Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Importance of Patterns

Today I finally got back on the program, and on the bike, and got in a 40 miler over Calaveras Road before lunch time. It is a privilege to live in such a beautiful place, and the road up past the reservoir is spectacular in spring. Indian Paintbrush, Vetch, California Poppies and Shooting Stars line the road climbing up out of the canyon, and there is a mating pair of Bald Eagles that returns each year to a huge nest atop one of the power transmission lines.

Last year I saw their fledgling testing its wings on the edge of the nest. It is a bit like a 747 hopping on its landing gear, as even the juveniles are huge birds. This year the couple apparently have two babies in the nest. I was only able to glimpse the head of one of the adults sitting watch as we rode by, but there are a few folks with long lenses that capture amazing images each season.


Having installed most of the jute yesterday, I spent this afternoon cutting and fitting the portion of the carpet that runs over the top of the wrap-around windows. Call it good thinking or good fortune, but I had yet to throw away the original fabric that covered the same space. I pinned it down to the new carpet as a pattern and cut everything out.

I applied contact cement to the interior wall of the cabover, then to the back of the carpet. Starting at the bottom between the two windows, I carefully positioned and smoothed the carpet into place. Fortunately the material is very forgiving for the amateur -- it stretches or compacts almost like a poly felt -- so I was able to pretty much make it do what i needed. A couple of times i got an area bunched up together sort of like a bundle of clingfilm, but with some gentle tugging it all came apart and smoothed out nicely.

I measured 12 inches back from the opening of the forward vent and put a pencil line across the ceiling for reference. To finish off the carpet, I just folded it over and put a line of staples through it into the Luan. On each side, i trimmed back the carpet to leave enough overage to stuff into the gap between the side panel and the ceiling. A blunt, flat screwdriver worked nicely even in the tight spots.

The finished product looks great but it isn't perfect -- there are a couple of tiny gaps between the window gasket and the carpet where I didn't quite notice it soon enough. I may just use a sharpie to blacken the fiberglass behind but I think I'll be the only one who will notice anything.

The rig goes back to the Upholstery shop in the morning for a few more measurements and the start on door panels and cushions. And now the cab needs a thorough vacuuming to get up all the stray bits of jute that seem to float around like dandelion fluff whenever I work with it.

We'll see how much work Mike can get done on things this week, as I know the Porsche in his shop is still at the front of the line. Meanwhile, I need to get back into the pattern of riding 2-3x a week so that there's actually a point in having this rig. It is for cycling trips after all and if my sluggish legs are any indication there is plenty of room for improvement before we go anywhere.

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