Archive for the ‘Summer’ Category

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.

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.

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.

Ballad of a fat man

June 21, 2017

I raised up my head and I asked, “Is this where it is?”

And you know something is happening but you don’t know what it is.*

Do you, Mr. Jones?

* OK, so I’ll tell you. It was a short bike ride on my Jones 29er, early in the ayem, before it got too bloody hot (100.5° right now). The one-eyed midget stayed home, where the air conditioning is. I don’t know how Bob Dylan found his way into this post when he couldn’t even make it to the Nobel ceremony.