Archive for the ‘Albuquerque’ Category

Wild kingdom

August 6, 2018

Say hello to my pal Sluggo, who took the scenic route (down the stucco wall) to the yard the other day.

We’ve had a pleasant few days around the ol’ rancheroo, lounging on the back patio with a beverage of an evening, airing the cats, and watching the wildlife (which, unlike cable or even streaming video, is free).

The deer have been sniffing around again, drawn by the neighbors’ apples (they’ve already wiped out our crop). And our hummingbird feeder is attracting quite the crowd —  rufous, broad-tailed, black-chinned and maybe even a calliope. The aerial combat over the sugar water looks like the Battle of Britain. Even the bees are getting involved.

Bigger birds have been on display, too. One great big hawk, either a redtail or ferruginous, sat perched atop a neighbor’s tree for the better part of quite some time the other evening, putting a damper on all the other avian activity. A hawk thinks a bird feeder is a hawk feeder.

Later, what looked like a prairie falcon came out of nowhere and swooped low overhead, perhaps mistaking the Turk for a great big bunny. Nope. “That’s no ordinary rabbit,” as Tim the Enchanter has taught us.

Perhaps the most striking creature we’ve seen all summer was a two-tailed swallowtail butterfly, which found one of our shrubs mesmerizing. I should’ve taken a pic, but I didn’t want to interrupt its snacking.

And then there was Sluggo. Less attractive, perhaps, but he gave me an excuse to try the macro function on the Sony RX100 III.

Besides, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, que no? I ain’t exactly George Clooney myself, as Herself periodically reminds me.

Un Orso sotto la pioggia

August 1, 2018

The Bianchi Orso sports a Tubus Cargo Classic (with adapters to clear the Breezer-style dropouts and thru-axle levers), an Arkel TailRider rack truck with attached Dry-Lite panniers and a Revelate Egress Pocket. Oh, yeah, and five water bottles.

August? Say what? Wasn’t it July just a minute ago?

Here at Ye Olde Dogge Parque the party just keeps rolling along. The Bianchi Orso is nearly ready for its closeup. I need a few details from Bianchi HQ, but they seem a taciturn lot for persons of the Italian persuasion.

Perhaps they’re distracted by the antics of that other ugly American, the one whose coloration is rare among the primates, save for the orangutans, who do not claim him. Happily, Bianchi USA is lending a hand, trying to fill in the gaps. Che figata!

The sharp-eyed among you may note a rain jacket strapped behind the Egress handlebar bag. It has indeed been raining in the ’hood, and not just your occasional refreshing sprinkle, either. Daily full-on frog-stranglers is more like it.

Seems it’s either drought or deluge around here. Some middle way would be greatly appreciated. Why, I actually had to dodge a puddle on my morning run. Che cazzo!

Come rain or come shine

July 29, 2018

Whenever it rains this low spot fills up on Juniper Hill Road NE.

Fender weather? In ’Burque? Say it ain’t so!

’Tis so.

SKS keeps Sammy shiny.

Fanta Se got hammered the other day by what the weather wizards were calling a thousand-year storm, and we’ve had a couple doozies of our own.

They left smallish sand dunes and mud streaked across the roads, and the occasional shallow puddle, which never lasts long because this is thirsty country.

Nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution, because I hate that brown stripe up the keister, on Friday I rode the Sam Hillborne with its silver SKS thermoplastics. And yesterday I hauled out the Soma Saga Disc, which sports a set of black Soma mudguards.

Today we’re back to sunshine and homicide, so I’ll climb back aboard the Bianchi Orso, whose moment in the media sunshine is fast approaching.

It never rains, but it pours.

Bucket (play)list

July 14, 2018

It never rains, but it pours. Enough to fill up that bucket, anyway.

The rain gods finally heard our prayers this afternoon. Or maybe they heard the Tom Waits. I was playing “Small Change,” but it might be time to cue up “Rain Dogs.” For I am a Rain Dog too.

Yeah, but it’s a dry heat

June 27, 2018

“Hot enough for ya? Har har har! Hey, that’s a joke, son. What are ya, some sort of pussy? Ho ho ho!”

We’re still waiting on that “early” monsoon season here in the Duke City.

While we wait, pretty much all the forests have been closed for fear of fire, and thus the streets are full of mannerless douchebag fatheads who miss shoulder-checking elderly hikers into the trailside cholla whilst shredding the gnar-gnar.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service advises that today’s temperatures, expected to range from 98 to 105 degrees depending upon where one parks one’s van, “pose an elevated health risk to sensitive people,” of which I am one, as any regular reader of this blog will testify.

No wonder Dougie Lamborn cruised to victory in the GOP primary yesterday. It’s abundantly clear that Hell hasn’t frozen over. It’s just relocated to the Southwest.

Summertime …

June 21, 2018

Homeward bound.

… and the living ain’t easy. Not if you’re riding a bike into a stiff breeze, anyway.

Get your kicks, etc.

Bored with my usual routes, I decided to cycle to Tijeras this morning. Old Route 66 is a pleasant, rolling road with good shoulders and moderate traffic, and the ride is not particularly challenging, unless you happen to be gnawing on a stout headwind that the weather wizards didn’t bother mentioning before you left home.

The good news is that it turned into a glorious tailwind for the return leg. At one point I was coasting at 35 mph. Beat the mortal nuts off grinding along at single digits in the 24×18.

Back at the ranch, I noted that our “leaders” were still trying to transform the nation into a poor reality-TV reboot of a Marx Brothers movie:

• Migrants on military bases? I asked the Air Force a while back if I could visit Randolph AFB, where I spent five years as a mad puppy, and they said nix. And mind you, they wouldn’t even have to separate me from my parents, because they’re both dead.

• Fancy Pants Pruitt. Sounds like a character from “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight,” doesn’t he? Except Jimmy Breslin would never write such a shabby little mook.

• From tactical pants to tactless jackets. Guess what, Melania? We knew it already.

• A snippet of video that serves as “a brisk and complete summary of the great ship of fools that is the United States House of Representatives under the barely noticeable leadership of Speaker Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from the state of Wisconsin.”

Hail, hail, FreeDumbia. Duck soup, I tell ya.

The path is the way

June 19, 2018

Looking east toward Albuquerque from the 98th Street end of the I-40 Trail.

Today’s ride sort of got away from me.

That fine country gentleman Sam Hillborne and I rolled north on Tramway nine-ish and it was 1 in the peeyem before we got back. Fifty miles is a long way for one of us.

I was thinking we’d roll down Tramway and under I-25 along Roy to 4th, then noodle over to the Alameda open space and thence onto the Paseo del Bosque. And so we did.

Take it to the bridge! The Gail Ryba Memorial Bridge, that is.

But at I-40 I decided on a whim to hang a right and experience the Gail Ryba Memorial Bridge, named to honor the founder of Bike ABQ and the Bicycle Coalition of New Mexico. Gail, a former Sandia Lab researcher, died of cancer in May 2010, and Friend of the Blog Khalil S. noted her passing here.

For some reason I’d never headed west on the I-40 Trail, which goes all the way to 98th, and today there was pretty much nobody out there but me. I felt like Magellan after crossing the Rio on Gail’s bridge.

There are a couple screwy multilane-thoroughfare crossings — none of your fancy-schmancy bridges there, bucko — and one poorly marked U-turn under Coors at Ouray Road, just past the Walmart. That double-left leads to a narrow stretch of trail by a storage concern that looks like a lovely place for a quiet killing.

But once past that, it’s smooth sailing. In fact, a touring cyclist westbound from, say, El Rancho Pendejo, armed with a working knowledge of the city’s bicycle trails, wouldn’t have to spend more than a dozen minutes riding on actual streets while traversing the Duke City.

Of course, once the bike path runs out by 98th, you’ve got I-40 to deal with. Weed, whites and wine, etc. Just stay willin’ … to be movin’.

The Rio, as seen from Gail’s bridge.

Forward, into the past (part 1,672,078 in a series)

June 18, 2018

The road to the clouds. OK, so it’s the road to the tram. But the tram is the road to the clouds, so there, smartypants.

How pleasant to enjoy a respite from summer before its official arrival.

The rain ushered in a brief spell of cooler temps, and I actually considered wearing knee and arm warmers for yesterday’s ride. But the sun eventually came out, and stayed out, so I troweled on some sunscreen instead and got after it.

The Eurocross lacks handlebar tape, but otherwise it’s all set for 1990.

What was intended as a short spin wound up taking a couple hours, and afterward Herself and I slouched on the back patio with refreshing beverages, helping the cats watch the birds.

On Saturday, while it was still raining, I continued my time travels, chucking my favorite Steelman Eurocross into the Wayback Machine for a journey to the era when aero levers and bar-end shifters ruled Velo-earth. That Shimano 600 STI was just too dern modern for me.

While I was about it I added a new, wider bar, a 44cm Soma Highway One, which has less reach and drop than the old 42cm Cinelli Eubios. The Cinelli may be as old as the bike, which says something about Cinelli quality, the luck I was pushing, or perhaps both.

Oh, deer

June 9, 2018

Miss Mia Sopaipilla thinks a little fresh venison would enhance the daily bowl of dry cat food. | Photo: Herself

Eight o’clock, 70 degrees. Summer may not officially start until June 21, but it feels pretty damn’ summery right now.

The drought is driving famished mule deer down from the foothills and into people’s yards, including ours. The rose bushes provide tasty morsels, as do the lilacs. Looks like they’ve been after the pears as well. And the cinderblock wall is taking something of a beating from the JV hurdlers.

This one was scrawny but a good leaper. Cleared the wall in a single bound.

After the deluge

June 4, 2018

That pleasant little soaking we got yesterday soothed a scorched patch of grass in the back yard.

Herb swung by El Rancho Pendejo for a nosh and a nip after his museum-inspection tour of Fanta Se and asked if it had rained here.

Yup. Like a mad bastard, too, probably for a good 20 minutes.

But you’d never know it, because the sun came right back out, and there was nary a puddle to be seen.

This Chihuahuan Desert country drinks like a clerk-typist telling fake war stories at a VFW bar. And we’re a thousand feet above the Rio, so the parched earth just swallows and pisses and swallows and pisses and hollers “More! More! More!”

Thus yesterday’s downpour was already coursing through the Rio before we could say, “Hmm, smells like rain.”

“One never knows during a fine dinner when a bike ride will break out. Always Be Ready.”
Photo and caption by Herb C., who, like Herself, takes notice when a bicycle is parked where it shouldn’t oughta be.

Still, we’ll take whatever moisture comes our way. It must have been particularly welcome up north, where crews are still battling the 36,000-acre Ute Park fire.

Today we’re right back to hot and sunny, which is a good thing. For me, anyway. Those bicycles aren’t gonna review themselves.