A morning will follow even the blackest night, and when your day opens out in the woods, with the continuation of a long bike ride, it is bright indeed. Oh! But they're weird and they're wonderful!
1st things 1st, it is time for coffee. I used to bring my fancy tiTAINium coffee press, but after repeatedly witnessing the practical ease of simply using a hankerchief for some passable cowboy coffee, I no longer bring that. It was not heavy or particularly bulky, but it did take up the space of a can of beer in a crowded and limited pack. And you're gonna need a hankerchief anyhow. I like my coffee strong, and black, and NOW. So, as soon as the sleeping bag opens, it is time to gather some twigs and fire up the Kelly Kettle.
Then it is time for poo.
It is a given on a campout that there will be lots of talk concerning poo- the details, the choicest spots, the inquiries as to who remembered the man-wipes. This offers a nice segue into our conversation regarding the inimitable Conway Twitty. Mr. Twitty is clearly a demented and filthy genius and a product of the 1970s in America in the worst and most iconic way. Witness:
...so rotten. Bom bom bom.
The bike I used on this go round:
...the trusted Surly NeckRomancer frame, with a twist.
I already had the 29+ front wheel (with the dyno hub, which is a must for an adventure bike in my book), which has proven itself an asset when loaded. I dig the fat tyres in the chunky and the creek bottom and such, but they are pee eye gee PIGS. I get tired of lugging them around when there is a lot of rolling to be done. The Pugsley frame supposedly accepts 29+, so I built a 135mm (offset) rear on a Rabbit Hole to try on for size. (As an aside, I appreciate the fact that Surly stuck with a platform that allows you to dick around with your existing gear as much as possible and not yet another "standard" (looking at you 170 y 190).)
That bike's stock fork is a 135mm non-offset Moonlander (447mm axle-crown), though, which precludes the use of a 100mm dynohub (which is a must for an adventure bike in my book) so I had to use the Krampus fork (483mm axle-crown) I had laying around. Less than ideal, yes but- BUT I did have it to hand, just lying there...so on it went. The Krampus fork pushed the front end up 36mm! by my math. I haven't measured how much it raises the BB. This isn't that scientific a blog; it's more of a ...gut feeling kind of blog. So, yes, floppy (slack). Flexxxxxxxy. Eh, fine. Steering suffered- ask T_dd about laughing at my straight lining the sharp downhill skibble turns, but it paid off in terms of floaty power. I think I will get an ECR fork (468mm axle-crown),with the braze-ons for the stuff, and run that. It's close enough for clown fun. Imagine a rope swing. You jump on, let it fly and then it gets all G'd out with the compressing swoop, which builds and deepens into the curve until finally slinging you out the other side with smiley quickness.
I rode this bike in spite of it's flaws because (how bad could it get?) I wanted to get a feel for the 29+ platform. To me, I like it. It has a lot of the traction for climbing of the fat bike, a lot of the float, and (feels like anyhow) none of the draggy, boggy slowness. Consider me a fan.
Happy as I am with the Surly in general, I am terribly unhappy about the Surly OG OD crank. The top cap (non-drive arm keeper?) backed itself out and fell off, and the crank arm did the same just before this trip. That is the 2nd time. I had already replaced the top cap once, when it had ejected and gotten lost, and this was the replacement lost. Those cranks had all kinds of loosening issues. I will contact my Surly brothers and see what they say.
I heart Henry Coe State Park- where old party balloons come to die. I heart the mellow, parabolic creek-bed-side singletracks and I heart the top of it all fire road climbs. I like to give a special shout out to Wilson Ridge WHOOPdedoos down to Pacheco Creek...shit eating grins. For reals.
What? You need more Conway Twitty? Well all right.
...softly whisper pretty love words in your ear. Masterful! My Loretta Lynn Pandora station keeps throwing ol Conway at me, and I will admit I enjoy You're The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly, but.
All good things...
Bullshitting back at the start.
Black Cat Bicycles' adventure matchine. Custom.
...even the dust matches the fancy gold plating on the fork.
2 nights and 2 days of a Good Time. I feel like we're on to something. Party over here.