2.16.2006

all right already!

Jeez, you'd think you people had nothing better to do than obsessively check my blog eight times a day. I'm sorry it's so upsetting, but haven't you heard of RSS? Gosh.

For those who have not been harassing me, thank you for your patience. We now resume regularly scheduled programming.

Here's a story for you. I don't remember if I blogged about it a couple months ago when I ran over some scissors in the road -- SCISSORS(?!) -- and got a flat tire, then spent a good 20 minutes trying to get my spare out of the trunk because it was frozen down. Note to self: in the future, dry spare very carefully before putting it back in the trunk, at least in the winter.

Then, a week or so ago I hit the world's largest pothole on my way to work. I thought "Whew, good thing cars don't pinch-flat." The fine city of St. Paul was kind enough to fix this pothole a mere day and a half after it appeared, which tells you how big this pothole was. This pothole was like the car-sized version of the one that took Sascha out last spring on Delaware Ave. Anyway, despite all my gloating about cars not pinch-flatting, I discovered that night that my hubcap was missing, so now my car is all ghetto-looking. Stupid pothole.

Anyway, long story short, cars do pinch-flat. It just takes longer. Today I was leaving to go to lunch when a lady from the office building next to ours came running out to tell me that my tire was flat (it's on the passenger side, so I didn't see it). So I had to change my tire in the parking lot, which was fun because whoever changed that tire last put the lug nuts on so damn tight that even jumping up and down on the wrench didn't loosen them until I'd been jumping for a good ten minutes PER NUT, and then once they were all off and the car was jacked up the wheel was -- wait for it -- FROZEN ON, and wouldn't come off. Fucking Minnesota. Pieces of my car should not FREEZE TOGETHER every time I need to change a tire.

So I yanked on it so hard I pulled a muscle in my shoulder. I felt it. It went RRRRRRRRRRRIP!! So now I have a gimpy leg AND a gimpy shoulder, and I am quickly running out of athletic activities to do. I can't run, or ride my bike, or use the stairmaster, and now I can't lift weights either. Lame, lame, lame.

Ultimately it seems the way to un-freeze a tire is to ninja-kick it a few times, so good thing I watched so many Ninja Turtles cartoons when I was a kid. Even though it got me mocked mercilessly because I was "too old" for Ninja Turtles, seeing as how I was in fifth grade and Ninja Turtles were for third graders. Whatever dude, I knew it would come in handy one day. Anyway, I got the tire off, put the donut spare on, and off I went to get it fixed.

But no! Foiled again! Not only did I pinch-flat very slowly, that pothole actually bent my rim, so I left the repair place with the donut STILL on, and I have to go back tomorrow and pay them one meeellion dollars to straighten my rim. Perhaps I should kindly request that the City of St. Paul pay for it, since they're the ones with the three-foot-diameter pothole in the middle of the on-ramp.

On the bright side, at least this time around I know how to change the tire, which wasn't really the case with the truck. I also got two flats in six weeks with the truck, back in 2003, the first time halfway up a jeep trail on Purgatory Mountain in Colorado (I left the giant metal bolt sticking into the tire and hightailed it back down the mountain, praying that the air would leak slowly enough that I could find people before it went totally flat), and the second time at 2:00 AM in the middle of Albuquerque when I hit a clump of barbed wire (in the middle of the highway) and tore a ten-inch gash in the sidewall. That one was even better - I flagged down some random old dude and begged so pathetically that he had no choice but to help, and as he was fixing my tire he told me that he was a Vegas lounge singer doing an old timey cowboy act, and not only that, he had a box full of demo CDs in his car, and when he was done with the tire he gave me one of those demo CDs. I still have it. It was terrible.

I went to WalMart to get the first one repaired, because WalMart is all there is in the middle of rural New Mexico. I handed over the truck, told them it was the right rear wheel, and sat in the waiting room for an hour and a half. Finally I was just fed up, because how long can it really take to fix a flat. I asked about it and the doofus at the desk said "oh, that one's done. It wasn't flat." I said the hell it wasn't, and the guy showed me my perfectly good, not-at-all-flat SPARE. No shit the spare isn't flat. Never go to WalMart, guys.

And those are all my flat tire stories. This is what you get when I have nothing to say but you pester me for blog posts anyway. I refuse to apologize.

10 Comments:

Blogger Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Yeah! Annie is back!

Bummer/s...

How is the Pepsi Bike anyway? Is it done? Do you ride it yet?

Sorry about the shoulder. How's the foot?

2/16/2006 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Annie's brother said...

Ahh, brings back memories of my summer '04 California road trip. I was a few miles down a decent gravel road when I found that my right rear tire had a gaping hole in the sidewall, probably from broadsiding a fallen log. I dug out the spare from under the cargo area, put it on without too much difficulty, enjoyed my planned 4-day backpacking trip anyway, and drove into town for a new (used) Michelin (about $40 with installation).

Fast forward 5 days, to when I'm on another reasonably good gravel road and I hear a lot of noise coming from the RIGHT REAR CORNER of the car. The one that just got a new tire. Yep, 5 days in and the fucker's gone flat. To make things worse, the tire is held into its well by a bolt that threads into a brass nut that's spot-welded in under the sheet-metal floor of the cargo area. The spot welds had sheared off; there was nothing to keep the nut from turning along with the bolt. What I eventually wound up doing was literally tearing out the sheetmetal to remove the bolt, nut and everything. It took about 20 minutes of enthusiastic violence to get the tire out, at which point I had mangled the threads on the nut so I couldn't unscrew it. I didn't have a hacksaw on me, and there's no way I could have cut through the bolt with the file on my Leatherman (it works ok on soft-tempered sheet steel, but...). Thankfully, I did have a 24-inch forged steel breaker bar and a socket to fit the bolt head, and the 6-inch crescent wrench I keep on my keychain just barely fit the nut. With much force, I finally cranked the nut off (another 20 minutes or so of concerted hard physical labor) and found, with great relief, that the rim had survived all the violence I'd thrown its way. I drove slowly into town on my now well-used spare, bought the only tire in town that fit (also used, $20 with installation). I'm still using that tire.

Sorry to hear about the various injuries. If it's any consolation, on my Washington State road trip this past summer, I managed to sprain my ankle through random stupidity not related to tires, but that's another story...

2/16/2006 8:15 PM  
Blogger Pete said...

Remind me not to drive anywhere with you or your brother.

2/16/2006 9:05 PM  
Blogger Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Annie, can you get your brother to guest blog or something? He's funny!

Nice job brother-man!

2/16/2006 10:07 PM  
Blogger annie said...

Hah, yeah, I guess it runs in the family. We often find ourselves halfway up an old jeep trail in a two-wheel-drive vehicle without enough tools. What can I say... except David, dude, good to see you! I didn't know you read this thing. I did hear about your ankle. That was the railroad track incident, was it not? I gotta get my ass out west again soon. Minnesota is a little short of adventure.

2/16/2006 10:23 PM  
Anonymous annie's brother said...

Of course I read this. If my life was more interesting, I'd probably get a blog too, but I don't do much right now. Indiana is short on adventure, too, so I don't have much to write about.

But hey, if car part destruction amuses you, here's more. In my summer '03 Colorado road trip (yes, my summers are usually more interesting than my academic year), I was driving the same battered but venerable green station wagon up a rather steep, rocky jeep road to yet another trailhead for a weekend mountain climb. This one was actually a pretty bad road-- rough and rocky, and too steep to maintain good purchase in a front-wheel drive. I dealt with the latter problem by going really fast to keep my momentum up, and with the former by steering frantically to hit the rocks with the tires rather than, say, the transmission. I made it to my trailhead, but as I got out of the car, I heard an odd hiss coming from the front end of the car. After some frantic searching (the tires were fine, by some miracle) and a mostly incoherent plea for help directed at a nearby random stranger, I decided it was probably the radiator venting excess pressure. I summited the next day, hiked back on the third, and found that for some reason, my A/C wasn't cooling anything down. Happily, that was in fall and A/C season was winding down. After its checkup back in Indiana, I learned that I'd apparently smashed some part of the A/C plumbing on one of the assorted rocks and dumped five pounds of Freon into the atmosphere. So, somewhere above the Capitol Creek trailhead, White River National Forest, CO, there's a hole in the ozone with my name written on it. Oh, and the new, CFC-free system ran me about 500 bucks.

2/16/2006 10:57 PM  
Anonymous suthsc said...

You should consider getting a rim from a junkyard.. They are usually cheep, but I don't know if it will be cheeper then the 'repair' that the shop wants to do..

2/17/2006 11:33 AM  
Blogger Caloi-Rider said...

Cowabunga, Annie.

2/17/2006 2:56 PM  
Blogger annie said...

Dang it, Caloi, I keep trying to comment over at your place and it won't work. I hope you're not paying for that "spaces" crap.

And the repair turns out to be a replacement rim anyway, Scott. Assuming I ever get my car back, which is looking less and less likely as the day wears on.....

2/17/2006 3:03 PM  
Blogger Caloi-Rider said...

Really? It's been giving me trouble lately too--at least on Safari, which is the browser I usually use. Try using internet explorer. It seems to work on spaces, but my ie won't work on blogger. It's a little weird having to jump through all these hoops just to leave comments.
I'd use firefox, but half of the links don't show up when I do.

2/17/2006 4:27 PM  

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