Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

28 February 2013

this is the stuff that cured a nation

 After the increasingly frantic and despondent search for the bottle, we faced the sad, hard Truth that we must climb out of that cooling bottom while the climbing was good; before dark, when the monsters come out and it gets pretty dang cold. Up we pedalled, back into the sunlight and then along and then up some more, for that is the essence of Henry Coe.

We found ourselves at a nice flat spot, high on the ridge, and set up camp for the night. For the record, I love instant mashed potatoes. To_d let loose of all his distress over the loss of the whiskey by having a jumping fit. A moment of wild punk rock pique which, coincidentally, reduced most of the wood we'd gathered for twig-fueled cooking to useable tinder bits. I held my own hate close and let it warm me for a bit longer. I'd really pinned a lot of Good Feelings on the recovery of that cache. The hardness of the crazed creek-bed bushwack made it seem all the more salvatory, so that it took on importance all out of proportion. You may not be aware, but a 1/2 bottle of nice rye really makes a camp-out better. As it turns out, it was good I did not have the bottle and did have the fiery hate. I might have gotten a wee bit too loaded to notice the growing wetness around my "pillow".

Just as I had the previous evening to good effect, I'd stuffed my hydration bladder and some loose pieces of gear into my sleeping bag stuff-sack to use as a pillow. I had removed the bite valve to more easily fill the Kelly Kettle while making dinner, but I distinctly recall checking the hose shut-off valve after, and then checking it again before putting the bladder in the sack. I must have opened it the 2nd time, because the stuff sack (ironically a dry-bag) was now a bag of water and plenty of it was leaking out onto my down bag and all over the tarp.

I leapt up from my warm comfort and began to dance around in my underwear trying to contain the spill and minimize the soaking. My glad companion lay in his puffy cocoon, atop his cushy pillow of air and laughed and laughed. It took a cold while to dump out the water, dry the sleeping bag and pad as best I could, flip the tarp over, hang up my wet clothes and get back to ready for bed. The safety pin had gotten lost in the hullaballoo, and so my bag reduced to a poorly designed quilt. At least the soaking was minimal, so it was still a warm quilt. Imagine if I'd been drunk...imagine if I had not had the hate to warm me.

It was a hard night, but around the tiny hours of the AM, I realized I could use my shoes and a bag of sunflower seeds as a makeshift pillow. I slept well after that. Then it was dawn.

 That looks real picturesque and comfortable-like...

 and so does that?

I exaggerate for comedic effect. My vacation is not your worst nightmare, it is fun! Good old-fashioned fun, and I relish it and seek it. You would have loved it.

 Kelly Kettle speeds coffee along and does not require chemical fuel. BAM!


 After breakfast we rolled off into the ridgescape, looking for the Good Stuff.

 We found it.

 Interspersed with effortful climbs and scenic fire roads were effortless drops and twisty singletrack.

 Coe is legit. The thing about camping by bike is that your ride doesn't have to end! Reach someplace nice (also much further out than would be reachable by, say, hiking), have a meal and some rest and then go on to ride some more. It sounds simple, but it is profound.

Us being so civilized and all, we stopped for a coffee break. We had the whole day to ride. To_d brought back the classic Safari Sophisticates Collection. Note the neatly tucked pant legs for practical tick protection. A smart merino ensemble tops everything. Fashion is form. None of this is accidental.

I meself am resplendent, if a little difficult to make out, in Dreadneck (no really, yes I) Great White Hunter Fashion. It's my fall-back. I feel pretty.

  We promise to coordinate our efforts next time so as to not offend your delicate sensibilities.

There was a lot of singletrack the last day. I enjoyed Dam Trail, and Cross Canyon Trail (as always, down and up). Dropping all of our gear beneath some California Black Oaks (Quercus kelloggi) off the trail and rallying the shit out of Grapevine was well worth doing, even if it was a thirsty climb back up. That was a real nice spot for some peanut butter, date and banana burritos. China Hole Trail was great (really fun), also, down and up. The final climb up the Manzanita Point Road was a cold shot, though. Especially with visible singletrack curving along below us, both reduced in elevation gain and off-limit to bikes. Based on my experiences so far, it is now my firm belief that future trips should begin and end at the Hunting Hollow end of things. Finishing on the sweet singletrack downhill is just so nice.

But, I'm open to checking other new there any good riding to be had on the Dowdy Ranch end?

 All in all, a real Good Time. It is such a treat to have this expanse so close and to have it open to riding. I'd like to thank my riding partner for his masterfully snacky ways, his complete willingness for the experience to totally suck (truly- if you aren't open to the possibility of failure on a magnificent scale, you limit your potential joy just as surely), and his unfailing sense of humor.

Yay! Boo.


Buzz said...

Why the @#$k are you riding that fat tire bike on those trails?? Rev.....dude I am starting to wonder about your *inclination*.....LOL!

Pain is good 'if' we get somewhere for it.

Hate is NEVER good...only proof of losing your... zen.


For a while there in those last two posts... I was feeling.. if ever so slightly... the ghost of Edward Abbey....

Blackcat deserves some serious Rev love....


Nice ride


reverend dick said...

None of my other bikes have squish. I rode it a couple times on a drop bar 29er, and it's not ideal- steep and punishing with a load. I'm happy with the bike choice, given my givens.