sharp sticks and thinned skin

  • Sunday was Jimmy’s social ride, fewer and fewer riders are joining. These rides are on old ridden in trails, nothing system built about them. This ride was out Turkey Creek area. These were trails that were ridden in earlier days as the other trails did not exist. These are chosen because A) we never see anybody and B) they are technically challenging. There are route choices that require climb a bike which is steeper than hike a bike trail. Some crazy shit. One trail lead down a below grade steep loose piece of earth. I rode part of it until my left calf connected with the business end of a dried stick that tore into my warfarin thinned skin. I felt it and perceived that it was a serious cut. I looked down at my ankle to see the top of my sock turning red from the escaping blood. I continued down until i caught up w/ Jimmy and Duane. I carry a substantial first aid cut. I dropped my pack and pulled out my kit and rummaged thru it till I found the large bandaid the wound required. Bleeding was contained.  Did not need heavy duty wound clotting stuff. Vegetation of pin oak, prickly pear, yucca, etc arch into the tread. Trail is below grade from erosion and horse traffic. Walking beside my bike exposes myself to the business ends of the vegetation which would scratch my calves. Nasty stuff but nobody else is there and I do learn better riding skills. Stay upright.
Chica and Duane

Ocatilla is blooming at what is called the ocatilla forest


back in town for a man cave beer then a stop at Chevron Tonys to fill my solar shower with hot tap water then headed put to beaverhead. I put the shower bag on the engine hood. This time I monitored the water temp for a less than scalding rinse off.  Jimmy visited for an iced tea.

Sat I drove up to west Sedona to ride SSS. Scorpion has many anchored into the earth basalt boulders, at least they do not move when ridden over. Hot ride. I stop more frequently to catch my breath. I encountered 2 women riders younger than me and stronger. I watched them just sit and all but spin up a loose piece of ridge. I used to be able to do that.

New prickly pear growth

new paddles

Yesterday was my perio follow up. My mouth still provides funding for someone’s kids college education. DR said my teeth are worth keeping, just another gum graft on the other side and I am good.

My leg swelling has not responded to increase med dosage.

I am planning on leaving here at the end of the month heading to the Zunis to visit with Bill and company then head north to Moab for a bunch of days. I have been in AZ for 105 days and ridden 53 times there about.

I used a discount from REI to buy a Troy Lee A2 helmet hoping that it is more durable than the Giro Montero. Certainly this helmet overs more coverage and allows more air flow.

Years ago an Alaskan bush pilot told me that when he was in the air he pays attention to possible landing spots. I do the same when I travel keeping an open eye for sleep spots, water spigots, etc. A buddy who travels in a big truck camper looks for spigot hook up for shower water.


I have approved the comment from the reader who has chosen to dis my life style for reason(s) that he won’t share. What is missing in his life such that he attacks my freedom of life choices?


I’m Beat

Today was weekly laundry day up in west Sedona then a ride, shower then drive back down to beaverhead.


A detractor wrote in his comment that reading about my life’s minutia was beyond trying for him. I know when my going needs a break I take one. He or anyone else read my musings for whatever their reasons. For me the writing captures events in my life as a history to look back on. I have been living on the road now almost 9 years. I make my life happen. Unless you are living on the road full time, personal time off of work, vacationers, or want to live this way my writing may be of value to you. You of you who have a residence have your network worked out, perhaps you have a shower and a washing machine in that residence. On the road how will you meet those home needs without your home? My life lacks the travails of mowing a yard, driving kids to after school activities, and a mail slot. So, my drift is, I write what I want to, you read or not.

Back in 1977 I made a life’s choice to quit a career and sell my house to hike the PCT from Mexico to Canada. I was going to do what I wanted to do. I only knew that my goal was Canada 6 months and 2,xxx miles away. I lacked comprehension of the undertaking, I just put one boot ahead of the other. Likewise when I handed my house keys to the closing attorney and my house was no longer mine. I wanted to live on the road as a lifestyle mountain biking the states. I am approaching 9 years of that life.

Friends that I have made are scattered around the country making for short visits whenever I roll into their neighborhood. Health issues and treatment from different DRs, decisions. A cabinet maker here in Sedona who rebuilt several drawers for me has 1 word written on the shop side of his shop, “Trust”. I make my support network with every place I go. I like chatting with the grocery checkers, sometimes I pick the same one to establish a connection. I travel by myself, I make opportunities to visit with people. My observation is those that travel in a group remain in that group making group decisions missing out on connecting with local people who maybe just like the ones back home.

Sunrise is like 6:30. I park my van facing away from the wake up signal. Still, I stand up from bed before 7. The closest laundromat is in west Sedona by Bashas. Tourist traffic build up maybe mid morning backing way down. I leave by 9 AM for a straight shot up to Sedona. I sometimes get this preferred spot on Beaverhead where I am again tonight. Drive time is close to 25 mins.  The spot is maybe 200 yards off the pavement over cast in hard wheel ruts when driven on when wet. Steering this long wheelbase negotiating compound ruts for a less stressful line not bottoming out. The road is a mud bog when really wet like earlier this year. The van has Rumble Strip vibrations and the torque converter shudders when engaged. 35mph on rt 179 heading uphill. Beautiful day: blue skies, no clouds and all this red rock sticking up.

Laundry is owned by the daughter of the owner whom invited me to stay at his time share in Hawaii several years ago. Every Thursday for 8 years maybe 4 months every year. Connections.

Today’s ride was Dry Creek area dropping down Draino and crossing now Dry Creek climbing out of the drainage on Last Frontier which is hand built social trail. It is bench cut some places steep outslope with exposure, pay attention. This connects to Western Civ which is more tame to junction of Cockscomb, a system trail that ended at Aerie to another junction with Cockscomb. A short piece of another system trail intersected with am indistinct social trail that wound its way over hill and dale dropping down to Girdner  which is the climb out of dry Creek back to the start at the Cultural Park. It crosses and recrosses Dry Creek riding over runoff relocated rocks and is sandy otherwise. The killer that took me down today was the final climb out. Lots of small tech features to negotiate that on a good day I might make half of them. Today I was running on fumes as I walked my bike up and pedaled only on flats and shallow uphills. 82 degrees and windy. I fell the effects of not resting and eating. I just pedal.

I parked the van with the right side away from the sun, cranked open a door window on the slider, and turned on the vent fan. The open window is in the shade so the exhaust fan sucks in slightly cooler air ventilating the interior more than sitting buttoned up.

Shower at Snap. The second shower room was closed for repairs and the other one was occupied. My wait was less than 5 mins for my turn. The red dirt kicked up by my tires clings to my legs giving a not sun tanned tan. Today I hit a tree branch making a freely bleeding gash on my left arm. Blood streamed down to my hand. I stopped to drain some water from my Wingnut hydration pack rinsing away the flow. The wound clotted shortly in spite of my anti coagulant med. Bright red.

Traffic back up the hill from the Y. Need to be heading back to VOC by 3. Well past that time.

Yesterday I rode what I call lower hogs. Ride Llama to Little Horse to Chicken Point, a piece of Broken Arrow to Hogs junction to Twin Buttes dropping back to Broken Arrow then Hog Wash leaving at Peccary down to Mystic, thru the neighborhood dropping down to Bell Rock climbing up to Phone Trail to rejoin Bell Rock to Single track Bypass, crossing Bell Rock taking a big Park trail over to what becomes the Jump Trail  named because of numerous weathered water bars that in their prime they were launchers. Another big day of straight riding and no breaks. Just below Chicken point there is a nasty stair step that I can ride going down but not up as it is too technical. I was on a bypass and watching 2 riders heading for the down stairs. The first was a woman who was being bounced around  on the tech stuff uphill of the stairs. Please, don’t ride down! Whew, she dismounted and walked down. Behind her a ways another rider was heading towards the stair, his control on the rocks was not much better than hers. I watched again hoping that he would walk. Noo, he rolled down. I saw the rear wheel upside down while hearing his crash. Oh no, this might be big injury time. I exclaimed “Oh No” while pedaling over to the stair. He was upright leaning against a tree gathering his wits again. Big over the bars superman fall. He said he was OK. Later I saw his friend in the neighborhood and asked if he was OK. She said Yes but was not with her.

White Line above Chicken Point:

I stopped at Chevron Tony’s on the way to beaverhead to take on tap water and the treat of tap hot water for the solar shower. I scored the favorite spot again. I hung the shower on the van hood which conducts heat to the water. Windy. I waited a short while before I drained the solar heated water into the helio pump bag. I added a bit of cool tank water to cool down the shower water. I used the van as a wind block. The water was still very hot. I sprayed myself sparingly to keep my skin unblistered. I sleep better when I am cleaned.

Tuesday was a drive up to Flag to see my DR about my swollen foot and learn more about blood clots pertaining to my health. His treatment is still activity and a higher INR level.

As I drove into the parking lot I spied Liz’s van. I sat in the van waiting my appointment time. I occasionally looked at her van hoping to see her. Time came to leave. I wrote a note. I looked out a window and there was Liz walking towards my van with paper in her hand. She saw my van and had written a greeting note also. We exchanged greetings and notes.

Monday was a rest day. I hung at the parking lot behind the sheriff’s office. My phone rang. It was the fraud department at my credit union. She said they noticed uncharacteristic charges. I answered No I did not make them. She canceled my card because it had been compromised. 14 charges of $99.99 each, what $1,400 I had to cover. After the last time my card was canceled I ordered a card for my other checking account which allows my access to banking.

Tax day coming due and I am still without tax documents, the lst being the social security info being sent to my Seattle address. It still hadn’t arrived on Monday. I called the office asking if they could read the tax data for me. No, she said. I ordered other tax docs held at the mail forwarding service to be 2 day delivered to me here. Later that day I checked that mailbox and saw the SS info there. I ordered the doc to be opened and scanned and emailed to me. I now have all the tax docs and Turbo tax software to spend Friday filling out.

Sunday was Jimmy’s social ride. Just 4 of us with me being way in the back. We ride the other side of the road where the trails are over basalt and steep: no purpose built tread. Lots of walking for me. Hard riding.

Sat was another morning of trailwork on Thunder Mountain.

New issue of MBA has a review of Turner’s new Flux. Makes me want to own one.

They are not ours



Trails they are. Sedona is a world class attraction for mountain biking, riders come from all over to ride these trails. They experience riding as a touron: One week vacation and I’m going to ride everything. They bring their behavior from home or they let it go kind of like taking a 30 minute shower in the motel room because you are not paying for the indulgence. Someone will pick up after me. This observation hit me on yesterdays ride when I watched a rider roll out after a step down dragging his rear brake creating a furrow in the red dirt. As he went by me I said more front brake. It took a moment for him to accept what he did was wrong at least scuffing out the gouge. I think it is the burden local trail angels bear to repair their famous trails. I don’t imagine local riders relish in the increased use. Money is being made by bike rental shops, lodging, dining, drinking, etc. I don’t know how the businesses support the trails. Us locals rode during the shitty weather, riders are here now basking in what is close to their summer back home only months earlier clime. For the most part riders are spread out that I encounter few on my rides. I see the condition of the trails. It is what it is, I also am a touron riding someone else’s home turf.

Today I loped brush for day 2 on Thunder Mtn trail. The scrub oak was replaced by crucifix thorn cactus and prickly pear.  Usual FS personnel, small number of steady local people. Maybe 25 people. I engaged in banter when someone was within earshot. We were all working on the same project making for an almost captured audience. It’s street theater involving their participation. The trail is hand built trail that favors mountain bike riding in that it takes lots of extra feet of travel for hikers to get to somewhere. Mountain bike trails are about lots of miles, it’s about riding. Hikers generally are goal directed perhaps seeking the most sustainable trail to experience something. Bikers will get to that same thing only by perhaps going around the neighbors’ backyard first. Trail runners run for miles like bikers making them a favorable user group. Trail will be challenging when finished.

Friday I rode my Llama loop. I cleared one little climb on Llama. I raised my seat just a little which made it easier to stand up from the seat. Standing can be good. It’s about forward motion using gravity or resisting pealing uphill. Power gives balance and drives the suspension.

Dryness: I hang my wet washcloth on the line above the sink. I can almost watch the water evaporate.

Back at my second most favorite spot, I arrived late afternoon today. Last night it was after dark when I drove out here. I assumed the spot was still held down by the RV so I picked spot B at the cattle tank. Daylight revealed no RV but a car camper. They were a one and done. I checked my favorite spot which is occupied by a trailer. I suspect that it is now an escape to desert weekend living. The guy in the tent further out this road left today. I walked out to that spot. The grass did not exist under where his tent was pitched.

Sunday AM:

Back behind the sheriff’s office getting ready for 11AM social ride.