Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

28 June 2013

we are working with fire

Day 4.

 4 days is a nice span. It is enough time to be out there. It is enough time to feel the break from "the world". It is enough time to fully appreciate the niceties of returning.

People often ask me, "Dick, how do you pack so much stuff on that bike?" Leaving aside the more relevant question as to why one would pack all that stuff, here is a partial answer. In pictures:

Start with some bike platform capable of hauling. I like the Surly Big Dummy. It rides like a bike. It can handle fairly aggressive terrain (depending on how and how heavily it is loaded), and my use leans much more to taking my kids camping with me rather than pavement. Prior to the Dummy, I used the Xtracycle, and it is wonderful for transforming a disused bike into a used bike, but it is real flexy. The Dummy is flexy too, if you load 150lbs of crap on it, but it significantly more stable than a bolted together Xtracycle.

 So. Start with that. Then you'll need a bunch of straps. And prolly someone to help hold the bike stable.

 Then you just tighten up.

Come on, tighten up bass. Come on!

I do not like low front loads. You pavement nerds can love that shit all you like and kid yourself it doesn't twist the front end up with every steering input, but the fact remains. And, low hanging loads snag brush and get caught up in ruts. Just don't do it.

  Other bikes are loaded some, too.


 Also, I learned about proper short length.

That's especially important for the return to civilization. Looking good!

26 June 2013

a man that won't lie ain't got nothing to say

  Waking up in the woods suits me.

 If I can hassle my children in the bargain, why then it's a bargain well struck.

No electronics in the woods...makes them appreciate each others' company and America. Also, hopefully, the extensive infrastructure that is our base camp...

We spent the better part of the day hauling ourselves and various masks, snorkels, and floaties up the river to the Narrows. L___ had never been. The kids have been up several times, though N___ had never been up past the waterfall. This day the water level (low...August looking levels) was such that we could get up it just fine. We spent some time up there, and did several slide runs. The ladies claimed they smelled "weed", and sure enough. While working our way down the ropes on the side of the falls, who should we see lurking in the pool beneath but R_man and his nameless partner. We continued past them to a spot more conducive to a lazy snorkel and some mildly entertaining cliff jumping.

By the time we returned to camp, it was time to snorkel more enthusiastically and rope swang and:

 Some of us has got to. Or else it won't get done.

The bugs seemed mild to most of us, though I will confess to realizing otherwise once back at home and the full itching set in.

 D_____ does not suffer bugs gladly in any circumstance.

Nearing the end of the day, while the rest of the group was down at the water's edge just doing things, a couple came walking down the path above camp. The gal said that she liked the spot, then they returned from whence they'd come. Only to return a few minutes later aboard loaded bicycles. I made several snap (and, I feel, astute) judgements regarding their style and capability which I will keep to myself. I will say they looked confused. I called out that the way forward would not suit bikes, but that there were several campsites on the other side of the horse bridge that were very nice. The gal misunderstood me to mean the beach below the bridge (what is it with people and the camping in rotten spots?), so I corrected her with the actual location of actually viable spots to camp. She then piped up with the opinion that they would "just camp right here"; indicating the meadow adjacent to our ground.

I was very surprised.

Some thoughts occurred to me. To wit: why would one come all the way out to the back country (such as it is) and decide that you would camp right next to other people? And, further, expect that they would be stoked with your decision to intrude on their solitude   be "neighborly". Finally, what the hell?!? She was pointing at a rolling and quite sloped meadow; a very poor choice of camp site on it's own merit.

I said, "That would be a bummer for everyone." because, simple is best really.

Dude (now speaking) says, "Why is that?"

I said, "Because we are gonna get hella drunk and shoot off fireworks."

Dude, "Oh...well, thanks for letting us know." And he moves to turn around.  Meanwhile, lathered up gal begins to whine, "Uh! Are we really going to go back?" as they leave.


24 June 2013

tryin to bring that fairy tale life

Stuff will happen or not. Other things. Some folks ride when they can, other folks won't. If you want to then you will. You know, if you're able.

Take the cross bike up to Santa Cruz and remember how good and how pleasant it is to ride pavement and gravel and loamy singletrack all aboard the perfect bike on the same ride. I know where some of y'all stash your tall boys and  your (gag) airplane bottles of rum.

 It makes me laugh when people say "my dogs are barking" and they mean their feet are tired.

This jalopy was parked in the shade outside the blue shop the other day:

 I did not get a load of the rider, but I am sure he/she would have been instantly recognizable as such. At 1st, I wondered what happened at speed; like, was the little tin on the bars a hideout? No. It's holding more bird seed. But then I thought- duh. They're birds. I bet they just hold on and lean into the headwind. Maybe spread their wings.

 The poo all over the front panniers really made it for me.

 Looked for some pre-perigee moon before the fog...

A picture of the new (and temporary...gonna put a new rear end on this bike and run discs. Sorry, Charlie- these old-ass forearms want some ease of use up in here) brakes on the cross bike:

 Paul's Minimoto polished(!) worked real nice for the hella fogged out "full moon". It was a significant improvement over the cantis.

What's this?

In some spots around here, that's a trail.

22 June 2013

perigee full moon?

what? huh?

Yes, bicthes. Fullest, brightest, biggest, best chance of Good Time riding under the lit up sky all year! Do not blow it.

Rotten fog may partially damp the local observances, but not smother them. Really, you should go ride wherever you are.

21 June 2013

a certain, vibratory tonic

 By now it's looking kinda shaky.

After the days, the out-of-town-guest departed, and we spent a night at home. The next morning, however, found us vacationing in our backyard- which is to say we returned to Arroyo Seco for more Good Times...

 The Big Dummy was pretty loaded this go round. I was unable to raise it from laid over without help. Gots to have the 4 camp chairs plus the cook stool, though. You know.

 4 days 3 nights. 4 kids 2 adults.  N___'s friend J____ joined us again! She's come along to Arroyo Seco twice now, and this is after her attendance at the Henry Coe climbathon. She is a welcome trooper. The kids have more fun when they have friends along. D_____ needs to get some tougher bros. At 8.75, J______'s buddies have some time to come along yet.

We are slowly loading the kids heavier and heavier. One of these trips the photos will reveal adults with little to no load and kids hauling it all...

 Check the technique. N___ has got it right for the heavy load lifting with the foot on the tyre. If it were me, I'd drop my ash for better leverage, though.

The weekend was real hard on the trash cans. And, I get the impression that the camp hosts are lazy.

We were glad we chose the days we did. Midweek is where it's at. Weekends are for amateurs.

Well, he's been watching a lot of The Karate Kid. It's a phase?

From the trash cans, there is some singletrack to camp.

I am proud of the load configuration this time. Of course, it is always evolving- unlike your "Freedom System" or your just plain "System". As a result, the chairs were cleverly lashed to the tail with a couple toe straps from the bottom of the outside chair to the frame while the other 3 chairs utilized the straps as their floor and the whole lot was then further strapped to the frame on top. If this sounds like so much words, just know it was real ingenious and outdoorsy.

I do have to tip the cycling cap to my in-laws, who schooled me in the fine art of straps through multi-week raft trips. Bikecamping with the Big Dummy shares a lot of features with rafting. It's a whole other level of options for taking more than the bare essentials. Come to think of it, we should start the Fantasy Dinner tradition on these trips. Bring your finery and get ready to party!

While waiting for stragglers at the turn-off, I noticed a tent down by the horse bridge. It was right on the beach, maybe 4' from the water. I thought to myself that it was a very foolish choice of site. Leaving aside the ethics of camping at the "watering hole", the beach is as public as can be. Folks are going to use it, and setting up there is setting up for conflict. Then here comes _oman:

who high-fived me as soon as he reached me. It was his tent. He was stoked to be out in the woods on a bike. Clearly, he's young and dumb. That's a pardonable offense, if you axe me.

His buddy rolled up with a more leery approach. He noticed me taking pictures and thereafter kept his head turned or blocked. I tried suss them without being a buttinsky. Their plan was to ride to Indians (roughly 14 miles with at least 1,000' of vertical) and back the next day on a 20" BMX and a clapped out department store Schwinn hybrid. I was politely skeptical. The buddy (no name given) had been out in the Ventana before, so even though their bikes were crap and in terrible shape I did not think they were going to break down and require assistance (which would significantly dampen my own Good Time, let's be honest) nor crash our party. I reckoned we could deal with the beach as it came up. We were headed further over, to the good spot for our campsite.

  It's a nice place to be.

20 June 2013

have some class

So, I may or may not have sent off a curse word laden email in a fit of pique. If I did- in my defense, I am both subject to fits of pique (sorry) and kind of an asshole (that's how it is).

If you don't know now you know.

The 19th century speaks to the heart of the matter: "If you find you are becoming angry in a conversation, either turn to another subject or keep silence. You may utter, in the heat of passion, words which you would never use in a calmer moment, and which you would bitterly repent when they were once said."

What would be a better way of handling things? To nah pop nah style, a strickly roots:

an ting.

19 June 2013

you don't remember me but we used to work together

 Day 4: in which everthing is on the one.

To follow, a primer on how to spend a Summer's day:

 Wake up in the woods with your partners. My partners are podnas. Yours might be cohorts, accomplices, or abettors depending.

 The coastal fog? It rolled in late, after you were finished looking at the stars. Be glad of it or ignore it. It will burn off while you fire up the twigs to have coffee (black as midnight on a moonless night) and oatmeal.

 Get fired up. Plastic nunchuks optional. American flag headband required.

Wear swim goggles and put your face in the water. Or, lounge creek side and switch immediately, seamlessly from coffee to beer. Your choice. Either way, there will be plenty of California newts (Taricha torosa) to hassle.

 Eventually, after hours of wandering up and down the creek, you will want to pack up your gear. Sweep camp for trash and roll out.

Fearlessly charge whatever trail features you find in your area. There are just enough.