Equipment has come a long way from the old horse-pulled plow. For us, we always used the hand tools (we used to say we were great hoe-ers 😂), while dad used the tractor and bigger machinery on the farm. With our get stuff done mentality, we needed to be a little more efficient with our time and energy. Cue the power tools and equipment!
In October of 2020, we reached out to Chad at Cooke Rentals in Denver, NC about an upcoming project. We needed a piece of equipment to help get the job done in just two days. We were to be moving boulders that were on the site already (thank you, mountainous earth) to a hillside for erosion control. We were also moving topsoil where we were to plant 200 new plants, and move two dump truck-loads of mulch over the entire property. It would be a big undertaking to say the least, but we knew we could make it happen with a tag-team effort from Chad! We built our relationship with Chad Cooke (owner of Cooke Rentals) this past spring, where we rented equipment from his store and got to introduce our business and mission to him. Chad knew he had the perfect tool for us and our job: the Avant Loader 630. (But we kind of prefer to call it The Green Machine.)
Chad took time to go over the specifics of the machine and show us all the amazing features and attachments that he had on site. The Avant itself has over 200 different attachments to choose from! With its ease of connecting/disconnecting the attachments and center turning radius, it was a bit of a no-brainer on our part to test it out! Chad sponsored this piece of equipment for us to test and he and his team of skilled technicians gave us a crash-course on how to operate it and helped load it onto the trailer 10 foot trailer (also sponsored thanks to COOKE). Jobsite, here we come!
We unloaded the Avant 630 off the trailer, including a large bucket attachment and a grapler attachment to start the workday. We found that it was easy to load and unload, but a little iffy on the weight shifting to the back while maneuvering the slope. We counterbalanced by putting the grappler attachment inside the bucket to add more weight to the front. We chose turf tires for our project, (Chad had both turf and mud tires available) since our homeowners were very passionate about their lawn and we would be driving all over it for the project. We had just had a hurricane move out two days prior to starting this project and that had dumped more than five inches of rain. Even with two full days of sunshine, the ground was still saturated. We pushed through, doing the majority of our work with hand tools until the sun took its position at the highest point in the sky, drying out the ground a little more. Fawn jumped on The Green Machine to start her up.
This project was on a steep slope in the foothills of NC, meaning it was tricky even for our professionals! Walking was a challenge, as we were constantly checking our footing before taking the next step. The turf tires worked great on the grass, but when we moved to the mulch areas, we wished we had more grip under us. Nonetheless, we made it work for us! We moved the boulders from their current location and positioned them to the new retaining areas on the side of the slope. The turning radius and telescopic boom made it easier to maneuver around trees and other obstacles in the wooded area.
Once we were finished with the grappler, we disconnected the hydraulic hoses by simply pulling the lever. This was wayyyy easier than lining up a quick-connect hydraulic hose that can sometimes require two people. This was a Plant Lady APPROVED feature! We then connected to the large bucket attachment to move our topsoil and mulch. The bucket itself was amazing! The particular bucket was thinner than a normal skid-steer bucket, so we knew we wouldn’t use it for any grading or moving of rock, but definitely to haul our amendments.
The large bucket attachment allowed us to scoop-up and haul roughly five wheel barrows full of material in one scoop. Whew, this saved us so much time and energy! We weren’t able to get all the way down the hill on this piece of equipment due to the wetness of the ground and being cautious not to slide overtop of our newly-planted shrubs, so we hauled it as far as we could and dumped it into wheelbarrows to tote the remainder of the way. Is there a chance that the mud grips would have made us feel more secure? For sure. But we made the most of what he had in front of us and made sure we didn’t damage this sponsored piece of equipment.
The turning point on this piece of equipment is something to note! We loved that it can turn on its own center, meaning the tires do not skid across the ground (causing damage to turf) but allows you to turn smoothly. It took some getting used-to, but once we got the hang of it, we were driving it around like Speedy Gonzalez!
Overall review: we loved it! Was it the most perfect piece of equipment for this job? Eh, probably not on the hillside with the turf tires. Would we use it again? Without a doubt! 1000% we would use The Green Machine again. We like to allow our professionals and volunteers the opportunity to drive and operate different machinery so they can feel empowered to tackle projects themselves. With this steep slope and untrustworthy terrain, we didn’t feel comfortable putting our ladies in the driver seat for the first time. We’re hopeful that we will test this Avant 630 out again this year and have more opportunities to test the plethora of attachments and use it for different jobs to test out its versatility!
Thank you again to Chad Cooke and the entire team at Cooke Rentals in Denver, NC for believing in us and allowing us to get our hands on your equipment! We feel honored to connect with each of you.
Until next time, Avant!
ABOUT COOKE RENTALS
Cooke Rentals is a family-owned and operated, full service equipment business offering quality equipment/tool rentals to general contractors and do-it-yourselfers since 1973. With locations in Cornelius, Denver, Mount Airy, & King, North Carolina, our diverse supply of rental equipment includes generators, forklifts, backhoes, air compressors, trenchers, man lifts reaching up to sixty-six feet, and much more.
Along with our equipment rental inventory, Cooke Rentals also specializes in party & event rentals to meet every need and budget. Ranging from elegant tents to fine china, from tables & chairs to wedding accessories, from backyard parties to weddings and corporate events, our staff is here to help you make your event truly unforgettable!
We are committed to providing the highest level of customer satisfaction, and our staff is trained and knowledgeable and ready to help you with ALL your rental needs!
Connect with Cooke Rentals
Connect with Chad & the Cooke Rentals team over on their website + social media accounts. Be sure to let them know we sent you!!
>> Denver, NC: https://de.cookerentals.com/
>> Mt. Airy, NC: https://ma.cookerentals.com/
>> King, NC: https://ma.cookerentals.com/
>> Cornelius, NC: https://cs.cookerentals.com/