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Last weekend we were in Oregon, IL, for Stronghold's Olde English Faire.

Getting there was an adventure in itself. We take the camper with us so that we have a place to sleep and an easy way to haul the tent poles (8' poles don't fit well in a 6' truck). Friday morning we loaded the truck with all the booth stuff and the camper with sleeping bags, garb, clothes, food, and the tent poles.

Then I went to switch trailer hitches (the vending trailer is an 1-7/8" ball, the camper is 2"). I haven't had to switch hitches since Stronghold last year, so it really wasn't surprising that the lock on the hitch pin was sticking. After about 10-15 minutes and some TriFlow, I got the key to rotate far enough to unlock the pin, but not only didn't the lock release, the key wouldn't rotate back. So I got out the sawzall and removed the lock.

Then the receiver post wouldn't pull out of the receiver body. Coercive attempts with a 12# sledge hammer were unsuccessful, so we drove over to U-Haul and bought a new hitch pint (just in case it ever loosens up) and a universal post kit (you permanently mount the post and then it has both sizes of interchangeable balls) and had them install it.

A quick stop at Badger Welding Supply for a new small oxy tank, and it was back home to hook up the camper. The camper hitch wouldn't open far enough for us to get it over the ball because the surge brake cylinder had finally failed and the actuator was jammed in the "full brakes" position. So I got out the sawzall and I cut that out of the system (actually, it took a 3/8" wrench to snap the four mounting bolts off and let the cylinder drop out of the hitch, but it really seemed like a good place for a sawzall). I'm not worried about not having the cylinder in place, since it's never been functional since we got the trailer, you just have to pay attention and stop early because it's an extra 3,000# pounds of rolling load).

Finally, we've got the camper hooked up and everything loaded, and we're on our way. Unlike the way this post is trending so far, we actually got to the faire site without any other problems, other than the fact that we're now a few hours later than I had hoped, and it's getting dark.

Fortunately, we've put up the tent often enough that we can do it by flashlight if necessary. We got the tent set up, set up all the tables, and piled everything into the tent, closed all the sidewalls, and went out to get dinner. We then hung out in the camper for a while and read, and went to bed around 10p. Friday night the temperature got down to 36F. Saturday morning, we both were awake before the alarm clock, hoping that the other one would get up and make heat happen (the heater in the camper was dead when we bought it, but we've got a Coleman lantern and a camp stove, both of which put out a fair amount of heat). I got up first and made fire and then headed off to the privy. By the time I got back the fog was thick enough that you couldn't see the next campsite.

After breakfast we drove back to the faire site and set up the tent. Every time we set up it's a little different as we've got an ever-changing set of stuff for sale. Saturday was about normal for sales (in the "very good show" range), and then we closed up, had dinner, and went back to the camper for the rest of the night.

Saturday night was warmer (~44F), but Sunday morning it rained on and off until ~12:30. Sundays normally are slow in any small outdoor fair in the midwest because you've got to wait for most of the people to get done with church. Of course, when it's still drizzling after church, they mostly stay home instead of going out to the fair, so Sunday's sales were only about 30% of Saturday's, but were also about what we expected out of a rainy day. Overall we took in enough that even with the roadshow expenses, we made more than a Farmer's Market day would (our normal guideline for whether or not to keep doing a road show), and we made enough to pay for getting the cats' teeth cleaned (our other goal for this weekend).

We got home around 10p on Sunday and left the camper and truck on the street. It's much easier to back the camper up the driveway on Monday morning after I've had a full night's sleep and it's light out. After I parked the camper I did some errands and then took Marley to the vet for blood tests they needed to go to make sure she'd probably survive the anesthesia during the dental work. Then it was off to work for the afternoon.
revchris: (Default)
The grocery shopping part of today's evil pan is complete.

Next comes the cleaning up of the kitchen, in preparation for making a new mess.

Finally, there will be the creation of a huge vat of chili.

In between these steps will be other important activities, like cat scritchies, picking [ profile] teeka up from Farmer's Market, miscellaneous house cleaning, etc.
revchris: (Default)
They're predicting lots of rain all day, and [ profile] teeka is extra tired and hurty today, so we're going to stay home.

Of course, since I have ham and chicken and andouille and brisket and chorizo and shrimp and rice and green peppers and celery and onions and rice, I'm probably making jambalaya later, too.

ETA: apparently, looking at the list, it's going to take extra rice.

We're home

Jun. 8th, 2008 10:51 pm
revchris: (Default)
Really crappy weather for an outdoor show weekend.

Saturday, Pirate Fest shut down early because of weather. First they shut us down around 5:30 because PWPD was telling everyone that they were expecting 100MPH straight-line winds. Then, about 6p we went back outside because the front had gone through, and, while we were trying to decide whether to unseal tents, the faire organizers decided that since there was another front due in about half an hour, it wasn't worth opening up, then closing until the weather cleared, and then opening back up for whoever possibly might have stayed. So we closed up shop and headed back to Keith & Kendra's, where we got to hang out for a while for Keith's birthday party (instead of getting back around 11p because the faire was supposed to have gone until 10p).

Getting to K&K's, however, was a whole other story. We were on I43 when the second front hit. I could see where the road was, but traffic slowed down to about 40MPH. When we got to Capitol, it was closed at Port Washington Road because the underpass was flooded. We followed the rest of the traffic south on PW and then eventually east through the city until the leader of our group led us all into a dead end. Eventually, after carefully driving through a lot of flooded intersection, we made it to Humboldt, and then back to Capitol. Humboldt had a flooded stretch that was over the hubcaps, but we made it through, and then over the bridge to the higher side of the city, where there were fewer flooded spots.

Today it also rained a lot, but the faire stayed open the whole time. Not many people were out today, but things picked up around 3, but not to where we had hoped. All in all, we made expenses plus about what we would have made on a normal Farmer's Market, making it a fairly good show, with the weather that we had.

Driving home today we took Brown Deer to 45 to I94 in order to miss all the construction. We stopped at Target and bought a roll of duct tape and sealed the trailer up (after a weekend of rain, one of the roof panels had warped enough that the lid wouldn't seal). Heavy Dudy All-Weather Duct Tape (I don't recall what brand) works well. Nothing came loose during the trip back, even though there was enough rain to slow everyone down to 55MPH for most of the trip, with drops to about 30 in the worst spots. We still got some water in the cart, but not as much as we would have had without the tape. I've currently got a fan blowing into the cart to try and dry it out somewhat.

When we got home, there is a little water in the basement, so tomorrow I'll have to clear the driveway side downspout (I'm sure it's full of maple seeds). Eventually, I'll have to try and seal the crack under one of the windows, as that's the first place that leaks. I also now see that I need to knock out the patch from (I think) the original water line and reseal it, as it's also leaking a little. That part of the foundation is also covered by the driveway gutters, so clearing that side should fix both spots. Meanwhile, there's a fan and a dehumidifier working on the basement.

I'm also doing laundry. All the tablecloths are wet, so they and our garb are in the washer & dryer right now so that we don't have to worry about mildew or permanent stains.

Tomorrow we're planning on day tripping to Chippewa Falls to take the tables and other big display elements to the shop we're renting and to measure the place so that we can figure out what we want to do for displays. Then I'm going to spend the rest of the week making displays and getting stuff ready, as the faire opens Saturday for a five weekend run.

I also need plan to put new wheel bearings and bearing covers into the trailer because the current ones are two years old, the caps have been missing for a year, and I'm sure that all the water tonight isn't going to help. I'll for sure regrease them before the trailer goes on the road again, but if I can find the manual to order new parts from, I'd like to do some more extensive maintenance.
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[ profile] teeka had kiln problems earlier this week because the control relay welded itself closed. This causes the kiln to hold temp at 957C, which is hot enough to puddle any glass in the kiln. Fortunately, she hadn't done anything yet when I noticed it. I shut down the main power to the controller, and then I cleaned the contacts with some 400 grit sandpaper, and turned it back on to cool down, with no problems.

Last night, she made more beads, and everything was worked properly. When I got up this morning, I noticed that her shop was at 82F, so I figured she'd left the heater on, and I'd turn it off on my way to work. Then I looked out the window above my computer, where I can see her kiln. It's power light was on continuously (the light comes on when the controller supplies power to the furnace, so it should be blinking), and the kiln was glowing bright orange around the bead door.

At some point during the cool down part of the cycle, after she had gone to bed, the relay welded itself again.

I just ordered a new relay to replace the current one, and I ordered a second relay to wire into the alarm circuit of the controller to act as an overtemperature limiting relay and cut the power when the controller goes above the specified alarm temp. Mechanical relays are only good for about a million cycles. We're going to start replacing the main relay every year as a maintenance item, and I'm going to try to clean the relay contacts every three months to help limit contact resistance.


Dec. 1st, 2007 04:04 pm
revchris: (Default)
This morning we insulated the inside walls of Maggs' shop, and then cleaned up and put the cart back into the garage.

I then decided that I'd clear the snow off the driveway so that when it went to freezing rain later (it's sleeting now), I'd be able to salt all that clear and be done.

I got the upper section of the driveway done and sheared the auger bolt on the snowblower, and I can't find the spares. Tonight I'm going to open up the snowblower and see what's really wrong, hoping that it's a sheared pin/bolt, and tomorrow, after they've plowed, I'll clear enough of the driveway to get the truck out and go get new bolts. I'm also going to see if I can figure out what's wrong with the electric starter (the starter motor spins but it's clutch doesn't engage).


Oct. 17th, 2007 09:30 am
revchris: (Default)
I'm at home this morning, waiting for the camper to dry off.

Monday I scrubbed the roof down with Mr. Clean. This morning at about 7:30 I scrubbed it again with TSP. About half an hour ago I dried it off. Next, when the last of the water from the cleaning dries, I'm painting the roof with an "elastomeric camper and RV roofing compound" that will hopefully fix the small leaks that it's been accumulating over the years.

Then I'll need some more caulk to patch up a few spots on the roof edging, and it'll be ready for parking overwinter.


Oct. 8th, 2007 09:03 pm
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We survived the weekend, but only barely.

It was 86-87F for highs and 94% humidity. The site has a lot of trees around it, so there wasn't much for breezes, either. I think the two of us went through a case and a half of bottles water.

We did, however, have a lot of fun. Maggs did lampworking demonstrations for most of both days while I ran sales in the tent. Saturday started off slow ($25 in sales by 12:30p), but then things picked up until by the end of Saturday it was a "really good show."

Normally we expect that Sundays will start off slow, as everyone has to get done with church first. With a site run by the Presbyterians, you'd expect that that would be even more the case. Shortly after opening on Sunday a couple came in, saw the larger of the two chain flails and were interested. They decided they didn't like the smaller one (I need to put a bigger hand loop on it), and when I took the bigger one down off the display they were even more interested. After he tried it out oh her, and she declared it to be "fairly thuddy, but with just a little sting," they decide to buy it, and gave me a pile of cash. That was about half of Sunday's sales, dollar-wise.

So, now I need to start thinking about making another one. Probably in anodized aluminum, if I can figure out what size rings to do the handle in.

We got everything packed up Sunday night in about an hour and a half, finishing in the dark (the fair ends at 6p, and by 7:30 it's fairly dark, as there really aren't any outside lights). We stopped at the first fast food place we came to (Burger King) for food and dry clothes, and then drove the rest of the way home. When we got back, we parked the whole rig on the street since it was too dark to see to maneuver the camper, and we were both tired. This morning, I got the camper and the truck into the driveway in one try (take a Ford Ranger, add on a trailer with an 11' x 7' box, and then, using only a normal 2-lane street for maneuvering room, back it into an 8' wide driveway). My trailer skills are definitely improving.

Maggs got the tent laundry (side walls and table covers) done today, but I probably still need to pull the laundry basket out of the camper. The tent top is spread out over a bunch of stuff in the basement, and is probably dry by now, so we'll need to decide how we're cleaning it, and then put it away if we're not going to do anything soon. I think Maggs said she's going to unpack the truck back into her cart tomorrow; hopefully there won't be any rain to interfere with that.


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