Sunday, April 29, 2001

I had been preparing for a 5K run for the last two months or more. I had been running with a co-worker, Allie, starting at 1 mile and increasing the distance each week to reach the 3.1 miles. The Thursday before the 5K run I achieved 3.25 miles so I knew I was prepared. On Sunday at 7:30am, I participated with several co-workers in the Friends for Scleroderma Houston 5K Race for the Cure benefiting Scleroderma.

I kept a steady pace and was pleased to cross the finish line without any major physical pains. In fact, I felt I could have had a little faster pace. I completed the race in 31:30 or 10:10 minutes/mile which is listed in the Friends for Scleroderma Houston 5K Race Results. After the race, there was a party with plenty of breakfast food and drinks. Also, I found out I was one of the winners of a Door Prize.

In December, I had purchased the Kawasaki Bayou 400 4x4 ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) and the first accessory I wanted to add before I drove it was a speedometer/odometer.

In January, I purchased the speedometer/odometer kit from the Kawasaki web site.

The parts arrived but there was no instruction manual. I thought, "This looks fairly simple, I don't need no stink'n instructions." Well, after a few hours of not being able to get some parts to fit tightly together, I became disgusted. I went back the the Kawasaki web site and looked up the kit and then saw on the right side a link that said "Important Instructions". I clicked the link, opened the instructions and printed them. I could see that I was attempting to put some parts together that looked like they fit but belonged in a different place.

The next weekend I mounted the speedometer/odometer gauge on the front of the ATV and went to install the gear rod in the rear differential. I placed two washers on the gear rod and inserted it into the rear differential, but I could not locate the support hole so I removed the gear rod to be disappointed to find only one washer was on the gear rod. The other washer had fallen inside rear differential.

A few weekends later, I hot glued a magnet to the end of wooden dowel to try to extract the washer from the rear differential. There were large gears with little open space and curved spaces inside the rear differential so it was difficult to maneuver. As I was searching for the washer, I pulled out the wooden dowel and the magnet was not attached. Now I had a washer and a magnet inside the rear differential.

A few weekends later, I purchased a flexible magnetized extraction tool.

It was flexible to better get around the curved surfaces, but it couldn't fit well in the small spaces. After much prodding and probing, I finally removed the magnet.

Over the next few weekends, I attempted to remove the washer with the tool without success. I attempted to disassemble the rear differential but the bolts were tightened too tight. With hope of completing the task myself exhausted, we had to recruit outside help. We ask our local auto mechanic to stop by and take a look. He assisted by loosening the bolts and I took it from there. I disconnected and removed the rear wheel, removed half of the rear differential casing and found the washer at the bottom of the casing.

With the casing removed, it was easy to install the speedometer gear rod.

I re-assembled everything, started the engine and engaged drive shaft. The ATV rolled forward smoothly, so I took off and enjoyed my first ride on the ATV. The ATV could get up to about 18mph.

Saturday, April 21, 2001 morning
I attended a Houston Astros vs. St. Louis Cardinals baseball game with two co-workers, Allie and Robin.  It was the first time I had been to the new Enron Field in downtown Houston.  Unfortunately the Astros lost 2 to 9.

Saturday, April 21, 2001 evening
I attended the Houston Aggie Muster honoring the Aggies that had passed away in the past year.

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