Tag Archives: California

Rant

Put yer big people panties on, it’s gonna get a little rough here for a bit. I’m a little fired up. Pun intended.

So, once again California is a raging inferno, big surprise. Welcome to the West the past 15 years. Many places in the west that have fought tooth and nail to oppose any appreciable fuels management/fire mitigation work done are feeling the consequences of their actions these past 6-7 years and chalk it up to the current bogeyman of the day for anything that happens outside your house: GLOBAL WARMING DID IT!!!!!!!11!!

No, you fucking short sighted pin headed assholes, a century plus of ignoring wildland health conditions and the warnings of professional fire managers like my(former)self and scientists is why this is happening. IT’S YOUR FAULT, fucknuts!

Not the Guv’mnt (well, excepting Smokey the Bear Lying Cunt), not the evvvvvilllll corporations, not immigrants or white trash or the Muslims. YOU.

“Logging and thinning is ugly”, “Fires destroy the forest”, “The more growth the better off things are”, “We camped here when I was 6 so it has to be just like that foreeevvverrrr!!”, “NIMBY”, etc, etc, etc.

Got some news for ya, the ecological cycles of the natural world are much longer term and consequential than your sad little life. Any of ours. Do you think the Nez Perce ran around with elk hide buckets hucking water at the flames every time a fire kicked up? How do you think all these beautiful places got to be the way they are? Luck? It has been, and always will be, fire. Or the closest approximation we can apply on a regular basis in areas where fire is just too risky, mainly the wildland-urban interface.

The intensity of fires of late shows just how severe the conditions have gotten in the realm of neglect. Wouldn’t burn like this without the massive excess of available fuels across the West. Yes, it’s a collection of factors, but the others are largely moot without fuels to burn. Healthy forests with a regular fire regime don’t tend to support running crown fires. Unless that’s their historical fire regime. Stand replacement fires are a real thing, not a ‘disaster’. Every continent has a deep fire history except Antarctica, and that’s due it’s current location. Before it was there it burned like a motherfucker, just like every other patch of land.

This is gonna come off as harsh, but I’m glad it’s finally civilians getting burned up in these fires and not firefighters. I’ve lost friends and have seen the fallout of every firefighter fatality since my first fire season in 1989. Folks talk about their brave heros, build a memorial, make fucking atrocious, unforgivable movies (suck a fat dick in hell, Josh Brolin) then it snows and they forget all about wildfire fatalities till the net round.

Maybe now that the bodies aren’t clothed in Nomex people will listen, and more importantly, act.

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This is the memorial cross where Scott died, his body was right there, 30 feet from the top of the ridge and potential safety. 11 other people were behind him. 2 helitack folks went another way and died in the most miserable, heartbreaking location and manner imaginable. Since the South Canyon Fire in 1994, where he and the 13 others, many friends and acquaintances, died, 376 people have died fighting wildfires, 51 in burnovers, the most awful way to die.

Eager, hardworking, adventure seeking badasses have been putting themselves out there year after year, many temporary employees with no benefits and meager pay, and dying because you can’t face reality concerning the need for a fundamental change in our relationship with the natural world and fire.

Maybe now that wine snobs are dying you’ll give a shit.

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A New Adventure on the Horizon

Howdy!

Well, that last trip really got the travel bug fired up and thankfully I don’t have much in the way of obligations holding me back. Thus, on or around the 24th of June I’ll be heading out on a 10k+ 6-8 week dual sport moto adventure across Canada and the US.

This isn’t going to be a pavement haul across the continent and back, it’s a full on dirt road/tiny 2 track back road adventure that includes, so far, Exploration of the eastern Washington scablands, Canada Day spent in Revelstoke with friends, a run up to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories with friend B-Rad from last summer’s Oregon Big Desert Blast, bopping back and forth across the border in the Great Lakes region to see folks and hit sweet little rides, surviving the eastern seaboard, a run down the Blueridge Parkway, The Missouri River Breaks, Dakota badlands, Colorado for friends  and some high elevation riding, back to Arizona to buy Tom Kenopka breakfast, LA for friends and to finally check of the home of many of my favorite comedians, The Comedy Store finished up with a run up coast on the 1/101 (hopefully the Big Sur slide will be cleared by then) back to PDX, then home to Bend. Going to try and hit parts of the TAT while I’m at it. Then there is the eclipse to plan a remote viewing spot for.

You, dear reader, are a crucial part of this adventure! I’d love to hear about rides, meetups, cool little trails/roads that I can try and join in while on the road. Please share some of your experience and ride along if you wish.

I’d be very grateful if you could share this with rider and non-rider friends alike to get a little following going. Places to camp, including backyards, would be great to hear about as well.

There are a few companies that have provided a little support and they include:

Giant Loop Moto of Bend, OR. Harold and Ingrid helped set me up with some sweet soft luggage at a discount and I will be reviewing it as part of the trip.

Next Adventure in Portland, OR was the first job I got upon moving there the first time way back in 1999. It has since grown into the largest independent outdoor gear store in Oregon, if not the Pacific Northwest. Deek and Brian offer a unique workplace that has become refuge to many disheartened former REI employees, high level adventurers and gear junkies alike. They offered camping gear and a little cash for motorcycle specific needs. I’ll be posting on their blog, reviewing gear and doing and in-store presentation after I return.

Xero Shoes of Broomfield, CO. I used to make my own huaraches out of pig leather that were OK, then I found Xeros and am on my second pair after nearly wearing a hole through the soles of my first. Great small company with excellent products for minimalist footwear fans or those wanting compact, light durable camping footwear. They offered their affiliate program by which if you go to their site by my link and buy something, I get 10% of that purchase.

Being transparent is very important to me, hence the above info. If you are a regular reader you know I’ll be doing honest gear reviews and have no problem calling dodgy gear out.

I’ll be hauling a few stickers and such to events to give out from each company and will happily let folks check out the gear I’m using to get a first hand look.

So there you have it, a summer full of adventure hopefully augmented by you folks.

The countdown begins, 18 days till launch!

Cupertino to Bend via Bisbee

The last day in Silicon Valley slowly winds it’s way too conclusion. Got last minute shopping and pack fitting done so while I’ve got a little time before heading out to comedy show #2 in 2 nights figured I’d tap this out.

Bill Burr was so goddamn funny last night my abs were cramping. He’s building a new set and I can’t imagine how much better it needs to get to record.

Tonight is Doug Stanhope and his sorted menagerie of misfits. Having followed him for so long, listening to all his sets, podcasts, seeing him live a few times it’s almost like an old friend is coming to town. Except we’re total strangers.

Then it’s wake up, get some coffee, load up the bike and hit the road.

I’ll be posting photos and vids to Instagram each day and posting a few of these as time and data permit. The bloom in the desert is going nuts right now so there should be some really pretty sights to be had.

Feel free to follow me and share this with other adventures or those stuck in a rut needing to live vicariously through some random idiot riding a KLR all over hell’s half acre.

Writing About Listening

While I’m one of those people who is perfectly fine with no distraction other than the noise in my head for long stretches of time, now and again it’s nice listening to someone else’s nonsense to keep from going fucking nuts. Music is dandy, got no problem with it, but it has never distracted from radio KFUK constantly playing in me wee little bean. More just a background soundtrack. Since the age of 12 or 13 spoken recordings have had the power of distraction and comedy was my first recorded love. Cosby, Carlin, Robin Williams, Bobcat, Sam Kinison, Pauley Shore, Dice, Dennis Miller, and others got stuffed into my Walkman to keep me company and distract from the not always pleasant reality of day to day life as the fat kid with drunk parents in a shitty redneck town.

Nowadays it’s Pandora set up with about 30 different comedians and a whack of different Podcasts. Podcasts!?! Surprisingly there are still folks who know nothing about this fantastic format, yer either balls deep or clueless. This is the golden age for podcasts, anything you’d want to listen to is out there.

Figured I throw up a list of good listening for long moto rides monotonous trail runs, or whatever you’re into and have a need to listen to some good chatter. I’m not into PC bullshit, right-wing bullshit, anti-free speech bullshit or any other kind of stupidity restricting the free expression of thoughts or ideas regardless of how any random group may feel at any given moment. Many of these are done by comedians I love, others by intellectuals I respect whether I always agree with them or not.

Hit these folks up! Lots of good listening to be had.

The best goddamn Podcast on the face of the earth for anyone with even a fleeting interest in history is Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. Fucking amazing, Not Hipster amazing, real amazing. Dude deserves an award.

My favorite comedian is Doug Stanhope. If you’ve never heard of him, he’s probably not your cup of tea. Hell, maybe he is. Check out the Doug Stanhope Podcast to listen in on the gang of misfits hunkered in Bisbee, AZ drinking their way to the apocalypse. If you’re afraid of stark reality and honesty, keep on looking. Want a good test to see if you can hang? Try the Nowhere Man and Whiskey girl 2 parter, episodes 10 and 13.

The Joe Rogan Experience is the one podcast most people have heard of, for good reason. 99% are decent to awesome, then sometimes he has Alex Jones on, gets him really high, adds a drunk Eddie Bravo for good measure and shit goes off the rails. Pure gold.

Marc Maron’s WTF is another long running high visibility podcast. Hell, Obama was on it! While I hate his interrogation, constant interruption to ask a new question of someone still trying to answer the last 3 questions fired at them, and seeming need for approval by EVERY guest, he does have some great folks on and occasionally isn’t irritating. Love his standup, tolerate the podcast, worth it for the guests.

Bert Kreischer’s Bertcast, Ari Shaffir’s Skeptic Tank and Duncan Trussel’s Family Hour are the other comedians I listen to.

Public Radio has a few winners including the fantastically popular Serial, Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me! for a humorous bit of fun, This American Life which you should already know about, Planet Money for interesting views into the world of money and my favorite, Radiolab.

The thinkers I listen to include Dave Rubin’s Rubin Report, Sam Harris’ Waking Up, Gadd Saad’s The Saad Truth, Tangentially Speaking by Christopher Ryan (Author of Sex at Dawn), and Josh Zepps’ We the People Live.

What do you listed to?

10 Days and a Wakeup

5 working days and 5 pack up and check shit out days and the Silicon Valley experience shall be coming to and end.

The hot springs adventure last weekend was the tops. I was the only overnight guest so had the whole place to myself after 8PM. Spent 20 of my 24 hours there either in a sauna, hot tub or the swimming pool. Soooooooooooo nice. Highly recommended, folks.

Plans from here on, you ask?

Well, short term, it’s spend time checking out Muir Woods, the Monterrey Aquarium, NASA Ames, and a few other local spots too busy to see during weekends, haul shit to Bend and get settled in-ish, play and spend time with friends for a week or so. Then fly back down here, check out the back to back comedy onslaught of Bill Burr and Doug Stanhope, wrap up last minute business and head off on the big moto trip.

Long term, no fucking idea. This has become a regular occurrence throughout life and I’ve come to accept it. GIS gigs are lean these days west of the Rockies at my level and the ‘moving somewhere ever 1.5 to 2 years for a gig’ has run it’s course. Time to settle in somewhere and make it work. Not sure where that is, but you’ll be the first to know once I get it figured.

Trip prep is going swimmingly. Got the first round of gear selection figured and will be doing some dry runs with packing and set up. Put the raising links back on and holy shit, what a difference!

(For non-motorcycle people this may get moto nerdy for a bit)

After ditching the stock rear spring and having Top Gun rebuild the dampener while installing a dandy little 7.4 kg number, the KLR went from sloppy and piggy to fun. Did progressives, a fork brace and smaller fender up front earlier to get that under control, so for around $300 the pig went from spooky to quite capable off road. Still seemed a bit low with the stock dog bones so got some risers and the suspension went from good to awesome. After coming south I figured I’d throw the stocks back on for a more manageable ride height and while it felt a little wonky it was left so. With how low it rides stock I threw the raisers back on a month ago and have re-ridden many of the routes  I found here and fuck, never should have taken them off in the first place. Handles so much more crisply and just feels better, never taking them off again. Need some stock and lowering links for your Gen 1 KLR? Got some.

In describing my trip to friends here I’m getting a lot of good little spots to check out. Refined the route a bit and have been spending spare time combing through Google maps and travel sites for more goodies to check out along the way. This is gonna be so much fun. Here is a link to the .kml files I’m building the route around. More a general idea than a set route, but something to work with. Pull them into Google Earth to check ’em out if ya wanna.

And should the summer wear on without reasonable offers of employment, the folks down here liked me so much they offered the possibility of a new contract after a mandatory 3 month layoff. This leaves the possibility of taking the summer off to do a ton of moto trips, travel, play hang with friends then come back down for another year of bitching about how I hate it and making enough $ to live comfortably on and pay down student loans.

We shall see.

 

Bustin’ Loose!!

Howdy!
I’ve come to find my previous tactic of waiting long periods of time to blast out rambling missives doesn’t serve my writing urge very well, so I’ll be posting more frequent, shorter posts about random dumb shit. This will either elicit a squeal of glee or a groan frustration, but that’s on you.
The powers that be at Fruit, the Cupertino based tech company I moved to this hellhole to work for, has recognized my hard efforts and blessed me with a paid day off which I’m applying to tomorrow. And how shall I utilize this? Stoned surrounded by food wrappers in front of a screen? Perish the thought. Thumper and I are headed, here in a bit, to Mercey Hot Springs, a little oasis of peace in the odd little dry land patch between I-5 and the 101. I’ve spent most of my camping, riding, get the fuck out of dodge time in this general area and it has been a lifesaver.

Fancier and more spendy than my favorite developed springs in Oregon it’s rustic by Cali standards. Keeps the super yuppies at bay.

This will also be a tiny shakedown run for some recent adjustments to the bike and new gear that will be part of the big 4000+mile 3-4 week SW moto ramble I’ll be heading out on after my contract is up here in a few weeks. I’m so goddamn excited! Gonna be a hoot. More details on that to come, be good to run into some folks while I’m oot and aboot.

Time to prep Thumper and finish packing, y’all have a sweet Sunday.

The Transition to ‘Fall’ here in the Land of No Seasons

Why, howdy!

Getting back to life here in Silicon Hell post big desert blast took a bit, but things are rolling along nicely again. Had a couple short adventures on Thumper out to previously tread areas. Not too exciting, but enjoyable all the same. I’ve been having a bit of a mental block about how far I can range on any given weekend which has limited my adventuring. Taking a solid looks at maps and rejiggering my outlook has kicked open possibilities. Plans for a few day blast up the 1 from the city exploring the coast and all the little side roads into the Mendocino NF is in store mid September.

Trail running has been taking up the slack and it’s good to be getting back into a solid routine after almost 2 years out due to injuries and recovery from the resultant surgeries. Despite all there is I find to dislike about this place, its expansive network of parks and open space preserves makes for some damn fine trail running. Having gotten back into the flow in the spring of ’14 and all prepped to do the Dirty Half in Bend, the goddamn 2 Bulls Fire ripped right through the race course canceling the affair.

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2 Bulls Fire Bend, OR 6/14

Soon after, the fucked up shoulder was too painful and fire season too busy to get back into it. Sitting out the shoulder surgery and awful plantar wart through the fall and winter of ’14-’15 knocked me back to zero, but fire season 2015 was gonna be the return to it. Until I blew out my fucking knee. Another surgery, YAY!!!!

Getting the gig here in Cali, I showed up eager to work, but seriously out of shape. 2 years of sitting around will take it out of ya. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the lifestyle here, I will say it provided a great opportunity to get back at it. Having no social life can really open up some free time.

Not having been into racing for a good while I was inspired to get back into them by 2 good friends: Sam DLV,a bad ass broad who is near 50 and destroys ultra trail runs and former GF, current friend Amanda J who has always offered a ton of encouragement and inspiration. She is a goddamn animal and crushes every race she enters. Found a race hosting organization that puts on some really top notch trail runs here and have gotten a few under my belt. This weekend I’m doing a trail half up Mt. Diablo which is gonna suck, but all the trails here have wicked elevation gain so you can’t help but get good at dealing with it. The ultimate goal is to run the Peterson Ridge 40 miler next spring with Sam, then get in a few 50k-50 milers in per year. Ultimately, it’s to build up and stay fit to do solo trail runs the like of The Wonderland Trail around Rainier and Timberline around Hood. Combining moto adventures to places to do big trail runs is the ultimate fucking sweet plan for the foreseeable future.

The day after the run I interview with PG&E for a GIS Tech position. It would, ironically, be in the town I was born in: San Ramon. Staying in Cali long term is not going to happen, but doing a few years to build up skills and pay off all my student loans is a much better option than anything being offered in the NW right now. Having lived as a paycheck to paycheck wage slave for years, the option to have financial security and do some career building seems a worthwhile price to pay to be here a bit longer. That being said, options in PDX are being explored, but are a significantly longer shot.

Time will tell.

Trust me, the next one will have more pretty pictures and adventure chatter. I promise.