Friday, December 14, 2012

Airstream Bike Rack

I have blogged about the Airstream bike rack, made by Flamma, before.

We have had additional problems with this bike rack. When purchased the rack allowed access to the back storage cabinet. The door could open and lay flat. This allowed fair access to the storage area. As we travelled the weight of the bikes gradually deformed the rack so that we could not open the door more than half way. We took it to an Airstream dealer. They contacted Airstream who told them to bend the rack back to the original position. I asked what would prevent this from happening again and got a strange look like we did all we could do. I don't think Flamma was consulted.

When I got my Airstream back I was determined to not let this happen again. I decided to fashion a brace to prevent the rack from bending into the bumper and blocking the door.

Tbis is a view of the rear bumper and storage compartment.
The rack is attached to the bumper and to the body of the Airstream.

The rear storage compartment with the door open. As we travelled the weight of the bikes, and the bumps on the road, caused the bike rack to deform inward to the point that the door could only open part way.

I added these two homemade braces bolted to the bumper and the bottom pole of the rack.
It is made of oak but painted to match the Airstream.

Another view of the braces. Flamma should have anticipated this issue. The Airstream dealer should have figured out how to prevent it from recurring. I hope this works. For a $650 bike rack we sure have had problems.

Incidentally, I was told by the dealer that the bike rack is rated for a maximum of 72 lbs. It is a 2-bike rack. Our bikes together weigh 73 lbs. They are regular hybrid bikes, one female and one male. Why would Flamma design a rack for 72 lbs when regular bicycles weigh that much. I think they should have designed it for 85 to 90 lbs. to take care of larger bikes.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Back Home

We have made it back home. Here is a summary of our 4 month journey.

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After we left Williams, AZ and the Grand Canyon we stopped overnight in Checotah, OK, Amarillo, TX, Knoxville, TN, before getting back to Tryon, NC.

We left our trip  early because Sean and Jean were having some troubles.
We went to see them the next day and they were fine.
Rosie was so happy to see them.

It was great to get back to the Appalachian Mountains.
This view is from the Blue Ridge Parkway between Asheville and Mount Mitchell.

Sean will soon be moving into a group home in West Asheville

Stacey, Annabelle and Scott came to see us 3 days after we got back.

On a path to Pearson Falls between Tryon and Saluda, NC

This and the next picture are of the stream below the Pearson Falls.

We went to dinner with Kelley and her family. This was taken with my new iPhone 5 in panoramic mode.
From left to right Peyton, Kelley, Debbie, Galen, our waitress, Sean, James.
Peyton was immediately to my left and James immediately to my right.

Final tally:

11,500 miles, approximately 7500 miles towing Diva.
13.2 MPG average
871 gallons used

Diva is in the shop for some needed updates and repairs. Our next trip is in January.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Grand Canyon

THE Grand Canyon has been on my "bucket list" for years. We had originally planned to spend a week here but other issues arose and we could only stay here 2 nights. I had the thought of not taking any photographs at all in the Grand Canyon. It was sacred. It had been photographed by masters including Ansel Adams. The great photographers had used large format cameras, had hiked in to the great viewpoints, had come when there was snow on the ground, or when lightening was expected, or when a rainbow was in the sky. How could I with my small digital camera on a single 6 hour visit do any justice to the Canyon. Well I was right. I was very disappointed with my photos. They seemed so washed out compared to the real thing. I took a hundred or so pictures and only a few were worthy of inclusion here. I include them just as documentation. I was here.

We left Marina & Monterey California Sunday morning, October 7, 2012. California has great north and south roads but few that go east and west. We were on small farm roads much of the journey. We stopped for the night at Indian Hill RV Park and Ranch in Tehapachi CA. The campground was about 7 miles off the main road so once we got there we stayed. It was more than adequate for a night. The next day we headed across the Mohjave Desert to Kingman AZ.

Southern California Mojave Desert

Yet another NO DOGS sign this time at a California rest stop.
Do they think Rosie will ruin their stones?

We stayed at this RV park in Kingman, AZ. Very nice.

Williams, AZ is a gateway town for the Grand Canyon. It is 50 miles to the South Rim entrance. Life in Williams seems to revove around the Grand Canyon and the old Route 66. Williams was the last town to be bypassed off Route 66 by Interstate 40.

We had a great steak and juicy tender smoked back ribs at Cruiser's Cafe 66

The original Route 66 ran through Williams, AZ

Even the Men's room is decorated in car stuff

Debbie made a quick friend here.

No Pepsi here

Rosie rests on "her" bed in Diva wearing her new outfit from a Carmel California Dog Botique.

At the KOA campground in Williams, AZ. This was our first time in a KOA and I must say it was very pleasant.

Williams, Arizona is about 50 miles from the entrance to the park. We had several choices for our one day visit there. We could drive the truck there. We would have had to figure everything on our own. Where to park. What sites to see. What was that valley. We decided to take a guided van tour with Angel's Gate tours. The Angel's Gate refers to a formation deep in the canyon. It cost $108 each and was well worth the money. It picked us up at the campground. There were 12 guests in the van. Two from Great Britain, 2 from Australia, 2 from New Zealand, 2 from Maryland, 2 from Ohio, and us 2 from South Carolina. We all had a good time especially comparing how we said things and what we called things. We made 7 stops at different viewpoints. The guide, Gary, was terrific. He spent the whole season guiding either with Angel's Gate or guiding hikers. He had hiked every path and gone down every stream and river in the Park. He pointed out the history, geology, the archeology, the biology, and the everything-else-ology of the Grand Canyon. He set out a great picnic lunch of sandwiches, fruit, cheese & crackers, and a variety of drinks. The tour lasted 7 hours from the time he picked us up until he dropped us off. Well worth the money!

We were lucky to be here on this day. sunny, 70 F, light clouds.
The next day it was cold and rainy.

I felt a little dizzy every time I stepped near the edge of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

This is the "Duck-on-a Rock" formation.

Huge deposits of copper were (and still are) found on the canyon floor. The ore was 70% pure copper.
Most mines today are less than 20% copper. The workers had to bring the ore up the canyon via donkeys.

This guy from New Zealand was on our tour. He liked to climb out on ledges for his pictures.
I told him I took this picture for "forensic" evidence if needed.

We used this guide service to see the Canyon. The driver was fabulous.
No way we could have seen half as much as we did on our own.

The Hopi Indians showed the Spanish the Canyon. When the Spaniards asked them where the gold was the Hopi told them it was to the north and east. The California Gold Rush had to wait another 300 years.

The South Rim has a dozen or so view points easily accessible from the road.

The Tower at Desert View offers even a higher viewpoint to see the Canyon.

Wall paintings in the Tower

Looking up the tower

A view from the Tower

I like to play around with Photoshop. So from time to time I will post on this blog some of my musings. Here is my take on Pete's Gas Station Museum.

Pete's Gas Station Museum in Williams.

We left Williams on Thursday October 11, 2012. We have almost 2000 miles to get home and will try to do that in 5 or 6 days. So we will be just staying one night in places that are convenient to I-40. So far we have stayed in Grants, New Mexico, Amarillo Texas and are tonight in Henrietta, Oklahoma. Today was the first time on this entire trip, going back to July 1, that we have had seriously bad weather. There was pouring rain and lightening in Oklahoma City and we are waiting out a thunderstorm and tornado warnings in Henrietta. We hope to be home to family and friends by Wednesday October 17.