The Webster Tube, It’s wider and longer than you’d think
Good morning folks. it is now the day after one of the scariest things that could happen almost did. I started writing this last night while it was fresh in my mind.
What I am about to write is true, only the names of the parties involved have been omitted for reasons of security.
I write to you from the safety of my home. Well comforted with a belly full of Shepard’s Pie from one of my favorite pubs here in Oakland, Commonwealth Pub. It’s time I sit back and make a new blog post, to recount a tale of both heroic victory and glimpses of catastrophic failure. Today I sent my newest assistant slash “me in training” off on what could have seemed like a doomsday mission, to drive the first Pizza oven through the Webster tube out to the Navy Base to practice Field manoeuvers. I figured this will be swell, great, no problem. The tube may make him pay attention, this will be fun.
I was wrong, here’s why. The new minivan is quite low to the ground, so the tow hitch and ball needs to be raised up to the proper height to keep the trailer level. I bought this two piece adjustable trailer hitch thinking this would be ideal. It adjusts to the height you need, but it has more play in it than an episode of the X-factor. I did not realize how potentially funky this could be. We hitched up and headed for our target. Everything was fine for a test drive across Emeryville until we hit the tunnel. The transition from Light to dark was a bit strong, and a white beemer was flanking us and would not pass. We got speed wobbles and that led to the trailer whipping back and forth from side to side in the left lane of the tunnel, surrounded by cars and walls made of solid concrete.
Brakes were applied but not effective, and the trailer was pitching back and forth, skidding from side to side, like one of my many nightmares. You could smell the tires burning. After about 12 fishtails without a significant crash, I’m thinking this is still going on and we haven’t actually T-boned yet…I decided to interject with all I could think of, Downshift! Without speaking I grabbed the shifter and dropped it to 1st gear from the passenger seat. That and braking at a constant pressure helped bring everything back into control. My assistant and I nearly came to a crawl in the tunnel, hearts pounding as the trailer regained control slowly, both of us wondering how that didn’t just result in a total catastrophic clusterfuck in the middle of a concrete tube. The guy who was closest to being whipped by the oven and debris gave us a dirty look when he passed. I was like hey it could’ve been worse…
We collected our assholes gathering them up from the floor around us, and continued on around the bend a bit till we could pull over safely and figure out just what the fuck happened back there and how we are not both on stretchers trying to explain to EMT’s what happened. We quickly changed out the hitches for the one i had on board that was too low, but seemed to tow a lot better. We continued onto operation Parking lot like true professionals. Shaken, but not stirred.
My favorite proving ground for trailer navigation is out near the Alameda Skatepark. There’s a lot of open space and usually not too many people around to give you any crap about what you’re doing. Except for today. Apparently, the navy base is divided up a bit between public and private land. The parking lot of the Skatepark is public, but the area across the street is private. We now know this because it was impermissable for us to practice backing up, turning around, and general evasive actions in an empty parking lot. Security was all over us, so we had to move it across the street which wasn’t nearly as fun. We spent a good hour driving the trailer backwards in circles, up little ramps, and around the big hunk of concrete until I was satisfied my assistant was thoroughly dizzy and familiar with the navigation. He’ll need more practice, but he’ll have to get that out on the streets of Oakland. God help us! Cuz we’re rollin two deep now!