Archive for the ‘Summer’ Category

Just deserts

June 12, 2021

Even the cacti are hunting shade.

“Just put a chair underneath the swamp cooler and deal with it all like a pro.”“When Everything Goes Wrong,” Ken Layne, Desert Oracle Radio

Gonna be a hot one — or two, or three, or four, or more — throughout the desert Southwest.

Especially out there in Desert Oracle country, where Ken Layne chats with author Claire Nelson about the time when her day hike suddenly got too hot to handle.

Here in the Duke City I’ve finally bowed to the elements and switched the Honeywells from “heat” to “cool,” because we’ve been having too much of the one and not nearly enough of the other.

And it will only get hotter. The National Weather Service predicts high temperatures of 5 to 15 degrees above normal for about a week (!) as a strong high-pressure system blisters New Mexico like a chile on the grill.

We didn’t need no steekeeng air conditioning back in Bibleburg. Nobody made us move to the upper edge of the Chihuahuan Desert. We knew it was wrong, but we did it anyway.

And whaddaya wanna bet one or both of us goes out onto the sunbaked trails to get the ol’ heart rate up for a while? No brain, no pain. If you don’t hear from me for a couple days call the Duke City trash collectors. I’ll be that bag of bones under the prickly pear somewhere in the Sandia Foothills Open Space.

A wee misinterpretation

June 10, 2021

“Oopsie.”

Well, it sure is shaping up to be an interesting summer.

Lake Foul is a couple quarts away from becoming a pump track. Lake Merde, a skatepark. And we have to boil the air before we can breathe it.

Good times. Maybe not.

It seems we took God literally when She said: “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

Now I can envision Her muttering: “You write ’em books and all they do is chew on the covers. You see anything in there about Phoenix, Las Vegas, or California? You do not. Because I was writing the Bible, not ‘The Beverly Hillbillies.’

“I send you my kid and Ed Abbey and this is the thanks I get? I hope you meshuggeners like drinking your wee-wee. Straight, no chaser.”

Harbinger

July 7, 2020

We’re headed for the red zone.

Last night’s fiery sunset was a glimpse of things to come.

The weather wizards say we’re in for a run of hot weather, with temperatures inching up this week toward triple-digit highs by the weekend.

“Yeah, but it’s a dry heat,” we quip.

Ho, ho, very funny, says meteorologist Andy Church. Not.

Clouds for now … but not for long.

“This heat, especially in the Middle Rio Grande Valley, with these types of temperatures this early, this high, is a pretty rare event,” Church told the Albuquerque Journal. “It is going to be a dry heat, but we know that doesn’t necessarily make much of a difference. We’ve got no clouds and little shade.”

And we’re light on river water, too.

The Bernalillo County Water Authority announced in early July that it would stop pulling drinking water from the Rio Grande, which is looking less and less like a river every day, and rely on groundwater throughout the summer.

Water resources division manager Katherine Yuhas told the Journal this type of shutoff usually doesn’t happen until August or September. It is also anticipated to last longer than in wetter years, she added.

“A lot of the snow sublimated, and we didn’t get the runoff we had expected,” Yuhas said. “With these dry conditions, the water authority wants to be off the river.”

Say, just how many horsemen are there in the Apocalypse these days, anyway? It seems to be staffing up.

Refried

August 28, 2019

Mister Jones and me tell each other fairy tales on Trail 365.

Summer is leaving a few heat records behind as it lurches toward the off-ramp in a blue shroud of exhaust.

Even the space aliens are fleeing Roswell.

“Right, we’re off! Back to Vulcan, which should feel positively wintry by comparison. Live long and prosper. Or not.”

As I will never be smart, I pulled the Jones down from its hook and went kyoodling around the Elena Gallegos trails under the blazing sun. But there were plenty of other dummies impeding forward progress there, so I headed south for a quick inspection tour of Trails 365 and 365A.

Despite the heat the singletrack was crowded by vegetation, some of it spiky, and I found myself wishing I’d worn high-rise socks and maybe a pair of Kevlar shin guards. Perhaps 365 isn’t getting much use these days; I’ve noticed some similar narrowing of the trail between Candelaria and Comanche during my weekly runs. Makes it hard to spot the buzzworms until you’re right on top of ’em.

After a bit of lunch I went after my own vegetation with lawn mower and weed whacker, further enhancing my reputation for questionable decision-making. I was sweating like a Minnesota farmer in trouble with the bank and thinking seriously about ordering up a gravel truck and/or an airstrike.

At least there aren’t any hurricanes in the forecast. I don’t know that I’d care to surf the diversion channels down to the Rio Grande. I’d rather ride my bike.

Maple syrupy

August 20, 2019

Even a faux Canadian like me can appreciate the maple leaf, especially when a whole bunch of them shade the house as the temps inch into the upper 90s.

Sticky out there today. Eighty by the time I finally got out on the bike around 9:30. Much warmer by the time I got back. Much, much warmer.

All praise to the shade tree. It’s enough to make a druid of Franklin Graham.

Screwed again

July 21, 2019

Neither sealant nor lip balm will keep you rolling after you collect one of these bad boys in your tire.

You know what doesn’t give a shit about whether you have sealant in your tubes?

A big-ass screw, that’s what.

I collected this sonofabitch in the rear tire this morning at the bottom of the Tramway descent, just after I’d crossed under Interstate 25 and hung a left on the Pan American Freeway near Balloon Fiesta Parkway.

I heard a short clatter, then a “tick … tick … tick” that told me I’d picked up a hitchhiker, and so I pulled over to have a look-see.

“Th’ fuck’s this, a thumbtack?” I muttered, and then gave it a tug.

Spooge! Fwissssssssh. Phhbbbllllllllffff.

Seriously, it was like one of those volcano projects from junior high. Or Bluto’s zit imitation in “Animal House.”

And of course, it had to be the rear tire, on the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, so called for the Rohloff hub on (wait for it) the rear wheel.

What are the chances of picking up something like this in a bicycle tire? If you’re me, 100 percent.

Did I mention the Gates belt? Yeah, it has one of those, too.

I don’t know that I’ve ever had to deal with a flat of any kind on this bike, which is a testament to its Geax AKA 29 x 2.0 tires. But this fucking screw might’ve given even Superman a hitch in his gitalong if he ever happened to be afoot in Albuquerque.

As I was, on a scorching Sunday morning, hoofing it along the shoulder of the Pan American, looking for a shady spot and trying to remember how to remove and replace the rear wheel on a Rohloff/Gates-equipped bike, a chore I last performed in a workstand at Chez Dog in Bibleburg back in … 2012?

Lucky me, I found a bus bench with a sun shade at Balloon Fiesta Parkway. And then I set about rooting through the ol’ mental hard drive.

Lessee here: Shift into 14th gear. Break out a nickel to loosen the thumbscrew holding the cable box to the hub. Remove the cable box. Open the quick-release lever. Remove the wheel. Bingo.

The bus bench had a convenient trash can that made an excellent workstand to hold the bike while I swapped tubes (just affix rear dropouts to rim of can).

Reinstalling the wheel proved a tad more challenging. Unlike a chain, a Gates belt isn’t a greasy mess. But it kept wanting to hop off the crank or the sprocket as I tried to mate hub with dropouts and brake rotor with calipers. Lacking a hammer, I was compelled to employ patience, which is always in short supply among the Irish.

After a few tries, the belt surrendered, I closed the QR, snapped the cable box back into place, screwed it down finger-tight in case I lost my nickel at the casino on the way back, and hey presto! I had all 14 gears and a slightly soft rear tire (about 30 psi, as it turned out, despite my best efforts with my thousand-year-old Blackburn minipump). That was enough to get home.

And a good thing, too, ’cause I only had the one spare tube. One more flat and it was the patch kit for Your Humble Narrator.

Now how’s that work again? Lessee here. …

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.

Yeah, but it’s a dry Hell

July 27, 2018

And you thought it was hot where you are. On June 28, the temperature in Quriyat, Oman, hit 109 — and that was the low, “the hottest low temperature ever recorded on Earth,” according to The Washington Post.

As a buddy noted, you gotta give the Chinese credit for going the extra mile to make their climate-change hoax look like the real deal. Why, they went so far as to make it rain here in ’Burque. I thought that was a little over the top, but what isn’t these days?

The hardboiled eggheads of climate science, as usual, predict the worst — roads melting, airplanes unable to take off, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.

The good news is, there’s water on Mars, which is really close to Earth this weekend. Cowabunga! Come on and safari with me!

How hot is it?

July 21, 2018

” ‘How hot is it?’ Hey, do I look like Johnny Carson to you?”

No tin roof for this cat.

 

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.