We receive a sign, and heed it - An Autumn by the Sea - CycleBlaze

August 19, 2018

We receive a sign, and heed it

Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo.  I do believe it.  I do believe it’s true. - Paul Simon

Cars are so subversive!  They are so convenient and enabling that they undermine the best of intentions.  We saw the results of this often on our just-completed tour in Canada.  Having a car at hand makes it too easy to to take the easiest path - drive to dinner instead of walk, for example.  It worked really well for us to tour this region by car, but we also had numerous instances when we drove places when we could as easily have walked or biked.

When we upended our lives last winter and rebranded ourselves as biking vagabonds, it was our intention to sell the car by this summer - possibly even back in March, before we left for Greece, but I’ve forgotten now for sure.  We thwarted ourselves a bit by losing the car title in the course of moving out of our home, so we weren’t able to sell or give it away until we obtained a replacement.  This didn’t go as smoothly as hoped for, but we finally got a new title just last week.  In the meantime, since we were stuck with the car anyway, we decided to take it to Canada.  I forget this too now, but I don’t think the Canada trip came onto the planning table until after we realized we couldn’t dump the car yet.

So, we took the car to Canada, and had a great time with it.  And, not knowing if we’d have a new title before it was time to leave for Europe, we made provisions for what to do with the Jetta until we get back -our friend Bruce generously offered to mind it for five months, driving it occasionally to keep the battery alive.  And, gradually, we warmed to the idea of keeping the car on a longer term basis - Bruce can use it as a backup vehicle when we’re out of town, and we can use it when we’re back.  Probably not the most rational idea, and more evidence of how corrupting and subversive cars can be.

But, we’ve received a sign: last night, the front bumper started falling off the car.  This morning, it looks like this:

It’s worse than this photo shows. It’s quite loose, with parts falling out everywhere.
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So how the hell did this happen?  At the zoo, at the zoo, at the zoo!

We went to one of the sundown concerts at the Oregon Zoo last night - The Punch Brothers (Chris Thile’s group), with Andrew Bird opening.  We’ve been well auto-corrupted, so we drove the Jetta up.  After dropping Rachael off to get in line, I parked the car without incident.  It was a great concert - terrific performances,  perfect conditions - about seventy degrees, windless, clear - and we were treated beforehand by a show at the Elephant plantation.

I think Paul Simon got this one wrong - elephants are kindly, but they’re NOT dumb!
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Let me at that carrot!
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Chris Thile and Andrew Bird
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The Punch Brothers
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After the concert, when we backed the car out of our parking spot we heard a horrible scraping sound -the front end of the car was scraping against the concrete barrier at the head of the space, and the bumper was separating.

My theory here is that the added weight of having Rachael in the car lowered it just enough so that we lost clearance.  Maybe if she’d had just one or two fewer cookies after her chicken enchilada we’d have been fine?  In any case, we started hearing strange rattling sounds on the drive back to our apartment.  When we got off the freeway and stopped to look, I found bumper parts just hanging on.

So, here’s a sign, and we’re heeding it.  Back to Plan A - we’re ditching the car before we leave for Dubrovnik.

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