New entry in my Kilt blog 9/21/2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Old Fools Journal: The Money Drain

Not having to own a car has made me realize what a waste of time the automobile is.
Diane Johnson

That round thing in the center of the photo boys and girls is called a "freeze plug" popularly but it is really a "core plug". If you have a cast engine block with inner chambers you own at least one and probably more. When an engine is assembled they are plugged with a press in plug made of sheet metal. If a corrosion inhibitor is not used in the coolent they are the first to let you know.
This one seen in center just above the fan belt has a small hole about the size of a pencil lead that gaily spews the coolant out and away at nine dollars a gallon.
The roofing screw with a compession gasket is the immediate farm fix. It still leaked but is good enough to get to the car smithy.

When you have a 24 year old vehicle you have to expect these trials and tribulations.

Owning an automobile is such a pain in the ass but until there is some sort of public transport here it is the other option.  My primary option is my bicycle and it goes like this.  #1 - bicycle  #2 - other bicycle #3 - one of our ancient junkers.  If I had to sell anything the bike would be last.

This car has been broken for over a week now so as you can see I haven't been anxious about it.  I had planned to deliver it to the smithy this morning but decided I wasn't in the mood when I got up cranky. Tomorrow morning since I want to go for a bike ride anyway I may.
This is the planned transportation home.  It's only about nine miles but I plan to do a little exploring as well.  I bought this bike new from a Chinaland importer six years ago on my 66th birthday.  It is the only new bike I've ever had.  I paid 165 inflated American dollars for it.  I know that you Dahon and Brompton riders scoff at this but for six years it has served me well.  It folds easily weighs about 30 pounds and rides very well. It has been no trouble except for the presta valves. It came with a five speed derailer with twist grip shifter, rim brakes in front and drum in the back, fenders and rack.  I set the seat back three inch's, added the dollar bag from the dollar store and the folding crate on the back.  The crate folds flat and only weighs a few ounces. It was five dollars American at Chinamart (Walmart).

I also replace those goddamned presta valve tubes so I could put air in them. I don't know who invent the presta valve but it had to be a man and a Frenchman at that.  I replaced the pedals with folding pedals this year because I got tired of the pedals gouging my ankles when I tried to lead it around folded.

At thirty pounds plus it is a little heavy to pack very far but for a short distance it is no problem even for us elderly folks.

Normally it rides around in the back of  the previously mentioned Ford. It is not unusual for me to park my car and do my running around on it. More than once I have failed in whatever mission I was on when I unfolded my little bike.  I am so easily distracted.

When you drive older vehicles it is comforting to have a lifeboat.
Meanwhile we entertain ourselves pretending to drown kittens.  Our flea problem has not abated.


PaddyAnne said...

I never scoff at a good deal, and that bike sounds like it was one. I like the idea of a folding crate on back... I may just borrow it for myself!

The Good Luck Duck said...

If you've gotten 1000 suggestions, here's 1001: diatomaceous earth rubbed into their crannies every couple of days. On alternate days, treat their nooks.


Irish Berliner said...

Bicycles are simply fantastic, no matter their shape, size or breed.

Shadowmoss said...

I want a folding bicycle, but I plan to only be at this post for a bit over 3 more months. Depends on where I end up after this, but I may ask help setting myself a rig like yours when the time comes.

Steve A said...

I bought a new bike once. It'll be 40 years ago next year. Still have it. As I recall, it was about $100. It is one reason I don't buy bikes for myself from bike shops.

Ben in Texas said...

So you really think baptism all the kitties is gonna help? :-)

DE really does work, like The Good Luck Duck and I told you already.

Big Oak said...

I like the sheet steel screw in the core plug. Brilliant!

I know DE works for slugs, don't know about fleas. I hope you two get that flea problem fixed soon.

Also, that little bike is cool. Well-respected, big name bike makers aren't the only ones who make good bikes. If you're happy with your bike, it is a good bike!

Joey said...

I like your bike. If I had any balance, I would ride a bike, and I would want it to look just like yours. I could carry STUFF!

Now you have clean little kittens. If the shampoo doesn't work, the vet has stuff.

Oldfool said...

DE is on the list of things to acquire the first chance I get which may be today.
I have an open relationship with bicycles I will admit but like people there are some I don't care for.
There are a number of inexpensive folding bikes on the market so for the casual rider it is possible to have one in the stable. I had to tinker with mine a bit before I was satisfied but I would have had to do the same with a $1500 one as well. I hardly rode mine the first year as it seemed enough to just have it. I have three other bikes that are up and ready at all times. I bought it mostly so I'd have one with me in the car. If I could only have one bike it would probably be a folder especially if I used or even had public transportation. To me a bicycle is not a toy or a statement. It is, like my pocket knife, an indispensable tool.
I can't say it is the last new bike I'll buy as the future is not yet written.
Baptism, hmm I hadn't thought of that. According to the religeous sorts our pets don't go to heaven and if that is true then like Will Roger (I think he said this) "I want to go where the dogs go". If there are dogs then there are cats to torment them.
When I was a younger man that screw would have been a permanent fix along with some JB weld or MarineTex.
My beloved SWMBO does not ride a bike. She can but just does not like it and that is a shame. I have noticed that some people just can't balance well enough but I have also noticed that those who started out badly in the balance department rapidly and markedly improved their balance with practice on a bike. One old man said that he had such a improvement that he got rid of his tripod cane and went back to an old fashioned walking stick. To him that was a big deal.

Chandra said...

I like that orange bike and I wouldn't scoff at any bike anyone has. It reminds me of my Raleigh Twenty, for which I paid about that much. I too like the idea of a folding crate. Gotta find one somewhere!

Would you post a photo of the bike folded, some time?

Thanks, Richard!

Peace :)