The trucks are your workspace. It is absolutely critical that they are kept clean, useable, and in the best working condition possible throughout the entire season. The trucks will deteriorate in two ways: through everyday corrosion and user error. There are a few measures that can be taken to prevent rust from happening; however, the harsh island environment will make quick work of most vehicles. There is a lot that can be done to prevent the trucks from breaking down in other ways: specifically, rolling the windows up, not hitting anyone or anything, driving no more than 5 mph anywhere, checking fuel and oil levels constantly, keeping the tires inflated, and regularly observing the state of the trucks. A gas log was kept in the trucks during the 2012 season. Diesel engines (Gunther, Zeke, and Bambi) should never be allowed to run out of gas. There is a special pipe for this kept in the generator room.
Gunther is the oldest of the three vehicles. It is most likely going to stop working soon. Unfortunately, it is also the most useful, with its open-air rack body, liftgate, and ample storage space. It is critical that extra care be taken when driving Gunther around island, because the body, which is in an advanced state of corrosion, is only a few bumps and bruises away from completely breaking. The truck crew supervisor should keep up an ongoing conversation with the island mechanics about the state of this truck. Gunther is especially useful for craning freight on and off of, and moving heavy totes, propane, and grease.
Zeke is in much better shape than Gunther. It has fewer Star Island miles because it is a newer model and it is less useful than Gunther. However, there are some tasks that it is extremely useful for including off-season trash storage, dates with other crews, showing movies and keeping freight dry. Unfortunately, because of the low step in the back, Zeke should never be backed up to the kitchen.
Dante is the most off-road vehicle we possess on Star; it is handy for making fast trips with minimal freight. There may be a leak in the gas tank---this should be looked into further. Dante should always be kept in either 2-HI or 4-HI, and never put in LOW. 4-HI is excellent for getting you out of sticky situations on the backside of the island. As of 2012, it was necessary to put 5 gallons of gas in Dante every 2-3 days. There is a special pipe kept in the gas shed for this purpose.
It is helpful to have at least two members of truck crew checked out to use the backhoe. That way, if one person has a day off, the rest of the crew can still move heavy freight. That being said, only the most competent members should be using the most dangerous piece of equipment Star Island owns.
There is a lot to know about driving the backhoe; all the details should be covered in a mandatory training session. Here is a list of some of the key things to remember: wear ear protection, always check the fuel and oil levels before starting, allow the wrench on the control panel to disappear before starting the ignition, release the parking brake, keep the RPM’s between 15 and 20,000 unless you are moving heavy freight, constantly look at your front and rear while driving and keep the forks positioned as low to the ground as possible, lower the RPM’s to 10,000 before turning off, and rest the forks on the ground after use.
Anyone working near or around the backhoe should always wear a hardhat and be properly trained to use eye and hand signals.