Archive for the ‘autumn’ Category

The path is the Way

November 9, 2021

Light traffic, muted colors

I hate to do this to those of you who are wrestling with actual November weather. But oh, was yesterday ever a fine day to ride the ol’ bikey-bike down to the bosque.

It was a little late in the season to catch the prime fall colors, but there was a flash or two here and there.

Traffic was light on the Paseo del Bosque trail, so instead of heading south past I-40 to Mountain and heading home via the mean streets, Indian School and whatnot, I pulled a U at the interstate — pulling off the arm and knee warmers — and enjoyed a double dose of the auto-free environment.

Then I enhanced the experience by riding the Paseo del Norte path, the North Diversion Channel Trail, and the Arroyo del Oso/Bear Canyon Trail. Hey, you got all this bicycle infrastructure, why not put it to use?

The whole trip added up to a little more than 40 miles and made a nice change of pace from the usual dawdling about in the foothills. I enjoyed my departure from the norm so much that I did it again today.

No, not the 40-mile bike ride. Today, I went for a run.

Not so hot

November 5, 2021

The wisteria is calling it quits for the year.

The mornings are brisk around here lately. Upon arising I find myself compelled to don pants. This will not do, not at all.

This is one of the few downsides of living snuggled up to the Sandias. Come fall the sun doesn’t peek over the mountains and through the trees until 9:30 or later, which causes Miss Mia Sopaipilla to burn the early morning hours hunting a toasty napping place that does not yet exist as such.

Here comes the sun. “About time,” grouses Mia.

The geezers I ride with a couple days a week likewise search for that sweet sunny spot. There has been some debate as to whether rides should continue to begin 9-ish or be delayed a tad to minimize the need for extensive layering.

It’s not unusual to experience a 30-degree temperature swing in the course of a 90-minute morning outing, which fills the jersey pockets to overflowing with wind jackets, arm and knee warmers, long-fingered gloves, skullcaps and whatnot. Jersey zippers rise and fall with the terrain.

Our location here, at the bottom of a cul-de-sac in the shadow of the foothills, often causes me to believe it’s colder outdoors than it really is. Yesterday I rode the Jones south on the foothills trails and inside 10 minutes I knew I was ridiculously overdressed. Nevertheless I persisted, because there wasn’t much I could do about the long-sleeved jersey and I didn’t stuff any short-fingered gloves into a pocket before leaving.

I found myself riding with a distinct lack of competence, confidence, style, and grace, dabbing on pretty much everything that wasn’t a nice flat sandy patch, and swearing a lot. After a series of miscues on mild obstacles I lost my mojo entirely and tried to focus on simply avoiding injury. This was nearly as irksome as wearing pants in the morning.

After an hour of embarrassing myself I called it quits and headed for home. I should probably get back out there right now and seek redemption.  But I’m thinking about dialing it down to a road ride. Maybe I should wait until we fall back before I fall off.

Going to the mattresses

October 30, 2021

“Is there a pea under this mattress? I haven’t slept a wink.”

Miss Mia Sopaipilla knows what to do with a brisk fall morning — make a blankie burrito out of herself at the foot of our bed.

Ordinarily she’s not a bed kitty, though if we leave the door ajar at night she will jump on our heads at stupid-thirty to see if we’re interested in playing with and/or feeding her.

But come fall, once everyone’s up and doing their little bits of business, she’ll burrow under the covers and assume her nom du sommeil of Lumpy the Bedbug.

MacArthur, parked

September 28, 2021

Pitter-patter on the patio.

Huh? Whuh? Rain?

Sheeeeeyit, it must be autumn for reals.

Please don’t wake me, no, don’t shake me, leave me where I am, I’m only sleeping.

The weather widget says 64° at 2 in the peeyem, which is quite a departure from the usual around these parts at that time of day.

It makes for fine napping weather if you have the time for that sort of thing, which Miss Sopaipilla does.

What the hell? She wasn’t expecting a congratulatory phone call from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and neither was I.

Shit. I should’ve taken a nap too. No wonder I keep missing out on the genius grants.

 

Autumn, leaves

September 25, 2021

The third and best season is upon us.

The autumnal equinox seemed an auspicious occasion for the flushing out of headgear.

I hadn’t left the confines of Bernalillo County since October 2019, and the walls of El Rancho Pendejo had passed the time by slowly creeping inward. Most people wouldn’t notice. But I am a Professional Journalist and know a hoodoo when I see one (our mantra is hoodoo, what, when, where, and why).

So I got out of Dodge. Threw too much camping gear into Sue Baroo the Fearsome Furster, left the MacBook Pro where it sat, and sputtered off to see if all my long-neglected outdoorsy stuff still worked. Just in case something didn’t, I planned to be gone for not too long, to nowhere too remote, and not too far away. I favor multiple redundancy systems, but still, just because you’re paranoid, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

Hoodat?

The great thing about car camping is you can overpack without flattening your tires, feet, and/or spinal column. So I took two sleeping pads (Therm-a-Rest BaseCamp and ProLite Plus), and I layered them sumbitches between me, the tent floor, and the ground, just because I could.

You wouldn’t want to backpack that BaseCamp, which goes about 3.6 elbees in the large model, but it is the shit for car camping.

I didn’t double up on tents, going with one Big Agnes Fly Creek UL2. Big Agnes says you can fit two people in there, but not if one of them is me. The voices in my head take up a lot of square footage when they come out at night. But what a great one-person tent. Sets up fast, comes down even faster. Just the thing for that third season, which is my favorite.

The bag was a Marmot Elite 30, which is plenty toasty for a hot sleeper like Your Humble Narrator, but a tad on the snug side. It’s kind of like wearing a puffy coat with a hood, but in a duster length.

For a backpack, I chose the Gregory Stout 45. If I need to carry any more gear than fits in a Stout 45, I ain’t going. I may be a jackass, but I ain’t no burro. This is one comfortable pack for traveling fast and light (or for fetching your gear from the car to the campsite to minimize the back-and-forth).

However, since I was car camping, not backpacking, I brought along two items that didn’t fit in the Gregory: a camp chair from L.L. Bean and my elderly Coleman two-burner propane stove.

Now, I have had more than a few camp stoves over the years, from an MSR RapidFire isobutane burner that for years was my main road-trip rest-area stove, to itty-bitty bikepacking boogers like the Soto Micro Regulator, which fits with its canister in a Snow Peak Trek 700 titanium pot. But man, that old Coleman does the business. It was our backup cooker for when the utilities went south up Weirdcliffe way.

Like everything and everyone else, the Coleman two-burner has been through some changes over the years — my old model has a piezo igniter — but it’s still getting rave reviews, and it’s still as cheap as the dirt you’ll sleep on.

And the Subie? Glad you asked. Seventeen years old and she’s still kickin’. If I don’t drive like the Road Warrior, she won’t set me afoot in the desert. That’s the deal we struck, and so far so good. But sometimes I take a bicycle along just in case (see paranoid, above).

An ominous rattle developed on the return trip, but it turned out to be coming from the plastic garage-door opener clipped to the driver’s side visor.

They say you can’t go home again, but it opened the door for me just like always, so in I went.

Hello, sunshine.

Just a few autumn leaves

September 22, 2020

You can trust your car to the man who wears the star. Or not.

• Skid Marx: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

• Al Sleet lives: “The weather will continue to change, on and off, for a long, long time.”

• Raiders of the Lost Arkea-Samsic: “We have top men working on it right now.”

Rain, rain, go away …

November 6, 2019

The Cannondale Topstone 105.

… little Paddy wants to play.

We have a new review bike at El Rancho Pendejo, a Cannondale Topstone 105, but the weather is proving uncooperative as regards its maiden cruise.

The birds were pissed that their feeders were empty, so I had to trot out in the rain to resupply the chirpy little commies. From each according to his abilities, etc.

What a good thing that I whipped up a vast tureen of posole before this wee November squall rumbled through town.

As the cool drizzle quietly flogs the last of the leaves off the backyard maple under leaden skies, it’s looking like your basic one-pot day, meal-wise.

Cook the oatmeal, have breakfast, wash the pot.

Hm. Still raining.

Reheat the posole, have lunch, wash the pot.

JFC. Still raining.

And dinner? I may outsource that one, if only because I’m out of posole, and who wants oatmeal for dinner?

Anyway, even a one-quart saucepan needs a break now and then.

Awtumn

October 1, 2019

O, ’tis a fine soft first day of October.

Fall, stat! Whoof, the Universe is on the ball today. No sooner is it October than boom, the gray skies, the likelihood of thunderboomers, and the yellowing of the maple leaves.

With the changing of the seasons in full swing those fat bastards in DeeCee no longer need fear breaking a gravy sweat as they continue stripping the Republic for salable parts.

Has the Grand Experiment finally failed? Is it time to return to a monarchy? Some people think so. Liberation from the drudgery of managing their own affairs certainly would free up scads of time for watching cute kitty videos, Instagramming their Starbucks orders, and piloting defective e-scooters into phone-thumbing pedestrians.