Monday, December 15, 2014

Desert Tour 2014: The Last Supper

We're preparing our last dinner before hitting the road: Veggie pizza with a side of lamb burgers!  The pizza is unique, however.  The crust is--fo' reelz--cauliflower, egg and goat cheese.  The topping is spinach, red onion and goat cheese.  Don't be fooled.  This stuff is awesome.  We'll be taking some leftovers on the road, too.  Eat up, velovolk!

Desert Tour: Countdown thoughts

Steel grey, 45 deg. F., cutting breeze, snow on the high country, this is no summer cycling tour.  We'll push through, of course, but it makes me want to shrink into the couch with a book, fire blazing, and wait for the spring--almost.  In truth, I love this season.  Rain, snow, wind, it doesn't matter, we get out every day, the lone freaks of the 'hood who hike and walk with Django no matter what.  The People's Republic of Tehachistan is easy to negotiate in the winter, unlike Buffalo, NY, with SEVEN FEET of snow in one storm this season. A really big storm for us would be seven inches.  Suit up, get out, nothing to lose but your sloth.   And that's the attitude we're bring to this tour, although I think we only have a couple of dour days we need to endure before conditions improve substantially.  Here's the forecast for Death Valley, which we'll be camping in and crossing from Thurs. through Monday, when we cycle out via Salsbury Pass:

Not bad, eh?  Here's the UHaul (a ten footer) loaded with the Greenspeed tandem and doggie trailer:

I contemplate often on how lucky we are to be healthy, to have the resources for such adventures.  This is an awesome life!  I'm excited to share a little of it with a handful of readers.  I've been inspired by many stories I've found online, and I like to do my part for others.  It's easy to get sucked into the parade of bad news that washes red across the Net, the TV, our own minds.  We can do virtually nothing about most of it, yet still we get pulled into the Dark Vortex.  To what benefit?  Better to read, plan, scheme about that next adventure.  Tomorrow at this time we'll be deep in it, slogging up the southern Inyo Mountains, or, if we're lucky, pitching camp, perhaps blessed by a glimpse or two of the mighty Sierras, weighted down at last by a mantel of heavy snow.  Eat well, hoist a flagon to the gods, for tomorrow, we ride!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Desert Tour 2014: The forecast

I know the thumbnail art makes the forecast look worse than what we are likely to encounter, but sheesh!  Tuesday is now a touch better, but Wednesday is worse.  The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh.  On the plus side, temps are pretty mild, although high thirties light rain is no joke, but since we'll be in the desert, continuous sheets of rain aren't likely nor predicted, art work be damned!  After the storm, as we settle into Death Valley, conditions are set to be just about perfect.  We've got good gear.  Looks like we'll need it.  The winds, praise Shiva/Wankan Tanka/Buddha/Jesus/etc., are predicted to be light.  That will make a huge difference.  Got to make sure all our waterproof systems are tight.  More packing and fretting today.  Tomorrow we get the UHaul and load for launch. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Desert Tour 2014: Cereal Killer and Food Stuffs

Mixin' up a big-ass brew of cereal for the road: fresh toasted organic oats, almond slivers and organic raisins.  I add whey powder and a greens mix (undenatured whey protein and Vital Scoop) for a solid shot of nutri-goodness in the morning that keeps this cyclo-psycho on the road.  Below are a few pics of other stuff, boxes, and freeze-dried goodies to keep us fueled on the remote sections.  Traveling on a heavily loaded tandem with doggie means we can't make the sometimes substantial distances between supply points, so we have to deal with "dry camps," places where there is nothing but creosote bushes and sand.  We have to carry backpacking style meals and water for sometimes many miles.  On the plus side, we get to spend the night in some unusual, beautiful places that, traveling more quickly, we'd just roll right by.

For meat--we're recovering vegans--we ended up purchasing--I kid you not--dog meat, i.e. meat for dogs.  Jodi found a source for organic, cooked, freeze-dried chicken and venison pet food.  The stuff is great!  She was unable to find equivalent "human" food, so what the heck?  We be dawgs anyway.  Bring it.  Woof!  Woof!

Desert Tour 2014

Above is the route that Jodi, Django, and I will be tackling in just a few days (click on the map for more detailed look via Ridewithgps).  As the rain comes down and snow blankets the mountains above 5,000 ft., there's no doubt winter is here regardless of the solstice.  It looks like the first days of riding will be cool and cloudy but with only a slight chance of rain--low about 30 deg. F., high about 44.  This will be a little unpleasant but not brutal.  We'll take not brutal, thank you.  We've got a bunch of chores to do to get finally ready.  We pick up the Uhaul on Monday; the riding starts on Tuesday morning after a 2.5 hour drive.  Let's hope for the best weather possible!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gear talk: Tour coffee mug and coffee!

As my semester gasps its last gasp, I'm getting more involved in thinking and prepping for our coming epic tour through the Mojave.  Over the next few days, I hope to toss up a few posts about preparations, gear, the usual hubbub in getting on the road.  Our tour will involve 18 days of mostly very remote riding.

Jodi has been a wizard at collecting and putting together some awesome food options, which I'll post about later. Above is our coffee gear, super important for addicts on the road for a mid-winter tour.  The Mount Hagen Organic is a freeze-dried and therefore instant coffee that really tastes good--No Folgers/Nescafe poison for this crew, no siree.  Our usual dose is a 16 oz. mix of coffee and cream/half + half, with a shot of Ghirardelli for me.   The dosage could not be simpler: One heaping teaspoon cocoa, two heapers of coffee, and four heapers of the full-fat milk powder.  Working the mix with a fork into a paste helps eliminate any lumps. Then add the rest of the water to top off the mug--voilĂ , smokin' awesome coffee.

I've found perhaps the perfect touring mug in the GSI unit featured above.  This green one is Jodi's and has some refinements not found on my older generation.  My cup has a very thin neoprene tube while this one is completely covered, including the bottom, with a non-skid patch.  Unlike my older mug, this one has a strap/handle that makes it easier to hold, especially for small hands. The lid has an O-ring and flip-top closure--super tight and leak-proof.  This bad boy is non-toxic and checks in at about 3.5 oz. Hmmm...may have to replace mine!

Stay tuned for route map and other goodies.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Old guy shredding

Finally got a hero shot!  My sister-in-law, Karen, came with us to the High Desert for some climbing yesterday, so instead of the ubiquitous "butt shot," she could get a better perspective on the action.  I'm really pleased with this one.  We scrambled up into the high boulders and climbed "Tell Me A Story," which checks in at 10c, a pretty hard route for us.  I was especially pleased on this route to recover quickly from some very small holds.  I've had problems in the past with my fingers, and this climb took everything I had--but I shook out after the hard moves and felt fine.  Phew.  In the photo, I'm just past the hardest part and thrilling to some pretty good holds. Thanks for being a great shooter, Karen.  I'll remember these days when I'm schlepping around the nursing home.