Friday, March 31, 2006

Me with my six robots. There's almost nothing left in the shop. I found a tenant for my apartment and move out of that tomorrow. The containers will be picked up by crane on Monday for the trip to New Mexico.

I'm almost completely out of LA!!!!!

(Oh, right, except for the two or three round-trips I'll have to make in April for all the big stuff that didn't fit into the containers. Damn.)

Well, the 40 mile drive back to LA with the new forklift was pretty damn sketchy. This was mostly due to my wimpy trailer, which in addition to having crappy tires also has no brakes. So I managed to find an incredible deal on a much beefier trailer with good tires and four-wheel brakes. The guy who I bought it from was named Tim, and was really pretty hilarious. That's him unloading some big asphalt tar tank off the trailer, and my good friend John Besse in the foreground. And that's a stupidly large boat made of concrete (!) in the background.... Somehow I can't imagene that thing ever really making it back to the water.

But the coolest thing that happened that day was that Tim gave me, for free, the awesome 500 cc two-stroke Husqvarna in the bottom picture! OK, it does have a blown tranny, but that's nothing. What an awsesome project that will be! According to him, this particular bike has a storied racing history and was originally built specifically for some motocross superstar in the early eighties. But the best part is that it was made in Sweden, just like my sweetheart!
Here is my very sexy new forklift! At least I think it's sexy. I already spray-painted on my robot-head-and-crossed-wrenches logo. This thing is really nice.... lots of power and speed, and it has headlights for night work!

Two more amusing pictures:

Monday, March 27, 2006

The same container pictured near the beginning of the blog, now almost full. All the big machinery is in this one.... very heavy.

In the last few days I have
  • moved almost completely out of the apartment Christ and I were living in
  • held two open houses trying to find a tenant for the apartment
  • gotten my truck painted (I think it looks great, see it here)
  • moved thousands more pounds of stuff into the containers
  • fixed the broken forklift (thank god)
  • sold and delivered my hot tub
  • purchased an awesome off-road capable forklift (will post pictures soon)
I get closer every day, but it seems endless.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Now that I'm back in LA I'm tying up all kinds of loose ends. Trying to find a tenant for the apartment I've been in, continuing the move out of the shop, moving out of the apartment, fixing the damn broken forklift, and trying to find a new forklift that will work out there in the Taos dirt. I drove down to the rural hills outside of San Diego the other day to look at an all-terrian forklift, which turned out to be a piece of crap, but while I was there I briefly flirted with the idea of just getting the beautiful Case tractor pictured above. Thankfully I came to my senses shortly thereafter.
My first view of the LA basin, 1:00 pm, coming down the 15 freeway. And they say the air quality is poor here! Ha! (That's thick smog, for those of you lucky enough to not know what you're looking at.)

My return trip was uneventful, at least compared to the trip out to Taos. My only misfortunes were a completely shredded trailer tire and an electrical fire under the truck (!), which I frantically blew out after crawling under the truck! I installed a fire extinguisher in the cab upon my return to LA.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Ahhh, Taos.

(Picture taken from our land with Christina's Fin sculpture in the foreground)

All right... back to the blog.

So, Flagstaff got completely snowed in on Saturday night. It's been years since this California boy saw so much snow, and I've never tried to drive in anything like this (never mind while towing a heavy trailer.

However, not too far east of Flagstaff the weather got clear and beautiful and for most of the day things were going great. We stopped in Gallup to have a late lunch at the El Rancho Hotel, a historic landmark building which is actually worth the stop. After lunch we fueled up with diesel, and as I was pulling out of the gas station, I heard..... a very loud noise.

Yes, a trailer tire had popped. But closer inspection revealed that it had popped because it had been rubbing the fender (which it's not supposed to do) because it was in totally the wrong place in relation to the trailer because..... the leaf spring hangers had completely broken off the trailer!!! Yes, that's right, the axles were no longer attached to the trailer!!

So, at 6 PM on a Sunday in Gallup in 10 degree weather, I set about getting the damn trailer jacked up and put back together (as much as I could) while Christina worked her phone magic and actually found a guy named Steve who would come out at 6 PM on a Sunday in Gallup in 10 degree weather with a generator/welder and weld the damn thing back together (at a gas station!!!!!)

Three hours later we were on the road again and we finally got to Taos at 4 in the morning.

We slept well.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The southwest didn't have any rain for a record-setting 143 days... before Saturday, that is. Great timing.

We woke up in Needles to have rain coming down onto our un-protected load. (At least I didn't have to worry about my welder getting wet!)

We started driving into higher elevations and before long rain turned to snow. Relatively uneventful but very slow-going. We were driving slow, that is, until we weren't driving at all. About 60 miles before Flagstaff traffic stopped completely, and we sat there for three hours. I got out and took pictures.

When we finally got to Flagstaff we found a bar, played pool, and got drunk!
This is what I could see from my rear-view mirror. Not much. And a lot less at night.

So....... After driving two hours to escape LA and another hour and a half or so at more reasonable speeds, we finally stopped at around 9 PM to rest and re-fuel in Barstow. While I waited for my chance at the diesel pump I walked around the rig to check the load. A frayed strap was the first clue.... suddenly I realized that my MIG welder was gone.


I never heard (and certainly never saw) a thing. Considering that the only direction the welder could have gone off was to the right (the passenger side) and that I was driving almost exclusively in the slow lane, I believe the chances that it caused anybody else any problems are thankfully slim. But Jesus, what a drag all around.

We pushed on and slept in lovely Needles, CA.

It all started with such great promise.....

After loading the trucks and trailers for most of Thursday evening and all of Friday, we finally left LA Friday evening. Just in time for rush hour! It took two hours just to get out of LA. A harbinger of bad-timing related problems to come....

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Creative lathe rigging with a borrowed forklift.

It looks like Christina and I will be heading off to Taos on Friday. It will be good to take a little break from the brutality of this schedule. She'll stay in Taos (can you blame her?) while I will return to LA next week to move more heavy shit. And fix the dead forklift. And try to buy a new off-road capable foklift for Taos. And move more heavy shit.

Loading my CNC mill into the last empty container. I didn't even bother trying with my forklifts. This lift belongs to the Brewery, the place I've lived for eight years and am now leaving.

The guy who helped me was really good. When he was done, I asked him if he drank beer, thinking I'd get him a six-pack as a tip, but he said no. Then I tried to offer him a cash tip, saying: "go buy yourself something." He replied: "That's cool, man. Why don't you go buy yourself some beers."

Oh well, I tried.
We actually got one of the 20-foot containers completely filled the other day.
When the black cabinet behind me collapsed earlier in the day, falling over and getting smashed and spilling it's contents all over, I pretty much lost it. It's a good thing Christina is around to think clearly and maintain some realistic perspective, because on most days I seem totally unable to manage those things. (We picked up the cabinet, emptied it, banged it back into shape, reinforced it, re-filled it, and put it into the container. I managed to smash my thumb really badly with a hammer in the process.)
It takes a village to raise an idiot.

Wait, may be that's only in Texas.

I guess what I meant to say is that it takes a forklift to fix a forklift. (Fixing forklifts is really what you want to have to do in the middle of moving) The battery in front of me goes to the forklift behind me and weighs around 2700 pounds. Click here for another pic of this battery removal.
Using old Robochrist show props to wrap up shelving full of metal. This shelf was too heavy for my forklift... probably 3500 lbs.
Yes it's been a while since I uploaded anything here, but.... Jesus Christ this is exhausting work. Here's a double-stack pallet... Metal bits on the bottom, and lathe chucks, vices, etc on the top. This pallet was probably 1500 lbs.