Tinkering School

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Day Six - Rolling

2012 Session 3 - Juniorsgever1 Comment

You start with an idea - a train, powered by sail, with a dining car, a sleeping car, and (even though you didn't know it until you saw it) a grape-shooting car! The idea is so powerful that you find yourself dreaming about it, drawing pictures of it, talking about it... and finally, building it. This is the story of Session 3 at Tinkering School, 2012. IMG 2448 Our railcars survived the night by the side of the quarry haul road in Davenport (special thanks to the night security crew at the cement factory for keeping an eye on them!), and, with a little effort, we manage to get them on to the trailer in pairs for transport.IMG 2453 Getting the cars down to the rails takes some effort and some walking through thistles.

IMG 3726 Saya tries out her eucalyptus-filled pillow on the bunk bed.

IMG 3730 "Nooi" - so good, you have to write it twice.

IMG 3736 The clouds lay on the torpid ocean like a wet blanket, the wind nowhere to be seen; we press on.

IMG 2464 Steve unveils his secret after-dinner project - skate-rail-board!

IMG 2466 Our friends at the cement factory keep an eye on the progression of the project from the maintenance gantries at the top of the mixing towers.

IMG 3741 The new spinnaker is starting to stir on the breeze, lifting hopes and refueling the excitement of the tinkerers.

IMG 3746 The Engine team fabbed up some spiffy gussets for the sail since the sewing machine broke halfway through the sail re-shaping process.

IMG 3765 Amelia's wireless rock seems to get better signal than our cellphones.

IMG 3769 When the guide-wheels get ripped off by unseen obstructions, it can bend the seemingly indestructible gold screws. Lauren performs a little forensic analysis on the twisted metal.

IMG 3776 We start to attract a crowd at our setup spot, so we move the setup operation a few hundred yards down the track - but the crowd follows us.

IMG 3780 The view from our new work area is pretty darn spectacular.

IMG 2476 Lunch is, of course, served al fresco today.

IMG 3795 While it is very frustrating that the cars are still not rolling reliably (wheel alignment, discovery of new obstructions and protrusions on the track...), we all experience a kind of dreamy euphoria. Just being out on the rails, rolling, breaking down, fixing, upgrading, hoping, and rolling again is like riding a continuous roller coaster of emotion and adrenaline.

IMG 3798 Portrait of a Collaborator: Kami exudes a continuous calm, no matter what calamity is unfolding.

IMG 3804 Jane and Kami add side panels to the triple-decker bunk bed so that it will be safe to sleep on when the train is rolling. Passengers will no doubt sleep just that much more soundly knowing that they cannot accidentally roll out of bed and be crushed by the next railcar.

IMG 3806 Portrait of a Tinkerer: Adam tries out the new bunks and finds them completely satisfactory.

IMG 3808 Gever enjoys the challenge of constantly inventing a new solution for each of the breakdowns. Here, he makes use of some plywood gussets that were brought for some other purpose that they didn't actually suit.

IMG 2508 The train is ready to roll, again.

IMG 2512 We were all pretty impressed with Steve's use of a plywood triangle to create an improvised miter-box.

IMG 2515 The secret of his railboarding design lies in the clever use of wagon wheels to create a functional train wheel on the out-rigger - a solution so beguiling that Gever almost wants to do another project on the rails.

IMG 3820 Portrait of a Collaborator: Hanna, part of the Engine team and fighting a flu, grabs a quick rest while repairs are being done on the Nooi car.

P1960956 The dining car is serving a string cheese appetizer this afternoon. Because the seating is all on porch swings, they do not serve soup very often.

IMG 2541 Seabirds make frequent fly-bys, Brigid and Bryn keep a keen watch.

P1960963 This is exactly what it looked like in our dreams, except that we spent more time rolling down the track and less time cursing it for being so variable (special photographic effects curtesy of a sudden change in the humidity temporarily fogging Steve's lens).

P1960967 Saya takes a walk down the rails while yet another repair is figured out.

IMG 2557 g Adam entertains the team with some mad riffs on the bongos - way out daddy-o.

P1960976 The wind is just barely strong enough to fill the spinnaker, but too weak to move the train. We decide to try unhooking it from the train and seeing if it can move the Engine car.

IMG 2564 We discover that it can - just barely. When we rig for single-handed sailing, we watch as Theo rolls briskly down the rails away from us. If only we had more wind...

IMG 3843 As the afternoon wears on, an impromptu meeting of the readers club takes place. Brigid, Jane, and Lauren; members in good standing.

IMG 3852 Portrait of a Collaborator: Maxine takes a spin on Steve's railboard.

IMG 3863 With the train ready to roll again, the Kablooie team practices with their grape-shooters. You can never be too prepared for bandits on these old railroads.

IMG 3877 Without enough wind for the sail on the railboard, Steve uses the mast as a stabilizer.

IMG 2596 With little or no wind, Gever, Theo, Hanna, and Anita, acting as human engines, push the train all the way out of Davenport to Shark Fin beach - where the Tinkerers gleefully scamper down the steep trail to get in some frolicking while the vehicles are retrieved.

IMG 2599 A mysterious cave leads to another hidden beach!

IMG 2610 The field where we have stopped the train, is filled with artichokes that have been left to seed.

IMG 3887 Little did we know, just having a rolling deck with no accessories turns out to be a really fun thing too - too bad we have to call it a day and load everything on to the trailer. But what a day!

P1960982 Strategic deconstruction allows us to fit all four of the railcars on the trailer at once. How efficient we must seem to passers-by.

P1960986 We bid farewell to our little friends at the cement factory, to our challenging railroad, and to our adventure in Davenport.

"Ho!", calls Gever, one last time. "Ho!", say the tinkerers in response. "All aboard?" "ALL ABOARD!" "Feet up?" "FEET UP!" "Ready to roll?" "READY TO ROLL!" "Rolling!" "ROCK AND ROLL!"


IMG 2617 It was such a good day that Gever was inspired to make apple cobbler, and Adam's extended family secretly snuck in to the Ranch house to drop off home-made cookies - so we decide to have them both!

IMG 2637 Anita wanted everyone to see how Gever writes the blog each evening after the tinkerers go to sleep, and Gever wanted to thank you all for your kind words about the daily blog. It is, in the most literal sense, a labor of love.

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