Guest post by Charlie Connell
March 8, 1996: Mason Coggins, Keith Halsey, the Monday Crew and about 15 Arizona Prospectors Association members went to the Red Rover Mine near Seven Springs to pick up a mining mucker that was being donated to the Museum by Ted Tozier. There was a large group of people that were working on two jobs. The jobs were to load a 4,300 pound mucker onto a pickup truck and also box up several hundred core samples that were in a building on the site. The major job was the mucker since we had no lifting devices to raise the mucker up high enough to get it into the back of the truck. I don’t know what we were thinking when we came to the mine without a plan to get the mucker into the truck. I guess we underestimated the weight of the artifact. We had at least 12 people (slide #3) working on the mucker at various stages of the move. We only had a small jack that could raise the mucker a maximum of 12” at a time. First we had to move the mucker on rails out to an area (slide #1) where we had room to elevate the mucker high enough to get it into the back of the pickup truck. We would lift up the front of the mucker and then put a piece of railroad tie under it, then go to the back and raise it with the jack and a fulcrum and put another railroad tie under the back end (slide #2). As you can see this is a very unstable method to raise the mucker up off the ground, but it was the only thing we had.
The next thing we had to do was to back the truck up to the mucker and just roll it onto the bed of the truck. Not so easy! We still did not have the mucker high enough to clear the bed of the truck. We had to dig holes under each wheel about a foot deep and back the truck into the hole to lower the bed down enough to move the mucker into the bed.
Hopefully we had enough power in the vehicle to drive the vehicle out of the holes with the additional 4,300 pounds of steel in the truck. Once we drove the truck into the holes we were still not in the clear. Each wheel of the mucker was on a different timber, so you had a space between the two wheels and the entire mucker could tip over if we were not careful. We used steel flat plates we had found and put them under the wheels. This helped start moving the mucker onto the truck (slide #3). Now that we were moving onto the bed of the truck we realized the bed wasn’t that strong and the wheels might go through the truck bed. We stopped the movement just in time and put some ¼” plate on the bed and then continued on. I hate to think that we would break through the bed. How would we ever get the mucker out of the truck bed?
After what seemed like forever we got the mucker properly anchored into the bed of the truck. You can see the truck has a pretty good load and on the way out it was nip and tuck on maneuvering over the rocks. Did I mention that the road to the mine was only about one mile long, but it was really a drywash that only resembled a road with large rocks throughout the entire length. Mason was driving the truck, but the road did not bother him. You can see in the middle picture below that the mucker is setting on the frame. It is only 2,800 pounds overweight!
We are still not done yet. After we got back to the museum we had no way to remove the mucker from the truck. That was something else we did not consider. The solution was to build a ramp and pull the mucker off with a come-a-long. This actually went pretty smooth. It came right off and promptly dug itself into the dirt. We just left it there and worried about it the next time we came to the museum. By the way we were invited back to the Red Rover about two weeks later to pick up the second mucker, but that is another story. The last picture is the restored mucker “operable” back at the Museum.
Comment: With tens of thousands of volunteer hours, the dedicated “Monday crew” relocated and restored all of the historic mining equipment still standing around the empty mineral museum building at Washington and 15th Ave. in Phoenix.