Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The longest yards or Backing Miss Boler.

Arriving at home, the last step in my trip was to park the new baby in the garage. Our road can be a little busy at the best of times but it was a Friday afternoon and in general the traffic was light. However, I had forgotten about the telephone pole on one side of the drive and the street sign on the other flank. Carefully waiting until the street was clear, I pulled across the road in an attempt to line up the Boler for a straight run back. No luck and of course the road suddenly filled with angry traffic so back around the block for another go.  After another couple of attempts were thwarted by traffic I thought "Screw it" and parked the trailer on the road by the drive, planning on further attempts later, perhaps at night when there was no traffic. I still had plates to get so I cranked down the front support, unhitched the trailer and moved the car.

Now a brainwave or an attack of the stupids took place and I lifted the tongue of the trailer. Yes - I lifted the front of the trailer by hand. Did it hurt? Yes - but it didn't kill me and I was able to get the Boler into the drive. After tea and muscle recuperation time. I tackled the next step - getting the Boler into the garage to be able work on it and so we could park the car in the drive.

My garage door is 83" high and the Boler is - you guessed it 85" high over the roof vents. There are those who say studying history is a waste of time. I disagree. Tucked away in the back of my brain was a historical factoid that aircraft manufacturers in WWII England were faced with the same problem when moving bomber airframes from one factory to another for completion. The road between the factories had a bridge just too low for the frames to pass under. The solution - let the air out of the tires of the trailer. So - all that air I had just put in manually came out with a whoosh and in the Boler slid. I will have to make up some shop wheels on old rims for future use.

The last step was to get the official plates. All I wish to say on this is that
  1. the VIN for the Boler apparently belonged to a home-built trailer registered to a dead man.
  2. some ministry of transport employees are very, very helpful indeed.

Driving Miss Boler - the long road home

Once we had finalized the paperwork for our new baby, the problem was how to get it home.

The first problem was with the electrical connector. We had an OEM hitch and wiring harness installed on our Forester - cost more than doing it myself but worth it from the safety perspective. The OEM harness came with a flat 4 pin connector and the Boler has a 7 pin round connecter. A problem easily solved by a quick trip to Canadian Tire. But...... 7 pin on the vehicle and 4 on the trailer - no problem. Four on the vehicle and 7 on the trailer like I have? Sorry don't make them. So pair of connectors and a couple of wiring diagrams later and I made one up myself. Loading my test gear and extra wire and other bits into the Subaru and off I went.

Fifty minutes later and I arrive at the Boler's old home. I hooked up the adapter and everything worked first time. After checking all lights three times and duct taping the ersatz adapter to the frame, I was ready for the next step.

Being a thinking ahead (read paranoid) type, I expected that the tires were a little low after sitting all winter. Sure enough each was 10-15 pounds under suggested rating. Many minutes and two sore arms later, they were back up to minimum pressure using a hand pump. A 12 volt compressor is going on the Christmas list this year.

With working lights and good tires all that was left was to get her home. Aligning the hitches went smoothly as did hooking up the safety chains. And off we went. What can I say? There was a tiny bit of lag in acceleration and certainly I knew I had extra weight when braking otherwise the trip home was very smooth. The last 20 feet was another issue all together.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Our Gift to Us

For our 20th Wedding Anniversary we wanted to do something really special.  As we have entered our "mature" years, we decided that camping in a tent was no longer the enjoyable past time it used to be.  On the other hand we could just skip camping all together and go on a trip far away to a foreign land....but of course after our foreign adventure we would still return to friends and camping opportunities....and a tent.

So we decided to invest in something for camping that was NOT a tent.  We thought about a tent trailer, but canvas is not water tight, and one of the things I have always hated about camping  is those late nights of listening to heavy rain hitting the top of the tent and wondering and waiting for the first leaks! This does not make for a restful sleep.  It was finally decided that we would get a hard fibreglass trailer.

Next we needed to decide on size.  We are light packers to begin with, so we really did not need something with all the amenities - like a livingroom with hydralic walls that opened out to give you even more room.  Then we saw the Boler trailers.  Compact, fibreglass and Canadian made.  Small and compact and easy to move.  Lovely.

Fun fact - the inventor named his trailer the Boler because it reminded him of a bowler hat.  How perfect for a couple of steampunks.  Thence the name of our blog Victorian Bo(w)ler.

On March 25 we found our dream Boler.  By the next day we had paid for it, had it registered and licensed and home!

And here she is

Say hello to our little friend.... until next time.