Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

28 February 2012

teenage hangups

I have it straight from the jack's ass that those pirates running the ship over at the Sleaze Otter that the jig is up again this year. Up and coming. So, hey, throw them a bone and hook them up with your hot sister or a corporate sponsor so's we can all drink for free and participate in the Good Time we've come to know and love.

I look forward to learning more as the weeks crawl by. Sleaze Otter for all my friends!

And here is some Texas pop from the 1980s:

27 February 2012

never poke a sleeping clown

Let's get together and move Heaven and Earth to our own ends week after next. The Full Worm Moon is nearly upon us; 29% and rising. March 8th is a Thursday, so I'm thinking Friday the 9th is a fine time for a moonlit jaunt down 1 to soak up the good, good vibrations at Esalen. Check the link. The public access is 1am-3am, and reservations are required. The group limit is 4 per, so if more are coming we need to split it up. $20 a person, nonrefundable/nontransferable. They are hippied out and all, but dang! are they militant about gatekeeping. Keeping all that in mind, I feel confident that this crack team has the skills to pull off whatever we want. Unless I just blew it big time posting this on the world wide web.

Get at me however you do, if you're innerested, so's I can plan the SAG.

25 February 2012

it's not going to suck itself

This is a recount of 3 kids/1 adult, 3 days/2 nights bikepacking Henry W. Coe CA State Park. You may know it by another name, such as "steep and nonstop" or something similar. That would not be inaccurate.

Every camping trip begins with the packing. In between that and the loading, it is Tradition to forget a thing or 6. Tent (never used- I packed it because I was concerned about ticks, which are parasites, but the sites were clear), sleeping pads (J, being small and light was to use the camp chairs so as to economize load bearing), sleeping bags, stove, cookware/silverware, food, water filter, misc...what did I leave out?

Water bottles. 6 of them, all filled and left in a row on the kitchen counter. There was cursing.

D had loaded his before we left, so there were 2 large bottles. N had 1 more large bottle. I did remember the Nalgene flat plastic canteen (a nice piece of gear), we scoured the race van to come up with 2 more plastic throwaway bottles (1 left from the Xmas trip...) and we were good to go.

I shouldered a reduced load this time (YAY!) as the kids all had some part of the gear on their bikes:
I'd installed a rear rack on D's bike the night before, so he had panniers loaded with his sleeping bag/pad and personal stuff (including a heavy, hard back book). He also had a handlebar bag with daytime snacks.
N took the green bike, the kid camper/townie, with baskets front and rear. She carried her sleeping bag/pad, the foldable canteen, her personal stuff.
J had his down bag strapped to his saddle, and snacks in a small handlebar bag. He also carried his pack full of personal stuff.

The route was to be Frog Flat Trail to Frog Lake the 1st day. From there, we'd spend Day 2 rolling Middle Ridge down to end at China Hole. I knew Day 3 was an unavoidably hellish climb back out, but I didn't see the need to share that with my unwilling co-campers. They were fussing about going as it was.

This area of Coe was unknown to me. I had it on "good" authority that Flat Frog was nice, but that same oracle referred to Middle Ridge as "techy singletrack". Those assessments are sound. Here are professional type movies of Flat Frog Trail:

...well, I was riding one handed. Yes, I cannot keep up with my 7 year old in the singletrack.

Frog Lake was...yucky. We camped up near Pajahuello Spring, an OK spot for grilled cheeses and sleep outs.

The kids squawk about these camping trips before hand (" there's nothing to do", "it's too hard", "I want to stay home", etc.) but I know they love them. And I make them go. They stop fussing once it's clear that they're going regardless, and after a little adjustment their attitudes improve. They adapt and let go of their "need" for Power Rangers DynoFury or skateboards or constant texting and get in a woodsy groove. It is delightful to see them team up and Get Happy. Their interaction with each other here is very different than at home- there's lots more getting along.

If you let your children dictate the terms, you are negotiating with terrorists.

We had blueberry pancakes for breakfast. I remembered the coffee.

These are the only 2 pictures I have of Day 2.

I took them after we had passed the nekkid couple, and before we encountered the nosy, trail-blocking couple. It was one of the many sections which were too steep for J to ride. These sections were both up- and down-hill. In several places, the ups were too steep for me to push the loaded Big Dummy up. I required the help of a child. Whichever was closest.

Middle Ridge is serrated. On the map, it is ridgetop until the clearly steep drop at the end. I have been riding long enough to know, looking at the map, that it would be uppy downy, but. But. That trail is no joke. It quickly became apparent that I needed to keep J on a short leash. I put D in the front to suss the technicality (he rips these days! loaded front and rear), N rolled behind him (dang if she didn't tear it up as well- loaded baskets front and rear, and cantilever brakes), and J alternated in front of me and behind me as it happened. J made excellent choices regarding what he was capable of riding. I was very impressed. It was a fine line, between encouraging him to get some and keeping him reined. I didn't want to scare him or discourage him, so I kept my mouth closed more than I wanted. He rode things I was hesitant to endorse, and the off camber drop-away hillside didn't phase him. Awesome.

It was a very tough day.

I ended up frequently dropping the Big Dummy and helping a kid(s) with their rig(s) and/or requiring help meself. I apologized for getting them into such a hairy situation, and I think that helped the mood. They had remarkable cheer, considering how brutal it was. The hardest 4.1 miles I have ever ridden.

We dropped like stones down the final switchbacks to the Middle Fork of Coyote Creek.

From there, we popped up onto Poverty Flats Rd, and rolled East looking for Creekside Trail. I wasn't sure how passable it would be, but it was the way to China Hole, or we were camping at one of the Poverty Flats sites...

These are pictures of my children mocking me.

I think they were giddy with the ending of the hellish slog down Middle Ridge. That, and the (disgusting) outhouse. D was deflated, "Awwww! There's an outhouse, and I had to poo in the wilderness!"

Of course, Creekside Trail looked great so we hauled the bikes across the creek and started in only to have the trail become impassable for loaded bikes. We turned a round and set up camp at Site#4. No China Hole, and we didn't care.

Before I even had the load off, J was back from the creek with a frog in hand. That creek is lousy with frogs (2 styles that we saw: little, Western Spadefoot- Spea hammondii; and Bull- Lithobates catesbeinaus), and salamanders (the yellow eyed Ensatina- Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica...which is odd, because the description of this salamander says that in CA they do not inhabit bodies of water, but we saw 4 in the creek swimming like they knew what they were doing and hanging midstream plus others, including a mating couple doing it sexy cold pool style) ?!? Anyhow- they was a lot of aquatic herpetological hassling.

It was hard to sleep on account of the frogs were yelling all night, and you got used to it, but then they would all stop and wake you up with their inconsiderate silence. Then they would start yelling again. Repeat.

The following morning, there was no mess. We got up and got at it, as per N's request. We'd talked honestly about our options. The kids declined to ride up Cougar Trail, which would get us up the ridge quickly but brutally, in favor of taking the steady rising Poverty Flats Rd. Even though I always rather the singletrack, how could I attempt a parental veto? The road it would be...

That road did nothing but continually steepen for 2.5 hours.

We settled into our routine. I'd ride as much as I could and either need help pushing or not. Then I'd head back down to pick up whoever was helping me's bike (mostly D) and that kid would help the other, or take J's bike. This worked well until J began heckling the other 2. "I don't have to carry my bike. Ha ha!" That did not go over well.

J stopped for a poo break. I am that parent.

Then we climbed some more.

I like these photos a lot. These 2 working together (this was voluntary!) like this does not happen under normal circumstances.

Looking Northwards to the Middle Ridge we'd ridden uppy downy down the day before. The chainguard on the green bike had been a pain in the ass many times on this trip. I am the only one with the...patience to adjust it, and finally I'd had it. We stopped to remove it.

You may have heard the term "grab ass". Here are some live action photos:

By the time the novelty wore off, we were at the top.

Fittingly, at the top end, getting denied the easy peasy flat ride across Corral Trail in favor of the gratuitous climb up the road was a real kick in the teeth, but I had to teach the children. You can't roll out of a restricted trail at the Ranger HQ, for crying out loud.

24 February 2012

can't push a rope

No, you cannot.

That's it, up there. To my mind, the defining picture of our 3 day bikepack through the HQ section of Henry W. Coe CA State Park. So steep. So relentless. Details to come...

14 February 2012

knowledge of self

The whole internets is full of bickerings. Rumorings, regurgitatings, petty battlings, humorless commentatings, and me tooings?

No thanks.

Recent discussions various places regarding brakes...make me say that to say this: Your results may vary. People say cantilevers "don't work". I say, " Wha?!?" A cross bike is not a downhill bike/loaded tourretser/etc. Cantis work great to scrub speed. I scrubbed some today on my very own sweet riding cross bike, AND on trails I'd been riding on different but equal bikes with disc brakes and/or varying degrees of suspension.

You ride what you ride, and I'll ride what I ride...and parts is parts. To say some shit like "cantis don't work" is running your mouth to spend your credibility, when you should try paying attention. Same old same old. My tyre is better than your tyre. My dad can beat up your dad.

For what?

Road bikes are fucking awesome. Light and zippy. Disc brakes may work, but...why? Why not keep it light and zippy? Caliper brakes work great for that application. No problems, yes fun.

When I'm riding quickly, I want the lightweight quickness suited to my rider weight. When I'm riding loaded (touring/barhopping) I want the heavy, heavy monster stuff.

Other places, folks are squawking about too many lumens? WTF? If you wanna ride your skinny tired loaded bike (but do it sober?) slow as hell along a gentle 2 track with nothing but a 3LED headlamp, then have at it. Do your thang. I know I've done that many times- always in the name of running what (when anything) I brung, but. Don't think for a minute that your experience defines the thing, cuz other folks aren't squawking- they are simply getting rad. I like to ride ripping singletrack with no damn lights at all when conditions are perfect. I like to ride ripping singletrack with lots of light when conditions are perfect.

Too much computer not enough bike makes for just the right amount of shut up and ride, armchair coaches. Dang.

something good happened one time


The cessation of MST based hostilities on our kick ass backyard trails is unlooked for goodness. And that's the best kind.

Fort Ord trails for all my friends!

12 February 2012

I'm allergic to fake bitches

and to all this pollen painting the town yellow. It's as though the backs of my eyes are made of sawdust and my nose is running nonstop. I'm blinking and sneezing my way through Global Warming 2012.

Speaking of, it was a day for trail maintenance on the dirt commute way to work. All those slappy branches on the HWY sneak? Gone. I do need to get a pair of loppers and get after the poison oak while it's leafless and vulnerable, though.

The perfectly sized Revelate Frame Bag (available through your local bike shop!) holds a full size scabbarded pull saw perfectly. Like you'd hope it would.

Recent experience with largeish timber cutting has done changed my outlook on what is/not able to be tackled. It was that one, plus another 2 the same size, and that larger deadfall. I need to get a bigger boat to tackle the 18" snag. Anyhow, the trail is speedier for the work and I enjoy doing it.

Can you spot the difference?

Also, there was a note on the stump at the end of the HWY1 sneak, written in pencil on pink paper, directing Donny to call Walt. The trail had been blocked and the pencil end shattered under what I can only assume was Walt's forceful writing...

Is Donny the creeper who lives (stealthily, I add) off that trail? Who left the note? Surely it was Walt? Was Walt upset? Why? Has Donny blown it? Is something?

10 February 2012

worth all the pain, effort, and struggling

Mammals are weirdos.

People are mammals.

People might ask you things. To wit: when was the last time you laid down on your top tube and just hung on? Or: at what point did you decide to cuddle up with the stem and hold your face right next to it as the wind rushed up to blur your vision?

I hope your answer would be "Recently!"

Oh me? I'm the lollipop man, alias the long haired sucker, and I answer "Yesterday, Today, and hopefully Tomorrow."

This whole Talking Heads Rome 1980 series is too much for words. Word.

I'm homing in on the psi requirements for the fat bike. No pictures for you, but imagine a big, squitchy tire. I had to laugh rumbling over the roots and stones in the maritime chaparral. Rumor has it you all will need one of these next Winter in conjunction with a snow covered _____ ___ Overnight. That is all.

09 February 2012

proceeding apace

Things are tough all over. Blown out G springs, aluminum ferrules oxidized to barrel adjusters, unobtainable Sturmey Archer cable ends, missed deadlines. Traffic is insane down here cuz of the big golf show. Sitting in an idling car surrounded by other folks in idling cars makes me crazy. Part of it is the lack of consideration or attention shown by other drivers- for instance, if the "lady" in front of me at that one intersection would just pull up the car length she left in front of her, another car (at least) could get through the light. Funny how none of that stuff affects me when I'm gadding about on a bike.

Relatedly, we rode those commuter trails under the real night after the full moon moonlight and it was dappled perfection. The NeckRomancer excels at rolling around half in the bag on barely visible singletrack. Suits me.

A straight line exists between me and the good thing. I have seen that line and it's direction is known to me.

06 February 2012

shocking revelations!

Are you picking up now?

The fatty fatty boom boom continues with a warp and a gangsta lean. I still got to get a handle on the tire pressure. There is some bucking going on. Apparently my Traction is louder than a bomb. Details are for closers, but I will reveal that 'neath Saturday's moon I pulled the valve core out of the front tube when attempting, trail side, the complicated technical procedure known as "drinking beers and _ucking with your set-up." Whoa. I got to get (at least 1) a spare giganto-tube. I was thinking about that today on a long steep climb to nowhere- what would I do if I couldn't patch? Or, if you want purely hypothetical, booze caused me to not only pull the valve core out (well, it was firmly threaded into the cap...) and then lose it? I figured I'd stuff whatever tube I have in my repair sack in there along with a whole lot of matter. I thought it would prolly be like 2 random tubes, and ever decreasing diameters of brush/grass. It would have been fine...

And, plus it occurs to me that one of these Full Moon's when it's a wee bit balmier, we are riding ~40miles South on HWY1 to Esalen and hitting the ludicrously timed Public Soak hours of 1am-3am. Then we can crash nearby and take our well placed vehicle back in the daylight.

Who wants to drive SAG?

03 February 2012

a bird in the hand

came in the mail.

I sent you a picture.

I was counting on this for Saturday Night's Bike Fever Bike Feverr. Test rode it today on the short dirt route to work.
I gotta get this tyre pressure figured out. The road sections were compromised like you'd expect (slow, boundy), but it's not a bummer. I suspect that road sections of much more length would shift the balance into notsoworthitivity. I will, of course, put this to the test. The dirt sections were fun. I have no idea how to tune the psi yet, and that must be the key. That much was apparent on the short dirt demo rides. As it stood, there is a lot of...deviation to the ride. Off camber of any significance was very strange. I dropped the pressure from what I assumed was proper for road to what I assumed would be proper for dirt descending (and those are actual measurements) and the wind up was so pronounced I began to just push the end of the bar down until I felt the tyre warp finish and then I leaned into the carve. It was very inexact. I'd hoped for a more straight across swap for full squish. Maybe not so much. We'll see. It's only clown fun, after all. Tuba music for all my friends!

Singletrack commute. Morning and night.

I had a fine time up in the moonlight all by me onesie, climbing that singletrack. Lots of times when in the woods with other folks I wish more of them would be quiet more often and let the sounds of the woods at night be the soundtrack. On the other hand, tucked in alone under the canopy with trees everywhere it gets spooky. I took the shortest long way home, trying the planned route for tomorrow. Conditions are perfect.

Be thankful you're living. Drink up and go home.

give a whoot whoot

We are blessed in this region with an abundance of sweet trails. Many of them are under the redwoods. Those are really big trees, and when they fall it makes a hell of a...mess on those trails.

I went on a recent Trail Crew overnight whose specific purpose was the removal of that log above.

Things you never think about: 1)when a tree like that hits the ground from such a height, it shatters. 2)all those lumber sized fragments have their own twists and pressures in relation to the whole, so a saw can get pinched as the pieces shift due to cutting alone (much less the odd push from the rest of the tree) 3)6' of saw is a BIG saw and it cuts almost effortlessly from it's own weight as you rock it back and forth and 4)big lumber has a scary amount of Force.


It was a fine camp out...sleeping under the stars. Lucky for me, too, cuz the forecast had said 0% rain all week so there I was with no rain gear, no tent, and a down bag when it started drizzling in the afternoon. I was looking at spending the night with my upper body covered by a 4x4 tarp and my lower 1/2 stuffed in my pack, and that's not a good look. As luck had it, the skies cleared, the stars came out and the owls were having a old time hootenanny.

My legs are tender. Backpacking is hard.