Friday, January 17, 2014

Mission: Mend Michelin

So... I hopped on Wanda early this morning, to meet up with a customer who was already annoyed with the fact that he had to pay for these annoying backflow inspections, and dammit, he doesn't believe anyone other than the city should pay for these ('cause of course, municipal workers don't have to eat, pay bills... city trucks run on unicorn farts, etc), and oh my the water rates are so high!

Yeah, right. All my fault, of course!  Anyway, I had agreed earlier in the week to meet Cantankerous Taxpayer early today, so I was on Wanda by 06:30... and off we go.

I was making excellent time, and I got to Murfreesboro Road before 7 a.m. Just before I went under the runway at BNA, I heard this strange sound -- it was as if I were in a car that had gone over a loose manhole cover.* Having entered and exited the tunnel under the runway, I started up the hill to Dell's campus, and could feel a bit of squirreliness in the handling of the bike. I slowed down, and got into the right-hand lane to get onto Donelson. No emergency flashers... WTF, Honda?

I pulled over at the entrance to Dell building AO-1. Yes, my rear tire was quite flat, but not completely. I walked Wanda up the drive and into the massive parking lot, where I parked her near the edges where I figure no sane Dell employee will want to park. I called (Country) Jeff. He dispatched Ivy to come get me.

I looked up local numbers for Dell, trying to call them to ask them kindly to not tow my scooter. I found two numbers, neither of which had voicemail, or anyone answering them the entire day. Fingers crossed. Maybe they'd be so busy making phat stacks, they wouldn't notice.

I stopped and got Slime, a deluxe tire plug kit and a pair of pliers during my rounds, and made a plan. The 96X bus runs right up Murfreesboro Rd., and there's a nice, fancy new bus stop less than a block from where I left Wanda (if only Dell would leave her unmolested). With any luck, and $25 (payday!), I'd ride that white bitch home.

I finished up the work day, pulled into the plant early, so as to catch the 16:19 96X bus. (Country) Jeff then hauled me to the bus stop in plenty of time, and the damned bus had left, already. Second time this month!  Of course I found this out after Jeff had left. Oh, and I forgot my tire goodies and my Nexus tablet at the plant in the rush to catch the bus. Fortunately, the bus stop in La Vergne is very nearby an Auto Zone & a McDonald's, so I re-purchase said goodies, and sit for 90 minutes @ McD's with a cup of coffee to await the next bus in warm comfort.

You can see the Auto Zone from here! Oh, and all next week, free small coffee @ McD's during breakfast hours. No purchase necessary.
Finally, the 17:58 bus arrives. At 18:15.

MTA/RTA needs to get this 96X schedule straightened the fuck OUT, right now, y'all.
On my way once more!  Whoo-hoo!

I got off the bus at Donelson, picked up my helmet, Auto Zone bag and extra layers of clothing, and trudged across the street, and a short walk later, into the Dell lot. It's 26°F and windy, but I see Wanda -- huzzah!  I unpack the Slime, unlatch the seat, test the compressor (working!) and get to work.

I somehow let the valve stem core get away from me unnoticed, but I reacquired it with the help of my trusty flashlight pen, a freebie from a vendor. At first, the Slime didn't seem to be sealing the puncture, but after some rotation of the tire by hand (tricky, with the tiny compressor attached to the tire's valve by a 4" length of hose, let me tell ya), the pressure started gaining, and within minutes, was up to 30psi. I put on all my gear, and rode Wanda around Dell's monster asphalt farm for a few minutes at low speed. Checked the tire -- yep, all good so far. I pulled onto Murfreesboro, rode at ~40MPH, and pulled into the Shell station about a half-mile away... still looking good, and no squirrely feelings.

I rode about 5MPH slower than usual the entire trip, but I finally made it home about 20:00. Bit of a long day. We'll see how the tire is in the morning.

* The sound?  Oh yeah. I think I figured it out. Judging from the length of and the bend in the nail I pulled out of the Michelin carcass, the sound was caused when I hit a bump in the road, and the nail made contact with the inside of the rim for a brief time. Fun!