Monday, March 31, 2014

$6 worth of books in a Ford Festiva: How I almost got away with it.

7am! Gotta get up!

There's a book sale in Harrisburg today. You can fill a grocery bag with books for $1. My cash flow issues haven't evaporated, so the price is right. My car - the almighty Ford Festiva - just got a ton of work done. I want to see what it thinks about the highways again.

It liked the highways pretty good, I'd say. I haven't personally put many miles on this car, and today I noticed that it has cruise control. No tape deck, but it came with cruise control. Wild times. No cup holders... but cruise? Check. It's a nice touch.

8:30am. I look at my watch, and I'm starting to feel pretty good about myself. It was a rushed morning. No time for food. No time for coffee. No time to interrupt my fiancé in the shower. (btw, I'm getting married.)

Just as my brain was patting my body on it's back, I realized there was a problem. The address I put in the GPS was in "Lancaster," which is not the same as "Harrisburg." It didn't even bother me. I fixed the address and set out again. Maybe I should have taken the extra two minutes to get a coffee.

I was a little bit late, but I got there just the same. I entered the basement of a church and started looking for books that a sane human might want to read. I skipped over the fad diet books and the hopelessly obsolete computer books. I inspected one computer book: there was a 3.5" floppy disk still affixed in it's plastic sleeve inside the back cover. Nope. Gonna go ahead and leave that one right there.

All said, I spent $6 on books. Some of them are actually pretty good. My wireless barcode scanner found quite a few with a healthy estimated value. These prices are great. The snack bar was selling Cokes for a quarter. These folks had put commerce on hold.

I got back in the car, and set my sights on home. I'd stop somewhere and get a coffee. Finally. Maybe I'd get some food.

Instead, my brakes started feeling mushy. Then, when I was looking for a place to pull over, they felt downright fucked up. By the time I pulled over at the Choo Choo Barn in Strasburg, there was no hopeful wish that it was a dream. My rim was hot to the touch, and there was clearly some caliper malfunction afoot.

No matter. This is why I subscribe to AAA services. I got a ride the rest of the way, and I'll save the strife for another time.


Anonymous said...

nice score on the books. any up coming bicycle tours planned? on a spring tour would yo uprefer tent or bivy sac?

Pixy Stoneskipper said...

I'll probably ride the C&O Canal / Great Allegheny Passage again. That's a nice jaunt. I like a two-person tent. It's roomy and decadent. I would use a bivy for:

1) Challenging stealth camping.
2) Fast trips with more riding than sleeping.

When I used a bivy most effectively, I was drunk as hell every night, and finding legit camping spots was challenging or impossible.

On my cross country tour, I tried all possible shelters, and ended up liking the luxury of the two-person tent. The further west I went, the easier it was to find an easy spot to pitch a mansion.

Anonymous said...

thanks for reply. I'll be doing the c&o also this spring-summer. since Im fairly close I'll probably do several weekend trips.

happy trails

Anonymous said...

which bicycle are you planning to use on c&o- gap tour this year? do you still have the diamond back you rode on your quebec tour?

Pixy Stoneskipper said...

I still have the same Diamondback. A 1997 Diamondback Outlook. It features oversized high-tensile tubing. The geometry is very "relaxed" with shallow angles. It is a tank, a plow, and a friend.

For many reasons, this has remained my favorite bicycle for almost 8 years.

1) It's built like a tank. I feel confident that my favorite bicycle will never sustain irreparable frame damage. It's on its second fork. The impact that killed the first fork would have also killed a more expensive frame. Not only is the frame undamaged - but if anything DID happen to it, I could find another for $20.

2) I can sit up and cruise. The geometry of the frame makes it take a straight line, which is perfect for cruising no-hands in a straight line. I like that. I can float into town slowly and comfortably observe the sights.

3) It can fit wide tires, fenders, and 1,000,000 pounds of junk.

While everybody is out trying to find a lightweight "fast" bicycle, I am left with my cheap buddy. When I want to go fast, I pedal harder - when I want to be aerodynamic, I lean forward. I don't have to pay extra for these simple matters of science. When I'm on a tour, I want comfort and reliability. My Hoopty delivers.

I don't ride bicycles as much as some people. But I have ridden many miles on the Hoopty, and I have never wished for another machine during the trips that I've taken.

From Philadelphia to Florence Oregon, the Hoopty didn't hesitate once to perform like a reliable friend. Many times I have felt lucky to discover the simpler side of cycling.

Anonymous said...

Amen to all the above. as a former spandex clad roadie-racer, I now enjoy the simple side of cycling. street clothes & tennis shoes on my my kona 29er mahuna. I asdmire you bfor doing the cross country bicycle trip. I followed the blog thru your adventure. oddly enough I had been following the blog of the rider from florida you met up with before you ever mentioned him on your blog,lol. Id like to tour the country also, but Im thinking of traveling in my van & finding kool places to park &b do mini tours from various states while livinjg out of my van, in which Im a full timer dweller.
blessed in annapolis md Ray