I’ve heard that the ancient winged reptile Pterodactylus antiquus needed a headwind to take flight. This past Tuesday I learned the same is true of a 10' pine 1x12. I had placed one in the back of the truck. The wind was ripping. I figured I’d tie the board down for the ride right after I grabbed what I needed from inside. While there I missed the board’s fledgling flight, and luckily it missed hitting anyone on its rather hard landing. It did succeed in taking off the passenger-side mirror.

I should have known better than to leave materials loose, for even a moment, on a day with strong gusty winds. I’m cautious about moving materials in the truck. I suppose I need to be more cautious and aware even when the truck is parked.

Here’s a counterintuitive tip for loading a pickup. Load material in, if possible, with the shorter stock on the base of the pile. My truck has an 8-foot bed, 10 with the gate down. If I’m picking up a load of 2x12’s that include 10’s, 12’s, and 14’s, the 10-foot lengths go in first, followed by the 12’s then 14’s. The 10-footers lie flat, fully supported. The 12’s on top of the 10’s have 2 feet unsupported as do the 14’s on top of the 12’s. In my experience stacking longs on shorts makes for a stiffer load with less bounce. Stock shorter than the bed with the gate down, anything 8 feet or less, goes on top of the load.

Material extending 2 feet or more needs to be flagged. When you unload, toss the flag back in the vehicle and use it again on the next trip.