Several weeks ago a most unusual thing happened here on our little off-grid homestead…one of the trees beside our long winding lane jumped out and smashed up the front of our Suburban. Well, of course, you know that is not exactly what happened. Actually, the driver was reaching down momentarily to divert a biting rabbit (which should never have been running loose in the car in the first place), and failed to turn the wheel at a sharp turn. The result was a permanent tree imprint in the hood, grill, and bumper of the Suburban, and a wiser teenage driver.
We can count our blessings it didn’t happen on a two lane highway going 50 mph, and that a tree was struck rather than a person. It’s a very small loss comparitively. And it’s an opportunity to learn some bodywork skills we probably wouldn’t have learned otherwise. We’re also thankful that the grill met the tree right beside the radiator rather than in the middle of it! And the biting rabbit and all people involved remained uninjured.
While waiting on funds to fix it “right,” we did what we could to straighten things out (we needed another project, right?). The biggest concern was protecting the engine from damage by unmashing the compressed metal which could be placing stress on hoses and other parts. So Silver Oak got to use his new winch in an unexpected way!
The winch is attached to a front receiver hitch on his truck (so it can be removed and also used on the back or on another vehicle as well if needed). The upper part behind the grill straightened fairly easily using the winch. But the steel bumper was much tougher. With Silver Oak on the truck brakes and me on the Suburban brakes, it still wouldn’t budge much.
So Silver Oak chained the back end (hitch) of each vehicle to a tree and tried it again. It grunted and groaned, but finally did straighten enough to return to something closer to its original shape. After a few weeks with only one vehicle it is so good to have it driveable again, in spite of its new unique design.
Someone suggested buying a “bra” for the front to hide the damage until we can get it repaired completely. What a creative idea! Of course the bumper is compromised at this point, so either way it is best if we get it repaired correctly as soon as possible. And we’re going to have to be more alert for those active trees!
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