Monday, February 1, 2010

Balance

Yesterday I drove a trailer full of gymnastics paraphernalia up to Great Lakes Adventist Academy (GLAA) since our gymnastics team was doing a show there. Greg (my supervisor) was taking the team up with a coach and it was my job to drive a large (40' I think) enclosed trailer behind a Ford Excursion up to join them. While hooking up the tension bars on the trailer Greg suggested that we hook into the fifth link in the chains used for adjustment - I did the same on my side and then we put the tension on them. When I first started driving I realized that this was a big trailer for such a little truck and when I got on the highway the "tail" started to wag the "dog" as if my truck were being violently swung back and forth in the jaws of some giant monster. After slowing down and bringing things back under control I proceeded on my trip very carefully adjusting the steering wheel each time the trailer began weaving so that it was out of phase with the swing of the trailer and would not amplify the problem. At one point I pulled over and shortened the chains on the tension bars by one link to add more tension which seemed to make things a little better but I was still on edge for the rest of the trip. When hooking the trailer up for the return trip (we had taken the truck to go eat) I realized that Greg and I were counting links on the chain from opposite ends of the chain - it then made sense to me why, when I had adjusted them, one seemed so much tighter than the other even though the slope I was on should have had negligible effect. Once the bars were tensioned equally the trailer towed much smoother than it had before (even if it was still a lot of trailer for a little truck). This experience makes me wonder if there are things in my life which I keep trying to "tighten" far beyond where they should be when what I need to do is "balance" them.

Epilogue: After weighing the trailer and finding it was just 130 lbs shy of it's maximum legal weight I got to bed about midnight and then got up at 4:00 AM so I could study for a test in my hardest class.