Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

26 June 2009

there's lots of leftovers that you can re-heat

KidBike Camping, fer instance. Boys only.

So yeah, because the full squish bike is in C______ for who knows-how-long, we couldn't take the Big Dummy this time. Of course, I'd forgotten about the whole wheel swap thing as I was planning this trip, and (of course) I was made aware of this upon initiation of bike packing at 7AM, morning of. Oops. What to do? Run what you brung, of course.

So D got to pack a little load of his own this time. The ever jury-rigged seatpost mount rack, complete with wire-yourself stabilisation so he could carry his sleeping bag and pad.

He had in his pack: medical kit, his jacket, rain gear, inflatable ball, Leatherman, cinnamon bread, and his brother's sweatshirt. We moved him up to the 24" wheel this time.

Without our Big Dumb Beast of Burden, we pared the load significantly. J and I shared a bag (as a blanket since we knew the night would be relatively warm) and a wool blanket. For cooking it had to be the twig driven Esbit; trusty, small. No griddle, no pancakes. We brought a LOT of water; 3L in the bags, plus bladders for each. 2 bottles on our rig, and 1 on D's. There is a spring, but I'd never gone out this late in the summer before and was unsure how it would be flowing. It is hot out there.

"There" being Indians Road South from Arroyo Seco, which has been re-opened since the fire. It is nice to switch up the camp spots.

We rode straight to the swimming hole, and swam. Jumped off cliffs. Drank beer.

Then, the long HOT uphill. Uphill. Hot. Uphill. There was some amazing complaining. There were girlish histrionics and gasping/sobbing. No, it wasn't me; I was a harsh taskmaster. All of that BS wastes energy and patience. D needs to learn to shut up and suffer. The only way out is through...

I took some pity (and his hot black helmet) since we were climbing. For hours.

We made it to the spring. But barely. It was still flowing (Give Thanks!), though at a very reduced rate. We turned around there and made camp at the high point about1/8th mile back. Then we walked back down to put the pots out to collect some more water.

Then it was time to gather some wood and carefully (carefully manage!) build a fire.

The rock wall reflected the light. We had our own private corner of wild Goodness. D came around and said how much he liked doing this. I reminded him that without all the long hot uphill suffering, we wouldn't be in such a spot with only ourselves and Wilderness. Hopefully it got through.

Dinner was Brown Lunch, cous cous, seitan, and a nice side salad. Friend J____ had brung a 12 pack(!), but we were too dried out to want to drink very much.

Upon awakening...

Cooking breakfast on the Esbit is slow going-especially when you forget to keep adding twigs regularly- but that's allright. It gives you time to drink your coffee and your beer.

What else are you gonna do on a leisurely backcountry morning?

Steel-cut oatmeal, with blueberries, cinnamon and brown sugar. Crisp, diced (and heavy) Fuji apples for those that want them.

Then it was time to wash the dishes and explore the cave.

We did a bit of trundling at the rock slide next to the spring...

which boys do enjoy. When we were done (at least an hour) there was a substantial dent in the slide.

All packed up, it was time to coast downhill for an hour and a half. No lie.

Then I got the bright idea to take the next photo while riding downhill.

D slowed and swerved around a rock. J and I did not. We had us a crash. According to J____, who was right behind us, we both ejected within a millisecond of one another. Took some time to re-align my bars, and my fenders were out of whack. The camera also took a small hit, so I don't have any photos to prove that we went directly to the swimming hole and jumped off cliffs & drank some beers...

You'll just have to have Faith.

21 June 2009

good all the time

I don't know about you

but this kind of music is filled with the Holy Ghost. It's not their best example, but it's a taste. They are worth seeking out.

For A___ L____, who can play very well his own self.

Simple. Outstanding.

It's been kinda gloomy around here lately. Summertime on the central coast...

20 June 2009

19 June 2009

we don't deliver, but you do

This one's for Gunnar...

I took a little ride in Santa Cruz on Thursday. This is what some of the riding there looks like.

See the singletrack there? Above the bar.

Some of the singletrack is real narrow and hugs the side of the hill.

It is nice and shady under the redwoods.

Sometimes the trees are very close together.

On the way, I came across this guy. I initially thought he was on a highbike.

No, he had climbed to Sand Point Overlook on a replica Penny Farthing, and was now heading down. In flip flops. He said he'd step down onto the mounting peg and drag his foot on the rear wheel to slow down. In flip flops. When it got too steep/speedy, he hopped off and walked.

Really took the wind out of my sails on the whole "I'm so hard for riding this on my fixed wheel bicycle" front.

17 June 2009

velocache, sucka!

insert fart noise here

After all that, we drove over to the El Rio tacqueria for the best burrito I have ever had. Ever. What made it so yummy? Papas fritas y hambre, mis amigos. Little cubes of fried potato in the veggie burrito. I do not recommend their onion rings, however. While there, waiting for 20 minutes for them to make 12 burritos, we whiled away the time talking to the "cooler" for the local saloon. (He appreciated my intimate knowledge of Road House.) He claimed to be able to tell all kinds of things about people as soon as they walked in the door, and that it is actually about being nice...until it is time to not be nice. He said that most of the out of towners coming through were from Bakersfield trying to leave the heat. (They bring all their stupidity with them though, which explains the D batteries and the mystery foam, Lord Hayden.) For those that are not familiar with Bakersfield, it is the lamest place in California. Hands down.

When we got back, lots of people ate burritos. Then I went to bed; partied out.

Woke up relatively late, but refreshed. Coffee. Blueberry pancakes. Waiting. Chamois time, all kitted up. More coffee. Safety break. Waiting. A dozen or so people is a long time getting going- that surprises none of us. The morning turned into the early afternoon due to some very ill-considered decisions on the part of 2 and the resultant involvement of many. There was a horse trailer. There was a narrow and technical rock strewn road. There was a lack of skill. There was poor planning. There was a lot of back and fill, directing, ill-conceived attempts to dig out rocks which may have been boulders, human dynamics, losses of patience, and so forth. Waiting well is an important component of a successful field trip. It helps to have a well stocked cooler and some shade. I had long since changed back into my sneakers for comfort.

Fiasco complete, we piled into various vehicles to rendezvous at a different spot to accommodate everone's differing plans for leaving after the ride. I picked up some beers for the ride. We all met up and got into the shuttle cars.

To the top!

The day's trail- Just Outstanding. And it truly is outstanding.

F____ rode rigid and single, all weekend long. Hard.

The Manzanita Tunnel.

Right about this section I crashed. My foot came off the downslope pedal and I went over the edge and down into a thorny tree. I came to rest in said tree-head downhill , bike in the trail. I had torn my fancy boy white perforated! leather gloves, and there my palm. My first thought was how having wrecked hands would keep me from working, and that's no good. It ended up not being bad, just bleedy. I was able to right myself and remove my bike before F____ crashed into it.

My foot had come off the pedal on account of I forgot to grab my cycling shoes when we swapped vehicles. I found this out when I was getting ready to ride at the top of the mountain. What are you gonna do? Time pedals and sneakers are not a great combination, but that's what I brung.

Lots and lots of downhill. Lots. I recommend it.


We sent our mountain bikes to C______, to be picked up by J____ on his way back later in the month, as we'd picked up an extra passenger for the return.

Going home.

In closing the Kernville Weekend 2009, I'd like to point out that canned beer snobbery is laughable. I can see your point about microbrews, but if you chose a can of ________ over a Hamm's you are kidding yourself. And, it would be a whole lot of fun to tour over CA 155 earlier in the spring, as it is a twisty windy road with little traffic.

15 June 2009

you can fight it, or you can ROCK OUT to it

Mineral King.

First of all, here is a little video to document the epic scope, the PROness of the riders,

and how little grasp of the camera's features I possess.

As with last year, we camped well up South Fork Road outside of Three Rivers CA. Adding the ride from camp and back adds significantly to the mileage and climbing. We think it's around 80 miles now. It feels like a lot.

The difference this year? Par and tee. Or maybe the cloud cover which kept it from approaching the low 100s as in years past.

Yeah that cloud cover. Which kept a lid on it all day long.

Climb, sucka!

It got to the point at which I put on gloves. Then, it got to the point at which I needed a hat. Then, arm warmers. Then, knee warmers. Then, undershirt. Then, vest. I was glad to have had all that stowed away. The mountains will do what they do. It is best to be prepared.

We reached the top(ish) at Silver City, which is really just a grouping of cabins and a store that serves no beer, and overheard a fella tell the clerk about snow further up top. We opted to turn around at this point. We'd already had our miles of pave climb, complete with 13% grades and had our several miles more of dirt through the Sequoias. No point in risking marmot attack and snow.


We came tearing around a corner on the downhill and this guy was standing in the road looking confused. Apparently shouting road bikers are one of the things that frighten bears. He took off for the hill. Big bear, I'd guess over 5' tall. He looked lean and shaggy.

Which I suppose ups the totem ante in my favor.


It was hot enough down low for some beer drinking and some foot dunking.

Next day=travel day. Driving over to Kernville for the mountain bike portion of the Birfday Weekend. I will say, it is sweet to travel with folks who enjoy the journey. We stopped in Porterville at the Salvation Army and shopped the local fashions. Always entertaining, and occasionally rewarding. Who really cares? A Good Time is far more important than simply making good time.

To that end, we set in with the beer drinking (and then) when we arrived, really applied ourselves. Members of the group continued to arrive from points further South.

First we laughed at these guys camped next to us, for taking many pictures of their massive 4x4 after they'd driven the front end up onto that large rock you see to the right of it. then they backed off the rock and parked. And set up the biggest tent I have ever seen, and their portable picnic table for 6 complete with tablecloth, and outdoor shower stall, and 3 lanterns (so the entire camp was lit in series, like a front yard walkway). They left the camera set up on it's 4' tripod all weekend, to be ready at a moment's notice.

But they ended up being very gracious and polite young men. I thought I was lending a hand by going over with some kindling for them (after witnessing the amazing display of wood splitting; which involved at minimum 2 practice/aiming slow motion swings with the axe blade reversed before finally striking the upright log and sending it flying off towards one of the other Armenians wearing flip flops). The lead Armenian was attempting to start the fire with his homemade mixture of dryer lint and petroleum soaked cotton balls... and with a flint and steel! They invited us over for drinks.

Some of us ended up smoking Salvia with these guys. I can't say I recommend it.

But it was about bikes, not experimental drug use. So, there it is. Shuttle run to the top of Cannell Trail, which I can wholeheartedly recommendo!

To the top!

And then, up and around the other side of the top, briefly. Just some extra singletrack before back down to the parking area for the real start of the trail...

Miles. Tall trees.

The terrain there is very different from any other alpine areas to which I have been. The mountains feel low and dome-like. They have amazingly beautiful flat meadows. There is a lot of granite.

Hike a bike, stupid. The trail had to have been better. Had to. But you can see the meadow again.

Mr. E___ P______, not enjoying himself as much as at other moments. The Birfday Boy hisself.

Another party member loving the hike.

Getting more Southerly. The faces here were pretty sheer. That is Lake Isabella, I believe.

L_______, ruling it.

The inimitable Craig Ashcroft.

Then we rode some more. Around 36 miles, or so. 6 hours. Ridiculous amounts of fun. Do it, if you are in the area.