California Farmers Sacrifice 2 Pickup Trucks To Stop A Broken Levee from Flooding

Screenshot of two pickup trucks filled with dirt used to plug up a broken levee

Pickup trucks are an integral part of American culture, representing the vessel of the working class of our country. They are used to transport raw materials, construction equipment, haul gear, and so on.

If you are familiar with the Don McLean song “American Pie”, there’s a verse that reads “drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry.” It’s a nice picture of classic Americana involving pickup trucks in an everyday blue-collar job. That verse was partially true for some farmers in California’s San Joaquin Valley, minus the parts about being “dry” and driving your Chevy “to the levee” and not “into the levee.”

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Because in a video that has gone viral, it was the exact opposite when intense rainfall and a broken levee put a farm at risk of flooding.

When the water current is too strong to battle, the farmers were left with very few options with the limited about of time they were faced with. So they decided to use a little blue-collar ingenuity. The only option left for them to do was to plug the giant hole using their pickup trucks.

Why Did They Drive Their Pickup Trucks Into The Levee?

This has been one of the heaviest recorded rainfalls in California’s history, and not everyone across the state were properly prepared to handle the intense water levels. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, widespread flooding had caused many waterways beyond their limits, causing billions of dollars worth of damages across the state, including along the Tule River as shown in the video below.

The farmers in the video were reportedly aiming to protect a pistachio orchard from the rising waters. Considering it was an emergency, there was no time to use standard construction equipment to plug the huge gap in the levee while the strong water current would be working against them.

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So the farmers decided to improvise. In the video, we see a Chevy Silverado with its bed filled to the brim with dirt as the driver sends it straight into the water, joining an F-150 that was apparently used for the same reason. While the whole thing may sound crazy and risky, their efforts were not in vain. Because their unorthodox tactics amazingly succeeded in holding off most of the water flowing through the hole in the levee. By slowing it down, it would allow them more time to fill in the gap in the dirt levee and save their orchard.

Below shows the “before” and “after” photos detailing how bad of a situation the farmers were in. The gap in the levee was so wide that it actually makes sense why it would require two full-size pickup trucks in order to fill it. Thankfully, the final result shows them being able to repair the levee for good.

What Happened To The Pickup Trucks?

According to the video’s uploader Michael Cannon, both the Chevy Silverado and Ford F-150 were drained of most of their gasoline and other pollutants before being sacrificed. Not draining them would pose as a potential threat to the environment, which would include the farm itself.

Since then they have both been temporarily encased in the newly repaired levee, and they will be recovered once the water levels go down. It is unknown whether the amount of water and dirt covering the trucks will leave them operable once they are exhumed from the levee, but at least their orchard (and livelihood) were spared. We can at least assume that the owners of the trucks had to make some interesting calls to their insurance providers.

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