Bear with me here

Peak load: Restoring the Internets the Western way. Photo: Hal Walter.

Ever have the Innertubes go out on you? Irksome, innit?

You ring up your service provider, if you remember its contact info (the Innertubes are down, remember?). If you don’t, then you get to pursue a long and painful search for same via tiny smartphone screen before enjoying an extended stint on hold, being reminded over and over again how important is your call.

After a few days of this someone who gives the name Nathan or Monica but sports an accent reminiscent of the Subcontinent pops up to lend you what you suspect is a very long-distance hand indeed, oh my goodness yes.

And you begin turning on and off or unplugging/replugging bits of this and that; rooting around in dark corners of your computer that, like a rough neighborhood, family gathering or all-hands meeting in an economic downturn, you’d prefer to avoid; and chanting magical yet remarkably futile incantations like “Fifteen-inch MacBook Pro, mid-2014, 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB DDR3, OS X Yosemite, yes, I’ll hold.”

Anything to eat in here? Nope. Photo: Hal Walter.

In the end, of course, you find yourself curled, unshaven and filthy, on the floor, in a puddle of your own tears, cradling your phone and its fading battery as though it were a dying baby bird, wailing, “I have to have my Innertubes! Do you have any idea what’s going on in Washington? Neither do it!”

Well. Suck it up, snowflake. That’s a day at the beach compared to what my man Hal Walter endured the other day to get his Innertubes barfing out the 1s and 0s again.

Hal texted me to announce that his Innertubes were blown, something that occurs even more regularly in rural Crusty County than it does in more civilized environs. Being a wag of no small renown, I quipped, “Dude. It won’t do. Did a b’ar eat your dish?”

Well. Yeah, as it turns out.

It’s not a dish on the house, which is how we used to get our Innertubes when we lived just west of Hal’s place outside Weirdcliffe. There is a tower, which sits atop Bradbury Ridge on Bear Basin Ranch, and it is powered by a solar-battery setup (the tower, not the peak).

Some of the guts of this line-of-sight wireless setup reside in what looks like an Igloo cooler, which to a bear looks like a pizza-delivery guy’s shitbox Toyota Tercel does to thee and me. The bear tried to find the delicious pizza inside the shitbox, but the innards proved undercooked, and off he trundled, leaving behind a cooler whose security had been dramatically compromised by bite marks in opposite corners, and whose contents soon would be done to a turn by the notoriously vile Crusty County weather.

Thus, instead of unplugging bits of this and that in the comfort of his own home, Hal found himself hauling 100 pounds of new batteries up to the tower via pack burro while a tech-support dude who was decidedly not from Delhi refreshed the coolers’ innards.

“They like to use coolers because they protect the batteries from extreme temperatures,” says Hal. “However, there is some discussion of a metal box. Our wildlife officer agrees with me that the bear likely had previous experience with ice chests.”

• Late update: The man himself chimes in with an on-the-scene report.

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19 Responses to “Bear with me here”

  1. Libby Says:

    Great photos! You did a wonderful job of weaving the stories of the country mouse and the city mouse. May your Innertubes remain pure and unsullied going forth.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, Libby. I hate to poach Hal’s tale, but he’s busy playing catchup on all the work he didn’t get done while he was reviving his defunct Innertubes.

      This is nothing new for him, by the way. I’m pretty sure it’s at least the third time he’s used a burro to pack batteries and other bits up there.

      “I routinely scramble up there in subzero winter temperatures with a window scraper to clear ice and snow from the [solar] panels,” he adds.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    That is so cool. The burro come to the rescue again. Would that be the famous Full Tilt Boogie that hauled the equipment up the mountain?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Nossir, that’s Laredo. A pack burro is a handy thing to have. When we would trek into the high country for a spot of camping and fishing the burros carried the bulk of our stuff, which sure made the hiking a ton easier.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        I am envious. Big time. Burro packing into the high country for a camp and some fishing must be the Rocky mountain high! Meanwhile, down here the wind continues, day after day, keeping me off the bike. I get up at 0400 and the wind is blowing. Shit. Friday I am riding no matter what. I hope it is raining. Meanwhile, Boss Tweet’s minions appoint a special counsel, and we are supposed to be placated. And the congress is nodding along like a plastic jesus bobble head on a dashboard of a car with bad shocks. Guess they figure we are as stupid and ignorant as last November.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        They just keep adding tents to the circus, eh, Pat?

        Meanwhile, yeah, having four-legged porters sure does speed a hike along, lemme tell ya. Just ’cause I have a couple big ol’ Gregory packs doesn’t mean I’m George Washington Hayduke and can march from here to Hell and back on a tin of Argentinean roast beef and a six-pack.

  3. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    I laugh when I read reports about countries far less rich than ours, who have far superior internet broad-band coverage. Maybe the greasy orange turd will fix this while he’s getting impea………Making America Great Again?

  4. debby511 Says:

    The things we have to do to stay online! Across the hill in Crestone, the bears don’t mess around with coolers. They break into our houses and raid the fridge.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hah. One tried climbing in one of our windows once. Sure will focus the attention. Little bastard was accustomed to raiding a nearby dude ranch’s facilities and I guess he had a hankering for something different. I forget what I was cooking, but it must’ve smelled pretty good, because it took two warning shots from the .357 Magnum hand-cannon to send him packing.

  5. khal spencer Says:

    Wow. But looking at that first picture, I can understand wanting to live there.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It’s an unbelievably beautiful bit of Colorado, K. It helps that it’s so underpopulated. Also, that there’s no ski area or other major tourism draw. Like Hal, you pretty much have to pack in your own entertainment.

      The view from our deck.

      The view from our deck Back In the Day™.

      • debby511 Says:

        Crestone is the same way. Nothing to do there, so the crowds do not come. We get a few pilgrims to the spiritual centers, that’s it. Most people in Denver have never even heard of our little community, which suits us just fine.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        When we lived off Brush Hollow Road back in the Nineties I was riding gravel before gravel was cool. If the adventure weenies ever discover how much groad there is to gride in Crusty County they’ll be all over the sumbitch like ticks on a hound dog.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Groad? Trademark it. Then when the next new Specialized bike, the Allez Groad is announced, you can sue the shit out of them. Get into those deep pockets. Make sure you get enough, use Charles as your attorney, so you and Herself can retire to the good life.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I was thinking about changing my name to Patrick O’Groady.

  6. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Gravel? Same s__t – different day.
    Meanwhile, the greasy orange turd declares – “No politician in history – and I say this with great surety – has been treated worse or more unfairly.” Wonder what the ghost of Abe Lincoln or JFK would say to this d__khead? What’s Bill Maher call Drumpf? Whiny Little Bitch is about right.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We didn’t have a lot of gravel in Ottawa, on Randolph AFB, or in the suburbs of Bibleburg when I was growing up (or older, anyway). But man, after I discovered cyclocross in the late Eighties, that was pretty much all I wanted to ride.

      There’s a great gravel path that runs from Fountain on the south through Bibleburg and the AFA to the Greenland Open Space on the north. It goes to asphalt and concrete in Bibleburg proper, but if you ride all of it it’s mostly pulverized granite, and easily done on a ‘cross bike or even a road bike.

      At our place in Weirdcliffe, if you didn’t like riding gravel you were shit out of luck. The closest pavement was Highway 96, miles away, and it sucked; not much in the way of shoulder and some really coarse chip-seal. The unpaved roads, while indifferently maintained, went all kinds of interesting places.

      The trails around here are a skosh more technical, but only just, about like the trails in Bibleburg’s Palmer Park. I ride the road here more often than I did back in Colorado, but I’m riding some drop-bar beastie off-road a couple days a week at least.

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