Thursday, March 06, 2008

Gravy run!

Sometimes everything just comes together to make a great day. Yesterday was one of those for me. I was asked to make a run to Gresham to look at a shipment that had come into a distributor. It was supposed to receive a little fabrication work then be sent to a job. Their shop guys claimed it was way out of tolerance. My job was to be the "official" viewpoint and report back to the factory in Tennessee. The fact that the sun came out and the distributor is a little over 80 miles away from my house added a bonus. I mounted up Sophie and off we went. Gresham is on the Columbia River Gorge, by the way. Please don't throw me in that briar patch!

It was freezing when we left. No big deal. I chose to add a lightweight fleece jacket under the 'Stich. I knew I'd be chilled for a while. The upside is that the sun would eventually warm things up. Fleece means no wiring up. When the mercury hit 61 degrees later in the day I knew I'd made the right choice.

Since this was a last minute change in schedule, I had to postpone other things on the list. That left some free time to just sort of wander around. I came across this little oasis in the middle of sprawling urbanite clutter. There must be some sort of preprogrammed thing in humans that makes us need to commune with Nature. Even if it's a man-made pond in the middle of an asphalt jungle.

That's part of what drives us to ride, isn't it? We feel more in touch with our surroundings. I could wax philosophical. I could use hundreds of words to describe it. Or, I could just quote something Katie says that sums it up nicely.

"I need to walk on something besides cement once in a while!"

This pond covers the equivalent of several blocks. On one side is a grassy slope that leads up to a busy street. Across that street is a huge shopping center. On the other side of the pond, patients in a dental office can gaze at the water and the fountains. Does it help quiet their fears? Probably not! Farther down is a Ruby Tuesday's restaurant. It would be nice to eat outside and look at the water.

Of course, there's the obligatory ducks and geese. One must really watch where they walk. No reclining on the grass would be possible due to the abundance of "you know what".

You'd think these two fertilizer spreaders had never seen a guy in a Hi-Viz jacket before! Come to think of it, maybe they hadn't.

It was nice to have time to just sort of poke along but eventually I needed to go take care of business. My appointment was later in the day which meant the ride home was in the late afternoon sun. Nearing home, I was headed East. That late afternoon sun can be pretty obnoxious. It was blinding me in my sideview mirror. I found myself signalling a left turn. Without even thinking about it, I extended my left arm to go with the turn signal. I realized it's a habit I picked up long ago.

Once, in similar circumstances, I thought a car had seen my turn signal. We were both headed the same direction. I was in the left lane and the car was behind me in the right lane. I signalled to change lanes. Suddenly the driver sped up and filled the space beside me. Then they turned right into a parking lot. Being kind of forward, I turned in and "chatted" with the driver as he got out of his car. When I asked him why he ignored my signal and closed the gap, the guy told me he didn't see the signal in the sun. This was no argumentative person. He was genuinely apologetic. When I looked the direction we were heading, I realized he was probably telling the truth.

Imagine staring into this. Then think about a small motorcycle turn signal light. Especially an amber colored one. I could see the driver's point. Now, whenever I find myself with the sun bright behind my back, I realize that oncoming drivers might not see my signal. I use hand signals ( polite ones, of course,what were you thinking? ) to help communicate my intentions. I just figure that's part of my responsibility as a rider. It's an ingrained habit by now.

Thus ended another work day. Riding for work and enjoying a whole day on the bike. Not to mention getting paid fifty and a half cents per mile! How lucky can a guy get?

Miles and smiles,



Lucky said...

Sounds like a fun day, you lucky devil.

Conchscooter said...

All of 61, I'll bet you sweated like a pig in there.
When I was growing up I was taught hand signals in cars (!) and on motorcycles and I ...never use them. Your point is taken. I will now.
PS: its windy (30mph) around here today and I'm riding 400 miles roundtrip for a new rear tire. Why am I not concerned about crosswinds even on the freeway Up North? I must, ignorantly be doing something right or horribly wrong. Discuss.

SheRidesABeemer said...

Good advice about the sun and hand signals. I almost used the other kind of signals yesterday but I repressed the impulse, it doesn't lead to anything good. ;)

David said...

You forgot to finish the story! Were the parts in tolerance or not? This is the kind of thing that can keep a guy awake at night. ;)

Dave T.

irondad said...

My thoughts exactly!

Is this trip by choice or necessity? Either way, a man after my own heart. As to gusts, I have nothing against changing lanes. I just prefer to know where and when, is all.

Maybe you're not concerned about crosswinds because you're not in a passenger jet trying to land in a 155 mph gust. Maybe it's because you've seen it all, done it all, and not much bothers you anymore.

Maybe you like leaning into steady crosswinds because on a round trip like that it helps round off the square tires. Oh yeah, the rear tire will be new on the way back. Why not get a head start?

Was that with the white mini-van? Sounds like you were wise to keep both hands on the bars!

Actually, it was. These were hollow metal door frames going into a huge new hospital tower. What's funny is that I took pictures and reported to the factory. Then I had a conference call with a couple of big wigs. One told me it was within tolerance and there was no way they were going to replace it. I asked them if they already had their minds made up, why waste my time? In the meantime, I arranged for some pieces to be be sent back next day air. Quality control took one look and pronounced it junk. Score one for the experienced field guy!

Take care,


Bryce said...

All I could think of was
"Gravy Train!"

That dog food advertised so many years ago...

At least you've got green grass grass..I have two more feeto fthe white stuff..riding a snowplough these days...

irondad said...

You know, when I was mixing that stuff up for a big dog we had, I couldn't help but think it looked pretty good!


Heinz & Frenchie said...

61? That's a heat wave up there. A really happy time and we all enjoyed it with you. It is great to ride and get paid for it, not too many people can lay claim to that feat. Wishing you a few more like that.