Property rights (and wrongs)

The weather wasn't all that welcoming, despite the sign.

The weather wasn’t all that welcoming, despite the sign.

Rather than chance being mistaken for Helen Collins and Doug Bruce, Herself and I decided we (meaning Your Humble Narrator) should dash up to Colorado to check on our vast real-estate holdings, make sure they hadn’t been turned into meth labs, crack houses or empty, boarded-up, Collins-Bruce-style blights on the community.

The back deck needed a few new boards.

The back deck needed a few new boards.

This I did, earlier this week, and I’m happy to report that the only boards involved were the three replaced in Chez Dog’s winter-ravaged back deck by Senior Executive Dude With Tools and Skills Dennis “Heavy D” Collard, who had a few uncommitted moments in his busy schedule that I was happy to fill for him, knowing from experience that idle hands are the devil’s workshop.

The weather did a number on the back sidewalk, too, so I asked a local concrete merchant to estimate the cost of repairs. I checked in with our friend and tenant Judy, comfortably ensconced in The House Back East®, and chatted up a couple other members in good standing of the Patty Jewett Yacht & Cricket Club.

And finally, I did a quick inspection tour of the interior of Chez Dog, the operative word being “quick,” as a certain somebody had rented the joint out from under me and the paying customers would be checking in the next day.

Chez Dog is still standing ... and, thanks to Herself, still earning.

Chez Dog is still standing … and, thanks to Herself, still earning.

I had planned a rather leisurely stay in The Old Home Place®, catching up with friends and neighbors while performing my slumlordly duties, then fetching a few more bikes home to Duke City.

But when money comes a-knockin’, Herself is always right there at the door to greet it. So instead of chillaxin’ in the ‘hood for a spell, I blew 40,000 Hilton points on two days at the Homewood Suites.

The Hilton it ain’t. Shit, it ain’t even Chez Dog. Feeble coffee, punk grub, and I was reminded once again why we don’t pay for television. The bed was comfy, though.

After two days of that I was burning up the road back to Rancho Pendejo, with a short stop in Taos to take on sustenance at Orlando’s New Mexican Cafe. Their Los Colores platter is a marvelous restorative.


Lord, I'm southbound.

Lord, I’m southbound.

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37 Responses to “Property rights (and wrongs)”

  1. Libby Says:

    You are a busy dude. Commiserating and appreciating. No snark. The food looks delicious.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hey, Libby, just doing our little bit for the economy. Renting Chez Dog through Airbnb puts a few coppers in some neighbors’ pockets (they keep an eye on the joint for us and spruce it up between visitors). And the upkeep on it and The House Back East falls mostly to friends and their friends. It’s interesting to watch this subset of the larger economy function.

      And the food is killer. If you’re ever through Taos, Orlando’s should be on your to-do list.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Have you figured out where “home” is yet? I guess the Boo man knows.
    No excitement down here except a visit on Wednesday to the Nurse Practioner lady to put out the fire in my sinuses and left ear. After a trip to the pharm, Wednesday and Thursday were spend indoors. Today we helped friends shear 18 alpaca on a ranch in the foothills of the Huachucas near the Mexican border. The Jamaican jerked chicken and cold Pacifico they served for lunch was very nice. Now Sandy and I are back home nursing totally clogged snot lockers. Life during pollen season on a ranch located on a windy ridge shearing fleece off dusty animals. Duh.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Pat, I’ve never figured out where “home” is. My folks didn’t buy their own place until Dad was 50 and contemplating retirement from the Air Force, and I guess I assumed I’d be a transient and a renter all my life. Herself is of a more practical turn of mind, however.

      If home is where the bicycles are, well, then it’s Rancho Pendejo. I brought four more bikes back with me. Still, two remain in Bibleburg. Am I hedging my bets? If I am, I’ll tell you this — Bibleburg looks a little beaten down to me now after six months in Duke City. Maybe it was just the weather. Hazy, coolish, not that blue sky a-poppin’.

      Sounds like you were asking for it and you got it. Ah-choo! Been a miserable allergy year here, too. A couple days up north cut me a bit of slack — things are just starting to bud up and leaf out there, while spring has been in session here for the better part of quite some time.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Blue sky and being able to see miles and miles in all directions. It is special. I lived in many places until 1990 when I landed back here. Been here, and in this house, ever since. I’m thinking this is home. A nice place too.

  3. khal spencer Says:

    What route did you take, Patrick? That looks vaguely like the roads we took when we came back from Boulder last November. Over La Vita on 160 and then turned south on either a CO or county Road 159 at Ft Garland, which turns into NM 522 and down to Taos. Nice drive.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Oops. La Veta….

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      K, I took I-25 up because I was in a hurry, my schedule having been compressed more than somewhat in the name of commerce. On the way back, I took your route, which is my fave — up La Veta and south at Fort Garland and thence to Taos.

      I’d like to do it on the bike one of these days, throwing in the detour onto Old La Veta Pass, which you pick up just before the serious climbing on the newer version begins. I think that’s mostly gone to dirt now, like Pass Creek Road, which leads toward Gardner and Weirdcliffe just past the La Veta summit.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Let me know if you actually do that. I’ve got a shitload of vacation stored up from 14 plus years at the bomb factory and would be seriously into a tour. That is, if you can go slow enough to let me suck your wheel.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Will do, K. I think it could be fun. All kinds of possibilities. High Road to Taos, mebbe? Then north to La Veta Pass, where taking the gravel Pass Creek Road to Highway 69/96 and Weirdcliffe would put us into Hal Walter’s neighborhood (free lodgings and good grub for purposes of recovery).

        From there we’d have a couple choices. First and most obvious, back to Highway 96 and down Hardscrabble Cañon to Wetmore and past the Supermax to Florence. This is the front third of the old Hardscrabble Century, but ridden in reverse. From Florence/Penrose it’s off to Bibleburg via Highway 115, which is a beautiful ride on a road with nice, wide shoulders.

        Or, we could ride down Boneyard Park and Oak Creek Grade to Cañon City and thence to Highway 50, 115 and Bibleburg. That route involves quite a bit of gravel road that was part of the old metric-century mountain-bike edition of the Hardscrabble.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        I bought my first touring bike dreaming about touring. I ended up riding it often because it was so comfortable. I still have a touring bike, which I blame on Patrick due to his review of the Saga, and all the extra bits and pieces for hotel touring. But, I have only done overnight rides to neighboring towns, about 75 miles round trip. I wonder if I am up to multiple days with climbing?

      • khal spencer Says:

        I just put Vittoria Randonneur Cross Touring 26×1.75’s on one set of wheels for the Long Haul Trucker. The Richey Tom Slicks would probably not be tough enough. I suspect those Vittorias would handle mixed use and gravel very well. Would put on the front low riders unless this was a B&B to B&B trip.

        Sounds like a great idea. As a multiday trip, how long do you suppose such an endeavor would take?

      • md anderson Says:

        I’ve been contemplating a mini cycling vaca up that way myself. The little ‘burg of San Luis seems a perfect spot. Within striking distance of La Veta Pass. I’ve been wanting to check out the possibilities of a loop to Alamosa with a return via some of those bitty backroads and I don’t mind taking my road bike on a bit of dirt/gravel. The climb out of Costilla towards what used to be a going concern of a ski area is beautiful.

        In my several trips up that way over the past few years I’ve noticed a “green cross” of a medical MJ dispensary. I was amused to note that right after the legalization it now sports a sign that reads “Casa de Canabis.”

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Hah. I had a feeling MD might have had some experience with the cycling around those parts. MD, you ever ride the High Road? I’ve never been eager to ride the gorge between Velarde and Taos. Too much loco motion on that stretch of highway for my taste.

        San Luis looked busier than I’ve ever seen it when I drove through this week. Maybe it’s enjoying something of a weed-related renaissance. I used to be in that business before it became respectable, and in pretty much that same general area, too.

      • md anderson Says:

        I’ve ridden the High Road many times. It’s a terrific ride. There is now a regional bus service (RTD) that goes all over northern NM. It would be a great day’s ride to Taos and then take the RTD back to Pojoaque.

      • md anderson Says:

        And I have ridden the gorge to Taos. Our group used to to do two different rides. One started in Espanola and went up the gorge to Dixon and then up past Penasco to Truchas and then down down down back to Espanola. The other started in Dixon and went up the gorge to Taos and thence up US Hill and down to Penasco and back to Dixon. If you’re going to ride the Gorge it’s best with a group and early in the morning.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I’m in for a High Road practice run for stuff to be determined. Been meaning to do that on a bicycle. I’ve carved that route on the K1100RS several times. Gorgeous.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Count me in. I’ve ridden parts of the High Road, and of the gorge, too, but it’s been years. As in decades. MD, care to be Routemistress and show us The Way?

      • md anderson Says:

        Absolutly. Its a pretty direct route. Its possible to start in Santa Fe. But a start more north is my preference. The climb to Truchas is a bitch with grades of 10% and being direct east is usually quite hot

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Great! Now all we need to do is pick some time when the weather is all Chamber of Commerce and a bunch of us can get together. May is probably out for me — I’m helping Charles Pelkey call the Giro over at Live Update Guy starting on the ninth.

        As a former resident of La Puebla, I recall the climb to Truchas well, and not fondly. I don’t know which is worse, going up or coming down.

      • md anderson Says:

        The road was widened several years ago. It’s still two lanes, but there is now a good shoulder on both sides almost all the way to Truchas, and good quality pavement if the haven’t f’d it up with chip seal recently.

        Early June would work. Won’t have to worry as much about afternoon monsoon storms in the high country

      • khal spencer Says:

        Saturdays or Sundays are good for me–barring today, where we presently have an inch of snow on the deck. Weekdays in May are probably out as we have a short-fuse project in nervous breakdown land.

        We might go up to Boulder for Memorial Day, but that is probably not a great time to be biking on the High Road anyway due to holiday traffic. What do others think?

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Rained like a mad bastard down here this morning. Good for the cacti.

        June would work for me as well, with the Giro and two road trips by Herself taking center stage in May. Come July, it’s that little old race around Frogland that will monopolize my attention.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Another good place to start is to park in the giant parking lot in Pojoaque or Buffalo Thunder. Its about ten miles to Chimayo and another ten or so clicks up to Truchas. Could figure out a start to make if fifty miles, or just suffer the climbs and make it forty or so from Pojoaque.

        MD, you live down there somewhere, right? Or are you in the City Indifferent. I forgot.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I don’t know what the monsoon pattern is down that way. I’ve literally been stranded under a rock ledge during sudden storms that hit in the Jemez. Thankfully, not too often.

      • md anderson Says:

        I’m about 4 miles west of Pojoaque, just east of San Ildefonso. I suggest parking at the RTD transit parking lot, conveniently located right next to Cities of Gold casino. I’ve used it a lot and never had an issue with my car being messed with.

        I looked up the route I had mapped and it’s 65 miles from my place to the center of Taos, call it 60 even from Pojoaque. With right around 6000 ft of climbing. Up to you guys if you want to arrange starting there or Santa Fe, which depending on starting point would add another 20 miles and one climb to get out of town. Her’es a map of the route.

        There would definitely be a risk of monsoon later in the summer. One trip up there I rode all the way to the Taos Ski Valley. Had started a little later than planned and about 3 miles from the ski area was caught in a downpour. A kindly lady in a pickup truck offered me a lift, and turned out she was going the same place I was and didn’t even mind my wet self sitting on her nice seats.

      • md anderson Says:

        Ah. Khal, I see you were talking about mileage to Truchas, not all the way to Taos. Here’s a loop ride I’ve done that works out to the 50 mile range. Includes the little road through Cundiyo.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        That’s a nifty ride, MD. Used to be part of the old Sangre de Cristos Cycling Club championships course, before we shifted it down south to the prison loop. Scenic as all hell. Reminded me of some of the bits in the Vuelta a España.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’m far from an expert, though I play one in print. But I think the thing is to keep the daily mileage reasonable, stay flexible as regards itinerary, and have plenty of bailout options en route. I’m still learning to dial the pace back and not race the ride. The path is the goal.

      Also, credit-card touring with stays in motels rather than camping lightens the load (especially in the wallet, but that can’t be helped). I don’t object to camping, but it does involve hauling more crap and the occasional poor night’s sleep.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        We quit backpacking many years ago and sold off the gear, much of which is the same for camping while touring. It still has some allure, but the extra weight on the bike sure doesn’t. A hot shower and cold beer at the end of the day is irrestible. We go camping, infrequently, these days just to camp in a beautiful place. Two nights next week in the Chiricahua National Monument.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Either works. The shorter ride could be done as a loop and probably in my present state of physical disrepair. I suppose the Taos ride could be done as a looooong loop with some training on my part. I too have wanted to ride that part through Cundiyo. It looks enchanting.

  4. Dale Says:

    If Collins and Bruce got a big fat tax reduction, I’m sure they would fix all of the KC properties problems and even create 400 jobs. Isn’t that the way it is supposed to work?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yessir, that’s the old “trickle-down” deal. I notice there were a few people doing the trickling — generally after running a few jeroboams of Champagne through their kidneys — and a whole lot of us getting wet.

  5. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Patrick – The Prez stole your McLame “Get off my lawn” gag tonight at the correspondent’s gig. You gonna get a royalty check?

  6. The Gorge of Eternal Peril | Mad Blog Media Says:

    […] Khal and I have been talking in comments about giving the High Road a go sometime in June. Anyone else interested? Give us your thoughts in […]

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