Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

25 October 2013

we don't break down, we bend up

Shakedowns are for fun. Figure out some options on some quick overnights and you won't have to make mistakes where they actually matter.

There is an upcoming trip in the planning stages (lots of hemming and hawing right now, on the emails) and it will require more in the way of food- and especially water- than I, at least, am used to. So a quick jaunt through the redwoods via roads and trails is not only fun, but if we're not careful we might learn a thing or 2.

I have already learned I do not love the inflatable sleeping pads on account of they are fragile. I do not love the bulk of the foam, but it can't pop. There is a lot to like about that. The above (I had to borrow a lilac bandana and a groundcloth) is what I had to stuff in/on my bike. I will not wear a pack unless I have no other choice.

Who's got what on riding your bike in some clothes that work by virtue of their materials, and not of their ad campaigns? People who know, know.

I know that T_dd loves to have his ish all tight- the Freedom System is all about modularity? I get confused. There are many buzz words being thrown around on that one, but my take away is that there's a lot of buckling down. That is somewhat at odds with my own approach, which is more organic in nature. In fact, it takes it's cues from nature and I don't even decide on it so much as have it revealed to me.

I believe I will try a different shifter arrangement. The bar-ends suffer when laying the bike down. I will also try another bar. And the rough tape hurt my delicate hands this time around.

Rubber bands are not structural, but they are useful. Neither of our set-ups rattled or failed in their containership. I will allow that I blew it on planning for the beer carrying capacity. I had to use my fall back- the humble giveaway mussette. This was a victory of sorts, in that I had thought to bring the damned thing, but also a loss because I then had to cycle a further ~35miles having it shift and sway, etc.

More of a victory, because I was not unhappy about any of it. Even though I popped a can inadvertently while laying the bag down too hastily after hopping a gate. What else to do but shotgun? And, a reminder that beers are liable to pop if jostled too much. Worth keeping in focus. See? Gentle lessons.

T packed burritos for lunch, and for dinner, and for breakfast, and for lunch again. I feel that this was neither here nor there in terms of learning about longer trips to remote areas.

The roads in the Santa Cruz mountains are ridiculously nice riding.

We made a slight detour to visit Mr. Hun_er. It was fun to drink beers and ride bikes with these 2 clowns while stocking away valuable tips regarding equipment choices, etc. Really and for real. The real world experience these guys bring to their craft is worth all times' worth of your internet searches. If you need a bike (of whatever sort) check out Hunter Cycles and Black Cat Bicycles.

Day ends when the sun goes down...

Recall T_dd breaking his hip in a rotten car/bike crashup. A factor of this upcoming tour is to usher him back into the ranks of healthy hipped bicycle riders. Of course, in light of this, I was unable to ever allow him to ride away (frankly, obligated by the unspoken laws of friendship and bicycle camaraderie to turn the screws on occasion), and so I spent much of the day at a faster pace than my usual. I began to suspect that there was not a whole lot of ushering to be done.

 I did not regret my choice of flat pedals,

especially when we rode back up and dropped our bags for a day's worth of unburdened riding. It is a fool who will not listen, and as I am not a great fool, I benefited from the flat pedal pointers given to me during the extensive singletrack portion of that day.  I shifted my foot off the pedal and aimed for the inside ("more inside") and I'll be damned! Switchbacks were so much easier/faster/funner. After all this time...

T_dd got a flat, and we both were reminded that it is important to bring a spare tube(s) and a patch kit, and a pump, etc. I had hurriedly shifted my tool kit from one bike to another, and had the wrong tube size.

We also saw a ladybug swarm. It's been several years since I laid eyes on one.

20 October 2013

(fond) farewell to Summer

This is the way Summer ends, and it ain't a whimper. No whingeing!

As per the way of things, we rolled out of the driveway at 3:39pm. Well, there was some stuff to find, some stuff to pack, some stuff to organize, then the bikes revealed their various issues- including but not limited to: broken spokes, misaligned brakes, flat tyres, a whole new rear end for the Big Dummy, and the old standby...loose bottom bracket. Etcetera.

Why not find/pack/organize/wrench the day(s) before? Oh please. Like you have it all together. And, plus where is the exciting frustration in that?

Bros only. The ladies were to join the party the following evening. We asked around, and of the boys' friends only _ooper was on board. He had no idea. His folks don't camp, and he doesn't do a whole lot of outdoors. Still, nothing trumps Willing. It is all you need.

Since the government of this country (don't kid yourselfs everbody else, either) is run by monied interests, the park was "closed." Not closed to anyone who doesn't need the government added "value" of a shitty paved campground and enclosed pit toilets. Still, I briefed the boys on stealth.

We were like ghosts.

Any of you following at home have surely noticed how I am employing the slow boil frog torture technique to my children in terms of loading them progressively heavier each time out. It is working great. Also, J took the 24" this go round. He is getting bigger.

Here he is, passing the FNG.

That was Day 1. We arrived and set up camp. The older boys were sour that I'd only brought the 4 man tent and they didn't have their own. I did not care about their feelings in this matter, especially as I was sleeping outside the stinky boy tent anyhow.

Day 2= lounging. Coffee, oatmeal, and waiting for the temps to warm up enough to swim.  We divided our time amongst the swimming holes. The water was COLD. There was also a deer leg in the creek downstream from the horse bridge (now flagged as unsafe for pack stock...), which was a source of fascination and revulsion. Later we found another leg, and then the full remains. There are lions out there, and I love it.

After lying on my sleeping pad for a couple hours in my fly proof suit while the boys yelled and threw things in the creek,

I rolled out to meet the ladies. They reckoned riding in at night would be "scary". That whole process took some time, and almost went awry. I'd forbidden the boys fires and knives while away, and told them I'd be back well after dark. It is good for them.

After a successful moonlight cruise, we showed up with burritos and partied. Happy circumstance that the kids' "Fall Break" fell on the week leading up to the Full Moon! The ladies brought minimal gear in with them, but did bring another tent...

so the boys got their very own satellite camp, and in the morning J stunk it up for them.

And, base camp...

As an aside: food bags were hung from the oak limbs behind the tent. Trash, too, at night. We did have a visiting skunk for nights 2 and 3 (even disciplined camper kids will drop food, etc) but they are bad climbers. No problems.

 The wild cherries (Prunus ilicifolia) were going crazy.

And so were the tarantulas (Aphonopelma eutylenum).

We were careful with them. Nobody wants to hurt a big hairy spider. Though...I'd be lying if I said the idea of a tarantula vs. big-ass crawdad did not occur to us. Relax. We just staged that in our minds' arenas. Think about it. My money is on the crawdad.

Boba Fet in her bug-proof suit. It was awfully buggy. Moving around was fine, and the water was fun, but there was NO relaxing in camp. It did not spoil the fun, but I'd be remiss to not mention them.

Brooks saddles.

 Day 4 dawned. We moved quickly, since L had to be at work by 11am. The ladies left us with most of their gear, and went their own way...

We found so much trash left out. What kind of person goes out with a packing blanket and a pair of dorky white sneakers? The kind of person that leaves same tied up in a tree "for later". I'm totally in favor of this guy's can-do attitude, and completely disgusted with his soft, self-indulgent bail-out.

J caught a Pacific gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer catenifer) on the way back out.

That right there is what it's about. You don't need any fancy gear to go out in the woods and have a fancy time.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”

 John Muir knew what was up .


 D, behind my freaky floating collar bone.

The dregs of a Good Time.

Hey. Do NOT get hung up over gear. Don't let a perceived lack prevent you from a kick-ass adventure. All's you need is a pair of sneakers, a packing blanket, and the Will to keep a hold of them...