Cycling Along The Way...

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Silver City, NM, United States
Riders of the wheel. Racers, Roadies, Mountain bikers, Touring cyclists, Commuters, and others. Diamond frames, recumbents, trikes, and more. Sharing a web of connections often misunderstood or unappreciated by those who don't ride. Herewith, my attempt to share some of the more rational thoughts that flit around inside my head while bicycling, knocking back a brew or three, or just thinking about life. Reviews of bicycles, gear, touring, and more, plus some unsolicited posts about people, politics, and philosophy. Other things, too. Me: retired, gave up my TV in 1988, avid cyclist, several cross country tours completed with more to come. Your thoughts?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

WHAT'S NOT TO LIKE ABOUT AN ATOMIC BOMB?

"When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb." ~ J. Robert Oppenheimer

An amazing quote by one of the major architects of the atomic bomb that leaves me speechless. It strikes me as incongruent to use the word "sweet" in any description of the creation of the atom bomb.

In what way is this related to this web posting? In lots of ways, actually. Since 2016, Eileen and I have talked about what we wanted to do next and how we could help Eileen's mom, Marilyn (she prefers the name Maril), who, like all of us, is aging and would benefit being closer to family that can be of help to her. So, we realized more than decided that, after looking at our options, moving back to Albuquerque would be the better choice. With that decision made, Eileen began seeing what jobs might be available in the Albuquerque area. Several opportunities came up, but, for various reasons, they weren't the right ones. We began to wonder if anything would open up that would serve our collective needs..hers, her mom's, and mine. I think both of us were ambivalent about leaving Silver City. We had many friends there and really enjoyed the small town life there. Considering what we wanted to do, moving was the decision that made sense.

Out of the blue, really, a job opportunity opened up in Los Alamos, NM. In a "Oh, what the hell" kind of moment, we talked about it and she applied not really thinking much would come of it. Well, something did come of it and we're now living in the Atomic City, as it's fondly known here in Los Alamos. Like "Big Apple" is used synonymously with NYC, "Atomic City" is the name used here. Streets have names referencing the bomb...we live off of Trinity Drive. The library where Eileen is now the manager is off of Oppenheimer Place. You get the picture...

While it's not Albuquerque, where we thought we'd end up, it is close to many things that we both wanted back in our lives and we are working on relocating Marilyn to Los Alamos. It's a small place like Silver City. About 12,000 people. Several good restaurants, a great brewpub, good cycling with lots of climbing, and proximity to Santa Fe and Albuquerque. We're close to friends in Albuquerque and can get there in about 90 minutes vs. the 4hrs it took to drive there from Silver City. It's actually a better place to move Marilyn. The small size will make it easier for her to get around here. Albuquerque is a big city with lots of fast traffic and greater distances to go to get to things/places there. So, despite the planning that we made and talked about, the "out of the blue" factor won out once again.

Fortunately, as it turned out, by starting early with our talking and planning, I was able to get into our shed to sort through things we'd collected over 11 years. Eileen would disagree with the "we" part there since I'm the more avid "collector" in this relationship. It took me several months plus to go through things and to turn off my Dad in my head, who kept saying to me, "But, it's still good and you might need it." Not having used something in 11 years is a good enough reason to give it to someone else who would use it or to a community agency that could make money off the items in order to help those in need. We gave a lot to those agencies...so, hopefully, many have benefitted from our discarding very good items that still had lots of life left and that my Dad didn't roll over too many times in his grave. Growing up, my Dad saved everything...not OCD or anything like that...but, he had enough stuff that neighbors would come over and ask my Dad if he might have something that would work for them. He'd think for a moment, go down into the basement, rummage through his "stuff", and, most often, would come back up with something the neighbor could use. Amazing, really.

So, as of June 20, 2016, we are now residents of the Atomic City, Los Alamos, NM. It's really interesting..about 60% of the land here on top of the mesa, where Los Alamos is located, is owned by the Department of Energy. As I've driven and bicycled around this area, I've seen many signs..."All vehicles are subject to random searches"..."Aerial monitoring of DOE property"..."Danger: Explosives"..."Danger: Firing Range"..."This area is monitored by cameras". Gives me an erie feeling. At one time, there was a nuclear reactor located here. While the national labs still do research on weapons, atomic and otherwise, they also do non-military research. Most of the people we've met here work for the labs or are married to someone who works for the lab. Eileen is one of the ones who doesn't work for the lab. She is the manager of the Los Alamos County Library System that has two libraries..one in Los Alamos and one in White Rock (a suburb of Los Alamos, since housing is so scarce in Los Alamos due to the number of employees at the lab and the shortage of available land for houses, apartments, condos, etc.).
    One set of signs that dot the DOE roads...
    More signs along the roads on DOE land.

This is a significant change for us and for Eileen with her job, yet it feels good to be here and we're excited to see what "out of the blue" brings to us. Eileen is very excited about her new job and has been knee deep in learning what the system is and how it functions here. I'm sure she will bring some good things to the library system. Amazingly, 85% of the people in Los Alamos County use the libraries here. I find that to be an incredible statistic. Lots of smart people here, too. About 26% of the population here has a Ph.D. Not too shabby. My big complaint: internet and cell phone coverage is terrible. You'd think with the labs here there would be great internet and cell coverage, but no.

As I've gotten out on the roads with my bicycle, I've discovered that the roads here, like Silver City, are not flat and the elevation here is higher than it was in Silver City...7300' here vs. 6000' in Silver City. The climb to the ski area from our house, which is 6 miles away, goes from 7300' to 9400' and kicks my butt. Most of the climbing is in the last 3.5 miles, almost 2000' of it. I've been up there at least 3 times, so far. Another climb is on NM4 that heads to Jemez Springs and the Valle Caldera. It has about a mile more of climbing than the climb to the ski area and is equally as steep.
    Eileen at the Bandelier National Monument.
    The Pajarito Ski Area...9400'
    One, well, two, of the benefits of bicycling... :-))))
    Oh, and one more benefit...

One of the things that will be different for both of us here is...snow. About 55 inches of snow. That's the average annual snowfall in Los Alamos. Fortunately, the elevation, dry air, and the sunshine should make the winters more bearable, I hope. We've both lived in essentially snow free places for several decades. It could be a shock to our systems. Like making lemonade when handed lemons in life, however, we both will get back into skiing again. Looking forward to that.

So, time to close...and here's a tune from Glen Campbell, who died just a little while ago. He bravely faced his end time and his alzheimers disease in an incredible fashion. I've always liked his music. Here he is with many other famous country western singer/songwriters performing "Gentle On My Mind", written by John Hartford: https://youtu.be/ETkzK9pXMio  Not sure if people realize that he used to play with the Beachboys, including the famous "Pet Sounds" album, and, whenever Brian Wilson couldn't perform with them, Glen Campbell sang in his place. Hope y'all enjoy it...til next time.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

FOR THE LOVE OF A CAT...

"What greater gift than the love of a cat?" ~ Charles Dickens

Scrappy is on the right; Earl is on the left
2017 has not started off on a good foot. In the photos, you can see me and two cats that live with us. I say "live with us" because, unlike dogs, cats are still a bit wild and certainly not beholden to no human being. These cats lived with our neighbor when Eileen and I moved in.
Me and Scrappy

Me, Scrappy, and Earl
A few years after we moved into our house here in Silver City, our neighbor moved and asked me if I would take over feeding the cats. I agreed, since they were outdoor cats, despite that Earl and Scrappy had discovered our couch. As you can see by these photos, we became close friends. Scrappy was the boss cat and dominated three other cats, one of which was Earl. Now, Earl is three times heavier than Scrappy and twice as big, but Scrappy was boss. No doubt about that...

Over the past year, Scrappy had begun to lose weight, which, never having had an animal live to old age before, I assumed was age related muscle loss and weight loss. These cats are at least 11 years old. Not much had changed until recently, when the muscle mass loss on Scrappy became much more pronounced. He was vomiting and not getting outside in time for a bowel movement. I took Scrappy to the vet on Martin Luther King day and he prescribed an antibiotic for what he thought was inflamed intestines. Well, a week went by and he wasn't improving. Yesterday, he was very weak, with unstable gait, and would not eat. I called the vet and made an appointment. I wanted to have a blood test done to see if anything was treatable or if we would have to "put him down"...a euphemism for killing him. Eileen and I spoke at lunch and she decided to come with me, so I wouldn't be alone. I love that woman. So, blood test showed that Scrappy's kidneys weren't functioning well, but the vet thought he probably had cancer since he looked worse than the blood test results would indicate. After a short discussion with the vet and Eileen, we decided to end Scrappy's life. So easy to say; so very hard to do.

When it was all said and done, we brought Scrappy's body home and Eileen and I dug a grave for him in our backyard, which was the turf he reigned over for over a decade. Seemed fitting. In the Spring, I will plant a tree over Scrappy's grave and put a little marker there for him. I realize that every pet owner thinks their pet is the best, like every parent thinks their kid is the best. To be honest, Scrappy was tender and tough with the other cats that he dominated. As you can see, however, he was very tender, too. That's why I love/d that guy so much. Scrappy had a presence about him and he made sure that anyone who sat on the couch in our living room got to know that presence.

I miss him terribly and I'm sure Earl does, too. He and Earl were buddies and Scrappy never missed an opportunity to get Earl to groom him. So, Eileen, me, and Earl are moving along, but we won't forget Scrappy.

Now, a tune to close out this post..Memory from CATS  We love you, Scrappy. Thanks so much for sharing your life with us, for choosing us to live with...

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Updates on: Grand Bois tires, Cygolite Hotshot light, Cycliq Fly6 light/camera, and other odds & ends

"Donald Trump" ~ me

When thinking about a funny quote to use, I was unable to find anything funnier...or scarier...than Trump. I remember a joke that John Callahan did...it was a page in one of his books and all it had on the page was "Dan Quayle". Sort of the same thing...

Ok, now to the updates.
GRAND BOIS 700C X 28 CERF GREEN - 4.5 STARS

So far, so good. I've had one flat with these tires and it was the front tire. Go figure. The likelihood of that happening is the same as having an asshole like Trump leave you alone after you told him to. So, they are holding their own. They JUST fit on my Vitus frame with hardly any wiggle room left. Highly recommend these and the 700x26 size, too. If I hadn't gotten the flat, I'd have given these tires 5 stars.

CYGOLITE HOTSHOT 50 REAR LIGHT - 5 STARS

I have several of these that are 50 lumens and two that are 80 lumens (Hotshot Pro 80). And I like these lights. Last year, on my aborted cross country trip, these lights lasted quite a while, easily using them over 2 days or more, depending on how long they were on. I mostly use the flashing mode because it's more noticeable and it helps the battery last longer. One of the best parts of these lights is they're rechargeable with a USB set up. Highly recommend these. The 50 ad 80 lumens lights are identical in appearance.


CYCLIQ FLY6 TAILLIGHT/CAMERA - 5 STARS

I purchased one of these just after returning from my aborted cross country tour in 2015. Shortly after I got home, a friend and his wife were cycling up Rt. 15, which is a road leading from Silver City, NM, to Pinos Altos, NM, and is used heavily by local cyclists, and they were hit by a woman in her 80's who has macular degeneration and can't see. Why her family allowed her to drive...or her MD or Optomitrist...is beyond me. Brian Robinson is an orthopaedic surgeon in Silver City. He grew up here. His father, John Robinson, is a judge/attorney here in Silver City. After finishing medical school and residency at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque, where I knew him during his residency, he returned to Silver City, to his hometown, to bring back to his community a level of medical care that was critically needed. Brian sustained a head injury and his wife sustain some broken bones. The woman who hit him didn't stop...yes, a hit and run...and was stopped by two motorcyclists after they realized she had run over two cyclists (Brian's bike was stuck under her car and she was dragging it along). Don't know what happened to her, legally, but this accident motivated me to purchase this rear light/camera combo. I ride alone most of the time, so I wanted my wife, Eileen, to at least have an idea of what happened should I be run over while cycling.

This light/camera is easy to operate and easy to set up on a PC in order to watch the video. It is compartmentalized in 10 minute segments and has audio feature, as well. The camera is set up in such a way that, should a rider be knocked over and the camera is past 30 degrees for more than a set short period of time, it automatically keeps the previous hour of film and will record for one more hour. My first light/camera stopped charging after about 9 months, so I contacted the company to see what could be done. Their customer service department had me try a few things first, but it became apparent that the battery was defective...it recharges by USB. So, they had me send it back and they sent a new one...and I didn't have to wait for them to get the defective unit before they sent out the new one. I like that.

The camera operates for about 6 hours. When the unit is turned on, the camera begins to film. The rear light can be set on flashing or steady, which is a nice feature. And the flash is adjustable, too. They have the Cycliq Fly12, too, which is a front light that operates in the same fashion as the Fly6, but lasts for about 10 hours. It is a 400 lumens light. I highly recommend these products, particularly if you ride alone or ride in a busy metropolitan area where you might need some video proof of wrongdoing by drivers. Check out the website: https://cycliq.com/products

I guess my brief rant about the Trump should fall under "odds & ends", eh? This Presidential race isn't about Democrat vs. Republican. It's about those who have and want, not just more, they want it all at the expense of the rest of us vs. those who still believe in making things good for all of us. Don't believe the lie that Democrats and Republicans are the same. They are not. Read a good article by Paul Krugman that says it better than I do: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/20/opinion/a-tale-of-two-parties.html?_r=0 If you care about each other and realize that no one gets out alive and that, yes, we are our sisters'/brothers' keepers, vote Democratic this year. It is critical. For those who supported Bernie, vote Democratic. You don't get to not vote just because you don't like the outcome. The South tried that when they said they didn't like the outcome of the 1860 Presidential election. If you believe in our form of government, then you take the good with the not so good or bad. It's how it works. So, Bernie supporters, vote Democratic.

Ok, time to get out of here before I say everything that's on my mind...a tune to exit...Linda Ronstadt doing one of my favorite songs, "Tracks of My Tears" .https://youtu.be/NHEH1Kld7p8 
She has such an incredible voice and I was lucky enough to see her perform live at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY, with my nephew, John Busteed. He was a teenager and I told him it was time that he saw a beautiful woman, who had a beautiful voice, sing. What a knockout performance!! Still remember it. My nephew remembers it, too, but for different reasons that I won't go into here...but, if you know him, have him tell you the story about his Grandma and him watching Johnny Carson after I went to bed....! Too DAMN funny. Well, to me, it was.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Warmshowers Guests: Ville Saarinen from Helsinki; Jan Peter Simmones from Norway

"In Finland, the term "boyfriend or girlfriend" isn't used. People there refer to their romantic partner as "milk visit", which means "one I don't hate as much as the others". (That one's for you, Ville!)

I'm not sure what it means but I had a very hard time finding funny quotes about people from Norway, thus no quote about Norway. Seems like they like frozen pizza, a lot. Gas prices are very high there, despite being a country that has oodles of oil. Getting a driver's license there costs LOTS of money. If a person loses their license for drunk driving (one year...automatically), they have to pay something like 5-7 thousand dollars to get a new one. Food prices are so high that they cross the border to Sweden to buy food that costs less. You'd think that with all of these oddities, there'd be some humor, but not the case. So, Jan, sorry about that.

To start, here are a few photos of Ville and Jan:
    Jan and my wife, Eileen...
    Once again, Jan and my wife, Eileen...
    Jan eating breakfast before heading out to ride the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route
    Jan's bike...loaded for the trip north.
    Ville with his bike, also headed north on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route.
    Ville's bike...ready to go.
    Ville at the start of the Gila National Forest...

Ville and Jan were our first Warmshower's guests from that part of the world. Both spent one night with us. In terms of gear, Ville had the least amount by far. Jan, no pun intended, was loaded for bear. I had not seen or met up with a Great Divide rider who used panniers. Usually, the bikes are set up like Ville's or they have used a Bob trailer.

These two were great guests, quite social, good sense of humor, and made fun of where they were from. Eileen and I enjoyed having them spend time with us. We both look forward to the time when we can bicycle around Europe and meet up with some of the incredibly friendly and very social cyclists who have stayed with us over the past years.

Ville is riding a shorter trip, but is doing the entire Great Divide route, while Jan has been touring for almost 3 years now, with probably another 2-3 years to go. Jan is a teacher in Norway, while Ville is a student in Finland. He lives in Helsinki. Ville was a bit anxious about bears, so I gave him a can of bear spray, which he later told me punctured and ended up spraying himself with the bear spray. That must not have been fun since I've used it on dogs and have accidentally gotten hit with some of the spray. Very strong stuff and it works extremely well to keep dogs away. Ville will look for some more spray to buy on his route north. When Jan gets to Banff, Canada, he will continue north to Alaska, then return to the Seattle area where he has relatives who he'll visit for a spell.

Since it's been a while since I've posted on my website, the weather has warmed considerably since Ville and Jan were here. So, until at least September, there most likely will be no touring cyclists doing the Southern Tier route or the Great Divide route. So, until then, we'll enjoy our summer weather, hope for no or minimal forest fires, and enjoy a few beers.

To exit this post, a tune for the guys from the cold part of the world...Gary P. Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker doing Gary's song, "London Homesick Blues"...https://youtu.be/g4Ppc3jz3GE Hope y'all enjoy the song and that it reminds you of the Southwest where most of the people are all hat and no cowboy. Happy trails!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Andrew Norman Read, English Touring Cyclist From The Netherlands...

"The British are not a very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity." ~ George Bernard Shaw

Over the past month, numerous cyclists have contacted me via Warmshowers (https://www.warmshowers.org/) asking about staying for a night or two. Most, we've been able to say yes to; others, we haven't been able to due to our schedules or because cyclists have contacted us too late and not given us enough time. Andrew is one who we were able to host for a night. He followed on the heels, er, wheels of Jen and Simon (see previous post), who, like Andrew, are English. Andrew now lives in The Netherlands. He's a semi-professional musician and, to support himself in thin times, he has done lots of different kinds of jobs over his lifetime of travels.

A few photos:
    Eileen and Andrew at the counter in our kitchen...

    Andrew prepared to head out for Safford, AZ...

A few years ago, Andrew's father died and left him a bit of inheritance that he's been using to travel by bicycle. When his father was ill, Andrew moved in with his Dad and took care of him until he died. He purchased a custom built Koga touring bicycle with some of the inheritance. It has a Rohloff hub (http://www.rohloff.de/en/products/speedhub/) that has 14 gears and is virtually indestructible, incredibly reliable, and needs very minimal maintenance...essentially, change the oil every 3,000 miles or so. Expensive up front, but very cost effective in the long run. 

Andrew had contacted me before getting to El Paso, TX, so we had time to check our schedules and arrange for him to stay one night despite having just hosted Jen and Simon for two nights. They left on a Monday and Andrew showed up on Wednesday, so it was a quick turn around. Not knowing how he'd do with the climb over Emory Pass, about 3pm, I headed out to check on Andrew's progress. I found him in San Lorenzo, just as he finished coming down the West side of the Black Range. It was around 4pm and I offered to haul him, his bike, and gear to our house to save him the rest of the ride, most of which is just ok. He'd already see the best part of the day's ride coming over Emory Pass. He hesitated momentarily, admitted he was tired, realized it was late and that he wouldn't get to our house until around 7pm, and said ok to the ride by car. No harm or shame. Sometimes, taking a ride in a motor vehicle is just the right thing to do. We unpacked his bike and got it and his gear in the car and off we headed to Silver City. Andrew is a pretty friendly cyclist, actively interacts with people, and had lots of questions about the area and the people. We also chatted about USA politicians, briefly. Seems like the whole world finds it absolutely hilarious, scary, and astounding that someone like a Trump or a Cruz would actually be considered for President by any sane group of humans. As I explained to him, money talks. And, yes, there are enough ignorant people in the USA to support these jackasses.

After getting to the house, we drank a beer or three, then Andrew got cleaned up and, after Eileen got home, we sat down for dinner. Pretty good conversations ensued and around 9pm, Andrew's day of riding and a few beers caught up with him and he headed to bed. Before we knew it, morning was here and Andrew was getting ready to head out. Before leaving, Andrew needed to get a few items (food, etc.) for his trip. We headed to Albertsons, where he picked up the goods he wanted and got back to the house, so he could finish packing and get on the road to Safford, AZ.

We enjoyed Andrew's visit with us and wish him well down the road. His plan is to ride around the USA. He's headed to San Diego, CA, then north to Washington, then East to the Atlantic, then South to San Augustine, FL, where he started his trip. I'm envious. It sounds like a great tour. 

A few more photos:
    Putting the Ortlieb panniers on the Koga...

    A photo of the Koga...

    The world famous Rohloff hub...

    Another good idea...a kickstand front and rear from Koga...

A few short video clips of Andrew getting ready to leave for Safford, AZ:

So, a tune to close with. Andrew spent a few years in Ireland, mostly Galway, I believe, playing Irish music on the street with a couple of other musicians. In recognition of that, here's a tune from Randal Bays, another non-Irishman who plays some damn fine Irish music.  This is Randal with Dave Marshall playing some Irish reels...don't know the names, but enjoy them anyways! http://youtu.be/dkZRztjdB6w And one more with Randal playing guitar...with someone that I don't know nor do I know what the tune is, but WTF, enjoy it...http://youtu.be/r9Y655mjACE. Happy Trails, Andrew!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Jennifer And Simon Corbett From Christchurch, New Zealand

"If it would not look too much like showing off, I would tell the reader where New Zealand is." ~ Mark Twain

"When George Bernard Shaw visited New Zealand, a reporter asked him his impression of the place and, after a pause, Shaw is said to have replied: "Altogether too many sheep." ~ George Bernard Shaw 1934

Ok, Simon and Jen didn't bring any sheep with them, but they did talk about them. I must keep this from my Canadian friend, John Fleming, who has this "thing" for sheep and sheep jokes. No, I won't go into the gruesome details. So, onward...away from the sheep thing...

These two touring cyclists from down under are in their early to mid forties and were great fun to meet and host for a couple of nights. When they contacted me about staying with Eileen and me, Jen indicated they would like to spend a rest day in Silver City, their first rest day since they started their trip  in Los Angeles, CA. Jen and Simon are in between jobs at this point, headed back to England for Jen's father's 70th birthday, and to reconnect with family and friends they've missed since immigrating to New Zealand 10 years ago from England. While planning the trip back home, they decided to ride across America. Both have a bit of cycling experience, but not a great deal of touring experience, so taking on this trip across country is a huge leap of faith for them, sort of. They took off from Los Angeles, headed to San Diego, then off on the Adventure Cycling Association's Southern Tier Route to St. Augustine, FL. From there, they'll fly to England, tour a bit in Europe (by car, maybe bike, too), then it's back to New Zealand and job hunting. They have a Facebook page, should you desire to follow them as they ride across the U.S.: http://www.facebook.com/thetrundlersway

Some photos:
   Simon at the border of New Mexico on their way to beautiful Lordsburg, NM!
    Photos they took as they made their way to Silver City from Lordsburg
    Jen and Simon getting their first view of "The Big Ditch" in Silver City, NM
   
          Jen and Simon posing for the camera....
    Eileen's arm, Simon, and Jen at our house...
    Eileen, Simon, and a part of Jen...at our house.
    Simon and Jen cooked dinner on Sunday...Falafels, veggies, couscous...yum!

Now, a couple of very short videos:

Simon and Jen were very friendly, helpful, and enjoyable company for a few nights. We hope they have fun riding across country and find out that Americans are better than the press gives us credit for. The view that people from other countries have of the U.S. is not good and has diminished since the arrival of Trump and Cruz on the political landscape. The damage these two fucking political morons have done for the U.S., Trump and Cruz, should be illegal. I'll stop now before I go on with a rant about these two idiots.

On Monday, Jen and Simon headed up into the mountains to spend a few nights at the Gila Hot Springs and to visit the Gila Cliff Dwellings (https://www.nps.gov/gicl/index.htmup there. It's only 42+ miles, but there is 5000 feet of climbing to do to get there. From the hot springs, they'll continue to head East over Emory Pass and on to Las Cruces, NM, and beyond.

Eileen and I hope to get to New Zealand to visit these folks in their adopted home country. It looks like it's gorgeous there. And to visit Mt. Lyford (http://www.mtlyford.co.nz/) outside of Christchurch, New Zealand, too!

Ok, time to exit this post with a tune. What to use? Let's go with Michael Coleman doing "The Tarbolton Reel/The Longford Collector/The Sailor's Bonnet (http://youtu.be/_V7ji57f0Is) since Eileen didn't play fiddle for these guys while they were with us. Enjoy the tunes and come back sometime to hear Eileen play them live. Happy Trails!!!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Barb and Bill Bochner...Riders From Marin County, California

"The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time." ~ Abraham Lincoln

I've been up to my elbows in the things that I do as a retiree, so, while it may not seem much to someone else, it has kept me busy enough to not have done this post sooner. What the hell. Now, it's time to do it. A few weeks ago, give or take, Barb and Bill Bochner arrived at our house. They're from around San Francisco, in Marin County. On this trip, they're riding the Adventure Cycling Association's Southern Tier Route from San Diego, CA, to San Augustine, FL. Good time of the year to do it, particularly with the weird weather bringing on the warm weather a tad sooner than expected. Even without the warm weather, it's still a good time to do the ride. Minimizes the bugs, mosquitos, etc., that come with doing this route in the later Spring weather. 

So, Barb and Bill. They're retired lawyers. Yes, I know all the lawyer jokes but decided to go with a Lincoln quote instead. They contacted me way in advance, which helps immensely since there is a major sketchy area of no internet/cellular connection as riders approach Silver City. With this advance notice, I was able to give them some helpful advice on how to get to Silver City. No matter which way you head towards Silver City, you have to climb...either coming out of Safford or heading up from Lordsburg. Or coming from Las Cruces. These folks contacted me early, so I could give them some tips on riding to Silver City.

Some photos:
    Barb and Bill getting ready to leave for the Mimbres. 
    Bill deciding whether he really wants to leave. 
    Barb packing up. 
    Traveler set for the ride. 
    Me, Traveler, and Bill...
    Barb and Bill all set to leave. 

We enjoyed having these folks stay with us. I drove out to meet up with them on Rt. 90 and found them near the Continental Divide, where they had stopped for lunch. The climb from Lordsburg was a bit more daunting than they'd expected. Living around here, I have a different perspective on riding in the mountains, which makes it difficult to give anyone else advice on what to expect. Drivers are terrible with their advice to people traveling by bicycle and those people who ride bikes are not great either. How strong a rider is, where they ride most often, age, type of bike, etc., all factors that affect how a person perceives whether something is difficult or whether the climbs are hard. This combines to make giving advice sketchy, in my opinion. I offered to carry some of their gear to help make the ride easier, but, like true gluttons for punishment that a lot of cyclists are, they opted to carry on and not "cheat". I understand...unfortunately...since understanding makes me one of those gluttons, too. So, I left them to their bike riding and checked back later in the day. At that time, they were just a few miles from our house...and they arrived soon. After showers, some talking, a beer or two, then dinner, we sat around and chatted. Good company and then off to bed early, which I can also relate to. 

They're much better at maintaining a blog of their travels than I am...you can catch up on what they're up to at: Pedaling Puppy Raisers (https://pedalingpuppyraisers.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/day-33-austin-city-limits/). They help raise puppies for people who need a companion. Plus, they help welcome home soldiers from the quagmire of the Middle East. Admirable.

The next morning, Barb and Bill got off to a good start after breakfast and good weather for a ride over Emory Pass. Barb rides a Bruce Gordon Rock'n Road touring bike (http://www.bgcycles.com/new-page-81-1/). Sweet bike. Barb likes it a lot. I still have my mind set on a custom road bike. For touring, I think something like the Rock'n Road is very good.

Ok, one lawyer joke...I have to:
How many lawyer jokes are there? Only three. The rest are true stories.

Alright, got that out of my system. As an Irishman, not telling a joke is bad for my health. Sort of like constipation...it hurts until it's out of your system! Now, you know why the Irish live on this little island all by themselves. Can't help myself..here's one more:
As the lawyer awoke from surgery, he asked, "Why are the blinds drawn?". The nurse answered, "There's a fire across the street and we didn't want you to think you had died."

Time to get this post online, so here comes a tune. What should I use? Let's see..."Fields of Gold" by Sean Keane, (http://youtu.be/Ol7h4WgWx0U), an Irishman, a great singer, and someone that Eileen and I saw/heard at a session in Louisburgh when we were there in 2013. What an incredible, effortless singer! These folks have already arrived at, and left, Austin, TX, so they still have a few days to go to get out of Texas. Happy trails! You're always welcome back for a longer stay in Silver City!