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STORIES FROM THE ROAD


June 12, 1998

SQUIRREL ATTACK

I had a pretty good night with my new friends Mark and Suzanne in Needham, Massachusetts. Before breakfast, I moved the bicycle from the basement garage to the backyard before loading up most of the gear that I had taken off the bike the following night. I was having trouble with my kickstand so I leaned the bike on a planter made out of half a wine barrel. I had thought the bike would have been safe there.

During breakfast, I happened to look out at the bike and I saw a squirrel nearby the bike but I didn't think much about it. When I went out to get the bike before getting on the road, I found two large holes chewed right through the zipper of my food pannier. The squirrel that I had seen earlier must have used the planter as a ladder to get to the food in the food pannier.

The zipper was a two-way one and it was pretty well ruined. I was able to sew the pannier up so that I could at least use half of it.

Suzanne offered to take me to the nearby REI store in nearby Framingham to see if they had any suggestions. When I talked with the people at customer service, their only suggestion was to have the pannier sent away to have it repaired and shipped it back to me. This wouldn't work. I wished they would have an exchange program for panniers.

When we got back to Suzanne's house in Needham, Suzanne gave me a zipper that might work later on and some thicker thread. It was around 10:40 AM when I headed out.

My impression of squirrels had changed. I guess it is now the same as the phrase that I had seen on a plaque in Orlando, FL. The plaque had said that a "squirrel is just a rat with good P.R.".




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