Chipseal, choo-choos, and curses

Take me to the river.

Yesterday was one of those rare December days in the desert, the sort where you think, “OK, so if we survive the Parade of Plagues we’re all going to be drinking our own wee-wee come summer. It’s worth it.”

I was overdressed when I slipped out midday for a quick 20 miles of rollers, but not ridiculously so. Temps ranged from the low to mid-50s, and the sky was as you see.


Still, there have been Dire Portents of the End Times. My totem, a clockwork railroad engineer who waves from his locomotive-slash-mailbox as I pass, withheld the friendly gesture on Monday. But yesterday he was back on the job, so make of that what you will. Some of us just don’t feel the wave on Mondays.

And one of the cute little girls from next door swore at me like a Vegas Teamster. She’s a bit of a dervish, but usually she doesn’t whirl that way. Mom caught her at it and she was compelled to offer an apology watered down with a grinning decline to make eye contact, followed by a quick ascent of our front-stoop trellis. I suspect a mild case of demonic possession. No vaccination for that.

Speaking of vaccinations, Herself got boosted yesterday, and this morning she feels like she got shot at and hit and shit at and hit. That’s a Thursday Two-fer for you.

Still, better to be poorly for a little while than a long while. This Omicron cootie gets around faster than bad news on cable TV and we have a little old lady in our orbit. Wouldn’t do to fire a round of The Bug into assisted living. That’d be like turning a hyena loose in a Texas Roadhouse.

Speaking of which, who picks the names for these things? I’d just as soon not get croaked by something that sounds like a bush-league Avengers villain hoping for a callup to The Show. Whatever happened to proper plagues like the Red Death? Eddie Poe must be spinning in his grave.

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9 Responses to “Chipseal, choo-choos, and curses”

  1. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Chip seal is a lousy name. Tarred gravel might be more accurate. If you should crash on it, perhaps rider grater would be appropriate. Nasty stuff.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      This is ugly chipseal too. Very coarse and apparently unmaintained. I’m not sure who has the responsibility — the state, the feds, or the pueblo.

      You do not want to fall on this stuff. It makes peanut brittle look like a Hershey’s Kiss. Better you should attack yourself with a wood rasp.

      I think they call it “chipseal” because when your ass hits them chips you yelp like a seal.

      • B Lester Says:

        Here in Wisconsin, you just don’t ride it for a year. The traffic, the winter and the spring freeze/thaw makes it mostly rideable. Still, it’s a cheap shit way to avoid really fixing a road.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        This mile of road has been largely unmaintained since we moved here. Once some Authority dealt with a couple spots where heavy rain causes sand and gravel to wash across and pile up (to little if any effect). But that’s about it. Cracks that were tarred eons ago have reopened like hungry mouths. Shoulders crumble into rubble.

        In short, it looks like all roads will one day as our indifference catches up to us. Of course, we’ll all have flying e-cars and e-bikes by then. ’Scuse me while I pave the sky … (guitar break)

  2. khal spencer Says:

    What road is that? One thing I don’t miss about Los Alamos is riding NM4, which the state decided to chipseal for its entire length between White Rock and across the Jemez to LaCueva. Riding it was at first hopeless, then jarring, and lately just buzzing from the roughness. Down here in the People’s Republic, someone recently repaved Old Santa Fe Trail from near the city limits to its termination up on the mountain side of Eldorado and it is as smooth as a baby’s bottom.

    I did LaTierra Trails on Tuesday and a quick loop around the city yesterday after getting back from LANL. I never realized retirement would involve so much bureaucratic nonsense.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      That’s the climb to La Cueva Picnic Ground. 333B, I think it is. Your first right off 333 (the road to La Luz trail) from Tramway.

      It’s a mile long and gains about 370 vertical feet, most of it in the last half mile. Good spot for hill repeats.

      There’s hardly ever any traffic, which makes it a lot less scary than riding up to La Luz. The downsides are the horrible surface and a decreasing-radius corner that you don’t notice on the way up, but you sure do on the way down. Kinda like the second half of Nun’s Corner on the way to the Fanta Fe ski area.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Yep, I still remember the first time I went hurtling into Nun’s Corner without realizing the decreasing radius. Was a little interesting.There is a similar one coming out of Ancho Canyon headed to White Rock but on an uphill, so its only a sphincter-clamper for the unsuspecting motorcyclist.

  3. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Here in the Mitten State where we allow double the weight loads for trucks on our roads over most states; that chip sealed road looks mighty good to us. Hell we’ve got potholes the size of Honda Civics so a scratchy road tain’t nothin. When they do get around to laying new asphalt it usually falls apart in short time due to shitty work/materials and of course the ever popular freeze/thaw cycles.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      A shit job of chipsealing and a big increase in auto traffic helped croak the venerable Hardscrabble Century in Colorado, one of my favorite 100-milers.

      The highway folks left a soft shoulder and damn little of it between (I think) Rosita Road and Weirdcliffe, and lawdy sweet Jeebus this is not what a feller wants when he has only a thin skin of Lycra and a plastic beanie to save him from the hay trucks and RVs hellbent on delivering him to the Next World.

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