Black Rock Desert, Stuck in the Playa, Day 4 (First Recovery) – June 4, 2016

Hopefully, we now have everything we need to get the Fuso out.

So hopefully, we now have everything we need to get the Fuso out. In addition to Jon and me, we also have:

Carman, of Smith n Tobey Recovery Services, and his Xterra

and the highly skilled and experienced Willie of Courtney Rock and Transport and his assistant, Gary. Willie has brought his bulldozer, mini excavator and a tan pick-up truck with equipment.

It is currently 12:30 in the Black Rock Desert playa and temperatures are already at 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

We started by walking around the Fuso, evaluating and discussing its current situation.

12:31 - Evaluating

 

12:32 - Jon making a point

Jon is pointing out some important features.

 

Note how well you can see the underside of the Fuso. This is not a good way to view our vehicle.

Notice how well you can see the underside of the Fuso.

It was decided to try to level the Fuso. We didn’t want it to fall over on its side and having all four tires on the ground makes it more likely it would be able to roll rather than drag.

The first task involved using the excavator to dig a hole next to the driver’s side rear wheel.

12:38 - Excavating next to the left rear wheel

Jon and Willie attached arecovery chain to the frame.

12:43 - Hooking up a recovery chain

The Bulldozer was moved into place and the recovery chain was hooked up. When the bulldozer was drove backwards, the Fuso slid into the hole and straightened out.

12:46 - Before the pull

Before

 

12:46 - After the pull

After

 

A deep hole had been required.

12:47 - Rear wheel is in deep

The Fuso is now quite a bit more level.

12:48 - Fuso more level now

 

Now there is a big gap on the passenger side of the Fuso between it and the ground. The excavator was used to fill in the gap.

12:50 - Pushing dirt to fill in the gap

 

12:51 - P

Gary is packing down the dirt

 

The bulldozer was moved to the back of the Fuso. The Fuso was hooked up to the bulldozer. We are trying to pull it backwards.

12:53 - Trying to pull it backwards

First Try

 

12:56 - Second try

Second Try

The Fuso has not moved backwards at all.

12:58 - It hasn't moved

Jon describing the mechanics involved with pulling the vehicle out.

There is too much dirt behind the rear wheels. To get the Fuso to roll backwards, it will need a ramp.

Clearing out the dirt under the back of the Fuso.

1:01 - Excavating next to the right rear wheel

Excavating next to the right rear wheel

At least by having the excavator, it makes it much easier to dig an area next to the truck to work.

1:03 - Trying to clear out some of the dirt under the back

As always, there is lots of digging required.

It is a challenging place to dig.

It is a challenging place to dig.

While Gary and Carman were digging under the back of the Fuso, Jon and Willie had been discussing the situation.

1:06

The ultimate problem is getting the Fuso up and out of the hole. So Jon and Willie decided to see how effective the excavator is at lifting the front of the Fuso.

1:09 - Trying to lift the front end

Trying to lift the front end

It wasn’t successful. The Fuso is just too heavy for the mini excavator bucket to lift.

Since more of the dirt had been cleared from the back of the Fuso, we used the bulldozer to attempt to get the Fuso to go backwards.

1:13 - Trying to pull it backwards

You can see how much the bulldozer is digging in at the back of its treads.

The bulldozer dug in and the Fuso didn’t move at all.

Willie had a big tow rope that we hooked up to the back of the Fuso in hopes that it would provide enough dynamic power to yank the Fuso enough to get it moving.

1:16 - Attaching a tow rope

Attaching the giant tow rope

Even with that effort, the Fuso remained firmly stuck.

1:17 - Trying to pull it backwards with a tow rope

Trying to pull it backwards with a tow rope

 

Video of Bulldozer trying to pull the Fuso backwards with a tow rope

 

A new approach was needed. Instead of pulling forward or backward, we would try pulling it sideways to try to get more of it on less disturbed/firmer ground. Since the passenger side was the low side, they started by pulling on the frame next to the driver’s side rear wheel.

1:23 - Attaching a tow chain to the back wheel to pull it to the left

Attaching a tow chain

After hooking it up, the bulldozer gave it a tug. It slid over several inches.

1:23 - Pulling the Fuso's rear to the left

 

The tow chain was attached in front of the driver’s side front wheel. The same process was tried again. The front of the Fuso slid over quite a bit more.

1:29 - Pulling the front to the right

Jon points to how much the front wheel has moved.

Video of pulling the front of the Fuso towards the driver’s side

 

(Please pardon the quality of the video, everything was happening so fast that I hard a hard time photographing and video taping the events.)

Now that the Fuso is reoriented, the next effort was focused on pulling the Fuso forward. Jon and Willie hooked up our recovery chain to the front of the Fuso.

1:31 - Jon hooking up the recovery chain to the front

 

The bulldozer gave it a tug. The tow chain broke.

Video of pulling the Fuso forward and the tow chain breaks

 

 

1:32 Broken recovery chain

Jon holding part of the broken chain.

Jon and Carman crawled down to extract the broken pieces and to see if there had been any damage.

1:32 - Finding the broken chain

The recovery chain belong to us and was obviously not rated for this kind of effort. Another chain was brought from Willie’s supplies. In addition to another chain. We decided that it would be helpful to dig out from in front of the front tires to give them a little more of a ramp to climb up.

1:33 - Gary brings over another chain. Carman digs.

Gary brings over another chain. Carman digs.

So more digging occurred.

1:34 - Always more digging

Finally we were ready to give it another try pulling forward this time.

1:37 - Ready to give it another pull

Ready to give it another try.

Success!

1:38 Success. The Fuso is out of the hole.

Success. The Fuso is out of the hole.

Video of the Fuso finally getting out of the hole.

Four days after we got stuck in the Black Rock Desert playa, we finally had the Fuso out of the hole we had sunk into.

However, this is not the end of the day or the story. It wasn’t enough just getting the Fuso out of that hole, we had to get it back on a firm surface.

I’ll continue in the next post.

 


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One thought on “Black Rock Desert, Stuck in the Playa, Day 4 (First Recovery) – June 4, 2016

  1. Great job everyone!

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