California dreamin’

The mornings are a little cloudier and a little cooler in October.

Green chile stew for dinner. Oatmeal for breakfast.

Oh, yeah: It’s definitely fall in New Mexico.

Reheating the leftovers for Friday-night dinner.

My old newsie pal Merrill stopped by Thursday on the final leg of his move from Noo Yawk City to Santa Rosa. Thus the green chile stew. Merrill was in the mood for Mexican food, but the best beaneries are way over on the north side, and I figured he’d had enough driving for one day (central Oklahoma to the Duke City). So I got out in that kitchen and rattled those pots and pans.

There was some brief discussion of a bike ride. Merrill had a two-wheeler in his rig, but it was a road bike and his shoes were for the mountain variety, and while even I can handle a quick pedal swap, he had the itch to move a little faster and a little farther.

So off he went, bright and early on Friday, ticking off the 830 miles between here and his brother’s house in Simi Valley, California.

Incidentally, if anyone’s in the market for a new ride, Merrill is piloting an AWD Mazda CX-5, which seems to be getting solid reviews from all and sundry (including Merrill). The important thing: You can stuff a bike in the back without removing the front wheel.

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15 Responses to “California dreamin’”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Green chili stew in the evening and oatmeal in the morning is first class hospitality! Good on ya and Herself!
    I can get my Niner in the back of the new Rav 4, but only with the front wheel off and the seat post dropped. I haven’t tried to squeeze a road bike in yet; I will let you know how that goes.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      My sis has a RAV 4 and loves it, Pat. She doesn’t fetch any bikes around, though.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Mine has a trailer receiver hitch, so the bike rack is the answer now. Going to get a hitch put on the Corolla next month.

        • Herb Clevenger Says:

          Learned late in the game after paying big bucks for trailer hitch installs that many (but not all) hitch installs can be as easy as installing 4 bolts. Especially if you are not going to actually tow anything and don’t need lighting harness. E-trailer is a great place to shop hitches and installation info. But I’d buy the actual bike carrier from your local bike shop who can do a better job of matching your needs with the right carrier.

          • psobrien Says:

            Hi Herb! The Rav 4 has a factory hitch and harness. But the Corolla will get a Curt hitch. Six bolts for that one. Already got the hitch rack from the LBS. I always give the LBS first shot before I buy anything on line.

  2. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Your car comment reminded me of a cycling event I attended last week here in Iowa. Massive amounts of automobile parking seem to be requirement #1. Nobody can hoist their bike up high enough to put it on the roof of the various trux they drive, so what we used to derisively call a bumper rack (actually attached to a trailer hitch that probably gets used only for the rack) is currently the way to go.
    Back-in-the-day bike rider’s BIKES often were the most expensive things they owned and were usually attached (remember La Prealpina?) to the roof of cheap econo-boxes if they didn’t ride ’em to the event. These days it’s high-end trux and bikes with a combined price tag of more than my house!
    Cycling has really changed…and I’m not sure it’s for the better.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Word, Larry. What passes for affordable these days boggles the mind. P’raps it’s all the ee-lectronical infotainment whizbangs, gizmos and comosellamas that nevertheless don’t seem to stop motorists from running us over.

      The ’05 Furster still has its bike rack on the roof, where God wants it. It’s paid for. And I can stick a bike in the back without pulling off the front wheel, too.

      The Furster, during a visit to McDowell Mountain Regional Park

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Our LBS has one of the owner’s fancy carbon frame hanging on the wall, in two pieces, from when he drove into the garage with the bike on top. I scraped a Christmas tree off the top of my van doing the same thing.

        • larryatcycleitalia Says:

          What about the bozo who rear ends your car? At least with bikes on the roof it’s your own damn fault. I’m so used to having bikes on the roof that I check clearance before I drive under ANYTHING, even if there’s no roof rack on the car!
          The real head-scratcher for me is the pick ’em up truck with an empty 8-foot bed and bikes hanging WAY back out there behind the tailgate on one of these hitch racks. Things have changed for sure.

          • Pat O'Brien Says:

            You ain’t kidding Larry, especially with the way people tailgate these days. When Patrick and I went riding, we put the bikes in the bed of the truck using a Saris Traps triple track rack. I still have it even though the pickup is gone. I need to try it with a road bike in the back of the Rav4.

      • JD Dallager Says:

        I’m a big fan of the hitch rack: better gas mileage; bike stays in one piece; you lift the bike 14 inches in a good lifting position, not 72 inches in an awkward one; etc.

        That said, I only MTB now; when I was road cycling on a much lighter bike, the roof rack was my go-to. And…….I’m now 70, not 55! 🙂

  3. Dale Says:

    Merrill is moving to Santa Rosa. If that is in California, there appears to be a housing shortage. Perhaps you were referring to another Santa Rosa?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Nossir, he is indeed moving to that Santa Rosa. He bought a place there some time back, and he was fortunate in that it is still there waiting for him.

      Merrill, Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey and I all worked at what was then called the Gazette Telegraph in Bibleburg back in the Seventies. So Merrill has friends in high places (and low).

  4. DownhillBill Says:

    A local friend has what AFAIK may be the only example of those contemporary tiny Fiats with a trailer hitch. He only uses it for a bike rack, although his road bike will fit inside with only the front wheel removed. The T-rack is quicker to use and spares him from listening to the kibitzing crowd that otherwise gathers to watch the loading operation.

    BTW, Larry, does anyone actually tow anything with those in Italia?

  5. Not Jusak Says:

    My trailer hitch bike tower is from 1998. Still works fine. I thought I may have to purchase a new one as the MTB I just got has no real top tube. Have you priced the new hitch mounter racks lately? While in Moab last week I found an adapter at Rim Cyclery for $32.00. That purchase saved me a good $400.00.

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