Sunday, September 27, 2009

Full Disclosure And My Lame Excuse


I did some research and as it turns out, the parks does close at 11:00. All you have to do is read the fine print. So I'm an idiot. (Big, unexpected revelation.) The security guy is still a douche, though, just to be clear. (Click the pic if your life is so sad that you actually wanna read it.)

While we're on the subject, it seems that I habitually violate Rule 2, Part A, although I conform on Part B. I don't want to get into Rule 3. As a matter of fact, this thing is scaring the shit outta me and I don't wanna go any further. But I am curious to know if you can potentially go to jail for a misdemeanor. (Rules 6, 7 and 17-A, could put me away for life.)

Lame Excuse:

Except for a coupla super-short neighborhood trips, I haven't been on a bike for 2 weeks. Super lame, I know.

But as part of our weird transitional housing phase (that is apparantly destined to drag on for years), we tore down our old garage and built a new garage and it has been a full year since I've had anything that resembles a shop and I need one so the last coupla weeks has been a full-on, burning-the-midnight-oil-and-candle-at-both-ends push to put something together because winter is bearing down and I have some bike projects that gotta get done.

Finally, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I Apologize In Advance

Sorry, this is a flat-out MAJOR rant.

Tonight Patty and I went to a concert down at Riverfront. We had a great time. The music was good and we were super-happy when we left. We came home, still super happy. I chilled out, had a coupla beers and did some bike philosophy. Our dog had been incarcerated for a while and was kinda amped up. We're all set up for nightime, so we grabbed a bike and an LED frisbee and headed over to Manito, like we've done a hundred times. It was late, a bit after midnight. Not that unusual.


So we watch a security vehicle pull into the parking lot on the other side of the park. He's doing his job, checking things out, and I keep chucking the friz, knowing that we're not any kind of security threat. We've been out here many times when park and security guys have come and gone. I know it's late, but we're pretty inocuous. A dude with his dog in the park after dark. No worries.

But the blue LED light must have gotten this dumbass all X-Files-revved-up. Pretty soon the douchebag starts walking my direction with a flashlight pointed in my face. I call out "hello", but he doesn't respond, just keeps walking towards me. I was blinded and never saw his screwball mug.

I'm barely smart enough to know that reacting was the totally stupid, wrong thing to do, so I didn't. I kissed this "authority's" ass and got on my bike and rode home with my dog in tow, because you're a total idiot if you force a confrontation in a public place after dark. But his tone was WAY wrong. This dipshit was totally into weilding his dink-ass power, and I'm screaming pissed at this moment. He tells me that the park is closed at 11 o'clock. WTF??? Shouldn't there be at least one sign somewhere if this is true? And even if it is, shouldn't there be a little discretion excercised? I wasn't hosting a kegger. I was playing catch with my dog.

I'm a decent citizen - I pay my share of taxes and try to be a responsible steward of the community.

Wow, does this ever chap my hide.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Goin' Towin'

When Jacque moved out of her apartment in Browne's Addition, there were some recyclable bikes in the weird common basement storage general area. It was clear they'd been languishing there for a while. Actual details on who owned them and that kind of thing were a bit fuzzy. She was sensing my angst and assured me that the property manager had told her it was cool to find adoptive homes for the bikes. . . or . . . errr, something like that, whatever. Fuzzy, like I said.

It would have been totally stupid to ask a bunch of questions. I'm a tow-truck-driver-in-training, and like the real tow-truck drivers that I idolize, that small crack in the ethical landscape was all that I needed. This was my chance to step up and roll with the big dogs. . . pit bulls of men who will get in your face and back your ass down for asking why they're towing your rig. I'm big time now, and my poop don't smell. (Although like other tow-ers, it's been 3 days since my last shower, but that's another kind of smell.)

If there was any way to get diesel fumes to spew out the back of my Xtra, my dream would be complete.

Friday, September 18, 2009

All Fired Up

I'm all fixated on camping gear. I doubt that you've noticed. I've zeroed in on cooking stuff. I'm shooting for light and easy and I looked to the big mfr's. All I wanna do is boil water to bring some dehydrated stuff back to life. And maybe brew up some krappy coffee. Nothing gourmet, just fuel to get home. So I did some [apparently lame] research and dropped fifty bucks on a lightweight, higher-tech, compact stove that uses propane canisters. (I'm beginning to feel like I wasted fifty bucks. Read on.)

So Steve drops in out of the blue and tells me about the esbit stove. I didn't immediately get all excited, but I did pay attention. It was his tone . . . not at all pushy, just "dude, you'd be smart to check this out. But do what you want".

I bit. 10 bucks for the stove, *including fuel*. Made in Germany, which I am sorry, but that is my heritage and Germans do know how to do certain things right. And did I mention that this stove has been around FOREVER.

As soon as I got it out of the box, my heart rate went up. This thing freaking rules before you even light it.

And then I tried to light it.

I got a rock so I could do a test run without burning my deck down.

I'd read somewhere that you could just light a match and lay it on top and you were in business. Three matches later, I was not.

But then I lit one and held it to the edge and we went all pyro.

Oh, did I mention that it has two cooking positions. That would be 5 bucks per position. We haven't seen those kind of prices since the Leave-It-To-Beaver era.

Man, this thing is seriously cool.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Sorry for the teaser. (Well, not really.) I'm not dropping big bucks on a frameset, I'm dropping little bucks on dishes.

The stuff on the left is the cooking/eating gear I took on my inaugural S240. The silver thingy on the right is what I'll be replacing it with on the next trip. I've been trying to figure out the best bang for my buck. There's some weight advantage, but way more space advantage, as you can see. That damn tin cup cost me 35 bucks, but they say you can't take it with you and I'm definitely making sure that I won't have the option.

It's majorly important to "Just Do It", Nike Boy, but that immediately leads to a desire to do it better, especially when there is huge room for improvement from your first time around.

Anyway, inside the tin cup is a stove and a fuel canister. It's all very cool and compact and made by a Japanese company called Snow Peak and yes, they hypnotized my ass and got my money.

It takes a special kind of idiot to pay full price for camping gear at the very end of camping season. How nice for you to meet me.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chewelah Revisited

Oh, so you wanna make a big deal of the fact that I never visited in the first place and where does the "Re" come from?

Let me tell you that I'm getting damned tired of all your fact checking. I'm trying to write a bike blog here, not the effing NY Times. You people are getting on my nerves.

If I could possibly be allowed to continue with my story . . .

Patty had to bail on our vacation early due to some commitments in town. That left me alone at the lake, with a day to kill. What would I do, what would I do.

An epic Chewelah ride, naturally. I don't like getting my ass kicked any more than you do. Revenge is a good motivator.

So now it's the day after and I am freakin still trying to recover - that ride kicked this old man's ass. I don't have anything all techy to back this up, but I did something like 20,000 vertical feet in 52 miles. You read it on the internet, so just believe it and move on.

Uhhh, I went off course again. Big surprise. Apparently I'm not some kind of master navigator. Whatever. In addition to directional challenges, I had dog problems and redneck problems and cramp problems, but nothing serious enough to spoil the deal.

I'm tired as hell and not about to do some boring map. How 'bout some pictures instead?

First off, I make it to Chewelah and this picture proves it. You read it on the internet, so just believe it and move on.

I was seriously inconvenienced by this dude moving his house up the road. Country RUDE.

Killer views were abundant:

Super-cool country church:

Sucky hay bale picture that seemed like a good idea at the time. Deal with it.

Chewelah is 800 ft lower than Loon Lake. So I knew I was gonna suffer on the way back. I just didn't know I was gonna have to do all 800 feet on the same bastard of a hill. Holy Carumba.

But what popped out of this ride that kind of, okay totally, gets me all revved up is the powerline roads - they look totally sweet and are sort of marked as "no trespassing" and sort of not. Ambiguous forbidden fruit. Krap, it's only a matter of time before I get arrested.

All in all, it was kind of brutal, but now I have a tiny little sense of the lay of the land. Next summer, look out.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chewelah Or Bust

Yesterday's "project" was to ride from Loon Lake to Chewelah via back roads, have lunch, and then ride back. John shared this route in a post last spring, but Patty is on a heavy, upright bike and we were looking for something a little more direct, so I mapped this route.

We made it about halfway, and then ran into our first sign of trouble . . .

Then another . . .

And then, the end of the line . . .

So it was a bust, but not really. I mean, when you're riding on roads like these, who really cares if you actually ever get where you're going.

Here's a tiny little lake called Beity Lake. I'm taking this picture from atop a dam on the lake.

Here's the shot from other side. Cool.

Last night the water heater died. So that's today's project. I liked yesterday's a lot better.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

You Poor Saps

In a few days, I'll be living the same pathetic life as you. But until
then I am royalty. We're finally getting a little vacation. All the
kids have gone back to school and have dragged their parents with
them. So we have this lake to ouselves, and it freakin kills.

Yes, I realize this is not a boat blog. Thank you for pointing that out and try not to be so bitter. (If you were paying a little closer attention, you would notice that I am reading a borrowed copy of Bicycle Quarterly.)

Have fun at work tomorrow.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Just A Tiny Bit Of Panic

The camping trip left me with a numb right arm. From the end of my pinky and ring fingers all the way up to my elbow. I've known these bars/grips aren't quite right and they've done this to me before, but it's alway been temporary. 5-1/2 hours on the bike within a 24-hour period must have put me over the top, cause it's not going away, and it's now been 4 days.

My knee-jerk reaction has been to cut off the silicone grips and put some expensive ergonomic ones on, but I'm afraid to try them out, for fear that I'll make things worse. I'm pretty sure they won't help anyways. It was just a desperate attempt to throw a few bucks at a problem to try to make it go away.

If it turns out the bike's un-useable and I have to put it out of it's misery, no way it's going alone. It'll be a murder-suicide. When they interview my neighbors, I'll bet you a million bucks they say we looked happy together and they had no clue that anything was wrong. You always read about this type of thing in the paper and wonder how such a seemingly beautiful relationship could ever go so horribly wrong. Now you know.