White-line fever

Base camp at the overflow area in McDowell Mountain Regional Park, circa 2004.

It’s been a chilly, damp winter in Albuquerque, which isn’t saying much.

Still, it grates after a while, and never more so than during February, a month that is simultaneously too short and too long.

Herself has been to Costa Rica, the neighbors just fled to Mexico, and some other friends beat feet all the way to France.

And yet here I sit (no, this is not a poem, and it is specifically not that poem), rattling the bars on my window of opportunity and losing arguments with the voices in my head.

I’ve written often and at length about my irrational hatred for February, and I was getting set to do it again when I realized, “Hey, I’ve written often and at length about my irrational hatred for February. Why don’t I turn it into a podcast?”

Which I did. This is it. You’re welcome. Now hand me the snow shovel on your way out, would you? I want to smack myself in the head with it.

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Editorial notes: The “Mad Dog Unleashed” column headlined “On the Road Again: Frown Lines Search for a Few Tan Lines,” which is my onion at the bottom of this bitter pot of bitch stew, first appeared in the February 2004 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. My line about February having roots in the French “febrile” is, as you may already know, complete and utter bullshit. The Cactus Cup has returned to McDowell Mountain Regional Park since that 2004 column — this year’s edition is slated for March 8-10. And finally, did you know that Peter “Sneaky Pete” Kleinow, pedal steel player for The Flying Burrito Brothers, was also a visual-effects artist and stop-motion animator who worked on “Gumby?” Neither did I.

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with an Audio-Technica AT2035 microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. I edited in Apple’s GarageBand on a 2014 MacBook Pro, adding audio acquired through fair means and foul via Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack (no profit was taken in an admittedly casual approach to various copyrights). Speaking of which, the pedal steel riff that closes the episode is from Merle Haggard’s “White Line Fever,” as performed by The Flying Burrito Brothers on their eponymous 1971 album. The background music is “Trapped” from Zapsplat.com. And the rewind sound is courtesy of TasmanianPower at Freesound.org.

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14 Responses to “White-line fever”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Another winner! By the way, the link on the right is the new episode. The link in the post is the previous episode.

    I managed to get 20 miles in today. Looks like our weather will be the shits until Saturday. Could you sleep in a little tent these days? I need a tent with enough room to put a chair and little table of some kind inside.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      O buggah! I was afraid I’d miss one. There are three in every episode: one in the introductory text, one at the “play” bar, and one in the sidebar. The trouble is, one type of link will work in the intro text, but not in the other spots.

      I should’ve gotten out today, at least for a short run, but it was pretty damn brisk through most of the day, and I really wanted to get the podcast up. I’m striving for Wednesday publication now (we’ll see how long that lasts). With Herself working Monday-Thursday it’s best if I do audio work in that time frame. She has her own side projects come weekends and some of ’em make a bit of racket. Just ask the cats, if you can find ’em under the bed.

      I can still sleep in a small tent when I have to, but when car camping these days I take that big ol’ North Face and an REI sunshade to boot (see below). I like some space in case the weather goes sideways.

      The North Face

  2. JD Dallager Says:

    PO’G and PO’B: Shuckydogs, me boyos. Those McDowell campsites look mighty inviting…..and the MTB trails and paved canal trails in PHX and environs are somewhat equidistant (not really, but I’m trying to facilitate a rendezvous) from each of you, eh?

    And some good green chili, coffee, cornbread et al cooking on a high or low tech burner might just scratch the itch of some “adventurers and cyclists” who frequent this august website…..c’est possible, eh? Real tent life and bad weather outside is better than a day cooped up inside in snow….or trying to live it virtually on the net.

    As a wise Army individual once told me when the Air Force was touting “virtual presence” from space and drones: “Virtual presence is actual absence”.

    Get your butts to PHX and do it while you can and the PHX weather is cordial. Good prep for the Rancho Pendejo 2d annual “Old Guys Who Get Fat in the Winter” cyclismo?? 🙂

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ah, there’s no way I can escape, JD. Being head of facilities and feline maintenance is a full-time job of work at the moment.

      Plus I have a review bike due to arrive any day now and I’m on a short deadline for this one. It’s easier to evaluate other people’s machinery from home base, though I did take the Marin Four Corners Elite to McDowell the last time I passed through.

  3. DownhillBill Says:

    That Timberline 2 tent brings back memories. Mine was from the era of “any color you want, as long as it’s leaf green.” Same groundsheet, though. I too go for larger digs now.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      That Eureka was my backpacking tent Back In the Day®, Bill. A Weirdcliffe outfitter, Bear Basin Ranch, used to have a shit-ton of the green ones. Both green and gray are good for stealth camping.

      I took the Eureka car camping early on for its ease of setup, but eventually decided that as long as I insisted on dragging a car around with me, the North Face made more sense.

      Now I have a Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2 for backpacking/touring. It sets up easy like the Eureka, but in traffic-cone orange it’s anything but stealthy.

  4. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    I’m with my mother-in-law on this subject…she declares “Camping is staying in a hotel without room service.”
    The gray skies and rain are gone (for now anyway) so we’re getting out on what passes for bikes for us here a few times each week.
    My goal is to open Piedmont Cycling Resort in mid-May being comfortable on a bike saddle and able to pedal for a couple of hours without croaking. Any real fitness or condition will be a bonus.
    Hope you get some sunshine and warm temps soon, isn’t that why people move to places in a desert?

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Good morning Larry. Thanks for the weather wishes. We have a winter storm warning for today and tomorrow. Go figure.
      Your Piedmont Cycling Resort is really something. Kinda of a bucket list trip for cyclists. Make a million, or at least a good living!

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        Best part is I no longer have to make a living at it – I’m happy if we can have fun and break-even at the end of each season. The IRS might not be so happy with this idea, but if we can take in enough to pay our hotel and other partners without digging into our personal nest egg, we’re happy!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      “My goal is to [be] able to pedal for a couple of hours without croaking.” That’s all I ever asked.

      Glad to hear the weather’s cooperating. I was doing OK until this week, when we got this series of storms passing through. I had been throttling the running back, but I’m getting after that again until the temps inch up a tad.

      This McDowell camping barely qualifies as camping. Each site has water and power, table and grill, and showers are an easy walk away. The E.I. Rowland site is reliably full to overflowing this time of year.

      The Ironwood tent sites are a bit more rustic, and more often available. Even there, amenities are a hop, skip and jump away.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        For me it’s a) the (lack of) bed b) having to get out of the tent to take a pee or shower. I’m not sure what my mother-in-law’s objections are, but the last camping I did was 3 decades ago.
        I decided sleeping in a bag or even on a cot in a tent was something I should get paid to do rather than vice-versa after a rainy night when we ended up the next morning going to a motel and nearby laundromat to wash and dry everything out! The camp stove, tent and all the rest sat for years in our basement afterwards before finally going to the Salvation Army.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        The freezing off of one’s ass is also contraindicated. I recall camping one night in Gallup en route to … Sea Otter, maybe? Woke up at dark-thirty with frost on the inside of the tent and took a moment to meditate upon the benefits of frugality.

  5. Charley Says:

    Patrick, et al. It Is currently raining and very gray in the Fountain Hills area. We have been having the crappy weather here as well. Including unusual rain. Relatively extra cold (32 – 35) for the Phoenix Valley. Not good for old bodies wanting to bike.

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