Today was my final mow for the year. The natural grass is dormant this time of year if there hasn't been much water, but there's always a few weeds that pop up and make it look ragged. If I cut it one last time about now, it'll be smooth all winter. A storm was expected later in the day, so I was moving fast (for me). So I set the mowing deck up for the drive-over and I went to remove my FEL and ballast weight rack on the 3-pt. I loaded the weight rack on the cart and put the pin in. Then I pushed the cart with the weight rack into the garage. As I crossed the expansion joint at the doorway, the weight rack popped off the cart and landed splat on the floor. Not expecting the sudden stop, I landed on top of the pile.
It took me just a few seconds to realize that I had missed the hole with the pin. I was looking at the cart with the pin in place, but it hadn't been through the hole in the weight rack. My neighbor heard the racket and saw me on the floor commingled with ballast and he ran over to see if I was okay. By then I was already on my feet trying sort things out and figure out what to do next.
I moved the cart out of the way. The ballast lay on the floor like a turtle on its back.
My initial thought was to use the FEL to pick up the loaded rack (about 400 lbs), but the tractor would need ballast for a heavy lift like that. And the ballast was what was needing a lift. So I put the adrenaline to good use. I removed all the weights from the rack. Then I lifted the rack onto the cart, and made sure the pin was in the hole. Then I lifted each of the weights back onto the rack. Just a little workout in the middle of a very busy day.
The driveway showed no serious damage. The Heavy Hitch weight rack was both tough and smart. It was undamaged, not even a scratch. The way it was designed, it never touched the driveway in this accident. The weights will need some sanding and touchup paint. They may have to wait until spring. Not many painting days left this year.
The only damage to the driveway were a few green and yellow marks. No cracks or chips. I had a small bruise on my shin where I made contact with the pile.
Lessons from this adventure:
1. Moving fast can really slow you down.
2. It was a good thing I was pushing instead of pulling. If I had been pulling, the weights could easily have hit my feet. Always push from now on.
3. Mark the cart to make it obvious (and easier) to find the pin hole location. (I added some yellow reflective tape to mark how far to insert the shaft into the receiver.)
4. Test the connection after putting the pin in. (Yank on it to see if the pin engages.)