Making a Lift Portable:
When I returned to biking and kayaking I realized I was going to have to come up with a way to make my lift portable. Someone had given me an old Invacare Hydrolic Lift which he no longer needed. One thing nice about the old lift is that the chains allow for adjusting your height and it can lower you all the way to the ground. What I did was design the apparatus you see below and had it constructed by a local welder. The square tube slides into the trailer hitch on my van and is secured in place with the draw pin. Welded on the other end is a piece of pipe slightly larger than the diameter of the tube which makes up the base of the Invacare crane. There is a screw device on the welded pipe which allows us to tighten the crane in place. In the picture below you can see an iron angle brace which strengthens the pipe.
We have since (2010) sold the van and have a smaller one that does not have a trailer hitch. The adaptive piece, however, fits a regular trailer hitch on any SUV or truck. In the bottom right picture I'm being lowered into a sled for a dogsled ride.
Recently, our van has had an unusal "trailer hitch mounted to it. See An Alternative Hitch/Lift Adaption