Making time

Thursday I left Flag after preparing for a 3 day up in the Zunis stay then drove to McGaffey and Bill’s cabin for 3 days of hanging out clear of electronic distraction (sort of as I climbed up the hill behind the cabin and received at least 3G). I stayed on Monday for a solo ride then drove to Aztec for Alien Run which was yesterday then drive to Durango where I am now,

Now the nuts and bolts.

Interstate 40 absorbed old US RT 66 all the way to the Fort Wingate exit then the climb up to McGaffey. Road climbs and turns its way to the top of the ridge. Again a pickup sped  up and rode my tail, I turned into Bill’s lane and parked in a spot across from the neighbor cabin. the truck parked at that house, he did not want me. Greeted Bill.

Bill is the spark plug for the trail system here. He and I exchanged ideas. The trails here wind thru scattered trees on mostly gentle elevation changes. Friday was his first ride of the season so he lead a pleasant pace and distance. I just sucked his wheel for navigation. Bill rides a fully rigid bike suitable for bike packing which is how he views the new trail system: bike packing.

Sheet rock tank
nautilus

Our ride was leisurely that was enhanced by several long breaks. Bill sent me this pic.

Beautiful enjoyable day. back at the cabin enjoying the sun. Something here that there are no cactus on this side of the road. Bill made lasagna for our dinner.

Sat the race promoter of the 24 hour race lead us on the race route. The weather was threatening with serious dark clouds and strong wind gusts. A final piece of the ride crossed a meadow being buffeted by the strong cross wind almost knocking my bike out from under me.

Lots of alligator juniper trees

back at the cabin for more clubhouse hanging.

The cabin

Sunday the riders from yesterday minus the promoter showed for another ride, Bill’s 3rd of the season,he displayed increasing strength as we rode the easier trails on the cabin’s side of the road. The rides mostly climbed 100′ per mile of trail. Hand built working around the open tree cover for entertainment.

Bill left Sun for home down in Gallup. I walked up the hill for internet. As I hiked up the horse trail I spied motion uphill ahead of me. I raised my phone to my face after turning on the camera. I watched what appears to be a long tailed bobcat walk towards me. I snapped pics as it advanced. As it neared me I started thinking about defensive actions in case it took untold action towards me. It stopped when it realized I was in its way. It was about 40′ before it turned around and kept on going. I failed to transfer the pic from the phone to my computer.

I spent Sunday night at the cabin. I decided that I wanted to ride the tougher trails on the other side of the road. I remember that the trail crossed a cattle fence right at the start, I needed to check out the height of the fence for me being able to lift my bike over the fence. I drove down to the Hilso TH for the start of the ride. I walked over to the fence to see that it has been forced lower enough for me to lift my bike over. I started on Purple Haze. Trails pieces here are below grade either from riders compacting the dirt or were old cattle paths. The trail hit the paved road for a few pedal strokes to pick up Milk Ranch trail. This time I rode it counter clock wise as Bill described it in MTBProject, I had never ridden this part of the loop which part of it climbed up the namesake canyon. Some nasty pushing my bike up climb a bike spots. Spring flood flow displayed moved forest litter.

Milk ranch canyon easy part

Next was Quasimoto which continued the climb up onto the ridge. Elevation is plus or minus several feet of 8,000′ which continues to beat my breathing. Today I rode by myself without pacer Bill.

I approached a climbing turn and i stopped to gasp for breath. Ahead i saw motion on the ground, hmm, something to check out. It was a moth flapping a wing trying to get airborne with no success. Closer exam discovered tiny ants “attacking” it. Perhaps the moth had passed on its genes and was dying and the ants were part of the food chain. Which Wikipedia reports adults only mate as they have no digestive system or mouth parts.

cecropia moth

In the depths of the canyon a rider approached me, solo woman. We chatted a bit to learn she and her husband and 3 year old were on a road trip leaving from Gunnison. She got first ride of the day while dad watched the kid. Her route was the Milk Ranch loop allowing her to catch me again while on Quasi. I was heading for the van and beer, she told me to look her family up as they were on my route. I swooped down Berma which is now a decommissioned FS road. Her guys were at the TH. We chatted. He built a real treehouse near Gunnison that he told me about and invited me to check it out. They know some Gunnison people I know. They left as did I.

Next was driving more I40 then north to Aztec, NM. Windy drive cross wind. Little traffic. An Anytime facility is in Aztec for a shower. Cleaned I drove out to the Alien Run TH N of town on BLM land. I fixed dinner then settled down for the windy night. Forecast for Tues called for big stormy weather around noon. In the morning the sky to the SW was threatening. Better get ‘er done before the storm hit. I rode out Alien Run to the 5 mile shorter loop for my return.

Skies were threatening as I drove back to Aztec for a shower.

Cleaned I drove N to Durango, CO. Nasty windy drive. I turned north at an intersection instead of south thinking I was heading to Durango. Then the road got nasty with heavy rain and hail covering the road. NASTY. i realized that Durango was not getting closer so i turned around and drove thru the same shit which was no carved with vehicle tires. Safe. Corrected my direction driving into Durango. I connected with John here for a visit and a driveway sleep spot. He told me he was working on his VW Westy in the driveway leaving only street side parking which is against city ordinance. I decided that I would rather spend the night in Junction Creek FS XG legally that street side. I drove up to the almost empty XG and picked and paid for a spot. John invited me to dinner back in town. Having a paid for spot for a later night arrival was comforting. I drove back to town.

Anthony Diaz is a Turner rider racer who has figured out how to make Pike and Lyric forks act like a coil spring w/o the metal. I dropped my bike off for his work. He will revalve and place tokens to prepare the fork for its runt cartridge yet to be manufactured. I’ll prolly get it while in Moab, hopefully. Rainy day in town.

Dinner at John’s with his girl and friend Bob who showed phone pics of his world travels. I bid adieu towards 10 then drove back up to the XG in heavy rain. Nasty night snug as a bug in my heated van, the furnace on lower setting ran all night, this AM it was just above freezing.

So now I am parked at a metered spot waiting for my bike to be finished. Trails are too wet to ride anyway. Tonight John has cleared his driveway for a city spot.

Thurs is a laundry day here then a short drive to either Cortez or Dolores.

Parking meter is eating into my change bag, kind of like money laundering.

Flag

Monday I left Sedona. I arrived at Flag. Elevation is 7,000′ plus. Ponderosa pine forests.

Now have new van key cut and programmed to start the engine. I spent yesterday picking up the key, I asked the parts guy several times about the key being programmed. He checked his staff, yes he was told that he told me. Previous calls stated that the key needed to be programmed, parts guy continued to say it was ready to go. I said if I come back in there is a problem with the key. At the van I held the working key in my hand then locked and closed the van side door. I put the new key in, door unlocked. First test. Put it in the ignition, turned it: error light lit. No engine. Walked back in. Senior tech attached their computer to my van, he learned that the shop did not have additional software to program the key. Back and forth discussion about how to get the programming done. He said that he would reimburse me for programming out of his own pocket as he said he was responsible for the error. I said no, I would not take his personal $. He said the shop would figure something out. I called the Flag Mercedes dealer, service said they could program at a 1:00 appointment. Let gps direct me to the shop. Much too much time was taken for the programming. I stuck my nose in the shop door. Service told me the computer should that 8 keys which is the max number that can be made for a given vin. This is the first key for original owner me. The tech realized that he was entering an incorrect code. The new code allowed the programming, I now have a working new key. I took the receipt back to the dodge dealership parts dept. Guy said that he would reimburse the fee. I did not ask for anything. I asked if the $ could be put back on my card I used to pay for the key. Couldn’t do it because that card was cancelled because of the hack. He gave me cash that I need to find a participating credit union to deposit.

That was my day.

I drove out to valley Fort for a sleepspot. I followed a camper trailer ove. the very rutted FS road, they took the spot I wanted. I drove further up the rutted ride to find a suitable spot. AH, day is done, legal place to sleep, gentle breeze blowing thru the P pine needles. Ponderosa pine exudes a vanillan smell that when your bury your nose in a bark crack you can smell it. Because the pine is so pervasive there is a gentle smell in the air. Too chilly for an open door, the furnace ran during the night.

Tuesday friend Joe provided local guide hosting to a our ride. We met at the Shultz Creek, Elden lookout road. We pedaled up Elden road, steep and gravel gaining elevation which was killing me. We left the road at a hairpin on a social trail connecting with Little Bear, what Joe wanted to share. Trail was mostly burned over several years ago then deluged by a 1 in 100 year rain event which wreaked damage to the trail. It is rideable again because of volunteers and paid crew.

Joe
Joe almost dead center of pic

Trails here are rocky loose. Narrow bench cut with exposure got on my nerves. Dangerous riding on Little Bear.

Bid Joe adieu with a riding plan for tomorrow.

I pulled into Cosmic Cycles shop parking lot. Exit was blind back up onto main street. I asked about the upper shock mounting hardware to replace the aluminum can shim Dave made. Shop found a Fox kit that measured OK. Owner measured my bike while on my van. I pointed out his sticker on the back door. Leave my bike and come back later. I decided that I was going to turn around in their small lot to drive forward into traffic. I backed up too far hitting a low wood post. Oops. I dashed inside to tell of my miscalculation. Reinstalled the posts said was OK.

Next up was a shower at Anytime where my card key malfunctioned. I was let in because the office was staffed and door was unlocked. Talked to the woman desk person about my key not being recognized. back at first visit in Jan I worked the card for entrance. First indication of problem I called the fitness provider who told me everything was good on my end, problem is with anytime. After cleaned up the woman and I conversed, she is planning a road trip getaway which lead me to sharing thoughts.

I bought a sixer of local beer and returned to the bike shop parking in the alley. I gave the owner the beer asking for atonement. He laughed: no harm. Bike was fixed.

last night I drove up Schultz creek road which has been restored for hauling out timber later this year. Bailed at first spot where I had previously stayed, bitch to make it level. Fell asleep listening to the home broadcast of the Mariners.

Thia AM my lower digestive system sent evacuation signals, urgent. Shovel and paper towel in hand I dug a hole. Urgent and sort of relief. Concern is the antibiotic I took to kill the fungus on my leg that would not heal because of the blood flow restriction caused by the blood clot had a warning notice that if diarrhea happened to seek immediate medical care. I drove down to the trailhead for good internet. Discovered that my email was not receiving new email. I found a previous link to the healthcare system and wrote my concern. I scored a stool exam and an ultrasound on my ankle this afternoon. I spent several hours on the phone with a computer tech who did fix my computer but charged $199. I called customer service to understand the charge. Seems my number is patched directly to the tech. Language and cultural conflict. Computer is working.

I plan on leaving here tomorrow morning but that could be delayed as results of tests are learned.

FS torched land for a prescribed burn. Big plume of smoke visible from out here at Schultz.

Gotta go.

Update:

Tues i sought water. My drive passed a fire station, they should have water. I pulled in and walked to the back of the station house. 3 firefighters were gearing up in 70 pounds of equipment to work out. They showed me the tap and told to pour away. 6 gallons later after watching these guys do special exercises i continued my way.

Today at schultz th while i was wtestling w/ computer support i watched a Ford van spinning its rear wheel digging a hole. I walked over to help. The driver had wedged the right rear wheel between 2 rocks that acted as chocks. I grabbed my shovel and dug away under smaller rock freeing it. Next was locating my leveling blocks to create a ramp out of hole. Success, they were freed. They ate from Corvalis, Or. We might have worked at the imba trail work day.

  1. Ultrasound did not find the previously reported blood clot in my lower leg. Good if it dissolved or bad if it just kept on its vascular way to lodge in a lung.

A quarter over the line

I ate a half, only time and writing will tell if it is over the line.

This morning I was awakened by not feeling well. What’s happening? Something coming on, I have not connected the symptoms with what makes its home in my body. Ate pancakes. Cleaned up. Planning on showing for the 11AM ride to say goodbye. I parked in the parking lot. Walked into shop, nothing happening. No ride or riders. I was shooed out of the shop. I just left. Goodbye Bike and Bean.

Bought propane from Chevron Tony on the way out to Beaverhead.

Yesterday I planned on being in west Sedona for a trail work day if there was one; VVCC web site showed previous days only. Checked at the Bean: no FS flyer equals no work day. I had the day off.

Sat blood test displayed a way high number which means slower clotting at a wound. I could have ridden  and been safe. I decided to forego a ride.

I drove out Jacks Canyon to hike the front side of Horse Mesa climbing to the top. I hiked the trail I have ridden  till I caught the climbers way trail which lead to another traversing trail, taking that one a ways then turned on the serious climbers trail. Steep and loose some places with a skiff of unconsolidated earth on a rock: count on a slide. I exposed myself to more bleeding conditions than if I had ridden. Up top: strand of downed barb wire fence, occasional flowering thistles. I walked across the mesa to the southern edge. Cattle grazed on the mesa, I have not found their up path. Down below runs Dry Beaver that i have ridden down a trail, Route called Hot Loop. Earlier this spring on my only time riding this route the creek was flowing class 3 white water. Carves down from Mogollon Rim Flagstaff level.

dry beaver

Then there is what’s behind the camera:

Big Park, Bell Rock, heading to Sedona

One hour to get up, slightly more going down.

I chose hiking over riding hoping that walking would use muscles differently which might aid in breaking up the leg clots. Leg hurt entire time, no relief. I wore the sock which lessened ankle swelling. Today there is less pain.

Last turkey dinner at Mileys. Stopped for a beer at PJs for social, Lingered over a beer passing time. Decided to leave before dark.

Drove out to Beaverhead for the better internet site, favored spot was occupied by car campers, the trailer was gone. Perhaps tonight I might get it. And I did. I drove in to the flatter spot, I put the bubble level on the galley which I take to be level, I put 1 block under right wheels, drove up on them, checked the bubble: dead level. Dropped anchor. I set up my chair outside in teh sun and sat to read. I was becoming overcome by a non desert odor. I looked around and saw where the trailer people had drained their gray water. Eck. I returned to other site slightly out of down wind.

So, tomorrow morning I am casting off from Red Rock ranger District in the Coconino NF driving up I17 to Flag hanging there until after wash on Thurs then driving to the Zunis.

One thing about living on the road full time is my visits are transitory, the connection I make lack permanence. Us road people understand this. Our interaction is already based on living on the road, we get it. We share together time then we go our separate ways, maybe meet in the future. Although my experience has been of just a few meetups. The road offers me finding others to share time with. Another thing is road livers prolly have 24/7 their time to do whatever and trying to connect with people that are working isn’t always good. I really have few life sharing buddies. I continue this lifestyle until either my body gives out or my brain won’t send those signals to the body.

Spell check caught my misspellings. Good Bye Ruby Tuesday just finished on XM radio classic vinyl station. Three and one half hours in, I believe i can safely use sharp instruments and contain fire.

This morning I stopped to buy coffee beans at a local roaster. My nose picked up the smell of honeysuckle blossoms. Sure enough a sizeable bush clump covered something. What a wonderful smell in small doses. One spring I was riding the Syllamo trails in Arkansas, where I parked honeysuckle abounded scenting the air on overdose. Too much of a good thing.