Categories
Blue Highways Outdoors Overland travel

Adventure Rider Radio

If you haven’t found it yet, check out Adventure Rider Radio.  This is a podcast “radio” show about motorcycles and adventure travel produce by Jim and Elizabeth Martin from their home on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

What a fantastic episode. It just so happens I was traveling through Central Washington State, catching up on the last several episodes on my new SENA 10U when Riding in Extreme Conditions Part 1 came on. For those that don’t know, Ellensburg is known as Washington’s windy city and home to one of the largest wind farm complexes in the region, Wild Horse Wind & Solar Facility. First part of Part 1? Wind!!! As David Hough was talking me through techniques for handling strong side winds I was able to practice them, REAL TIME!! It was almost like I was at a training session where David dialed up the wind and sent the class out after each “lesson”.

On my return trip, it was REALLY windy and having some coaching and practice on the way over it wasn’t too bad. I wasn’t tense, I had the key points in mind, relaxed my shoulders and enjoyed the ride despite sometimes 35 mph gusts. Grant Johnson’s segment on rain wasn’t lost on my either. On my return, I departed from I-90 for a bit and took the Old Vantage Highway to see the Wild Horses Wind Farm visitor center. After leaving the center I encountered fresh rain on pavement that had been dry (and hot) for the last several weeks. The white frothy water was a clear indicator that there was a lot of oil on the surface. And Jim, I need to look into better pants that don’t leak in the crotch area, or add in rain gear to my kit.

And Part 2 of the series? Wednesday on the ride East I hit a high of 95 deg F. On the ride home, at the wind farm visitor center, it was 42 deg F with blowing rain.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Outdoors

Snow Play at Paradise

We decided to take a sunny Saturday trip to our favorite snow play area, at Paradise on Mount Rainier. For official information see the Winter Recreation Page.

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When we arrived at Longmire, the gate was closed for snow removal. There were about 30 other vehicles waiting to head up. Just after we parked and started heading to the bathrooms, the gate opened. It’s always a nice drive up to Paradise, but it’s even more interesting with over 4-10 feet of snow on the side of the road. The parking lot was clear and lots of parking available.

One new addition in the last few years is the visitor center. It is built more closely to the style of the original Paradise Inn and the Mountain Guide structure. There is a great variety of history, wildlife facts and cultural information. This building is open on weekends and holidays and is staffed by knowledgeable park rangers.
The groomer was broken down, so the rangers were digging the sled runs by hand. Usually, with the groomer, the end up with two deap, fast runs. Despite this, the snow was good and after several runs, the sledding was good.
To access the snow play are, located in the meadow just above the parking lot, they have to constantly cut steps in to the increasing layers of the snow bank.
Categories
Outdoors Tech

Wirring the ARB Fridge

From ARB’s Tech Bench.

Proper ARB Fridge Power Supply

With the introduction of the new ARB Freezer Fridge that utilizes a highly sophisticated power supply with low voltage cut-off and fault code diagnostic system we’ve found these units are very sensitive to poor performing power sockets and the associated circuits of the vehicles they are used in. Typically
the problem plugs are at the rear of a vehicle and the problem is low voltage at the socket. The result is a fridge that reads an incorrect dead battery and shuts off flashing a low voltage code.

………………………..

Timagehe Fix: ARB now offers a kit with 18 feet of appropriately sized wire, needed terminals, fuse, and female socket to wire a full time permanently hot fridge plug into the vehicle. This is a cost effective solution to add the needed power capacity for the fridge and gain an additional outlet in the rear cargo area of the truck ensuring the fridge functions as it was designed. The kit part number is 10900011 (see new “ARB Product” for more info)……………

Full ARB article available here [download id=”4″] in pdf

Now available from East Olympia Cruisers.

imageSo I ordered one, even though I had just added a plug during my Communications Upgrades.  I wanted to get the Hella style positive locking plug.  It comes with every thing you need to easily connect the fridge directly to your battery.  There is the plug, with a short pig tail and connectors.  There is 18 feet of 2-10 primary wire with with an inline fuse and crimp connector and housing to connect to the socket pig tail.

imageYou will find the socket smaller then the average 12v accessory outlet, but it is very solid sealed metal bulk head type socket.  It also has a spring loaded cover.

Since I already have a 6awg primary wire running from my battery to the back of the vehicle, I didn’t need the supplied wiring or fuse, but I have not been able to find the socket any other place.  I mounted the socket right next to my 12v accessory socket and wired into my auxiliary fuse block in the rear quarter panel.

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Categories
Outdoors Tech Vehicles

Camp Bug I gets a few new accessories

Getting ready for a few camping trips I decided to update a several items on the trailer.

The first was to install a door for a little more storage space and so I can check on the batter charge condition without having to open the top and remove the inside shelf.  I was able to find the correct size hatch on Ebay for a reasonable price.

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I also installed an outdoor shower box for rinsing off and the occasional shower. I also have a shower enclosure and use the solar shower bag. I like using the bag because it prevents any one from over using the water. The shower will be plumbed into the lines going to the sink in the rear.

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I also wanted to add propane bottle bracket. I kept looking (as others have) for the correct solution for my trailer. I was going to use the XL Quick Fists as they have and extremely high rating, but I decided I wanted the primary tank on the tongue rather than against the box. I ended up bending some 2″x 3/16″ strap on my harbor freight bender. Making 90* bends is about all I use it for and it does the job well. I made a 1/4 cage crossed with a full cage that is hinged on the top and uses a heavy locking clasp. It is bolted to the tongue.

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For the spare tank I used the XL quick fist straps. They are just big enough for the smaller tanks and hold it quite well.

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The last thing I did before the trip is the installation of the under body water tank and gray water tank. This opened up considerable storage space and lower the COG even more, as well as move the water weight centered over the axle.

The water tank is just a basic unbaffled 20 gallon tank. All fittings are customizable. I just put a vent, drain and fill fitting.

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The tank was fitted up for marking holes then temporarily strapped up with plastic plumbers tape.

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For the waste tank I decided to use a standard RV drain valve. Time will tell if this was a good idea. It sits pretty tight up to the frame behind the spring shackle. This tank came pre-molded with a 3″ drain and is tapered at the back, just enough to tuck up to the rear frame member. I had a 1 1/4″ fill and 3/4 vent fitting added. I got a 3″-1 1/2″ adapter and the valve at the local RV repair store and the ABS fittings at the hardware store.

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For the tank straps I used some 1/8 x 1.5 bar, added some bends for soft corners and bolted it up to the frame using the same Rivnuts I used in the decking. This is how my Land cruiser gas tank is mount so I think it will be adequate for the trailer.

There is just about the same amount of room between the bump stops and the springs as there is between the axle tube and the tank. I may add a little aluminum skid shield to protect the hoses and fittings. This would be attached to the tank straps.

Here are a few pictures of  the tank straps. Turned out pretty well. No sign of failure yet but the center of the water tank may need a little more support.

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I was able to gain a lot of space in the trailer by moving the water tank underneath. I rearranged the batteries to help maximize this space.

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Here are a few of the trailer in action on a recent camping trip to the Naches Ranger district.

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Categories
Outdoors Overland travel

Trailer Tent – Camp Bug I

After a long search, many nights messaging back and forth with a tent maker in China and a little work to put it all together I finally have the tent I have wanted for my Off-road tent trailer.  The tent is of the basic design used in much of Australia.  I had a few different requirements for mine as well as features the US market may want.  This first tent was also a good learning experience for international trade, ocean shipping and importation.

Camp Bug, this is the name to the entire tent trailer project by my son.  He has heard the story and seen the pictures of the boat I build with my father when I was about 10.  It was a remake of an older boat my siblings had used.  The boats original name Sea Bug and we christened the newly built boat the Sea Bug II.  Here are a few pictures of the Sea Bug II.

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Back to the Tent and Camp Bug I.  After much work, a little retrofitting and a little beefing up I was able to attach the tent to the trailer.  It uses three hinges to hold it to the trailer.  It has two left handed and one right handed lift off hinges.  The right handed hinge is in the center and acts as the lock.  Half of the center hinge is bolted to the trailer.  The rest of the hinges are welded to the trailer and tent base.  This makes it possible to remove the tent from the trailer if need be.  To hold the folded tent up while loading I started out with two 120 lbs gas lift struts.  This works once the base is completely extended, but does nothing to help lift it.  With the tent and base weighing in and near 350 lbs I think I need a little help.  I will try a pair of 200 or 250 lbs struts and see if that does the job.

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The tent wasn’t difficult for me to set up by my self the first time, but two people will be helpful.  I started by removing the cover, removing and setting aside all the poles, guide lines, stakes and awning (annex) walls.  Next I pulled the tent off the trailer spreading the PVC floor out as tight as I could.  This also pulled the two ground length internal poles off the trailer.

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Once the floor is staked down, I went inside and put the ground length poles into their pockets in the walls.  The poles are extended until the roof is tight.  The two poles that are attached to the base also need to be extended.

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The annex uses it’s own set of poles. Setting this up was the hardest part of the setup. It helps to have a second person to hold one of the poles as you attached the rest of the structure. Four poles attach through the tent wall to the inside pole structure.

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The tent comes with a ladder to get up onto the bed.  The bed consist of a 3″ thick foam pad roughly the size of a queen sized bed.  Under the bed are two hatches for easy access to items that are stored inside the trailer.

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The walls for the annex are as simple as attaching the three panels together and to the tent with their Velcro strips.   Fully deployed, the tent has two windows with rain covers and six windows that can role up.  All windows as well as the two doors have mosquito netting to keep bugs out.

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The Kitchen slides out through the opening in the tent panel at the back of the trailer.

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The roof vents, there is one in each outer end of the tent.

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And the tent stakes. There is a set of the standard size metal stakes as well as an extra heavy duty style that is about 3/8″ thick.

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The tent can be mounted on most any trailer smaller than 90″ long x 66″ wide.  A custom mounting frame may be needed.  For questions or more information on the trailer tent, please contact me or submit a post on the East Olympia Cruisers website or download the [download id=”2″].