The Art of Awkwardness

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's been a while...

Here are some things that have happened recently:

  • The weather is getting cooler, and I LOVE IT.
  • I dove into The Blue Hole, on the Frio River, from a not-very-but-kind-of high cliff. 
  • My roommate's dogs have learned to anticipate pizza crusts from me whenever I eat in their presence.
  • I saw a live porcupine.
  • The motorcycle was driven to Colorado, and almost all the way back.
  • The motorcycle's camshaft-driven fan came apart at speed, puncturing the radiator.
  • My roommate drove 3 hours to rescue me.
  • I found some instructions, ordered some parts, and replaced it with an electric fan. Amazingly, everything works!
  • Curtis and I went to Game 6 of the ALCS and saw the Rangers win the title for the first time ever! We won't talk about the World Series.
  • At this baseball game, I mistakenly walked into the women's restroom. For reals.

I have decided to do No Shave November. I considered doing Movember instead, but decided it would just be too creepy. Ten days in, I'm looking pretty rough.

    Thursday, July 29, 2010

    After many fuel mileage computations in the high 40's, I was super excited to finally calculate the following mpg:

    Hooray for 50 mpg!!!

    Not bad for a 30 year old bike. During highway driving, the RPM is really high, which costs me about 5 mpg. Maybe my overall numbers will improve after a good carb rebuilding job (by someone other than me!).

    The other night we had a brand new fire truck come by our station (it's a demo unit). Just thought the pics were cool. The end.

    Wednesday, April 14, 2010

    The Heart Stopping, Thrilling Tale of When Bret Runs Out of Gas.

    Sometimes it takes more than once for me to learn a lesson. Like running out of gas, for example.

    Most motorcycles don't have has gauges. You have a trip odometer, and you know that, in my case, you can go about 100 city or 125 highway miles on a tank. The seller mentioned this to me, and he also mentioned that he had just put about a gallon of gas in it, without resetting the trip odometer. I overlooked this detail and assumed that I could wait until the dial said 124 and then go find a gas station.

    Fast forward to my first "real" drive. I picked up 277 south, and headed into what promised to be a great day's ride on a twisty two lane road winding through rocky hills (they call them "mountains" here...but I know better). It was great! It's such a change from normal driving. You lean into the turns, you get buffeted and blasted by the wind, you see the ground zipping along beneath you. You haven't seen a gas station in quite a while, hopefully there's one in Bronte because you don't think you can make it back to Coronado's Camp before the trip odometer hits 125. You approach a deserted construction site, with a temporary stoplight which alternates the flow of traffic over the bridge where a single lane is open. As you roll to a stop, the engine dies. You restart it. It runs for a few seconds, then coughs, sputters, and dies. You switch the fuel petcock to reserve, which is what you were thinking you could rely on at a time like this. It starts, runs, coughs, sputters, and dies. Hmmm.

    I ended up hiding the bike between a couple of construction vehicles and heading back to the road. I thought I'd just start walking back the way I'd come. It took about 5 minutes to figure out that at this rate, I'd be walking a LONG time, so I did something I have never done before. I stuck my thumb out.

    I got picked up almost right away. Like, less than 5 cars passed. I was shocked at how easy hitching could be. I ran up to meet my rescuers, who were oilfield workers or something...I could barely understand a word they said. Total rednecks. I tried to contribute to their indecipherable conversations with lots of oh, YEAHs, Hmmms, and Uh-huhs. One of them asked me something about where my sunglasses were. I explained that I had brought a helmet, but had left it with the bike. He looked at me like I was from another planet. "You gotta have some sunglasses, here, take these, they're cheap," he said. And he insisted I take them. I said thanks, and they dropped me off at Coronado's Camp Store & Grill, which is a BBQ restaurant with two barely functioning gas pumps.

    After telling my story to the cashier, she let me borrow a 2 gallon gas can and I filled up and headed back to the road. Once again, I had to stick my thumb out for maybe 2 minutes before I had a ride back to my bike. This time, it was an old man going to visit his brother in San Angelo. We talked about his family and grandkids, his upcoming back surgery, and the wind turbines that have popped up all over these hills. And back at my bike, I filled the tank and was back on the road.

    So, this probably isn't the most exciting story you've ever heard, but it was really quite a pleasant day, that's all. I marvel a little at the fact that when I was in a jam, I experienced the kindness of strangers...back-to-back-to-back, just like it was nothing. I guess the world is full of good people. It's nice to know.

    And yes, I did run out of gas again, several days later. It's just hard to know how much gas you have when you're not starting with a full tank! After all, the odometer method only assumes you're at zero when the tank is full, but if it's not, the math doesn't work.

    This time it wasn't such a production. I was 200 feet from a gas station and got a few stares as I wheeled my bike along sidewalks and strained to push it along the crosswalk when I got the walk signal, but that was all. Hopefully there will not be a third time...

    Monday, March 29, 2010

    Donor Sled: Aquired.

    A disturbing fact about my life is that, lately, there hasn't been much to write about.

    My brothers, this should not be.

    Hopefully, that is over now. Because I bought a motorcycle.

    I've been thinking about one for a while now. Still not sure entirely why. Maybe a 1/3 life crisis. But here it sits, in my driveway...

    So, it's a 1981 Honda CX500. At almost 30 years, it's a little bit scary how old it is, but it was a bargain! (Maybe when I turn 30 in a couple years, someone will be saying the same about me...)

    One thing that really got me excited about this bike is the amount of enthusiasm still existing for it. It was a very unconventional design, with the V-twin engine mounted sideways and liquid-cooled. Also, this was Honda's first bike set up to use tubeless tires. So in many ways, it was a game-changer.

    It's still very popular, and has a bit of cult status appeal because it was used very extensively by London motor couriers in the 80's. It has a reputation for being very reliable, able to take abuse, and practical for city traffic. Unlike most small bikes, many people outfit it for cross-country touring, as well. One version of this motorcycle was called the Honda Silverwing, and was basically a little brother to the Goldwing.

    So I'm very excited about having one. I'm going to do my absolute best not to drop it, and I plan on maintaining it well so it will last me a long time.

    Anyway, true to form, I have already had my first MISADVENTURE aboard this beast.

    More on that next time.

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Elevatorial Frustrations.

    You know when you're riding the elevator--riding it for 4 floors at minimum--because if it were less than that, you'd take the STAIRS, right? And it stops. And opens. And someone gets on, and rides it exactly one floor before it STOPS again, and they get off?

    I HATE that!!! 

    It's not so much that my 20-second elevator journey just quadrupled in duration, it's...

    Well, that's it, mostly.

    The end.

    Tuesday, February 23, 2010

    This blog is about as exciting as an extinct volcano.


    I suppose I should post something.

    I could talk about my trip to...


    It was fun. It was real. It was...real fun. And it was, most importantly, super cheap! I will miss flying for free when I grow up.

    As you can see, I scored some great tickets to the Oregon Symphony, with special guest Angela Hewitt. Being, as I am, a wannabe former budding virtuoso (yes, you're reading the words of a one-time Broomfield Piano Festival finalist), I loved it. Incredible musicianship.

    And it was fun watching the kids at the zoo watch the sea lions...


    And I'll go ahead and let the record companies know that I have purchased a new, more fancified digital piano and I am still a force to be reckoned with.