Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunshine and warm breezes

Another lazy,  warm day here in Eugene, mid-August, height of summer and only a few weeks until football season and the fun begins. Pardon that silly long sentence but I've been reading Kerouac's Dharma Bums and his freewheeling style seems to have settled into my brain, at least for the time being. One thing needn't lead logically into the next.

However lazy I am being -- and I am being much too lazy -- I've made strides, nonetheless. Yesterday morning my friend brought my bike and other stuff over, which was nice. I somehow like having that bike nearby, even if I'm not riding it. This morning I took it to my favorite bike shop (Paul's) along the Fern Ridge Bike Trail only a couple of miles from here, mostly to get some air in the tires and also have it cleaned up a bit, checked out. It probably hasn't had a good checkup since the last one at Paul's downtown location, which is where I most often went, and that was at least 5 years ago.

Old shifter on left, new on right. Note: 2 buttons on left, one button with gear numbers on right. Huh?

Turns out it's a good thing I did -- when I went to pick it up they'd changed one of the shifters because it was broken -- just flat worn out, she said. I didn't pay any attention to the new one until I got it back here to the cottage, and realized it was totally different from the one on the other side and I hadn't a clue how to use it. They probably don't even make the old style anymore! Later, after not worrying about it for awhile, certain that I could ride it to the shop without changing gears if need be to ask questions, I went out and played with it and figured it out. Or at least figured it out enough to work the rest out later, in motion.

Old shifter on left side, two buttons

New shifter, one button! What you can't see here, and what I didn't notice at first, is a second button behind the handlebar. Whew! I can work with this. Every time I get on the bike after a long layoff, I have to re-remember the shift sequences anyway (although the body always remembers, if I keep the brain out of it)

I guess it shouldn't be surprising that it wore out -- I bought this bike in 1996 when I arrived in Corvallis fresh from the first move from Georgia to the northwest and this shifter works the rear derailleur and is thus the one I use most often. I've also put a lot of miles on it during those 18 years, so I think I've got my money's worth. The bike is a Raleigh, and they told me at Paul's a few years back that replacing it would cost a helluva lot more than what I paid for it, to get the same quality, so I'm happy to just keep putting little upgrades and repairs here and there. And I guard it carefully, need to find a place to lock it up around here, and a good cover for winter rains even though it'll be under a tarp.

Now I just need to get out there and fly down the trail to the end! It's a nice level trail alongside a waterway with ducks and herons, an occasional raccoon and other critters, ending through a nice wetland area. Can't do it tomorrow -- need to go to Corvallis to deposit a check -- but I'm thinking Tuesday will be a very good day to get out in the cool morning air and test out both the new shifter and the old legs.

Yesterday I went to a real movie theater for the first time in about 5 years. When I lived in Brookings, after I left Eugene, I drove down to Eureka once to a theater, but that was the last time. I've been seeing ads for A Journey of 100 Feet on my streaming TV shows, and felt that it was something I should see. All about food -- some of it Indian food -- a natural for me, and beautifully done. Not a movie where a lot happens, just a happy feel-good story. Come to think of it, the movie that drew me all the way to Eureka was also about food -- Julie & Julia.

So -- that's my story for this warm, sunny Sunday in August. I think that after tomorrow our weather will calm down a bit for awhile, into the mid-80's, which is perfect weather, in my book. I like days when I can leave the doors and windows open to the breeze and fresh air. And in the end, I don't think this day will be quite as hot as advertised -- too late in the day for that much more heat to arise!

Back to Kerouac.

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