Tell me, who are you?


I took the Tube back out of town

Back to the Rollin’ Pin

I felt a little like a dying clown

With a streak of Rin Tin Tin.

—”Who Are You,” by The Who

When the machinery starts acting up, what’s the first thing the IT guy asks?

“Have you tried turning it off and then turning it back on?”

Well, I turned it off last Monday, but I didn’t get around to turning it back on until today. Sorry ’bout that.

I hadn’t had a good old road trip in far too long, so I took one. And I mean a road trip for me, one in which it was not necessary for me to be me for a few days. One must shut the fuck up from time to time, give the old pie-hole (and everyone else’s ears) a little R&R. Turn it off.


Camp Dog.

I suppose I could have taken a napping tour of Soho doorways, but that sounded a bit extreme, so instead I pissed off to McDowell Mountain Regional Park outside Fountain Hills, Ariz.

The park is a bolt hole I used for years, but hadn’t visited in a while, and it was a pleasure to return. The weather was stellar, neither too hot nor too cold; there were some brand-new trails to explore; and while plugging into the Innertubes is possible out there among the cacti and coyotes, it remains something of a pain in the arse, so I didn’t bother trying. I did check mail once, using my phone, to see if anything demanded my immediate attention. It didn’t.

Nobody gave me an Airstream Interstate Grand Tour EXT for solstice, so I used my old North Face Expedition-25 tent and a new REI sunshade for shelter. And as regards cooking mostly I did not, as like the daily parade of conspiracies on the Innertubes it had become something of a nuisance.

Instead, I noshed on bits of this and that — baby greens with avocado and tomato slathered in olive oil, Creminelli salami and Barber’s cheddar on crackers, fruit, yogurt, granola, LaraBars, rice and whatnot.

I did, however, brew the obligatory pot of powerful black coffee first thing every morning. After a cuppa and a LaraBar I went for a run, and after that it was another cuppa, some yogurt and granola, and a ride on one of the two bikes I’d fetched along. Lunch was either out of the cooler or at DJ’s Bagel Cafe, which to my surprise was still open — and still good — after all these years. For dinner it was back to the cooler.

Come evening I enjoyed the sunset, the moonrise and a brief coyote concert, then turned in, listened to a little Mozart from the Academy of St. Martin In the Fields, read a bit of poetry, and nodded off. Next day I did it all again, but on different trails.

It wasn’t all fun and games. There were notes and pictures taken, and video shot. But I did not publish, until today. And as you see, I have not perished.


The Marin Four Corners Elite, tricked out with Revelate bikepacking bags.

26 Responses to “Tell me, who are you?”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Maybe that lunatic Uber driver needed a week of R and R away from the fray. Just thought I would roll that grenade under the tent flap as a way of saying “welcome back, O’G”

  2. Sharon Says:

    Beautiful trip Patrick. Thanks for sharing. What memories you must have from these adventures. We just returned late last night from Nashville to see Chris Stapleton at the Ryman. Real amazing music, written and played by the same real people without props, electronics or other wizardry. What a concept in this day. Now, time to get back to some great winter rides!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, Sharon. Road trips are just the thing to clear the head, and now that the weather seems to be improving around the home front I hope to start taking more of them, but on two wheels rather than four.

  3. mooremedia Says:

    Nice to see one of your rigs pack’n some bikepacking gear. I hear it’s all the rage these days and what to give it a try – perhaps on my Cannondale Jekyll – which is well suited for serious mt biking.

    But it looks like you really need to pack light. What, I can’t bring my Gameboy??

    – doug moore

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Those Revelate bags are something, Doug. You can stuff a whole Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 in that Pika saddlebag, and the Sweetroll bar bag likewise shrinks or expands as need be (I had a fleece jacket in mine, but a sleeping pad/sack or hammock would work, too). Plus you can lash more crap to the outside.

      I carried two GoPros, a small tripod, a mini-pump and some snacks in the Tangle frame bag, so maybe you can bring that Gameboy with after all.

  4. Cranky Oldguy on a bike Says:

    Smart man! Did something similar in the SoCA desert hosted by our govt. Death Valley, Joshua Tree N.P. Blooming wildflowers and the smells of the desert allow for re-creation of the spirit. Congratulations.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The gummint gets some things right, hey? It helps that at McDowell (which is a county park) at least two of the volunteer campground hosts are bicycle retailers from the Wild Wild Midwest and both know and appreciate what the two-wheeled crowd is looking for in its recreational experiences.

      • khal spencer Says:

        and with Cliven Bundy safely locked up in his Federal B&B, perhaps you don’t even need to worry about an armed occupation of your tent site.

  5. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Nothing but a tent between you and the ‘yotes? Good on you! I thought you were probably on a walk about, with a little bike testing and video production mixed in given the stellar weather. I need to plan a similar outing soon. We have been doing some riding, and that’s a good thing. Next time you’re in AZ, but maybe a little closer, let us know, and we will spring for a nice dinner.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, Pat. I had hoped to pay you a quick visit, but in my usual inefficient way I was short on time, with Herself fixin’ to piss off on her own little walkabout and the critters getting restless. The campgrounds at McDowell have been full for months, and only a surprise cancellation opened one up just as I was having an online peek.

      One of those ‘yotes blasted right through the middle of the campground, and in broad daylight, too. Big ol’ boy. A campground host and I stood there watching as he legged it down a wash, wondering what might be chasing him. Cougar? Bear? First Order Starkiller Base?

  6. psobrien Says:

    PS: That first picture, I’m thinking sunset, is Arizona Highways quality. Nice.

  7. khal spencer Says:

    p.s. Did two rides this weekend, without any negative side effects from the recent tangle with the surgeon. Whew….now just gotta get the mileage back up to pre-surgery levels.

  8. Stan Thomas Says:

    You can go sleep at home tonight
    If you can get up and walk away

  9. JD Dallager Says:

    40 days and 40 nights, modern version! Nice touch on the Mozart too! So…….why’d you come back?? 🙂

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Regarding my triumphant return from one desert to another, as I have noted many a time on Ye Olde Blogg, I will never be smart. But I’m not so blindingly pig-ignorant as to be unappreciative of Mozart. The playlist included Symphonies No. 38, 39 and 27.

      • JD Dallager Says:

        Just discovered this bit of pertinent wisdom: Philosopher Alain de Botton observed this phenomenon in his book “The Art of Travel.” He wrote, “[People] who would have been capable of skepticism and prudence in other areas of their lives reverted, in contact with [certain] elements, to a primordial innocence and optimism.”
        Good on ya, PO’G!

  10. Libby Says:

    Yes! Post more photos. Nice that you were able to get away. Sometimes things work out.

  11. veloben Says:

    Good on you.

  12. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Welcome back I guess?
    Regarding your salami link, this guy’s
    is the ONLY US-made product worth eating for me when you consider all the potential carcinogens involved.
    We’ve tried all the rest and Bertolli makes the only salumi that tastes anything like what you get here in Italy. Get a sample next time you’re in “Whole Paycheck” and tell me if you can taste the difference.

  13. Leroy Cam Says:

    I took the tube back out of town Back to the rollin’ pin I felt a little like a dying clown With a streak of Rin Tin Tin

  14. Cup check | Mad Blog Media Says:

    […] The Granite Trail rises and falls through a basin that was pretty lush when I last visited in February 2016. […]

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