Next Full Moon

Sunday, May 3rd Full Flower Moon

31 December 2014

jam it in!

But if it don't fit, don't force it just relax and let it go.

You know how we do. Some a y'all do it too.

We had to get in one last bicycle campout while 2014 is still going on. There was the trying to fit this on that, and the lubing all a the chains, and the pumping up all a the tyres, and the finding and then the packing of all the warm clothes (and some yelling about choosing for conditions, not for trends), and the piling and the winnowing and the loading and the time got away from us. It being Winter (OK, winter) the days are short.

So there was the jamming the rigs into the race van for the assist. L dropped me and the boys off at the top of the hill. It saved us an hour's worth of effort and strife. We coasted down on backstreets and bikepaths until we hit the automall.

Wha? Campout! Camp it now.

It is one of the Great Ironies that the quietest/safest bicycle route thru Cside(!)  is the service road thru the auto dealerships. Truth.

We were pared all the way down (for winter conditions)...

Wha? Campout! Camp it now.

Why's the set-up like it is? Cuz it is. Sleeping gear for 4. The backpack on the front is loaded with clothes. It was fine, but we swapped that jacket for the other one and then it bulged down and rubbed on the front tyre. Solution: a stick, found roadside and braced under it.

Wha? Campout! Camp it now.

Racing the sun. Serious competitors know when the serious climbs begin, and that is the time to adjust layers while you can...if you got a sucker along who'll haul all a yer stuff for you? All the better.

You know it was dark by the time we reached the spot. As if it could be otherwise. Ha!

My sweetie had stuff to do and was to meet us at camp, but things will turn out differently than planned. OK, plan B. Then Plan C, where X marks the meet-up. I ended up riding out to escort her thru the dark woods on account of she is skeered. The boys are used to this sort of thing (not skeered), and remained hidden in the dappled woods like little curled up fawns awaiting the return of their stagnant parents? (Too much? It's reaching, I know) But what a nice cold night to be riding lightlessly along a trail! January 4th is the Full Wolf Moon, and it is wax on.

Traffic was insane, so further delay. I waited in the shadows for a quiet while. When L arrived, I pulled her bike out of the vehicle as she packed the take-out burritos. You can decide for yourself whether we are soft or we are smart. Dogs were barking. That means it is really time to leave. We got gone. Slipped out from under the streetlights and into the woods.

Wha? Campout! Camp it now.

Gross and awesome? Eh, it keeps out the riff-raff.

Wha? Campout! Camp it now.

Burritos and board-games in the woods...

We set up the new/never-been-opened (4person!) tent in the dark, like you are supposed to do. It wasn't bad. The Big Agnes Jack Rabbit SL4 seems pretty nice. My crew prefers a tent- I do not. It's fine, preferable even, when there are bugs. Otherwise, I like being outside, and even inclement weather (Condors can testify! Driving hail? Etc.) is handled with a well-rigged tarp. Then you have some sight lines and some flow. My favorite is the stars for a roof. Every time I woke up, it felt like a room, not a campspot, even with the good moon and Oak shadows. Call me particular.

Wha? Campout! Camp it now.

Pure observation. No complaints can be made. Everbody was snugged up and warm on an adventure, even if only a wee little one.

Wha? Campout! Camp it now.

L got up early, having to be to work, so she and I rode out to her truck while the boys slumbered on.

Wha? Campout! Camp it now.

It was a cold camp (low of 31* and the sand was crunchy) in every sense of that phrase, and we packed up to get as quick as we could. I was not stoked when an early morning pair of cyclists rode by, since it's technically a stealth spot. But I had my hood up, so I was as incognito as a creepy guy crouching nearly trailside breaking down a camp can be.

Wha? Campout! Camp it now.

My team-mates helped half-heartedly, and then grab-assed whole-heardtedly.

Wha? Campout! Camp it now.

We rode out to meet N, who was picking us up in the race van. This nicely rounded our little fun with some soft car rides, sure, but check this out: whatever works. She drove us over to Red's Donuts (since 1954!) and when we got home we all enjoyed our "normal" breakfast waaaaaaaaaay more than if we'd a just walked out in our PJs rubbing our eyes. That's the real niceness of a small adventure- you are that aware of how Good you got it.

So long 2014. You were a good year.

Wha? Campout! Camp it now.

11 December 2014

I don't like ______, oh no. I love it.

Oh yeah.

1940s monster movie night scene

That one guy (the one who showed) and I slept outside on our local celebration of the full moon. It was cool, except that so and so crashed  and banged his shoulder on the Earth. If it's not obvious: riding with no lights and crashing are potential best friends. To quote Professor Griff, "consider yourselves...warned." We were pretty far in the bag at that point, as well as pretty far into the local trail system, so the logical course of action was to crack another beer and see how it went. His shoulder felt better after (imagine!) so on we rolled, concentrating on trucking right.


Morning arrived, as it will, and the shoulder pain with it. Being resourceful fellows, we rode out of the woods and over to the donut shop for extraction. On the way, we passed several of the local PRO hobos, and it was amusing to witness their reactions to our amateur/heavily-funded camping via bicycle steez. We were definitely noticed, and in a manner that smacked of peer review. Overall, I felt accepted; judgments were mild. We are all alive in this moment, and if some of us woke up in the woods as a matter of choice and others of us emerged from our tents behind the Staples in Cside(!) as a matter of circumstance, well there are parallels.

At home, after my foray into the local scene, I repacked my gear for the coming safari. That is to say, I filled a backpack with food for 2 nights/3 days of climbing up steeps in Henry Coe.


The overnight gear remained in place. I have referenced before the terrible unfairness of having to pack "everything" for just an overnight; how it is all too much. Weather conditions being the same, the only extras for multi-day trips are (more) food, water filter*, and perhaps more repairs stuff (ex. a spare tyre (not kidding))?!? I can't shake this irrational sense that the load on the bike should reflect the length of time out on tour. It's a problem with which I wrassle. So, and then the front end was all rackless (as you know) and all bagful. I have made adjustments to the lashing-on of the sleeping pad and the drooping/buzzing is eliminated, but I remain unimpressed. That seatbag is all Kelly Kettle (Never carry fuel again! But don't kid yourself- get the large model. You're already carrying the bulk, might as well go all in. TRUST me on this one thing) and flip flops. Yeah buddy, it's December. California...knows how to party.

All strapped up at the watering hole.

For off-road touring, I have been pushing the 29+, front and rear Surly Krampus, with3" Knards on 50mm Rabbit Holes. It's a solid set up for actual trail riding whilst loaded. This bike offers a lot of cushion in general, taking the edge off. The big float allowed me to wheelie drop the flow-stopping gap on Pacheco Creek Trail (so nice...) which  certainly would have remained a stifler for me on standard wheels, and allowed for some easy planing across washes floored with baby heads. I have considered the various merits of the Krampus vs. The ECR, and my kung fu is best practiced aboard a rally matchine.  Surly does offer a Krampus fork with more braze-ons, so my magic 8 ball says "signs point to yes" when asked if this is in my future...I can have my rack and you can eat it, too.

_odd's rig. 

My partner has his own "system". This go round, he front-loaded. Loss of traction while climbing was one result. We laugh at ourselves for doing this stuff with fair regularity and yet shifting our set-ups around so much. You'd think we would get good at this. Someday. Someday my set-up will be perfect.

Black Cat Bicycles custom front rack is pretty dialed, though...

One thing _odd has down pat is his snacks. I am so jealous when he pulls out the mango chutney?!? But then I forget all about it, and when packing my own foods I blow it. There is (usually- ask me about the powder sandwiches) enough, but it lacks pizzazz. My planning thus far has always been by meal. So I have a breakfasts bag, a lunches bag, and a dinners bag. Snacks are in they own bag, which is easily accessed. I was super hungry this trip. Noticeably. Maybe it was the cold, but I'm a change up my food prep. I think I'll pack by day. Seems like I will be more mindful looking at the day's worth of food rather than a big mash-up of breakfasts and another of lunches, etc. We will see.

Pssst. There is a whiskey stash at Drunkards' Knee (or Boozers' Roost, if you prefer).

Bring tools, do trail work.

I even have it written on my notebook, but do I remember it? Sometimes. So far, never for Coe, as I'm always flipping out about how to pack the seemingly mountainous pile of crap I end up with in order to just be able to swing being out there at all.

Well, Yes and Finally! _odd brought a pull saw. It's not much, but it does a lot. More than that, it creates a mindset such that stopping to deal with snags/blow-downs/etc becomes "what you do." We put in some pretty OK work. The trails we rode are the better for us having been there.

My new/current totem? A long-ass detour to a large bald eagle.

*the Platypus in-line filter is a neat tool. It is SO much nicer to fill a bag and trill rather than hunch waterside and madly flail away with a pump filter. Really. The "dirty" reservoir has it's outtake valve set about 20mm up from the bottom so particulate will settle below, and not clog the filter. Smart. Plus, you can forgo carrying extra bladders and use the "dirty" and "clean" required for filtering as your storage. Though I prefer the durability of a cordura sided MSR bladder, it is a feature worth noting.

05 December 2014

if you were from where I'm from then you would know

Party over here on the West side.

#Iamthepublicworksdepartment. If it's relevant to bicycles. I work out.

Big boys don't cry. Even faced with some rainy inconvenience, Big Boys adjust their layers and keep pedaling. The heavy stuff isn't coming down for a while. Going to work=riding. My mood, when I arrive at the jay oh bee is much improved by riding as opposed to driving. MUCH IMPROVED. Put on yer plastic and charge it.


I see the upturned 'shrooms tossed off the side of the trail. I know what that signifies.MotherFUCKERS . It signifies jackasses are out here in my home trial system IDing/falseIDing some, and tossing others cuz they are indicators. They reckon if I can't see any _______s (plentiful and poisonous) I won't think to look for ________s (fat, tasty, and healthy!) because they like the same conditions...and they cover up they pits to hide they tracks?!? Attempt to. I see this all as I hot and bother my way up the climb, getting to work.

I am in danger of being late(r) to work. So I skip that one section of trail in favor of pave quickness, and I see the first pair of the day trippers hunching along with their bags. Then I spy the unmistakable bright honey brown from the corner of my eye and grab the brakes. I've dropped the bike and am striding into the trees before I'm thinking- that familiar and dear splash of color has triggered the fever.


I am gripped. Several plump and hard little piggies reveal themselves to me. I have a knife, and I have a musette. I slice the 'shroom to leave the mycelium as undisturbed as possible. I tap out the (very)few bugs present and try to loosen some spores in the locale. Then I cover the hole. Hell yes, I play this game. Are you kidding me? Porcinis (Boletus edulis) are fucking delicious. Like a fatty distillation of the forest floor. If you know, then you know.


Plus, with the drought we been having...last year I saw zero (0) total. The year before, only 2. It is some much delayed and well-anticipated hoot out loud type Goodness. For reals.

The woods are full of kooks. I am late. I text my dudes and tell them what they already know and lie about how soon I'll show. My bike ride has shifted gears of it's own accord. I am incapable of speed. To be quick is to miss possible treasure. It is exquisite.


03 December 2014

messages of friendship

It's worth sitting thru the ad.

Hey people reading this: Drunk Cyclist invited me aboard. Since I respect their mission so deeply I am trying to pitch in on a party over there when I have something relevant to share. Please go check it out and stuff.

Hearts and flowers,

02 December 2014

to all my neighbours, you got much flavour

This is the Life we chose...we jumped off the block like ready, set, GO!

While my little homies don't call me Brainiac, Reverend Dick is a _______ and it ain't an act. With so much "specialization" (take it how you will) of bikes in this ya time, it is some refreshing Good Times to just get on a bike, any bike, and ride around with no particular place to go. Ask a child if you already didn't know.

One street leads to a trail which leads to...this time it was Point Lobos. Again? Because we live near it, it is an "easy" choice. It is also a very worthwhile choice. There is a lot to check out over there, even if they won't allow riding the trails in the park (lame!). There are some short, little-but-worthwhile trails along the shore leading to the highway section they are free to rally whenever, and those are what we took to get started. Riding HWY1 is no joke. So much so, I won't let the boys loose to make the trip unsupervised. When they are older and paying smart attention to traffic, I hope they are still interested in going. Because that is when I will allow it.

We rode in and the fellas wanted to keep heading West, so we wandered on over to the trailhead for Cypress Grove Trail, where the grouchy docent ("to all the bitches who think they bootylicious...") told the boys they couldn't climb trees on account of "it's a reserve". That's one way to dampen kids' enthusiasm for the out of doors. Shaking off the heavy school marm vibe, we rolled over to some other spots and checked out the Pacific Ocean and how wet it is, and how far out you can throw rocks into it, and how there's crabs in tide pools next to it, and etc.

 Bike punks with their bike pile.

It's plain to see. You can't change me. Cuz I'm a be connected to Life.