Pounding Tires in Southern Cali

in ecoTrain2 months ago (edited)

Okay, I know, I could not help myself, I just had to do it: pack some more tires with dirt, so I could write a post about it. And why not, right? Gotta get my kicks some way... However, the more interesting question remains: WHY??? How did this happen? And is there a story behind it all?


A Story Yet to Be Told

It's no easy to explain how I got here onto this property on the edge of the country, literally a stone's throw from the infamous border fence. It is somehow connected to the Subaru Driving Adventure back in June, as well as to some fabulous and amazing plans I'm dreaming up with some friends in Los Angeles. The latter might in fact turn into something truly spectacular, so don't despair if you feel I've abandoned posting on Hive. If things go well, all this should be caught up on with some audiovisual treats. Until then... here is this benign post about tires.

Building a House Single Handedly

So anyway, no matter what events led up to it, I am finding mmyself planing and constructing a small building in the California desert. To be xact, it's supposed to become a timber-framed cob studio with a coregated metal roof. It is small enough not to need a building permit, and as basic and primitive as I can get. Well, primitive is taken in a good sense here, meaning without water, plumbing, or electricity.


However, my pedantic self won't let me do a half-assed job on the foundation. So I decided to use some of the old tires in the many trash heaps on this property to raise a two-course wall, on which the rest of the structure is going to stand. All around those walls I dug a trench, just in case some havy rains may bestow a sudden blessing of water on us.

Me, Myself, and I

It's a completely new experience being the one and only worker on the site. The person I'm doing this for is also present, but she is more like a very supportive spectator, encouraging me with kind words and delicious food. Even though the building is miniscule compared to anything else I have worked on, having to tackle the entire load on my own makes it seem so much bigger.


And yes, once again I won't get to finish it. My permission to stay in the US is only valid until mid September. Until then I really would like to have a roof on the place. Then when I'm gone she wants to fill in the walls with cob, little by little, and evntually even put in some doors and windows. For now, I can progress at my own pace, and enjoy getting a thorough physical workout durin the dog-days of Summer.

A Wonderous Location

While I can't give too much details on the construction as yet, let me make up for it by introducing this amazing place: It's quite remote, somewhere between San Diego and El Centro, literally in walking distance from the Mexican border. The landscape is dominated by giant boulders and scragly vegetation. The climate is dry and hot, especially now during the hottest time of the year.


The site specifically is a six-acre plot, which used to be the home of two old men who died here not long ago. Intheir last years (depending on how you look at it) they let things go quite a bit, and as a result we found the property covered in trash. However, under layers of the nastiest filth imaginable, we got to uncover a number of interesting tools. One of these is an antique jackhammer from 1945.


It's almost like each item creates its own project, all while I'm busy at the worksite. So in a way, this place will keep us busy for some time. In fact, if I had the same connectivity as even in Mazunte, I might even publish a post about each item. As it turns out, I have never had worse network connections. Two sim-cards in my phone, one Mexican and one from the US, and usually I am roaming on both ends, with a provider from the other side of the border. Oh, and forget about WiFi! So for now, here are some pics of this wonderful place. Enjoy, because who knows when I'll be posting again.


Wow, seems you have been busy. What an interesting place!!! It'd be great to stay long enough to see it to completion. I'm sure we will get full story one day.

One day, hehehe! That's what I have been saying all this time when I realize how abysmal the network connections are here. As for now, I'd rather get dirty and keep my device use to a minimum.

That sounds like a better option anyway! Get out there in the dirt and life, screw tech!

oh my god! mate ! wow.. there arent many people who know what hard work it is to pound tyres solo.. normally its minimum a two person endeavour.. Respect!!! Amazing to see this happen.. i was hoping you would do something again soon ;-)..

THANJ you also for documenting what you are doing,.. i think it really important..and i for one will be watching and learning what you do!

best of luck, and ALL power to you!

oh and.. i thought id ask.. I made a video recently of an 'easy way' pound tyres when working solo.. I personally thing its really good, but id LOVE to see what you think! It lets you ditch that big hammer for nearly the whole thing.. IF you feel like it id be super stoked if you tried one tyre like this.. id be really curious to have your feedback and if you think its any good..

heres the vid if your up for it!

much love, i smile when i see you do this.

Hello @eco-alex! Thank you so much for your reply. Yes, I remember watching your tire video when you posted it, but I thought I'd go right ahead and immerse myself in studying your tchnique. On the tiny building site I'm actually done with the tire part, as it is going to be a timber-framed cob / adobe construction with tirefoundation. However, I wanted to share my own detailed impression, so I took an unused tire, and applied your technique to filling it.

So before even picking up a hammer, I used a crowbar to lift up the edge, and push the dirt inside. That is actually something I have been doing anyway. The difference is, I tend to use the sledgehammer to lift up the edge while standing, using my feet to kick the dirt inside the tire. Steel toed work boots kinda offer themselves for this, and to be honest, I don't like to keep bending down and up again.

Rocks are a great resource, as you've shown so well. In fact, they deserve their own paragraph, if not chapter, in the tire pounding handbook. In Mazunte, where they're abound we've used them just like you have, to get the dirt around them even more compact. For some reason, the rocks around here tend to be giant boulders, but when it comes to hand size rocks, they are quite scarce. So I didn't really use that technique here.

Finally, there is a rubber mallet I found in this trash-filled shop, and I tried using it like you demonstrated with the smaller hammer. It works all right, but once again, I don't like getting down so low. I prefer swiniging the sledgehammer. Previously, I liked the 8 or 10 lbs ones, as I didn't need to actually sing it, just using its own weight as it fell diagonally every time I lifted it waist high. This time, the only sledgehammer at my disposal was a smalle 6 lbs one, which wanted to be swung. I obliged, and ended up compacting the dirt quite well, as long as I made sure to aim well.

All in all, I must say that your technique of solo tire-pounding works just as well as mine, and in fact tires can be filled by one person without a problem. Obviously the tools we have at our disposal affect it greatly, as does our personal preference. Time wise, it didn't take me longer than 30 minutes to fill a 225 tire using your technique, so I guess it's about the same. I did not bother with the leveling, though.

Thanks once again for sharing, and sorry that it took so long to even post my response. This is the second version, by the way, as the first one vanished somewhere in this mess of connectivity I'm dealing with here.

thank you SO much for this feedback.. really helps! yeah i do like sitting on the floor whilst i work and bending over.. TOTALLY get that you prefer to stand.. you definatley make it work!

my only comment is that i didnt use a rubber hammer.. its a good metal hammer but smaller.. that is maybe worth mentioning

thanks again for trying.. really good to know it works as well as the traditional approach!
glad u finished, well done!!

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