Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A ride, recently: Fading.

You might not have noticed, but the wheel of the seasons has turned another 'click'.

Recently, like in the last few days.  Spend any time outside and you can't not notice it.  

Length of visible daylight has decreased.  It's not getting quite as hot as it was.  Flowers have peaked and are on their way out.

That's no reason to do anything other than get out and savor it while it lasts.  

Of the three days we spent in the mountains last weekend, we rode once, paddled once, and napped infinitely while listening to storms drifting through.

All that rain has been fantastic for the rivers, the flowers, the grasses, the water table.  And yes, the naps.

Some places in the state currently bear more than passing resemblance to the jungles further east.

We take traction for granted most of the time, but remembering how to ride slick as snot roots and rock has been welcome.

And having water to paddle deep into August is just incredible.  We actually got thwarted by too much water in Vallecito.  First world problem.

The animals know -- better than we do -- that summer has peaked. It's early to call it hyperphagia, but the bear we passed inhaling foliage not 25' away never made a move to leave.  Never seemed the least bit concerned.

Go.  GO!  Stop making excuses -- you can do that all winter long.

We'll see you out there.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A ride, recently: Paybacks.

It isn't always easy to motivate to ride the desert this time of year.  If you can be up and at it early, like in the dark, then getting a good ride in before boiling your brain is definitely doable.

For various reasons involving my self-employed status, and the fact that the work is simply never done, I tend to work deep into most nights, just keeping my head above the proverbial water line, which makes getting up early both challenging and unappetizing.

Thus if I'm going to ride mid-week, then in the evening is when it has to happen.

Greg has a similar schedule for similar reasons, and we occasionally motivate each other to get out and enjoy the local goods when no one else seems to be.

While savoring empty trails with Greg a few days ago, I flashed back to several moments this past spring, when back-to-back-to-back groups of 10, 12, 15 people would motor past, heads down, staring at the wheel in front of them, each conga line further burning in a new "cheater line" that avoided any obstacle taller than a gnat, and left a glittering trail of energy bar wrappers in their wake.

I know better than to ride locally during our busy season, because the above described scenario is not just common but expected.  And each time it happens I leave frustrated -- the joy of the ride stolen by alleged like-minded people.

But how effed up is it that we should have to avoid riding our backyard trails because our fellow riders lack an understanding of basic etiquette?  How distasteful is it that our local commerce machine could care less, encouraging nay cramming as many riders onto already overcrowded trails as though the end goal could only be summed up with one word: More?

Heady thoughts that no one seems to be discussing much less addressing.  Fodder for rumination during the brain-boiling climbs we get to do in silence this time of year.

And that was just it the other night: It was so quiet out there, so devoid of humanity, with cheater lines disused or outright obliterated by the monsoons, and Gu wrappers notably absent, that we were able to enjoy the chunky trails, the honey light, the oven-like breezes for exactly what they were, no more and no less.

A decade or two ago this sort of ride was common.  Crowds were not yet a thing, nor were cheater lines or litter.  People that were motivated enough to ride seemed to share some common value set that included appreciation of silence, mutual respect, desire for challenging trails, uncluttered views, even (gasp!) humility.  Mostly gone now, or at least so obscured by what has followed as to be indecipherable through the haze.  

Clearly the evils described represent a first world problem, and not one that needs attention from humanitarian organizations nor big government.  In reality it is mostly sensibilities that are being trod upon.  Lacking a clear path forward, when only a scant handful of us even seem to notice the change that has steamrolled what once was, Greg and I and other likeminded souls will continue to be grateful for the heat of summer in the desert, repelling the crowds and giving back moments like these as compensation.

Thanks for checkin' in.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


I've been working on a campervan for the past ~year.  

It isn't done -- the nature of this beast is such that I doubt it ever will be -- but it's close enough to share some details.

I've compiled a lot of those details -- probably buckets more than anyone but the most diehard hashtagvanlifer will give a rip about -- HERE

 Check it when you have some time to kill.

The above-linked Exposure platform is excellent for sharing stories and incredible for photos, but not so great (that I can discern) for two-way communications.  If you have questions on details that I somehow haven't covered there, please ask them here, in the comments below.

Thanks for checkin' in.