As the old song said, “It died with an awful sound.”
If you've ever heard a chainsaw hit into a knot and screech to a halt, it sounded something like that.
For the moment, the new toy I wrote about last week is on the sidelines at James ATV & Cycle awaiting a replacement rear sprocket.
Things were going so well. The red and black Huffy cruiser-style bicycle equipped with a two-stroke gasoline engine had been pulling me around the neighborhood nicely as we worked to burn through the first tank of oil-rich fuel. I had to add a tiny bit of pedal power, but it also made it to the top of every steep hill in the area around Carter Rehab & Nursing.
I was quite scared coming down the “S” curve near the nursing home, however, and concluded the motorized bike needs increased brake power at some point.
Oddly, I was right next to our house when the horrible screech came from beneath me and the engine came to a sudden, thudding halt. I hopped off and immediately noticed the drive chain had mangled itself beyond any hope of repair.
Man, it was good while it lasted.
I delivered the tangled chain and bike to the fine folks a few doors down from the newspaper to see if they could breath life back into the beast.
It didn't look good at first. The shop owner, who had obviously spent a lot of time working on the thing, was frustrated by an engine/rear sprocket alignment issue and was convinced we would have to have a local racing shop fabrcate some sort of a plate to make things right.
I visited the next day, however, and he had the whole thing reassembled, but in need of a new component to put the wheel in motion.
The part is expected to arrive by the end of the week and the motor bike, which will officially be titled “ROADKILL” because my high school buddy Wes Cooksey already sent the stick-on badges for the project, will be ready to roll again.
Dogs In The Wind
If you are among the many people whose dog likes to ride in the car with a head out the window, don't be surprised if you see me pulling up alongside with a camera.
I want to revive a project, originally proposed with local photographer Tom Worden, tentatively titled “Dogs In The Wind.”
I remember the inspiration. It was a beautiful summer afternoon, but I was bummed out about something and driving around feeling sorry for myself. At just the right moment, a car pulled up beside me with a dog jutting proudly out of the passenger side window.
“I'm pretty sure I have never been as happy as that dog is right now,” I thought. Since then, I always notice how completely blissful dogs appear while riding down the road with the wind in their faces.
A dog riding in a car on Carol Malone Boulevard a couple of weeks ago caught my attention, and the owner even rolled the window down a bit when he heard me talking to the content canine. I had my camera right next to me and took advantage of the moment.
Later in the week, I had a repeat of the moment with a different dog in a car at the same spot in the road, going the opposite direction.
I posted some of those online and was pleased to see I'm not the only one who enjoys these scenes. Anne and Alan Parrott shared a great shot of their pup at the nose of their kayak, and one of the best “smiling dog” photos I've ever seen.
Send photos of your favorite “Dogs In The Wind” to the email at the bottom of this column and we'll print them as space allows, and share them at journal-times.com.
Editor eaten alive
My troubles with things like ticks, fleas, mosquitoes and chiggers has been well documented through the years.
Now, let's add “turkey mites” to the list of horrible bugs which have successfully infested my skin.
From golfers to farmers and outdoor enthusiasts of all other sorts, the word has been passed along “Turkey mites are really bad this year.”
I haven't yet researched turkey mites themselves. I have investigated ways to relieve the itch of their bites, and begun a course of steroids in addition to application of clear fingernail polish and a variety of other products including cold coffee.
Each bite brings an itch with an intensity I can't properly describe. And, they got me everywhere. Imagine the worst place a man could sustain an itchy bug bite. Now imagine three bites in that exact area.
24 hours after the infestation, I was ready for the looney bin and willing to try almost anything for a little relief.
I was not expecting to go wading through high weeds or I would have applied a heavy layer of bug repellent.
Lesson learned. You have to be ready for anything in this job.
Tim Preston can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at (606) 474-5101.