Today is Hanging Out With My Family day. Basically this involves sitting around and talking up a storm with my sister. We have the twin thing going on, ya know, where we complete each other's sentences and go off on conversational tangents that no one else could ever possibly follow. Then I realize I'm being rude to Mike and the kids, and try to bring the conversation back to someplace where it will include everyone. Repeat ad infinitum.
Mike, like me, is concerned about the small oil leak the bike has sprung yesterday. In the morning, we drag out the tools & start going over the wee beastie. He does most of the work because A) they are his tools, B) he knows what he's doing and I only sort of know what I'm doing and C) he's That Guy. You know, That Guy who knows how to Fix Anything. He tells me what he's doing as he goes along, and I always learn lots from him. The oil leak is confirmed to be a gasket problem on the front valve cover. He shows me how to look at it to see the trouble -- this o-ring here? See how flat it is? It's supposed to be round, look how far from round it is here -- and then he gets out the phone book & we start calling around for a replacement Honda o-ring. There is none to be found. This is the point at which I would become frustrated, but Mike is That Guy and That Guy always has a Plan B. He runs out to the local auto parts store, gets automotive silicon sealer, and fixes the leak using that. He tells me it's not a long-term solution but will probably keep me going for the rest of the vacation, at least, and I can replace the o-rings when I get home. Mike rocks :) Also, as we are going over the bike, he spots where the mounting plate for the light bar has cracked again. He welded this up for me last year, after it broke on the last day of my Virgina trip. Now it's cracking in a different place. What a piece of shit part. (Big Bike Parts/Show Chrome Spot Light Part # 1-231. My recommendation: avoid.) So he hauls out the welding equipment and goes to work and fixes it up for me again. While he's doing this, I change the spark plugs. I'm getting very good at doing the little things like that. We eventually get everything swapped out, bolted down, or sealed up, and put the bike in the garage because it looks like there's going to be a little rain later today. The silicone sealer needs at least a few hours, and preferably overnight, to set up.
Satisfied with the impromptu repair, I wash up and get some laundry started. Now, it's time to See The Sights In Warrensburg, Missouri. My sister is ready to show me the ins and outs of her new town. (I have to say she's taken to small-town life quite well. The kids, on the other hand, miss Orange County, but they are starting to make friends here. The process will accelerate greatly once school is back in.) First, we all head out to the dome site, to check out progress on their new home. My timing is pretty good. The first of the panels have started to go up this week, so I get a good look at the scaffolding up top and the cement walls along the lower course. Right now, unenclosed, it doesn't feel as enormous as it will once the exterior walls get finished and the framing goes in. The site is extremely nice, and has a GREAT view. Their land is a little farther outside of town than I imagined, but they're really just a hop skip and a jump from town according to my Los Angeles-tuned sense of location. Not a bad commute at all. The only problem is, EVERYTHING is in town, there is no such thing as a "run to the corner store" from their place. All in all, I give an enthusiastic thumbs-up to the new Dome Home.
My sister takes me on the tour of downtown Warrensburg next. Boy, she wasn't kidding when she said it was all of three blocks. The courthouse is a fine example of Midwestern monumental public architecture, massive blocks of granite trying to impress a level of importance upon everyone. By the courthouse stands the monument to Old Drum, one of Warrensburg's most famous citizen who is, strangely, not even human. Old Drum was a hound dog shot dead in a dispute between neighbors in 1870. A lawsuit ensued, which eventually went all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court, where the dog was eulogized as "the one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world ... " by future senator George Graham Vest, a lawyer in the case, and thus enhanced our world and the English language by contributing the phrase "Man's Best Friend." So, the good citizens of Missouri erected a statue of Old Drum, so that people like me can visit it on a road trip, and marvel at the zillion tiny sweet oddities in the land.
We walk around downtown a little bit, visit the library, go take a look-see around the university, get ice cream, and generally have a relaxing day. It does indeed rain in the afternoon, so I am glad Mike suggested I get the scoot under cover. We go out for dinner that night, and kick back for the rest of the evening. The Weather Channel shows a big storm coming in tomorrow, and Kay talks me in to staying an extra day.
Next: Day Twelve