Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mother Nature

I love nature. Sometimes I wish I had a job where I spent more time outside observing things. One of the things I can't stand to see the most is suffering. Particularly with animals. When our pets are sick we can take them to the vet and get them help. Nature is beautiful but sometimes its violent and hard to watch but it all happens for a reason. I found these pictures tonight. They are from Yellowstone Park.

Back in April of 2010, a local guy was killling a few hours before work like he always does...shooting film in the park. He parked his car on the side of this highway and heard a noise. He looked behind him to see this bison running for it's life from a grizzly. The guy got these shots and said that both ran right past him.

Pretty awesome picture.

The bison made it into the woods and lost the bear but he died exactly one day later. If you look in the first picture you can see that it looks pretty banged up. Park Rangers tracked the bison and found that it was injured. They said it had likely gotten caught in one of the parks hot spots and gotten badly burned. Later the next day, the rangers euthanized the bison. So sad but.....epic pictures.

Productive little Saturday really

The Jeep has been neglected lately and I feel bad about that. I decided to spend some time on it this morning. Heather is really hard on brakes and the stock rotors on it are horrible. Seems like every two years I have to replace them. This time I just had the rotors turned and put on new pads.

While I was waiting for the rotors to get done, I decided to figure out what was setting off the check engine light. I knew the code was coming back with some type of evaporative system leak. I bet half the time I've had to work on this Jeep (which hasn't been much) its because of a problem in this system. Most of the system consists of hard plastic line but there are some rubber lines as well and they eventually crack. I thought I replaced all of the rubber lines last time but I didn't. This job is usually like finding a needle in a haystack but I found this little cut in about 10 minutes this time. I even had some hose laying around to fix it too.

Then I decided to investigate why the passenger window suddenly decided to stop working the other day. One nice thing about having owned multiple Cherokees is that it sure makes fixing them easy. Chrysler made the wires that run through the A pillars and control the speakers and windows/locks just a tad too short. Over time, they end up cutting the insulation and then they begin to intermittently work. So I fixed that issue. The rotors and pads went back on and that job was done. The brakes on the Jeep leave a lot to be desired after driving the Subaru. Those WRX brakes almost make that thing stand on it's nose.

While I was at it I looked into the oil leak. The valve cover is leaking which is nice. On the inline 6 motor, they end up doing this and then it runs down the back of the motor and presents itself just like a rear main seal leak. Now that I know about it, I'll get the gasket and leave that job for another day.

I almost forgot I had these pics. They're from a really nice ride I had last weekend out near Cripple Creek. This is a really small fixxer upper that I'd love to know more about. I think I could be pretty content here.

The tunnel was closed for some work so I ended up hiking over it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shimano hydro brakes...

are dead to me. Very soon they will be coming off and they will never return. I loathe these brakes.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I used to really be in to Jeep Cherokees. Every once in a while I miss my 96 but not all that often. Since we still have the 2001, I stay in touch with some of the members of the old club I used to be with. I got A LOT of grief from those guys when I bought the Vanagon. Recently, one of them posted up this little project they found over on Jeep Forum. It's a bit quirky but I like it. If you don't feel like checking it's a pic. The Jeep itself is a bit rough but the kid's taken a Westy top and cut the roof out of the Jeep. If it were me, I would have left the roof in tact and cut a small hole big enough to climb up into and sleep up top like it's done in the Van. He chose to get rid of quite a bit of structural support in the roof and then install a cheesy single hoop cage to try and get back some support. He's also gonna use a hammock inside. Right idea. Poor execution.

In other news...Heather and I are going pants shopping today. I can't friggin' wait to get going. I guess women like trying on clothes. I think it's different for guys. Well...most guys. I'm fine with going in and getting shirts. Worst case scenario is you gotta slip it on real quick, check it out in front of the mirror, get the approval of the wife and then you're outta there. With pants you gotta take a bunch of different sizes in the dressing room and and then you gotta take your shoes off, undo the belt, worry about the wallet falling out, remember the keys and cell phone. Then you gotta take the pants off those stupid hangers with the little claws. Then the pants go on. Now...this may be more information than what you were looking for but get over it. I'm a boxers kinda guy. I'm a bit claustrophobic down there and can't really function in the confines of jockey shorts and don't even get me started on boxer briefs. So...when I pull on pants the boxers get all out of wack. If I'm uncomfortable then there's no way I can switch focus to whether the pants actually fit or not. So then I gotta sweet talk em back down outta my crack. It's usually right about this time that the person working in the store knocks on the door to do a "check in". If it's a female it goes something like this, "How are those working out for you?" Me: "Ummmmm....fantastic!!!!" Meanwhile I'm in there making adjustments while looking at the God damn fool in the mirror. Then she announces, " name's Candy so like...let me know if you need me like get you any more sizes and stuff." Just once I'd like to take have her do all the running back and forth (nothing is more humilliating than having to walk back out to the rack with a pair of pants on that are too short and so damn tight that it inhibits your forward progress but don't forget to scoop up your wallet, keys and cell phone before heading out to find the next size up which is gonna end up on the rack across the aisle because shit's never where it's supposed to be). Sometimes you get a dude that knocks on the door and then the conversation goes somthing like this, (still loud though) "HI!!!!!!! my name iths Chip, how are thoths working out for you?" Me: "%$#@! GREAT!!!!! OK...........I HAVEN'T PULLED MY BOXERS DOWN FROM MY NIPPLES JUST YET CHIP SO I'M GONNA NEED YOU TO GO DO SOME FOLDING RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!"

Then you gotta put the shoes back on b/c you don't wanna end up with high waters and I also have to put the belt on because I'm very particular about how that whole situation feels. If those don't quite do it then you gotta start the whole process over again. Don't forget that you have to walk out and show the wife how they look. Nothing is worse than when Heather says, "Turn around and let me see how they fit in the crotch". Although I appreciate the fact that she doesn't want me to look like my ass is hungry, I always feel like a damn 10 year old. Inevitably you end up with a style of pants where you're on the bubble between sizes and then you're gonna go back in and try the other ones on just one more time. Sometimes I get so fed up and I decide that nothing is going to fit in this store and then you drive all the way across town to start the process all over again. Either that or I end up buying some pants that don't really fit and then they hang in the closet until I eventually throw them away. Seriously...I bet I have 40 pairs of pants in my closet and many have never been worn. To make matters worse, as I'm getting older, I'm beginning to fluctuate with my weight by as much as 20 lbs. I usually put on the weight in the winter and then it comes off in the summer when I start putting in bigger hours on the bike while surviving off Rice Krispy Treats and Oatmeal Cream Pies. This does not bode well for my pants situation. Right now I have pants that are either a bit baggy or pants that are a bit toit. I life sucks.

Any minute now she's gonna come down the stairs and say (all happy and cheery but minus the lisp), "Are you about ready to go?" Me: "YEAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH."

Friday, October 22, 2010


It's not broken so I've decided to not fix it. My hesitation with carbon has always stemmed from the poor quality and product backup from Trek and their OCLV frames and the one that I ended up kicking down the alley and pitching in the dumpster. Carbon technology has come a long way (even for Trek I'm sure). Yesterday I had a really good talk with an Orbea employee about their carbon technology and their warranty policy. Their is NOTHING wrong with my frame. I'd kinda like to have something new but I'll be disappointed when it's not the same. So I'm gonna keep riding it. One day I hope to be in a position where I can get something made in either steel or ti that's a bit non-traditional in terms of looks but retains all of the geometry that I really like from this frame.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I meant to deactivate this a month ago but didn't get around to it. Quite a while ago, my friend Tim wanted me to look at his page but I didn't realize I was creating my own account just to look at his. I've never used my own page but to accept about 10 friend requests from people that I already have emails and numbers for and, most likely already talk to on a regular basis. Those that I want to talk to know how to get in touch with me. I've had a few people that I'd rather remain in the past try and get in touch with me because they stumbled across me over there. I'd rather they remain in the past.


This is exciting. There's so much stuff I wanna do after I give the Colorado Trail one more try. There's Tour Divide. There's Trans Wisconsin. If this route gets put together in Michigan it will be a beautiful way to spend a few weeks along the lake in the summer. There's no shortage of freshwater bonefish up there so maybe a month is more realistic.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I saw this bike probably about a year ago and I come back to look at it quite a bit. The frame is a Rick Hunter and it was built for a guy from the Monterey area who started the Tour Divide last year. This is kind of what I'm looking to for a new build. It's different and a bit funky. I'd like to try something different with bars but I'm not sure this is it. They don't appear to be too far swept back but I need them to work well on singletrack too.

Regardless if I get into a steel frame or not and make changes to the cockpit setup, one change that will for sure happen this year is with brakes. I WILL be switching to mechanical disc brakes. The last two rides I've done have involved stops to fix the front brake rub and I'm done with that business. I love the way hydraulics feel but I'm over the hassle. I'm kind of on a quest for a hassle free and simple bike this year. I'm even looking to go rigid and I may even part with my beloved Shimano shifters in favor of SRAM just for simplicity. There's just not much inside those SRAM's to go wrong. I've also gotta figure out my fly rod carrying situation.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to sell my Orbea frame so I wanted to take it out for one last fling on Saturday. It was an emotional ride. I really like that frame. I am absolutely torn on this decision. I wish someone would just tell me what to do. I headed out of town and jumped on the Ring the Peak Trail and had a nice ride up to the Crags Campground. Then I kept going a bit further towards Horse Thief. I stopped at the edge of a nice field and had a lunch of String Cheese and Pepperjack, an apple, and some Summer Sausage. I could have taken a great nap but I wanted to keep riding. I rode a bit further up before I decided to turn around and head back.

There was a bit of snow in some sections but the trail was in great shape. Ring the Peak is really one of my favorite trails. I saw three guys all day and they were out hunting elk.

Today I washed my bike but I did not strip it yet. I still want to see an El Mariachi up close before I take everything apart and remove all of the 3M tape from the frame. I would like to take this frame on the Colorado Trail one more time before I build up what will be a TD bike. I have the bike in my head and it's gonna be a little different. I just hope it works for the CT as I really do wanna complete it although I have given a lot of thought to just moving on for now and coming back to it later.

Anyway...I'm sure I'll figure it out. I ended up being out for 4 hours and I loved every minute of it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I'm really starting to like this frame. I need to see one in person.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I went back to my dentist yesterday morning so she could do a crown build up. I got this one free of charge since I've had so much work done in the past few months. She wants me to get my last permanent crowns installed but I haven't come across a suitcase of money this week so I'm trying to be very gentle with both teeth until January 1 when my insurance starts over. I really like going to my regular dentist. She is so gentle with me. She even humors me and tells me I have wonderful teeth. She even laughs when I say, "Yeah baby...tell daddy he's got a full head of hair now too."

In other news the state of Colorado recently announced the preliminary educational budget cuts for next year. $1.2 billion statewide. Now that number will decrease pretty drastically but it's kinda like saying, "Education is gonna get cut by $137.3 brazillion gagillion." It's sad indeed but you almost have to chuckle at a number like that. My allergies have been bothering me a bit this week and I am feeling one serious aspect of the budget crisis. Cheap ass Kleenex. It's like 200 grit wet sanding paper. First...I gotta double up because one sheet gets destroyed with a gentle blow. As dry as it is in Colorado, you gotta put some effort into your blows. Sometimes you gotta get a running start. Cheap Kleenex doesn't stand a chance and I think it creates a safety issue with flying, rock hard boogers in the classroom. When those things get dislodged, they can move baby. Another area where the budget cuts are killing me is with pencils. My students can't keep track of a pencil to save their life. I'm going through pencils like Bodhi goes through peanut butter. To make matters students are the ones that break their pencils when they're pissed off. Today a student looked me dead in the eye and broke a brand new pencil that I had just given him just to try and piss me off. The joke was on him though as I laughed when he was having trouble writing with a 4" nub and I told him if I couldn't read it I wasn't gonna grade it. It's good to be the King.
These are some pics that I forgot I had from a recent trip to Breckenridge. These are more sights from the Tour Divide route as it heads to Hartsel.

This is coming down off Boreas Pass and looking down in to the South Park Valley.

Saw tons of antelope in the fields all day long and plenty of DOW officials keeping an eye on them.

I know I might be singing a different tune after days of this but I really want to give it a go and sooner than later.

I like the self-portrait. Heather always makes fun of the self-portrait but what does she know?

This is actually not too far from home as we passed through Florissant.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Alma

So....I love my Orbea. However...I know it's time is limited. The biggest thing that it got dinged on in reviews was that there isn't much room between the chain stays and the tires (right where the stays meet the bottom bracket). I run a 2.0 tire in the back but luckily we don't have a lot of mud out here that can get caught up and eat away at the carbon in that area. What has happened though is that rocks sometimes get caught up in the tread and then they come around and hit that same area several times before getting kicked out. It's worn some of the clear coat away in that area and that's not a good thing for carbon. As much as I love it...I'm thinking of selling it while it's still in one piece. It does have a life time warranty but Orbea's not gonna cover that. So I've been looking around.

My goal all along was to get this damn Colorado race out of the way so I could do something else but.....NO!!!!!! I have to have some jacked up teeth!!!! Oh well. I truly do want to finish what I've started (regardless of how many years later it will be) before I move on to the big show. I really wanted to ride the Orbea to Durango for no other reason than it's what I set out to do it on. For the Tour Divide I kinda want something special for a frame. Anyways...I been looking around. My buddy Tim thinks I should be able to get 600 for my frame and I'd be fine with that. For TD I'd actually like a steel bike.

But I don't really want a steel bike for the Colorado Trail. So I've been kinda torn. The Surly Karate Monkey is way affordable but it's a TANK. I keep looking at something from Dave from Victoria Cycles but I just can't afford to go that route right now I looked at Spot Brand (the Rocker Geared). I can't believe those knuckleheads are asking 1400 for an off the shelf steel frame with a 1 year warranty. How they find dealers is beyond me. The Salsa El Mariachi is really nice and I'm looking at that a bit (LOVE the blue just having a hard time getting past the dropouts). I've looked at the Vassago Bandersnatch and want to look at it harder when Heather and I go back home so I'll go to see those guys at the Hub. I've looked at the Siren John Henry but I think that's one of the ugliest frames I've seen (sorry if you ride one). And lastly...I'm also looking at a frame from........Price Point. I know. It's really not a bad looking frame though. It's aluminum but it's so cheap. It's 199 and Giant is making it. I don't know. I'll probably hang on to the Orbea and decide later on. I'm so picky. I do like that Salsa though but I'd like to see one up close.
Super rough day today weather wise. It started raining at 7 and then finally turned to snow around lunch time. Of course, I don't have windows in my classroom so by the time school was out it was all gone and pretty dry but still cloudy. I haven't ridden since Crusted Butt so I decided to get out. I took a trail that starts right behind the high school. There's gotta be close to a dozen trails that branch off it so I took one I haven't seen before. I got lost. I ended up following some game trails and popped out on a fire road just outside of town. One of coolest rides I've had in a while.

This giant hole was big enough for me to stand in.

Remnants of the snow.

The higher country got some good snow and the Peak looks amazing.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Last night I was supposed to head up to Rocky Mt. Natl. Park and do a night hike in up to a high alpine lake and meet up with some buddies for the weekend but I was too tired. I'm bummed to miss it. There would have been plenty of laughs, olives soaked in gin, trout, and bugling elk. Instead I'm gonna help clean the house and then I get to look at Heather's Jeep and see how ugly 2 needed repairs are gonna be.

Her check engine light's been on for a few weeks. When I scanned the computer it came back as a minor evaporative leak. This is part of the emissions system on the Jeep and it contains about a mile of 3/8" plastic line. Usually a small crack develops in a line and it sets off the computer. So I have to trace it down and replace it. It's like finding the head of a needle in a field of hay stacks. The bigger issue is that it's leaking enough oil now to leave a very small puddle in the driveway. If you know me then you know exactly how I feel about leaks of any kind. The Jeep 4 liter leaks no matter what you do to it so I've lived with it for a while now. They generally start to leak from the back of the rocker cover and then it runs down and presents itself like a rear main leak. Or....the rear main leaks. On a lot of motors you'd have to drop the trans to get to that seal but on this one you just need to pull the oil pan, the crank brace, and the rear main bearing cap and then hope the stars are aligned right to get the old seal half that's up in the motor out without nicking the crank. I did this job 3 times on my 96 before I got it right. I HATE THIS JOB. It's always easier on a lifted rig but on hers I'm gonna have to take off tons of stuff to wrestle the pan out. I swore I'd never do this messy job again. I'll know tonight if I lucked out and it's the rocker cover gasket but I already know what's wrong. Nothing beats laying under a motor with no oil pan on and having oil drop on your face, glasses, hair.......bald head.......for 6 hours.

What a week

This was Homecoming week at our school. It's great for most of the students but mine usually don't do well unstructured things. Each day was a different theme and a different fight. I dealt with full face masks, too many hats to count, costumes that had nothing to do with the days theme, body paint, etc. Each day topped the last. To make matters worse, I came home Thursday and found that Bodhi had chewed big chunks off his industrial strength Kong and then had thrown up in his kennel. There were bits of Kong everywhere. We went outside and he pooped which was a good sign. Then he puked more. I thought (but couldn't tell) that there was a bit of a pinkish hue to the vomit and then I started to worry again. I fed him a cup of food to see what would happen. He kept it down. He drank some water through the night. Then at 9 he threw up again and it was quite bloody but it was just liquid. Then I was worried. His stomach wasn't hard like it would be from a blockage and, although he didn't appear to be his normal cheery self, he wasn't laying on his side like you'd expect from a blockage. At this point there wasn't much that could be done. Vets might do an x-ray to see if they could determine a blockage but the blood could have also been from a 101 other things. Even though I was worried, I made the decision to stay up through the night and watch him and his belly. I sat with him on the couch and finished surfing the net all the way to it's end at 2 in the morning. I think I finally nodded off a bit sometime about 4:30 but the lights were all on. He didn't get sick at all. I checked on him throughout the day and things were ok. I think he's back to his normal self now. Bodhi has cost me more at the vet than I think every dog I've had combined. I was a zombi at work on Friday and only made it through one episode of Season 5 The Wire before I crashed out.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Heather and I took a little drive today over towards Breckenridge. We walked around and did the tourist thing. We had lunch at Empire Burger. When it was time to head home I decided to follow the TDR route up and over Boreas Pass, down into Como and then on into Hartsel. It was a fun day. I'll share more pics later but now.....I got some episodes of the The Wire to watch.

This is right at the summit of the pass.

More terrible views.

Old fueling tank for the railroad that used to run over this pass.

Views back towards Breck from a little ways up Boreas.

Downtown Breck.


Saw this lovely Leggy today that had a nice drop and sharp wheels. Wait a minute..........what's that sticker say? He's part of the revolution. We're taking over.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I've always had a thing for knives. When Heather and I first started dating maybe 7 years ago, she wanted to buy me a knife but she didn't wanna buy me one I wouldn't like. So we went shopping one day and I found this one from Gerber. While looking at it in the store, I got a nasty little cut on my finger from the serrated portion of the blade. We laughed when we noticed the blood drops on the glass case. She bought it. The edge was in really bad shape so I worked on it for a while last night and tonight. I just finished up a while ago. While putting it away I cut the base of my thumb open. It's not bad. More funny than anything else.

CB Classic

That's me dead center.