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2015-10-15 Tucson via the Salton Sea

Double-Crested Cormorant - Phalacrocorax auritusHello (he said after a long break). This blog entry is more a ‘journal’ than a editorial post. Please keep this in mind when working through the text below.

My rides east give me the opportunity to visit the Salton Sea. Since I was heading to Tucson, this would be another chance to see the sights there. Poe Road, at the southwestern shore is usually my first stop. I saw the usual suspects on this day; brown and white pelicans, egrets, sandpipers, plovers, willets and assorted waterfowl. I was surprised to find a Burrowing Owl at this location. These birds are easily found on the southeastern side of the sea. Here on the southwestern shore I’d not found them before … and here were two of them.

Next stop, moving counterclockwise around the sea, was Vendel Road, where Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese are sometimes found in mass quantities. No geese on this visit, but I did see a half dozen cranes.

Heading northeast from Vendel Road via Walker Road I encountered some not-so-shy Burrowing Owls. I spent a little quality time with them before reaching my next stop: the shoreline between Lindsey and Young Roads. The lighting along this stretch of shore is often very good, and it is often rich with gulls, cormorants, pelicans, grebes, shorebirds and waterfowl. Here is where I camped out for the night.

The following morning (Saturday, 10/17) I paid a visit to the center for the refuge at Sinclair Road. Again the usual suspects were present; ground doves, Gambel’s quail, White-crowned sparrows. After a short visit I hit the road to Tucson.

(Journal Entry)

My machinery has betrayed me. A few hours before I reached Tucson on this trip, the Samurai’s transmission began making some loud unpleasant sounds. I limped to my destination, but it was Saturday evening and no way to find services until Monday. The solutions I considered were:

  1. Find a local mechanic to repair the problem
  2. Check with a local dealership, and
  3. Drive home in 4th gear and get the work done at home

I called and left messages with places recommended by friends of my cousin. There was one local mechanic suggested by one of the more colorful characters in my cousin’s circle of old friends that struck a chord with me. Described as a multi-faceted man of diverse interests that included building ultra-lights, he was the only one I tried to reach that answered his phone when I called. I liked his “can-do” attitude and we made plans to get me back on the road. He wasn’t able to find a rebuilt tranny for me, but I reached out to my friends at Petroworks in Fallbrook, and they prepared and shipped a tranny for me that arrived on Wednesday. I arranged with a towing company to transport Sami to Albert Bright’s shop about an hour’s drive away. Today everything is in place fix the Samurai and I can put my mind into something other than mechanical dramas.

This morning I jumped on my bike to head three and a half miles down the road to have breakfast and I found the rear derailleur was not shifting. I turned back and spent an hour and a half diagnosing and fixing the problem. It turned out that when I was replacing the battery, I pinched the cable so the mechanism was stuck. I dismantled the entire length of the cable before I found the problem. Once fixed and all the cleanup was accomplished, I headed out and had my breakfast. This ride should tell me a little about how well my new battery will perform.

When it rains, it pours.

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