Friday, September 10, 2010

"Om nom" said the engine

Hooray! Updates!

After a drunken night in San Jose ($1 pints/well drinks.. oh yea) I headed south towards route 9 in hopes of making it to Santa Cruz that evening. The hangover decided that I should instead sleep in the park for a few hours, and I happily obliged. I sought out the nearest coffee shop after I was well enough to get up, and attempted to muster any energy that I could. Philz "Greater Alarm" saved my day, and I was off... not before I noticed a weird gritty sound in my engine. I didn't think much of it, and zipped down through San Jose. Mistake #1

Cruising through Saratoga was pleasant, as it's just a small town turned restaurant clusterfuck. The next bit of road really taxed Ogre (my moped!). It was basically straight up into the hills, which I really didn't know were there. How it's possible to not notice massive hills surrounding a city? I don't know. The slow climb wore me out, as well as the moped, so I turned off on the first road which just so happened to lead to Sanborn State Park. Camping! Finally! ...if I could make it up the hills. I had to hop off and push Ogre up the hills for about a mile. It was craptastic. The thought of a hard, flat piece of ground under some trees sounded very appealing at that point.

Eventually, I rolled the beast up into the park, locked it to a tree, and headed into the walk-in campsite. There were a few spots open, but I chose a nice clearing near some rocks, and drifted off to sleep while the mosquitoes pondered a method to penetrate my bug net. Sucks for them.

The next morning I slowly awake, pack my gear and head back out to the parking lot before the rangers can swoop by and ask me for the parking/camping fee. I almost made it..

Unlock Ogre, hop on, turn on the gas, go to kick start it..



One more try, and the kickstart won't budge. The whole drive train wouldn't turn over. I check everything that I can, just to realize I've lost my adapter to my ratchet set. No head is coming off with what I have. I'm fucked, or so I thought.

A frantic lap around the entire park, and the first person I run into is the park mechanic, hooray! Well, not so much.. he doesn't have the right tool. Strike 1. About 100 yards away, there was one other man in the park. He was sitting on the bench, shirtless, watching his dog run around in circles...oi

"I hate to bother you, but do you happen to have a metric wrench set, or...well, any tools with you?"

", nope"

Strike 2.

I meander my way back to the parking lot, when the last person I want to see shows up. The park ranger! She asks me if I'm doing any sort of oil work then immediately questions where I stayed last night... then said she's here to collect. Ugh. I tell her I attempted to pay last night, but no one was there. She asked if I had cash, and luckily I was out. "That's okay, it's our fault for not fixing the machine. Maybe next time! Bye!" Another unintentional slick move on my part by not having cash.

So, I'm sitting there, in the San Jose heat, pondering what the hell I'm going to do, (Note: No cellphone reception for 3 miles in any direction) when Mr. Shirtless comes rolling up in his pick-up. Turns out he found a set of tools! ...but they weren't right.

"Well... I live about 3 miles from here, and have about every tool under the sun in my shed. I've never worked on a moped, but I've worked on every other kind of motorcycle there is"


Five minutes later, I'm heading up the hills, riding shotgun while my moped is strapped down in the back of this guy's truck. When I mean up the hills, I mean UP. His 4wd truck had a bit of trouble getting up his own driveway... it was steep. He then tells me he lives in an old Caboose on the hillside. A caboose? Yes, a caboose. My hand hovered closer to my knife as the ride continued.. but sure enough, we end up overlooking the whole valley, right next to a caboose-turned-house. Pretty epic.

I pull the moped down off the truck, ask for a few tools then start ripping apart my engine. Head comes off, piston gets a gentle tap, and it's turning over again. I wrench everything back together, kick it and voila, it runs! ...but that gritty noise is still there. At this point, I was just looking to get back to somewhere with cellphone reception and somewhere with food, as I hadn't eaten in about 36hrs at this point. He drove me back down to Saratoga, said good luck and was on his way.

I was happy that everything was running, and I wasn't tied up to a caboose in the hills... so I left towards Los Gatos, with the aspirations of Santa Cruz the next day. Life was good! ..for now.

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