Posts Tagged ‘Wildfires’

A Grimy Handshake from Patagonia

September 13, 2020

The bike stops here: Just east of Rancho Pendejo sits
the Cibola National Forest.

I’ve somehow gotten myself on Patagonia’s mailing list, probably through buying stuff from them — and good stuff it is, too — and they sent me a note the other day linking to a piece by Mike Ferrentino.

Yes, that Mike Ferrentino, he of the Grimy Handshake. His stuff is even better than Patagonia’s.

Anyway, Mike wrote about wilderness, and why he no longer poaches trails there, and it’s worth your attention.

In other wilderness-related news:

• A forest ecologist from CSU-Fort Collins wonders whether some iconic forests might fail to bounce back after a wildfire.

• Trying to take pix of the fires? Ian Bogost says your phone’s camera was not built for the Apocalypse.

• Have the orcas finally had enough of our bullshit?

Less bushwa

September 11, 2020

OK, now they’re just fucking with us to see if we’re paying attention.

You can’t make this shit up. “Liz Bourgeois?” Yeah, right. Who’s her supervisor, Heywood Jablomie?

Ash Thursday?

August 20, 2020

Looping around to the west-northwest and the Indian School trailhead.

A fine haze hovered above the Rio as I hiked around the Foothills trails yesterday.

A neighbor remarked that it looked like a “Star Wars” scene set on Tatooine.

And come evening, all that vaporized forest certainly made for a thrilling sunset.

The photo really doesn’t do it justice. The sun was as red as Sauron’s Eye, and it vanished long before the actual horizon in an impenetrable cloud of smoke. Whether it came from the Medio fire near Santa Fe or one of the many, many others scattered around the West, I have no idea.

I had been thinking about a nice long road ride this morning, but now I’m not so sure. I like my air a little less chewy.

An example from the monkey*

August 16, 2020

Heading down Spain. If I’d had a little more tread I’d have stayed on High Desert and picked up the short stretch of dirt to the Embudito trailhead.

Well, we don’t have any fire tornadoes swirling through the neighborhood, so I’m gonna go out on a limb and call it a pretty pleasant day.

Herself was busy with this, that, and the other, so I slipped out for a solo ride on the old DBR Prevail TT, which doesn’t see much daylight anymore.

It was my road-racing bike Back in the Day®, when I still did what I called “road racing” and actual road racers called “getting shelled.” So it was a pleasant change from the usual 32-pound touring machine. Even a no-hoper like me feels frisky on a 20-pound bike.

So we climbed some hills, and then some more hills, and I didn’t even need the 34×25, because I’d left a dozen pounds of bike back in the garage.

Meanwhile, the Democrats have their own hill to climb starting tomorrow. I don’t see a virtual convention crushing it, eyeballs-wise. The traditional dog-and-another-dog show has rarely been what I’d call must-see TV. Not even the Yippies could put some zip into this mutt.

Anyway, the GOP has stolen their best bit, what with running a pig for president not once, but twice.

* “The higher it climbs, the more you see of its behind. — St. Bonaventure, “Conferences on the Gospel of John.”

Fire on the mountain

June 26, 2020

As we left a line of firefighters began working their way up that hill from the left. Must’ve been fun doing it in the dark last night. Maybe not.

Somebody, man, god, or devil, got careless with combustibles here in the ’hood last night.

Details are elusive, but somehow a hillside about a mile from us got lit up at stupid-thirty last night, while we were abed.

The smoke-eaters must’ve gotten right on top of the thing because the evacuees were all back in their homes in a matter of hours. And this morning things seemed to be in the mopping-up stage.

Not what you like to see as the weather heats up ahead of a Fourth of July weekend. In fact, not what you like to see, period.

Smoky, no jokey

June 18, 2020

I’d like air that’s just a little less chewy, please. And thank you.

It’s a bad day to be an air-breathing organism.

InciWeb shows four fires in New Mexico, two in southwestern Colorado, and an even dozen in Arizona.

The Bush Fire northeast of Mesa is the biggie at 115,000 acres. That’s pretty country out there. Or it was, anyway.

As a consequence, we in the Duke City have been awarded an “Air Quality Alert” by the National Weather Service, and I will testify that the air is of very poor quality indeed. I’d send it back, but UPS says they won’t pick it up.

And there’s no telling when we might get a suitable replacement anyway, with the Bush Fire only 5 percent contained.

Powerless

October 9, 2019

“Who turned out the lights? Strike a match, Betty Lou, I can’t see shit.”

Remember the good ol’ days, when you could make magic just by flipping a switch? Communication, refrigeration, information, even transportation, all delivered with a wave of one hand. One finger, actually. No, not that one.

And without burning down half the county, too.

As is often the case, our brethren and sisthren in California are getting a sneak peek at the future this week as PG&E returns them to the Dark Ages, that they may not be barbecued by their desires for communication, refrigeration, information, even transportation.

I wonder how much safer everyone will be with a few million generators busily chugging along next to the woodpiles.

“Crank up the Honda, hon’, ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is coming on!”

• Extra Bonus Snark: Good timing, awarding the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to three scientists behind the lithium-ion battery. We’re gonna need a bigger one, dudes.

Fire on the mountain

May 26, 2018

The view from below the tram.

When I sallied forth for the day’s ride I saw smoke and assumed that some asshat had been careless in my vicinity.

Nope.

A local TV station says that the haze bellied up to the base of the Sandias is from the Buzzard Fire, a 12,400-acre blaze in the Gila National Forest.

This doesn’t mean that asshats have not been careless in my vicinity. After observing the smoke I started noticing the cigarette butts scattered along the shoulder of Tramway Boulevard. I thought I’d count them but it proved impossible. It seemed more important in the short term to focus on the asshats trying to kill me with their cars.

Mayor Chris meets The Outspoken Cyclist

January 21, 2018

Hizzoner having a spot of fun between mayoral chores.

Diane Jenks recently spoke with my old college roomie Chris Coursey for “The Outspoken Cyclist,” her radio show-slash-podcast.

They discussed cycling, journalism and Santa Rosa, Calif., which continues to feel the aftereffects of last fall’s horrific fires in Napa and Sonoma counties.

Don’t let the cycling kit fool you — you’ll recall from earlier posts that Chris is the mayor of Santa Rosa, and I expect he’s logging most of his miles in that capacity these days.

“We are still very much in the middle of this disaster, and hopefully on the road to recovery,” says Hizzoner.

You can give the interview a listen here:

T H E   O U T S P O K E N   C Y C L I S T:

The Bravo Foxtrot Hotel

October 12, 2017

Every day a little less green and a little more gold.

Thursday has its roots in the Old Norse for “Thor’s Day” (thōrsdagr), and it was definitely hammer time round El Rancho Pendejo today.

I burned a bunch of daylight polishing the penultimate “Mad Dog Unleashed” screed of 2017 for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, then scribbled a “Shop Talk” cartoon for the same outfit. No work, no eating, as the Zen master Hyakujo has taught us.

This shot makes the Elena Gallegos Open Space look a lot less active than it was.

Then it was 90 minutes on the Voodoo Nakisi, chasing myself around the dusty trails of the Elena Gallegos Open Space. Next to nobody in there yesterday and today it looked like the Big Eye at rush hour. Go figure. Are there no prisons? No workhouses?

The Boo requires a variety of medications and we were short one, so off to the vet I did go, flushing still more dinero down the medical loo that is our smelly little one-eyed pee-weasel.

And I checked in with friends in Santa Rosa to gauge the state of affairs out there. Not good, as you probably already know. Nearly 3,000 homes destroyed, 29 people dead, and both numbers expected to rise.

Among the houses incinerated was one belonging to the late Charles M. Schulz, creator of the fabled “Peanuts” strip.

My man Merrill is planning another cross-country run before settling into his new life on the Left Coast and hopes to pass through the Duke City this time around, so I’ll get a full report sometime next week from a former New York Times man. Right now he’s couch-surfing at the mayor’s digs and resting up for the final push.

And my old buddy Miz Lo is hiding from the smoke down Petaluma way but hopes to return to the Pink Palace soon. She knows many people who won’t be so fortunate.