Archive for the ‘Albuquerque’ Category

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

February 12, 2021

Red sky at morning, Mad Dogs take warning.

So much for the days of knickers and short sleeves.

I’ve gotten out every day this week, including two short trail rides — the first on a Steelman cyclocross bike, the second on the DBR hardtail — and one short but luxurious hike on a day so warm I could roll up my sleeves and go bareheaded, get a little vitamin D into the old chrome-dome.

A fella has to make hay while the sun shines, don’t you know. The weather wizards predict a wintry one-two punch this weekend, with the Duke City getting the worst of it on Sunday.

In the meantime, we were treated to a colorful sunrise this morning. A warning if ever I saw one.

 

Wolf at the door, pig in a blanket

January 19, 2021

Low ceiling over Albuquerque.

The Big Bad Wolf must be in the ’hood. He spent the night huffin’, and puffin’, and tryin’ to blow our house down.

At one point I considered getting up to see if any windows or doors had been breached, because who needs deer, foxes, or the neighbor kids in the kitchen at breakfast?

Taking the long view.

But once I’m up, I’m generally up for good, so I just burrowed deeper into the covers and hoped the Wolf was after some other little piggie.

I saw it coming when I was out for a short hike yesterday, up the south side of the Candelaria Bench Trail. I didn’t go all the way up to the bench, because it was late in the day and I didn’t want to give Yahweh a free shot at me if He was thinking about pitching a few electrical fastballs.

There was only one other dude on the trail, a guy and his dog headed down.

“That’s Blue. Blue’s everybody’s friend,” the guy said, and Blue proved it by giving my outstretched hand a generous “How y’doin’?” slurp.

Alone again, I wandered around a bit, watching the clouds roll in, wishing I’d gotten an earlier start. I should really spend more time up here. Pack a lunch, bring a pad and pen, find a quiet spot in the rocks, get all pedestrian and analog for a spell. Flush out the headgear.

But yesterday was not the day. And neither is today. The Wolf is still testing the doors and windows.

‘Christmas in Chihuahua’

December 29, 2020

Giclée prints are available in the lobby. Cash only. No checks.

Behold the latest in my celebrated “A Mad Dog in Winter” series. It may be my greatest Work. Either that or just an iPhone snap of the driveway.

Speaking of the Work, Charles Pelkey and I will be joining the fabled Diane Jenks this morning on “The Outspoken Cyclist” podcast. We’ll be talking about Live Update Guy in general and the late Msgr. Richard “Mons” Soseman in particular. Mons was a regular at LUG during his days at the Vatican, and this is just another way for us to tell the world how much we miss him.

‘Better Call Santa,’ or ‘Breaking Bethlehem’

December 26, 2020

No snow in them thar hills for Christmas.

Father Christmas has done his usual drive-by on us. A few donuts around the cul-de-sac and off he shot into the frosty Duke City suburbs. Couldn’t ID the plate on that rig, but it was probably stolen, so why bother?

Anyway, all the John Laws on this side of town were tied up with some act of misbehavior down on Copper (and no, the irony did not escape us). We saw their Mickey Mouse ears all aglow to the west like some SWAT-team Star of Bethlehem as we turned off Copper onto Tramway, homeward bound following a visit to Herself the Elder’s assisted-living residence.

Earlier, Herself distributed freshly baked molasses cookies to the neighbors in a brazen act of socialism as I contemplated the verities.

Father Christmas,
give us some money.

We walked off our breakfast pancakes with a brisk hike through the foothills — “Merry Christmas!” shouted a happy family from their backyard hot tub, and no, I am not making that up — after which we motored off for the aforementioned holiday chat through HtE’s bedroom window, like family members visiting a jailed relative.

“I know, I know, you didn’t do nothing, habeas corpus and all that, but they still won’t set bail, and that abogado pendejo Saul Goodman won’t return our calls — ‘Better Call Saul’ my ass — so you’re just gonna have to wait a while longer, OK? Next time we’ll bring cigarettes and commissary money, I promise.”

Back at the shack we rang up my sister and her husband in Fort Fun, after which it was my turn in the kitchen barrel. The main dish was a largish Alaskan salmon filet (h/t Matt Wiebe) drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled generously with salt and pepper, and baked at 425° for 10-12 minutes, after which it got a squeeze of fresh lemon. Sides were white asparagus, arroz verde, and a green salad. Fake beer for me, a nice Provençal rosé for Herself.

As we ate we finished our binge-watching of “Breaking Bad,” because nothing says Christmas like an apocalyptic settling of old scores among meth kingpins.

Speaking of holiday entertainment, at some point during the day I gave ear to “Desert Oracle Radio,” a podcast recommended by Adventure Journal magazine. I’ve only listened to two episodes so far, but I’m gonna give it a tentative thumbs-up based on the Christmas show alone, which touches on our beloved Land of Entrapment and a few of its holiday oddities.

Herself thinks Ken Layne sounds like the Motel 6 guy. (“We’ll leave the light on for you.”) I think he sounds like the Motel 6 guy (with a smack habit). Take him for a quick spin around the Mojave and tell us what you think he sounds like.

Watermelon in winter

December 17, 2020

We’ve been getting some stellar sunrises and sunsets lately. No wonder the mountains are called the Sandias.

Rocket Grrrls

November 23, 2020

Check the speed on the Cateye. I wasn’t that slow all day long,
but I was pretty damn close.

The weather has taken a seasonal turn. Yesterday I waited overlong to get out for a ride and the wind bullied me, getting all up in my grill no matter which direction I was headed.

The nice thing about riding a cyclocross bike on a day like this is that it gives you more options for dodging the breeze. So I swapped pavement for trail and trail for pavement as necessary for a little over an hour, jinking this way or that if the wind or some maskless eejit loomed large dead ahead.

When I got tired of playing meteorological and virological hide-and-seek I headed for home through High Desert. I had glimpsed what I thought was a pair of roadies behind me as I ground along in too big a gear past the Bear Canyon Trailhead, and figured they’d hang a right on Spain, but nope.

It was two women from the Rocket Grrrls squad on either ’cross bikes or gravel bikes, and they passed me on the short climb to Wilderness Estates, where a short connector trail leads to the Embudito Trailhead and the pavement that takes me back to El Rancho Pendejo.

They were on fire, too. Rocket Grrrls indeed. I didn’t bother to get off to check for flats or rubbing brake pads. I’ve ridden with Karen Hornbostel, Mari Holden, Dede Demet, Alison Dunlap, and Katie Compton, if only briefly and without distinction, and I know when I’ve been chicked.

‘Beer’ me

November 16, 2020

The only fake beer worth drinking.

When the gub’nah announced The Clampdown v2.0 on Friday I didn’t think much about it.

Seemed obvious it was coming, the grownup equivalent of your mom delivering a dope-slap to the back of your head for acting the fool. I can see one of those coming a mile away and my mom’s been dead since 1995.

Since I’ve actually been minding my manners during The Plague, following Michelle’s Big Book of Rules and whatnot, I figured to just keep on keepin’ on. No dope-slap for me, thanks all the same. Lookit me, all like being a good boy, an’ shit.

I’d done my chores, gotten outdoors for a bit of essential aerobic exercise, and endured the gub’nah’s weekly video tongue-lashing. It was definitely beer-thirty. But I was out of my preferred fake ale, and so, with some spicy tacos and taters on the dinner menu, I figured I’d toddle down to Total Wine and fetch me some more.

Total Wine is your basic one-stop shop. They have my Clausthaler Dry Hopped and Herself’s La Vieille Ferme rosé. Zip in and out like a great big road runner. Meep meep!

Assuming you’re popping round at some oddball time and day, that is — not at 3:30 on a Friday just as the gub’nah is announcing that come Monday, the retail drawbridge will be pulled up and the moat restocked with alligators, piranha fish, and electric eels.

Holy hell. The parking lot looked like Shea Stadium during that 1965 Beatles concert, and inside was worse. Plus they were completely out of my near-beer.

I managed to escape with my Subaru intact and motored on over to Kelly’s Liquors in the Mountain Run Shopping Center, the second of just three options for Clausthaler Dry Hopped in the Duke City, Wholeazon Amafoods being the third.

That parking lot was a hair less batshit, but only thanks to greater capacity; it serves an entire shopping center, with a Smith’s, a Walgreens, and all manner of other retail opportunities. But there was a big ol’ boy standing at Kelly’s door directing traffic in and out of the shop, of which there was plenty.

I took a deep masked breath, shot to the cooler for a case of hoppiness, paid, and beat feet. On the way to the Subaru I heard the big fella respond to a question about what might happen come Monday with, “Naw, we’re an essential service.”

Boy howdy. I’ll drink to that. As long as the gub’nah will let me, that is.

Bag pipe and boots

November 1, 2020

Where the wisdom at? That’s what we’re out here for, right? Say, anybody hungry besides me? This fasting business sure gives a fella an appetite.

And yea, they did wander in the desert for 40 days and nights, or until lunchtime, whichever came first.

The weather was nice enough for cycling yesterday, but we decided to take a hike instead, and that was pretty a’ight too. Lots of maskless eejits about, which was not so nice, and goes a long way toward explaining why New Mexico hospitals are not lacking for customers.

Back at El Rancho Pendejo, we found our westward next-door neighbor had devised a COVID-compliant candy-delivery system in case any trick-or-treaters decided to roll the viral dice come nightfall. It was basically a long section of PVC, wrapped in colored lights and angled downward toward a bucket; he dropped the goodies in the upper end, the kiddos bagged them from the bucket. Pure genius. I should’ve taken a photo.

We kept our lights out and restricted candy distribution to his grandkids and the two squirts belonging to the eastern next-door neighbors. Our clientele included two cats, one cow, a fairy, a princess, and Wonder Woman. Everyone got the same treats, sealed in individual Ziploc bags with some cartoon decorations by Your Humble Narrator. Small-s socialism at its finest in the ol’ cul-de-sac.

Later we enjoyed a fine blue moon with red Mars for company. The moon was more impressive, which I considered a good omen, until the local pendejos started in with the gunshots and fireworks. Mars won’t give up without a fight.

Keep your hiking boots where you can find them in the dark. We won’t always have a full moon to light our path through the wilderness.

Draught for a drought

October 31, 2020

Man, you just can’t beat the clouds in New Mexico, even if they occasionally snow on you.

Seven inches. I measured it, with a steel ruler.

No, not that. The snow. The landscape drank it the way a wino chugs a short dog.

You’d be surprised how quickly an Albuquerque lawn can drink seven inches of snow. Maybe not.

Winter’s drive-by with its record snowfall and low temperature meant I had to crank up the furnace two days earlier than last year. There’s something final about the sound of that Trane XR80 groaning back to hideous life; every time I switch the thermostat from “Cool” to “Heat” I feel as though I’ve just driven a stake through the heart of summer.

The streets cleared quickly — after 133 vehicle crashes and 31 injuries, nobody wanted to be on them, not even the snow.

But if you were afoot and kept your eyes open it wasn’t awful. I went out for a couple hourlong walks and by Friday it was warm enough for a ride, in long sleeves, knickers and tuque.

Anyway, we’ve got a stretch of 60-something and sunny on tap, so it looks like the landscape is back on the wagon after slamming its cold one.

Unhorsed

October 26, 2020

Don’t get wisterical. It’s just a little snow.

We were on something of a weather carousel here this morning, a slowly revolving lazy Susan serving up blue sky, clouds, rain, sleet, and snow. Don’t like what’s set before you? Patience. Another option will be coming around directly.

Eventually, ol’ Suze coasted to a stop … on snow.

Oh, well. It was bound to happen eventually. It’s October, f’chrissakes. Cyclocross season in an ordinary year, which this is not, with the Giro just wrapped and the Vuelta ongoing.

I got my cyclocross in yesterday before the weather went all to shitaree, rolling south on the foothills trails past Copper and back again.

No running, thanks all the same. Not even a hike-a-bike. The weather was cool, but the ground was dry, alarmingly so, and there wasn’t anything I couldn’t ride on my trusty Steelman Eurocross.

Alas, as Thomas McGuane has written, “sometimes a man needs to be afoot to keep from going broke, get down and go to his tasks, instead of posing on the horse. …”

So today, no horsing around. I pulled on some long pants, grabbed the push broom, and herded some snow off my driveway. Yippee-ki-yay, etc.