Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Snow!

This morning I stepped out to perhaps the deepest snow we've had so far this winter. It began falling, or being blown sideways at least, last night around ten o'clock or so. We had gone home at six to find the house completely dark because power was out. So, we promptly headed back out to Abby's, a pizza place where Tig and her parents were having dinner. Jamie played Magic by phone while I watched the outside world turn white.

video
Watch the snow blowing!

Snow starting to stick.

We went to bed by candle light all snuggled up with our puppies. I have new cozy pajamas from a really nice lady at work that were the perfect thing, too. At 1 am I woke up to all the lights coming back on and we had to turn them off again.

In the morning, I wasn't sure I'd be able to ride my bike. It was surprising to find everything under the porch covered in snow because of the fierce winds.

Decorated with winter.

Some parts were as high as the snow on my jeans, and that's just outside the porch.

The ride to work went just fine, if slower than usual. I was worried about falling, but it didn't happen. The roads were covered in a layer of ice with snow packed over it, all packed down fairly smoothly. I only had trouble trying to accelerate after stopping at a stop sign because my rear wheel I think was spinning. My starts were more of a hop-along-and-go type rather than a stand-on-a-pedal-and-go thing. 



As I passed my best friend and co-worker, instead of saying good morning on the loudspeaker, I'm pretty sure she was yelling at me. She refused to let me bike home. Instead, we went to WalMart together. She got some things for a party later this year, and I got a bike chain for Chainless. Now he can really be like his namesake Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon (who wasn't toothless at all!).

I paid for the chain with money from taking all the recycling to the local Thunderbird grocery store yesterday morning before it got so windy. I found out how to lay the seat completely flat so I can use all the space in my little bike trailer.

I can understand why she might have been worried for my safety, I suppose.

I am creating deck boxes with beaded decorations for the local game store. I'm nearly out of beads, though, and bad planning had me leave some of them at home when we went to the store today. I ended up watching Aladdin and The Little Mermaid with the owner's daughter instead.

All in all, I had a good day. How was yours?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Busy Weekend

As promised, last weekend I got to play mechanic with Jamie. Our car needed some tender loving care and a few good whacks with a hammer.

First: some backstory. We moved out to Oregon from Florida back in June with our two dogs and two cars plus whatever would fit inside them. 

We started out by towing the Camaro (1980) on a trailer behind the black car (1995 Caprice 9C1 decommissioned highway patrol car). We made it only as far as Jacksonville before the trailer threw off a wheel. Yes, the entire wheel. They were these strange circular deals with a wedge system instead of normal lug studs. At the time we got the trailer I thought they were really cool. At 4 am searching for the wheel in the dark on the side of a highway, I was not so enthusiastic. To make matters worse, the powerful aluminum jack we had did not have the superpowers required to lift a fully-loaded Camaro and trailer with other stuff loaded in various places in order to get the wheel back onto the trailer once we found it. That meant we had to get the Camaro off of the trailer. The Camaro's battery decided to become junk. We pushed the Camaro off the trailer and detached the trailer so that I could then drive the black car to Walmart (we had lived in this area only a short time ago) to get a new battery. The reason we couldn't just jump off the Camaro was because it didn't have anything at all to clamp cables onto, so I got some cheap posts and things too. We managed to get everything fixed, but we'd had it with the trailer at this point- it was clear that we needed another set-up.

So, my parents came to Jacksonville, which isn't really that far of a drive. Jamie gave the trailer to my dad, and my parents took some other things which we decided really weren't necessary. Jamie and I drove both cars to my twin in South Carolina. We spent a wonderful day with her and installed a tow bar under the Camaro, and the black car towed the Camaro the rest of the way. Even down a super-scary twisty road with mountain on one side and the Cliff of Doom on the other. The black car pretty much burned out its brakes keeping us from dying, and for that, I am of course eternally grateful as well as incredibly impressed. I love the black car like never before.



That brings us to the recent past. The brakes on the black car failed enough so that I was no longer able to drive it. The brake pedal would go down towards the floor quite a bit before you'd actually have any braking action and my legs are not long enough. We replaced a rear brake rotor (is it still called a rotor if you are using the FINS to stop the car with?) and pads on the left side, the right side needed a new caliper before the same could be done on that side because we discovered a leak. Car parts are expensive even if you aren't paying someone for labor, so the black car was driven very sparingly by Jamie for a few months.

Jamie received extra financial aid from school, and we were finally able to finish all that needed doing to get the black car back in proper shape. It needed new tires and an alignment. Jamie likes to tell people we needed new tires because the air was hanging out of ours. 

Basin Tire Service wasn't willing to do an alignment. They were really nice and knowledgeable, the guy showed Jamie exactly which parts of the steering were broken, and even the paint line which proved that the alignment we paid for in Florida before we left had never been done. So, we replaced inner and outer tie rods and their adjusting sleeves on both sides of the car, the center linkage, and one idler arm. This is in addition to the leaking rear brake cylinder and brake pads, both front rotors (they were already too skinny to be machined) and pads that we had planned on. We have discovered a new auto parts store which is now our favorite- O'Reilley Auto Parts. They helped us more than words can convey. We spent Saturday on the front of the car, Sunday on the rear, and finally Monday the alignment was completed. We celebrated with a car wash and a movie.

Without further ado, pictures!

Old and new front brake rotors.

You might notice the new one doesn't have a center bearing...

Hand-packing grease into a bearing. Ewwwwww. 
Grandad, yes it is better to hand-pack them. The one that had been greased with the gun rattled when we pulled it out.

Yay shiny!

 ((For those who are not mechanically inclined at all and have had no idea what I was talking about- cars can have drum brakes where pushing your brake pedal makes pieces squeeze outward into the walls of the drum to slow you down, or disc brakes that are like on a bicycle (major simplification). With disc brakes you press on the brake pedal and two brake pads sometimes called shoes squeeze both sides of the disc, or rotor. In the last picture above, the pads would go between those two brackets on the top right of the circle sandwiching the flat part of the rotor. Of course the wheel goes on over all that and the lug nuts hold it to the studs poking out.
The pieces of steering I mentioned before are all the bars that connect one wheel to the other so that both of them go the same direction and you can steer the car. An alignment is sort of a fine-tuning of how those pieces all fit together. You don't want your tires angled funny or leaning because then your tires will become worn very early in one spot instead of nice and evenly over a long time. Also, not having tires evenly on the ground means that you aren't fully on the road, affecting acceleration, turning, braking, everything. It's pretty important.))

Some snow just in time to test the new tires.

Yesterday's beautiful rainbow



Friday, February 17, 2012

Broken, Bike and Immune System

Yesterday marks the first day all week that I've felt better since waking up with a fever Monday and calling out of work for both the morning and afternoon bus routes. It felt so much better that I actually got out the table and set everything up for some sewing. I would have taken pictures, but honestly I am fairly certain that even if I labeled things, you would not really make sense of things. I know this because I can barely make sense of things! I am beginning to need to piece together pieces because I am running out of fabric, but if I can pull it off, the Jamiejacket will be up there with my couch cover in complicated and great projects.

I have ridden my bike only a little bit this week too, which is mainly due to me not being able to breathe or move without feeling weak and achy. I rode in one morning, then ended up getting car rides home and back to work, then getting a car ride home again with the bike on the rack. Then another day I rode in, then the bike rode home in the bed of my coworker's truck. The one-way bike trips felt worse than not riding at all, like I failed something. I think I could have ridden some of those days, but then again I could easily have worn myself out and perhaps not have gone from very-ill to nearly fine. Now I still have a runny nose and cough, but I haven't needed medicine for it, only tissues and the occassional cough drop for a tickling throat. Yay.

Yesterday's ride was the first full day of biking, but it turned out oddly. I took the green bike to work, figuring that I should make sure it was up to a trip in normal safe weather before I try it out in the snow it is meant for. It is a good thing I did. The bike lights aren't ideal for it, and I'll borrow lights from my roommate's bike rather than swap mine around all the time. I'm worried the screws will strip the set nut out again- they've already been super-glued back in once. I also had to adjust handlebars and seat height more. But the thing really requiring attention now is the chain. It wasn't nearly as rusty as I've seen chains in Florida get, but it failed in spectacular fashion on the way home yesterday morning. 

What's wrong with this picture?

Ironically, it occurred at the exact same stop sign that I tried to launch from when Foreman's axle came loose. I might need to decurse the area or something. 

I tried to take off from the stop and right about in the middle of the road my pedals suddenly spun freely. ZING! I quickly got off (easier than getting off foreman!) and hobbled to the opposite sidewalk to not be in traffic, which was far off anyway. I had to pick up the dragging chain to do so because it tried to roll up and wedge itself in the bike and keep me from moving, so I knew exactly what had happened. I started walking. On downhill parts I would straddle the bike and sort of scooter along, but that is harder than it looks to keep doing. Not having resistance on the pedals is a bit unnerving, but was very handy for when I'd accidentally bump my leg with one- it didn't hurt!

 
It broke.

So Zoomie was very happy to resume duty as my valiant and trusty steed. Her chain mysteriously stopped squeaking entirely and the shifting has been awesome. Even the brakes don't drag as much as they used to, though repeated wrecking has the cable a bit looser than I'd like. Both adjusting barrels into the brake levers are now wedged at odd angles from being whacked on pavement. Today's ride was uneventful, and highly enjoyable as even the weather was better than usual at near 50F.

Jamie has been busy all week first taking care of me, and second with his new video game. On Monday he dragged me out of the house and to Fred Meyers (a store like Walmart). I leaned on a cart like a little old lady the entire time as we looked at things leisurely. We got me Theraflu in a fantastically horrible sickly-sweetened orange flavor that I will be happy never to have to choke down again. I grudgingly admit that it probably is what helped my fever break at the end of that day instead of several days later, but very grudgingly. It was truly horrific. Jamie bought me a chai tea which I sipped as we walked very slowly at my invalid pace though the store. He also ended up buying me a lovely bright red shirt which I wore for Valentine's Day, a purple shirt that I wore for my birthday, and a black and red-checker dress which seems like it would wonderful for hot summer days. I imagined picnics while trying it on. 

I felt well enough to put my hair half-up with a heart and red ribbon on Tuesday, but that feeling didn't even last all morning. It's a good thing the heart fit under my helmet, because I couldn't have done it twice due to feeling awful (which is beside the point anyway since that is the day the bike got carted home on the trunk rack). We ended up watching movies and going to bed early with cuddles, which suited me fine. Jamie spent the first movie playing his new game Twisted Metal. It is really fun to watch because it is a bumper car destruction derby with rockets and all sorts of weaponized mayhem going on. It's like a first-person-shooting game with super-fast vehicles. 

On my birthday I received a House T-shirt from Jamie and a giftcard to JoAnn Fabrics from our roommates. Jamie made cupcakes for me- chocolate ones with a raspberry jam-flavored whipped cream topping. He also made a small cake with the leftover batter, but I literally only wanted one cupcake, so there are a few of them left over and the cake sits in the fridge with them waiting for someone else to eat them.

That brings us to yesterday and the sewing. Jamie beat the game's story line at 4am I think. He's gotten used to the controls enough now that it isn't quite so confusing for me to keep track of the action because he can control his vehicle better (and therefore the camera) so it's more fun to watch. He can usually win the death matches in first place, and I like hearing the other players' reactions in voice chat- they get downright mad and I find it hilarious.

So, things seem to be smoothing out back to normal. I plan to try and work on sewing a lot to get the jacket finished while I feel so grateful to be feeling healthy and able to. The green bike needs a chain, which might mean that I end up adding a bike chain tool to my tiny tool arsenal. I believe both items are inexpensive, just a little more than an inner tube. At some point I'll make a recycling run. I figured out how to make the seat-back lay flat and now the trailer is almost full! 



Neatly bagged cans fit better with no angled seat back splitting the cargo space :)

For now though, I plan to enjoy the three-day weekend. I'll begin with going to bed early as soon as this post publishes, and sleeping in to some obscenely late hour tomorrow. At some point I'll be a mechanic-helper as Jamie fixes the black car. It needs front-end work before it can get an alignment, and of course the brakes will get the attention they badly need. My mom has promised some sort of package that I'm really curious about. It makes me happy to know I have mail coming!

How will you spend the holiday?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Preparing a New Ride

I received yet another bicycle, from a nice gentleman who helped me the day Foreman's axle nut came loose. Every time I tried to pedal, the loose axle would swivel due to the pressure from the chain, and instead of going anywhere, I only succeeded in pulling the rear wheel crooked into the frame. I needed a wrench to fix it, and he had one. After a bit of long-winded conversation, I left with a re-tightened nut and an invitation to check back and see if his wife said yes to give me a green bicycle I had noticed sitting in the driveway. The poor thing had two flat tires and a rusted chain.

Well, I saw the man waving from the window on the way home one morning, and to make another long conversation short, I was of course allowed to take the bike.

I'm beginning to see how a cyclist can easily amass a whole herd of bicycles!

I have removed the studs from Zoomie, and in the process I aired the green bike's tires. One had a puncture from a tiny thorn. A bit of prodding with tweezers caused it to back out without too much fuss, and my new patch kit did not come with Fail included. So both tires were just fine. The rusty chain only has a few stuck links, which I think will work out with just a little bit of regular riding. I had to get Jamie to muscle the bolt for the handlebars loose so I could have room on the stem to put on my headlight. I also adjusted the brake levers to a normal angle and raised the seat too. I like having a nut on only one side to worry about tightening or loosening.

Throughout all of this, I was enjoying a delicious banana daiquiri that Jamie had made for me. It didn't actually have chocolate in it, I think, but he made it delicious anyway. We had just finished watching a chili and chocolate Iron Chef battle.

So, now my new bicycle is ready to take me through the promised snow tomorrow morning. Hopefully those big huge tall treads will not let me fall down easily. If they do, we will stud these tires (the method for knobby tires doesn't endanger the inner tube at all).

Here are some pictures, as requested. Foreman will become Jamie's bicycle, he says he likes the index shifters better than twisty ones.

Foreman in the sunshine. He is named for Red Foreman in That 70's Show for the red bits on him. We got a blue Next bike also when we got Foreman. Both were free from a coworker.

Close-up.

Really annoying brakes. How are you supposed to easily release them to change a flat tire? Also decent knobby tread.

The seat is not as uncomfortable as all Roadmaster seats I've sat on. Perhaps riding Zoomie helps you adjust. After several days I did have some bruising though. I know from experience that would go away after a while.

And the green bike (unnamed so far) from Richard P. Thank you! See the rusty chain?

Apparently she is a Huffy Superia.

Nearly perfect really tall treads.

Another hard seat. I'm sure it will be fine. It looks dusty here for some reason.

The beginning of the snow that this bike is supposed to conquer. Jackjack says it's not so bad.

We'll see how she does tomorrow! I invite everyone to submit their ideas for her name just like we did with Zoomie Noodles. Nothing is too ridiculous, I promise.

Now it's time to finish my drink.
How did you finish out your weekend?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Moving! (again)

My husband and I were recently ready to move out into our own rental house. We both thought it was way past time to stop being squatters at our friend's house: they have let us stay with them since June when we trekked across the country to live out here. We actually did go look at three or four potential homes, and quite a lot more online. We made phone calls, left messages, and scoured craigslist. Somewhere during all of this, naturally the topic of our future popped up. We discussed the general unhappiness we felt even as we were excited to look at places to live by ourselves, and why that might be. We came to the conclusion that we don't want to stay here.

Jamie is not really thrilled with snow. He doesn't like how dirty it gets due to cars driving through it. He doesn't like driving in it. Part of that is due to the condition of our car with nearly bald tires and brakes needing attention, not to mention that it is a rear-wheel-drive pursuit vehicle. The thing began life as a police vehicle and it likes to take off and go. With slick tires and slippery roads, that doesn't really work out so well for it. To be honest, I was traveling around much more efficiently and safely on my bicycle than most of the vehicles out on roads. I don't mind snow, as you might notice, since I biked through it and fell four times, instead of just once.

We both love the dry air out here, though. We went through the entire Oregon summer without air conditioning, and we didn't die. In fact, it was quite enjoyable.  During Florida summers, there is only one reason you go without air conditioning, and that is because a hurricane came through and wiped out a power line or two.

Another thing we don't like is this little town. We are stuck in a basin with the closest city being Medford, which is an hour and a half away through a mountain pass. This actually has both good and bad qualities.

The restaurant selection is limited, with only a few being really worth anything. There are a very large number of pizza places with mediocre pizza that I don't think outranks Dominoes or Pizza Hut in quality. Another strange occurrence out in this area that Jamie finds downright annoying- the Mexican restaurants never have good salsa. Even I, not a salsa fan, find it strange that they serve a watery concoction with a very small amount of chopped onions and tomatoes in it and call it salsa. Our preferred restaurants include: Wubba's BBQ Shack, Tobiko Asian/Fusion, and Black Bear Diner. I think I need to do separate tribute posts to describe these restaurants with the attention they deserve. After a little while though, you want something more than this selection, great though they are, and Klamath doesn't offer it.

A small town is great for biking, though. The roads here, though weird and disconcerting with the angles they meet, and how one road can have a name then disappear and show up in the same general location some distance from the original line with the same name, are bike-friendly. The lanes are wide, and there is also a center bi-directional turn lane that I always knew as a "suicide" lane that cars can use to pass you without any problem at all. The multi-use path is useful in that it goes both to the community college and directly downtown without any hills to conquer. The only annoyance are the many cracks that create a bumpy ride. If I wanted to, though, I could go anywhere on my bike because the farthest place I would want to go is only 7 miles from home.

I have just recently discovered another reason that I know I personally don't want to spend the rest of my life here- I don't like the students. This is something that I've felt since the beginning of the school year when I fist met them, but it's recently become blatantly obvious. I would not have remained a bus driver very long if I had been trained here. I love my superiors, my mechanics, and my co-workers, but the main reason I like my job is the daily interaction with the kids- and that is not something I am finding enjoyable here. I miss my Jacksonville alternative kids and the adoring fourth-graders of the Phoenix Academy in Flagler.

So, this summer we will be packing everything up again and going to Colorado. We stopped briefly there to stay with a family we also met through Warcraft like our roommates here. Jamie considers one of the sons to be his best friend. My entire immediate family followed my younger sister out to Colorado when her army husband was reassigned. They are staying only two hours from where we want to go in Longmont. We will try that location and see if we like things there. It is very close to a major city or two, has a community college so Jamie can continue with his business degree, and it seems like it might be bike-friendly. The school district covers parts of a few counties, so I hope I like working for them. I've already submitted an application. I also personally would love to be near Mammy and Pappy. I have a coworker here in Klamath who is into scrap-booking that constantly reminds me of the time I spent making Father's Day cards with Mammy. I would love to have some people like her to share crafts with, and learn to garden. My mom used to have a great big vegetable garden and can all kinds of things to use all through the year. The vegetables and fruits that coworkers would bring in made me realize that I really love that aspect of life- the community farms and fresh produce and friendliness of people that will just bring in extra veggies they have to share with you. I think Pappy might like to have some real hugs every now and again too, and I love giving hugs, you know.

So, our friends here have agreed that we can stay with them the rest of the year until June when school lets out again. We will save as best we can and downsize our belongings and prepare to pack up and drive our two cars 20 hours back the way we came to resettle into another town with the potential to be our permanent home. I like Florida and the family there, but I'm really ready to settle down somewhere, and this part of the country is so gorgeous and pleasant that I really hope we like it enough to stay. I think if Longmont doesn't work then we will retreat back to Florida in defeat, and while I really miss our family members back there, I don't miss the weather at all.

June can't come fast enough.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

More bikes!

Today I had grand plans to finish fiddling with bicycles and devote some much-needed time to the Jamiejacket. Alas, it turned out that I have only fiddled with bikes. Partly that is Jamie's own fault, however.

My husband was so helpful when trying to help me "fix" Zoomie so that I could ride more confidently and safely when the roads get slippery. I've mentioned I fell several times, and even skidded along the last time to damage my glove (and my sneaker, it turns out- the plastic eyelet on the top as well as half the shoelace is just rubbed right off!). Jamie helped me by finding what I thought were the perfect screws (Lath screws), cutting the tips off so they weren't too long or dangerously sharp, and then not even being too annoyed with me when I've had to spend so much stupid time trying to unfail the whole situation. Today the studs came out.

Zoomie now has two completely unpatched tubes in tires without studs and destructive duct tape and other unfriendly things. I did find out why it was the front tire constantly causing problems rather than the back. My rear tire was the second one studded. The studs were nice and even, the duct tape smaller and smoother, and the seat tape band-aids covered the duct tape completely. Likely I could have kept the studs and made them work. But I hate them now for all the trouble they caused, so out they came.

I rode Foreman last week and up until this morning. The seat had just started causing me bruising, but I know from experience that I could have gotten used to it. I operated on Zoomie and rode her to work this afternoon. It felt so nice! My seat was so luxurious, the upright posture was lovely. I rang the bell that I had been missing at everything, and even just to ring it. I drank from my water bottle while pedaling along because I could. I missed my bike. The short deprivation did make me notice one thing, though: something is not quite right with the way I sit on Zoomie. I put too much pressure on my hands, and it does feel like I would slide off if I didn't hold on to the handlebars. Obviously it isn't something that hinders my want to ride, as I've ridden nearly every weekday since September, but it is curious.

Foreman is not destined to remain one of my bikes. after having Zoomie's step-through frame, I simply can't deal with that high nearly-horizontal top tube. It's a pain!
One day I had trouble with Foreman and a man who owns a couple of Pugs that I wave toas I ride by came out and offered help. He let me use a wrench to tighten the axle nut which had come loose (of course the ONE day I don't have my tool kit!). In the course of talking, I remarked that the bike I saw with flat tires and a rusty chain was a gorgeous shade of green, my favorite color. He offered to ask his wife if she wanted to give it away, and long story short- I now have yet another free bicycle. We picked it up yesterday, it is a Huffy Something-or-other. I found a thorn in one tire, and patched it, so now they both seem to hold air. I'll reinstall the wheel tomorrow and lube the chain- it should ride fine, I think. It will need a name soon, too. Foreman didn't even have to donate parts.

It figures that the day I remove the studs it rains with large snowflakes mixed in. Luckily, it ended before I had to ride to work, so I managed to not need any rides. Victory! Next week calls for more rainy or snowy days, but with mountain bike tires to use if I need them, I'm not as worried. Bring it on (though, not really, because I like this "mild" winter, m'kay Mother Nature?)!

Happy Wednesday.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Studded Failure.

I have a new bicycle in what I suppose I can call my "collection". I always thought it was weird to have multiple bicycles- why would you want more than one? But Zoomie has proven to absolutely hate having studded tires.

I rode to work the morning after we studded both tires. The ride was great, although the road was dry. It would figure that the promise of snow would prove to be a myth after I spend the time to winterize Zoomie. Also we had at least 2 weeks of sunshine being forecast. Oh well. Zoomie got me to work just fine, and I was feeling really happy with our project. I do hear the studs on the roadway, but its a soft noise that quickly becomes normal and unimportant. The same with the slight bumps of the studs on the tires: at slower speeds you notice the  vibration, but at normal pedaling speeds it just doesn't matter. I didn't feel any slower with the studs at all, which was also nice.

I remember talking with one of my bus mechanics after my route about the new studs that he noticed, so I am fairly certain the front tire was inflated at that time. I rode Zoomie to the top of the small inclined driveway when my husband called. I stopped there and spoke with Jamie for maybe 2 minutes, straddling Zoomie out of the saddle with both feet on the ground. When I went to pedal after hanging up, there was a very strange feeling and sluggishness and I discovered in the middle of the road that the front tire was extremely flat.

I wheeled Zoomie back inside to a few strange looks (why is Aimee back?). I disassembled the wheel and while Zoomie perched precariously on top of a first aid kit (fenders can be a slight annoyance sometimes), I found and patched the leak. I discovered that one layer of duct tape does not a durable liner make. The screw heads had torn the duct tape a little bit, mostly on the sidewall side f the tire rather than towards the center. I added seat tape. That is a cloth tape much like duct tape that the shop uses in various colors to patch rips and tears in the vinyl seats of our school buses. I thought the cloth might prove more durable. I applied it right over the duct tape already there.

It turns out that if you have a flat tire- it may be due to more than one hole.

We aired it up again to have all the air hiss out almost immediately. I discovered 3 more holes. It's a good thing I had just cut up my last big patch into more smaller ones! After patching those holes also, we aired up the tire again and things seemed ok. I only prayed that the rear tire would hold- I was trying not to be late getting home because I was supposed to be taking a leftover burrito to Jamie at school for us to share breakfast.

One mile from work, Zoomie went flat again on the front and I had to tell Jamie to buy food for himself. I was really disappointed too, because I love going places on my bike, like pedaling to the bowling alley bar to drive him home after he celebrated the last day on a job by having a few drinks with coworkers. Or a sort of "picnic" for breakfast on campus.

I walked most of the way home with Zoomie before being rescued by some coworkers, who drove me the last little bit to my house.

To try and fix the studded tire, I had to take it all apart again, and we decided to try a new method to protect the tube. I had been told by the wonderful employee at Home Depot to use an old inner tube to line the tire. Thanks to the studs, I now had a junk tube to use, but only one. So, using more seat tape, I made little tape and inner tube "band aids" or both tires. I cut pieces of tube and taped them in place over each pair of studs. I installed the new tube on the front.

I rode to work. I rode home. Yay!
I went out to get Zoomie to ride to work that afternoon. Flat front tire!

I got home from work and took the wheel apart. The hole this time appeared to be from a fold of duct tape which might have had a sharp point which the tube might have been rubbing against which created a hole. I patched it and reassembled everything. Jamie expressed concern that I didn't test the patch before putting it all back together, since the 4 patches I put on earlier had apparently failed. I was pretty sure I knew the mistake I had made- I hadn't let the rubber cement dry before pressing patches to tube. This time I did.

The first patch I had ever applied (before I lost the directions) held fine for months until I messed things up by installing studs, what could go wrong?

I woke up and Zoomie had a flat front tire. I switched my lights over to the mountain bike which I had replaced the tube in just in case, wrapped my cable lock onto it and I rode a different bike to work for the first time.

I've decided to name it "Foreman" after Red Foreman on That 70's Show. I thought it was a cuter name than simply Red. Foreman's tires seem impossibly wide after riding ZoomieZoomie.

I am not sure at this point if I even want to try a whole tube as a liner for the studs (without any of the previous tape), or if I just want to take the studs out completely. The weather is still forecasting sunny days. Well, one day shows a 20% chance of rain/snow, but here in Klamath if it isn't at least a 50% chance, it is more than likely you won't see any rain at all. I can use Foreman as my "winter" bike and Zoomie the rest of the time, I suppose.