Projects — A Rite of Passage for Retirees

When you retire, you’ll find yourself taking on projects. Otherwise you’ll end up engaging in criminal activity — like golfing, fishing or just doing nothing.

Your typical mid-range garden tractor trailer

Your typical mid-range garden tractor trailer

My first post-retirement project chose me. While I was bringing firewood into the house a few weeks ago, the tongue on the garden tractor trailer buckled under the strain of a heavy load. This was inevitable. It had been sagging more and more ever since someone loaded the trailer to the top with large rocks (or small boulders, depending on who was stuck unloading them).

So, last week I set out to rebuild the trailer. The project involves replacing the sheet metal tongue with two-inch square tube (3/16-inch thick), fabricating a new support bracket, reinforcing the floor then sanding and painting the whole thing. To add a personal touch, I plan to add an old Mack truck insignia on the tailgate. I found the insignia along the road. Honest.

Some people would question the wisdom of spending in excess of $100 for parts and countless man hours on a trailer you could buy new for $150 to $500. But what price can you put on something that prevents you from squandering your retirement on criminal activity?

Besides, you can’t load down those store-bought garden tractor trailers with a ton of rocks without buckling the tongue.

I’m making good progress so far. The new tongue is finished and most the paint and hardware purchased. Once I fabricate a new improved front support bracket, I’ll have to wait till spring so it will be warm enough to paint and reassemble the trailer.

Meanwhile, I think I’ll dabble in some criminal activity.

Out with the old ... Tweaked sheet metal tongue and my new square tube replacement, complete with a real hitch in lieu of the cheesy stock setup.

Out with the old … Tweaked sheet metal tongue (top) and my new square tube replacement, complete with a real hitch in lieu of the cheesy stock setup.

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