Monday, July 4, 2011

The Show Must Go On!

By Radical Brad, July 4, 2011

Well, it’s now the perfect time to be sparking up the old AC welder and angle grinder, but the AtomicZombie building season is off to a slow start so far this summer. However, this is not due to any lack of interest. I am going stir crazy from my garage hacking withdrawal!

We have traded our noisy city home for 120 peaceful country acres

The reason we have not launched our building season yet is because we have just moved from the crowded, noisy city out to a peaceful country setting, far from town and way up in the mountains! Yes, we found an amazing deal on 120 acres last year and jumped at the opportunity to get out of town and begin a more nature-based, sustainable lifestyle and usher in a new era of creativity as well.

Of course, to make this tremendous change, we had to make some sacrifices and do what would normally take three years in only six months. For some reason, the real estate market has been hot in our former city, so we put our place up for sale this spring and decided to live in a camper on our new land for only a few months (we hope) while we have a new place built.

To our surprise, we sold our house in mere hours, and that was it – we headed off to the frontier to become homesteaders! I say homesteaders because our new land has no livable house, only a few old shacks and a rotting house out in the back 40 (literally). It was kind of sad to say goodbye to the amazingly organized AtomicZombie garage, but, hey - it’s just a building and I can set up another just like it.

This was a real problem! More than 300 buckets of bike parts and 16 trailer loads of scrap metal almost lost!
Having so much scrap metal and bicycle components meant that I would have to make do with the old house as temporary storage until I could get a new garage ready, so I spent two weeks moving about 16 trailer loads of buckets, metal tubing and scrap bicycles to this 1920s farm house that was included on one corner of our property. It seemed like a good idea at the time since the building was dry, and solid enough to walk around in. Sadly, Nature had decided to begin the reclamation process on the old house after three days of torrential rain and high winds, and the upstairs began to collapse on my treasures, leaving them in a pile of rotting wood and completely wet.

I was now faced with removing more than 300 large buckets, each weighing between 20 and 100 pounds by hand over a rotting wet floor that had collapsed in several places. This was a monumental task that took three more days as it was done a few buckets at a time using a wheelbarrow to haul the components up a hill to yet another dilapidated out building that I hoped would hold out for the rest of the year. The other building was closer to our camper, but had no doors, and a completely rotten floor. Actually, this old construction trailer had several horses living inside of it, according to our neighbors.

This old horse trailer is now the AtomicZombie headquarters for 2011

After moving my entire inventory to this barely standing horse trailer, I carefully climbed up on the roof in hopes that I could keep out the rain using a few large tarps. To my surprise, the roof was the only thing that was still structurally sound, and I was able to walk around up there with no problem at all, coving the three good rooms with two massive 24 x 24 foot tarps. The old trailer was certainly suboptimal, but at least it was not floating in water and would most likely survive for the rest of this year. Another bonus to this relocation was that now I have power thanks to several 200 foot extension cords.

Hey, I could start building bikes now!

After securing all of my treasures in the tarped trailer, I realized that it was well enough organized to get at and with the extension cord supplying power, I can actually start building new bikes now. Yes, indeed, a garage hacker only needs an angle grinder and a basic AC welder, so it’s off to work on new bike projects once again! Ok, I do have my welder at the top of a hill resting under a temporary hydro post, but that’s no excuse - the show must go on! Failure is not an option! There is no try, only do or do not! Yeah, you know what I mean.

It’s certainly not fancy, but I have power and a good supply of junk!

So there you have it folks - I refuse to let things like not having a garage or proper power stop me from cranking out a great new bike project line-up for 2011! Although my build list has changed due to the parts I have handy, I do plan on starting work as soon as the rain stops.

The first AZ project will be “The Timber Wolf”, a cross between the DeltaWolf and the DeltaRunner. This new delta trike will feature rear suspension, a small cargo box, and will be perfectly suited for country roads and dirt roads yet it will retain some of the “cool factor” of a sleek and sporty DeltaWolf.

Thanks to all who support our efforts and community! Your ideas, comments, and positive feedback keep us going, especially during this transition. Even as I type this inside a somewhat leaky tent, a massive storm surrounds us, and ominous clouds are bringing high wind and torrential rain. But, we won’t be deterred! We also plan to continue to expand into other DIY projects as we make the transition from city slickers to country folk.

Bear with us, though, as we will have to deal with dial-up Internet for at least a few more months. And, sometimes we have to run for cover in our camper or truck when severe weather strikes.

We are doing our best to log onto the forum and answer your questions regularly, but sometimes Internet access here is inconsistent or very slow. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we try to settle in to our temporary home of small camper, tents and no indoor plumbing! It has been an interesting adventure so far.

In 2012, we will be expanding our DIY drawing board to include “green technologies”, sustainable energy, and other topics such as lapidary projects, garden projects, and a whole lot more.

Well, the storm clouds have finally lifted, so I am off to make the sparks fly. If anyone in our area has a spare garage they want to donate, post a message in the Builders Forum. Cheers!