When the moon hits your eye

Lately I’ve been hitting the streets during the late hours to get in a few miles on my bike. You might think this is a bit crazy, but so far I’ve found that the later that I go that the safer I feel. Traffic at 11:00pm on the secondary streets is much lower than during the day and after 1:00am is almost non-existent even on the main roads. That late at night the weather is perfect for riding too because the heat of the day is over and it has had a chance to cool off allowing for a rather pleasant ride. My average in town ride has been 25 miles and each time I’ve followed a slightly different path. Depending on my motivation there are routes I can go that are pretty much flat and easy or I’ve got the choice to push myself and take on some wicked gnarly hills should I want to.(west from Galloway station up towards Home Depot particularly sucks). I’ve been tracking my rides with a really cool cyclemeter app on my iPhone to show speed, distance, route and a number of other stats. Cool to know how many calories you’ve burnt or the amount of ascent/descent in a ride or just see your average speed.

I started piecing together a bike back around April so I could go riding with my buddy Greg. I way overpaid for the frame after finding it on CL offered by a hoarder up in Strafford. At the time I was just trying to find a bike of the same model as the Trek that I had just sold a couple years ago after I had failed to continue riding after a short lived bit of motivation to get back into biking. I decided I may as well just sell it, which was a terrible choice considering it was in immaculate condition and had pretty decent components as well. What can I say I was an idiot and some dude got a great bargain.

Well anyways after I got home with this new frame I inspected it a little closer and realized just how much I had overpaid the previously mentioned hoarder. The crank sprockets were bent and had dug into the aluminum frame gnarling it all up, the components were junk and just the overall condition of it was complete crap. I felt like just quietly admitting defeat and throwing it into the dumpster, but instead I decided to sink a bit more cash into it and try to salvage the situation. I stripped everything off; the bars, cranks, brakes, levers, shifters and anything else that would come loose. Then I started researching exactly the components my old bike would have had and began scouring online bike shops and ebay for each piece. The Shimano Exage brake levers that release the wheels by pressing a little button which gives slack to the brake line weren’t the easiest to locate, but I ended up finding them on ebay from a bike shop in France for only 20 bucks. The triple front crank from the Shimano RX100 series was kind of a pain to find too and when I did find one it came as part of a set so I ended up with a couple duplicate items. In the end though I was able to find all the parts I needed, but before I put them on I had to address the frame which still looked like garbage. So I began to sand…and sand…and sand. Eventually I turned to my dad’s electric drill and a wire brush to speed up the process a little. (as a side note wire brushes tend to shed/shoot their little wires everywhere during the process. For three months following I’ve been finding them with my bare feet still embedded into the carpet in my apartment) With the old paint stripped off I took her down to mom & dad’s to clean, prime and paint. Considering this is only the second thing I’ve ever painted in my life I’m actually quite pleased with the outcome. I went with a green pretty similar to Sweet Pea and after the guys at Sunshine bike got everything put back on for me and the bars wrapped with yellow tape it looks pretty freaking sick if I do say so myself…which I do.

So anyways I’ve been using nocturnally themed names for each of the different night time rides I’ve done so far.
Midnight Club
Night Burn
SPF 1000
Goodnight Moon

Riding 20 or 30 miles is fun, but it’s also been immensely fun riding down to the store instead of driving or riding in to work a few times. It’s good to be a bit more active especially with all this extra beard weight.

Johnny Popper and Ms. Allis

Friday Dad and I were moving tractors around to free up some room in their carport for my newest family member Lemondrop. Amazingly enough Dad has the magical touch and we almost almost had the John Deere started just from cranking over the flywheel. Close, but no cigar though and we ended up having to pull it out with the Allis and pop the clutch while being towed to get it going. Mom was shocked, Cassie was fearfully curious and dad was pumped. I took plenty of pictures and video to document it all since this is probably the last time we’ll have her started up and running.

Download video: MP4 | Ogg | WebM

Utah…t you tah a Fiat?

7 states
2534 miles
94 hours
60 mph
172.19 Gallons at 616.44 dollars
4 nights sleeping outside
5 bags of pistacchios
1 tow bar
2 beards
=1974 Fiat 128

From June 2-6 I drove out to Salt Lake City and back to pickup another Fiat 128. I already had some vacation time saved up that I needed to use or lose and this car popped up a couple months ago so this was as good an opportunity as any to travel a bit, visit a couple states I haven’t been to before and pickup another Fiat. The car itself wasn’t in as good of condition as I’d hoped, but I suppose I should just expect every Fiat to be worse than I’ve imagined it or the owner has described it. I took the tires off Sweet Pea(my 72 128) and I had planned on unhooking the axles from it once I got there in order to tow it, but quite honestly once I got there I thought it wasn’t worth the hassle and I’d just tow her as is. Not necessarily the best or recommended method for a four wheel tow, but I had to be realistic about it and it would have taken me more hours that I didn’t want to spend to get it done. So screw it, it’s not like it’s a Dino, this is just a little Italian bread box. Maybe next time I’ll just take a trailer…or maybe next time I won’t drive to SLC at all.

Wyoming was by far my favorite state on the way out and in particular the city of Laramie. I had gone on a slow incline up interstate 80 when just after a national park the road began it’s descent over 5 or 6 miles down into the valley where Laramie is situated. Seeing the city suddenly emerge from the peaks and spread out like a blanket on the valley floor brought to mind how I’d pictured Laketown in the Hobbit to have looked, minus the lake of course, eerily similar though the way the city sits in isolation from the rest of the world. When entering the city it seemed very similar to Colorado Springs where we spent a week last summer. A very relaxed town, cooler weather still at the beginning of summer and all sorts of interesting things to discover in the area. I can definitely see myself going back to visit Laramie. I spent the night about an hour past Laramie near Elk Mountain for the most relaxing night of the trip; pulled back near a national forest area, a full moon, and no sound of civilization.

I arrived in SLC on Monday afternoon. Brandon, the seller, and I worked for a few hours to get the car ready to tow. He was immensely helpful getting the tow bar fastened to the bumpers and helping just in general getting her ready for the long haul. We shared a couple of beers, well 3% Utah beers if that’s really a beer, talked about cars, life and generally had a very pleasant afternoon. I had thought about staying at Camelot hostel that night, but decided to forgo it and just get back on the road. BTW traffic around SLC is thick.

I then turned my gaze towards home. Monday night I spent the night by a river near Lyman, WY and Tuesday night I crashed just west of Wakeeny, KS. The night near Wakeeny in particular was especially nice and quiet. As I woke up there were deer in the fields on both sides of me and the golden color of the wheat was slowly being brought to light by the rising sun. On the way back I even came across Westfall which reminded me of World of Warcraft so I had to stop and take a look. It was so close in appearance to the Westfall from the game that I’m almost certain this little town is the namesake for the location in the game.

Finally after hours and hours on the road and drawing nearer to home I spied a motorcycle in the rear view mirror which ended up being my parents coming back from their trip to Arkansas. After having traveled 2500 miles we both arrived at their place within 10 minutes of one another.

An interesting trip, though maybe just a bit too long for my liking. I’m supposed to go back there later this summer with some guys from Emmaus, but I’m not sure I feel like going back at all.