Another Rock Blasting Story

During the first 15 years of my contracting career most trenches in rock were blasted, before good productive and dependable rock trenchers were developed. We had one crew that their primary job was drilling and shooting (term we used for blasting) rock. We were building a new subdivision right behind the Bannockburn Baptist Church, before it was built, on Brodie at McCarty Lane in southwest Austin. All was going real good on that project. Don the crew foreman and our ace blaster was short handed, so he hired an old hippie that happened by. The old hippie’s only job was … Continue reading Another Rock Blasting Story

Dynamite Headaches

I have talked extensively about blasting rock and handling explosives (or mishandling as the case may have been). As I’ve said before, my days in the blasting game came early in my life, mostly before I was 30 years old which was up until the early 1980’s. Most of what I learned about blasting rock was from Cecil Lewis or Burnet, Texas blasting legend LJ Henderson. Of course trial and error and being self taught was where I learned the most I suppose. Since there wasn’t a school to actually go to learn the trade, you start out loading a … Continue reading Dynamite Headaches

Cecil Lewis Smoked One Joint In His Whole Life

Cec was well into his 60s and had never smoked marijuana. He is a man that had not lived a completely pure life, but for whatever reason smoking pot or doing drugs was something that had never appealed to him. He had a fellow living at his fishing camp that had enjoyed a long life of pot consumption. Virgil tempted Cec with a baggie of weed one day. Not knowing how he was going to react to it’s effects, he decided to take it with him and find a convenient time to smoke some without calling too much attention to … Continue reading Cecil Lewis Smoked One Joint In His Whole Life

The Watch And The Dice Game

Back in the mid 60s our Dad, Cecil, leased our place out for deer hunting. I only remember him doing it for a few years. Several of the guys were connected through marriage. I think they mostly came out of Austin. Richard Ward and Bill Hayden I remember for sure. There were several others, maybe a half dozen in all. One other fellow, Harrison was his name. He was a really large guy as I remember. He had a business out on North Lamar just south of US 183. It was a craft supply place, I think. I remember us … Continue reading The Watch And The Dice Game

The Inks Dam Anchoring Project

I’ve Never Really Been Afraid Of Heights, But……. In the hustle bustle of being in the construction business you hire people and trust that they know what they are doing. If a business stays small you can keep your thumb on it and watch every move. But as you expand and grow you have to allow decisions to be made that you are responsible for but you didn’t exactly make. This really applied in the following story. I had a guy, Tom, that was a very smart fellow working for me in a project management roll. Tom was an A&M … Continue reading The Inks Dam Anchoring Project

A Head-Plant In The Mud

I was about 17 years old. Lake Travis was really low like it often is. We had a bulldozer and a Cat 12 Motorgrader down along the bottom land, cleaning up and leveling out so when the lake came back up it would………no we knew it wouldn’t stay smooth but Cec had a good idea. Something to keep me busy. My helper was, David Jordan, my one day in the future brother in law. He was a couple of years younger than me. If I remember correctly it had been a fairly uneventful day, that is until I started out … Continue reading A Head-Plant In The Mud

A Loader Laying On It’s Side

In the early days we didn’t have the best equipment to work with. We didn’t expect anything to start without jumper cables or pulling or pushing it to start it. We had an old HD 5 Allis Chalmers Track Loader that we’d been using to clean out a stock tank down on our place. When we stopped for the day, on the before we parked it beside the road so we could reach it with a pair of jumper cables. There was a road cut with the bank about four feet tall that the loader was sitting up on. When … Continue reading A Loader Laying On It’s Side

The Crane Lawsuit

My first experience with being involved in a lawsuit didn’t take long once I got out into the working world. Sometime in late 1970 we leased a truck out to Charlie Evans Trucking. Mr. Evans had been a trucker in Austin for many years and decided to expand his business by opening a terminal in San Antonio. I had just turned 18 years old. I decided it would be a good adventure to go there and live in an old run down motel and make hauls all around San Antonio. The Spur Motel was just a block or so down … Continue reading The Crane Lawsuit

Throwing A D-7 Dozer Off Of The Trailer

Kenny and I went down to Turkey Bend and loaded a D-7 Cat Dozer and was headed back to Smithwick. The road was not paved back then, which was probably in 1968. The bar-ditch was usually wet from the springs that flowed out of the rock outcroppings. It was fairly clean without cedar brush back then. Kenny was driving too fast and got too close to the ditch as he came into the corner. This caused the truck and trailer to slam into a 4′ high vertical bank on the right side with great force. This resulted in truck and … Continue reading Throwing A D-7 Dozer Off Of The Trailer

The Adventures Of Driving Under-Powered Trucks

The 60s were a different time than now when it comes to the horse power of trucks. Today our trucks operate with 500 to 600 horsepower. Back then the common range was 180 to 250 HP. We still hauled equally heavy loads over the same roads as today. Trucks were used much longer and maintained must less than by today’s standards. It was common for when we were hauling a heavy dozer in hillier areas for me to go ahead in a pickup to assist. When we knew there was a grade too steep coming up, Kenny would pull over, … Continue reading The Adventures Of Driving Under-Powered Trucks