As I kept reminding myself that the day I had planned ahead of me was nothing compared to my actually pedaling the Eagle to Boston in 89 days time now, I biked into the fog on my amazing S&B recumbent. Behind me was the 1891 Eagle HiWheel that I had spent the last hour securing into my trailer. Ahead of me, 17 miles away, was Tom Schoeniger's 4130inc.com tig welding torch.
The bike rode great and the trailer load cooperated without a hitch. However when I got to Tom's quiet neighborhood, his house was even quieter. I texted him. No response. I called. Nothing. Being Valentine's Day, I could not bring myself to wake him and his beautiful wife Theresa so I went to Plan B.
I got out my heavy cable lock and locked the bike and trailer in an area where Tom often parks his beautiful 4130 machines. Before I took off, I texted him where to find the key I had hidden and to work on it at his leisure.
Then I headed back to Palo Alto to the Busycle Ride that Nitzele and her daughter Dafne had put together. Cold and foggy, a lot of people did not show up. It wasn't until Dr Megan Smith, who slowed down on her way past, agreed to help us pedal, that we did take off. Slowly.
And even fewer people were out that we could invite them to join us. In the interest of not being able to get back because they had nothing left (tho they were reasonably fit, Roger and Doris had to be well into their 60's), we only rode to Middlefiield an Loma Verde maybe a third of a mile away.
After Nacho and his wife, Megan, Nitzelie and Jason helped me get the Busycle covered up, It was then that I biked back to the other side of Mountain View where our 2010 tour bus has been located for the last three months. And no sooner had I gone through the ritual of getting the engine,fired up so it would have the correct air pressure for the brakes and doors (air pressure keeps them closed as well as opens them) than David Lageschulte, a highly regarded supervisor for the Valley Transit Authority, and his dad pulled up. David was pumped and ready to drive!His dad John, a 1961 Wheaton College graduate, who moved first to Maryland to work six years for NASA and then here to San Jose where he spent 27 years in a prestigious software engineering position working for IBM, came out to be a part of the fun. The last time he rode a bus that David drove was 25 years ago. It was then that his son. at 19 years of age, had become the youngest bus driver in the VTA system as well as one of the youngest in the nation.
David grew up loving buses. And he loves ours. To him, being able to drive it wihtout passengers and schedules, makes getting behind the wheel of ours feel like a sports car to him,. He couldn't wait to drive some freeway. And he did. Expertly so!
Then he took us through many of the streets of Mountain View and Palo Alto as he relived memories of all the many miles he had logged doing so before he soon was promoted to the supervisor position he enjoys today. We even stopped and hung out at the main Palo Alto transit hub with our bus as David hob knobbed with all the bus drivers he knew.
Then we got to Park Automotive Service at 3040 Park Blvd here in Palo Alto where David's challenge was to park the bus adjacent to the fence that separates the car repair shop from the massive parking lot behind Fry's Electronics. In order to do so he had to get the bus to run at 90 degree angle to the street while jumping a curb and powering over two concrete parking stanchions. No Problem!
While his dad stopped a couple cars in the street and I kept an eye on the fence, David jockeyed our huge 26,000 pound machine into position. A few minutes later he was done! And as we stood there and laughed and talked, JohnE Cabrera, the owner of the bus, showed up!!
Soon, as soon as we get some of the decals in place and possibly Mona Caron's art work, David wants to drive us all around Palo Alto and even the surrounding cities to help us advertise our mission. Wow!!
So the bus is back in Palo Alto!! Where THX to Don Armstrong and his Park Automotive, we are not only close to all our bike people and other networks but we can expect new untold resources to also come our way. This because we are now located on Palo Alto's real, far more heavily traveled bike boulevard, Park Bldvd!
THX 4 all of U!!
Note: 4130inc Tom studied my wheel while I was busy with the Bus and Busycle. He placed it under a magnifying lens. He looked inside the walls. He examined the cracks and looked and looked. He gave what he\e saw a lot of thought.
His pronouncement: Lace it up. It will be be strong enough under tension from the spokes for me to train on it. However, he does not want to see me go cross country on it. The rim is toast, But it will hold up for another few hundred miles as long as I don't go up or down curbs. Yahoo!!
Jeff Kistler says he will pick it up and rebuild it for me tomorrow!! This man, as well, is also amazing!!