Thursday, August 18, 2011

Boy! Was I Ever Steamed!

Steamed? You’re dad gum right! Darn tootin’! I was like a cartoon character – steam was billowing out of both ears, which were probably extended out like bull horns. There I was all uptight and in a hurry to get to work and I was running late. As I started up the backside of Ratcliffe Mountain at 8:00 a.m. (well, 8:10 a.m. actually), there it was – in all of its bright orange glory. Cars and trucks, you know - honest hard working people, just trying to get to work – all in a line moving slowly because that self-centered jerk wrapped in his once upon a time neon colored…

some say a vehicle was taking up the full lane of travel. He was holding all of us from getting to work. Gosh, I hate it… (Note: lots of family friendly exclamations here. Please feel free to substitute your own…)

So, what do YOU think was holding up traffic? Is your heart rate up yet? Was it some jerk of a cyclist out getting in people’s way? Was it some tree hugger worried about his carbon footprint? No it was a…..

…neighbor of mine in his  bright orange Kubota tractor on his way to repair a gravel road. I wasn’t angry and I wasn’t put out but I did observe that not a single one of the vehicles behind him (and, yes, there were about 8 at that time) blew a horn, mouthed off at him, shot him a “one finger salute”, or buzzed him. Of course, his scrape blade would have done some serious damage had the motorists gotten too close.

I couldn’t help but ponder on the very different behavior and tolerance shown by motorists on this day to this “tractor driving man” and how cyclists so often get treated differently on our highways and byways FOR THE SAME EXACT BEHAVIOR. Was it the appearance of doing work that made the difference? Was it a stereo-typical response to a “good ‘ol boy”?  You know – one of us NOT most definitely one of THEM. Traffic was being held up just the same and pretty close to the same speed as if a cyclist had been there. Oh well, another little interlude in my daily existence….

To Fargo or Not?

I finally sold (again) my mother’s house. We sold it once following her death and did some owner financing that turned out to be a bad idea for us. The house came back to us two years ago and we’ve been trying to get it back in shape to sell and then watching it languish in this terrible housing market. We were also watching the dollars go out the door keeping it insured and maintained.

I had promised the Navigator that I would apply most of my financial gains to existing debt so we can maybe, just maybe, retire some day and travel. After all, there is a lot of fine riding out there that I haven’t done yet and, at 58 years of age, I may not have the health or wherewithal to get to do it much later. I have also told the Navigator that some part of the proceeds were going to another bicycle to join our stable of two – My Fuji CCR3 and her Novarra Fiona.


I’ve had my eye on a Salsa Fargo for two, maybe three years now. Through this blog, I’ve made MORE THAN ONE not evenly finely veiled suggestion to the GREAT FOLK AT SALSA that they should just send me one for free. Apparently, their firewall prevents delivery of my entreaties to their Inboxes. I assume this because no free Salsa Fargo has appeared at my home as yet.

So, the time is now, I have the money. I’m ready to purchase. Bro Dave loves his Fargo on the fire roads and trails near his home in sunny southern California. So, I stopped by one of my LBS’s on Sunday and found out that, even though they are a Salsa dealer, they don’t stock Fargos. This, if website inventories are to be believed, seems to be the case for all Salsa dealers within 500 miles of my home.

The sales person, while assuring me he wasn’t trying to talk me out of a Fargo, kept doing a fine and steady job of suggesting that a Vaya is really what I need/want. Need maybe? Want – nope! Still, I did my due diligence and researched the Vaya and it is indeed a fine looking piece of work and does seem to match the general style of riding that I do.


But, that’s my point… I want to broaden my style of riding. I want something that will take me off road and still allow commuting. The Fargo or the romantic idea of a Fargo still seems to be in my future. Bro Dave spotted a nice new one near his home. I could get him to purchase it for me and ship it to me here in the Great Smoky Mountains. But, I’m holding out for my really local bike shop, who is NOT a Salsa dealer, to see if he can order it for me. Apparently, this requires significant mediation, rumination, and a Super Committee. Still, I’m hopeful… It dawns on me that the REALLY REALLY SUPER WONDERFUL PEOPLE  at Salsa could ease my pain, my suffering, the pressure on my wallet simply by finally giving in and sending me a free NEW SALSA FARGO. If any of you out there reading this can pull some strings for me, I won’t get mad if you do it!


Final prep for the 2nd Annual Blue Ridge Breakaway. All but the final details and last minute adjustments are made The rain is here today and gone tomorrow and Saturday. We’re ready for a great day of riding!

Until later,

- Zeke

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