Monday, September 26, 2011

At the end of the Rainbow

This is probably my favorite time of the year. The Aspens change. The air starts to get cooler. The Elk rut and bugle. The Brown trout spawn. We've had snow in the surrounding hills for weeks now and it looks amazing. I'm not doing much riding right now at all. I'm not sure what's going on with that whole area.

I have been back on the water a lot again and that feels good. Things are coming back really quickly. Yesterday I fished back up at Spinney Ranch. That's one of the more technical spots in Colorado. There are no gifts and many people get skunked there. Yesterday I caught all Rainbows. I worked this one for a solid 20 minutes with a 2 fly nymph rig. I changed the bottom fly 4 times and then this one decided, for whatever reason, to smash the lead fly which it had already seen a hundred times and probably been hit in the head with a dozen times. Trout always amaze me. If you look closely, you can see a tiny little midge fly on the upper left side of the mouth. I noticed it right after this pic and decided to remove the piercing.

I probably caught 10 of these guys today. Eager little beavers they are. It's always nice to catch any trout but these boogers would rush in and take the fly right before it got to the bigger fish that I was actually targeting, and thus, ruining the hole.

This fish was hungry. It inhaled a Black Beauty on the first drift.

Most of the bigger fish I landed today were 14 with one flirting with 16. I did see several fish in the 18-20 range and one was laid right up on the bank. As soon as I saw it I dropped to my knees behind the tall grass and watched for 5 minutes to make sure it was feeding. It was. Then I decided to take a crack at it. I had to raise the rod up a bit to unhook the flies and I got busted. Truly amazing.

As much as I love catching big fish, I need to start to getting some flies lined up for a little trip I'm taking here real soon. The fish will be smaller but they are stunning. Almost like holding a wet painting in your hand.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Heather has just finished up her first three days of training at her new job. Things sound like they are going to be really cool for her. I'm almost a bit jealous. We initially thought she was going to be getting a Toyota Prius but yesterday her boss told her they were trying to get her a Jeep Liberty so travel on the Pass would be less dangerous. We're not sure what we will do with her Jeep now. This has opened the door to some preliminary discussions centering on vehicles for the kid. I love the green Subaru but we don't ever want to have 2 vehicle payments and this may be the time we get one newer vehicle.

I've always had car ADHD. There's lots of cars that I look at and think are cool but very few that I would actually ever want to own. The Subaru is sporty, roomy for gear, super on gas, it's a hoot to drive in the snow, and I have a thing for wagons. The one vehicle that I would like to get is a Toyota Tacoma but I know I can't afford one. The resale on those things is ridiculous. I cringe at the thought of a truck that has 100,000 miles on it and sells for $16 grand.

I also would love to have a VW Eurovan but, again, the resale on those is high. The other issue with that one is the inevitable transmission repair which could be 3 grand and it's only a matter of time with that.

A Jeep Wrangler would be fun but they don't seem very practical.

I'm more of a foreign car enthusiast but I sure do likes me a big fat Dodge Magnum. The HEMI would rock but I wouldn't want to fill it up at the pump. The SXT is the 250 horse motor and they make that one in AWD but I worry about that system for no other reason than I have no experience with it.

This brings me back to the Subarus green one. It's different with all of the WRX and STI goodies we threw on it. It's fun to romp on it on the forest roads and I don't really care if it gets dinged. I also kinda want to see how many miles I can get the odometer to show.

It's hard being me.

Friday, September 23, 2011

My job....

is nuthin' but work so far this year!! I decided to reward myself with a trip to the river tonight. I'm so glad I went. It was stunningly beautiful. It's hard to tell in this picture but you can see where the water flows together more towards the right bank. This is a deeper pool that was really nice. The rest of that water is 6-8". Things are starting to pick up and some bigger fish are moving up from the reservoir below and gearing up for the fall spawn.

Those that have ever fished with me out here know that I DO NOT stay in one place long. I cover lot's of ground and I move quickly. I am constantly scanning and looking for fish that are feeding. If I see something and it's not feeding, I don't waste time casting. A lot of guys will fish holes that simply look "fishy" but I normally don't do that. Tonight I came across a nice spot and decided to give it a go. I pulled this beauty out on the second drift through. This is a cross between a Cutthroat and a Rainbow Trout. It's a Cutt Bow. They still have the red and purple colors that a Rainbow has but the background is real dark versus the silver and green you see on Bows. The tell tale sign of the Cutt is just below the jaw. You can see a noticeable orange slash on both sides. Looks exactly like someone slit it's throat.

I was a little worried about his one. She took a solid 5 minutes to revive and then I watched her for another 10 minutes to make sure she was gonna make it.

Horrible crowds.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I've had Cherokees longer than any other vehicle. It seems that every car manufacturer always has some repair specific to it. Every vehicle eventually needs brakes. I'm talking about odd ball kinda stuff. Eventually, every Cherokee has to have a new section of wiring spliced into the harness where it passes through the A Pillar because the door speakers and power windows stop working. They made the wires a tad short from the factory and the wire breaks at some point. Today I found out one of the repairs that is specific to the Subaru Impreza. God awful noisy swaybar bushings and end links. When loose, or dry or worn, they make a clunk sound that is EXACTLY like you'd hear on a VW, Audi, or Subie that had a bad upper strut bearing or top hat. The suspension on this car was bought brand new so I knew it wasn't that or a blown strut. So this morning I went to pull the entire sway bar off and go for a drive. As soon as I pulled out of the driveway I knew I found the culprit. The end links and bushing inside them looked fine. I pulled off the swaybar bushing themselves and they looked fine too. I lubed them liberally and threw em back on and torqued everything to spec. Done. Clunk gone. I hadn't realized how loud and often it did it until now. Supa quiet again. Worst part of the job was dropping the sub-frame but it was still a fun job.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The bears are HUNGRY right now!

It's a mad dash to put on some pounds before a long nap. We're seeing a lot of bears in town right now. On my way out this morning, I passed one of the Mexican restaurants by the house (not Casa Grande...the only time I've been there was when I promptly left after finding a hair in my beer). It's the other one. The name slips me right now. It doesn't look like much from the outside but they can burn it up in the kitchen. of their dumpsters has a wooden fence around it (more decorative really) but it was destroyed. It took me a second to realize that the dumpster was actually on it's side too so they weren't messing around last night. There's another restaurant in town that's got wonderful food. It's a bit pricey but it's a real treat to go there once in a while. It's the Swiss Chalet. I happen to know the owners and I ran into her the other day. She serves on the Chamber of Commerce and I wanted to ask her who I could contact to talk about trash containers and bears in our fair city. She happened to have a video camera with her and showed me footage from the day before of a big boar that was in the process of getting into their dumpster. I asked why the dumpster wasn't bear proof. She smiled and said, "It is". It's pretty impressive to see the damage even the small bears can cause. She said they've built the fence around their dumpster several times now and they just keep ripping it down. The metal rods that run across the top of the lids just don't hold up either. I watched the video as he bent that rod and flipped up the lid and slid on in as the lid closed behind him. I'd hate to open up that thing while taking the trash out after my shift and find him sitting in there.

A Tranquil Recon

I wanted to do a ride today and see some new stuff so I busted out the Gazeteer and Topofusion and threw something together. I headed out and started to make my way towards Divide via the back roads. Then I decided to ride into the Tranquil Acres area. Things pretty much dead end back that way. Not sure why but when we were looking at houses we were told to avoid looking in that general area. I figured I'd go back there on a bicycle and see what the fuss was all about. It's still pretty warm up here and this guy was on the move. I helped him expedite the process a bit.

I am horribly out of shape right now. It was a fun ride but there was no shortage of suffering and heavy breathing.

I saw this sign not long after making the turn into Tranquil Acres. Luckily, I fear no reprisal.

Way back where the road ends, there looked to be a trail connecting it to another subdivision further up in Divide. Some almost forgotten double track is what I found and that did the job.

Much of the early riding was this kind of stuff.

Eventually I popped out in Florissant. My plan was to grab lunch and a cold beer at this place called the Thunderbird Inn (hey...the sign says "Welcome bikers"). It's all I had been thinking about for the 10 miles prior. I get there and get off my bike only to see the sign on the door that reads, "Cash and local checks credit cards". Who carries cash now days?? So I sat out front and ate some Gummi Bears, smoked almonds, and a Honey Stinger Waffle while I listened to folks inside hoot and holler and stared at a neon beer sign. Then I took off and started to make my way home.

On one particularly painful climb, I looked up and saw a big dog standing in the road 50 yards up and thought, "Really?" About a half second later he started barking and running straight at me. With no water bottles to spray him down with, I considered throwing some Sunkist fruit chews at him really hard but then I decided to talk like a jackass. It always seems to make Dharma and Bodhi happy. It worked and before long he was on his back letting me rub his belly. He paced me up the rest of the climb before I told him to go home. I ended up being out for a bit under 4 hours and covered 50 miles.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The build begins

Fed Ex just dropped off this.

I looked at a 20" locally about a week ago and was stunned at how long it was. I thought I may have missed the boat on this frame. The new colors are out and I don't care for them at all. Salsa was all out of Bomb Pop Blue 18" frames so I started scouring the internets. I found this one through Speedgoat. The top tube is the same as my carbon bike which is really nice as I didn't wanna deviate too much from that. Head tube is the same once I factor in the 30mm stack height of a Chris King headset. This bike is going to have a rigid fork (not sure what yet) so even with the sag difference vs. suspension the bars should be right where I need them.

I really like these alternator dropouts. Neat idea. I absolutely love the color. Back when I worked for Riteway (which was a distributor for GT Bicycles) I used to have a baby blue Zaskar. Well I only had it for about a week or so and then I got the bubble gum pink GT Psyclone (that frame was fillet brazed) that I should have never let go of. Still upset about that to this day. Anyway...this color reminds me of that Zaskar.

This is going to be built up as a single and I am going to ride it that way for 12 full months. My goal is to keep the carbon bike totally together (although I may rob the wheels from it). This bike is all but built in my head but that's where the details are staying. I'll post pics as parts slowly trickle in but this will be kind of a winter build up for me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bears and irresponsible people

Normally our trash gets picked up on Tuesdays but, with the holiday, we got pushed back a day. Yesterday when I was pulling up the street after work and saw my neighbor's trash cans still out, I told myself that bears would be on the street later on. Sure enough...Heather went to let the dogs out before bed and she came running back in telling me it sounded like an animal was in the front yard. I grabbed my light and headed out the front door. Immediately I saw 3 sets of eyes staring back at me. They were about 50 yards away and tossing the neighbor's trash cans. This frustrates me to no end. I walked down the driveway and into the street and then could clearly see that it was a sow and 2 cubs doing the damage. I yelled for them to get and the sow huffed and then she actually false charged a bit. That's the first time I've had that happen to me. I picked up a big rock and hucked it at her and yelled again and made a fuss and the cubs scattered up a tree and mom ran a few yards away. They re-grouped and I did it again before they took off. It's that time of year when bears are trying to fatten up of for the winter and they're looking for an easy meal. But too many bears were killed this year for behaviors that were likely learned and that saddens me as it's not their fault.

Monday, September 5, 2011

It was another beautiful day today. We hiked a trail that's just up the street from our house. Just one guy while we were out and he was carrying his dog in a bag. Bodhi can hike all day long but I'm afraid Dharma is getting up there in age and it's beginning to show. She will simply just lay down from time to time and protest.

This was early in the hike and Dharma still had some pep in her step.

Happy Labor Day everyone.

Saturday ride

Got out yesterday for a nice 3 hour ride. I had a route planned but it quickly got the kibosh after I saw and heard all of the people shooting in the vicinity I was wanting to go off in. So I rode down Rampart for a while before I got tired of choking on dust from all the vehicles passing by and looked for an alternative route to my alternative route.

This is some of the singletrack I was on for a while.

The temperatures were awesome yesterday. I think the high only hit the low 60's.

The flowers are starting to disappear. The air feels like fall. The days are getting a tad shorter.

It was so nice to get out for a ride. I've missed riding my bike and seeing cool things.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

New frame

My wife gets a new job and then tells me that I can build a new bike. I didn't ask any questions. I kinda had a frame in mind for a while now and was going to just go that route but then she asks if I want something special. She's the greatest. As much I would love to have a Todd build something for me right now, I'm going to hold off a bit longer. The reason? I've wanted a true dedicated SS frame for a while now but I want to make sure that's what I want before going custom. I'm going to ride SS for a full year and then make a decision. At that point, I can have him do a SS frame or keep the swinger dropouts on their and throw on a hanger too and then have some options. I've just really liked the idea of SS for a few years now but I've never ridden one long enough.

So what did I buy? I almost switched things up last week and bought a ti Salsa El Mariachi but, again, I really wanted to run SS without a Singulator. So I ordered an El Mariachi steel frame. It's going to get built up over the winter and it's gonna be a slow process. In my head I know exactly how it's gonna turn out except for the fork and, for that, I need to talk to some people and go look at some stuff to make up my mind. This bike is going to be different though and it should look insane. I'll post pics of things as they come together.


After much deliberation, many pro's and con's lists, sleepless nights, minor nausea, and some wife has decided to take a new job. She applied for this job way back in April and there were many hoops to jump through. At one point during the summer, she had actually formally withdrawn her application because she was tired of the process but then that's when the phone started lighting up with calls from HR and even calls from the Director himself all but begging her to do a phone interview. She declined and after half a dozen more calls she gave in. She did good during the phone interview then she had to take another test and then, finally, a face to face. They made an offer 3 weeks ago and she countered. It took a week and half for them to get back to her. In the end, they were able to meet up and seal the deal.

She will now be working for the state and she'll be visiting with Social Services offices in Teller County (ours), Douglas, Canyon City, Pueblo, and La Junta and making sure that everything is being done the way it should be. She will also be in a position to be more of an impetus for change at the state level. She's very excited and a bit nervous. I'm extremely proud of her. She's always made more money than me but now I'm slightly embarrassed to say that I only provide for slightly less than 37% of the furnishings in this house. It's a good thing I'm so damn good looking.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tonight's project involved a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee that was literally puking coolant from somewhere. After a real quick look I figured it was either coming from the water pump, a split hose or maybe a freeze plug. After opening the hood, I realized that, even though the Grand Cherokee has the same motor as the Cherokee, the configuration of almost everything else is really different. I wanted to remove the fan shroud, fan, serpentine belt, power steering pump, and air compressor just so I could get a better look at things near the water pump. After a lot of questioning and some cursing, I realized that in order to pull the stinkin' fan shroud, the entire front end has to come off including the radiator. The fan shroud is held on with 4 bolts and the bottom 2 are literally right up on the unibody. Not sure what Chrysler was thinking other than not having consumers work on their own vehicles.

Eventually I gave up on the shroud and was able to wiggle the belt off and then remove the power steering pump and then I saw the forward most freeze plug was about halfway out. It was a freeze plug block heater and the bolt was hand tight. Once I pulled it out this is how the inside looked:

Weird. The left tightening arm is completely gone and the right one is cracked so it literally was ready to fall out which explains why it was leaking as bad as it was. I am ecstatic to not have to do the water pump on this dumb vehicle.