Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Joys of Manual Labor

Happy New Year all! It's been a couple weeks since I've posted anything, but I haven't been sitting idle. Well that's not entirely true. But I have done some work.

I'm still waiting on batteries. And while there are still a few things I could be doing on the car before they arrive, I've been tackling a far more glamorous job. Trenching! We are the second owners of this house, and as astounding as it may be to believe, the owners that had the house built did not have any 22o Volt outlets installed in the garage. What sort of uncivilized cretin neglects to run a 22o Volt circuit to a garage!? That should be standard fare. The optional upgrade should be whether you want three phase power or not.

Anyway, if I want to charge the car in a reasonable amount of time, I need to feed it some 220. Running the power from the service panel (which, as Murphy would dictate, is on the opposite side of the house) to the garage has proved to be no small task. Running the line through the attic was simply not an option. It's sad to say that the best option left to me was to trench it in.

Code states that it must be 18" below ground in conduit. For those of you who don't live in Arizona, a 25 foot trench 18" deep is likely a days work. But here, we have this fantastic soil called caliche. For those of you unfamiliar with it, just imagine granite that's brown and dusty and you'd be close. It's actually soil in which the particles have been cemented together with lime. Swing a pick at it, and it bounces off.

Being that all of this work had to take place near existing power lines, phone lines, cable/internet lines and water lines, I just didn't feel using a jack hammer was a good plan. And yes, it's not uncommon to use a jack hammer on this stuff. So, pick and shovel it is. Here's shot of the trench coming from the service panel toward the front of the yard.

Then here's the trench running along the front of the house.

That palm tree to the left provided us with an astounding number of roots which made the work just that much more fun. Last, here's a shot of what will likely be the best part of the whole affair; the area where we have to go under the front walkway.

The walkway is 36" wide and we have to get the pipe under it while making sure that it remains at least 18" under ground. I got a garden auger bit for my drill that's 30" long. I'm hoping that the auger bit, plus an extension will get us there. If I'm lucky, there are no discarded roof tiles or chunks of concrete left under there by the workers that built the house.


Gam0ra said...

I know this'll sound crazy, but did you know you can rent a ditch witch from Home Depot and a truck to haul it in? And I've been told they cut through caliche just fine.

Tim Catellier said...

They do. And power lines, water lines, phone lines, etc. Since I wasn't 100% sure where all those things were, I didn't want to find out the bad way. Besides, I could use the exercise :)

Gam0ra said...

Ah, a fine point. Clearly a side scanning ground radar needs to be cheaply rentable.

Tim Catellier said...

Oh, how sweet would that be! I don't think I'd need a project like this to justify renting that equipment.

Gam0ra said...

Hell yeah...Pirate Treasure!