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Tuesday, March 19, 2013


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A pleasant weather day in Columbia, North Carolina today...low lying fog with misting liquid sunshine early on, changing to clear skies with zephyr winds allowing warm afternoon.  Had the pleasure of joining Karen cleaning out her flower garden...nice to have dirt under fingernails again.

SAM is essentially complete.  Fashioned a tubular rigid rectangular frame held together with wrist-band type VELCRO.  Stretched over the frame is original oil cloth refitted to suit the new frame.  The oil cloth cover / side panels, are installed with more of the same VELCRO, allowing quick-disconnect to fold back the rain cover for internal access.

The two white boxes are plastic sized to hold a one-gallon water bottle; i.e., when crossing open range land and deserts, can carry two gallons plus a half dozen 20 oz water bottles (smaller 20 oz bottles are stored on internal shelf-supported plastic dish-pan type containers.

SAM opened up for internal access.  The silver tubes hold the quick-release VELCRO firmly holding the rain proof cover in place.

This photograph shows SAM already carrying the tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, and two of six small waterproof carry bags.  The small bags are designated for like items, such as:  medicines/cosmetics; socks & underwear; electrical items; spare shirt and pants.  Computer has it's own insulated carry-on type bag which fits snugly against the side of the carry chamber.

Was able to re-mount SAM and ME plastic sign.

The small wheels are mounted in "U" frames with Pintal shafts.  Lift them out of the mounting plate...reinsert them into the bottom of the plate...provides back-up pivoting front wheels.

Original design structure carries the entire load suspended on thick plastic mold plates.  I have added thick walled extruded aluminum square on each side, mounted directly onto the rear axle...reaching in one piece to the front axle; i.e., SAM's load is carried directly on the axles.  Cross tubing members add support in the center of the floor.

SAM is provided with excellent suspension which takes additional shock loading.  In the early days of walking, the main axle broke while walking...due to excessive weight.  Discovered the factory used an extruded alu. axle with drilled brake mounting holes dead center...the location of the axle failure.

Contacted the Canadian factory, discovering they have a heavy-duty axle without the drilled holes.  Purchased two new axles (one spare).  SAM has performed beautifully on the first heavy duty axle...but still carry the spare along just in case.

The front wheel has a bicycle-type calliper brake.  Each rear wheel is provided with bell-crank type activation of honest-to-goodness shoe brakes.  I have added a positive stop (another of my VELCRO bands) to hold the shoe brake lever (one lever activates both brakes simultaneously) tightly closed...a definite secure parking brake.

SAM from the rear.  I have added the two shelves and the second (one on top) pushing handle (also serves as rain cover mounting frame installed yesterday).

These shelves provide space for plastic pans (tied down with wire ties) to carry miscellaneous items...snacks, water bottles, flashlight, maps, spare gloves, utensils, etc.  The "bag" at the bottom contains eight (8) Butane Bottles for my Butane stove, which is carried in the forward chamber.

SAM's recent makeover has eliminated ALL electrical items...but has also given up considerable storage space.   Have therefore, eliminated at least 40% of original provisions...mostly clothing and electronics...

SAM is now a lean mean green machine.  Must be pushed 100% of the time...except on down grades, where she requires some considerable restraint to keep her from gaining too much speed.  Reduction of over 150 pounds of "stuff" should help me hold her back descending the many 8% 5-mile long hills crossing the Allegheny - West Virginia - mountains.

We shall soon see.

Karen has set up the procedures for SAM's new "Donation" Button.  Hope to have it installed in the next day or two.


Annie Keithline said...

Way to go, Bruce! I'm happy to hear you're going out on the road again. Love from Pensacola - Annie

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