Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Crazy morning...

(Radar image from KTUL in Tulsa at 2100 hrs local time on 13MAY2008)

I am not making this up.

I left the house this morning after closing the garage door only to find a soft tire on the Centurion. I went back to the garage and switched my bag over to the Bianchi. Mary immediately popped out to see what I was doing. The Bianchi had low tires too, not from slow leaks, but because it hadn't been used for awhile. I rolled it outside, switched on the lights, and started up the street. The amber Vista strobe quit in the first couple of pedal strokes.

That's when I remembered that the two bikes have different pedals that require different cleats. I couldn't clip in.

Sigh. I turned around and went back to the house, propping the Bianchi up against the front of Lyndsay's Blazer while I ran inside to get the other shoes. Changing quickly, I was back out the door and out of the neighborhood when I realized my laptop was still sitting on the kitchen table.

Back at the house once again, Mary stared incredulously at my stupidity. I grabbed the computer and shoved off.

There was a headwind all the way to work and I was already running late. I tucked my head and went onto the drops, trying to set a good pace I could sustain into the wind. I arrived with 3 minutes to spare.

Changing into my work clothes, I realized my wallet wasn't in the jersey pocket. I've lost my wallet once and it's an experience I'd rather not repeat. With a sinking feeling, I called Mary to ask her to look for it at home. She found it sitting on the bathroom counter top. And she said she couldn't wait to tell her mom about me!

I disassembled the strobe unit at my bench, then re-soldered every suspicious solder joint I could see. If you ever take one of these apart, be aware that the main capacitor can hold a substantial voltage and jolt you better than any cup of coffee! I used my needle nosed pliers to discharge it, holding the pliers very carefully by their insulated handle. After the soldering it worked fine. Vibration work hardens solder joints and makes them crack.

My workday was uneventful. I'll take that, thank you.

But when I left work...

Traffic going north on Mingo Road was unusually heavy, and of course I had to encounter an impatient truck driver who insisted on passing me and the cars behind me in one go. It was ultimately futile, though, because all the traffic was backed up from the stop sign at 76th Street as far south as the Bird Creek bridge. That's easily three-quarters of a mile or more. So I passed all the stopped vehicles including Mr. Impatient. Normally I wouldn't consider passing on the right even when cars are stopped. But this is a two lane road through a pecan grove. No sidewalks, no driveways, no parking. A few of the motorists saw me coming up on the right and they moved slightly to the left. I waved my thanks. Other times, motorists have moved over to the right to prevent me from passing. It's just simple cussedness, I guess. They move at no more than a walking pace, maybe 4 or 5 miles per hour. I ride by at about 10 mph, certainly no more than 12 mph. I'm always nervous passing like that.

So....I arrived home ahead of the storm front (yes, we're under another severe weather alert) and it was probably my only bit of luck for the day. I've had a shower and dinner, and I think I'll spend the rest of the evening hiding under the blankets.



Blogger The donut guy said...

I was wondering if you got sucked up into a funnel cloud.....tornadoes must get old after awhile.

We get them in PA, just not as much as you guys do.

5:10 AM  
Blogger Fritz said...

You still have an old Vista strobe? You're writing about the honest-to-God real Xenon strobe, right?

My closest encounter with a tornado was from inside of a car. Scariest episode of my life.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Ed W said...

Yep. It's a Vista strobe with a high-power xenon tube. Probably visible for over a mile with fresh batteries. I had a military life vest strobe too, but it died. It used a single D cell. Current is Power! That one was blindingly bright, so I always pointed it toward the ground. I think Campmor may still sell them.

6:16 PM  

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