02 April, 2017

The Revised Drive Way - Wait a Minute

Below is a photo of our layout. You can see the proposed additions to the driveway in transparent white. If you know where the main gate is (lower right-hand corner) you can follow the driveway as it currently is configured, or follow the new driveway.

Take the first fork to the right and follow it around, bearing left till you come to the parking palapa (lower center of photo). Now, if we're parked under the palapa, that would present a problem departing easily.

You'll notice a second white area (immediate right-hand side of the parking palapa). That will allow those departing to get out without trying to drive under the palapa. From there, just follow the drive to the main gate and out.

From the other gate, (Chain Link), that's just going to be a service entrance if a big truck is dumping chippings, gravel, etc.
Proposed Driveway Changes
The long-awaited driveway renovation project began today. And, just like that came to a halt.

Unfortunately, communications between the backhoe driver and myself were somewhat lacking. I had assumed he was only going to use his front scoop and only scoop out an inch or two of grass, etc.
Stakes Showing the Wa
You can see the stakes I pounded into the marl to show the proposed areas to be scraped. They more or less match the image above.

Backhoe Bucket Tracks
He immediately set to work, positioning himself to use the backhoe. I assumed that maybe he was going to use that to pull out the curbing in that area. Wrong. He didn't go for the curb but set the bucket teeth into the soil. I signaled to go no more than three or four inches down, which is how he started, but for some reason, the bucket began to go deeper.

The Damage Done
By then, it was too late. Up came the PVC tube with the cables providing current to the main house. Or, they did provide current until they broke.

I immediately called a halt to the operation. Needless to say, I was none too happy and told the operator that he was done.

I immediately got on the phone, texting to Mario Zetina, our contractor for the swimming pool and enclosure rebuild, to see if, by chance, Emanuel, his electrician was available for an emergency repair. I assumed that it would be too much to hope for that he would be available right away, but I was hoping, maybe for the following day. Even though this was about our hottest day of the year so far, reaching 92℉.

Mario texted me back and said that he would have Emanuel come by as soon as he finished lunch. Wow! Too much to hope for. I was figuring, even if he showed up right away, that it would still be a good day or so before we got the current back, I was assuming the whole run of 300' of #6 wire x 3, or 900' of wire would have to be replaced.

After about forty minutes, Emanual and his helper showed up and immediately started clearing marl out of the way. Thankfully, he remembered he had constructed a junction box for wiring to go to the Mennonite house.
Starting to Dig Out
They've just about got the junction box uncovered. I had totally forgotten about the box.

After checking the wires at the dig site, Mario went to the power panel by the gate and determined that most of the three wires were in good condition. They had simply been pulled out of the screw posts.

Making It All Right Again
After refurbishing the wires and replacing the mangled PVC pipe (I had enough pipe left over and a coupling fitting for the repair) Emanuel reassembled the whole thing back into the junction box.

Good View of the Repaired Junction
Here's the completed junction box without the lid being attached.

Reconnecting Everything
And, in amazingly very short order, we had current again. Fans, ice, cold beer, and iced tea. In short, the whole nine yards.

Now, all I have to do is bring back the tractor and ensure that the operator only uses the front scoop and only does it exactly where I tell him, and we'll be good to go. Of course, after that, a large trip or two of chippings and getting that all spread over the driveway and we really will be good to go.

Stay tuned for part II - The Finishing of the Driveway, or Let's See What Breaks Next.

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