Week 21 - Hadley, Graham

Things that Happened

  • Hung out with AP and JP, my friends since early childhood, around the fire on Saturday night and over breakfast at Small Cafe on Sunday morning. It was quite cold but we had some good conversations about old times, all the stuff that's changed, real estate, and having kids vs not having kids. I guess we're solidly middle-aged now, but I feel like this is a very good part of my life.
  • As I was getting ready to go to breakfast, I discovered that all of Kiddo's cables had frozen solid overnight and the brakes and throttle were unusable. Some moisture must have gotten inside the housings, but there was nothing to do about it but wait until they thawed, and I had to run to the garage and take Punkin instead. RM suggested that Kiddo might be jealous and pouting.
  • Hung out with JD who just got back from Croatia. We talked about the earthquake there, sailing, travel, and what the hell comes next.
  • Did some quick work on Punkin to get the engine in shape to make it to Graham and back. It's still not making as much power as it should, but I think I found and fixed one vacuum leak between the carburetor and the manifold, diagnosing it using a stick of incense like RM taught me. The smell combo of incense and gasoline is a new one for me and actually not unpleasant. On the ride to Graham I found that even though I'm keeping my top speed around 35mph during the break-in period, which is about how fast Kiddo goes, Punkin can easily maintain that even up steep hills, which Kiddo definitely can't. That's going to be really helpful on my cross-country tour.
  • It was cold and rainy during the week, and one night it snowed, making me very glad to be in a heated space. The heat is from old steam radiators, which don't make the air all stuffy like forced-air systems do. Plus they make interesting sounds as if they're alive.

Things I Learned

  • Punkin's engine isn't super loud but it's loud enough that I can't hear the turn signal relay clicking, so at first I was leaving my signals on a lot. But I came up with a new habit of not taking my thumb off the switch unless it's in the neutral position and that seems to be working.
  • Tuning a harp is a pain in the ass. Not only are there a lot of strings to tune, but their tensions all influence each other so you have to make several passes. And the pegs work by friction and don't always turn very smoothly, so for fine adjustment you need to use some fancy piano tuner tricks that I haven't learned yet. I couldn't find the original tuning wrench from the harp in my room so I ordered a cheap one that didn't fit quite right, and had to supplement it with the adjustable wrench from my toolkit. But I did get the harp tuned tolerably well and fooled around enough to learn that it's probably not the instrument for me, even if I did live a more settled lifestyle.
  • According to the label, cucumbers pickled in vinegar have basically no nutritional value, since the only reported nutrient they provide is sodium.
  • Graham has a Korean Baptist church on Main Street, with the sign almost entirely in Korean.

Wonderful Things

  • Going over a bridge and being bathed in the cold, wet smell of the Haw River.
  • Morning sun shining through snowy trees. I love the delicacy of black branches perfectly traced by lines of white.
  • Breakfast in a historic drug store where elderly folks talk about the weather and the waiter already knows what they're getting.
  • A snack of green tea and hush puppies, which go together a lot better than I would have expected. I guess hush puppies are a bit like Takoyaki without the octopus, so maybe it's not that surprising.

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