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To buy a 4' tank


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So it started off as any other day.

Get up, act useful for a few hours, and then look pitiful and borrow the car to pick up some fish thing from here or there.

Earlier in the week a friend had called and told me he had just gotten a brand new 3' tank from a guy on Petlink, and that he had 2 x 4' tanks left for $90 each! yay! I would finally get my big display tank for the mouthbrooders!

I missed my appointment to pick up the tank last Friday, as there was no car large enough to fit it in available for me to borrow :) So we rescheduled for today.

I started driving at 12:15 in the afternoon. I headed off down The Northern Rd and had it figured. Go to the end of that road, turn rght onto Appin Rd, and then a right again, and boom, I'm there!

On the way there, I get stuck behind a truck. It was one of those lets-pump-cement-to-the-top-of-a-building trucks, and it would not A) stay in its lane or :( do the speed limit. I got around it, and continued on my way with a green panelvan attached firmy to my tailgate. If I wasn't in a hurry, I would have given him the 40kph treatment *mutter mutter* I eventually made it, even through the ratherscary roadworks at Camden. I made a mental note not to come back that way as it was very bumpy. I think that was my mistake...

I arrived at the guy's house and drove onto his driveway. He says

"you want to back it up?" and I must have responded with a look of sheer terror, as he very quickly said

"nah, don't worry, we'll just carry it"

Phew. I have never had call to back into a driveway, and I didn't relish the thought of trying to squeeze between his letterbox and conifer. He would almost certainly be down a letterbox.

So I set to work taking the tonneau cover off and laying out various blankets and doonas to pad the thing. The ute has sports suspension, and it is awful for carrying light loads as your back end flies all over the shop. In hindsight I should have bought a bag of cement with me to weigh it down.

We went inside and manhandle the tank out, and he clambers up into the ute to slide it in. I wedged it up to the tailgate and squish a hunk of foam in between.

"got any rope?" he asks.


So he goes off and finds some rope and lashes it onto the side of the tray. All the while I was having fun trying to figure out the cargo bar.

Crank crank clatter clatter crash.

I held up both pieces, insterted one back into the other and tried again.

Crank creeaaaak.


OK, so I stand on one and and fiddle with the levers and released.

Its now in two pieces again.

There are times in my life that I'm not proud of. This was one of them. I stared at the two pieces and shoved them back together and just dared them to do something else annoying. I looked at the bar. I looked at the man.

"you look like a mechanically minded sort of guy...." I said hopefully.

He smiled. Phew. Problem solved. After a few false starts. I'm sure he was just doing that to make me feel better.

So we are in! I paid the guy, and reapplied the tonneau cover. We had a brief conversation about how to get back to Penrith without going through Camden. The plan was to go on the Hume Hwy, and then Elizabeth Drive. EASY! I could do that!

Back down Appin Rd, turn left towards Camden, and whizz off onto the Hume.

Its about now I should tell you something about my driving style. Its not good. I'm not a bad driver, not by today's standards anyway, but I am a nervous driver.

This condition is not improved when you are trying to manouver a ute through afternoon traffic, only realising once you are about to turn onto the highway that you cannot see past the black lump that now protrudes out of the tray.

Onto the highway I go, very carefully. Merging right is easy, I could see over my right shoulder. For a while. On an attempt to move around a large shipping container on wheels, I went to merge right, only to be confronted with a large black erratically moving object. Double-take. Crap! the side of the tonneau is loose. Oh well, mirrors seemed clear. I merged successfully. The Celica that was now behind me was unconvinced.

So off I choofed, singing away to Barry the monkey's latest selections. All of a sudden I saw TOLL AHEAD. Big signs proclaim that I was on the motorway to Sydney City.

Nooo! Wrong wrong WRONG! I saw an exit I recognised and turned off.

Now I was on the road to Lilli's place. At least I knew where I was. I found quite possibly Sydney's smallest round-about and did a U-turn. After 'refining' 2nd gear around a corner (did I mention I get flustered?) I chanced a glance in the rear veiw at my cargo. The tonneau had sunk on one corner. Not too bad, It'll be fine I thought.

That'd be mistake #2.

I turned back onto the motorway going in the opposite direction and got up to speed, slotting myself in between two of the numerous trucks that were already there. Brill.

And thats where it happened. All of a sudden the tonneau came to life. A flapping, raging monster that took up my entire back window.

Ahh! My doona! my pillows! MY TANK!

I considered trying to do 40kph on the highway and thought better of it.

So I gritted my teeth and drove the two exits with my car doing the best Dracula impression I have ever seen. I managed to get off at the Liverpool exit and around onto the Hume :rant: 40. 60. 70kph and it was flapping again. I pushed my way through two lanes of traffic and slipped down a sideroad to reattach the thing.

Right, all attached and I was off again. I went down the sideroad and spun around, heading back towards the Hume and overaspeedbump! AHH! cracksmackBANG!

I stepped on the brakes and cut my speed before I came down the other side.

I gave the CDs in the side pocket a vicious glance and convinced myself that the noise was simply them slapping together.

The rest of the drive was uneventful, except for the part where I attempted to merge on to a black Skyline that idiotically got in my blind spot and sat there while I was blinking madly. I missed my turn to Elizabeth Drive.

I continued along the Hume to the M4, and headed for home. Not much to report there except for a rather amusing Nissan Datsun Deisel with 6 ladders balanced precariously on its home-made ladder racks, and on top of that was a large cyclone-mesh toupee. I have never seen peak hour traffic purposely delay themselves before, but many people were doing just that to get out of the way of this smoke-belching decorator-crab style arrangement.

The tank, myself, and the poor car arrived home in one piece thank goodness.

And I reversed up our driveway :((

Never again though. *shudder*

Next time I'll just pay retail!

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Oh dear!! what a nightmare, I got stressed out just reading your post!! Glad your safe and sound at home, and so is the tank!! (I have to say, it must be a karma thing buying cheap tanks, Robbie and I had a nightmare of a time finding the house where we bought the tanks off ebay!!)

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Its all things I never considered too. I mean, seeing to your left is fairly important in the scheme of things, but then again I suppose so is seeing to your right.

Forgetting the rope was dreadful and embarrassing.

The only way it could have been worse is if there were drool stails on the pillows!

Anyone else have any tank-moving disaster stories? I have to move all of mine in 2 weeks, so I need as much info as possible!

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Oh, I thought every driving experience in Sydney was like that. I lived there once... and used to take the bus. I can't believe Sydney drivers still have wing mirrors. Melbourne's very easy to drive around, straight roads, wide lanes, and laid out in a nice grid pattern. The place I really hate driving is Auckland, 1/3 the traffic, but roads like spagetti, even Wellington with hardly any traffic, I always find myself on the freeway heading in exactly the wrong direction.

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:goodo: :(:)

Sorry Abs but that was hillarious :D (obs not for u tho :D )

Yeah, it took forever for me and Jess to find the right house. And then it ended up been right across the rd from where had orginally stopped :( I hated driving with tanks in the back. Luckily I had the 4WD, otherwise I would've been screwed. The scary thing tho is the sliding around and fear of big bumps. I had towels and seeping bags inbetween the tanks, and by the time I got home, there was black crap all over the towels as well as the 4WD boot.

I think I'll just move next door

Mishy, we did that a cple of yrs ago, we just pulled out a cple of the fence things and just dragged everything over to the other side ;) Tho I think we got Nakazanya (Russian form of Karma :D ) because b4 that it was just an old ladies house and she never went out the back, so over the fence went the plant cuttings and dog poop :fish: Guess who had to clean it up? :fish:
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I was in the passenger seat the whole way. Good to see a happy ending though, I was expecting broken glass when you got home. When I was eighteen I had a four or five foot tank given to me. I carted it on the tray of a 2 ton Nissan Cabstar that I borrowed from work on the drivers side, longways just behind the cabin. I cuddled it all the way from Nunawading to Mooroolbark and on the last turn left, 80 metres from home, the tank flew over the side with the glass spreading out in a huge fan. It was'nt so much loosing the free tank that peeded me off but the two hour clean up, borrowing brooms and shovel's from the neighbours. Geez I was a dill when I was young.

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I gotta tell you, I felt like an absolute dill when I got home :) I usually take Sin with me on expeditions like that, and as soon as I got back I called her, and in between wetting herself she said "you are forbidden from doing anything by yourself ever again!" which I think may be a bit overkill. Perhaps she meant tank pickups. Or driving in general... I'd have never have gone to all that trouble for a computer or a pair of jeans, but a tank? oh yeah baby! i'm there with bells on!

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I drive an F100 with an 8' tray, Fibreglass canopy and a very big bullbar. I drive it very well, have done for years, never had an accident (touch wood) and very few people give me a hard time - especially when they realize that a grey haired female is driving! Comes in really handy for moving my six foot tank. :)

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