About 8 years ago, when I first got into this community, I was going to get a TFTC from jk2171. I am driving from Dayton, OH to Chicago, IL in an Enterprise cargo van because at the time I didn't have a "dedicated pin hauler". As I am approaching Indianapolis, jk calls me and tells me there is a DM that he wanted and was ready for me to use my TFTC money to pay for and bring it to him, and then I'd just pick up TFTC. Figured sure, why not. Was completely new to Pinside - and it's not who you are but who you know - so thought this would be a good way to start networking and get my foot in the door.
Get off the interstate at this exit that has one of those "Love"-sized gas stations with a Dennys attached, and I think one or two mom and pop stores on the other side of the road. Travel a good 10 miles and start making turns onto backroads with homes scattered - ok, so far so good. The roads become much longer with each turn until I am out in BFE, and I mean like dirt-road, no street-lights in the woods BFE. I had my Remington 1911 with me, but as a 45 ACP, I had 7+1, so figured if things went bad, I'd surely run out of shots and no one would hear me or the gunshots.
Finally, pull up to an established motorhome. This isn't an RV with one of those flimsy front doors as thick as cardboard, this is a double-wide, huge-ass mobile home with a sliding back door and all. Honestly, I sometimes wonder if it was just a very old single story home with a perfectly flat roof, but I digress. I notice there is an actual creek with a decent stream of water in the back, possibly deep enough with a strong enough current for an easy kayak trip. I thought: "Great, if I run out of bullets and die, my body will have the pleasure of being sent downstream closer to Dayton."
Guy living there comes out - super cool dude - and we go into his place. Sure enough, DM and a Taxi are right next to each other! So I'm giving the DM a look - all of like 2 months in the hobby - so I almost don't know WTF I am looking for, but I'm trying to be cool and look for the simple stuff - inlane wear, cliffys, credit dot, etc. My 2-month experienced self thought it looked good, called JK, told him about it, and he told me to go ahead and make the deal. I handed him the money, and asked him where his dolly was.
"Dolly? I don't have one. You got one?"
My heart sank right there. I knew just a regular pinball machine was 250 lbs or so, but this was a DM, and we have no way to wheel this monster to the van.
*Crrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrack, BOOM!* - Lightning hit nearby....... *Rain begins to fall*
And now we have a rainstorm.
So we wait a good 20 mins, and this storm is not letting up, and this is a torrential downfall - like - Biblical stuff here. I ask him if he has any tarps - sure enough he does! All right, lets get this thing ready, we're going out there. So we tarp this thing up the best we can with ratcheting straps to hold everything in place, and to do this we had the game on top of two saw-horses, so now the game is perfectly horizontal at about waist height. We wait another 10 mins or so, it's not letting up. I'm probably at least 2.5 hours behind my intended timeframe to be in Chicago.
The only way to get this monster out is through the back sliding door. Ok, cool. After that, we have to turn 90 degrees to the right and head about 15 feet before we reach the stairs, which will require another 90 degree turn to begin traversing down them. There are about five of them. After that, it's a clear shot to the cargo van. We got the plan ready; time to nut up or shut up.
We open the patio door, and the rain is just pelting us for even existing, much the less moving a 325+ lbs pinball machine. Now, we are on his wood deck, and the wood is soaked, so you can feel your feet slip around if you go too quickly, so we take our time almost coordinating each foot step we take together. We get to the stairs, and I can feel my arms getting light, but JK is depending on me to bring this monster to him, and I am not going to let him down!! As we traverse down the stairs, his roof ends just halfway over the stairs, so all the roof rain water is coming down on us and the DM. I this point, I just am hoping that the tarps hold the water out, and remember to load TFTC in the van first before he plugs that DM into the wall and flips the switch.
As we approach the van with the doors already open, the guy's yard has become this horrific mix of dirt, mud, broken grass, and rainwater - the storm has made the ground some sort of soup, and it is causing our shoes to sink with each step -making this Herculean task even more difficult. We press on, but I am losing all feeling in my arms at this point and only have maybe another 10 seconds left before I won't be able to hold on. We get to the van, and the doors swing out in opposite directions, so there is really no where for my partner to go. He has to work himself around the pin to the side in order to get his end of the game into the van. He does just this and you feel DM rest on the van, but it is just BARELY on there - maybe 0.25" of the game is resting in the van, the rest of it I am still supporting. My feet are sinking into the mud, my arms are going limp, I can feel the very tips of my fingers holding onto for dear life, and I tell him "I can't hold any longer, it's going to fall into the mud!!"
This guy goes underneath the game into the mud on his hands and knees and pushes up with his back, giving me the crucial pivot point I need. At which, I immediately get my full hands and half my arms underneath the game and move that monster with everything I got across him and into the van. We slam the doors shut, completely and totally drenched, and go back inside and enjoy a drink for a job well done. After that, the rain stopped.
After another 15 mins or so, I thank him for helping me, and I get back into the van. Looking like I just walk through an automatic car wash, I go into Dennys and get a well-deserved meal, thinking to myself "Bring a dolly next time. Holy crap."
I got to Chicago at around 8pm. Between loading up TFTC, getting DM down to his basement - which had nearly a 90 degree turn and I think we put a small hole in his wall getting it down there - and playing some pinball together, I left at 11pm. I got home around 5am. I originally left Dayton around 9am.
Pic of TFTC in the van once I got home (remember, I was brand new at moving games back then). I paid $1600.