Sunday, July 6, 2008

Mechanically inclined girls take after Grandpa

After a few days away to visit family in Stinson Beach, we returned home and to our trailer prep project. Who says real life isn't educational?

While playing in the creek in Stinson, V figured out how to strengthen an impromptu bridge so that it wouldn't sag into the creek. Her feet stayed dry, and it even worked when the big kids (and one adult) tested it.

E figured out a fix to the folding table/bed situation. Before anyone had a chance to think about it, she figured out where and how large the extra wood panel needed to be, and which pads we needed to duplicate to fill the gap. The result: a rectagular bed rather than an arch-shaped bed (short in the middle, long on both ends).

I spent today with my dad installing the trailer hitch and wiring harness in our van. I tell you, the girls certainly get their mechanical minds from their Grandpa! My dad is amazing! He's a problem-solving whiz, able to solve head-scratching mechanical challenges with a bit of extra bailing wire, or perhaps duct tape. Bailing wire was his method of choice today.

The hitch required an odd installation of a rather large rectangular washer INSIDE the van's frame. An even larger bolt had to align just right to go through that washer and the frame. No biggie, right? Considering that the access hole was NOT immediately adjacent to the target hole (by design), this required some tricky fishing. We considered using some sort of nylon line to attempt to pull the washer and bolt in place, but before getting too far into it, he opted to weld a bit of bailing wire to the washer and one to the bolt. The stiff wire gave him greater control in placement, and a bit of weatherstripping sealant held the goodies in place while we aligned the hitch assembly.

In other upgrade news, I installed the in-line fuse for the electrical, and now both inside lights work. WOO HOO! I also cleaned out the tubes that feed propane to the burners on the stove. Only two were functioning last week. No wonder; there was a spider nest in the third! And the little hand pump I initially installed (which failed within seconds), has been replaced with a "rocket" hand pump which seems to work beautifully (much to both girls' pleasure).

WE HOOKED IT ALL UP and took a short spin around the neighborhood. The van dropped only 1/2 inch in the back when I hooked up the trailer, and the trailer's nearly level (within an inch)! Tows great! :)

There's still plenty to do including:

- complete water system

- check and repack trailer bearings

- acquire spare rim (and tire to fit)

- complete sewing of cushion covers

- cut the wood for E's bed fix

- complete curtains

- load

- reload after we discover the load doesn't tow well

- reload again


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