Saturday, November 29, 2008

High Place in Virginia, The B-Log is Back

The negro frijoles under the lid on the bottom left were extra special this year, Tradition anew.
Thanks to this 1989 46lb CTX monitor that is completely half assed as well as thankfully temporarily hooked up to my lap top the Blog is back for it's Monday thru Friday usual pre-stay alive babble about the latest thoughts or experiences. Dell is on top of it and says that there may or may not be a new LCD on the way, once it gets here I will have 2 options: 1. Install my self using similar mechanical skills that I have learned by building bikes. 2. pay someone to do it. Decisions, decisions.
The day after Giving Thanks Ms. Arcen, Mary, Sula(not to be confused, Sulla is obviously the wrong spelling or at least visually but not audibly what I was trying to convey) and I headed out in the U.N./Montero North without roof rack(you were right, mileage difference noticeable) for the 139 mile drive to Grayson Highlands State Park just North and West of Sparta NC in Virginia State Territory. We paid the 2 bucks registering in and then drove up the access road which at times was covered in snow and ice as the shadows led way to snow covered slopes higher up the mountain. The U.N./Montero went in to 4wd and remained that way till out of the park. After suiting up we started the walk in to the open arena of Virginia's high points. Ponies were spotted and touched shortly up the frozen mud trail, the skies started to clear off with the strong cold winds that were buffeting us and increasing in speed the higher up the land we went then on upwards higher into the atmosphere where they must have been ripping. Mary led up over the first rise and step traverse showing the little one Sula how to behave in such a place. Out of the pony gate another slope up through the rocks, snow, ice and low conifers, some awkwardly leaning dead in the wind almost petrified looking gray against a completely saturated blue earth sky. Morale was high despite the conditions that were all around us, effort up at 9 is different than the perspective let's say that I have. One thing I have been always proud of my kid is her adaptability from a young age to simple pastoral experiences that are seen by few her age group. She was a diligent trooper being called by the sight of bigger/deeper and broader snow patches up and through the second big rock outcrop to Rock Top. Down the second big outcrop facing rock top the chutes were not only covered in snow but as well thick ice. Sula slid paws in front with ears cocked back slightly freaked out down a 3 footer, then she ran out of it with a crazy look on her face. More wind in the saddle of land we were on. We found a small little rock outcrop good enough to lean on facing the sun out of the direct 20mph+ gusts coming over the hill. I broke out the MSR-XGK stove and hooked it up to the 22oz bottle that I had put some gas in before we had left. As soon as I put the regulator in I realized that the plunger's pump cup(gasket) was dead and I could not get any pressure. I turned the plunger mechanism counter clockwise and pulled out the plunger with the pump cup appearing sad and shrivelled on it. Then I took the P/C off the red tip, spit on it and massaged it in my cold fingers. As soon as I put it back in the housing I could feel that there was still nothing. I looked at the kid hunkered down against the rock, cheeks red and said over the wind, "No RA RA noodles, sorry." Her response perfect, "What are we going to eat, we haven't eaten since breakfast." I then realized that in the bottom of the bag was my XGK tool and parts kit, perfect there was a new P/C in the kit and lube. Withing seconds flame, then that wonderful jet like roar. Late Lunch on the Mountain. I packed up the kitchen and Ms. Arcen checked to make sure that we were not leaving a trace. The clouds and falling temps helped us decide it was time to turn around and descend via the Appalachian Trail which would be a slightly different way down from our approach up. No breaks needed on the way down until just above the final descent. We ran into some folks who wanted to say hello to our dog pack. Back to the car for down gearing and the more than 2 hour drive home through 80 miles of country roads and round about 60 miles of Interstate 77south into the Jar.
Mary was really happy to get out of the car so she could make a BM for me to pick up with the cling wrap that the Homemade 2 dollar blue berry muffin was in. Thanks Mary.
Up through the first low rise.
Check out the kid's first wild pony encounter, bottom right.
Pulled in with the glass.
First water break and Sula's First Experience eating the brown dry biscuit like dung of wild Ponies, yum. You can see the road we parked on(gray line) running between the 2 fir trees.
Sula says, "Look you guys, more poop over here!"
I changed this one showing the line of morning darkness being pushed away by clear sky and winds.
Wild indeed
"Dad"(I lost the 'e' thanksgiving day, sad indeed), "I want to live here where I can eat snow everyday." She and Sula raced to the top, the dog had no idea but loved the way her paws felt in the cold snow.
Pony poop is really tasty!
Yes Ms. Arcen, I'm taking your picture.
Just before going up and over the second big outcrop, she is coming towards me.
Little one leading the little one and about to go for a glissade down the back side.
The Kitchen finally worked, the noodles were delicious.
She came down off the mountain from around down the right of the bald rocky nodule above her head where lunch was, the kid was in entirely great spirit and fine form.
On the little plain before the last slope down.
In her element.
Out of 4wd pulled over to unlock the hubs and went back in for the camera.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blog Delay/Broken LCD

Equals the temporary loss of my morning psychiatry session with Dr. Bloggy. Unfortunately this may take a bit to fix so my posting will be real spotty until the challenge is resolved. Above is a little film that I shot back in March while at The Over Mountain Victory Trail with the yahoos I call friends. I made the edits the other day and the response from an enlightened institute in Iowa has been quite moving. It involves 3 people getting side tracked on the left hand side of the trail for some minutes. You are looking at 2 scenes separate in time and thought plus a title edit as well as end credits. TURN it UP.

I should have some interesting mountain and flat land stories whence I return. Virginia's tallest point or better yet tallest mountain is a destination for the kid and I this Friday. There is also a small possibility that my annual and very traditional early morning Thanksgiving Mountain ride will be transferred into something a bit more exciting.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mountain Ride in Wilson's

Chasing Becky through the forested landscape, I'm late causing me to pull one of those weak blogs that just puts up a Picture and a Sentence....Ride Report will be here soon, in the meantime watch video below, it's bike related.

Check Eric's here and Rich's here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rerun Changed and Rerun

My kid and I a few short years ago.

Trust on both begins a single spine of strength and freedom.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


This is a little clip of a chat I was having with my friend Kenneth Yesterday while sitting in the back seat of his cab, number 1028. I often talk with this fellow who has a good heart about topics ranging from the amount of cell phone minutes he uses to the situation in The Federal Republic of Nigeria and other African Nations. That's right Sarah, there are many nations on the African Continent.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Warrior Adoption Final

As you may or may not know our home has been open to Fostering rescued animals for the Charlotte Humane Society for almost a year now thanks to a tip and example led by the Dillens. This experience all though not very difficult has been very rewarding on more than one level and the result actually feels as if it is helping a system that is truly overwhelmed by the ignorance of the masses and individual situations of domesticated pets in need. It has been a pleasure to take care of the little and not so little ones returning them to the care of the CHS so that qualified humans could adopt these already transitioned pets into their homes. All of them have seemed special, then came this one, Sulla. Her place in our permanent pack was clear and she appeared to be my next generation Warrior. At 10 weeks this puppy was turned into the CHS by an adult female who reported something along the lines of, " I just can't handle this puppy". Our contact thought of Ms. Arcen and her ability to see things for what they are and gave us the call. Within a few hours I was wondering what the human who turned her in could have been thinking but then humans do flick grit butts out at bike riders in bike lanes so whatever. Yesterday morning I had to drive her in early for her spaying and micro chipping provided by the CHS. I picked her up after work a little groggy and apparently a bit sore she communicated with her voice. This pup is very verbal. She has slept well and will now resume her place in the pack as up and coming Warrior/Protector under the wing or paw arm of one of the best. If you are a responsible person and you must be because you are reading my bloggy please consider fostering for the CHS, these animals do not need much but they do need you. Ars, Linda said you were clear to Foster you just have to get that letter from your land lord in to her for the final approval!! You can do it.
Can you believe I weigh 15lbs?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Header Image-Mini Frog

During the Squirrel's Funeral I noticed a bit, small bit indeed of movement near the dirt pile dug from the empty grave. I stared at the general area for a minute and there it was again, rib it. For whatever reason I bent over and stuck out my finger and this little guy jumped right on board. The lens in my camera is very powerful as apparent from these macro shots of a smaller than thumb nail sized cold blooded creature. Another observation: This frog gets real big and holds together clear when you enlarge up to 12 x 17". It is an interesting look at something so naturally minuscule. Yup, I just posted about a tiny frog and am on my way to have Sulla Spayed.

click these big, the frog is wild looking

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fat Head of the Month/Jackass Car Person Move-Mending Fences

Thursday on my way home stay alive I was minding in all literal sense my business pedalling along in the bike lane. A huge Ford Explorer came along my left in passing at about double my speed when the passenger(fat head below) decided the smart thing to do would be to flick her smoldering cigarette out the window right at my front wheel with a loud verbal message, "Get on the side walk!" As the grit hit the lane in front of my wheel and the words sunk in I must admit that I saw red through my eye lids. Think about this, I normally do not mind such verbal and tobacco abuses when I am in the gutter on a road without a bike lane but here was a case where I was IN A BIKE LANE. I yelled, "No you F'n didn't!" in response because I felt like at that second that was all I had not knowing that within a half mile I would have more. The Explorer kept going all the way up to Sharon Amity where it got jacked up with the traffic stuck at the light. I rolled past the mumbles of hate and dropped the bike in the middle of the road with the good idea to take out my camera for the document. All of a sudden she came lurching out of the car and I backed up to keep her in frame. She was spewing stuff like, "your an idiot", "you belong on the sidewalk", "what are you doing with that camera?" Maam, you are making my day. As soon as I went around to take a picture of the plate so that I could report her for littering(371$fine) to the State Highway Patrol who would send her a written warning based on my witness she swung at me, missed and instead came in contact with the lens of my camera. Hunh? This lady must be crazy but not crazy lady. Maam, now you can expect a complaint filed against you in the Court House tomorrow. More anger she carried away back into the passenger seat, traffic still backed but my Lemond was laying in the road in front of this big car being driven by her even bigger husband. Move to the front, get the bike off the floor, holy shit he is gassing it right at me, don't move the Truth is with you. I was like a deer in headlights in the middle of the day, bike in one hand, camera in the other, finally he stopped 5feet from me. I saw him through the glass for the first time. More anger, parked car on the side road, man comes out with huge clenched fists and all I can think is change to AVI movie film mode, quick! Roll camera and you will save for ever the next 56 second barrage o'anger. I cannot share the film with you at this point because of something I cannot quite put my finger on but one day I plan to let it play for the world(all 4 of you) to see. It was the calmest I have remained during one of these interludes. Just filming you, so keep talking. A black man from the bus stop was now near and urged me to get out of there. I finally listened to what he was saying and beat it out leaving the Explorer and all of it's wit Stopped in the Stopped traffic.

Fat Head of the Month Getting out of the car
If you see this car pick up a cigarette butt and throw it back in the passenger window letting the occupants know that it is a 371$fine to do such and that you felt they needed it back just like RJ used to do on the coolest job in the world up in the Jar.
Weekend news, I did not get lost in South Carolina but instead in my back yard mending fences that help keep in our domesticated K-9 pack. Hours of twisting wire okay almost 3 hours of twisting and cutting wire bleeding sore fingers and chill in the air. Some more yard work and leaf control, the silver Maple has dropped them all. On Saturday Ms Arcen and I rode out of Dooleyville in the clouds after the rain but before the temperature dropped. I enjoy going on rides with her right out of the house and look forward to getting her off of Swamp Bike and onto her first big wheel ride.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pictorial: Ancient Banka Ceremony

Last week the fortune of being the bike messenger in the Jar really paid off when my work brought me in front of a native bank ceremony worshiping sky, hot faux flames taped to the amplifier and the ancient dress costume of an erector set. The spirit was in the air and tuckers gathered to offer their own sacrifice of plastic StarBucks lids to the landscape via the over flowing street side garbage cans while they documented this ancient ritual with their cell phone cameras. The Gods altho not necessarily appeased were really pissed off so the stocks started falling again. Witness, can you feel the Spirit?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hayes Stroker Hydraulic Brakes-Tip of the Day

Last night I went out to Ultimate Bike to drop of my Hayes HFX9's and some other brake parts for a friend's new Zion Project. I brought my bike, bleed kit, new tool and my own fluid to do a supervised bleed and cut of my way to long OEM Strokers that I have been dealing with in full Double Dutchy style since they went on a few weeks ago. Yea, yea I know nothing like showing up at the shop late in the evening on a Wednesday talking about cutting brake lines and bleeding but some how I trusted and the result was a line cutting process that took less than 3mins per brake. Doug aka Guru of all things Hydraulic with his brain savvy told me that we could cut the lines to length without bleeding. This is how it went. Bike in stand, lever turned upright, undo coupler at the lever and then hold the end of the line high in the sky. Next(sorry no images my hands were in it) Doug took a razor blade and carefully cut the line at the appropriate spot only losing fluid from the line that is cut off. Still holding the line end high push in new brass insert then thread the coupler back into the lever housing. Tighten down and there you have it, no air got in during either process and the brakes feel great. Thanks to Doug's willingness to help I learned something that I never would have thought of. I appreciate the support of the shop that helps me stay rolling.

Doug undoing the coupler

length removed from the rear brake line
and the front
No more Double Dutchy

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Great Mountain Ride-Yancey's Ridge

The Lord was Willin, never ever illin and the Creek did not rise. I scooped Andreas Raab early yesterday morning at the Shop and we bee lined out of town after running into Doug which is good ju-ju syncro at the BP fuel Store. The drive was uneventful until we hit the access to Wilson's Creek when my former ex wife who was supposed to meet us at Mortimer called to bail(did not get message till after ride) during a period of only semi Verizon Network service. At Mortimer we suited up and gave her 30mins off the original meet time and because I heard her voice literally in my head saying, "Go Ride, I know where you guys are and your route, if I can I will see you", we decided to roll. So we left the car at Coffey's General Store in Edgemont and started the first of 2 climbs up Roseboro Rd for the Blue Ridge Parkway. I sat and climbed at 32 x 18 and watched Andreas do what he does all pro level trained and stuff. Descent after the first then the long steeper climb up to the actual Parkway. Again sit and pedal while Andreas leads out all the way up, then snack of nuts and chocolate. North on the Parkway we ran into a lone walker with Chacos on in the cold. We stopped at a clear broad view of the back half of Grandfather mountain to take a few snaps. Onward towards Beacon Hts parking lot down the fire road for the trail on the left. Andreas yelled out, "are you serious?" for the trail connector to the actual was really over grown, it was like bushwhacking DH on the bike, crazy fun and laughter. On the trail the speed picks up downward to the saddle where the top of Yancey Ridge begins. Just before the gate I unknowingly kicked up a human head sized rock that smashed my chain ring and flew out the back into Andreas' path causing him to swerve into the trees. My ring was bent to the point of chain throw so I flipped the bike over and trued it using my allen key tool. Good as new. The colors were crazy across the faster than I remember Yancey's Ridge. They were still holding on, yellow/orange, fire/red and some greens. The view was wild following Raab in his colors electrifying the hues of the trees which were doing the same for his jersey. Big slopes to the left down the plunge, views pastoral and free of the man made distractions of the Jar. The technical on the lower end of the ridge was as fun and as hilarious as I remembered. Yancey's Ridge is an important place to me, it was there in 1994 that I first experienced real mountain biking in North Carolina. Off the mountain and back to the car in just about 4hrs. On the way out I decided to take a swim in a hole on Wilson's Creek. Emerald cold water takes the breath away when the torso goes under in the mountains in November.

On the drive into Wilson's we ran into this team that we thought was training but we found out they have been lost since this past year's Tour De Georgia. After Andreas made these pictures he pointed them towards Morganton. Hey
I recognize you taking my picture out of the passenger window of that crazy U.N. vehicle, you're Tom Boonen!
pre ride warm up stretch
Grandfather from the Parkway
Andreas, glad to be out of the Jar for the day
I can' tell if he makes me look like an OOMPA LOOMPA or I make him look like an abnormal Giant of the Forest.
The vistas off the ridge were splendid indeed
up trail reverse angle
Sorry Raab, I missed the shot, I have been doing that a lot lately and need to quit
Andreas made this pic of me coming down a steeper than it appears left hand chute on lower Yancey's
getting ready for my jump and swim. I climbed up to the flat rock at the falls almost directly above my head(in pic) and made the plunge. Andreas missed the shot to get me back for blowing the one above(just kidding, but Raab on a shot like that stay off the zoom from that distance and take more of the scene in with the lens and it will allow you more time to shutter) I hit the water in that white foam at the base of the fall and came up feeling alive and cold!