Sunday, February 19, 2006

Drama in the Midwest: Bipolar Weather Patterns.

On the 14th of this month the outside air temperature reached 63 degrees so I dragged the Cannondale out of the garage, aired up the tires and went out for a fast fifteen miles up the bike trail. Yesterday morning the 18th it was 4 below zero and not a chance that I was going to do anything besides sit on my butt and hope for more warm days.

This is the midwest, so we're all walking around saying to each other "How d'ya like the weather? Don't get too used to it." We ought to be good for one snowstorm-as it stands, the biggest activity with the snowblower was getting it ready for winter, which usually means gassing it up and cleaning the spark plug.

Did I ever tell you how I got a snowblower? Well. Sit right down over there.
One afternoon in June of 2002 I was on my way to pick up the wife at the academy and I was cruising down 41st street in the now deceased Plymouth Voyager, about which more some other time. It was, I believe, the hottest day so far in the year and it was pushing 90 degrees in the shade.

There it was, parked at the curb, a pretty good looking 5hp self propelled number. I couldn't believe my good fortune. I walked up to the door and knocked, and the homeowner said "You want that thing? I'll help you put it in your truck."

I got it home and found out it had electric starting-good thing, the compression's a little low. It had half a tank of gas and ran just fine. It's a no-name bargain basement rig with a 5hp Briggs, self propelled, hard chargin' snow smasher. All I've done is changed the oil a couple times, basic tuneup things, and studded the tires with a couple hundred sheet metal screws. I've been toying with the idea of making a megaphone exhaust for it, if I ever get a small welder at a price I want to pay-which ain't much.

At this rate, it'll out last me as well.

It's hard to believe that we're but a month from snowdrops and maybe a few daffodils. This year, I'm gonna do the century. Count on it.


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