It’s a new era….

……..of sloth.

Funicular Cart operated using the winch and electric motor at right and tons of wiring by James

Funicular Cart operated using the winch and electric motor at right (under deck) plus tons of intricate electrical wiring by James

The lower funicular works and today we put it to the test.  We didn’t have much.  A couple hundred pounds.  Six cases of wine and some building crap.  We have our priorities.

Cottonwood Blockade

Cottonwood Blockade

So, I went down and checked it out.  There was a heavy freelance Cottonwood making a peaceful protest across the tracks and, like a heartless corporation, I just chainsawed the blockade to bits.  I felt like Kinder Morgan.   “Release the Leviathan!”

Sal pressed the button and down went the heavy 700 pound cart, slowly descending the galvanized rails we had previously put in place.  Grrrrrnnnnkkk!

“It’s stopped!  Hung up!  So I took my finger off the button!”  

“Yeah, well, I was gonna grind off a smidge here and there but I am surprised any of that would have held it up.”

Sally pointed to a thick bar acting as a ‘stop’ and we both wondered how we could have missed something that obvious but, then again, we ask ourselves that all the time.  So, I got the grinder and trimmed it off and a few other edges.  “Round two!”

Pulling boat up alongside the lowered funicular cart

Pulling boat up alongside the lowered funicular cart

And down she went.  Got to the water….and….then she started to submerge.  Then the deck was at the right height….one foot or so off the water’s surface. “STOP!”

Sal took her finger off the button and the cart sat half submerged.  It was a beautiful thing. I jumped in the boat, swung it up against the cart and began whipping boxes on to it.  And a few other things.  I pulled back, “Press the up button.  Make sure it’s the up and NOT the down or else we will have sodden wine boxes.”

Slowly it began to climb the ramp.  One minute later, Sal stopped it at the lower deck. Hard to believe but it was even prettier sitting up there.  I smiled and pushed the boat towards home dock around the corner.  With that small event, we had made a milestone.  No more with the heavy, heavy, slippery and sharp beach climb.  Schlepping made easy.  From now on, a piece of cake.

A piece of cake!

A piece of cake!

We have entered the Slothecine era.

26 thoughts on “It’s a new era….

  1. THAT is AWESOME!
    Well done!
    And your back thanks you too!.
    Is there an emergency brake if the loaded beast lets go? What sort of weight limitation do you have? How fast does it run up the rail? Do you have a “stopper bar” at the bottom so it cant run off the end? Did you pop a bottle of bubbly? Will I ever stop asking questions?

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    • Yes, the electric motor has an automatic brake and the cable is strong enough to hold a BC ferry. So will the chain-yoke that we used to attach it to the cart. Weight down low is good. The limitation right now is 1000 pounds but I intend to attach another cross brace and then I will be comfortable at 1500. The deck is just a bit high and so I don’t want a lot of weight wiggling around up there. Yes. Stopper bar at bottom. No bubbly. Should, though. Next town trip.

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      • Thats great!
        A back saver for sure! Now if only you could invent a robot to go buy your “town stuff”, load it, drive the truck, unload it into Wasabi, load it on the Funicular……you’d get 30 more years OTG.
        Wadda gonna name the funicular? “My favourite guest”? Because it carries everything up and doesnt want booze?

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    • I am chuffed. I figure this adds ten years to our time out here. That may sound a bit exaggerated but it doesn’t feel that way.

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  2. Impressive feat of engineering indeed. Had to google funicular when I saw it for the first time. Couldn’t really grasp the difficulty it must have been to to portage your supplies up the incline.

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    • Actually, Neal, I use the term funicular incorrectly. A proper fun-car is counter balanced and my two (upper and lower) are not. I really just have a cart-and-winch on tracks but funicular is more fun to write and say. As for the engineering………well, let’s just say that where I am missing knowledge, calculations and IQ, I make up for it in heft, bulk and thickness. It is a philosophy I have applied to all parts of my life.

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  3. Pretty slick. Here at Possum Lodge, we could not improve upon the design unless we ran it with an old knuckle head Harley motor. Harold Green and Hap Shaughnessy tip their hats to you. No matter how impossible or improbable the claim, if Hap can claim to have done it, he will. He says he helped you a lot but not as much as Sally has.

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    • Yeah. If any sweat, skill, strength or competence is required, I can rely on Sal. Electrically, I have James, my nephew. I have the hammer down pat.

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  4. What do you think the boat and motor weigh? Because the funicular looks an awful lot like a marine railway.

    This sounds obvious, but, make sure the UP button is the upper button, and the DOWN button is the lower button.

    Do not expect to get feathers when you push the DOWN button.

    Very good job. When are the human rider trials?

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    • Sally’s boat with her in it and all the usual groceries is pushing 1000 pounds. My boat with me in it and a do-nut is pushing ten tons. So, I am not eligible. We may try using hers in a drive-on manner but it is an easy ‘swing-the-stuff’ out of the boat maneuver and we did have to load it all at the other end so that part of the schlep is OK. I think we will use it as a dumb-waiter and let it go at that. Maybe pull Sal’s boat up for the winter when we go away. I already have two big logs, like runways, down at the other beach for my boat.

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    • As soon as any decent humans show up, we may test it on them but, as of now, no one around here qualifies. Yeah…I am very careful of the up and down button. No limit switches installed yet. Part of the tweaks-to-come. I estimate the ‘truck’ (cart) and cable, chains, wheels and attached ‘top’ deck to weigh in at about 700-750 pounds. Estimate based on my current ability to lift the parts assembled. Each of the long 8 foot bases pieces was in excess of 120 pounds. Cross members about 100 each. Then the long diagonal at 150. What do you mean ‘get feathers’?

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    • Not as much as you would think. About 7 amps at 240 v. I generate DC power at the solar array, pump it into the batteries at 50 or so volts and then ‘invert’ that to 120 AC. Then we take that 120 AC (single phase) and run that through a transformer to 240 volts. Still with me? That 240 single phase gets ‘fooled’ by a motor controller (Siemens unit on the top section and Hitachi unit on the bottom)which turns it into three phase. I have a 1.5 hp 240 volt 3-phase motor turning an old rebuilt Tulsa winch with 3/8″ heavy galvanized cable. So, any sunny day will make it go up and down.

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      • Actually.Thats an excellent question. Are you able to “transfer” to generator power if needed? Or would that require some rewiring? Or can you “boost” your batteries with the “gennie”?

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      • It would be easier to just ‘boost’. My genset provides 240 but single phase so I would have to wire it in at a special place and all that. Easier to boost.

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  5. Wow!!! That is an occasion to celebrate. Scotch maybe! I can hear your knees thanking you from here. Will see it for myself in two weeks.

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  6. So?
    Now that you’ve mastered the building of the Funicular are you going to build docks with powered ramps….a la BC Ferries?
    Watch out because if BC Ferries tries to expropriate your little operation there….before you know it….Sal will be in the Ferry Workers Union and her quilting days will be over ( or improved, depending on your experience with ferry workers)……

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  7. C’mon, are you still out there playing with that thing? Time to get back in here and commentate on some of Dear Leader’s transgressions whilst she’s out to lunch, I mean in the Orient.

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  8. Congratulations you two!!! As I was there at the beginning laying rocks and cement for the first steps leading from the water to the proposed construction site, seeing power take over from the ‘brute strength and ignorance’ method is truly a momentous occasion. You guys should be very proud!!!!

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    • Hey! For the record: we have become even more brute-like and ignorant. Sal is covered with hair now and just grunts. I just swing a club and dream about Rae Dawn Chong. We are still regressing.

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