Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Efficient Teardrop packing

Let's face it: we all have our own unique, obsessive compulsive (read: irritating) ways to pack. There is an order. Do not disturb the order. May the order be with you.

Each time we go on a trip we try to pare down a little bit as well as try to streamline the packing and unpacking process.

My traditional "staring routine" begins while packing for a trip. I do the same thing when building a piece of furniture. I stare a lot at the lumber, flip boards around, step back, stare, move another board, step back, stare, you get the idea.

I like to think I'm more efficient, but I spend so much time obsessing over efficiency that I'm not efficient anymore. (Whoa, that was as epiphany. I need to stare and ponder that last sentence a bit.)

This last trip I made a little pile of "stuff" that we haven't used.  It included:

- A table cloth and the clips that hold it on a table (Never used it. Ever.)
- A tupperware of bungee cords and rope (I have bungees and rope in the truck already.)
- A large solar lantern (We have a small one that's brighter & we don't really use the large one.)
- A giant pot lid (What the hell do I have this for?)

I also packed a bunch of items into two rectangular plastic bins with lids on this trip. The space and tidiness you create from this one little thing is amazing.

I put round items into one of the bins: two dish buckets and a compost bucket. I stuffed the buckets with two rag rugs, a folding rug, a small folding step stool and a solar lantern.

I put wood scraps* and newspaper into a tall bin with a lid.  I usually use a small metal trash can for wood scraps.

Goodbye round space hogs! I said good day, Sir!!

Round is wrong. WRONG! Really, who designed round storage? We don't have round refrigerators or round cabinets, or round truck beds. We have angles. To maximize storage capacity we should have angular storage containers.


*I'm not talking about logs and twigs from home. I'm talking about dimensional lumber that's been kiln dried from my wood shop. DON'T transport wood from home for your campfire. We, the Campers, must be responsible and buy firewood locally near our campsite.  We, the Campers, must walk the walk. We, the Campers, must set an example. Invasive species of insects are wiping out trees because of thoughtlessness. We, the Campers, must tread lightly.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Teardrop camping at Cranberry Lake

Cranberry Lake, New York: a great spot to have your morning coffee and a blueberry muffin.

The hardest thing to do on vacation is nothing. It's hard to do nothing when we're all so connected all the time, every second, every minute. A text here, check the weather, Facebook, did so-and-so email?, gotta write a note --- on my phone.

Cranberry Lake has no cell service. No outside world. The world won't end if I don't have cell service, but damn I'm as addicted as everyone else so I had a wee bit of a OMG WTH am I going to do without my little crack pipe phone??!! 

Yes, the great existential question is Who are You without your crack phone? WHO are YOU?

I'm on the verge of a rant so I think I'll just zip it for now.

Cranberry Lake. Disconnect.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Wheel bearing replacement is pretty damn easy

Wheel bearing replacement and re-pack  -----  done and done.

This is a pretty straight forward job. Take the wheel off, tap out the outer bearing, tap out the inner bearing, inspect for any pitting or damage, grease up the bearings, tap them back in, put the wheel back on.

I'm going to put up a bunch of pics here to show the process:

Jack up the trailer and take off the wheel. (It's a good idea to wear latex gloves when you do this job because it's greasy and nasty.)

Take out the cotter pin. Throw it away. Don't re-use it; buy a new one.

Unscrew the nut and take the wheel off.

Inspect the axle for any damage.

Time to pop out the outside bearing! There's a grease seal that holds the bearing in. Flip the hub over and tap the lip of the seal. A large socket works great for this, or a metal punch. Be gentle, yet forceful. Tap all the way around the seal until it pops out.

You can re-use the seal if you don't damage it.

Viola! Here's the outer bearing and eeeek! Look at that bulge on the left upper top!  I must say, I LOVE finding and fixing a problem. 

I guess I'm not re-packing, I'm replacing.

Fortunately, there's a NAPA within walking distance.  I bought the set, which is two bearings and two grease seals. 

I used a wooden block to pop out the grease seal. I'm tapping out the inside grease seal in this pic.

Clean out all the old grease with a rag. Inspect the inspect the inside for any damage.

Reverse the steps to re-assemble. Install the inner bearing first.

Liberally grease up the bearing, making sure grease is pushed through the bearings. Set it in the hub and place the grease seal on top and tap it in. Make sure you grease up the inside of the hub.

Be careful here; if you have a socket or a piece of wood use that to tap it in. You don't want to damage the grease bearing.

It's really hard to get the inner bearing set if you don't have something roughly the same diameter (slightly smaller) than the grease bearing.

Fortunately, I have a lot of woodworking tools and I had something...

This is a tenon cutting bit I have that fit perfectly in the hub.

A few taps and it was set in.

Slip the wheel on the axle, tighten the nut finger tight only! Put the new cotter pin end and bend the ends around the axle.

Bam! Done. And it didn't fall off when we went to Cranberry Lake, so I guess I did it right. 

Isn't that what most of us think when we undertake something we haven't done before? The "I must have screwed this up somehow yadda yadda yadda."

Well, people, I'm here to tell you that little insecure inner voice can suck it!  (I actually just sang that line, so I encourage you all sing it out as well). 

You can do anything.