By Bob Mohel
In 1964 I was working on I-35 north of New Braunfels, Texas, drilling p0iers for new bridges and overpasses when I twisted the drive shaft off in the creek bottom. I called my boss in Austin aned he told me to go to SHWAB Machine Shop and they would make me a new one. So I did, and they did make me a new one. But I had a vibration in it, even at slow speed, so I called my boss again and told him of the vibration in it and he told me to use it like that and it would be alright because the old rig did not run that fast on the road.
A few days later I finished the job on a Friday and got ready to move to Lampassas, Texas. Come the next day, Saturday morning, I started the move. As I was traveling along I-35 I kept thinking about the vibration and wondering if it will make the trip. When I got to the Onion Creek hill about two miles south of Austin the drive shaft twisted off. So here I go down the hill with no gears, But the scaring part was when the yoke that comes out of the transfer case beat the airlines off. I had no BRAKES of HORNS or GEARS!
The hill was not steep, but went down for about a mile then up about a mile. When I got to the bottom the speedometer was on 85 mph. I don't think the truck ran that fast when it was new. So when I was getting to the top the truck was losing all of its speed, and when it did stop it started backing up. Back then there was a rock ledge on the right side of the road, so I jack-knifed into the ledge.
The wrecker came and pulled me to White Truck Garage in Austin for repair. They estimated the cost to be about $10,000 to repair the damage. So sometimes it don't pay to jury rig. I have been scared before, but nothing like that day. It was lucky that it was early in the morning and the traffic was not heavy, otherwise it might have been a disaster. The memory of this day I will take to the grave with me.
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