I arrived in Portland about 10:50pm and my bike was in the baggage claim.
Where do I begin? I had two options at this point, 1) use the bike stand at the airport to put my bike together then take the train or ride to my hotel or 2) put the box in a taxi and put the bike together at the hotel.
I opted for number 1, because Joel told me it's easier to deal with the bike than the box and I figured that it would be easier to put it back together on the stand.
So I dragged the bike box over to the bike stand (they have one in the airport) and started unboxing. Good thing that I brought my Swiss Army knife because there was a ton of packing material and bubble wrap on the frame.
Putting the bike back together was the thing that I was most fixated on and likely I went into it with a certain level of anxiety. I tried to be systematic about and it and go with what I knew first, figuring that the rest would fall into place.
So I put the front rack on, then the fender, and pedals. No problem.
Then came time to deal with the handle bars. The wire looked a little twisted so I turned the bars until everything looked correct. Then came the first problem. I tried sliding the stem back into the headtube and it would not go. The cables were too tight. This is the point where I started to freak out. It was late. I was tired. I was sweating.
It was about midnight and two security guards came over to check things out. One of the guards knew what he was doing, so he told me to move the shifters until there was enough slack in the cable to put the bars on. WHEW.
So then I asked him about the brake because the front brake was off. Then he helped me sort out the back brake cable. Ok here we go yo.
The train had stopped running at this point. I decided in my overly tired brain that at this point I should leave off the front wheel and take a cab to the hotel. And so I dragged it over and did just that.
In between all the freak out I posted wildly to FB to see if anyone was up that could help. I also realized that my friend Alfie was in Portland also and I called him for a lifeline. He was very sweet and chatted with me after I was in the cab. Just hearing a friendly voice helped me deal with the situation. I got to the hotel, slept a little with major anxiety dreams, then woke up and spent about an hour on the reassembly.
The fender was not fitting properly which was driving me nuts, until I looked at it and realized that the front fork was backwards. YIKES. I guess I know what I'm looking at after all. At that point I got everything back together.
So this is where I started:
And this is where I ended: