Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pedal Tractor Progress

I got the big wheels welded up yesterday on the Seussian Pedal Tractor. They are six feet in diameter and there are two of them. They each have sixteen spokes. Each spoke will have a shoe attached to it. I also started building the main axle. Three chains from the pedals will go to freewheels on the jack shaft. Then a beefier chain runs from the jack shaft to the drive sprocket on the main shaft. The big unknown is the gearing. I am using a 20 tooth sprocket on the main shaft which will be driven by a 10 tooth sprocket on the jack shaft. This will gear down by half. I have left room in the differential for a 30 tooth gear in case the gear down is not enough. I want it to be relatively easy to pedal around. It probably won't be fast but that's fine with me.
The next step is to attach the extended bicycle frame to the axle housing and work out the seat placement and placement for the rear pedals.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tribal Celebration

In 1995 I, my roommate Jack, and my future wife Nita, decided to dress up in mock-tribal dress and camp out for the summer solstice weekend in a meadow on the property where I lived at the time in the mountains of central Arizona. This weekend became the first Tribal Celebration. We had a bonfire, drank Southern Comfort, and made music until late into the night. The next year we invited more friends and the attendance quadrupled to 12 people. It turned into an annual tradition that lasted until 2004. Attendance was by invitation only so the event stayed pretty small, which was just the way we wanted it. The most people we had was about 30. We stopped after that for various reasons.

This past weekend we revived the Tribal Celebration. It was our 10th wedding anniversary (we got married at the Tribal Celebration in 1998). We though it would be a good idea to get everyone together again to celebrate the solstice. It was lots of fun. We had many people who used to attend the earlier ones and several people that we had met between the last one in 2004 and this one. We enjoyed it immensely. The theme was the same as always - make up your own idea of tribal dress, have a fire, make music, and commune with nature. Below, Lynn, Pete, and Sharon sport their tropical paradise outfits along with drinks with umbrellas.

The kids made sculptures out of downed branches and we burned them on Saturday night. We decorated an old door, drank a bit, drummed a lot, ate good food, and laughed all the time. What a great group of people! We feel honored to be a part of it all.

We have become a tribe of sorts over the years and it is growing. I suppose there are 50 to 70 people who might consider themselves part of this tribe. Membership in it is by invitation and by choice. The love and sense of community grows every year.

The world today is very different than the one of a hundred years ago, especially to those who live in a technological society like ours. We can meet people that share our ideas and goals either online or by chance meeting at events and then create modern tribes. We are no longer trapped by geography. We can go anywhere. We can communicate electronically. I think it's great.

What's your tribe?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tsunami in Prescott

Yesterday the 10th annual Tsunami-On-The-Square performing arts festival concluded at the court house square in Prescott. This is one fun event. My wife and I are involved in helping it happen. She is on the board of directors and I help carry stuff around.

We had some guests come from out of town for the festival. We had Kate Pearson and her husband Greg. Kate is an artcar artist from Bisbee, Arizona. She created HexMex and Love23 and seven other cars. Her cars have been in magazines and artcar books. We also had another Kate, her husband Jeff, and their friend Joe. Kate and Joe are involved in theatre in Los Angeles. The photo above shows Joe, Kate, and Nita on the stage at Tsunami teaching the audience about MOOP - Matter Out Of Place. Basically that refers to litter and that everyone should participate in picking it up.

This, in my opinion, was the best Tsunami festival yet. The quality and diversity of the performers was awesome. The final two acts, Instruments of the Now - a fire performance group , and Archedream for Humanity - blacklight theater, were spectacular. I recommend you see either or both of these groups if they are ever near you.

It was a lot of work and a lot of fun. The love was strong between the performers, the volunteer staff, and the audience. It was great.

Meanwhile, our Texas friends stopped by the Cadillac Ranch on their way from Texas to Montana. He took the photo below.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Pedal Tractor Construction Begins

I had a small collection of old bicycles at my shop so I began taking them apart and cutting them up for parts for the Seussian Pedal Tractor. I am using one of the beefier frames for the front of the tractor. I cut the rear triangle off. I removed the pedals and cranks from three of the bikes to use.

The finished item will be about 14 feet long so I extended the bike frame another seven feet. Below is a photo of the bike frame and, up on the table, the basic layout of one of the large rear wheels. This thing is going to be pretty silly. I'll be heading back to the shop this afternoon to continue working on it.

Meanwhile, there is a whale in our backyard. The Tsunami whale is the mascot for the Tsunami-on-the-Square performing arts festival which will be held next weekend. The whale has been re-skinned and re-decorated so it can lead the parade of performers to the courthouse square in Prescott, where the event takes place.
Starfish manufacturing is also going on right now in our backyard. These are also for the Tsunami festival.