Friday, January 15, 2010

Ralph to the Rescue!

There's no bike shop in Wickenburg, as I've posted before. So when I've needed a bolt here, a tube there, I've pedaled "Out Wickenburg Way" (US Hwy. 60) and found answers to my questions at Stewart's Hardware -- and thank goodness for them!

This afternoon I had to reconnect the bracket on my luggage rack to the rear fork. The "boss" had sheared off, I'd lost the allen bolt, and there was a hole in the frame.

What to do?

Enter Ralph: resident inventor, entrepreneur, savior from Stewart's. He found a molly bolt in the store, popped it into the hole where the boss had been, tightened 'er up, charged me about two bucks for the repair, and off I pedaled.

"If it doesn't hold,"promises Ralph, "bring the bike back. We'll put some epoxy in the next time. You'll never have a problem after that."

This jerry-rig experience made me imagine I was on a round-the-world tour and had found my way into a "taller" in some far-off country. Ralph and I communicated via pidgin English and hand signals (in the fantasy) and solved the problem. And off I head into the sunset.

I never took the long bike tour I'd dreamed of, but for a moment this afternoon, with Ralph to the rescue, that trip was happening in my mind.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sweeney's Fiddle Adventures.

My pal Tom Sweeney, back in Plymouth, MN, and a helluva fiddler and

writer, sent me this note from his Ireland travel journal. I love the yarn,

and think you will, too.

"It was my first day in country. I was traveling alone and had no plans

except to let my fiddle follow the music. I headed north from Shannon

and remembered that an old box player friend, Marty McHugh (from St.

Paul, MN) summered at his family home in Castlereagh, County Roscommon.

"Though we'd seen each other at McGarry's bar on Dale Street, McHugh

wasn't exactly expecting me to show up in ireland. I found the

homestead, spent the night and went to a raucous Gaelic music session

in a nearby town.

"There was a bike leaning next to a pub. It belonged to Marty's neighbor,

William, who, I learned, had never owned a car. William seldom ventured

the few miles into town, much less traveled around the country. The old

Raleigh was William's only transportation; his dog (a Border Collie, seen

in the foto above) his best friend. Sweet guy, this William. He was

painting a fence when I met him and had put on a pair of sweats over

his pants for the task.

"After I met William, I went over the hill behind the bike and across

the muddy field to the river for a little trout fishing. Unfortunately

nosey cows at the far end of the field caught sight of me in my red

Gortex rain parka and the whole herd cornered me on the river's inside

bend. It was a straight 8-foot drop to the water and I had nowhere to

go. Picture Sweeney whipping his fishing rod, flailing his arms and

screaming as herd got about 10 feet away. Never did catch any trout!

"It wasn't until later, when I was hosing the mud off my dayhikers and

pants from the sprint back to the house, that I remembered William's

broad smile when I had told him I planned to do a little angling at

the river. Those were his cows.

You are the sum of your stories. Live right. Write good ones."