Archive for the ‘Albuquerque’ Category

Equinot yet goddammit. …

September 21, 2020

Me and the Voodoo Wazoo on the homebound leg.

The last day of summer? C’mon. Didn’t the Tour just wrap on Sunday, f’chrissakes?

C’monnnnnnnn. …

OK, well, then, since it is the last day of summer, with all that implies (impending winter, the ongoing cooling of the Universe, entropy galloping along unchecked toward inert uniformity), I decided to do something I haven’t done all that much this year, and that was ride the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

It practically goes without saying that I was on a rigid chromoly frame and fork, with rim brakes, 700c tubed tires, and electronic/hydraulic nothing. Unless you count the thousand-year-old Cateye Velo 8 cyclocomputer on the handlebar.

Mostly sunny, temps in the 70s, everybody in the vicinity just having a high old time. Sure, winter, entropy, and all that, but still, damn. I’ll take it.

One more for the road

September 10, 2020

Anybody up for a cold one?

I hope the hummingbirds like their sugar water on the rocks.

The last couple days must’ve been an unpleasant surprise for the little buzzbombs.

“Goddamn it, Rufous, I told you we should’ve split for Acapulco last week! I’m freezing my tailfeathers off!”

Could be worse. Could be in Bibleburg, where Thursday’s low tied a 122-year-old record. Up there the hummers are wearing merino-wool longjohns and watch caps.

’Round about midnight

September 9, 2020

The dread Crusty County Snow Spiral of Doom. Photo by Hal Walter

A wind-driven rain blew us right out of bed last night about three hours after lights out.

I say “last night” because it was still dark. But it was just after midnight. And it sounded as though Poseidon was power-washing the house, or maybe shot-peening it, which probably doesn’t do much to harden stucco against the elements.

As I will never be smart, this was about the time it occurred to me that I probably should’ve taken down the various bird feeders hanging around and about El Rancho Pendejo, maybe cinched down the cover over the gas grill, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

But this morning, all the feeders and the grill cover remained in place. The only damage was to the plastic footlocker we use to store the cushions for our patio furniture; that sucker got blown over and one of the gas struts FUBARed.

The cushions, as you might deduce, got wet.

I estimate that we got a foot or two of rain, but since it was coming in sideways at warp 5 it only amounted to a quarter inch or so. We can expect more of the same later today, it seems. And with the weather widget showing 43° at 8:48 in the ayem it’s about as warm as it’s going to get.

About 12,000 Burqueños lost power last night, and the problem persists this morning. Khal S. reports that he and a few thousand of his fellow Santa Feos were back to kerosene lanterns, wood heat, and carrier pigeons too. Up north my man Hal Walter was likewise back to a traditional mountain lifestyle (freezing to death in the dark), and woke up to snow; the icing on the cake, as it were.

All in all, it seems a good day to stay indoors and listen to Miles Davis. Even if it’s not ’round about midnight.

Ash hole

September 8, 2020

The iPhone camera didn’t care for the conditions, and neither did we.

With Labor Day in the rear-view mirror, we’re on the fast, winding descent to fall, the election, winter, The Fear, and the decline and fall of western civilization.

And now here’s Patrick with the weather!

We got a surprise visit from someone’s wildfire smoke last evening, probably Santa Fe’s. Though it could’ve come all the way from California or Colorado, where my sister reported from Fort Fun that clouds of noxious smoke from the Cameron Peak Fire turned day into night.

“We have also had lots of ash falling,” she added.

Here we got only smoke, which made the setting sun look like the devil’s fiery bunghole. The pic doesn’t begin to do it justice. It was as red as the business end of a plutocrat’s cigar as he’s telling you to clear out your desk and hit the bricks.

This morning the sky has an odd, flat, metallic sheen, and the Duke City is enjoying an air-quality alert, though we don’t have to cut it with a knife and chew 20 times before swallowing the way they do out to Californy. It must be tough to sell real estate when so much of it is floating around in the sky.

Happy trails

September 3, 2020

The Elena Gallegos Open Space was awash in goodwill on Wednesday.

Maybe it was the abrupt change in temperature from “hot as balls” to “ooh that’s nice.”

During a short ride around the Elena Gallegos Open Space yesterday morning everyone I met was in high spirits. Not a sourpuss in the lot.

Cyclists, equestrians, hikers, moms with kids, dog-walkers — everybody was smiling as though the Republic were ticking along like a fine watch instead of missing on three of eight cylinders, leaking vital fluids, and badly in need of a front-end alignment.

I haven’t been riding the trails much during the Year of the Bug because once everyone who could work from home was working from home, well … it seemed that a lot of them were not exactly working from home. Not unless their homes were on the range, where the deer and the antelope — and Your Humble Narrator — play.

With a dodgy ankle I doubted my ability to excel at “Dodge the Noob,” so mostly I abandoned the trails for the roads, though occasionally I’d hit some short, wide, low-traffic trail to cleanse the old velo-palette.

But six months later I’m more or less myself, or someone very much like him. And yesterday I didn’t have to dodge anyone. The thundering herd seemed to have thinned a bit, and those who remained didn’t give off that displaced-gym-rat vibe. Earbuds were very much not in evidence. Mostly I yielded trail, of course, even when I had the right of way. But occasionally people who had the right of way even yielded to me.

Cheery greetings were exchanged, munchkins on strider bikes applauded, horsemanship admired. Even my battered Voodoo Nakisi drew some appreciation.

“Doing some cyclocross, hey?” asked one guy after I complimented his dog, some class of burly curly black wonderpooch. I explained that my bike was a 29er with drop bars, your basic monstercrosser, just the thing for the Elena Gallegos trails, and then headed for the barn.

It was a random sample, not a scientific poll. Pundits will not cite it as evidence of a trend going into the November election. But I found it comforting. For an hour or so, anyway.

Wash and rinse

September 1, 2020

Arroyo, with a side of agua fria, coming up.

I had just turned into the cul-de-sac when it started raining.

My timing couldn’t have been better. I had left El Rancho Pendejo 90 minutes earlier for a brisk morning march along various foothills trails, because the weather wizards were predicting thundershowers. And when I turned around, up by Embudo Dam, I saw that they did not lie.

The Sandman cometh.

So I cranked up the pace a bit as the skies darkened, and then darkened some more. The wind sprang up, as it will, out of the north. Onward.

Finally, just past Candelaria on Trail 365, I broke into a run. Or what I call a run, anyway. A runner might disagree, or perhaps just laugh out loud.

And then, boom, just as I got home, the skies opened up and pissed rain … for a solid minute. Maybe two.

Oh, well. In the desert, two minutes of rain is better than none.

Run it up the flagpole …

August 31, 2020

The first Biden-Harris flag of the campaign season.

… and see who salutes. We did.

 

 

Smooth as glass

August 25, 2020

This section of Tramway didn’t get the upgrade.

I was out dicking around on the bike this morning when I thought I’d ride the recently resurfaced Tramway Boulevard, just for the hell of it.*

Nothing stays shiny and new for long around here, whether it’s bottles or boulevards.

There are other ways to get north and/or south on this side of town, and I normally use them.

But when a reader wrote to the Albuquerque Journal‘s “Road Warrior” column to praise the work that had been done on this death march of a high-speed, multilane, median-divided thoroughfare, well, shit, I figured I owed it to journalism to give it a look-see.

So I rode Tramway north from El Rancho Pendejo to just past the climb to Juan Tabo Picnic Grounds, then turned around and scoped out the southbound leg down to Cloudview before reversing course yet again for the trek back to the rancheroo.

And I’m with the Journal‘s happy reader. Well done, fellas. The new blacktop really makes the broken glass stand out.

* “Just for the hell of it.” In case you’ve never ridden Tramway, that’s a joke, son!

Desert crapshoot

August 25, 2020

We’re a little light on shade out here in the foothills.

“It’s been a pretty sad monsoon season across New Mexico,” says weather wizard Daniel Porter over to the Albuquerque Journal.

Truer words, etc. Water use has risen in one of the driest summers in a decade. And the phrase “hot as balls” gets used almost daily at El Rancho Pendejo, because somebody around here has a predilection for coarse language.

A sudden deluge has a go at pounding down the dust.

I wore a big-ass Carhartt boonie hat and plenty of sunscreen for my five-mile hike yesterday, well above the haze drifting along the Rio Grande. I’ll pay attention to an air-quality alert when I can’t see my shoes through the smoke and my shorts are on fire.

Still, it was as hot as balls out there. I forgot a handkerchief and had to lift my lid periodically to drag a paw across my soggy noggin.

Come evening the universe decided we deserved a break. Out of nowhere it suddenly rained good and hard, if only for a short while, and we threw open the windows and doors to let the cool breeze blast through the joint.

Nothing is likely to cool the fevered lowbrows at the GOP ‘s Nuremberg rally, alas. Short of putting the lot of ’em in the deep freeze for a few dozen campaign cycles, that is. Don’t look for links. They’re all missing. Badaboom, badabing.

Ash Thursday?

August 20, 2020

Looping around to the west-northwest and the Indian School trailhead.

A fine haze hovered above the Rio as I hiked around the Foothills trails yesterday.

A neighbor remarked that it looked like a “Star Wars” scene set on Tatooine.

And come evening, all that vaporized forest certainly made for a thrilling sunset.

The photo really doesn’t do it justice. The sun was as red as Sauron’s Eye, and it vanished long before the actual horizon in an impenetrable cloud of smoke. Whether it came from the Medio fire near Santa Fe or one of the many, many others scattered around the West, I have no idea.

I had been thinking about a nice long road ride this morning, but now I’m not so sure. I like my air a little less chewy.