1 - 28 August 1999
Reno, NV

Comment: There is a letter missing prior to this period that talked about my applying for a job teaching Conversational English in Japan that required an interview in San Francisco. The company asked for recommendation letters and I had talked about trying to get them from Nelly and Milka in Bulgaria.

This period got off to a rousing start in the job search department of my life (by emulating our current President, I am learning to compartmentalize my life). On 3 Aug I received the 1 August issue of Peace Corps Hot Line, which has job posting notices for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. These jobs may be posted elsewhere but only RPCV's get the Hot Line and sometimes that is the only posting. Well, in this issue there was a request for accounting experience posted by the League of American Bicyclists. If you will remember, I stopped by and visited with the Editor of the League's magazine while in Washington, DC back in October. I sent him an e-mail on the 4th that requested any assistance he could muster and received an answer the following day. He provided the Human Resources contact name and said that if I sent my cover letter and resume to his attention he would deliver it and speak off me. I mailed the package to him that day, the 5th. Received another e-mail from him the following morning that said another candidate had been selected and he had accepted. Another possible job gone, this time it was BEFORE my resume could be rejected!

The saga of Letters of Recommendations from my former Counterparts in Bulgaria continues as follows: After 5 e-mails to Milka with no response that indicated that she knew that I wanted a Letter I mailed (the old fashioned way) a letter on 7 Aug. I received an e-mail from Nelly with a Letter of Recommendation included in the body of the message. She said that she had mailed it to San Francisco that same day, 11 Aug. What she did NOT say was that she had contacted Milka and told her that I was trying to reach her and wished a Letter from her also. I wrote back that same day thanking Nelly and asked once again to try a contact Milka. I called the company in San Francisco on 16 Aug and they had received the Letter from Nelly. Trying to explain where the other one was became more of a problem. However, the representative there said that it would be OK to have anyone that I have worked with write the letter and speak of my work habits not particularly addressing teaching skills. As of the 20th I still had heard nothing from Milka, so I called a friend in Los Angeles that night and asked him to write up a Letter before the end of the month. He sent me a draft via e-mail on the 23rd, I told him to mail it on the 24th and when I checked with the Company on the 26th they were in receipt of the letter. Isn't modern communication amazing?

My last day in the current assignment at Intermountain Farm Credit will be 3 September so I am looking for another assignment from Accounting Inc or Accountemps. Accountemps fill jobs on a last minute request basis; therefore I might find that I have a new assignment on Friday afternoon or maybe a call on Tuesday morning. Accounting Inc. does more temporary to permanent type assignments so they know beforehand but have nothing for me at this point. I will be discussing the job hunt and prospects again next time; hopefully I will be working.

As I told you last time, I received my new bike and after a week plus I got the coupler wrench to put it together. Therefore, I did a first time assembly on 13 Aug, Friday night. Not an auspicious date to be doing such a thing but everything went well, or maybe I should say went as well as could be expected. Did a little tinkering on Saturday and then rode it for the first time on Sunday. I did my second ride the following Sunday, putting in 25 miles. After not being on a bike for 7-8 months it was a little strange (and the 25 miles a bit much) but it feels real good. My old bike always felt "cramped" the new bike feels like I am "reaching" we will see what some thousands of miles do about the feel. It includes a hodgepodge of components that I will discuss to give you some idea of what I have put together. First and most importantly, the bike frame can be taken apart near the seat tube by way of S & S couplings on the top tube and down tube and the entire bike, racks and "stuff" then packs in a 26x26x12 inch hard case. I don't know what the frame angles are or what the frame/fork weight might be but the total bike feels lighter than my old Bianchi Velo and it "looks" longer and lower. Certainly more of a touring bike than the Velo was, but then again the Velo was sold as a Hybrid not a touring bike. It is solid black with a large STEVE REX in white on each side of down tube, REX on front of the head tube & REX on front/back of the seat tube with a small "hand built by Steve Rex" logo on the left chain stay. It has double eyelets for racks and fenders with the rack bosses matching up just great to front and rear Bruce Gordon racks (also black, look like they are part of the bike when mounted). It has bosses for down tube shifters (not used at this time) and two water bottles (I kept carbon fiber bottle cages from my old bike). The wheels are Mavic MA2's on 36 hole Shimano 105 hubs and I currently have IRC 700x30C tires mounted but I am reasonably sure that I can go up to 38C's without fenders. The headset is a Shimano Deore LX, Salsa stem, Forma handlebars with black cork tape. I mounted a Cateye Cordless 2 computer to avoid more wiring come assembly/disassembly time. I'm not sure what the bottom bracket is but I have 170mm Sugino cranks and transferred my old Shimano PDM 737 pedals (circa 1991) from the Bianchi. I have also bought some new Specialized ATB, PDM compatible, pedals that I will use when I buy some new shoes (having run out of money). The drive train is made up of 48x38x24 chain rings, 8 speed Shimano 11 to 30 cassette and narrow Shimano Hyper Glide chain that is one link shorter than normal. The shorter chain allows the rear derailleur to wrap enough chain to get me into the three lowest "bail out gears (28 to 22 gear inches)"on the "granny" The other side of the coin is that I lose the low gears when riding in the large chain ring; but those are cross chain gears that shouldn't be used anyway. This leaves me with 8 gears in the middle chain ring that range from a 34 gear inch low to a 93 high; this is where I have always ridden in the past and the average 16% step between gears seems OK. Plus I have 5 usable gears when on the large chain ring that will take me up to 118 gear inches. The shifting is accomplished with Campy Athena Ergo levers matched to Campy Triple Racing front and rear derailleur (I am very grateful to John & Janis for this contribution). The stopping power comes from Shimano BR-AT50 cantilevered brakes that I retained from my old Bianchi. And last but not least, I sit on a retro Brooks B-17 leather seat that is mounted to a Kallory Union seat post.

This August has been a strange one even by Reno standards. We have had a lot of rain showers, the first ones during August in five years. I have now lived here for five Augusts and it was the first rains that I had seen so I was beginning to wonder. There is also snow still on Mt. Rose to the Southwest of Reno. Every summer a small patch of snow remains until late in the summer, late being into August maybe. As of the 28th it is still hanging in there and looks to me that it will make it into Sep. The beginning of a glacier, it's doubtful. But, where is this global warming that I hear so much about, it hasn't reached Northern NV this summer. We have also had many, many fires all around Reno and in Northern NV this summer. This past week has looked more like Southern California because of the latest fire to the north of town that threatened 80 homes.