I have an interesting story for you. When I think about it, I feel a little strange. I’m not sure if it’s because of my impulsiveness or my odd online purchasing habits. I’ll let you read it to get your thoughts.
It’s getting pretty late in the lawn mowing season. Even though we’re growing cool season grass, I’d say it stopped growing about a week ago. It’s probably the cold snap we’re going through right now that put the brakes on things. It’s actually supposed to warm back up in a few days, so perhaps they’ll be some new growth soon.
I haven’t mowed the lawn in months. Since we had such a dry summer, if I had to guess, I’d say I mowed no more than five times in all. I started some time in May and ended some time in July. I think I may have done half of it in September sometime but I can’t be sure about that. The fact of the matter is that I avoided it like the plague because all I have is a push mower and a fairly large yard. In mid summer, even after the sun begins to go down, my face gets all red and I become very annoyed. I end up overheating and I can’t seem to get “unhot,” if that’s a word. Using a push mower to mow a big lawn pretty much sucks. Actually, using a push mower for anything is terrible.
For three years, I’ve gone back and forth in my mind with whether or not I should buy a riding mower. I knew I should. It wasn’t that. I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to drop bank on a yard tool. At times, I even convinced myself that I enjoyed mowing with a push mower. I told myself it was good exercise and that if I ever did purchase a new mower, it would just be a better push one. Most likely one of those expensive Honda’s everyone raves about. I was planning on that next year some time. I was going to find a Honda out there somewhere and bring it home.
A few weeks ago, I was walking around the grass, looking at it. I was outside for around 10 minutes before I walked inside, visited Home Depot’s website, looked at riding mowers for another 10 minutes and bought one. I figured they had some in stock at the closest Home Depot and that someone from the store would drive up in a day or two to drop it off. They offered free shipping, so once it was done, I didn’t think too much about it. The only thing I did do was visit Laura in the living room to tell her I just spent $1800 on a mower. She was a little surprised, given all the ranting and raving I did about these things. She was probably expecting me to get a push mower if I got anything at all. Surprise!
Here’s where things get weird. Apparently, Home Depot didn’t have any of the mowers I purchased in stock. Anywhere. When the order was processed, I received a tracking number in my email. The mower was being shipped out of Tennessee somewhere and it would be here about a week and a half later. If I had known it was coming from so far, I would have simply called around and drove somewhere to get it. A simple idea turned into a long process.
I wondered how in the heck Home Depot could be making any money off this sale. I mean, how much is it to ship a riding mower from Tennessee to Maine? Probably a whole lot. I guess they had to bite the bullet and do it. After all, they were the ones who offered. I just took them up on it. They used a private shipping company though, which made me feel even worse.
Anyway, what’s done is done. I mowed the lawn a few hours ago and I have to tell you, as I was riding around on this little piece of heaven, I decided that this was the best $1800 I ever spent. The thing rides like a dream and has tons of power. I plowed through the highest grass without hesitation. With my push mower, I would have had to stop and clean all the clumped up grass from the chute. That is, if I didn’t bog down and stall a thousand times like I usually did. That was miserable.
The purpose of this post is to introduce you to my new riding mower and to show you what one looks like when it’s in the crate. I know folks don’t get to see this type of thing very often so I thought it would be fun. I’ll also offer some details on how I assembled it. After all, it didn’t come completely put together. Later in the week, I’ll go back out and take some more photos of it and talk about some of the features and so forth. Today, it’s all about getting it out of the box.
Let’s start off with a photo of the mower in the crate right after the fellow in the delivery truck left. It sat on the driveway and I wondered where I was going to begin.
After about a half-hour, I managed to unscrew the sides with my new Dewalt screw gun. The great thing about this step was that the company used about 20 really nice screws. I kept them and added them to my collection to reuse at a later date. I also unwrapped the mower from being confined in that huge bag.
As you can see, there is no hood attached as well as no steering wheel, among other things.
Luckily, there was a quick set up guide that only consisted of a few steps. I’ll show you both pieces of paper below. These are the steps for assembly.
If you’d like to actually read what’s on these pieces of paper, you can right-click on either image and choose “Open Image in New Window.” That will give you the larger version.
The first thing to do was to attach the hood. No tools are required for this step because it snaps right on. All you need to do is line up the clips. Here’s a before shot:
And here’s the hood after it’s been installed:
In case you’re interested, this is a close-up of what one of the clips that holds the hood in place looks like:
The next step is to attach the dash. Again, that snaps right into place.
After that, since the dash was popped on, I could screw on the steering wheel. I actually did this once before, before I realized the dash board was missing. I had to undo and redo. To install the steering wheel, the center piece needs to be removed and the steering wheel needs to be slid down the shaft. Then, I believe a 1/2 inch socket will tighten the bolt.
At this point, all that was left was to bolt on the seat and attach the wires to the battery. I did that. Simple enough.
The instructions say to be sure the little plastic clip for the battery wires is attached to the metal fender under the seat. It also states that the shipping bracket for the grass guard should be removed before operation as well. I did both of these things. All these steps are in the instructions I shared earlier.
After about an hour, everything was finished. I pulled the tractor off the pallet, which was a real pain in the ass. The wheels were wedged between the boards. Being out there in the cold was no party either. The sun was going down and I was getting chilly. Lucky for me, I’m strong and the mower wasn’t too heavy. I got things the way I wanted them and snapped my final photo. This is the beast.
I’m not sure you know this, but I used to have a pretty sweet John Deere X300 ride on mower. That was a 17HP with a 42 inch deck. At first glance, I’m thinking I like this one better. For sure, the engine has more power. That’s a definite. The mower deck is also wider on this one at 46 inches. I didn’t really notice that when I was mowing this evening, but I’m happy those few extra inches are there.
Again, I’ll take more pictures later in the week. I also want to show off the aluminum ramps I bought to load this thing into storage. They’re just as awesome. Until next time!