family of Screamin' Jimmys:

16V92T, which means 16 cylinder Vee engine each cylinder displacing 92 cubic inch Turbo motor. They all came with a blower on them. The 6-71 blower which you see on most supercharged drag cars came from these workhorse engines.

Really, I thought it used the fuel (diesel) to lube the pistons, and some older model abused engines would start sucking crankcase oil from around the wetsleeve or something and sometimes cause it to runaway and feed on it's own lube until it sucked the crankcase dry and broke something.

Me, I have some funny stories to tell, as in that funny I'm still walking and alive stories, which all seem to involve someone other than myself doing something stupid. But always make sure the choke is off and the transmission not in a gear on a forklift BEFORE you jump off. Pretty much the same kind of story as yours, but inside a warehouse, and trust me, I had nothing to do with it, other than watching a new event, Forklift Rodeo.

Anonymous said...

Yellow Dragon Guy, Ernie Branscomb.
The two most impressive people I know. I, one time needed a part on my moto-cross bike welded so I took it to Yellow Dragon. Harrell said I don't work on scooters, so I took it to Branscomb Refridgeration.

Robin Shelley said...

Lloyd Padon said, "Ernie Branscomb was a good kid."

Anonymous said...

Tell Lloyd that Ernie is still a good kid.


Ross Sherburn said...

Thanks Ernie for posting this!!