Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

27 April 2013

RIP Ol Possum

George Jones passed away yesterday, at 81. He has been my favorite. The greatest voice in country music, for sure. This is my favorite of his tunes, though there are many , many fine ones:

RIP, Ol Possum. Your race is run.

25 April 2013

how long can you stand the heat?

I know a way to get to work..

I enjoy a soundtrack. I'm a rider fo life...

 You could take a way to work, too.

I like to drink on my way to work...

and I like to drink on the way home from work, too.

My name is Dick, and I endorse and condone this announcement. I would also like to state, for the record, that (and I quote): "my drawers are so clean, my nuts are so powdered."


24 April 2013

his defense was attack!

I got a new bicycle? No, but this old one has some new (to it) bits. Begin with drilling holes in the downtube and inserting the riv-nuts to finally run a bottle cage, step to fatter tyres (42mm!), and pirouette on the S3X. Let us ignore the ~80mm 21.1 stem, as the Schwinn Le Tour Touriste demands certain concessions.

QBP had the Sturmey-Archer S3X singing it's siren song. I plugged the other mechanic's ears with wax, and tied myself to the work-bench, but this albatross came crashing through anyhow. It was too much to resist; the notion of riding fixed yet also having options. The S3X being the 3speed fixed hub, you know.

No disassemble, but I reserve this info for potential future use.

I opted for the bar-end shifter. At first, I tried it on the faithful Surly Crosscheck (c. 2001) and rode around the Ord and such. I knew going into this that there would be the lag, and I figured serious back pressure a la skid-stops would be a bad idea. (I don't shift under load either...) I found I wasn't stoked on the quality of the ride on that bike, with it's emphasis on fixed off-road. I'm running a 46t c-ring with an 18t Surly cog (as opposed to before, when it was a badly worn 46-16, which was fine for this bike's purpose of cruising around town). This gives me gear inches of Gear3) 67.72 (direct as in 1:1), Gear2) 50.79, and Gear1)42.325... unless I effed the math, which is quite possible. I know it works out pretty well! I wanted a top end close to 63, and I wanted those big tyres. It required a 1/2 link to stuff the rear in, but it fit and rolls so nice. With the big tyres the ride of the bike has changed (for the better) to a softer, quieter feel. I am pleased. It is super fun to ride.

So. Who's got the 165mm cranks I now need?

22 April 2013

in loco parentis

 I know people who actually are hardcore, and it ain't me. What we have going for us is that we show up and do it. While we don't have the freshest gear, we are fly for life. We have what we have, and we use it.

 Leaving Kelly Lake for the climb (of course! it's Henry Coe) out.

 Looking back...

  And, after a steep and brief fire road,

 looking forward...

All the food had been eaten, so my load was light enough to afford the kids the luxury of me carrying all their gear on the exit. I did not tell anyone, but on the way in I had quietly loaded D_____ heavier than ever. Training him up or exploiting the naivete of youth? You tell me.

 Fancy bike ladies in the middle of no place. L___ insisted on carrying her own gear. Insisted. I think she felt like the pack would pad her in the event of crashing. She is a good sport.

Switch-backs down down down. That route ends on a up note.

We arrived in Salinas to find Margie's closed! That was a bummer. It has been our family tradition to reenter civilization from these bike campouts via some of the greatest onion rings on the planet. That was Margie's. Well, I guess the In-and-Out joint moving in literally next door was the end for a local establishment with great greasy diner food but without a state-wide ad campaign (to compensate for it's lousy food and truly bad soggy fries). It was a blow to my spirit. Another nail in the coffin of the local local dives. People. When the choice is there, please support your local. If you don't, who will? If you don't, there will be no local dives just nationwide strip mall based trash. Damn.

Seriously. Those fries at the In-and-Out were the worst.

Anyhow, there remains the 2 Margie's left- one in San Luis Obispo and one in Paso Robles. So if you are traveling along the 101 and are hungry, stop in there and get a face sized plate of onion rings while you can.

the subject and his skeleton

On the patio in the sun. Listening to the soft, random tinkling of BB-riddled beer cans as they gently rock in the breeze. I squint. It could be the glorious light of the lazy, 68* Spring morning. Or, it could be the heavy ghosts of the failures of rides past.

Specifically the Sleaze Otter. I have spoken about this "race" and it's attendant issues at length with it's director, the elusive Carmel Bob, and certain parallels with my own experience in group ride organization and inter-personal dynamics within the peloton have come to the front and gone on a flyer.

I am reminded of the 1st time we put on the now annual White Rim Overnight (what's the date this year, by the way, Moabites?) which was the crucible in which the Church of the Sweet Ride was stewed and from which it emerged, fully and beautifully formed. It is a long story which I think we've already covered, so suffice to say that the group splintered at the first hint of trouble. A bunch of folks wanted to settle for some shitty soft option of Slickrock Practice Loop when we had just driven 2 hours for the event. Because they could scurry back to the car if it stormed. Drama, insults, excuses and bullshit ensued. Some folks rode, some folks took their bikes and went home. The folks who were all go were then treated (some would say "subjected") to a grand spectacle of a bicycle ride. Yes, it could have been the night-long wheel-miring sandstorm that loomed on the horizon, and that would have been miserable. Really and for real. But, it wasn't. It was too much for words.

Hey. Got a bike? Like to look at it? Talk about it? Uh huh. Keep talking.

17 April 2013

this is the end of an era

So, I see Carmel Bob and his sideshow have folded up their tents and left the building. The good ship SLEAZE OTTER has sunk. Looks like for good. Somebody blew it.

15 April 2013

this is serious

With morning, in America, comes breakfast. Pancakes with maple syrup and strawberries in the woods.

Pancakes dispatched,  these little piggies agitated to hike(?!) up and over to Coit Lake. That's right, you heard right. No one wanted to ride their bikes after the long slog up and in the day prior. The wind picked up as soon as we started up, and by the time we arrived at the other side it was a cold and uninviting lake front. A quick powwow and a turnaround...Kelly Lake was warmer and had almost no wind.

If you tote lots of cans of beer around in your frame bag while riding with an aggressively controlled yet smooth style, some of those cans will, inevitably, spring a leak. True fact: my much-loved Revelate Designs frame pack reeks of old beer. I don't mind. It is a familiar and comfortable smell.

 My doppleganger?

3 fishermen had arrived and set-up their camp at the only "beach" on Kelly Lake while we had been away. Leaving aside the issue of setting one's camp at the water's edge and the related issue of effectively blocking access to the lake by assuming the best about other people (in this case the best being that they were simply ignorant of common courtesy and best camping principles) we said "Hello." Then we went over to our own campsite (well chosen, hidden, not-blocking-access-to-water-for-animals-or-other-people) and blew up the floaties. This took some time, and I became light-headed.

I sent J ahead with 3 cold Hamm'ses to foster good relations, because we were going to hang out at the beach, fishermen or no. They got the picture, so that was nice. We then lounged and scared all the fish well away from that spot for the rest of the day.

11 April 2013

secrets and lies

Welcome, Friends. It's been Spring Break over here on the W-izeye-izeye-est Coast this week, and we have been making bike tour while the sun shines. Some of you know how this is done. Salud! Some of you do not. Sad face. Clench your _____ and prepare for a know-how explosion:

You get your game face on.

You lay out the map and plan your route.

 You find a sucker to haul (most of) your stuff.

 You gather at the trailhead for a group photo, and you begin to pedal. If it is Henry Coe, you begin to pedal uphill.

 The 1st few switchbacks are a shake down. Gear will shift. Straps will slacken. Loads will reveal themselves to have been unbalanced. Etc.

 Strong riders come to the front.

Water carriers will head-down pedal to support their stars. It is the way of things.

There will be struggles.

 This post could be filled entirely with photos of us climbing. Climbing climbing climbing. My children know things many children do not. They know how to suffer, but that is common knowledge among the youth. They know the value of suffering.

...though I suspect they will not own up to this knowledge for some time. It is there.

 I can see it in their eyes.

My daughter brought a friend along to share the misery. We had another child in the line-up, but there was a sprained thumb. This would not have mixed well with some of the riding to be found along our route- which is the easiest approach to Kelly Lake that can be devised! It is a selective process, vetting children for a tour of this scope. The kids have more fun with a buddy, undeniably, but it is a small section of today's youngsters that will handle so much effort for "just" the pay-off of a backcountry lake and no other people around. And, having been through similar situations viz a viz other people's kids before, I'm damned if I'm allowing a bail-out for any reason other than serious medical. Full stop. My children know this, and bear it in mind when they are trying to recruit their victims companions.

My own dear wife informed me that this would be the one and only time I would have the joy of her company on a bike tour in Henry Coe. It was a sad-making blow, but not unexpected. The relentless climbing (and the wind was no small factor...) alone would have been enough to put her off, as she has no innate love for the bikes. Throw Kelly Lake Trail in and it is decided. I myself went over the bars headfirst there, flipped, and slid on my back head-downhill before executing a smart reverse sommersault and coming to my feet with a few choice words. Once you get the freight train of a Big Dummy loaded for 6 moving, it can be hard to maneuver rapid changes of direction. All of the kids rallied it.

We made it to Kelly Lake as the evening drew on and set up our camp. With L___ along, the food choices are both more and better than when I am solo parenting a trip. Everybody sat right down and snacked it up until it was time for dinner, s'mores, and bed.


07 April 2013

release a burst of fragrance

Enough duff dragging.

It was time for the annual Condor Tour. There was a lot of back and forth via email. People signed up, people declined, people reneged, people learned how to use the "reply all" function.With my gourmet knowledge and intelligence, I signed on for a short time tour (2 days & 2 nights), whilst the other 3 show-ers opted for the full ride of 6 days.

I got off work Sunday evening and headed straight for the Sav-Mart, where they got the cases of Hamm's for $12.99.

Yep. There's a whole case in there.

Day became night as I pedalled out to meet the fellas. They'd ridden from Bonny Doon to the campground, around 100miles. I was only riding 50, but a case of beer is heavy, so I stopped a few times to lighten the load. It occured to me I could go even further in that regard:

 So I strapped the backpack to the front rack and swerved my way along the further reaches of CV. That was a lot better. When I got to camp, I brought the pouring drizzle. We all sat in the dark and drank beer while saying stuff to each other. Then we slept. I was  (per usual) stuffed up under my tarp, tentless. _ick and _odd had some slick tarp tent action, while _in_er just laid in the wet.

 He woke up wet. Soaked. Him and all his gear.

One of these days I'm gonna get my tarp situation dialed. But these bike camping trips keep coming in the meantime and I'm damned if I'm gonna not do something fun because I don't have the perfect gear (that's for losers) so for now it's shantytown...

My friends make fun of me, but I am dry. Ish.

 It's a real nice place to be.

It has been my experience that sunlight is a strong disinfectant, hence the chamois on the outside of my pack. Wear one pair of bibs while the other is subject to the burning rays of purity.

Again with the incredible flowering.

 There is a fair amount of climbing along there. You can see the road as it winds past _ick's head.

 This rainbow was just hanging in mid-air.

That rainbow was lurking in the mist along the near ridge. I've never seen anything like it.

The slide is well packed right now. Later in the year it will be dry, scary and loose .

That is a staged photo. The grade is actually quite nice, but it looks better on film to grimace. More serious and PRO.

 And speaking of PRO, we stopped at the swimming hole on the other side so's _in_er could hang up his gear (all of it) to dry while we swam and had lunch. That water was...bracing.

 People's set-ups varied. Set-up shoot-off:



 (open and closed)

I have no pictures from the rest of that day which we spent riding bikes. There was the big climb at the end, and we were all so shelled (my wife says we cyclists have too many euphemisms for extremely tired) that we opted to skip the grueling up and down 5 mile section out the ridge to the proposed camp spot in favor of the close and hidden spot. Plus, it is behind a gate which keeps out the autos.

It is a real nice spot for an evening of drinking beers around a small and carefully/safely managed campfire. Camp there was set-up in the settled fog, and revisited the shantytown motif for me. The other guys had their tarps set up real tight. So tight that getting out of them for a midnight pee was tough. One fellow asked for help the next morning to avoid contacting the wet underside of his coffin-like tarp shelter. "Can you open a corner for me?"  So.

The fog settled during the night and we awoke to clear skies and the prospect of another full days worth of riding. I love bike tour.

We headed out the ridge and then dropped down towards the Pacific,

which descent always gives me the stomach flutters but was even more nervy with the road tyres. When we reached HWY1, the fellas turned South to continue their epic while I headed back North towards home and a shower. I wished I was continuing on with them.

It was a strong group, and the pace was necessarily brisk to cover the amount of mileage planned. I had no problems keeping up, and that is satisfying. I felt strong even on the final leg, so I opted to climb up Old Coast Road from Molera and drink the last beer in the redwoods before returning to the coast at Bixby and hammering out the last few miles.

Thanks for the Good Times, boys.