Tom Flanders Stuff

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Tom Week – Bike Work

bike gears

7/30/20 – Bike Work Day

I changed the gears on my bike and now it’s much easier to ride. I’m impressed with myself. I’ve never done this before. The tricky part was changing the shifter from 2 speed to 3 speed.

I also tracked down the annoying clicking/popping sound. Several of the front spokes were loose. Whoever put the wheels together was in a rush.

7/31/20 – Tired Legs and Such

I went for a bike ride today, but my legs hadn’t fully recovered from my long ride the other day, so I had cut it short. The bike is working much better with the new gears. Still a few teething adjustments to make.

8/1/20 – August is upon us

Time flies when you’re sitting still.

Today I seem to have fixed our hydraulic levelers. All they needed was a quart of transmission fluid. One quart after five years isn’t so bad.

8/2/20 – On The Level

I had to add a quart of transmission fluid to the hydraulic levelers. They seem to be holding better now. It’s only been 5 years. That adds up to nearly a dollar a year in maintenance costs. The horror.

8/3/20 – Tonya Infusion

In a weird reversal we had to drive from Gilroy to San Francisco for Tonya to get the first of her annual infusions for her osteoporosis. She’s tired, but no side-effects so far.

8/4/20 – Side Effects

Tonya has a fever and has been in bed all day. She had a big spike in blood sugar, but is doing better now.

Road the bike today for 10 miles. Averaged 10.2 MPH. Best so far on The Nazz.

8/5/20 – Petaluma Land

It’s weird driving to San Francisco and not stopping. Though it’s nice that we are no longer stuck here. We’re spending two days in Petaluma. A very nice camp. I’ll get some pictures of the petting zoo tomorrow.

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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: August 6, 2020

Tom Week – at the ocean

ocean sunset

7/23/20 – I see the ocean

We’re back in Pacifica. This time we’re parked with a view of the ocean. Very nice.

Even though I lived near here for decades, coming back is uncomfortable. There is too much traffic. Too many people. I’m feeling claustrophobic.

7/24/20 – Tasks in Masks

Got stuff done today. A couple loads of laundry. A trip to Safeway. Finished a couple of computer tutorials.

I was all excited about two races on TV tonight but it turns out that we don’t get that channel here. Bummer.

Now, at 7PM, after a day of gray, the sun is poking out over the ocean.

7/25/20 – Family visit.

Chester, our common law son and Rachel, our common law daughter-in-law, came for a visit. One of the few very good things about being in California is seeing them. Though I look forward to the day when we don’t all have to wear masks.

It was oddly sunny today. I got psyched to ride my bike then I took Abigail out for a walk. Cold! I may be a wimp, but no bike ride today.

7/26/20 – Garlic and Smoke

I walked into the office at the Gilroy RV park and the clerk yelled, “Welcome back Mr. Flanders.” We haven’t been here in years. I was impressed and creeped out.

The Garlic smell isn’t too bad, but there was a fire somewhere and the smoke smell was terrible for a while.

It’s nice and warm here. Nice.

7/27/20 – New Shorts

I have a new pair of shorts. They used to be a pair of jeans but they got attacked by the rental car’s license plate holder. So now, they’re shorts.

7/28/20 – Off Kilter

A week ago I ran out of one of my meds. I did OK for a few days. Then they came and I went back on them. Now, a few days later, my brain is all messed up. Today was better than yesterday. Tomorrow will be better than today.

7/29/20 – Another Hundred

Despite all the issues with new bike I’ve managed to get in a hundred miles this month. Since I started riding again 11 years ago, July has always been a trouble spot. This is my first July to hit a hundred miles. Yee haw.

The new bike gears also came today. Yee haw again.


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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: July 29, 2020

Tom Week – The Big Trees

big trees

7/16/20 – Crescent City Rolls

Turns out that there is no such thing as Crescent City Rolls. How can you have a city called Crescent City and not have rolls named after it. And they call themselves Californians! They do have big trees though.

Overheard two women at WalMart talking about schools reopening. One said to the other, “I rather have my kid stupid than dead.”

7/17/20 – Closed?

Tonya had a 10AM appointment to get her bloodwork done today. Turns out the lab is closed this week. Huh? The website let us make an appointment and even check in online, but when we arrived there was a closed sign on the door. Hopefully our new appointment on Monday is more happening.

7/18/20 – Bike Ride

Climbed a big steep hill today. I’ve found that I’m able to climb steep hills if I stand when I pedal, which I don’t like doing. Wears me out. Though going back down was fun. I hit 37 miles per hour, which is cool because 37 is my favorite number.

Then I wandered around the city, county and state park. Yes, one park, three jurisdictions. I don’t know why it’s not also a national park. Maybe it’s too small.

7/19/20 – Another Ride

Avoided the big steep hills today, but still managed to climb over 300 feet. I’m getting used to the steeper gears. My legs are going to be huge.

I found the replacement gears I want but they are out of stock till August.

7/20/20 – North of Eureka

We are at a run-down RV park with a very fancy name. It used to be a KOA, but exists way below those standards now. When I hooked up the water supply I got soaked by water pouring out of every part of the spigot. Fortunately, I have TOOLS. I swapped spigots with an unoccupied spot. I even added some plumbers tape for a better seal.

On the other hand, the neighbors all around us a really nice. Makes you feel at home.

7/21/20 – Sticker Burr Park

This park is Abigail’s worst nightmare. After every walk we have to hold her down and pull a couple dozen sticker burrs out of her feet. They are everywhere. I tried sweeping a clear path on the road but they seem to jump onto her from nowhere. We leave tomorrow.

7/22/20 – The Fiberglass Menagerie

We are parked next to the park’s miniature golf course which features several large fiberglass animals with surprisingly accurate genitalia.


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Tags: ,, | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: July 22, 2020

Tom Week – On bikes and a bridge

Albion River Bridge

7/9/20 – Bike Shopping With Mr. Ed

It took a while but I figured out how to hook Irving’s “shopping” bags onto Mr. Ed. The problem with shopping trips on a bike is that there is no room for impulse buys. I forgot that and bought and 8-pack of Gatorade. I did manage to pack everything on the bike except for the loaf of bread. I had to carry that as I rode. People stared.

7/10/20 – Bike ride With The Nazz

Eleven miles today. Still getting used to the differences. Still need to make some adjustments to the brakes and the front shifter, but nothing that will stop me from riding.

Spending a lot of time learning Blender. It’s an animation program. Wonderfully complicated.

7/11/20 – The internet lies

Just because something is on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s true. I followed two different videos on how to adjust disc brakes on a bike, with no luck. The I found one with an entirely different approach. It worked on the real wheel. Took less than 5 minutes. The front wheel took longer because I had to undo the bad adjustments from the first two attempts.

So now the wheels spin with no friction from the brakes, and the brakes still work great. Yeah! The bike is still a pain, literally, to climb hills with. I need much smaller front chain rings. Fortunately that’s not a major, or expensive, operation.

This is a great park. I realize I haven’t said that in a while. Lots of happy families.

7/12/20 – Under the Bridge

We are parked in the shadow of the Albion River Bridge. A scary tall trestle bridge that is still mostly wood. According to Wikipedia, it is the last wooden bridge left on California Highway 1. Despite large sections of concrete and steel it reminds me of the wooden roller coaster at Whalom Park. I was never brave enough to ride it.

7/13/20 – On the Beach

The beach is 50 yards away. It’s an amazing collection of rocks and shells. It’s at the end of a cove with layers of rocks. Far out the huge waves crash. Then each row of rocks slows the waves a bit more, till the gentle lapping hits the sand.

The mailman was apparently afraid to come down the steep hill, so we have to go the post office to pick up Pat’s package. The weird thing is that the post office is just 0.2 miles away, as the crows flies. To get there though, we have to go a quarter mile in the wrong direction, climb 250 feet, then cross the rickety wooden bridge with no sidewalk. We’re going to wait till we leave.

7/14/20 – Doom Fog

The longer we sit here the creepier it gets. There is nothing obvious, but it is pervasive. The other campers don’t seem to notice. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’ve read too many Lovecraft stories. Surrounded by steep cliffs under an old wooden bridge. The fog has a menacing energy. I love it.

7/15/20 – Welcome to Albion

I went to the Albion post office to pick up Pat’s package. The woman there confirmed that they don’t have any drivers brave enough to go down the hill to the campground. I sense there is some dislike for motorhomes in this town. On the wall of the post office was a poster of a burnt out Fleetwood with a sign, “Welcome to Albion” attached.


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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: July 15, 2020

Tom Week – Irving Sad

Irving's replacement

7/1/20 – Irving is Gone

So I don’t need to buy the parts to fix my bike, because the bike got stolen last night. It wasn’t locked up, so it’s my own fault. Funny, they didn’t steal my folding bike, probably because it has a flat.

So, today I went to several stores looking for a new bike. There are no new bikes. At least none that I can afford. Not that I don’t have that much money, but the RV life is tough on bikes so I need a cheap rugged bike. With the pandemic, the parts supply chain is broken, thus the lack of bikes.

Supposedly some WalMarts still have bikes. Either that, or I’ll start looking at thrift stores.

7/2/20 – Long Live Mr. Ed

I changed the front tube on Mr. Ed, the folding bike. Went for a test ride and everything went fine. No big hills in Moss Landing.

Got dinner from Phil’s Fish Market. Way too much food, but yummy.

7/3/20 – Some Days Go Well

I got new sneakers today at the Converse Outlet Store. One pair of solid black hightops and one pair with Gortex outers from the clearance bin. Joy.

Oh yeah, I also bought a new bike. The perfect bike. I am going to write up the whole story soon. Joy again.

We also stopped at one of the best fruit stands in Northern California. We have much yummy fruit. Joy times three.

7/4/20 – The New Bike

I spent an hour or so going over the bike. I found some loose spokes, adjusted the handlebars, but nearly everything else was perfect. Nearly.

I am unable to get the disc brakes right. The problem is that the wheels are not perfectly centered. With old-style bike brakes that would be an easy work-around, but the disc brakes require millimeter accuracy rather than centimeter accuracy. That wouldn’t be a problem if I had a 17mm wrench. I have a 16 and two 18s, but no 17. Harbor Freight run tomorrow!

Event though the brakes were dragging a bit I went for a short ride. The best thing is that it is way more comfortable. The fat tires absorb the bumps and feel much steadier on loose dirt. The gearing is good. The only thing lacking are the Grannie gears for steep climbs. Ah well, I guess that’s what muscles are for.

7/5/20 – The Wrong Road

I decided to take the scenic route to the new campground. MISTAKE! I’m used to twisty roads but this was ridiculous. We got constantly hit by branches. The awning took a hit and now the supports are bent back. I can fix it.

We are now on the north coast of California. Cool breeze off the not too distant ocean. Quiet. Nearest highway is 40 miles away kind of quiet. No TV kind of quiet.

There’s currently no fog. Should be a good star show tonight.

7/6/20 – The Nazz

The new bike will from now on be referred to as The Nazz. Mostly because that is the model name of the bike. The manufacturer’s website doesn’t explain why it is called Nazz. I’m pretending that it’s a reference to Shel Silverstein’s poem, THE NAZ. (Short for, The Nazaren, AKA Jesus)

I managed to adjust The Nazz’s brakes. The front took about 30 minutes. The back took about 5. I’m learning. Tiny adjustments.

Then I went for a ride, but only managed four miles. I wound up on a very steep dirt road. I don’t have a water bottle holder on the bike yet, so I turned around as soon as I started feeling dehydrated. Walmart run tomorrow.

7/7/20 – Open Bin

As we pulled up to a construction zone, the flagman started pointed at us. Turns out one of our bins had come open. No idea how long it was open, but we only lost one thing, a cheap portable jump-starter. Not to bad. Got to be more careful.

Driving on 101 in Norther California is weird. Just 100 miles back it is a 12 lane monster of a highway. Up here it is 1 lane in each direction. Weird.


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Tags: ,, | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: July 8, 2020


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