Saturday, June 09, 2012
When You Find You've Meandered from the Riding Life...
The rusted, hulking Vespa exhaust sits on the driveway like an overturned tortoise, sad and useless. A more direct examination reveals the toll of salt and winter sludge on metal. When questioned by other riders about the challenge of being on the road in cold weather this is the picture I describe.
Routine means a wire brush and bottle of Naval Jelly to prepare for a new coat of high temperature enamel. Working away at the rust had me wishing I would have taken the air compressor and sandblaster my father offered me. Working on machines has a way of triggering memories and regrets.
Jack Riepe advised I send the thing to Jet-Hot for a new ceramic coating. I'm stubborn though and it would require a change in plans. I did send an email and received a prompt reply -- $80 plus shipping. A good price. An excellent price in fact. My auto mechanic told me yesterday he uses them to coat the exhaust system of his Lotus race car. Plenty of evidence was available to support the Jet-Hot course. But in the end I picked up a can of Rustoleum.
My father would have fixed the Vespa in a day. Less actually. And here I am stuck in a mental traffic jam making the simplest things seem impossible. Add to that a lot of tasks, projects and activities that divert time and energy. I was sitting in a U-Haul Cargo Van on the approach to the George Washington Bridge in New York when I made this picture. Traffic moved at a glacial pace as I pondered the wisdom of lane-splitting for motorcycles and scooters. Aleta and I were making a one day trip to Astoria to pack some things and return home.
If you ever want to test your age make a long drive, spend seven hours packing and carrying boxes from a third floor walk-up, and then drive home again.
The weather today was perfect for spray painting. A patina of rust gave way to a hiding coat of flat black enamel. Not as nice as the Jet-Hot coating would be but good enough to keep me on the road another year.
The instructions on the can say I need to bake the muffler. Won't fit in the oven so I'll have to do it tomorrow on the vehicle. Awaiting the arrival of a new stainless steel exhaust clamp from Kissell Motorsports so I'll have to use a conventional steel auto clamp temporarily. Makes me a bit nervous. I know what "temporarily" can mean.
Driving around Queens, New York in a downpour looking for a parking space is an adventure. Along Ditmars Boulevard I saw a Vespa LX150 parked in the middle of the street. Damn scooter riders do whatever they want. Didn't think I could park the U-Haul in the middle of the street.
Wasn't sure I was up to a long ride home after all the packing and moving but the road can be mesmerizing. By the time we crossed through the Delaware River Gap I found a second level of energy. A stop at a rest area later that night for 30 minutes sleep recharged my old batteries and I surprised myself when I pulled into our driveway at 2:30am.
I started wondering if I could do an Iron Butt Saddlesore 1000 ride on the Vespa. But only for a minute. Good sense won out as I floated into bed.
I dreamed of riding...