Tag Archives: The Poseidon Adventure

Bob’s Next Big Idea; The Observation Tower

The Silo next to the Donkey Barn, as seen from the vineyard.
The Silo next to the Donkey Barn, as seen from the vineyard.

Most people see an old silo sitting next to the donkey barn. But not Bob. Bob sees a tower. He has ever since he and his Dad first looked at the property back in February of 2010.

Bob on top of the tower this past February.
Bob on top of the tower this past February.

But it wasn’t until this past February that he finally got to the top of the silo to check out the view.

The Way Up; an extension ladder inside the silo.
The Way Up; an extension ladder inside the silo.

He got up there by putting an extension ladder inside of the silo and bravely climbing it to the top. I wanted no part of it. I am terrified of heights and the inside of the silo reminds me of the ship’s smokestack where Roddy McDowall fell to his death in the 70s Disaster Movie, The Poseidon Adventure. (I can still hear the Ernest Borgnine character yelling “Linda. You killed my Linda!” But I digress).

Bob in Moss
Bob after he emerged from inside of the silo, taking in the view for the first time. Notice the slanted top on the silo and all of the slippery moss.

Bob scampered up the ladder like the experienced rock climber he is and popped out of the top of the silo. But that’s as far as he could go. The top of the silo is shaped like an inverted cone and it was covered in wet, slippery moss. Not the ideal platform for an observation deck. So while he sat up there, Bob hatched a plan.

The Form
The wooden form for the concrete pour on top of the silo.

He built a wooden form in the exact circumference of the top of the silo so he could pour a new concrete top over the inverted cone. He had Nathan use the power washer to blast the moss off of the silo. Then, they guys hoisted the wooden form to the top of the silo.

Bob standing by to attach the hook on the bucket truck to the wooden form.
Bob standing by to attach the hook on the bucket truck to the wooden form.

I suppose I should say a few words now about our bucket truck. Bob bought it a few years ago in Colorado because “you never know when you are going to need a bucket truck.” The truck didn’t run when we bought it, and it didn’t have a bucket. We had to load it on a semi and have it trucked out to Oregon when we moved to the farm.

Nick uses the controls on the bucket truck to maneuver the hook closer to the wooden form.
Nick uses the controls on the bucket truck to maneuver the hook closer to the wooden form.

Bob and Nick spent the winter getting the bucket truck running and the hydraulics working again, and now I know why. It still doesn’t have a bucket. But for this project, we don’t need a bucket. We just need a hook.

DSC_0039
The wooden form hooked to the truck and ready to fly.

As it turns out, we do have a hook, which the guys dangled off the end of the truck’s bucket arm with a long strap. Then, Bob hooked the hook to some other straps he had wrapped around the wooden form. And from here, I think I will let the pictures tell the story:

Ready for liftoff! Notice Bob is still inside the wooden form (you can see his head almost sticking out).
Ready for liftoff! Notice Bob is still inside the wooden form (you can see his head almost sticking out).
Nick uses the controls on the truck to lift the form.
Nick uses the hydraulics on the truck to lift the form. Bob and Nathan are inside the silo, climbing the ladder to the top.
Higher and higher it goes. The top of the silo is about 24-feet up!
Higher and higher it goes. The top of the silo is about 24-feet up!
Nick shields his eyes against the sun as he maneuvers the form into place over the top of the silo.
Nick shields his eyes against the sun as he maneuvers the form.
Almost there.....
Almost there…..
We have the height, now the form has to be centered over the silo.
We have the height, now the form has to be centered over the silo.
Bob and Nathan are on top of the silo now, ready to guide the form into place.
Bob and Nathan are on top of the silo now, ready to guide the form into place.
Bob carefully lines up the edges of the form with the perimeter of the silo.
Bob carefully lines up the edges of the form with the perimeter of the silo.
Nick lowers the form every so slowly into place.
Nick lowers the form every so slowly into place.
Touchdown!
Touchdown!
Nathan gives the Thumbs Up! Mission Accomplished!
Nathan gives the Thumbs Up! Mission Accomplished!

Over the weekend, Bob and Nick started pouring the concrete, but not before I sucked it up and climbed to the top to snap off a few pictures. So what did I see when I got up there? And how did they get thousands of pounds of concrete 24-feet up in the air?

Here’s a peek at the view, if only to prove that I actually made it to the top of the silo despite my Roddy McDowall phobias:

The view from the top, looking out over the NE corner of the vineyard and to the horse pasture beyond.
The view from the top, looking out over the N/NE end of the vineyard. You can see the roof of the horse barns in the distance.

As for the concrete pour, it’s getting late and I think I still have vertigo from being on top of the tower. It was a fascinating process and I want to do it justice. So that will have to be a blog for another day.

Bob up top, ready for concrete.
Bob up top, ready for concrete.

More soon……..