Saturday, October 17, 2020

Rocky Redemption

 A while back I dragged my butt out to Santa Teresa County Park with an eye on riding a figure-eight loop that would take me down some of the more challenging trails in the park. I saddled up on The Crimson Ghost and took a wrong turn and ended pedaling up one of the trails I was supposed to pedal down, which caused me to burn a lot more energy than I'd planned, so I only managed to ride down one of the two trails on that ride.

This morning I headed out again to seek my redemption. Having learned from my previous mistake, I avoided taking any wrong turns and ended up at the top of the first trail (Rocky Ridge) much fresher and ready to take on the world. I did much better going down it, though there was still a short stretch (maybe 20 feet long) that I got off and walked.

I was quite happy that I managed to ride through a bunch of challenging sections that I had to walk through on my previous ride, and given I was still feeling much fresher than on my previous outing it was a no-brainer to pedal to the top of the second trail and give it a shot.

The second trail (Stile Ranch) was a bit more technical than Rocky Ridge, though I managed to at least somewhat roll though the whole thing. There was one section that I got a bit out of shape on and almost yeeted myself off my bike, but I managed to keep it together and avoided any major incident. There were a lot of rocky sections that lead into tight hairpins, and I generally had to stop at the hairpin and waddle my way around them because my smooth brain can only handle so much technical riding at one time.

That said, I did successfully ride both trails, so I earned my redemption from the previous ride.

All in all, a very successful morning.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Getting A Handle On Things

 I have a fence, which has a gate. The gate has a latch, but it has no handles.

It's not an exceptionally tall gate so reaching up to the top edge to pull it open or closed, or grabbing onto the cross-piece on the back side, isn't impossible. But it is annoying, especially when I'm carrying something.

So the obvious solution is to add some handles. On the front of the gate this is no problem, but on the back I'd like to put the handle next to the latch, but the braces make the area very uneven so we need to deal with that first. Luckily I have some scraps of redwood laying around.

Some construction adhesive and screws will ensure that it stays put forever, no matter how clumsily I might yank on the soon-to-be-mounted handles.

Speaking of those handles, a few dollars slipped into the pockets of Jeff Bezos saw a pair of cast iron handles soaring across the ocean from the orient to my doorstep, and it wasn't any trouble to get them installed.

On the inside I mounted the handle as close as possible to the edge, both to center it on the blocking I added (which will turn grey in a few years of weather exposure, fear not) and to make sure I can reach the latch from the handle with one hand, which I can.

On the outside I mounted the handle a bit further in. I originally had it lined up with the handle on the inside, but there wasn't quite enough clearance between the handle and the jamb that the gate closed against, so I shifted it over by a half inch to keep my knuckles from getting scraped.

I may be a bit biased but I think the results look quite good.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Squeezing My Caulk Into Tight, Wet Places

 When I moved into this lovely wooden box on the hill I noticed the previous owners had applied some caulk-of-desperation in both of the showers. The fundamental problem was that the tile job had not been done correctly, and applying caulk overtop of it haphazardly had really not solved the problem, just caused new ones.

That said, I'm not in any mood to replace the tile just yet, but replacing the caulking the right way is at least going to hold things together for a while.

I picked up a tube of sanded, colour-matched caulking that promised to blend in with the grout, and buttered up the joints nice and neat.

You can still tell it's caulking, but the sand in it really breaks up the usual bright glossy white shine and makes it stand out from the grout a lot less.

I've got half a tube left so now that this shower has cured and survived a test run, I'm planning to give the other shower a once-over as well.