Much more to come.
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Here we are
Unsurprisingly, SoCal vernacular lacks a satisfactory word for the kind of rain we had today and Saturday. More than a drizzle, but lacking the muscle to give the roof a satisfactory pounding. Whatever you call it, the wind is throwing it at us sideways. Thankfully, the forecast shows a week of mild sunny/cloudiness starting tomorrow, and we’ll be riding down the mountain in it.
Today I’m cutting the final rafter for the Peace Pavilion during the misty windows. Sitting around is frustrating, but bad weather for outdoor power tools is also bad biking weather, no matter how antsy we are. We greatly appreciate all the public and private words of encouragement.
Hopefully we can impose upon you all, probably for the first of many times for some reading recommendations. Among many wonders, I anticipate the journey gifting us many dark hours in a tent. Please help us fill them. Left to our own devices, we’d be reading only dystopian fiction (Laney) and increasingly depressing accounts of the race for the Republican presidential nomination (Ben). Despite the synergy of those topics, we’re trying to branch out.
Please send word of anything we should add to the Kindle about or relevant to the topics of (interpret broadly!):
Leave recommendations in the comments or email them to s l o b l u e @gmail (remove the spaces first). It would be awesome if you could explain your recommendation a little bit. We’re hoping to do a followup post with the complete Ancient Eccentric Desert Nomad reading list with the reasons particular books were included. Read along with us and this could turn into sort of an informal book club if you need another to participate in.
Next post from the road.
This is mostly my fault. We’re still here because I’m trying to get the Peace Pavilion project to some sort of acceptable endpoint, which I’ve decided is when all the major timber framing is done. I’m guessing one more day to make the remaining three rafters with the chainsaw mill, and another long day of raising the center post and framing the rafters into place. Then we’re off. My apologies for the protracted departure.
If you’re not familiar with the Peace Pavilion rebuild, you must not have spoken to me in the last year. I feel like I’ve been working on this project as long as I’ve been at the camp. Behind our dining hall we have a cob meeting area with an arched gate into the kitchen garden. The roof covering all this burned in the fire a few years ago, and we’ve been trying to slow the inevitable water damage with tarps ever since. (Cob=impervious to fire, weak-kneed when faced with a fine drizzle. Age-old search for the perfect building material continues.)
One of the coolest things about cob, aside from its dragon-proofness and sculptural potential, is that you can source it from your own property if your soil contains clay. If you can live with the environmental disturbance of a minor excavation, cob is as sustainable as building materials get. Responsible timber harvesting is also pretty sustainable, and in a synergistic coincidence, Camp Stevens resides on 250 acres of mixed oak and pine forest with clay deposits. Previous staff had prepped a few fire-killed logs for building, but by the time I got to them, they were too rotted out to use. Still, building with lumber sourced from the camp property seemed like the right way to do the project.
I frequently find researching things much easier than actually doing them. Luckily this time around I actually got around to building something, but after reading everything I could find on the internet about cutting down trees and turning them into dimensional lumber, I found myself in Great Meadow, hand-shaping timbers with an axe. This, it turned out, was not a fast process.
At some point I’ll get really nerdy about all the things I learned doing this project– the intricacies of hewing, chainsaw milling, octagonal joinery, lifting giant logs with a gin pole, etc. Towards the end now, I also have more fully formed thoughts about the actual sustainability of projects like this, why the aesthetic appeals to me, and lots more. But for now, I just wanted to throw some pictures out there to show the thing that’s wrestling the bike trip for my enthusiasm and energy, and also so you remember to direct all your shit at me when you’re making jokes about why we haven’t left yet. Laney is not to blame.
A special thanks to everyone that lent a hand during the construction process, especially the Thanksgiving Camp carvers, Garrett for documenting everything, and the Camp Stevens admins and Laney for their infinite patience.
My cousin Darby wasn’t the only one who realized the importance of staying hydrated. After reading lots of blogs and resolving a few design disputes, we created these nifty frame bags to hold our hydration bladders, an alternative to water bottles that will allow us to drink comfortably as we ride while simultaneously making our bikes look, for lack of a better word, bad-ass.
Although I never doubted for a moment our ability to come up with a design on our own, this small feat would have been a lot more time consuming if it wasn’t for all the tutorials we found. I think it is only fair to post one up in return.
For anyone who is viewing this tutorial for inspiration and direction, I ask one thing. Be creative :]
stencil & front panels
there it is! hope it’s useful…
here are some of the other sites we used to develop our design
happy crafting :]
***If you would like a bag custom made for your bike, you can contact me by commenting or email and we can work something out when I get back around late Aug/early Sept 2012***