Sunday, November 25, 2007

Back home

This migration was much more pleasant than the one last year, despite the fact that I didn't get to do what I'd set out to do (a particular loop trail). Part of it was a cute-as-a-button Asian REI chick who rolled into the campground on the same day I did on a dual-sport motorcycle. She'd bought the motorcycle, strapped on some saddlebags, strapped her sleeping bag and tent onto the luggage rack, and simply set out for the desert. But really, I'm about twenty years too old for that kind of action, so I mostly just warned her that the multitudes of proposed rides that the swarm of male dual-sport riders around her were proposing were probably a bit, uhm, over-aggressive, for someone who'd never ridden a motorcycle offroad before. Given that her initial reaction to anything that sounded like adventure was "Sure!", somebody had to be the voice of reason there :-}.

Anyhow, one reason I got back so late is because I had to do surgery to my mule in the parking lot of the hotel where I stayed last night. On my morning checkout, I added 1/3rd of a quart of oil to bring it back up to the top of the window, filled the chain oiler with oil, and eyeballed the chain. I was primarily looking to see if I needed to turn the flow up or down on the chain oiler, but that was when I spotted that the master link had lost its clip.

Luckily (well, no luck involved) I had a chain riveter and a couple of rivet-type master links in my bags. That of course required kicking one of my side bags under the skid plate to get the back tire off the ground so I could loosen the axle nut and chain adjuster and shove the tire forward to make some slack. Then I discovered that my brand-new chain riveter required a size wrench that I didn't have in my tool pouches. Luckily a dirt-bike rider that I'd talked with earlier saw me sitting there with tools and parts spread out around me and offered the services of a large pair of channel-lok pliers, which did the trick. I popped off the old link with just a quick squeeze of the pliers (eep!), fiddled with the tool to press on the side plate and mushroom the rivet heads, voila. Well, almost. Took about an hour altogether to do all this and get everything back together and packed. Which put me right into the middle of the holiday traffic.

Heated vests are great, BTW. Coming up I-5, it got a bit nippy. But plug in the vest and put some heat to the trunk, and the cold air hitting my face as it swirled up under the nose of my helmet was bracing, rather than uncomfortable. Much better than dressing up like the Michelin Man, because this adds heat to your body, rather than just preserve whatever heat your body is already producing.

Anyhow, gotta go. The cats had plenty of food, but are meowing for some additional attention. I don't want to make them too unhappy. That might not be good for this penguin's health :-).

-- Badtux the Migratory Penguin

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