28 February, 2006 24 degrees F (-4°C)
Well, just as I feared, Amy wouldn’t let me stay home today to take care of her. She had all the help modern pharmaceuticals can provide, and kept the telephone close in case she changed her mind. I think all the positive energy coming from my readers probably helped as well. You know who you are… Thanks.
So the Baron and I rode out into the darkness once again. We needed an early takeoff, so we could leave work in time to make our last checkup at Baron HQ tonight. The ride to work was routine, with dry roads and little traffic. I rode slower than I did last night, and had some time to look around at the city lights and the stark shadows of bare trees along the parkways. There isn’t much snow left, and what little there is seems to be stained and dirty, ready to melt away into the brown grass and dead leaves.
But there is danger in the forecast. Freezing drizzle is supposed to start after midnight tonight, and keep on through morning. I could awaken to streets of glare ice again. The Iceman cometh back? We’ll know in less than ten hours.
My workday was actually pretty interesting. I am setting up some new lab equipment, and learning how to operate it at the same time. A job like that makes time pass pretty quickly, and keeps Existential Gravity at bay. Soon enough, it was time to leave for the five mile trek to Baron HQ. This was to be our last checkup before the end of winter. So of course, the Baron was running flawlessly in 38 degree (3°C) weather.
As well he should, I suppose. He is quite well-sorted by now. He has stood up to these conditions much better than I expected. The salt has corroded things, but not nearly to the extent that I had feared. The variator was a bit worn, as were the roller weights, but not enough to warrant replacement yet. However, since we had everything apart, we did it anyway. I get the feeling that Crew Chief Loren would rather not see me again this winter. He is a busy man, what with Spring on the way and scooters to assemble.
CEO Lev was there, and we talked about the future. My services as R&D consultant will still be needed come spring, as they bring the new 250cc models online. I’m not sure how that is going to impact this blog, but it looks like I will be commuting on a variety of different models of scooter, as well as on my KLR “Frogwing”. All-in-all, it looks like an interesting season to come.
But Lev has thrown a curveball my way. He wants the Baron back sometime after March 20th, as a display piece and promotional tool. We talked about hanging him from the high ceiling of the warehouse/showroom, sort of like a Smithsonian exhibit. How cool is that? I’m going to miss the little fellow, though. He is a real trooper, and I was actually hoping to modify him somewhat with hotrod parts from the aftermarket. Alas, it is not to be.
We have twenty more days together, and then the future is uncertain. Whatever happens after that, I still have to ride to work. So I am going to keep on blogging here as long as Andy wants to let me. The title may change, but the song remains the same.
I leave you tonight with a photo that I took in my wanderings on Saturday. It kind of illustrates the gnarly places I like to poke around in, even on a scooter. That old power plant in the background is abandoned, but for awhile there it was home to a bunch of “River Rats”. These were nomadic folk who sailed the river in various kinds of live-aboard houseboats, and docked wherever they could without getting hassled by The Man.
If you view Saint Paul on Google Earth, look to the Southwest of downtown. You will see an older aerial view of this powerplant with several boats moored around it. They are gone now. The Man got `em, as he eventually gets anyone who isn’t paying him rent or protection money. It’s a sorry state of affairs in a country that still calls itself Free.