WE RAN OUT of time, we both knew it, CCjon stepped up and said it first. I sent this note to my gals right after that. Subject line: South America is officially off.
“CCjon beat me to the punch and was the bigger man about it, sent me an email just now saying it’s the wrong time to go to South America and how annoyed would I be if he suggested waiting a year?
I said, hell, I was only going because I said I would. Our bikes aren’t ready, we don’t have a way to ship them, we’ll be two months behind schedule even if everything suddenly starts going right for us—of course it’s the wrong year to go. Glad you said it, amigo, I never would have.”
Which brings us to Plan B: The Continental Divide trail. A motorcycle route from the US/Mexico border at Antelope Wells, New Mexico, to Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. It’s roughly 5,500 miles up and back, and slow going, a mountain route the whole way, mostly off road.
Much of it can be snowed in until midsummer, so our plan is to ride the trail in July or August as a final shake down for South America in November.
In the meantime, more wrenching. Mostly suspension issues in my case. I removed the piglet’s rear shock recently, dumped out the light factory oil and installed a heavier weight, had the nitrogen bladder recharged to 150 psi (it was crazy low in Labrador, 70psi) and I installed a much stronger spring. Next I’ll put the cases back on the piglet and see if she wants to carry more weight than I’ve known her to carry so far.
I told that tale to the guys at DRRiders.com on Friday. Oh, and also tried to get a few of them to ship to South America with us, share the cost. This was a few hours before CCjon came to our senses.
“Dunno if we’re going to South America or not. We should have been there by now. The best quote we have for landing 2 bikes at Valparaiso via sea is $3,460 plus another $1,000 upon arrival. Knocked my socks off & put me in mind of Simon & Garfunkel, for I am just a poor boy though my story’s seldom told…
That price was for a 20-foot container and 18 days of transit out of Houston. We have room for 2, maybe 3 more bikes if anybody’s interested! It’s not a group tour, though, we go our own ways.”
No takers. I’m lousy at sales. I wouldn’t buy anything from me, either.
There are lots of other things to keep me busy here this winter. There’s the writing, the writing, always the writing. Maybe I’ll actually get around to editing that novel manuscript that’s been gathering dust for two years. And maybe another write-through on that screenplay that came within a hair’s breadth of selling.
I have a few interesting Phantom yarns on deck. Here’s the Ghost Who Walks whupping some guys in Africa while his daughter shares a cab with Mary Worth in New York.
Next up, an assist from Devil, his trusty mountain wolf. Good, because the Phantom’s not concentrating on his work.
I have a problem, Mary, a 150-year-old oak down in the backyard.
Not a problem, really. I’ve always enjoyed working in the woods. Big tree, 70 feet or so. She’s better than 4 feet in diameter for the first 20 feet up from the stump.
To give you the scale, those fence posts are 6 feet high.
I liked this tree but it was getting dangerous. This summer it dropped two limbs as big as trees in their own right.
The rotted parts are full of grubs.
I hired a pro to drop the tree. Twenty-five years ago I felled one of these in the backyard and spent all summer sawing it up. Split it with an ax, a maul, wedges, carried the firewood up the hill by the armload, threw it in the back of the ’49 truck, gave it away to friends who burn wood.
Wouldn’t it be nice to feel at 61 the way you did at 36?!
In the arms, shoulders and back, I mean. From the neck up, the art of knowing, I much prefer 61.
Dunno what else to mention, except that I built a couple of radiator covers recently, out of nice, clear poplar boards. Better to have the little girl climb on them this winter instead of hot radiators.
I spray painted the covers in the rain under a tarp in the backyard. Got them done just in time for the bride to haul them to Jersey City in her car. She was going there anyway.
I made the rails for the two covers in John Ross’s shop, on Larry Stanley’s workbench. Good thing my friends have stuff, without them I’d be working out in the weeds all the time.
I used John’s mortising machine to bore the rails to receive the slats. It’s a drill press, basically, with the drill bit housed inside a square chisel. The bit hogs out the middle, the four chisel edges cut what’s left around the bore.
This is the top and bottom rails screwed together, so I was sure the layout would be the same. Makes it easy: mortise one rail then flip the piece around and mortise the other.
Our girl was here at the humble manse two weekends ago. She’ll be back for Thanksgiving! One cause for thanks among many.
Tony DePaul, November 15, 2015, Cranston, Rhode Island, USA