Wednesday, June 8, 2022

You Say It's Your Birthday...

Good memeories from last year's birthday campout in Taylorsville with thirty of my friends...very nice. We pretended it was my 70th...was really my 71st. Which means that this year I am 2 years older. This is why I drank three cups of coffee this morning. We started the morning with some Ali McGraw Yoga and a trip to the disposal yard to drop off a toilet. The yard was closed on Weds. so I brought the toilet back to the shop so that I can break it up and sneak it into the trash here. What a way to start my 73rd year, I am a humble fellow and my expectations were not high for this day. However, I do expect to sell a kayak today. You have to have a sense of humor when you are 'getting on in years". Thinking of my friends who are in their eighties and nineties...some still have an excellent sense of humor. I want to be that guy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Unexpected Stressors...You Never Know...part one.

2018...I couldn't have known four years ago how our lives would change. We picked up our new Black Lab puppy in Oregon in mid-July... she has been a constant thread of joy to both of us for the last four years. In September we noticed that the one acre of trees and rocks directly south of us, which had been undisturbed for the thirty years since we built our house, was now being disturbed...we had neighbors. The decision had been made to clear-cut the property. All 815 trees were removed. Construction noise right off our deck was new to us. The new owner graciously let us keep two trees that grew on the border of our properties. The earth movers rolled in and fought the rocks and stumps making a construction pad as close to our house as possible. I am still struggling with this gross imposition. The house is now in place but the battle goes on with the huge rocks and the landscaping. Large tractors and cranes are waging this battle even today, as my house shakes and jumps and the pictures on the wall swing cockeyed with every movement of these incredibly noisy machines. The wife says, "He's a dig-a-hole/ fill-a-hole kind of guy." Which may go on for the rest of our lives. In November of that first year Paradise burned...thirty thousand people ran for their lives as a blow torch wind ravaged their entire town. This happened just down the hill from us (fifty miles, as the crow flies) so, we got much of the smoke. Eighty-five people died.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Small Is Beautiful, Until...

Small independent merchants are toast in America. Everybody seems to be OK with that. We buy with enthusiasm from corporate retailers and manufacturers who are more than happy to shove the 'little guys" off a cliff. You probably don't remember a time when you could go downtown and buy a toaster or a television from a 1200sq. ft. appliance store. The Big Box guys, with their 20 acre parking lots, sell everything from shoes to computers to automobiles. Now, the Big Boxes are starting to fall off the same cliff. Shopping has moved to the internet. My suppliers have also dropped all interest in keeping the small independant merchants healthy. They have run full speed ahead to the internet buyers. A few of them swam in the Big Box pool negatively affecting the "quality" association with their brand names. Now, they too are swirling down into the internet drain. Left in the dust are small independent merchants who invested decades into helping patch-up the mistakes and oversights that these same suppliers sent our way. Whose truing the wavy wheels for these guys now? Things don't get fixed by the little guys here in the 2020's...they are returned and of course, disposed of, by the robots who call themselves businessmen and women.

Friday, April 29, 2022

My Environmental Footprint

It's all relative...compared to who or what? I invested fifteen years in living lightly, close to the earth with so much conscious thought about my detrimental impacts on the planet and my fellow humans. My gardens were lush and complicated, I refused to own an automobile, a television or a phone for fifteen years. I didn't want to support the evil corporates...I didn't want to inflict pain on my neighbors. (My mother would have appreciated a phone number, however.) Well, look at me now...decades later, I own two motor vehicles, I finance three phones and a TV. Now that I've owned and operated a bike shop and quiet mountain sports store for nearly thirty years I must say, I have contributed to the impacts that the People's Republic of China have had on the planet with their coal-fired manufacturing to an embarrassing degree. We whole heartedly encourage our friends and neighbors to use the 6,000 bicycles and 600 kayaks we've put into circulation here in Northern California...more stuff and very little of it Organic or recyclable. So, my impacts have added up to...embarrassing. Now, here in my 70's I am attempting to get "out of the loop"...The Bodfish Bicycles and Quiet Mountain Sports establishment is for sale and I cancelled my DishTV contract. I am hoping to bow-out of the super consumptive American lifestyle gracefully and relatively quickly. Not completely, I'll still own several bicycles and a handful of plastic kayaks and I'm holding on to my Ford Transit(High Roof) travel van. I am, afterall, a spoiled American boy.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Passionate About Cycling and Health

We've had a few consistent themes over the last 50 years... honesty, healthful living, good humor and bicycling. I'm sure there is more to it than that, but these are at the top of the list. Taking care of each other is another important promise we've lived up to. All of these come easy to us because we've practiced them for so long. We've encouraged these behavoirs amongst our friends, students, customers and the children that we associate with through our teachings and businesses. We are quite certain we've had positive, life-enhancing impacts on those around us, however...we'll never really know how effective our actions have been. The feedback is constant and reinforcing and we don't doubt it's sincerity, but not everyone is paying attention. yes, every once in awhile we run up against someone who is rude or maybe, just clueless. Motorists who skim close to us while honking or hollering...just because we exist and are trying to share space on the road...Well, they are still out there. Our reactions to these callous souls has been rather subdued and not combative. Some desparate folks just go through life with a "Putinesque" chip on their shoulders. Wish us luck and good fortune...we've certainly enjoyed the angels who've looked over us to this point.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Survivor...Not A Bad Thing

Someone told me a decade ago..."When you start habitually checking the obits, you'll know you are getting old." Well, lately the obits are getting my attention and it feels like they are closing in on my young body. Friends and neighbors seem to be expiring at a rapid rate, three last month. This seems to have started with my mother dying six months ago. I'm pedaling my bike uphill as good as I ever did (at least I think so), and I'm still putting my pants on while balancing on one leg, and I get out of chairs without pushing up on the arms...so, I'm still a young man, right? I insist, I don't know what they mean when they say "Your age is catching up with you." Glucosamine and CQ10 every morning for the last ten years (Thank you, Carol M.) I'm ready to ride...if only I could pass this bicycle shop to someone who loves working on bicycles and taking care of customers.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Bring Your Gravel Bikes

My first fascination with pedaling the dirt began in 1973 while I was living in Bodfish, California (Kern River drainage). My road bike was of department store vintage, made in Japan and was equipped with unusually wide 27 inch tires. The paved road around Lake Isabella was the obvious first choice for an ambitious bicycle ride. Traffic was light unless you were on the southside of the lake. Like most road rides you held your breath on the busy stretches, hoping that the motorist' heart was full of love for cyclists and that they were paying close attention to the job at hand, driving between the lines. Luck was too big of a factor for my liking so, I started to explore the quiet roads radiating out of the immediate Lake Isabella bowl. Roads that lost their paved surfaces within the first few miles of climbing. I climbed to Saddle Springs, Kelso Valley, Sherman Pass and Breckenridge Lookout. This incredibly inexpensive roadbike was so capable and never intimidated by the various shapes and sizes of rocks and gravel. Well, Chester, California on Lake Almanor, is the entire length of the Sierra Nevada north of Lake Isabella, some 300 miles. We are at twice the elevation and at a more northerly latitude so this really is a different kind of mountain living. Here, fifty years later, the paved roads are busier and the amount of Californians (and Nevadans) that can afford "second" or 'third homes" in the mountains has increased exponentially. So, do you really want to stay on the paved roads?

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Aftermath Shock

I'm realizing that we northern Plumas County residents are suffering from "Large Incident Aftermath Shock". White service trucks, tarped dump trucks and log trucks piled high with charred remnants of the life-giving forest that surrounded us, make up 90% of the traffic rumbling down our roads...dirt and macadam....pavement that is potholing and breaking up under the extra weight daily. Reminders are constant and loud. We are no longer being provided oxygen from a million acres of evergreen trees. It's getting harder and harder to breathe with lungs scarred from the 'Summer of 500+ AQI'. We worry about the water. We were always so proud of our pure and plentiful water. Proud of our trees, proud of our pure water, proud of our community, enriched by the availability of outdoor adventure close-by in all directions from our home. Hikes and bicycle rides to remote lakes and meadows less than 30 minutes from home. Now, we get in our motor vehicles and drive for an hour and a half to get beyond the destruction. When we return to our homes we have to receive another kick-to-the-stomach because we have to re-orient through the devastated zone, to our little island of familiarity. We are resiliant, to a degree, but this will be our reality for the rest of our short lives.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Cumulative Stress

Not easy to talk about but, I've been getting angry with myself over the simple little clumsy moves that I have always been good at. Knocked my bicycle over and broke the handlebar end...almost caught it before it slammed to the ground...so mad that I didn't. Trying to fix a leaky faucet yesterday in my bathroom, put it off for a couple of months because I feared an ugly scenario, sure enough...water everywhere, hot water, just because I didn't turn a valve off tight enough. It wouldn't fix...need a new one. So far, I haven't taken it out on the dog or wife but I do beat myself up over my mishaps...and yes, these are minor mishaps. I sought counseling on the internet and found important stories about people suffering from "cumulative stress". Could I possibly be a candidate for this diagnosis? Death and illness in the family, sickness and disease closing in...even right down into your neighborhood? Catastrophic events resulting in death and loss in your region? Ending a career of work that you enjoyed and performed well? Evacuation from your home due to weather events or loss of utilities resulting in unsafe conditions? Well shit, I qualify for all of the causes! One article says, "Take a couple of days off, read a good book."

Friday, January 14, 2022

Happy New Year...Trying Not To Worry

My mother called me a "Worry Wort" decades ago...When I figured out that wort is a barley/hops tea before it's allowed to ferment, I felt much better about this particular criticism. I leave the brewing and fermentation tasks to my old buddy Kenny and his crew down at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico. I pay full price for his product and consume at least one a day. I've figured out the wort part but, I haven't been able to shake the worry. Some days the 'worry cloud' hovers directly above me and I have a hard time shaking it. I worry about the business gamble I entered into nearly 30 years ago, I worry about my offspring and I worry about my incredible soulmate of forty-six years. Fermentation of the brain is not the answer...I remind myself to appreciate the incredible experiences and phenomenal health I've been blessed with over the last 72 years. The sun is coming up every morning and water is still the healthiest drink that I enjoy each day... I take my vitamins, give out hugs and laugh about the funny little incidents that happen every day. I think we're going to be good in 2022...as my 96 year old friend Jack W says, "You just have to keep moving forward."