Raised Behind the Wheel
I don’t remember learning to drive. I think I was about six years old when I learned to drive my granddad’s new Minneapolis and Moline (M&M) tractor. I drove the tractor and pulled the hay wagon while my dad and granddad tossed the hay on the wagon in the Oklahoma hay field. I just gradually drove first one piece of equipment, then another. I don’t remember taking a driver’s test or getting a driver’s license. I just seemed to have license one day.
My wife, Bess, didn’t learn to drive until after we were married. I put her behind the wheel of our big 1949 Cadillac convertible (with a 4-inch boat cushion so that she could see out) in the Arkansas River bottoms. I told her to follow me (I was driving the drill). That’s the best way to teach a woman to drive. And oh, by the way, Bess’ driver’s license was restricted to a 4-inch cushion for many years.
Our boys, on the other hand, were like myself. They learned to drive by backing trailers to or around the drill site, backing the drill over the drill site or by digging mud pits with the dozer. Today the boys can drive anything — the bigger the better.
At one time my dad and I had four drill rigs. Before he passed we had downsized to one rig.
Once when we were in Georgia, we were taking the equipment to a drill site some distance from our shop. I’m leading the convoy. A motorcycle was on the front bumper of the rig, the rig was towing the support truck (loaded with water, casing and well gravel), and the air compressor was being towed behind the support truck. Our boys were following up in our Amphicar (a combination boat and car).
Our convoy was stopped by the Nashville, Ga., police. They just wanted to check to see that everything was legal, and it was. However, they had to make a police report. They said that we could park the convoy at the city limits and follow them in the Amphicar to the police station.
At the police station one policeman asked the other, “Did you get the tag number of the support truck?” He answered, “No.” I looked at my sons and shook my head with a big “NO,” knowing that both boys knew the tag numbers.
After looking over our Amphicar and asking a lot of questions they let us go. Every time we passed through Nashville the police would give us a big wave and smile.
(Note, I don’t have many photos, as they were ruined when a tornado destroyed our home in Oklahoma, along with all the keepsakes inside, many years ago. But I thought readers would enjoy the one with this column, one of the few I do have.)
The rig, support truck and air compressor were required equipment. The motorcycle was an option that we usually carried in the event I didn’t complete the well or needed something during the day.
Today we have no drilling equipment. We advise companies to operate more efficiently, by cutting their overall drilling costs and reduce unnecessary expenses. Done efficiently, drilling can still be fun and profitable. Call me!
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