We are in final stages of preparation for the inaugural departure of our sailtrain. It’s one of those days where there are no big milestones, just an endless list of little details to knock out. The high-fives are few and far between, but the progress is good and consistent.
The plan is to ferry the boats down to the rail head today, mount the new wheel units and guide-wheels, and then store them overnight at the cement plant. Not to give anything away, but let’s call that “plan A”.
Lauren and Kami get started by putting in the middle bed panel on the Piki’s triple-decker bunkbed.
The Nooi car is finished, but it does not fit through the barn door – so they take one of the two swing-sets off…
… and then carry, and twist, and rotate it to get it out and down the ramp.
Bryn thinks the swings work pretty good on their own too.
Some paints are discovered in a drawer in the barn, and what better time to paint something than just moments before you are going to move it? Josh and Bryn collaborate on a red/orange motif.
On the list of things the Kablooi team needs to finish is the roof/sunshade. Zada is pretty quick with a screwdriver so she and Anita get to work.
With the bunkbeds laid in, the Piki decide to throw caution to the wind and add safety rails.
Outside, the Nooi get the last of their bits of furniture loaded on the trailer, and then the truck heads out to make the first drop.
Back at the Ranch, the Piki discover that their bunkbed has mysteriously become heavy (Gever thinks that it may be the liberal use of very thick eucalyptus
Eager tinkerers ensure that the empty trailer does not stay empty long, and the Kabloo and Piki cars are quickly loaded up.
Portrait of a Tinkerer: Brigid pauses for a moment to consider the near future and the very real possibility that we may be rolling down the tracks today.
Portrait of a Collaborator: We will miss Theo when he heads off to Savannah College of Art and Design.
Portrait of a Tinkerer: Jane, scheming.
At the railhead, we off-load all the cars, tools, snacks, jackets, water bottles, materials, markers, and tinkerers.
It takes a village… to move the Piki triple-decker bunkbed.
There is no partially constructed project that cannot be turned into a play structure – as demonstrated by Lauren.
Portrait of a Tinkerer: Josh takes a break to walk the rails.
Steve Davee, professional guide-wheel tuner.
Occasionally prone to distraction, Zada enjoys watching the scene as she bolts on the Kablooi sunshade.
Like some kind of fantastical Ikea construction, the seems to be an unending stream of parts and attachements coming out of the truck. Brigid brings the Nooi bookshelf.
And Adam brings the Piki bench.
Amelia locks down the brace on the Piki car.
As the cars rise up on their wheels, there is a palpable sense of excitement… that soon evaporates as the process of aligning the wheels becomes tedious and frustrating.
To test and tune the alignment, the carts must be rolled back and forth endlessly and the wheels observed by a trained professional like James.
The reward for good wheel alignment, is a smooth, nearly frictionless, ride down the tracks. The Nooi car is first to roll away.
And the Kablooi car is not far behind – until it hits a bad weld on the tracks and rips off a guide-wheel. We’re going to have to consider moving the guide wheels to this inside of the track given how unpredictable the outside surface is.
But the alignment process, which is not perfect, takes longer than anyone expects and before we can get all three cars rolling, we have to pack them up, drop them off at the place where the cement plant night watchmen can keep an eye on them (since the boss at the cement plant put the kibosh on the plan to let us leave the railcars in their locked parking area), and head home for pizza dinner.
Knowing that there is always a long line to make pizzas, the truck decides to stop at the beach and let the tinkerers do some wrestling.
Saya approves of the menu tonight.
Well, it was another long, fruitful day at Tinkering School. We started at 9am, and dropped off the railcars for overnight storage at 6:30pm, then drove back to the Ranch and made pizzas – no wonder everyone is so quiet tonight. The question sometimes comes up about whether or not it is natural or healthy for kids to work eight or nine hours a day. I’m not sure, but I do know that by the end of a week of Tinkering School, they do become accustomed to it and get better at pacing themselves. I’m pretty sure that if we looked at the work habits of the Paleolithic period, we’d see a cycle of long days of intense work (hunting down a giant mammal, killing it, skinning it, not eating many carbohydrates, etc) followed by periods of rest and playing with fire.