Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Buckbeak and Dragonbreath

I haven't posted for a while, and the reason is I've been cleaning my garage. Really. Well, at least partly. It all started when we bought Dragonbreath. Dragonbreath is a Honda moped we bought secondhand for my wife to ride to work—the big idea being to save money on gas and car repairs, and make the commute a little more fun. Well, she has been having fun riding it—and furthermore, I discovered I liked grabbing it for a ride when she got home.

We had no intention of buying a second moped. But when someone posted to our town email list that she had a low-mileage Tomos moped that had sat in a garage for about seven years, and now she couldn't get it running, and a hundred bucks or best offer would take it away...well, we went to look at it. Not sure if it was a good idea. Who knows if we could get it running? I bought it. Named it Buckbeak, after the hippogryph in Harry Potter.

Much tinkering ensued. Here's what I wrote at the time, beginning a blog post that I never finished: "I gave Buckbeak its first real road test yesterday, and experienced a couple of "soft seizes," as they refer to it on the moped owners' forums. Abrupt engine stoppage. Turned out the oil-injector pump wasn't working, and I was running with basically no oil. Not good. Doesn't seem to have hurt it too badly, as far as I can tell running it today in the driveway. (I've now filled it with pre-mixed gas/oil, after reading the widespread opinion that the oil injectors are junk, and best disabled or removed anyway.) However, I must wait for Allysen to come home from work with our one helmet, so I can road test again. (She's getting me my own helmet for my birthday.)"

Yeah, I seized the engine. And got it running again, anyway. It's running great now, and as promised, I got a helmet for my birthday. And I love taking it for rides around town, running short errands that were annoying and seemed wasteful of gas in the car. (Too soon to be sure, but I think I'm getting over 100 miles per gallon.) And those Slovenians make a pretty tough little moped, for it to have survived my resurrection blunders. (Yeah, the Tomos is made in Slovenia, the former Yugoslavia. We used to joke about wanting to own a Yugo. And now we do.)

So what's this have to do with cleaning the garage? Well, part of the agreement to buy Buckbeak was that we had to clean the garage, because that was the only way we could possibly fit both bikes into it (along with various regular bicycles and work benches and lawn junk and, oh yeah, a camping trailer). We have never even aspired to actually fitting a car in our garage. To give you some idea of the magnitude of the job: about two years ago, we rescued some kitchen cabinets a neighbor was throwing out, thinking they would help us organize the garage. They sat piled in the middle of the garage like Richard Dreyfus's "Devil's Tower" in the movie Close Encounters, ever since. A year ago, we bought a hammer drill at a yard sale, thinking, this will help us put those cabinets up on the cinderblock walls of the garage. This year...we're actually doing it! A few more weekends, and I think we'll have it done.

So that's why I spent my birthday weekend cleaning the garage—so that Dragonbreath and Buckbeak could have a nice place to stay.

I'll post a picture when we get one.

"The writer's way is rough and lonely and who would choose it while there are vacancies in more gracious professions, such as, say, cleaning ferryboats [or garages]?" —Dorothy Parker



At 11:05 AM, Blogger VictoriaB said...

AAACK -- I missed your birthday, even though I knew it was coming and I even thought about it the day before! My bad. Humble apologies, and I'm glad you got yourself a neat toy. You sure know how to have a good time. Happy birthday!

Peace, V.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Jeffrey A. Carver said...

Not to worry. At this point, I mostly try to pretend my birthdays aren't happening, anyway.

And we *do* know how to have a good time! Where's that shop-vac?


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