After nearly four weeks both Miss Debbie and I are feeling almost back to normal following our respective bouts with the Flu B virus. It’s hard to express just how out of sorts we’ve both been and it reminds us why we never take our health for granted. We have truly been fortunate during our lives to have generally enjoyed good healthy and steered clear of major injuries or long-term ailments. Here’s hoping we can keep it that way for another few decades!
Still Counting Down for Debbie’s Big Events
The countdown clock continues to click off the days until:
- Debbie’s retirement on 3 April
- Our trip to New Orleans with our friends David & Deb on 6 April
- Debbie’s 60th birthday on 25 April and any related celebrations.
Still working to firm up the plans for Debbie’s 60th, but Saturday 22 April is definitely “feeling” like the right day to hold some type of gathering: just need to decide if we do it at the house or pick a neutral watering hole in a more centralized location. Probably need to get an E-vite out there pretty soon so I can gauge interest and availability on the 20th. After all, we could end up with a nice and intimate dinner instead of a party if we’ve picked the wrong date.
Friday & Saturday at Loco’s
We had a more normal feeling Finally a Friday celebration at Loco Willy’s on Friday. Well, I say that. Friday was also Saint Patrick’s Day and it was a very different looking crowd at Loco’s. Our partner’s in crime — David & Deb — were there so we were able to take over a corner of the bar and get caught up on upcoming plans for New Orleans and other trips.
I was somewhat in the mood to kick up my heels after dinner but, sadly, even the non-smoking places we’ve been to in the past have lost their appeal: SuBourbon’s is really not non-smoking anymore as the non-smoking bar is surrounded by a large porch with bar that allows smoking. However, there are three large entrances between the two areas that are never closed when a band is playing. Therefore, all of the smoke migrates into the non-smoking bar, pretty much making the entire place any but smoke-free. Paddy’s pub has a good layout for live bands and dancing, but it’s just not a friendly, warm-feeling place… at least to us. Dixie Tavern is just too far away and tends to draw a crowd that likes to stand on the dance floor instead of dancing. And so on… Anyway, we were at home by 8:00pm on Friday night and had a relatively quiet and uneventful Saint Patrick’s day.
Saturday was also a bit thin on the regulars at Loco’s, but one of the bartenders and his wife — Billy & Missy — were on hand and Billy was in rare form which made for a fast-start to our evening. However, aside from Billy and Missy, the place was actually fairly empty, as you can see in the dining area behind us. Our friend Kevin was leaving as we came in and eventually David & Deb joined us. I’m not sure why, but we were both pretty hungry and instead of starting off with just some chips & salsa we dove into a small order of house nacho’s. David & Deb ended up sharing their entrees with us, so we had more than our fill of nachos, burritos and brisket-filled Texas toothpicks by the time we headed home around 8:00pm.
And, in case anyone was curious, now that I’m feeling well again I’m back to wearing my kilts on the weekend. For Saint Patrick’s day I was sporting a more traditional wool Black Watch tartan kilt with green cashmere-like v-neck sweater, a brown sporran and brown boots: sorry, no photo. It’s not exactly a traditional way to wear a kilt, but far more comfortable and less pretentious than having knee socks with flashes, waist belt and a Jacobite shirt.
On Saturday night I wore one of my modern cotton “utility kilts” with a 3″ brown belt, a long-sleeve Daytona Bike Week t-shirt and the same brown boots from Friday. No need for a sporran as the utility kilts have cargo pockets on the sides!
I have no idea if this will be a long-term thing or if it’s a passing fancy. However, I’ll note I’ve been wearing western boots for 15 years, had either a goatee or close-cropped beard for 22 years and wore my hair long for nearly 7 years. I can’t image having the facial hair or long hair at this point, but then again if I put back on 25-30 lbs who knows. Regardless, I’ll look to Debbie for a cue as to if and when I need to move on from my kilts. In the mean time, you’ll probably have a 50/50 chance of catching me out in a kilt on a weekend or weeknight.
So, Just How Well Are We Feeling?
Well enough that when the temps moved into the mid-60s on Saturday afternoon and the clouds and stiff breeze dried-off the rain-soaked roads by 2:30pm we jumped on the tandem for a short “test our legs and lungs” ride! Mind you, the last time the weather was nice enough and we were feeling well-enough to ride the tandem was back on 14 January; yikes! That’s a long time to be off the pedal bike. Here’s hoping that with Debbie moving into retirement she’ll become a cycling monster and will drag me out on the weekends more often so that we can rebuild our base mileage and cycling fitness. BTW, for full disclosure… I didn’t take a tandem ride selfie this week. The motorists were just a little bit too squirrelly so this is a ‘file photo’ from a previous, cool-weather ride. We both look the same, but in case one of our regular readers was having a deja vu moment…
Other Stuff This Past Weekend
Saturday morning started off with a lot of rain and temps in the upper 30’s, so it was a good morning to sleep-in… even though I didn’t. Instead, and inspired by a photo that a friend posted to an off-road tandem enthusiasts group at Facebook from October 2004, I decided to do a little retrospective on another off-road tandem enthusiasts discussion list that I created back in 2001 called Double Forte. I also included a little anecdotal trip down memory lane on the history of off-road tandem rallies. You can find the blog entry from my other blog HERE if you’re so inclined. Fair warning, it’s pretty esoteric stuff for tandem cycling buffs. I was also able to get most of the laundry done while working on my blog entry and also took care of a few other weekend chores to break up my morning writing session.
As the weather began to improve I headed over to the local home improvement store to pick up a pair of cedar split rain fence posts so I could replace two posts that had been done in by termites. I’m pretty sure my neighbor’s short-sighted decision to have heart wood tree chipping debris scattered along the edge of his property as “mulch” instead of paying to have it hauled away exacerbated the termite issues we have here in north Georgia, as it was pretty amazing to see that the 2.5′ of cedar post buried in the ground were fully consumed by the termites. I mean, there wasn’t much of anything left aside from a few pieces of very perforated cedar when I started to excavate the old post holes to set the new posts.
There’s nothing quite as much fun as digging 3′ post holes by hand with a post-hole digger in Georgia red clay! But, after making a few adjustments to the rail ends with a reciprocating saw to get everything aligned I was able to set my new posts and all is good again. Although, it would appear it’s about time to power wash the rest of the split rail fence again. I used to power wash and then hit the fence with Thompson’s Weather Seal, but after doing that one year and then skipping the Weather Seal the next I realized it really didn’t do all that much given the time, effort and expense that went into applying the weather seal.
As mentioned earlier, the middle of the afternoon was consumed by a short tandem bicycle ride which was great! Well, OK. It kind of wasn’t great: neither one of us had strong legs, we were fighting a 20 mph head wind 1/2 of the time and the motoring skills and judgement of the average person behind the wheel of a car continues to decline, making on-road cycling truly a high-risk activity. Yes, this weighs heavy on my mind as my dear Debbie begins to talk about spending a lot of time our cycling in the middle of the day when I’ve seen some of the worst driving habits on display vs. what we see on your average Saturday or Sunday.
Sunday morning ended up being a good sleep-in day, if you consider 8:00am to be sleeping-in. Well, truth be told I was awake at 6:00am and just attempted to sleep-in, but pretty much watched the clock for two hours. It was another cold morning, so we busied ourselves with indoor chores, i.e., finishing up the laundry and a little light housekeeping. I also got around to getting a saddle boxed up to ship off to a friend in Arizona so he can give it a try. It’s an all-composite saddle from Selle Anatomica that I was able to buy for about 1/3 of the retail cost by participating in the crowd-funding development program. It was a beautiful-looking saddle, but it ended up being just a bit too wide for me through the mid-section and nose. My friend Dr. Mark is going to give it a try as he likes the leather saddles from Selle Anatomica, but the weight penalty is 3x what you find with most high-performance saddles.
Given all of the precipitation we’ve been having this year, Miss Debbie’s new Honda Accord hadn’t been washed in a few weeks and was definitely in need. So, as the temps finally made their way into the upper 40s and the sun came out I pull out the car washing equipment and got to work on her car. I decided to follow it up with another application of Zaino Z-CS, a self curing transparent synthetic polymer that protects the paint and other surfaces against potentially damaging exposure to sun or ultra-violet light with UV inhibitors. It’s really an amazing car finish product that I’ve used along with various other Zaino products since 2005. I’ll give Debbie’s car a couple of coats of another Zaino polish in a few weeks and then top it another coat of Z-CS. That should give us about 9 months of paint protection as well as a great-looking, deep glossy finish.
Since I had all of the car washing equipment out I decided it was probably time to give the motorcycles a good deep cleaning, as none of them had really been properly washed since the fall.
The BMW R1100S sport bike that I ride to work most of the time — that is most of the time when I’m not sick with the flu, which has ruled out most of February and March thus far — probably was last washed in October. It’s the bike that gets ridden to work rain or shine and sits outside all day, so there’s not much point in cleaning it since it’s always dirty. Now, that’s not to say that I don’t take care of the finish. The BMW and all of our other motorcycles and vehicles get the same Zaino Z-CS treatment that I described for the Honda Accord. So, while the bikes may not always look nice and clean, the paint, plastic and other exposed components are all treated about 2 – 3 times a year with the UV protecting properties in the Z-CS.
After taking care of the BMW both of the Harley’s got the same deep cleaning. I even broke out the power washer so that I could hit the undersides of all three bikes and blow out the grit and grime that had worked its way into places where you just can’t get with a brush or washing mit.
The last time ‘Betty’ — the black solo-seat cruiser — was washed was probably back in November before I loaned her to our friend Monica who was thinking about moving to a Harley from her Honda cruiser. Monica took very good care of Betty and did a great job of dry-cleaning the bike before bringing her back on 13 January. So, Betty was overdue and got a good washing from top to bottom, made all that much easier by my J&S motorcycle lift: a must have for anyone with a motorcycle. Betty also got the Zaino Z-CS treatment after her bath.
Sadly, it seems like Betty’s battery isn’t long for this world. The original one had to be replaced back in August 2013 when, based on the date code, it was about 3 years old. So, this one also lasted about 3-4 years which seems to be the norm for a Harley-Davidson OEM battery, although some report longer lives. What baffles me is that I keep Betty’s battery on the Battery Tender all of the time, so it should help the battery last a bit longer. Heck, I think the Odyssey battery in the BMW is going on 7 years at this point! Maybe I should look at upgrading from the stock Harley battery since Betty is well past the warranty period. But I digress.
Last but not least was Blue, who hadn’t seen a wash mit since November and was sporting a pretty good smattering of dead bugs and other road grime that I’d neglected to remove. Like Betty, Blue went up on the J&S stand for a top to bottom cleaning that was way overdue. The small Greenworks 1,600 psi pressure washer has proven to be a great garage / house cleaning accessory. I have a larger, gas-powered 2,500 psi pressure washer, but give the size, etc., it’s not the most convenient thing to haul out for small jobs. However, the Greenworks electric pressure washer sits out-of-the-way in a corner of the garage and takes all of about 3 minutes to prep for use. It’s making it a lot easier to clean engine compartments and the undersides of vehicles and easier means more likely to do it! It also was perfect for the motorcycles: just the right pressure when mated to the right nozzle. Anyway, after giving Blue a good wash she also got the Zaino Z-CS treatment with a follow-up coat of Zaino Z-5 polish. I’ll put another coat of Z-5 on and then top coat with the Z-CS next weekend, or perhaps one night this week if the temps get in the upper 60’s to 70’s. In the mean time, it’s nice to have all three bikes cleaned up and protected with Zaino. Now, if we can just carve out some time to go and ride Blue!
That’s about it. We had a lovely dinner in on Sunday: Bourbon glazed salmon with baked sweet potatoes and a yummy salad with lots of little flavorful stuff on it. Other than that, I’ve been updating the TandemGeek’s Blog and am now taking care of the weekly wrap up so I can mail it off to my parents: it supplements our weekly phone call and lets them know what we’ve been up to.