in the early afternoon i was just coming back from the watertown home depot when i noticed the motorcycle was struggling to keep up. i was already at the 120 miles mark and i knew from past experience that that was when i had to start using the reserve tank, so i turned the knob to reserve. while about to make a turn at the intersection of walden and huron avenue, the motorcycle suddenly went dead. i was desperately trying to start it back up with a line of cars waiting behind me but i was stuck there. i waved to them to go around, and once the light went red, i pushed the bike to the side of the road so i could see what was going on. kneeling down to get a better look at the fuel valve, i realized my mistake: i'd been on reserve this the whole time, so by the time i ran out of fuel, there was no additional backup.

fortunately i was 3 blocks away from the cafe, and more importantly 3 blocks away from the nearest gas station. my father had a plastic fuel container i could borrow and i went to the gas station to get a gallon of fuel. walking back to my motorcycle with my helmet on my head and the fuel container in my hand, it was easy to guess what i was up to. people passed me on the sidewalk with knowing smiles.

the fuel container had a spout but i could only get a trickle of gasoline to pour out. after a few minutes of drip filling, i tried starting up the motorcycle. i got the motorcycle equivalent of the dry heave sound. i continued drip filling some more, but the motorcycle still wouldn't start. by then it wasn't even making the heaving sound, just a series of rapid clicks. i finally decided to remove the spout and pour the gasoline directly. i managed to get half a gallon and gasoline all over the fuel tank and my hands. FYI: gasoline evaporates so fast that it tingles on the skin to the point that it almost feels like burning. the motorcycle still wouldn't start.

after about half an hour i returned to the cafe. i told my parents what happened and my father came back with me to check out the motorcycle. he poured in the rest of the gasoline but the bike still wouldn't start. there was a street nearby with a slight downward slope and he tried to jump start the engine by having me push the motorcycle but it wasn't steep enough. 2 guys standing on a 2nd story balcony with their bicycles watched the whole commotion. "good luck getting it to run!" one of them yelled. we ended up just pushing the bike back to the cafe.

originally my father thought it was some air trapped inside the fuel line, but when we noticed that the digital odometer was blank, he suspected it was a dead battery. what probably happened is the few dozen attempts i made to unsuccessfully restart the motorcycle ended up draining the battery. i fixed one problem (getting the gasoline) but ended up creating a new (draining the battery).

the car battery recharger was back in belmont so we made a quick trip to go pick it up. back at the cafe we accessed the battery compartment hidden beneath the seat. i didn't have the owner's manual with me but it was a simple enough process. we couldn't pull out the battery itself (it seemed stuck) but recharging it in-situ was no problem. we set the dial for 6 amps and 6 volts. 30 minutes later we tried restarting the bike but it still wouldn't start. the weird thing was all the lights were still working, so it seemed like the battery wasn't dead at all, but my father said it was just case for a car, that there might be enough power to drive the lights but not enough juice to start the engine. by then it was starting to get dark and we decided to call it a day, reassembling the bike, come back and work on it tomorrow.

not wanting to just leave the motorcycle in an empty parking lot overnight, i decided to borrow the car and drive back to my place to get the rain cover. at the very least if i can sort of hide the fact that there's a shiny bike underneath it'd prevent the temptation to steal it. while i was home, i also brought along my bicycle so i could ride back home. before i left the house i grabbed the motorcycle owner's manual.

back at the cafe, i got my bicycle out of the car and put the cover over the motorcycle. i was reading the manual and saw that the battery is actually a 12 volt (like a car). my father wasn't sure previously, so we were charging the battery at 6 volts, which wasn't the right voltage. we did try to jump start the bike a few times at 12 volts, but my father didn't want to fry the bike so we only did it briefly. but realizing now the proper voltage, my father suggested we charge up the bike tonight and not wait until tomorrow. so with the recharger back outside clipped into the leads on the motorcycle battery, i waited at the cafe for about half an hour. i put the LED lights on my bicycle wheels and rode around the parking lot a few times. i wasn't going fast enough to see the patterns, but they definitely stand out (and thereby might prevent me from getting hit by a car while bicycling). i had some fried rice for dinner as well.

back outside, it was the moment of truth. we turned on the ignition and hit the start button. the motorcycle let out a heaving sound. though it wasn't the sound of a starting motorcycle, it meant we were on our way. my father started the motorcycle again, and this time the engine roared to life. success! we removed the charging clips and reassembled the bike. i rode the motorcycle back home, stopping by a gas station to fill the tank. my father dropped by a short time afterwards to deliver the bicycle that i never got a chance to ride back home.

i was at home depot earlier trying to find a good glue for bonding metal and to look for replacement skeleton keys. the glue was for one of the mortise lock that had a broken edge on the body. home depot had all sorts of epoxy glue, but i didn't like any of them because none of them cured clear (usually a tan or white color is the norm). i ended up going with a heavier strength super glue, the loctite super glue ultra gel ($3.89), which was advertised to be impact resistant. as for the skeleton keys, i didn't see any at the mini locksmith bar but decided to ask anyway. the guy behind the counter said, "yeah, right there," and pointed to a package: a pair of bass plated skeleton keys for $1.97! and i paid $5 for the one i got yesterday!

i'm still stripping the mortise locks. the residual paints on the back plates from the bathroom door are especially stubborn. even after tonight's 5th stripping, some of the paint still isn't coming off. at least i had the foresight to get some disposable gloves from the cafe, so i wouldn't have to ruin my hands. i tried soaking the name plates in some paint thinner, but that didn't seem to do anything, and the smelly clean-up made it not worth it to try again. i'm doing a 6th coat of citristrip then, leaving it overnight to see if that will help with the last of the paints.

a hot bath is the perfect remedy for a cold night like tonight. i stayed in the tub until the water became tepid and the bathroom was enveloped in a think fog of steam.