Posts Tagged ‘Weirdcliffe’

Bear with me here

May 17, 2017

Peak load: Restoring the Internets the Western way. Photo: Hal Walter.

Ever have the Innertubes go out on you? Irksome, innit?

You ring up your service provider, if you remember its contact info (the Innertubes are down, remember?). If you don’t, then you get to pursue a long and painful search for same via tiny smartphone screen before enjoying an extended stint on hold, being reminded over and over again how important is your call.

After a few days of this someone who gives the name Nathan or Monica but sports an accent reminiscent of the Subcontinent pops up to lend you what you suspect is a very long-distance hand indeed, oh my goodness yes.

And you begin turning on and off or unplugging/replugging bits of this and that; rooting around in dark corners of your computer that, like a rough neighborhood, family gathering or all-hands meeting in an economic downturn, you’d prefer to avoid; and chanting magical yet remarkably futile incantations like “Fifteen-inch MacBook Pro, mid-2014, 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB DDR3, OS X Yosemite, yes, I’ll hold.”

Anything to eat in here? Nope. Photo: Hal Walter.

In the end, of course, you find yourself curled, unshaven and filthy, on the floor, in a puddle of your own tears, cradling your phone and its fading battery as though it were a dying baby bird, wailing, “I have to have my Innertubes! Do you have any idea what’s going on in Washington? Neither do it!”

Well. Suck it up, snowflake. That’s a day at the beach compared to what my man Hal Walter endured the other day to get his Innertubes barfing out the 1s and 0s again.

Hal texted me to announce that his Innertubes were blown, something that occurs even more regularly in rural Crusty County than it does in more civilized environs. Being a wag of no small renown, I quipped, “Dude. It won’t do. Did a b’ar eat your dish?”

Well. Yeah, as it turns out.

It’s not a dish on the house, which is how we used to get our Innertubes when we lived just west of Hal’s place outside Weirdcliffe. There is a tower, which sits atop Bradbury Ridge on Bear Basin Ranch, and it is powered by a solar-battery setup (the tower, not the peak).

Some of the guts of this line-of-sight wireless setup reside in what looks like an Igloo cooler, which to a bear looks like a pizza-delivery guy’s shitbox Toyota Tercel does to thee and me. The bear tried to find the delicious pizza inside the shitbox, but the innards proved undercooked, and off he trundled, leaving behind a cooler whose security had been dramatically compromised by bite marks in opposite corners, and whose contents soon would be done to a turn by the notoriously vile Crusty County weather.

Thus, instead of unplugging bits of this and that in the comfort of his own home, Hal found himself hauling 100 pounds of new batteries up to the tower via pack burro while a tech-support dude who was decidedly not from Delhi refreshed the coolers’ innards.

“They like to use coolers because they protect the batteries from extreme temperatures,” says Hal. “However, there is some discussion of a metal box. Our wildlife officer agrees with me that the bear likely had previous experience with ice chests.”

• Late update: The man himself chimes in with an on-the-scene report.

Looks like snow

April 30, 2017

Hal Walter demonstrates the capabilities of the Suzuki SX4 Snowplow Car.

And now, here’s Hal Walter with the weather! (Not brought to you by the Greater Crusty County-Weirdcliffe Association of Realtors®).

Starry, starry night

August 13, 2016
The skies of Weirdcliffe, as seen from the Walter ranch. Photo courtesy Hal Walter

The skies of Weirdcliffe, as seen from the Walter ranch. Photo courtesy Hal Walter

The old hometown came in for a little press yesterday as city folk tried to catch a glimpse of the Perseid meteor shower through all that neon.

The Dark Sky movement is serious business in Weirdcliffe, as well it should be. It’s one of the area’s natural resources, and thus a natural draw. Sayeth The Old Gray Lady, “Four out of five Americans live in places where they can no longer see the Milky Way.” This, frankly, is a national tragedy.

When we lived east of town, Herself and I spent an evening stretched out on the deck, marveling at the Perseids. It was like getting caught in a celestial hailstorm, or maybe standing on the bridge of the starship Enterprise, boldly going where plenty of folks can’t go no mo’.

Divide(s) and conquer

December 5, 2013
The Sangre de Cristos as seen from the deck of Chez Dog outside Weirdcliffe, in Crusty County.

The Sangre de Cristos as seen from the deck of Chez Dog outside Weirdcliffe, in Crusty County.

This should be amusing — the Colorado junior/senior state road championships will be held in and around my old hometown of Weirdcliffe next June.

I found Crusty County a tough spot for road riding, if you define “road” as “pavement.” We lived 10 miles east of town, up a dirt road in the Wet Mountains, and said road was basically impassable on a road bike even in good weather. The drop from our house to the county road was a winding, rapid 430 vertical feet in one mile, and what went down eventually had to come back up.

Your Humble Narrator, enjoying a brisk workout on his private cyclo-cross course back in the day when he could still squeeze into a skinsuit without a tire iron and some lubricant.

Your Humble Narrator, enjoying a brisk workout on his private cyclo-cross course back in the day when he could still squeeze into a skinsuit without a tire iron and some lubricant.

So, since I’ve always hated driving to a training ride, I mostly rode cyclo-cross bikes everywhere, and a guy could piece together one hell of an eclectic workout that way, especially when the ride started at 8.800 feet.

That said, there was some stellar paved-road riding in the vicinity — the old Hardscrabble Century used some of it, as did a century out of Pueblo and a comparative newcomer, Ride Westcliffe. And it sounds like the state champs would like to use quite a piece of it.

If the organizers get to lay out a road-race course that includes McKenzie Junction, Wixxon Divide, Bigelow Divide and Greenhorn Divide en route to Bishop’s Castle and back, well, there will be fun for all, excepting the fat bastards, like yours truly. The only flat spot on the course is likely to be the start/finish line.

I always wanted to put on a Three Peaks-style cyclo-cross at Bear Basin Ranch, but we had enough trouble persuading the Boulder fairies to drive to Bibleburg. Throw in a couple thousand more feet of vertical, another 75 miles of driving, and the chance of meeting an actual bear on course, and the moniker “Wet” Mountains would have taken on a whole new meaning.

Patriot games

June 28, 2013

The tinfoil-Stetson assclowns in my old stomping grounds of Weirdcliffe are taking a beating in the lib’rul media today over plans by the Southern Colorado Patriots Club to march with unloaded firearms in the annual Fourth of July parade.

The local paper, Jim Little’s Wet Mountain Tribune, has a piece from the firing line, as it were. Seems a ruckus ensued when the “patriots” promised that “as many as 500 marchers, bearing firearms, would be marching in the parade as a show of support for 2nd Amendment rights.”

Ho, ho. I hope they plan on busing a few of these nimrods in. The 2010 Census found only 568 persons total living in Weirdcliffe, with 4,205 in the entirety of Crusty County.

Don’t expect Obamacare to provide you with free oxygen tanks for the hike, peckerwoods. Look to the Invisible Hand of the Free Market to prop you up while you’re lugging that 8-pound AK-47 around in the summer sun at 7,888 feet.

Footloose redux

October 28, 2010

People sometimes ask me, “Mr. Mad Dog, dude, sir, why on earth did you ever abandon the spectacular high-country beauty of Crusty County for the gritty unreality of the clusteropolis known as Bibleburg?”

The answer lies (or rather, jogs) here. A few more years on that wind-scoured rockpile outside Weirdcliffe and I’d have started running barefoot in the snow, too. What the fuck, it was only 10 miles to the liquor store, and most of it was on pavement.