Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

29 October 2009

what do you wanna do with your life?

I wanna rock.

Well, I wanna ride bikes long distances (preferably off road, thanks) and stuff. Mike Curiak has a real good series being posted these days on a ride through Southeastern Utah he took. It has real nice photos and stuff. You might lik it. It has inspired me to try the route next summer/ i just gotta figure out this GPS BS and find an adaptor that will work with a solar charger or a generator hub. There's this, but it's long and I haven't read the whole thing.

Any of you people smarter than me (that's most of y'all) got ideas?

Yes, I mostly just wanted to post Barry White in Mexico with heavily processed hair and pretensions of being a conductor.

27 October 2009

bittersweet yet triumphant?

You go head, you! This is all for you! Only and all. I sincerely hope your life goes as well as can be, and that you are happy. No one could ask for more.

As for me, well...The highest and best use of a "lil' loafer" ( _esus uck, I hate the cutesy contractions). You see how the day/ride begins. There was a lot of rolling. Some stopping.

And so on. Head over heels crash on Blair Witch Trail scraped me up and broke the camera's display. Haven't told the Mrs. yet.

Velocache, bicthes!

At a certain point, I was again at the Stairs... I used to spend so much time there. J and I were there at least once a week for a year or so; you can still see where the surface is burnt from our early days cooking Brown Lunch before we had the heat shield dialed. I've had great times there with wonderful friends, and I have spent the night all alone and sad. Today was just a stop.

Hamms. Dried bananas and walnuts.

I did stash a beer just for old times' sake and even though lately the place has seen a bit of a reversal of fortunes in that there's frequently trash left- evidence of yahoos.

Speaking of yahoos...

50ish miles.

26 October 2009

Enabling [air] certain behavior [quotes] wherever possible

No clearance, low clearance...issues. After a deeply dissatisfying morning's wrenching, it was time to ride.

Not the bike I'd wanted to ride, but you got to know whichever bike I am currently/actually riding is always the best and favorite bike. As it should be.

Up and into the Monterey Pines. Networks of trails, connected by back roads.

Confirmed Totem Animal sighting. Those of y'all who keep insisting that my totem is the raggedy skunk with it's head stuck in a jar? Place that in your smoking apparatus and set fire to it. As always, click to enlarge as desired.

Restocking the log.

It becomes hard to hold onto the bitterness from _______ (pick your poison, today [for me] was clearances) in these places. Let it go. Let it ride. How can you not?

Ride bikes. Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think.

I reflected today upon the similarities between my bikes and the differences. Cantilevers v. discs for a thing. Skidded out knobbies v. fresh for another. My right knee hurt like a -utha-ucka yesterday/Sunday just walking around, not to mention stairs. I babied it today; asking the left leg to do some work taking up slack. I rode a fair amount last week, and then rode the fixed wheel (above left) to work on Friday and Saturday which I noticed as waaaaaay steeper geared than I remembered.

I think I am getting old or something?

Back on the regular glucosamine/chondroitin for me. It helps.

23 October 2009

Heads up, Moonshine.

Just a little taste of the ___ for you, as you get up an dance at the _______. Halloween parties are for amateurs.

If you'd like to register a complaint regarding this image, by all means.

The coming Full Hunter's Moon will appear, as if by magic, on November 2. Plan accordingly, as this a Monday evening affair, and you will be utterly and completely unfit for productivity the following day. In the past, Full Moons have been re-scheduled at great cost to werewolves and sea turtles alike, and solely for your convenience. This coming event is so action-packed, that this will not be the case here- we'll need the entire moon's light for the hot laps to proceed as planned. Testers have tried a corkscrew-like portion of said course in less than optimum lighting, and the results were...thrilling in their potential for disaster.

Come correct and fully stocked at dark time at the usual entrance to Fort Ord. Mixed bag dirt and pavement. Cross bikes recommended. Costumes welcomed, but not encouraged.

That is all.

22 October 2009

Shiney shiney.

Yes, I know it is bad form to post pictures of mock ups. That is a given in the tradition of geeked out bicycle-related-picture-posting internet culture of highbrows such as ourselfs.

Well, maybe that's just me. Would you like my review of the fenders' performance now? They are markedly shorter than Honjos, both front (sadly) and rear. The hardware looks different too, from my brief examination through the bag. Order extra stays (they come with 2), as the front tends to flex some, and you don't want that. Your local can order them for you from Merry Sales.

I am waiting on the actual fork for this bike before installation; which, as opposed to the virtual one you see represented here, will be fender compatible.

Shiney brass fenders. I am going to let them tarnish to a weather beaten mellowness, which will understate the unspoken message of how much better my bike is than yours and by logical extension how much more Quality a Person I am than you. Sorry to be so harsh.

21 October 2009

____________ is over rated

You know it's true.

Terry Hall is NOT overrated. I was looking at Specials videos (on account of how Good they are) when this gem caught my ear. Where was I in 1997? Living in Telluride, working seasonally at bike shops there and in Moab and blowing it apparently, because this release slid in completely under my radar.

Today was my weekend. I spent it wandering around via cross bike.


I am a chronic loser of left hand gloves. I have 2 right hands of the same model glove. Yesterday I found one of my lost gloves on a post top coming down South Boundary. That's not trick lighting you see there; that's sun bleaching.

Sneaky dirt connector out the ridge, then 68 to South Boundary. At the top, I strained my brain considering the funnest way to get to the 3 Bitches. That's an area of Fort Ord I no longer ride. Last time was last winter, and probably at least a year before that, so the connectors aren't fresh in me mind.

I decided going down 50 and back up 49 to the altar and down, then up Ewok would be funnest. I crashed good on 50, even though it was still excellently tacky. I won't point fingers. I got mixed up at the bottom of the altar/49 and had to back track to remember to cross the dam to find Ewok. It is still a great trail. I was stymied on 3 Sisters Road (we always called it the 3 Bitches, but it is now signed offically as 3 Sisters Road) looking for Velocache.

Are 49 and 50 in perfect shape right now? Yes!

50ish miles.

20 October 2009

you seem a decent chap

I don't know what your reputation is. In this town.

In this town, the rain has set up the sand just so and the riding dirty is fantastic right now. Too bad for electronic tagging along I didn't bring the camera. It was all synchronicity and happenchance. Swoop swoop climb. Mixed bag road back and forth to Ord with some super sneaky dirt hillsides on the way out and back.

If I could just have your attention for one second...RIDE YOUR BIKE IT IS AMAZING FUN.

19 October 2009

*as if everone here would know exactly what I was talking about

I had a hard night last night. Several boozy yokels showed up and made me look bad at my place of employment, drank beers in the parking lot openly, and dragged me around on a poorly lit crossbike dirt demo slash dive bar tour. Excellent. Thanks, fellas. I really needed that.

I first heard of Hasil Adkins when Mike B___ handed us the CD as we were leaving their place on our way to get soaked all day on the Old Caz Grasshopper several years ago. It was some of the weirdest sounds I have ever heard.

RIP Hasil, you were better and realer than Elvis.

16 October 2009

I've gotten used to it

I forgot to mention that before my solo camping trip the other day, J said to me:

Don't forget beer! And you should bring some lollipops, cuz you like sugar.

That boy is close to my heart.

15 October 2009

I'm here to tell you

We just (just) got the power turned back on. There was a big storm Monday past, and the peninsula is subject to outages pretty regular due to the trees round here being real tall and shallowly rooted. Take that how you will.

Some of you may recall Monday as the day I said we were going camping. Even as the day I said it would not rain on us, irregardless of the weather forecast. I was right and I was wrong. We (the children and myself) did go camping, and though the rain held off until late at night to lure us into complacency, it was a hard rain.

N fought me every step of the way. She tried everything she could think of to weasel out of it- the storm, the lameness of it all, the boringness of it all, the unfairness of it all, etc. She even cried. Disgusting. I don't know about you, but "teenage" (at 12) girls are the sourest of grapes. Once she finally accepted that she really was going to have to accompany us, she was fine. The histrionics up to that point were impressive.

The boys just packed their bags and got on with it.

I really don't know why this is surprising to me, but I packed the Big Dummy heavier than ever before. Seems like ever time we go I say it. As I was unloading the food bags, I pulled out a 5lb bag of flour. WTF? TF is that I had planned on making bread in the bush in the (yep) cast iron Dutch Oven, which I also packed and about which's weight I can only shudder to think. It seemed only marginally heavier than the propane stove and tank, but that is probably a wider margin than I think. We had the 5man tent and the pads and the bags and the everthing else for a 4 day (planned) family expedition. I had brownie mix and chocolate chips for ____'s sake. If I had them, I'd probably have packed the crystal, oriental carpet and white dinner jackets.

Well, I was trying to make it fun.

It was, for the evening.

The rain started in earnest sometime in the wee hours. I awoke to the pitter patter, and awoke again to the downpour. I knew then what was in store for the morning.
We'd be leaving.
I'd planned on cooking over the fire. I'd planned on swimming. I'd planned being dry.

It was raining.

I left the kids in the tent while I humped the bags up the hill.

They were too heavy to push the entire loaded barge up the trail to the fireroad. It took 2 trips, then I broke the tent down

and packed it on the bike and rolled the whole thing up. There were 2 separate downed oaks in the trail that required extensive brush clearing, and then bike lifting. I was doubly glad I'd had the good sense to make sure the oak under which we'd made camp had no rotten branches to fall on us... When we reached the road, I loaded the bags onto the Big Dummy. I couldn't even make coffee, so I drank 2 beers and called that breakfast. The kids were unbelievably good spirited about the whole thing.

N in particular surprised me; she kept saying it was "the best campout ever!" and laughing and laughing in spite of the to-bone-soaking we were being handed. We laughed about how great it all was, and how we should turn around since it looked like it would stop pouring any minute.

I have never experienced any riding like riding the heavily laden Big Dummy in the pouring rain on a sandy (muddy) fireroad. 2wheeled drifting wiggle like the frame was broken. Bizarre. On the steep uphill from the swimming hole I had to get off and push. I have never been so worked. I thought at one point that I would have to unload the rig and push it up separately from the bags. I gasped and rested a lot.

Back at the lot (~4miles or so), the kids got undressed underneath the overhanging rear door, and into the race van in shifts. I stayed out in it to unload the Big Dummy and stow the wet gear in the back. Then we blasted the heater and drove home in our underwear.

We left all the stuff in the van for 2 days on account of the power outage and continued drenching.

In retrospect, I'd make the same choices again. Maybe lighten the load some, but really- you have to be willing to risk it turning out completely rotten to seize the possible Goodness.

Oh, and my gear was still where I'd left it, ungnawed.

10 October 2009

Surf City schedule

Too bad for me I have to work weekends. Good for you, as it means one less formidably intense competitor in B's racing. The "organizers" are as shady a bunch as you could want. FREE KID'S RACING AT NOON! D says he wants to race.


08 October 2009

superficially attractive but lacking in depth

This photo was taken the night before leaving on yet another Condor lite solo outing. In this photo you can clearlyish see the clever wire bracing added to my trusty clamp on (Quick Release no less) rack; a rack which has been through several trips and which I felt had been proven. Set aside concerns, for now, about how the pins holding the QR jaws in place had sheared off. Those concerns must surely be laid to rest in light of the fact that while re-wiring said rack I had noticed the shearing and, after a hearty self-congratulatory pat on my back, purchased new and shiny brass bolts of the appropriate length and the (let us say) necessary thickness so as to fit.

That is foreshadowing.

See, every year on/near my birfday I must do a long ride. A ride of 100 miles or more, or it's equivalent in fun. This year, L suggested I squeeze in an overnight Indians Road jaunt over to Prewitt/Nascimiento-Ferguson; from which trip she'd pick me up at HWY1. I had to work Wednesday, so I brought the loaded bike to work, and rode out Carmel Valley at quitting time.

This photo, of me holding pieces of wire like a mouse moustache, was taken in the far reaches of CV Road. I had removed the cross brace (specially formulated during the initial trial run) the last time it was used on D's bike because it interfered with his rear tire. Small bike, different placement, etc. So yes, the sides of the rack were flexing inward under the weight, and the wire had broken in one spot. Flexing weight= sleeping bag, camping pillow (I know, believe me), and warm clothes on the one hand and cook set, food, 1L water bottle on the other. The sleeping pad and tarp were tucked below the rack (but above the tyre) and the tent was on the rack top.

No problem, I used my camp knife (thanks J! Indians Road is my camp knife's spiritual home) to quickly whittle up a replacement brace and wired it in place with the broken bits of wire. This all takes time/daylight, but problem solved. Ride on.

A short while later, the flexing returned with a deliberation that would not be ignored. I stopped to curse and see what was the matter. It was at that point I realized the shiny brass bolts had sheared off cleanly at the top pivot of the QR jaws on both sides.
My rack was broken.
I cursed more heartily. Then I cut the excess cord off the length I use to lash things to the top of the panniers, and trussed the rack to the bag loops on my trustworthy Brooks. If I pedalled on the nose of the saddle the flex inherent in my design was mediated enough that I knew I could at least make it to Arroyo Seco and camp, which would beat having to limp home a quitter.

As I rode along, though, my spirits lifted and what a day!

To quote the late night waiter from the Denny's in Durango: "When you're as good looking and talented as I am, it's hard to have a Bad Day." Just so, especially if you are railing down swoopily drawn out back roads with little to no traffic.

Turkeys! I saw several large groups. A suitable totem for this trip...

I ended up feeling so swell that I decided to push into Indians some and camp in the back country. Why not? Things were going well enough, and the camping is always better further out.

I had decided before leaving home that I was going "Light" (OK, as Light as can be for someone who brings a pillow. Yeah, yeah.) so I did not bring a Camelback. Bummer for me. I stopped at this creek crossing to fill the 1L bottle. I was using tablets to purify, and they specify a 4hour wait and further stipulate the bottle be kept out of sunlight. Fair enough (trade-offs and all) since it was evening and I had another bottle still full with the prospect of refilling in the AM, and the spring (which requires no filter) after that.

I stopped at the signs a couple miles past "The Gorge" (for whatever reason, that name galls me. Maybe because it is not a Gorge, it is a small, short canyonlet), and found an acceptable site a little ways down the trail on a burned out shelf. The picture shows the campfire at it's zenith. I keep a much smaller fire; it is high because it is just catching and there is a bundle of grass kindling going up. I am out of Esbit fuel tabs, so I skipped the stove altogether to just cook on a corner of the fire-pit. There is something deeply satisfying about that.

Fireside whiskey.There is something deeply satisfying about that.

I woke up often, as one is apt when alone in the woods, but overall it was peaceful. There were no screams in the night.

Coffee and campfire. Nice start to the day.

You can see the cord truss here.

Ideas will occur to you as you sit by a fire sipping corn liquor. My advice is to act on them. It came to me there that I could simply ditch the now superfluous camping gear and the cursed rack and ride the remainder of the route unencumbered.

So that is what I did. With my woodrat gnawing experience freshly in mind, the bags are suspended 4ft off the ground by cord.

I still needed water, so I took the trail down to the river and found
a spot worthy of future trips. The kids would love this place. Only a couple miles from their favorite swimming hole, with a flat sandy beach and shade trees and the potential for a rope swing. Most of all, at the base of the heinous climb up to the spring. Kid base camp, for sure. Next week they have "October Break" for the week (!) and I am going to bring them out there. I'm even considering bringing the dutch oven and baking bread in the coals. OLD school- cooking on the fire.Yes.

I had to fill the bottles and cover them for my 4hour water fast. The water rationing took it's bites; no question. From now on, regardless of how I feel about wearing a pack (I don't lik it), I will bring EXTRA water.

A 14mile trail on the other side out to Coast Ridge Road. Worth some exploring.

Of course I went swimming!

Back at camp with the new spartan kit. Every time I stopped, the configuration matured until it was perfect. I especially love that.

Climb+ heat= sure wish I could drink some water. I had a cup left to get me to the spring.

Blessed Assurance. Give Thanks for water. Trips like these give the gift of real perspective.

I wised up and propped the bottle in place. Best not to look too closely at the algae/mineral stalactites down which the water is coursing. Holy Water indeed. The spring water would get me through to Indians. The flow was so slow, I could not justify waiting for more than the one swallow and a full bottle.

Then it was riding. I eventually stopped again at another water crossing and refilled the spring water bottle. Same deal 4hour covered wait. I need a steri-pen purifier, and I need it now!

People have posted on the web about how to polish the rivets on a Brooks. I swear I am not making that up. I wish I was.

Hey Assholes, This is how you polish your damned rivets:

If that does not make sense to you, get the hell out of my church.

Look at the size of that Valley Oak!

And on into Fort Hunter Ligget, where the riding is long and hot and long and hot and there is so much more of it than you remember. I had no issues, aside from the water fast and the increasingly creaky ticking issuing from my slowly dying octalink/M952 crank interface. Think small bright shards and grit. Then I popped out the back gate in time to crawl up the backside of the coastal range in time to see the sun just behind the fog layer. No light on the descent for me.

Particularly since I had to stop and eat and change into warm clothes. I had felt the temperature change when I settled in to the climb beneath the Sycamores, Bays and Tan Oaks. By the top I was cold, even with the climb.

After some time speeding downhill into an indistinct greyness, with only the chalky dust at the edges of the road to guide you ( and that only visible if you look at the sky to monitor the road by watching the tree tops on either side and allowing your peripheral vision to work the road surface) you lose your self. You become just a floating field of vision, and you feel the front end as grabby and weighted funny when you feel anything at all.

That's how it was until I pulled up at the truck where my family was waiting with sandwiches and beer. Thank you, Family, for the ride!