Out of the Saddle – Fiddlin’ and Cattle

Founder’s Day in Templeton CA, just a down home Main Street festival with Amber Cross and her Old Time Fiddle & Banjo Show along with her flannel collection,

not to mention lots of historic vehicles,

and an honest-to-goodness cattle drive. Where is Quackser Fortune and his shovel when you really need him?

Two blocks of Main Street were a go-cup zone. My pal Stephen Price and I took advantage of it, but no booze for the alpaca. They are mean drunks.

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Out of the Saddle – Big Sur Jade Festival

For the time being, I remain a non-cyclist due to the physical ailments mentioned in my last post, and the consequent surgical procedure which will keep me off my bike at least through October. Nonetheless, there are plenty of other good times to be had here on the California central coast.

The Big Sur Jade Festival is going on this weekend, with lots of heavy, greenish rocks to be ogled and caressed, as well as fantastic live music being played. I know people in three of the five bands playing today, so with my pal Stephen Price we made the drive over the hill to Cambria and north up the coast past Hearst Castle into Big Sur.

When we arrived at the festival, the Zen Mountain Poets were just starting their set. I have heard ZMP a couple of times before, and have heard some of them play individually at open mikes.

Next up was Robi Duganne with one of his bands, Narrow Bridge. Robi moved back to the central coast from Long Beach recently and I have seen him play numerous times since then. He even played solo last month at the open mike I host in Templeton.

Between music sets I took the opportunity to walk around the festival to check out the jade and some scenery. One of the vendors had some big jade stones from Wyoming with a “rind” on them that has to be cut through to reveal the beautiful green material inside. Looking at the stone with the rind on it, to me it just looks like another stone. I asked the fellow how would you know it is jade if you tripped over it out in the field. He said that if you work with the stones long enough you get a feel for the unique visual characteristics, but in addition, they are really, really heavy, like a chunk of iron. I picked up one of his bigger stones, and yes, they could induce a back spasm.

A band named Rough House played next. I had never heard of them, but I liked their Grateful Dead covers.

Next up was Dulcie Taylor, whom I met earlier this year when she was playing at Wild Horse Winery. I have seen her and her bandmates play several times since then, and Dulcie also played solo last month at my open mike.

Great day of music, weather and a lovely drive!


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Gnaturday at the Gates of Doom

It’s the 59th solar circumnavigation for Gregg Bone, so he put together a 59 mile ride for all comers amongst the viney hills west of Paso Robles. Since I met Gregg last year at a BBZ Sunday ride, he has progressed from medium paced rides on a heavy hybrid bike to being a really strong rider on a lightweight high-end Specialized road bike, and losing quite a bit of excess weight in the process. I, on the other hand, have regressed from being a pretty strong rider to being a non-rider due to some physical ailments.

So when Gregg announced this ride, I was disappointed that I would not being able to join the crew, but I was still able to participate as the SAG meister. I drove the course in my velo-wagon, carrying nutrition bars, a cooler full of cool water, a floor pump, and endless encouragement.

Here are the riders at the start, Gregg third from left.

Gregg's 59th birthday ride

Gregg’s 59th birthday ride

The course headed through some residential and business areas of Paso Robles, then out to the west side vineyards. The first flat was a mere 5 miles into the ride, several more ensued. Goathead thorns were abundant. Ken T blew a hole in his tire and had to nurse it back early with a boot in it. Gregg dropped his front wheel into a slightly-wider-than-tire pavement crack and hit the deck at low speed, rashing his lower leg but saving the bike.

Everywhere we stopped the gnats were out in force, going for ears, eyes and nostrils. The turnaround was at the “Gates of Doom” entrance to the Lime Mountain mine. We took a break here despite the gnats, rewatered from the cooler, and washed off the rash on Gregg’s leg.

On the way back the heat seemed to double, and Christie blew her rear tire on a slow climb just short of where she was going to take the SAG option anyway. The last regroup was at the top of Adelaida Road near Lone Madrone Winery. I took the opportunity to pull in and listen to some live music being played out front. From there it was nearly all downhill back into Paso.

Contents of my trash bag post-ride:
post-ride trash

post-ride trash

Happy birthday Gregg!

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Out of the Saddle – Wet Dog Smell & SUP

Bandit hates getting baths at home, always trying to jump out of the tub mid-suds,
but he loves stinky ocean bathing, chasing sticks and balls thrown into the surf and
rolling in the wet sand. He’s a smart boy but hasn’t yet made the connection that an
ocean session leads to a bath when he gets home. Or maybe he figures the beach time
is worth the tub time.

He is the third spaniel for my girlfriend Christie, who also has three cats currently. Cats are cool, but generally their dander mades me wheeze and gack. Fortunately, two of her cats prefer the wild life and spend most of their time outdoors, while the third one prefers the relative comfort of the garage. Frequently cleaned hardwood floors and laundered slipcovers for the furniture also help matters.

Today Christie and I took a pair of borrowed stand-up paddleboards to Morro Bay for
a test run inside the harbor. Both of us are novices and we got the short dry-land
intro course from our cycling friend Gary Bolen, who loaned the boards to us. The
instructions stuck well since neither of us went in the drink. We launched from a
small beach near the mothballed power plant and paddled across the channel to the
sand spit, then out closer to the harbor entrance under the towering face of Morro Rock.

We had perfect weather today for SUP, sunny and warm with a very light breeze and flat water. Lots of seagulls and brown pelicans in the air, and in the water we got pretty close to several otters, who always seem to be in lounging mode paddling around on their backs. One jellyfish floated past me, reminding me of a line from a Jimmy Buffett song about how he’d like to be one and experience “life without a brain.”

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Rocky Canyon, très rocheux

Miss Christie and I decided to vary our cycling habit, so we dusted off our mountain bikes and drove them to Paloma Creek Park on the south side of Atascadero. Whooweeee, sunny and hot-hot-hot, so I parked tactically where the shade would be when we finished our ride. As we got the bikes ready and completed getting kitted up, a youngish fellow wearing a ZZ Top style beard was eyeballing us. He walked over and commented that I must be a serious cyclist with a license plate like “velobum.” My response was that he must be a cyclist himself to make that comment.

Indeed, he and his wife are members of “Linked Cycling”, which, per the facebook pages, appears to be a San Diego based Christian fellowship organization for fans of cycling. They were on vacation touring the central coast, here they are with Christie before we got rolling.


We headed across the dry Salinas River bed on the oiled gravel of Halcon Road, then onto Rocky Canyon Road. Often we use this same crossing on road bikes to head north on Rocky Canyon Road toward Templeton, but today we headed in the other direction and started climbing up to the rock quarry where the road effectively ends. There is a trail for bikes and hikers that goes through the quarry, and then up the canyon above the quarry to the ridgeline. Rocky Canyon Road resumes on the far side of the ridge as a gravel passage descending to highway Cal 229 and the village of Creston.

Here is a collection of pix heading up, a bit down the far side, and then back to the quarry. Christie’s multi-function communication device said it was 104 degrees up top, but I suspect it was reading a bit high since it was sitting in a rear maillot pocket just above her posterior clad in black lycra.

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They Get Around

One of the cycling groups I belong to, Beach Cities Cycling Club in Redondo Beach CA, is a very active training, touring and social club. Members get well around hither and yon with their wheels. I’m fully expecting to see some shots of BCCC maillots on the cols of les montagnes de France this month in the club newsletter. Since they don’t race, they also don’t worry about consuming too many malted recovery beverages that might add a few ounces to their riding packages. My kind of rouleurs.

This past weekend, some of them drove from LA to Cambria CA for the Country Coast Classic century benefit ride. To support the ride, I was running the rest stop at Hunt Cellars outside of Paso Robles. When my BCCC pals arrived, we gathered for the commemorative photo, then off they went back to the coast and north to Ragged Point.

Don, Matt, Connie, velobum, Pete

Don, Matt, Connie, velobum, Pete

Don’t think I’m TOO much of a lecherous old man, but I take every opportunity I can to hug Connie. Check out a prior hug here.

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Malted Recovery Beverage

Yesterday, while I should have been tidying various rooms in my home, I was instead procrastinating in a common manner by perusing online bicycle articles. One of my preferred sources of diversion is the Velominati website, perhaps most well-known for The Rules.

I violate a number of The Rules while also being in violent agreement with others, LOL at some and find a few to be plain jackass. Quite possibly my favorite, and the one that I attempt to emulate, is #80 – “Always be Casually Deliberate.”

As explained by the author, being casually deliberate extends beyond riding, into ones whole attitude towards life. For the sake of this post, I’ll narrow that down to what one drinks as a malted recovery beverage, as well as the manner of drinking. To that end, various contributors to the website have authored articles you should review, such as “Drink Properly” and “Reverance: Chimay Ale.”

This beverage, sorry to say, is an example of unacceptable:



To elaborate, a friend of mine from university days, with whom I am happy to still be communicating and occasionally visiting, once upon a time complained to me that he was getting fat and slow. The ensuing conversation revealed that he was purchasing and consuming cases of Buckhorn Beer at the local mega-grocery, simply because it was cheap. Indeed, Buckhorn was a low-budget derivative from Olympia Brewing meant to increase market share rather than appealing to those consumers with refined tastes. My advice to him consisted of four words – “better beer less volume.” You will lose weight and your taste buds will thank you. Casually deliberate.



After my ride today amongst the viney hills of north San Luis Obispo County in heat nearing 100F, a malted recovery beverage was in order. German Bitburger poured carefully into a pint glass from “The Cove” bar/restaurant, located in one of my favorite vacation spots, the town of Leland in the state of Michigan. Casually deliberate.

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