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Who’d of Thunk!?!?!

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This is now home.

To be more specific, this is where I now live through the duration of my contract. Or at least till next Monday when I take a pass/fail cert for the company I’m working for here. On that topic I signed a lot of paperwork declaring I would NOT talk about my work at all, but suffice it to say I work as a GIS Tech for a fruit based company.

From field monkey to desk jockey in a few short months. It’s a good entry level gig that pays well and will provide a respectable stepping up point in the end. Living here in Silicon Valley, however, has been a test of epic proportions. This place fucking sucks droopy, drippy donkey balls from the back side. One massive suburb packed to the gills with some of the most clueless assholes on earth. While a few small gems exist, getting the fuck out of dodge on a regular basis is the way I stay sane. Or hiding at home, whichever.

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This kind of stuff is close by which helps. I get a good hike in almost every weekend and there is a surprising amount of open space around here for the population. Access to the open spaces is rather good so a trot in the wilds is never really to far away. I live in Cupertino which is Spanish for “Holy shit, there are a lot of Asians living here!” And, true to stereotype, the driving skills here are the tops.

You may have noticed I added my Instagram feed to the side of this thing so if you want to check out some photos of my adventures, they’ll be there.

As far as riding goes, there is precious little dirt anywhere near here so some more street friendly tires are on Thumper for blasting around the steep windy roads in the Santa Cruz mountains to my immediate SW. Lots of good turn burning if the guy with big money in the Porsche in front of you has any driving skills. There are plans to go further abroad for riding entertainment, but training for the cert has taken up a good deal of my time. And it’s been rainy as hell. The fun/scary part of riding here is that this:

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Is legal. HOLYSHIT!! IF you want to test your medal, ride between 2 rows of traffic on a freeway at 55 mph. I rarely take 85 to work as it is a goddamn parking lot, surface streets are quicker and easier. Also feel a tad safer for lane splitting. A tad. The payoff is that I get to pass up that long line of 60 cars to the stop line, then blast off when the light changes. Takes me 15 to 20 minutes less to commute by bike than car. Plus the adrenaline dump makes that second cup of coffee unnecessary. Most folks seem cool with it and make room when they see you coming down the aisle. I’ve only had a couple fast brake grab moments. Glad I put on new brakes.

The big picture is that it’s goddamn lonely here. Haven’t found a way to meet people despite a good deal of work at it and have settled into a routine of work, workout, and get outside. Did some exploring in Mountain View and Campbell yesterday and discovered they actually have down towns and each has a sweet used book store. Plan to spend non play days kicking it in either place to get a little exposure to other humans.

That’s it for now. Brain hurts, but wanted to get something down here to maybe inspire more of the same. Not bitching, writing.

Cali sucks, but it could be a whole lot worse. Life is good.

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It is Done.

Fire season 2015 is officially in the can.

The least number of fires of any season in 20 years, however, not a total loss.

Being here allowed me to get in internship time and finish my degree, get a knee rebuilt, still make decent $ even without fires/OT and I met Amanda. Think I made out pretty damn nicely. Not to mention the thousands of miles I’ve gotten in on my KLR through the deserts and forests here in Idaho, truly spectacular country. Despite my best efforts there is still a great deal to see here and I’ll be back (as a civilian) to check it out.
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North of I-84 that is. Like a minimum of 50 miles north of it. The southern flats are standard American dirty (Mormon) jesus infested hillbilly methlands. While I am biased, a co-worker was told, in reference to a drunk 15 year old girl, that “Her daddy already broke her in.” last night so don’t think I’m being a poopy face. Fucked up small town shit is the order of the day around here.

The previously referred to interview went quite well, looks like I’m 99% certain to be working on contract for a tech company in Silicon Valley before the year ends out. Still going to talk to the company in PDX to see what they have coming up and do some compare/contrast. South Bay Area/PDX, GIS/Remote Sensing, being 3 hours from my new GF or 16 hours? All good problems to have.

Meeting Amanda has been the bees knees. She is very mature at 27, (something that should not have to be mentioned, but you guys are cranking out some serious fucking failures these days) and I’m immature for 44 so we make a dandy couple. Having someone who is easy going, adventurous, low key and has an eye for the long haul is nice, very nice. Neither of us is big on possessions, the house with the white picket fence or crotch fruit, making the possibility of being free for big adventures very real.

One more night after this here in Bubbaville, get the knee checked out Tuesday AM, then back to Bend to put the end on the season and a career. Time to start anew. Again. Sweet!

Such a hack!!!

Future so Bright?

This is it! The final day of the most pathetic fire season in a 20 year career. Yes, I know the whole goddamn West burned to the ground, but for some reason I was not invited. I got to sit here in Bubbaville and keep an Org chart in good working order. Sweet. Recent events, however, have led me to believe spending 2 years and a good deal of coin on getting the GIS degree was a good call after all. And this stupid gig helped fund it so I can’t get too pissy.
I never take online jobs sites seriously. Yeah, I’m going to post a resume and the world will come knocking at my door. Go fuck yourself. Well, I figured it couldn’t hurt as I’ve flung a number of resumes out there to crickets, so who not?

Miracle of miracles, 2 days after posting a resume on a jobs site I got an email about a potential gig, responded to without much real thought because nobody gets anything that way, right? Got a call yesterday setting up an interview for a “Forbes Top 50” tech company as a GIS tech. Apparently they like my resume enough the initial 15 minute screened interview got skipped and tomorrow AM I have a real, proper official interview to see if I’m fit for the gig. A 1 year contract requiring a move to the south Bay Area in Cali and, I’m sure, many very long days grinding through a mish-mash of data to help make someone’s troubled mapping application top notch.

On top of this potential sweet news, there is a strong possibility of a gig in PDX should this one not pan out. Holy shit! Opportunity!?!?!? Coming from a position not that many years ago of having been on food stamps and house sitting for traveling friends to keep a roof over my head, this is a damn fine spot to be in.

As much as I poo-poo this current stupid fucking gig, I have to give it credit for how where things are at today. It has provided a modicum of security and consistency, both financially and locationally, to allow a return to living forward, not just surviving. And I got some sweet photos out of the whole thing. Oh, and a girl friend. Not used to that yet.

Once again, the conundrum of which direction life will flow is up in the air. PDX or Cali? Find a storage unit to stuff my shit into if Cali, sort it all again and haul the remains to PDX? We shall soon see. Funny how living out of a Subaru at 44 feels more secure than it ever has. I know the scope of my world, responsibilities, and desires. Fewer and fewer material goods that don’t directly serve a purpose. A good deal of sweet gear to beat the shit out of now that I’m nearly healed back up. A caring, adventurous and entertaining partner. What more could one ask for?

Has Been a Time, it Has

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Been an action packed fun filled 9 months so full of chaos, time to ruminate and babble was not available. More to the truth, I have been busy, but lazy and have ignored this avenue of expression and horseshit flinging.

Going to stick with the facts here and get into the deep bla bla bla in subsequent posts.

In the last 9 months I’ve had both my right shoulder

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rebuilt (along with a sweet plantar wart dug out of my left foot while down with the shoulder, suicidally fun let me tell ya), finished my degree in GIS, got me an actual awesome girlfriend who seems to like me

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and will soon be wrapping up my very final, honest to goodness, yes I’ve said it before but I mean it this time LAST season fighting fire. Fuck this gig with a spiny steel dildo covered in chocolate sprinkles.

In the mean time there have been a great deal of mods, and a few adventures, on Big Pig the Might KLR. My shoulder was done in early February necessitating a 2.5 month layoff from riding, so I went balls deep into tinkering with it to keep the sanity as walking was a no go due to the evil plantar wart. Not a good combo. Got the bike out to Ideeho and had some good deep desert adventures before getting my knee done last Wednesday. Going to be a few weeks down, but not as long as the shoulder. Rebuilt is an exaggeration knee-wise, I got a meniscus tear while working and had that tidied up.

Knee follow up is Wednesday the 6th of October from which I shall enter loaded car and head to Bend for a weekish before returning to land, once again, in PDX. While in Bend a cousin I’ve not seen in 30 years and his wife will be in town and I’m quite jazzed to see him. Being raised by parents who fled their Midwest homes early on for the West Coast and chose not to maintain much in the way of ties, it was easy to forget there are actually family members out there. I’m looking forward to catching up.

PDX has the promise of a gig in my new field that pays more entry level than what my very shortly ex-career pays with 20 years experience. A real job, as it were. With less lying, deception, manipulation and downright bullshit I imagine. Yes, every gig has BS and assholes, but I’m looking forward to a new flavor. Nothing is 100% as of yet, but why not go all in on a decent gamble? Life is for living, not staring at.

Amanda, the new GF, will be living in Seattle. Seeing as we are both of the cat variety of human that should work OK for a bit plus give me a reason to check out Seattle more. How did I meet her you ask? Well, seems my boss thought is was time to put females out at the guard stations to mix things up a bit. On this, we agree fully. The BLM may have tried to crush my soul, but they provided the opportunity for a GF, so we’re even in my book.

After almost a year of physical pain and debilitation it has been a long road out of the pit of not giving a fuck back to, well, giving a fuck. A long list of new adventures is in the process of being drafted and now that I won’t hurt every time I push things it’s time to get off my expanding ass and back to the life of constant boundary pushing and adventure. Would be a fundamental betrayal of my inner most being to stop this path now. Trail runs, ice walls, summits, canyons and long shitty dirt paths are calling to be explored and I’m finally back to a place where that can happen.

Deep bike nerd babble. The contentious Kenda K270 tire.

Unless you are wayyyyy into moto tires, or just like how I rant about shit, this may not be interesting for you. I’ll leave that ball in your court.

So, when I got my KLR this past June the tires were used up and I did what all newbies do when confronted with such a dilemma, read forums and ask questions to find out what to get. Holy shit! Never could I have imagined the world of contention and confusion that the topic Dual Sport tires could present.

Wanting a good 50/50 that would be affordable I went with the Kenda K270, one of the tires most polarized in reviews. “Love it!”, “Those things are unsafe and a hazard at all times!”. Fuck. Whatever, they’re cheap.

Now that I have 5000 miles on the pair in a pretty solid 60/40 dirt-road balance I have come to a solid conclusion.

These things fucking blow harder than a pivot twink at a foam party at Silverado.

To be fair, the rear is actually pretty good off road. Good hook up, does mud and sandy stuff well, bla bla bla. The fun begins when you get a flat spot going in the tread and the funky side knobs become a steep angle pivot on paved surfaces. Makes it looser in the back than above mentioned twink while trying to hit the twisties. Goddamn horrifying.

The front does well on the paved, having a much more rounded profile than the rear, but is a worthless piece of wandering shit off road. At first I was willing to go with the wandering till it “broke in”. All these miles later it looks hardly worn, but despite varied air pressures (down to 16 psi) this fucker has tried to kill me in almost every surface type ridden. Most disconcerting was the recent experience of trucking down some nice hardpack dirt with a few wet spots in it and no matter the line taken around, through or far away from the wetness the goddamn thing wanted to go down.  Having Mt biked for over 20 years I know the front can wander a great deal and have learned how to go with the flow. This is different. This hunk of shit goes from solid to fucked instantly, no middle ground.

To tie this in with Commerce, I mean Christmas, day I’m happy to say I just ordered an IRC TR8 Battle Rally which looks like a sweet skin and will hopefully take some of the uncertainty out of the front end.

Well, there is that. Let me know if you have any experience with the K270 and what you think.

Rotella, mofos!

Desert adventures, Aka Fuck X-Mas and all associated horseshit.

Being someone actively devoid of silly holiday traditions I chose the past few days to get the fuck out of Bend-Tourist Mecca and head into the desert. The plan was to get some ideas for trips based on the KLR and to see how the roads in the area matched the scant data available. Not well, I came to find. That will be a task with the bike after the winter. Ride the shit out of the desert with a GPS and load all that data into Open Street. Holy fuck, that was a hoot! A greater understanding of how that place was an inland sea some millennia ago instilled itself in my head after 2 days of desperate plowing down “roads” wondering which sludge hole was going to be the death of Mighty Whitey.P1010082

This was one of the small ones. One went for 500+ meters and damn near swallowed MW.

I shall pause the narrative at this point to publicly give a massive shout out to the engineer from Fuji Heavy Industries who, in the mid 70’s, came up with the concept that lead to the Subaru AWD wagon. This being my 4th Soob, I can attest to their  durability and insane dependability. I’ve hammered the complete shit out of all of mine and have never been left hanging. The fact that nothing broke this trip is stunning given the number of rocks hit, ditches jumped and super sludge ponds plowed through.

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Good on ya, Subaru!

 

 

 

 

Just being out in the middle of nowhere was worth it, however. Not being a fan of most people, the desert in winter is an excellent choice of places to be.

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Plenty good exploring got done and the camping was tops!

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First night…

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Annnnnnnd second.

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This was my favorite place the whole trip. Why, you may ask? Well, let me tell ya, pardner! The name. Strictly the name.

Which is?!?!?

JEW VALLEY.

No shit, Jew Valley.

Not a Jew was sighted, which brought about some severe disappointment. Unless my sister is right and we’re Jews, then a Jew was sighted. In the mirror. Not what I was hoping for. I wanted to see some fucking hardscrabble Hasids in their dumb fucking wool jammies and curly locks working it. Building fence and whatnot. Nope, just a watering hole, sage and way too much slop disguised as roads. Fuck.

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There was a little sun, usually a few hours in the morning followed by overcast and rain, sleet, snow, hail and odd combos of all the above at times. Beautiful. I highly recommend no one ever try this sort of thing. Keeps the rabble out of my goddamn desert.

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Smooch!

Rotella.

Map Nerd Shit

Between morning cup of coffee 1 and 2 the little dinger on my phone went off letting me know of a new email. Fuck it, gonna get cuppajoe # 2 down before I read that.

Half way through #2 I decide to check it out and what do ya know, school got cancelled due to the .01 inch of ice. Woohoo, free day!

Got all the typical AM business out of the way then hit the computator to do some editing in Open Street Map. There, I tied it into the title. OSM, as us mappie types call it, is basically a spatial data version of Wikipedia. Anyone who opens an account can add, delete or edit the data in the map. The advantage of it over Google Maps, Bing Maps, etc. is that it isn’t up to the company to decide what gets edited/added. Have a favorite restaurant that isn’t on the map? Add it.  The map data is also shareware so it can be used by other developers without worry of copyright issues. Esri, the company that makes ArcMap, the primary GIS software platform, has it as a base map option, some phone apps, such as Maps.Me pro use it as their base map as well.

To get off on a side tangent, Maps.ME is worth having. You can download maps with built in routing so you can use them for route finding without having any data connection. The great benefit of them using OSM is this: if there are specific things you want to have in maps, you can add it to OSM and be able to access it at any time. Whenever the app updates, all the edits that occurred since the last update are automatically added. How can this be cool?

I’m a moto dork as well, if you couldn’t tell by the title of the blog. I like to do long solo treks on old highways and dirt/forest/desert roads in the middle of nowhere and there are a few things I like to know the location of: gas, water and food. So I go through areas I plan to explore, find any sources of aforementioned stuff and if it’s there, but not yet added to OSM, I put it in and voila! No data needed personal updated maps for the shit I need to know about.

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Spent tonight with a Meetup group called Maptime which was an absolute hoot. Played with editing in OSM, looked at some Strava data as it can be streamlined and uploaded and basically babbled map nerd shit with some cool folks for a few hours.

It is rather rewarding to have thrown it all in to return to school to retrain for a new career field and see how huge it is, how fun it is and to see that I’m pretty damn good at it. It’s obvious my writing isn’t going to put food on the table so it’s good this is working out so far.

Rotella

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