good footings


For the last year we have been slowly replacing all of the customized Wagon Stations with new “stock” Wagon Stations that are available for people involved in activities at AZ West to stay in.  And while expanding the Wagon Station encampment it also became time to address the never ceasing issue with wind.  Even though four strong people can barely lift one of these units, our desert windstorms have managed to flip and smash them on an ongoing basis.


About two months ago TK engineered a new footing and a tie down system – along with fasteners on the hatch and back entry door.  So far they have weathered at least two fairly fierce windstorms and nothing has flipped yet… fingers crossed!


Wagon Station Update

IMG_6363While the billboards were being painted in the clean space, and Lay of my Land” was being fabricated in the center sculpture studio, there was yet another work simultaneously coming together in the studio’s “flex” space… where seven customized Wagon Stations, recently extracted from the land A-Z West, were assembled to prepare them for a journey to Stockholm, Sweden.  And as soon as that group left the studio  TK and Ernie began work on seven brand new units.  These will be  positioned out in the desert later this month, when Tova, our first Swedish resident, comes to stay in one for a month as part of the Magasin 3 project.

Long Haul

110318_0022What is the opposite of a quick fix?  Whatever you want to call it, that is the long saga of trying to repair three wagon stations after they were demolished by the wind in February of 2008.  Yesterday TK fastened new aluminum and lexan to the hoods.  Before that was a string of work performed by at least seven different people to get them to their current state.  and a few times we even had to backtrack and do things over again, such as when newly repaired panels were blown out a second time by the wind while they were still sitting on the studio patio. (just one more reason why the indoor studio is going to be such an improvement)

AndreaAndDavid_PhotoByD.Dodge_0577Here is the Wagon Station in it’s original glory – a luxurious doublewide…   until it flipped by the wind (below) and then another windstorm hit a day later , breaking it down even further, scattering the pieces all over A-Z West.

DSC01833Finally, by the end of yesterday, two of the units have their shiny new hoods are ready for detailing…


Automatic Door Opener

Thomas traveled to A-Z West from NY, in part to make progress on the Wagon Station Vacation this weekend.   On Saturday he rigged up this experimental door opener for the drop down front hatch.  The hatch is tricky because it was originally designed to open upward, but Jonas re-engineered it to drop down so that it can function as steps or seating.  The only problem with this is that the entire thing is ungodly heavy and two very strong people can barely open and close it.  Thomas has been trying to figure out a fool-proof (non people squashing) mechanism so that one person can safely open and close the door.  Right now the verdict is still open between the pulley system shown here, hydraulic lift system that TKs dad might be able to engineer, and some sort of a boat winch.

New Rain Visor for Hauptman Wagon Station

On Tuesday TK Smith put the new rain visor on the Hauptman Wagon Station.  The station was originally customized by Jonas Hauptman (who super-sized his station by adding extra sections) but when Jonas left california to pursue a job opportunity the structure began to languish in the desert elements.  Now Thomas Stevenson has stepped up to overhaul the unit and turn it into a “Wagon Station Vacation” where people can stay when they visit A-Z West.  On his last visit Thomas cut new floor boards and sealed the with spar varnish – the new “visor” should help stop the rain from leaking in and rotting out the shiny new floor.