Friday, August 30, 2013

Da Ow Aga


I haven't ridden my bike 50 miles in the past fourteen days.

The thought came to me as I stared out the kitchen window into the back yard of Christian & Mel's house.  I took a sip of my strong morning coffee and was reminded of a grey winter morning in Seattle as I watched the heavy fog settle in among the tall pine trees obscuring the views of Tahoe Mountain just a few miles north.

The murk outside however is not the nipping sweet vapor soup remenisent of my northwest home, but rather a tepid gauze of suspended carbon and particulate debris; smoke.  Being the impeccable planners that we are,  Jenny and I managed to time our arrival at one of the best summer destinations on earth with the onset of one the largest forest fires in the history of California.  The prevailing southwest wind and a huge ridge of high pressure over the middle of the United States puts Tahoe Valley in ground zero of the smoke plume that stretches for over a thousand miles north into Canada.

Our original planned route south along the crest of the Sierra into Yosemite National Park would take us directly into the heart of the murk.  Ever since giving up my 12- pack a day habit, I've had a little aversion to inhaling large quantities of smoke and neither Jen or I feel to enthusiastic about the prospect of huffing smog for the next 150 miles.

Options exist to the east as well, but offer the similar prospect of air quality for a least two long days of riding.  As much fun as rollin through the Nevada desert in a hazy gray murk sounds, I think we are going to stay put a little longer, keep a close eye on the wind and make our move when we can see the blue of the sky once more.

Kloshe Konaway
Kloshe Nanitch


Monday, August 19, 2013

A Change of Pace

When Jen and I departed on this grand adventure 47 days and some 1500 miles ago, I did so seeking the fabled magic of the road that is said to await those hardy souls willing to approach this great country on a two wheels; I have certainly not been disappointed.  I have slept under the roofs of strangers who offered shelter within minutes of meeting our acquaintance.  I have made friends from far off places in the world and departed their company with the invitation to rendezvous there with them in the future.  I have watched sunsets sink across the Pacific Ocean and cast hues of orange across the water that my eyes had never before seen.  I have felt the power of good will propel me forward when drivers of cars repeatedly gave friendly honks and a thumbs up as we climbed the steep mountains of the Sierra under a scorching midday sun.  I have been reminded of the true grit of my wife and how fortunate of a man I am to be partnered with such a reliant soul.

I feel like I can safely say that I enjoy riding a bicycle more than the average Joe, and have a bit of saddle time to back the assertion.  The truth is however that bike touring is not all shits and giggles, it is a heck of a lot of hard work and can be a fair amount of type two fun.  Clint Eastwood once famously said, A man needs to know his limitations (and I would interject, more importantly those of his lovely wife), and recognize when a little change of pace and scenery is called for.  A clinically sore bum and a little road fatigue can take the wind out of the touring sails a bit and when Jen and I landed in the comfort of family in one of the most beautiful places on earth a few days ago, we decided to pull the panniers, park the bikes and stay put for a bit.

When you got the time to take, take it all I say.

Kloshe Konaway
Kloshe Nanitch


The Hurst Family.  Wally loves having his photo taken. 

The special time at Jenkinson Lake, CA. 

Essential Kit:  The 6-liter MSR Dromedary water bag filled for a day of climbing to 8000+ in the scorching Sacramento heat.   

I put together a route from Sacramento to Tahoe that involved cycling large portions of the Old Mormon Emigrant Trail.  This path through the Sierra Mountains was blazed by members of the Mormon Battalion who came to California in 1846 to fight in the Mexican-American War.  By the time the Battalion reached California the War had ended and many of the men had been separated from families for over a year.  In 1848 a group consisting of 47 men, 1 woman, 17 wagons, 150 cattle and 150 horses/mules left behind the promise of wealth working gold claims and set off across the mountains to be reunited with their families and the Church they left behind in the Salt Lake Valley.  Climbing the 25 miles of the Emigrant trail took Jenny and I over eight hours, lighting speed compared to the the 5 miles a day this hardy group of individual made over 150 years ago.  This was definitely one of the hardest days of the tour and all I could think is that these folks were a heck of a lot tougher than me!


 Silver Lake swim and a beer after a long day of climbing.  

 Headstands on the Carson Spur.  

 Kirkwood, CA.  Rumored to the best powder runs in the Sierra.  

 Over 12,000 feet of climbing in the past two days make a cold IPA feel pretty darn good.  

 Pretty in Pink and right at home at the Baldwin Beach.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Happy Anniversary

Six years ago I stood on a Lopez Island beach in flip-flops and shorts among family and close friends and promised a girl that I would do my best to be a good partner in life to her.   We have had a grand adventure together thus far, and there have been many more ups than there have been downs in the time that we have shared.   I love and respect this woman more today than I did on the one we exchanged vows.

More than one of my good friends have commented to me about my good fortune to have found a partner willing to leave the security and comfort of home, saddle up on a bicycle for a year and go exploring the world a bit with a character such as me.  I couldn't agree more, and each day when I wake up and look over at my beautiful sleeping wife, the words of my Father echo in my head;

It's better to be lucky than good.

I am certainly a lucky guy.

Kloshe Konaway
Kloshe Nanitch


Lines of tourist hundreds deep waited to take rides on the famed Trolley Cars of San Francisco.  By the looks of it, more could use a little walking on the steep hills of the the Fog City.   

Ubran camouflage.

 As much as cycling is good for the heart and makes for some robust legs, I have noticed that my upstairs going a bit soft, which I am 100% sure has nothing to do with my daily ration of at least two beers.  In any case, I couldn't resist the opportunity for some muscle-ups in San Francisco.  

Bikes, Coffee and Beer.  All of my favorite things.  

Satsquatch Bike.

 The best thing going on in San Francisco is Aunt Sue!  Jen & I spent four wonderful days being wined and dined, not to mention sleeping in a comfy bed. 

Escaping the gray of the Bay, Jenny and I hopped a commuter ferry to Vallejo CA and were pleasantly surprised to a find good, albeit disgustingly littered, network of bike baths and shared use lanes through Fairfield, Vacaville, Dixon, Davis and east to Sacramento.

Jenny has a radar for scavengable produce like no other.  We will be cruising along in a strong tailwind at 15-20 mph hour and Jenny will scream pear tree!!! at the top of her lungs and lock up the breaks.  Notice the pocket of her Jr. Ranger vest is packed to capacity. 

Bike model extraordinaire.   

I came by my love of beer honestly enough and nothing tastes quite as good at the end of a hot day as a cold beers.  Jen and stopped in The Davis Beer Shoppe for a taste and left with accommodations for the evening.  

John noticed us roll into town and struck up a conversation with us about where we were coming from and going to.  After we discovered that we had road 35 miles past our Warm Showers host for the evening John and Kathryn generously offered us a room for the night at their lovely Davis home.  Bike travel wins again!

 Our search for heavier bikes has come to end.

Sacramento River and Old Town Sacramento 

The bounty of the Sacramento Valley.  Jenny is a total fig head. 

 The Jebediah Smith Memorial/RecriationalAmerican River Trail is a paved path that runs from Old Town Sacramento to Folsom Lake.  This corridor is home to a variety of wildlife and is used by over 5 million commuters and recreational cyclist each year.  

Folsom Dam, Folsom CA.

Please dismount your steed prior to passing through the tunnel.

 Service at the Granite Bay Bed & Breakfast is first-cabin!

 The Hurst Family and a creepy looking guy with a mustache.  

Insulin bomb breakfast at Katrina's Cafe in Auburn, CA.

Last photo of the Stache.  Jenny is overcome with grief when I announce my shaving plans and must drown her sorrows in a stiff G&T.