Sunday, March 12, 2017

Return to Bellingham

When I flew out of Cabo San Lucas, the plane took a path that put us right over the Baja peninsula, so I got to see all of the islands of the Sea of Cortez out my window as we went.  First off, here is a picture of the harbor of La Paz.  As you might see from the picture, there is a big sand bar that extends off the end of the sandy spit (called El Mogote) and it is shallow and you have to go way up around to the end of it to get in and out of the harbor.  A very close look will show sailboats anchored out in the bay.  That is where I anchor when I am there.
A little further north brings me to Isla Esperitu Santu, which has a number of small bays all over it that are great fun to play around in.  If you see a lake-looking thing in the upper side, that turns into a salt flat when it hasn't rained in a long time, but shortly before taking this picture it had rained, so it was a lake.  The place where we go snorkel with sea lions is the furthest left rocks.
And this picture is the islands to the north of Esperitu Santu.  Isla San Francisco is the one with a hook in it, on the right side, and that is the one where I get my sea salt from,  then the big one is Isla San Jose, which has a wonderful lagoon on its right side filled with cool birds and fish, and in the middle and bottom is the Baja and there is a cove and point (Punta Evaristo) and the town of San Evaristo, which is one of my favorite places to go.  That has a super fun long hike that I've forgotten how to get to, but I will find again sometime, which leads to a spring far up in the hills and there is a pond with fish in it and palm trees.  a forgotten paradise.  To the left of Isla San Jose there are two islands, the small one (isla San Diego) I visited on my trip north last year (the blog post with the Red-Tailed Hawk picture flying looking down at the camera).
So after a full day of flying and airports I got in to Bellingham.  This place makes me feel at home, of course, and in being here I've gone on a few walks in Whatcom Falls Park, to see the ducks:
And the Goldeneyes!

Abe's Treehouse is coming along nicely, nearly a year after first construction, I went up to take a look inside.  Its a bit cold, since it doesn't have a heater yet, but quite well sealed and that makes it warm up quickly when you're inside.  He also put fantastic insulation all around it.  The paint is delightful, I think I really like red and wood together.  
 There is a tricky staircase to get up, but it is just unfinished.  Once the railing is put on, it will feel safer.
 And a crocodile has taken up residence in the doghouse.
 Then I got involved in a bigger project.  Abe is of the opinion that he needs to fill his property with small buildings.  He built the wonderful treehouse (still building it I guess) and discovered it was a lot of work and time and effort and also the materials were fairly expensive.  So he found this wonderful little shed for sale and pounced.  It was however, not easy to move, and so we commenced a grandiose operation to get it to Arcadia.  First step involved getting the equipment, which was a big dump truck to tow, and a trailer to put it on.  Then the night before the operation, the seller loaded it onto the trailer.  They used fork-lifts to lift it up...
 And then Abe drove the trailer under it and they set it down.  Simple!  Except that we had to do it twice because it was important to get the shed turned in the right orientation when aboard the trailer, but they couldn't access all sides initially, so we put it on the trailer, moved it 20 ft, then set it down, then shifted 90 degrees and did it again.  In the end it was on, and the next task was to tie it down.  
 This shed is much bigger than the trailer, and 14 ft wide and 14 ft tall, so it needed to be tied down strongly.  Abe's first inclination was to tie it over the metal roof, but he shied away from that, so as not to damage it, and we came upon the idea of using the roof peak beam to tie it, we would just drill a hole and put a big lag bolt in and then tighten.  Unfortunately, there are three beam ends on each side of the roof, two of them are decorative and not structural (the ones we chose to use) and the one that is structural is way up high, so we had to try and try again until we got to the structural one and then used chain tensioners to secure it down.  At this point, it had been a long and trying day and Abe dropped me off, but he went back later on and added more lines over the roof just to be sure.  Late night...
And after a late night, what better way to follow it, than with an early morning!  We all assembled at 5 am to get the wagon train going.  Here is the before group shot....  We had a pilot car in the front with a pole showing the height of the load, with two people in it to manage driving and communication, then the truck and tow with Abe and Dad in the cab and myself in the back of the truck standing up with a long pole to fend off electrical and communication wires, and then a chase car with two in it to follow and alert other traffic.  Everyone had radios, except mine didn't work very well, so I ended up calling Abe and having my phone in my breast pocket on speakerphone the whole time to keep the lines of communication running.  We went about 10 mph or less the whole time and there were a lot of wires to keep my eyes on, and about 7 or 10 that I had to actually move over the top so they didn't catch, but it was quite easy to do and no persons were electrocuted in the making of this project.  
 So, after a long and winding road, we arrived in Abe's driveway, which has lots of trees and hard corners to go around them.  We navigated the trees, and got to a resting point.
 But the idea of driving the truck onto the grass and then backing it up to where the shed would go was a bit too good to be true.  The truck bogged down pretty quick, so we had to find another way...
 Finding another way in the Lloyd family involves ropes, usually.  And in this case, we had to turn the whole shebang around, but there isn't room!  So we disconnected the trailer, used lines and force to turn the trailer (dragging the tongue around) and then got the truck un-stuck and did a long process of backing and turning and disconnecting and turning to do a 180.  During this time, it began to rain.  The rain was feeling a bit lonesome, I think, and probably cold, so it tried to snuggle up with me, down my neck, and I got quite cold by the end of the process.
 Once we had the trailer in the correct position, we then backed it onto the grass (or mud, as it was now) using makeshift wood road, and then we set about lowering the house to the ground.  A mighty task!
 Since it was raining so much, I didn't get a ton of pictures of the rest of this, but I tried...  We jacked up the trailer, set down these ramps, put rollers under the shed, braced the shed from the sides so it couldn't fall over (we hoped) and put tension lines in the front to pull it, and the back to keep it from overshooting.  It was a complex affair, with lots of shouting out, "ready on the bow!" or "Tension coming off the stern!"  I began the boat terminology because I felt that was the most applicable, as it was under way.  There were lots of scary moments where it would get to high tension, then slip all at once, and so, jerk by jerk, the shed moved to the back of the trailer, then tipped over to the ramps, then began a terrifying trip down the ramps to splash into the soil below.  Once in the soil, we began to operate with "oars", where we used the beams to lever the sides.  They would lift, then "row" and the tension on the front would take the shed forward a few inches.  A marvelous form of teamwork!
I set the camera in a dry spot as it began to rain a lot and set it up to take a time-lapse video, and here is the process of offloading the shed, but sped up a whole lot:

1 comment:

Danny Blanchard said...

You guys make me smile, quiet broadly. "Snuggling with the Rain" - Stories of Life in the Pacific Northwest, by Christian Lloyd.