We had an awesome day, today. After waking up early, I ate tasty leftovers from Al-Ameer, while Ed and Chris went out to breakfast. We had reserved tickets for the first tour of the day at the Ford Rouge Factory, where F-150s are built, so we caught an Uber to take us to the museum and got on the road.
We were early, so had to entertain ourselves for 20-30 minutes, while we waited for the motor coach that was taking us to the factor, to arrive.
We really enjoyed the factory tour. It started off with a couple of videos, then an overview of the buildings that make up the factory, Then we moved to a catwalk that let us look down on numerous assembly lines with stations every few feet, where individuals installed a few widgets with power tools, then another vehicle showed up and they installed the same widget, repeat, repeat, repeat. How do they do the same thing all day, every day? I guess the money could be a big motivator, but I’d go insane.
After getting our fill of the assembly line, we headed back over to the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. But I have to tell you, that that name is not accurate, because they also had innovations from other countries. The museum had numerous trains, cars, planes, trucks, farm machinery, steam engines, furniture, clocks, glass, political movements, and more. It was all over the place, not just innovation. My favourites? The Oscar Mayer Weiner Mobile, the 1956 Thunderbird (it was a very good year), the VW buses (we had one when I was a kid), the Citicar (we had one, when I was married to Jerry), and all the Presidential vehicles.
After 3 hours, at the Museum of American Innovation, I was museumed out. I checked my text messages, and learned that the guys were outside awaiting an Uber, dthat was due to arrive any minute. I high tailed it out to meet them, and we headed to ta Bar and Grill called the Ford Garage for dinner.
Our dinner was wonderful, and when it was over, we caught another Uber back to our hotel, where I got to work cleaning my bike, chain and drivetrain. As I wiped down my wheels, I noticed something alarming. There were 1/2″ – 1″ cracks under the spokes of every second or third spoke, with a couple of parallel 2″ cracks near the valve stem. I’m not sure how my tire had been holding air–it’s tubeless. I summoned Chris to come over and look at the cracks, and he confirmed what I thought. The wheel was ready to blow at any moment. I could not ride down the road, till we found a new wheel for my bike.
The thing is, that since July 25th, when I had the wheel trued in Boulder Junction, Wisconsin, I had been checking with bike shops along the way, for brake pads and a rear wheel for my bike, with no luck. It was past 7 PM, so most bike shops were closed, but we immediately started making phone calls, to those that were open, and formulating plans for the morning.
I called Michael, our Warm Showers host in Ann Arbor, to see if he had any wheels laying around, from his collection of bikes. He has bikes that aren’t currently being ridden, that use wheels similar to mine, so he measured his drop outs to make sure they were the same width as mine, and they were. Borrowing a wheel, from him was an option. He also pointed us in the direction of a really good bike shop, near his house, that specialises in touring bikes–SIC Transit.
I wrote down the names, phone numbers and addresses of all the shops within 60 miles, then checked all their websites, to see if they either had my wheel in stock or a new touring bike in my size. Borrowing a used wheel, from Michael, was, so far, the only viable option There were no wheels and no bikes in stock anywhere. I checked eBay, Amazon, Google and Craigslist for bikes and wheels. Again, nada. I checked the availability of rental cars in Dearborn, and Enterprise had cars available. Here was the plan for the morning:
Plan A: Call Velocity Wheels, a Grand Rapids company that builds quality touring bike wheels, to see if they have a set of wheels on hand that would work on my bike. If they did, we’d rent a car and drive the 4-hour round trip to pick up the new wheels, then Chris would use the tools he. bought along to move my tire, cassette and brake disc to the new wheels. We would get a really late start, tomorrow, but we could complete the 56 mile ride to Toledo, with just a little time riding in the dark.
Plan B: Call SIC Transit, in Ann Arbor, to see if they have a wheel or bike available. This would require only a 2 hour round trip drive to Ann Arbor, so we’d get on the road earlier.
Plan C: Borrow a wheel from Michael. Same logistics as Plan B, as Michael is in Ann Arbor too.
Plan D: Call all the bike shops on my list, starting with the closest, and working toward to the furthest away.. We might get lucky, but it wasn’t likely.
I went to bed, worried about how this was going to work out.