Dear Friends and Families,
written March 26
Sometimes we travel for
excitement and sometimes excitement, such as it is, comes to us.
Pacific Gas and Electric had been warning Mamo for weeks that
they were coming to replace the 56-year-old pole in her backyard.
The potential for disturbance to her familiar scene had the family in
all sorts of discussion with the power company and now we would see if
they would live up to their promise of "we will do minimum
damage". How? Here's how.
Because we had little else to do all day, I took a whole bunch of
pictures, three-dozen of which follow. For almost 12 hours we
watched as fascinated as if it had been a major league baseball game,
or maybe a cricket match, given the time it took. Trust me, it
Almost as soon as the last lineman was off the pole, our power went
back on, no problems. PG&E had indeed done the work with minimum
damage to Mamo's half-century-old back yard. Thanks.
Stay in touch and look for excitement where you find it.
John and Marianne
|The goal was to remove this pole and replace it. How hard could that be?
Step one was to fill the street with trucks, a GIANT crane, friendly workers, and an audience.
Step two was to build the new power pole. Surprisingly complex, but done quickly.
Step three was to go
up on the old pole and remove the transformer and all the wires.
Sean, the lineman, made relatively quick work of this as well, aided by
the crane that reached all the way from the street
This process was not without problems. The wires hung on the
projecting parts of the pole on the way up and, at one point, a wire
slipped inside the crane hook. When the hook-latch went "click",
our calm work supervisor mumbled something
not-for-a-general-audience. But, eventually, the old pole flew
Step four was to
create a hole for the new pole. Plan A was to pull the old pole
and use the old hole. That didn't work, despite digging, hand
jacks, a hydraulic jack, and tugs by the giant crane.. Plan B was
to dig a hole next to the old pole. That didn't work because the
place was cramped and the ground was impenetrable. Plan C was to
move the pole next door. That did work, but only after an extra
hour of hand shoveling and jack hammers to break up the local dirt,
called "hard pan" for a reason. This whole step was supposed to take an hour or so, but required five!
Step five was to fly
in the new pole and set it vertical in the hole. Easy enough,
thanks to a low-tech plumb bob, and experienced eyeball, the same
technique probably used on the pyramids and castles in Europe.
The last step was to
reload the transformer and reconnect the wires. For this, there
were three linemen on the pole, each working with obvious skill.
The coordination, almost a dance, was very impressive,
The work was eventually finished, in the dark, six hours later than planned.