Failed Expedition

We’ve all read about failed expeditions in which the ineptitude of the leader caused the death of not only himself but also all his men, as in Scott’s sad attempt in 1912 to beat Amundsen to the south pole.  And others in which a handful of bedraggled survivors stumbled back to civilization with horrifying tales of hardship and suffering, as in John C Frémont’s incredibly foolish attempt to cross the Colorado Rockies in mid-winter, 1848 that resulted in the loss of all the expedition’s equipment, all its animals, and a third of its men.

And of course my avid readers will recall my own infamous failed attempt to reach Portland in 2013 documented in these pages in the posts A Calamity of Errors and Good Samaritans, although nobody died in that expedition and my pride eventually recovered from its near-mortal injuries.

My latest failed expedition is not on that scale, but it sure held my attention for a while.

See, last Sunday was an utterly gorgeous Indian Summer day in San Francisco, and it was also the Sunday of Fleet Week so i decided this would be a perfect day to Segway down to Mission Creek and lie in wait for a sailboat to want the drawbridges opened so that finally, after 39 and 3/4ths years living in San Francisco, i could get photos of them in the upright and locked position.

So i set out but got only to the back streets at the foot of Dubose, where everything is closed on Sunday, before my right tire, which i had repaired two weeks ago with a Patented Plug, catastrophically decompressed.

So there i was, out in the middle of this wasteland with no cell phone because i carry the damn thing only when i’m meeting someone and might be delayed.  If i’d had my phone i could have called a taxi into which i might have heaved the Segway to get home since almost all taxis here are hatchbacks, most especially Priuses.  But then i took another look at the Segway’s tires and realized the the tread was nearly gone and that i’d got my money’s worth out of ’em.  So since i didn’t have to worry about ruining a tire by running it flat, i decided i could just wobble slowly home on the flat, putting all my weight on my left foot to take advantage of the inflated tire.

Well yes, except that i’m now so dependent on the Segway that the continuing deterioration of my legs isn’t really apparent until i try to use them, and while i can still stand for long periods without pain, standing on one leg is another matter.  Not to mention the extra effort of balancing on one leg on a Segway rendered highly unstable by a flat.

So i wobbled home at very low speed on sidewalks, alternating standing on right and left legs, and by the time i finally got home i was so exhausted that i fell into bed and slept for three hours.

And then first thing Monday morning called Silicon Segway to learn when i could take the Segway down there for a new set of tires.  Alas, there’d been a run and they were out, but a new shipment was coming in on Tuesday.  Not so bad, i could just stay at home on Monday and pickle Jade beans, which i did.  And then got a call from my dentist reminding me of Tuesday morning’s appointment.  Sigh.

So this morning i walked two blocks down to the closest bus stop on Castro, caught the 24 Divisadero to Market Street, transferred to Muni to the Powell Street Station, and then hiked slowly up Stockton to 450 Sutter, five uphill blocks, gasp, by the end of which both legs were cramping and i could barely stand.  Got a good rest reclining at my wonderful new dentist’s while she with great delicacy cleaned my teeth.  And then walked back down Powell to Market and caught an outbound F Market to Castro, transferred to the 24 Divisadero to 22nd, and shuffled the two blocks back home.

In a response to popular demand, here’s a map.

Before collapsing into bed for a nap, i called Silicon Segway to see what time they expected their tire delivery only to be told that the delivery had been pushed out to Friday.  Aaargh.   I’m cooking dinner on Saturday and must go to the farmers’ market on Wednesday morning, Rainbow Grocery on Thursday, and the fishmonger on Friday.  All these trips will be very difficult without the Segway.

So drawing on untapped levels of resourcefulness and crossing my fingers, i gave the Patented Plug system another try.  Hmmm.  Seemed to seat better than last time.  Pumped it up and it held pressure.  Made a trial run three blocks down to Folio Books and got back home with full pressure.

Whew, so i can wait until Friday afternoon for new tires, just being sure to carry the Patented Plug kit and a pump with me every time i leave the house in case the second plug fails.

After all, when the going gets tough, the tough keep plugging.


Here’s an interesting set of windows down near those drawbridges i didn’t get to.

Mission Bay windows









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  1. dnnya17
    Posted 15 October 2014 at 04:22 | Permalink

    The 10th paragraph makes me wish your blog entry would feature a street map. 😉

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