When In Doubt, More Cowbell

My first enduro race today. 90 miles of singletrack with some fireroad thrown in for good measure at the Cowbell Enduro in Mendocino NF.  Awesome.

learn about "minutes" "tests" "burning check points" "roll charts" "resets" and all that enduro jazz from some good folks.  Big Thanks to Austin for hosting everyone.
stay up till 2 getting bikes dialed in, ya know: rebuilding the engine, installing brake coolers, changing tires & sprockets, etc.  Big Thanks to Adam for letting me ride his bike.
wake up before 7 to overcast sky with snow/rain in forecast


Nature threw its best at us: clouds, snow rain, hail...
Course Designers tried too: bike swallowing ruts (drag your handlebars!), roots, hill climbs, descents...

And we'll be back for more!

Haystack Mountain in Wind Rivers

a video of sounding the alarm.

Then we climbed Haystack.  shuffling over some ledges and cliffs on the sides of mountains we made our way to the top, only to be slowed by a few caves.

Senior Picture of Leaf

Wind Rivers

I've been invited on a another families great adventure vacation.... not knowing all the would ensue, it began with a midnight drive and finding out at the last minute tying seat belts doesn't work in-lieu of a buckle.  8 am arrivals after all-night drives leading to 8 miles of uphill hiking, 1 mile of getting lost, 7 voices knowing where we could be found and finally this...

 After our bellies were full of trout, we went for a walk to the Continental Divide.  The top of the Cirque de Towers is the divide, and this picture shows a 270 degree span... the divide nearly surround you.

The night life ain't all that bad.

Nightlife is Premium

Top of the Contiguous USA

We woke up @ 3 am to hike to the top of the contiguous United States

looking back @ campsite area
breakfast @ 12,000 ft
after breakfast, the trail went straight up to the nano-sphere.  its called "99 switchbacks."  to the right of the switchbacks is "the chute" which was full of snow, and we could have avoided the switchbacks by donning crampons and heading up it.  

at the top of the switchbacks after climbing 1,000 feet, the trail crossed the snow field a few times.  the wind was gusting up to 50 mph at this time, but luckily the sun was shining keeping the snow soft.  Thanks to Nathaniel and his generous loaning of mountaineering equipment, we had no problem with this section.  

Once past the snowfields, just have to walk on the ridge with a 1,000 foot drop the the right, and a 1,500 foot drop to the left.  while the wind is blowing @ 20 mph and gusting to 50 mph.  no biggie.

view from the top to the east
Just when you think you've accomplished something significant, you meet someone who makes you think otherwise.  We asked a guy to take the obligatory top of the contiguous USA pose, only to find out he started hiking @ the Mexico border, and was on his way to Canada.  dang.  let alone the two guys we saw running down the mountain the day before.  they ran to the top, also. double dang.

By this time we were exhausted, sleep deprived, thirsty, wind and sun burnt and gulping as much oxygen as we could at 14,505 feet.  And now we have to walk back down?  Just want to sleep... altitude is a strong sedative.

We scurried down, packed up camp, and scurried further down.  Made it to the bottom as the propertier of the store @ Whitney Portal was turning the window sign to "closed."  He still sold us beer.  Celebratory!

next day blisters over the Kern River
We drove back via Bakersfield.  Kern River Valley below, quite the contrast of what water does for the region.

---next topic---- The Best Ideas

The best ideas never seem that great while they are happening.  They are always better when thought of, usually with a beer in hand; or when reminiscing with a beer in hand.  Anyone else see a pattern?

I don't know if you are aware, but Mt Whitney is the highest point in the contiguous United States (shout out for the big word).  160 people per day are allowed to hike to the top, but one needs to apply in February, when the mountain is still covered in snow.

So what happens when in mid-July the mountain is STILL covered in snow?  why, climb to the top of course.
sleepy mountain
good idea still? better think about it over coffee

lake @ 10,000' full of 6-12" trount
Thanks to some great advice from a co-worker who has some experience with altitude, we decided to camp @ Outpost Camp, located @ 10,000 ft instead of the higher, more popular campground.  It was a good choice, because narby there was a lake.  We spent the afternoon "acclimating" by reading books and catching fish next to the trail that people were huffing up and down with 50 lb packs.

And then there was one

Forth of July is over, the fishing trips are completed and bellies full.  Its time to get back to the motorcycle.  Its stored at some wonderful stranger's place.  After some public transit, more two-up riding and some roadside camping, we make it there.  We try to make the bike start.  It won't.

Carb clean.  it won't go.

Battery charge, fresh gas, new plug.  it won't go.

it starts to rain.  alot.  try to do a jerry-rigged compression test to no avail.

starting fluid.  it won't go.

charge the battery, go to the bar, get soaked.  in many ways.  come up with a plan...

more starting fluid.  it won't go.  that's the end of this bike's trip.

We head back to Anchorage, and load up Harper's bike for his long, solo trip home.  a True Road Warrior

ride on, scumbucket
And then there was one.

Seward Holiday

We returned from the Kenai Fjords fishing trip to stay in Seward over the 4th of  July and go fishing on a party boat.  Apparently everyone from Anchorage makes this same trek to the Kenai Peninsula over the holiday and the town in packed.  No room at any campgrounds, so we stayed here...

Ditch Hotel
It was common practice, we followed the lead of others.  The price was right, too.  Since the town was packed, w made our own restaurant which served halibut for every meal the week we stayed there.

Livin' It

After fishing, we went for a walk in the woods.  We saw a glacier, and the mixing of glacial run off with stream/rain water run off.  Neat stuff.  We drank some glacial water, and let me tell you the marketing strategies of water bottle companies is pretty good.  Iit doesn't taste as well as they'd lead you to believe.

And then this.  

Maybe we should haveve brought the shotgun with.

Clouds & LingCod

a couple days of lingcod & fog/clounds/rain in addition to the halibut and rockcod.  When a lingcod hits, its as if your pole has been struck by lightning.

Lingcod are eating machines, their heads and mouth are twice as big as the rest of their body.  pointy sharp nasty ripping teeth.  I think they just sit and wait for something tasty to swim by, then ambush it.  they are delicious.

halibut are still good though

Fishing Camp

Bellies now full of a delicious halibut appetizer, freshly tossed halibut salad, salty and savory halibut main course and rich halibut dessert we slept contently.  And woke up to this view.  Lucky to be alive.
fishing camp

Seward to the Kenai Fjords

We ride two up for the last 100 curvy miles to Seward AK with some "turn at the big tree, just after the waterfall" directions to get to the campsite.  We roll into camp @ 2am, after being up for 24 hours for the second time in 3 days.  Somehow we find camp and get about 4 hours of sleep.  Wake at 6, shower & eat, and get stuff down to the water taxi by 8am.

next 4 days
water taxi

Miraculously, we made it.  1,000 miles in 60 hours.  8 hours of sleep, gas flavored beans burritos and coffee. Our reward is relaxing on the 2 hour boat ride to our campsite and viewing the wildlife along the way, such as Dall's porpoise, who ride the pressure wave off the front of the water taxi.  Pretty neat.

This is where we will be spending the next few days.  Not too shabby.

Time to set up camp and take a nap before heading out in the kayaks to find some halibut.

Two Up to Seward

We wake up @ 2 am next to the river.  Ride in the rain towards Seward AK, gotta be there @ 5 pm. We stop in Anchorage at Brad & Emily's place to get gear for a 4 day kayak fishing trip in the Kenai Fjords Nat'l Park near Seward.  My dad has flown up from Minnesota and is meeting us in Seward, we've been planning this for a few months now.

About a half hour out of Anchorage, the sprocket issue has raised its ugly head again.  The chain comes off, and is completely wrecked.  We lay in the ditch at 4 pm, wondering how we are going to make the last 100 miles of curvy road to Seward.

After lots of phone calls, 2 wreckers, and some wonderful people named Ben and Stacie in Girdwood who let me store my bike in their shed, @ 11 pm, we leave Girdwood AK on one bike.  The water taxi leaves @ 8 am and we must be on it.

A huge massive big ups, thanks and gratitude to Ben and Stacie.  you rock.  
butt to nut.  must like fishing alot.

400 rainy miles, 2 sprockets, 1 chain, 2 tow trucks, packing for 4 day kayak fishing trip, 100 miles to go two up.

Sleep & Sprockets

I haven't posted for awhile, since January.  Hmmm, right about when I got a job.  huh.

I digress to scumbuckets riding south towards Fairbanks...  and start to notice that my bike is making funny noises.   We stop in Fairbanks for gas, its about 90 F and we haven't slept or showered in... awhile.      

we notice my sprocket is missing about half its teeth, and my chain has about 47 feet of slack.  not good.  when did this all happen?

It also turns out when you ride 1500 miles in 3 days on gravel the chain and sprockets take a beating.

time for scumbucket problem solving.  within an hour I've procured a spare sprocket, and the guy we got it from not only put it on, but also washed our bikes!  Alaskan's Rock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We continue south with the paved road humming underneath us.... such a melody.




till we realize we're falling asleep.  while riding motorcycles.  on a public road.  time to stop.  still 400 miles to Seward, but if we keep going we'll surely die.  we find a place to sleep next to a river.  

wanna swim in there?
HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!!!
24 hours to make the fishing boat.  must be in Seward by 5 pm tomorrow.  alarms set for 2 am.

600 miles, 1 sprocket procurement and replacement, 1 gas flavored meal and 1 shower in 24 hours.  scummy.

Arctic Ocean Round Trip, day uh

Dalton Hwy, check.

scumbucket hoooooo!!!!!!!
scumbuckets wear sunscreen

even the engine is scummy