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Friday, June 22, 2012

Window Pane

How you can tell when you've done enough dough kneading: window pane it.

You take a pinch of dough and make a miniature pizza crust out of it; when you can get it thin enough to see through without tearing, you've developed your gluten.

I've been remiss in my blogging duties lately. The June 8 date on the last post I published isn't even the truth: I scheduled that post in advance (when I do multiple posts at one go, I generally time them to publish at least a day apart, maybe more).

One mission that took an evening I might have blogged was getting the KitchenAid stand mixer I kneaded the above-pictured dough in. My antique KitchenAid, a model discontinued in 1962, had finally gotten to sounding pitiful enough I looked seriously for a replacement.

I found one on Craigslist, an 'Artisan' model used twice, still with its box and all. I emailed and said I'd come out that Friday night. By bike. In fact, I said, by 'bicycle.' Because I knew people don't generally realize you can run an errand like this by pedal power.

I work in Waldo, live in KCK. The mixer was in DeSoto. That's roughly between 83rd and 95th streets, way out West, about half way to Lawrence. I forgot those numbered streets though, so when Google Maps showed me a bicycle route that went down to 127th on the Indian Creek trail, I didn't grok that it was way, way out of the way.

At 127th & Parker in Olathe, I called the guy. I'd told him I'd be, probably, between eight and nine, leaving Waldo at six-ish. 6:15 actually. Anyway, I said I was still coming, told him where I was and he said that was cool, he'd take the dog for a walk.

An hour later, as I ground out some gravel (Moonlight north of 115th and something, if I recall), he called back to see if I was still coming. I told him where I was and he said, "What, about ten minutes?"

I reminded him I was on a bike, and that it was hard to make good time on gravel. I might be off gravel in ten minutes.

He repeated a line about the second exit off K-10, and I repeated that I wasn't on K-10.

K-10, so you know, is a state highway that resembles an Interstate. Meaning I could probably get away with it on the shoulder, but that wasn't how I was coming.

Then the guy got worried I wouldn't find his house and decided to wait for me at a gas station parking lot on Lexington in DeSoto, it's main drag. This third call, he got that I wasn't on K-10, and he told me he was pretty sure 95th went through from Kill Creek to Lexington (it does).

I was going to try and talk the guy down on price, maybe twenty bucks. But when I got there, I didn't have the heart. He'd been waiting a long time (in my opinion because he didn't really believe I was coming by bike). He even admitted that he pictured a motorcycle when I said it.

I moved my saddlebags to the front racks and strapped the 25-ish pound box to the back rack, ate some wretched food that seemed delicious at McDonald's, drank a bunch of Gatorade and whatnot and headed for home.

Because I'd been running late, I hadn't paid enough attention to hydration, and I knew it. Trying to make up for it on the back end was a lost cause to a great extent. And DeSoto is in the midst of some epic hills. Taking K-32 out made the most sense, as it's relatively flat going in to KCK. Once you get past Bonner Springs that is. Bonner springs and a few farm dogs who like to chase bicycles.

It was in Bonner Springs, as I topped the last long hill of the evening, that my hamstrings cramped up and I had to get off the bike, drink some more fluids, stretch, etc.

I took the opportunity to shoot some pics. I wanted to shoot the moon, a huge harvest half-moon had been looming on the horizon out in the country, but by the time I was where I could set up a tripod, it was much higher in the sky, whiter and smaller.
When I finally returned home, I had just under 74 miles in for the day, a day that started with me riding out at 6:00 a.m. to go to work and ended at 3:00 the following morning with me coming into our driveway with a big-ass mixer on my rack.

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