After receiving the Ok from the Customs officials on the release of the rig from the import process, Berny’s next obstacle to get the rig onto a lowboy and get it out of there. This was complicated by the bent drive shaft which prevented its being driven anywhere under its own power. The shaft was bent when one the loading sling straps was passed under the shaft and not above it. Berny also realized that since it was Christmas, the dock workers were few and very little cargo other than the rig had been off loaded. What to do? The rig needed to be moved now. The truck and trailer were standing by.
Berny walked over to a worker lounging in the shade. After explaining the problem he asked if the man had any ideas about how to do it. The man said the usual “No Problem,” (which in central America means there is going to be one soon) and walked away around the edge of a warehouse. In a few minutes he came back with four men all driving forklifts. Each went to a corner of the rig and lifted. The truck drove the lowboy under it and it was done. Less than ten minutes! The driver got in and they headed for the gate and one more obstacle, the weigh station.
Guatemala doesn’t have much for roads, but they have road use tax and weigh limits and fees and permits and fines for violations of many sorts. They have learned from us. The rigs weight was basically known but many things had been welded on for the voyage. Tool boxes were crammed full of supplies and welded shut and welded to the rig. Drilling stems were loaded on racks built and welded on. Only God knew how much it weighed. Certainly it was over the limit.
The driver stopped at the scales before the gate. Berny got out to help him with the process and to pay the money he was certain was going to be required. The only money he had left was his own. The higher costs of the rig had taken all of the 95,000 Quetzals that he had of the projects money. As Berny started to get out, the driver told him to stay in the truck. He did as he was told and prayed. In a few minutes, the driver got back in. He started the truck, drove around the scales and out the gate! They were on the highway and headed for the school! All the problems had melted away before him on this task.
I asked Berny how it had happened and if the driver had bribed the weigh master. He just shrugged and said, “only the good Lord knows” He is right. The good Lord knows.