Tuesday, April 13, 2021
My ITunes selections at work are ancient but, every once in awhile I'm hearing a song for the very first time...Alexi Murdoch's Dream Of Flying hit me harder than usual this morning, as I opened for the first time this year on a Tuesday. Eric Clapton's Tears In Heaven use to be the only guaranteed tear jerker while working at the truing stand. We used to chuckle at how quick Grandpa was brought to tears over unrevealed memories. A very dear friend had physicians pull the plug on her 63 years of strong living, this last weekend. Terminal cancer is a bitch. So yeah, I'm bound to be a little weepy today at work. Thankful? Absolutely...each day, each kiss and every bicycle ride or hike is a gift. One of the unfortunate features of making it into the advanced years is the losing of friends, family and other acquaintances. It's going to happen, no one lives forever. Maybe we all connect again in the 'great beyond'...comforting thought...but I wish everyone had just a little more time.
Saturday, March 20, 2021
I remember the day when, if you had a strong opinion about politics or community problems you would write a letter to the editor or, at most, share it with your friends and family. That was definitely twentieth century behavior. In the early nineties I switched careers from SuperSub at the local schools to bicycle shop owner (which I have continued with for nearly thirty years). Being a brick and mortar/ mom and pop shop owner in rural mountain town comes with certain rules of acceptable behavoir. Being a liberal is acceptable but ninety percent of your customers do not want to hear about it. Here in the twenty first century Americans feel it is proper and acceptable to utilize their internet connection to foam at the mouth about all sorts of complaints and concerns. The entire gamut of rants are thrown in our face every single day via social networking. There is now serious spillover from electronic media to encounters in the grocery store, post office and any other place that mouths and minds mingle. It seems we've all become hyper-opinionated...and I am blaming the internet and all of it's facets. We are all writers now and we can all have an audience. Our opinions are displayed out in the open for public digestion and regurgitation...and if you don't agree with me, I can electronically eliminate or disown you.
Saturday, February 13, 2021
In the late 60's and early 70's us old farts loved the gravel and dirt tracks while pedaling our cycles because there was zero courtesy from motorists on the mostly narrow macadam roadways. It was a thrill to wander seldom traveled paths, double track and gravel on our two wheels (drop bars) and then come back with stories for the non-adventurous. I think this is still the attraction. An old aquaintence of mine...Kip Phillips, filled my head with stories of outings with his Schwinn 2-speed kick-back up to the high lakes of the Lost Cascades. Fishing expeditions "Before the war". We're talkin' 1938 and 1939 here. "It was an all-day affair, but we would come back with dinner nearly every time." I wrote a longer story for publication about my old friend in an early mountain biking publication called The Fat Tyre Flyer... Late seventies, before anyone was typing in and submitting stories on the internet. There is a new wave of interest in self-powered locomotion on the unpaved tracks...I have the perfect book of maps for those curious about the unpaved options in far Northern California...It's titled Cycling The California Outback with Bodfish. The renewed interest in such activity has caused the curious new pioneers to send me several inquiries about my old publication. It may have taken a worldwide pandemic to boost the excitement level to it's present fever pitch...getting away, getting outside and doing it under your own power is, well, empowering.
Friday, January 8, 2021
I read books year-around but I really pile-on beginning in December. Donna Tartt's GOLDFINCH, an 800 page epic about art theft got me started while I simultaneously read SPHERE by Michael Crichton. PRACTICLE DEMONKEEPING by Christopher Moore and VILLA INCOGNITO BY Tom Robbins have launched me into 2021. Most of the books I read these days come from the communal-share Little Free Libraries we contribute to and mine in Sacramento, Chico and Burbank. This is one of the riskiest exposures we have in the age of COVID 19. We wear masks and gloves when leaning into these little roadside boxes. The Elmhurst neighborhood next to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, with it's numerous Little Free Libraries, has been a treasure trove for interesting books. I really don't set goals to read specific genres or titles or authors each year...the books I read actually find me. I recognize certain authors that I've had a good experience with so, I'm quick to pick them up when I see them, but I really don't make a "to read" list. I suppose reading is a form of escapism from the realities that hammer on us everyday, but I appreciate the offtime and relaxation it offers my body...and the worry centers of my brain...which explains why I don't read murder mysteries or "who done it" crime stories, as a rule.
Friday, December 11, 2020
Not actually the right season for such a move but oh, so tempting. We've done this a half dozen times, for months at a time. We didn't have smart phones or laptops with us and we only knew what was going on in the "news world" by glancing at the headlines as seen through the scratched plexiglass of newspaper stands. It really didn't matter what was going on in the world of politics or pandemics or Panda naming. No newscasts from magazines, radio or television. No Facebook or Instagram and no special apps for searching. We weren't searching. We were spontaneously pedaling and rolling, looking for the next campsite and skinny-dipping hole. We did enjoy using our camera to document the experience but, we never saw the pictures until we had them developed through the home drugstore....after our journey was completed. Times have changed, and in a very big hurry. We communed with nature. We marveled at the purity of forests, rivers and wild animal behaviors. We meditated while watching sunrises and cloud movements. We thought a lot about the "bigger world" and how we were just mobile little specs on our two wheels. We didn't have any big ideas that our opinions mattered and needed to be entered on an electronic gadget. We actually never searched for a recharge from a 110 outlet or mother computer. We did need petrol or propane for our little backpacking stove and we frequented grocery stores and fruit stands. Hard to imagine doing this now...life has become so complicated. However, I do believe it can still be done. I'd have to arrange for someone to pay my bills...because, no one can live life without bills. Now I see what I am doing...I am lusting for a simpler life and my experience has shown that it comes with mounting a bicycle and riding off into the sunset.
Friday, December 4, 2020
I've been a "driving fool" these last several months. I'm still driving far less miles than the average "Out West" American but about ten times as far as I'm used to driving. After a couple dozen four hour (each way) journeys to Sacramento for health scans and doctor visits, I must say I'm getting pretty good at timing and 'going with the flow' of crazy Californian motorists. In a quest to keep each other healthy and extend our lives several more months we drive through unprecidented forest fire smoke, extreme heat and a spat of unpredictable freeway shootings. It really doesn't make much sense, on the surface. After a couple of successful surgeries and excellent follow-up care, I have to say it's worth it. For sure it's the price we pay for living in the California Outback (Where the water is pure and the cycling is excellent.) Now I own two "Bread Box/ Toaster" vehicles and both beg for attention and workouts "To lube the seals", our mechanic advises. Looking forward to the day when we can be far less 'virus paranoid'. We love wandering the desert and we've really missed hearing the Pacific Ocean crash in to the continent on the Left Coast. Our bicycles and our Labrador travel in comfort with us to unbelievably remote locations throughout the West. We are not all that fond of being around other humans but, I have to say, Those humans who work at the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento are a Godsend. Thank you so very much for accepting us into your workplace.
Thursday, November 19, 2020
I thought I knew things...like, how the country works, how the body works, what's fair and what's not fair. I have always thought that honesty...from and by everyone was the pinnacle of character. We want to be around people who are honest and I know that honesty is the Hallmark of great relationships. People will want to be around me, to associate with me, if I am 100% honest, make that HONEST. After 70 years on the Big Blue Ball, I'm wondering, didn't I learn anything? I'm also puzzled by the human body. We have always thought that the best "health plan" was to stay active, (very active) and to treat our bodies as health santuaries not as garbage cans. No smoking, few drugs (moderate caffeine and alcohol)...but, there are glitches that can affect the body or the mind that you can't control. Genetic glitches that eventually show up no matter how conscientious you are. Fair or not, we have to deal with these incidents as graciously as we can. We need to lean on each other...and we will, and I am really thankful to have had a lifelong partner. Somebody once called me a "Know it all!"...whoa, I must have been quite young and pretentious... because, the older I get the less I know. I can see that now.