Friday, August 14, 2009

Day One Hundred Sixty-five, 090812 - Rochester, NY

Day One Hundred Sixty-five, Date Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Time in Saddle: n/a
Distance for the Day: n/a
Accumulated Trip Distance: n/a
Altitudes: n/a
Speeds: n/a
Weather: cloudy with threat of thunderstorms that never happened
Expenditures: $466

Hokay! Caught up the blogs, starting with Day One Hundred Fifty-Six. I also updated Google Maps, though for now, I've given up trying to show the exact routes I take - I only show the stealth camp locations - enjoy, enjoy!

I woke up at 7am and went downstairs to have cereal for breakfast. Katie had already left for the day by 5:30am. Wow, what a beautiful house Scott and Katie have, now! They only plan to keep it for about 5 years, but their timing was perfect; to buy in this depressed market, the price can only go up from here. Today, for me, was “bicycle maintenance and tune-up day,” at “The Bicycle Man” recumbent cycle shop in Alfred Station (about 70 miles to the south of Rochester), so I went online and got info on rental trucks, called up Ryder, and reserved a “small” panel truck (arrgh! – I forgot to take a picture of it!) All I wanted was a van or a small truck, but all I could find was something one might use to move a half-dozen of those power transformers you see on telephone poles – a bit of overkill, and more expensive, too, but I didn’t have a choice: none of the other rental places had anything smaller, either. I made sure to bring everything I’d need to navigate to the bike shop (notebook computer, GPS, compass), and my book, in case I had to do some waiting. The truck rental place was only 4 miles away, so I rode over there pretty quick, did the paperwork, loaded my stuff, and took off at about 10:15am. (Putting my trike inside was like parking in a small cave.) This was the largest vehicle I’d ever driven, and it was a little intimidating at first, but I soon got used to it, and didn’t hit anything the whole day.

I followed the route Street Atlas picked to get to the cycle shop, but had a little difficulty making all the correct turns – not too much, though. I finally made it to Alfred, found the shop, parked the truck in a nearby church parking lot, and brought my trike over. Wow, what a shop! I’ve seen a lot of bicycle shops in my time, many with more bikes in them, overall, but this one had the most cycles stuffed into a relatively small shop than I’ve ever seen, and most of them were recumbents. They were out front, inside the show room, hanging off the ceiling, in the store’s front windows, and many more in the back. It was a little tough to meet the owner, Pete Stull, as he was so busy! Talking on the phone, with his employees, with customers in the shop, but we eventually connected, and set up the schedule of things I needed for my trike. We got it mounted onto a stand, and he’d work on it, off and on throughout the day. This actually turned out to be quite fortuitous, though, because I met another customer who had incredibly valuable intel on the roads around the Great Lakes. Laird S, a Canadian research biologist, had extensive first-hand knowledge of the area around the Great Lakes, including the Canadian side (not too surprising since I think he *is* Canadian). He answered all my questions about travel through the various parts of Canada I was considering, and enabled me to pick a much nicer/easier route than I would have taken. Wow! I really lucked-out on that (thanks, Laird!)

I spent the whole day there, had lunch at a nearby Subway, and did a few things on the trike, myself, such as removing the air horn (it wouldn’t keep a pressure charge very long, so every time I tried to use it, it wouldn’t work, so I stopped using it), and a few other little things. At 6pm, when Pete closed his shop, he then had time to work exclusively on my trike, which was very accommodating of him. He showed me how to lubricate the gear shift cable, and installed a new rear fender. This was one of those “expensive” days: $180 for trike maintenance; $250 for the truck rental (yowch!); $28 to refuel the truck; and $8 for lunch. But, the trike is running great, again (whew!), though the new rear fender is a bust – there’s something about the suspension for the Trice that breaks the connectors between the wire struts and the fender. (I’ve since tried to jury-rig it with string, but it looks a little wobbly; I may have to switch to flexible wire, or something.) We finished up around 7pm, and I paid the bill, took a bunch of pictures of the place and us, and then took off back to Rochester. Pete was not just a busy shop owner and a competent mechanic, he’s also a very cool dude with a great sense of humor and full of tales from the weird, wonderful world of cycling. Thanks, Pete, and thanks, too, to your hardworking staff. You guys were terrific!

On checking my maps for the way back to Rochester, this time, I “noticed” that there was a much easier way – an interstate freeway. I’m so unused to considering interstates, it didn’t occur to me to take one coming down. I forgot I was *driving*, and so took side roads! So this time, I took the interstate going back, and it was about 45 minutes quicker (duhh!) I had a little trouble returning the truck: first, I got a little lost in the dark; then, when I tried to refill the gas tank, I discovered the gas cap was some type I’ve never seen before, and couldn’t get it open. I drove back to Ryder, and told the guy there about the weird gas cap. It turns out that it’s a regular gas cap, but the top of it broke off, leaving only the screw-in plug. He was able to grip it with a cloth, and loosen it. I then drove back to a gas station that had diesel fuel, filled it up, and *then* returned it (finally). It was now about 10pm; I’d called Katie earlier to let her know I probably wouldn’t be back until at least 9pm, and not to wait up for me. She had another early day, tomorrow, so was already asleep by the time I rolled in on my like-new trike (yay!) All the gears worked great, and it was a real pleasure and a relief to ride it, again. I was pretty hungry, so had the last two yummy leftover stuffed bell peppers from last night, and stayed up past midnight, blogging. With several days of backlogged blogs to do, I knew what I was going to be doing, tomorrow, and most likely the next day, too.

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