Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.
My first go on what has been nicknamed “The Harley” due to its incredible speed, turning circle and gentle purring engine. Followed by creative repairs.
“Swinging your leg over this beast, you will feel the full 17bhp 700cc engine beneath you rumble and roar at your command. Hack at the ropes restraining this little beauty and you will rocket off, feeling a heightened sense of freedom as you bound around the open garden!” -Imaginary lawnmower salesman as I first viewed ‘The Harley’.
I could barely hear Steve telling me what the seemingly endless number of levers were supposed to do. My mind was alight with the thoughts of what this wondrous machine and I would get up to. Where would it take me? Who would we meet? Would we enter a rally, give a struggling milk-maid a lift or perhaps be commandeered to follow other mowers stolen by bank robbers. ANYTHING could happen.
I somehow took to the controls fairly well (Professor Pat-Pending of Wacky Races fame would have been proud). Ramming and adjusting levers in all directions meant that I probably looked like an octopus having an epileptic fit, but I didn’t mind. Me and my race-car red roadster thrashed around the acre slotted to us and took out any who stood in our way.
My efforts at skidding the back end out downhill were interrupted when I spotted an opportunity to take revenge on the noisy Mynah birds who nest on the roof and tease the cats.
After unsuccessfully chasing the Mynah bird for what seemed like an eternity I set to work at the top of the yard. The Mynah bird did one last bombing run past me, squawking its victory cry and then left me in peace.
Decades of this uneasy truce went by and I began to notice something was wrong. The Harley was listing to the right and a deep, red muddy groove was following me wherever I went. I had to admit dear reader, that in my sun induced reverie I had gouged a sort of Buddhist sand garden into the top of my Host’s property. The mower bed had broken and was dragging beneath it. A poor weld had sheared completely (possibly the result of Mynah bird sabotage).
We limped back to the garage and after much swearing about ‘Paper thin, monkey metal’, shit welders and the woes of modern day manufacturing compromises Steve and I set to finding a solution to the catastrophic failure. I didn’t voice my concerns about the avian uprising at this time. Steve was busy and in no fit state to tackle cross-species diplomacy.
Anyway, the aforementioned solution presented itself in the form of a motorcycle centre stand. We chopped the top off of it and established that a hole on it was the right size to hang from the same rod as the previous support column. All we had to do was grind out the strengthening gussets on the stand, heat it up, bend it, drill two holes and then put some corresponding holes in the wrecked mower bed.
Done and done, the Harley lives to fight another day. We’d creatively repaired a mower with a spare part from a motorcycle. Where dem Mynah bird mofos, round two!