I’ve covered a lot of miles in this crazy year of pandemic and perdition. As terrible as 2020 has been for so many around the world, I haven’t got too much to complain about. I had enough work to keep my gas tank full and I had enough free time to travel, fly fish and ride motorbikes. I’m a solitary person by nature, so the isolation brought by COVID-19 hasn’t changed much for my lifestyle.
I had planned to finish my Talbot Lago engine project in Colorado in a few months, starting in late May. In August, I sent a batch of parts out for plating and used the waiting period to visit Wyoming for about a month, revisiting some of my favorite places from my first year on the road.
In the Fall, I had another break from my project, again waiting for parts. The head gasket I was provided with did not work and I had to have new ones made, with a 4 week lead time. So I went to Montana to chase brown trout on the Madison River above Hebgen lake and into Yellowstone. I stopped at the Green River on the way, but those migrating browns had already come upstream and gone back to the lake. I only caught a few whitefish.
The Madison was good, but not as good as on my previous fall visits. I’d caught at least one brown over 20″ the last couple of trips and this time I only caught smaller ones. Lots of good rainbow trout though.
Unfortunately, in late October, instead of finishing my engine project and heading to California, I had to send parts out again. I had used tappets that were not good enough with my fingers crossed, but they wore as badly as I should have known they would. So the cams were damaged and needed to be refinished, while the sub-par tappets had to go away for four to six weeks for a better surface finish and DLC coating. (Diamond Like Carbon)
I decided to head to New Mexico for the duration, as I haven’t spend any time exploring that state and it wasn’t far away. It was too cold to stay in the northern part where the trout are, and the COVID numbers in Las Cruces in the south were exploding. In fact, the state had a lock-down starting a few days after I arrived. I meandered around the desert until I found a part of the Rio Grande that had a solid carp population and spent a week chasing them around a bend in the river.
Turns out that the tappet grinder uses a DLC company in FRANCE. Though my cams are finished and ready to install, the tappets are still on the other side of the Atlantic. I’d hoped to have the project completed by Christmas so that I could start a new project on the West Coast in January. But I’m stuck in the freezing desert waiting to hear about my parts in France!