Are we Overweight?

By Jason

The US Department of Transportation has decreed that no vehicle should weight more than 80,000 lbs on the roads.  Some exceptions apply, but what that means for us is that our shipping container (which is currently in Michigan, and is almost ready to be sent to Burundi) had to be under 40,000 lbs, so that the truck, which weighs 40,000 lbs, could take it to the ship when the time comes.

So how in the world do we figure out how much 40,000 lbs is?  Well, as we packed things into the container, we weighed them - either in bulk, by driving a trailer filled with our stuff over one of the CAT weigh stations you might see at truck stops, or by stepping on a bathroom scale as we carried each item into the container.  There is obviously a lot of wiggle room in these weights, and so it was with much intrepidation that we had our container weighed the week before we flew to France.  Based on what we had added up, I was estimating we were between 36,000 and 42,000 lbs of gross weight (including the 8,400 lbs of the container itself).  If we were over, it would mean unpacking part of the container and filling it in with a frame of wood to keep things stable and tight since we had packed it to the brim already (3 days before our departure for France, to boot).

Container packed with 1/2" to spare
So a truck driver came one morning to pick up the container, which he had trouble getting on the bed of his trailer.  The winch that was supposed to pull the container onto the bed was somehow not strong enough to do so (hmm...not a good sign for being overweight).  The driver patiently tried a number of ways to get the container on the trailer, and eventually he was able to get it half way on, teetering on the edge of the trailer, but there was too much friction to get it further.  So we enlisted the help of the farmer who owns the farm where we are storing the container.  He came in with his front loader and pushed the container on from the back end, which ended up pushing the whole semi-truck forward (hmm...maybe the container weighs 60,000 lbs).  The driver applied the trailer and the truck brakes in order to allow the container to be pushed on the trailer by the front loader and pulled by the winch.

Front-loader pushing the container onto the bed of the semi.
After all that sweat and angst, we weighed in at a mere 36,200 lbs.  So it's official, the McCropders are not overweight :)  Thank God!

1 comment:

Laira samsung said...

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