Moto Maintenance & Other Updates

Another day in Ed’s shop:

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Work in progress: rear wheel done, front wheel off and ready for new bearings and a fresh tire

I bought a set of motorcycle tires a while back because they were on sale. The rubber on the Honda was still good, but who knew when or if another sale would come around? Last weekend I rode the bike on an errand and noticed it didn’t feel right. I checked the tires and found the front, which looked normal, almost flat. Plugging leaks in motorcycle tires isn’t a smart move, so I called my friend Ed to see if he had time to help me put the new set on. He had all day Wednesday available, so we did some additional work while we were at it.

While the wheels were off we checked the brake pads, pulled the old front wheel bearings and replaced them with a new set, replaced the fluid in the final drive, and changed the engine oil and filter. Even though we were working in Ed’s air-conditioned shop, it was still hot and sweaty work. We started at 9 AM and finished up at 3 PM, and I was beat for the rest of the day. I’m sure Ed was too. What a great friend!

This morning I decided to take the bike to the corner car wash before it got hot. That would have worked out fine, except I managed to pull one end of an elastic strap under the seat, and had to remove the saddle when I got home to fish it out. Removing the saddle’s a bit of a job and by the time it was done, working in my own decidedly un-air-conditioned garage, I was drenched all over again.

But hey, the Honda’s in great shape and clean to boot, and Ed and I are talking about another cross-country ride together … as soon as it cools down, that is.

Chewie, our cat, is 20 years old and on her last legs. There’s not much more than a skeleton underneath the fur, and her back legs are stiff. She can no longer jump, so she uses the ramp I made for the doggies to get on and off the couch. I’ve seen her stagger a couple of times. She’ll eat a bit of baby food, but mostly just drinks water or chicken broth. And then pees on the floor. One of the things she’s started to do in her old age (that she never would have considered doing when she was younger) is snuggling up with Schatzi, who seems happy to let her do it.

Chewie & Schatzi

Donna called a couple of vets about putting her to sleep. I don’t know that Donna will be able to take that step. I probably would, but I’d always wonder afterward … the old girl doesn’t act like she wants to die, and other than peeing on the floor, is there any reason not to let her live out her days? That’s the trick, though, knowing whether she’s happy or miserable. How can you tell?

It was so hot at the air museum this Monday, admissions cancelled the afternoon tram tour. I worried that the cancellation had something to do with me, because on the late morning tour one of my passengers got sick and bailed out.

As I was driving and narrating, I noticed an older British tourist looking ill. He had been looking at the airplanes, but now he had his head down, looking at his lap. I kept my eye on him in the rear view mirror. As I slowed to say something about one of the airplanes he stood up as if he wanted to get off the tram, so I came to a full stop and let him off, asking if he was okay. He said he was, and started walking back to the snack bar, which was nearby. The snack bar has air conditioning, and I figured he was trying to get out of the heat. The other passengers seemed okay, so I continued the tour.

It was only afterward I began to think the man might have been experiencing heat stroke. I should have called admissions on the walkie-talkie, as we are supposed to do if a visitor has a medical issue. What if admissions had cancelled the afternoon tour because my passenger fainted in the snack bar? Damn it, I should have called in!

I tore myself up all the way home, then called a couple of other museum docents to see what they would have done. Surprisingly, they said they would have done just what I did. I also learned that no one had fainted, which was a relief.

Still, though, I could have done better. If a visitor has a serious medical emergency, I’m confident I’ll know what to do and will be all over it. If it’s iffy, like what happened Monday, well, I always monitor the passengers in the mirror and from now on I’ll be trigger-loaded to stop the tram and offer assistance, even if it does embarrass the visitor. Heat stroke is a pretty awful experience, if you’ve never experienced it. I did once, after a brutal hare & hounds run in Singapore, and I’m not likely to forget it.

© 2016, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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