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AMY KIRK: Pulling redneck custom trailers

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Amy Kirk, Daily Republic Columnist  I really dislike pulling any of our custom-made trailers because the words “pickup box trailer,” “homemade trailer,” “dump truck trailer” or the sight of any custom-welded trailer on the Kirk ranch implies trailers with taillights that aren’t going to work when I’m pulling them. Obviously, this is a safety issue, but that has been covered in several redneck woman ways.

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The first and simplest safety solution for pulling trailers with nonworking taillights is by slapping a slow-moving vehicle sign on the back. Since we have a lot of these floating around the shop for faulty taillights reasons, all that’s needed is a couple of pieces of baling wire to fasten the sign somewhere in a visible spot on the back of the trailer. Unlike electrical wires, I can get baling wire to work for me.

The only drawback to using a slow moving sign is that I have to drive slowly in order to be a slowmoving vehicle, which is not something I enjoy. For starters I don’t like being the driver responsible for congesting traffic and the cause of more motorists’ cursing in the world. Secondly, I am a person who likes to get places in a timely manner, wants to get my work done in a reasonable amount of time, and doesn’t like getting dirty looks from drivers passing me on the highway.

The next way safety is addressed is by using back roads instead of highways whenever possible. The most frequented places we haul a trailer to generally have connecting back roads for getting to and from home. I can access a gravel road that leads right into the back side of Pringle from our place. Once I’ve made it to Pringle, I only have a mile stretch of highway to drive up — slowly — to get to our barn. On the highway, I can drive on the shoulder to allow traffic to pass my slow-moving pickup and trailer.

Depending on the vehicle I’m pulling the trailer with, sometimes being able to stick my arm out far enough for non-resident drivers behind me to see my hand turn signals is a problem, but I’ve come up with a solution for that problem too — though I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet. It was my daughter’s idea to staple an old glove and shirt sleeve over a stick. Then I can aim it out the window to signal whether I’m turning left, slowing down, or stopping. If I’m turning right I can hold my arm out and point my wooden arm up.

One thing that’s really handy about pulling trailers with taillights that aren’t working is we live in a small town where the residents are used to our redneck trailers and slow-moving outfits. When locals see me coming, they give me a wide berth and know I’m plugging along because my trailer’s taillights aren’t working. Pringle residents know where my family lives, what we drive, what trailers we pull, the time of year we’ll be pulling these custom trailers, where we’re likely headed and where we’ll be turning.

The only thing I don’t have a solution for yet is if I get pulled over. Since I’m a woman, I do have some advantages that I may have to flaunt a little: playing dumb and blaming my husband.

— Amy Kirk and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.

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