Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Sunday morning some folks met at IHOP for a farewell breakfast. Hugs all around. From there - it was finish loading the car and head to Sedona.

On the way up to Sedona I stopped to see Montezuma's Castle. Its another structure built into the cliffs-side.

I was back in Sedona early afternoon and my room was not ready yet. Stopped in at The Bike & Bean, then went down to the creek crossing. Parking at the trailhead means purchasing a Red Rock vehicle parking permit. Anyway, after purchasing the permit, I walked down to the creek and took a few photos. The area gives a good views of Cathedral Rock.

It was 104 when I got to Sedona in the afternoon. Waited until about 6pm for ride. It was still HOT then. I went up Bell Rock Pathway to Big Park Loops and rode there. Got in about 5.5 miles.

I liked staying at the Wildflower Inn. It is a couple doors down the street from the Bike & Bean. Just a quarter mile or less to the trailhead. Was riding from the hotel room door!

Monday morning I was up early for my bike ride. Headed back up Bell Rock Pathway. But, my heart rate was not cooperating. Could not keep if down. Climbing it went up to 200, down to 125 when resting. Spiking back up as soon as I ride. Decided it was not a good day for me to ride. Early out of the hotel.

Since I was not riding my miles in the morning, stopped in Walnut Canyon National Monumnent. Got my work-out on the steps down and up the canyon. Walnut Canyon is another area where the Indians built homes in the cliff-side.

From there, it was a quick lunch and gas-up in Winslow, AZ. Next stop was Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert. More lots of photos; did some walking on the paths. Amazing that at once this desert was a swamp with huge trees.

It was sunny most of the day, threatening some showers from the South. Did get a couple drops on the windshield. Much of the drive through Painted Desert was under clouds. Bright sunshine broke out near the end. Think the overcast dampened the colors in the desert.

Bunked the night at Gallup, NM.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Desert Botanical Garden

Yesterday, I decided to take a day off the bike. Was debating about riding early in the morning - thinking I should do a pavement ride. But, it was clear and sunny - looking to be a very hot day.

Friday, some of the folks went to the Desert Botanical Garden. I decided it was a good place to go - to shoot of the desert flora. Yes, it was HOT at the garden. However, I got some really good shots.

In the afternoon, it was the business meeting of the reunion. Next year we will go to Myrtle Beach, SC.

The evening was filled with our banquet. I was very busy - taking photos. Portraits of everyone. Then some photos of the crowd. Finally, photos of the program.

The keynote speaker was the Sheriff of Maricopa County, AZ. I had never heard of him, but I guess he is infamous for what he did in the county prison system. Anyway - his remarks were more like a campaign speech. His right wing comments did not belong in the address to our group. Had it not for my respect for the guys and the unit, I would have walked out. Put a hell of a damper on my mood (would have liked to head out and get on my bike!)

The bright spot after the address was the auctioning of the photo I donated. The photo was of the memorial for our unit in Ft. Benning, GA. It went for $160!!!

Pavement Ride

Friday it was a pavement ride. Besides, I was not ready to encounter another diamond back!

Paulette wwife of one of my Army friends) rented a bike so we could ride. We headed out from the hotel, rode a 1.5 miles on the streets to the bike path. There, we rode down from McCormick Rd to Hwy 202 (almost to Tempe). By the time we returned to the hotel, we logged over 20 miles. Was a relaxing ride with a friend.

Didn't do much the rest of the day. Rested, started re-packing, and napped. OH, I almost forgot. When I checked the bike in the room in the morning, I had 1 flat tire and 1 very soft tire. Pumping up the tires held for the ride. About noon, I checked the tires and found they were getting soft again. So headed to a local bike shop. Bought a couple tubes, and changed the tires. I do not like the rims on my Fuel EX7. A real pain to change a flat. Think it was a thorn in the rear tire. Never did see anything with the front tire. Both are holding so far.

Friday, June 26, 2009

McDowell Mountain Park

Yesterday I was up early to ride. (The day-time highs are running in the mid/upper 100s this week in Scottsdale!) Drove to McDowell Mountain Park for a singletrack ride. By the time I drove to the park, payed the entrance fee ($6 for the car - $1 had I arrived by bike), I was about 6:45.

The trails is mostly fine gravels with sections of rocks. No "dirt" as we consider at home. Lots of up and down with portions of flowing singletrack. I rode the "Long Loop" - just short of 8 miles.

During one f the climbs I heard a ominous sounds of rattling. Stopped and saw the rattlesnake. Backed off, and waited for it to slither away (and shot this photo). He was rattling a litlle as a hiked the bike pst him, at what I felt was a save distance.

After the ride, I high-tailed back to the room to pick up my camera to shoot the tee-off of the reunion golf tournament. Finally shower and breakfast.

Didn't do much anything the rest of the day. Worked a little on organizing my photos, napped, visited at the reunion, napped, etc.

Dinner was at Pinnacle Peak Patio. Was a relatively long drive for steak & beans.

The day capped with a Memorial for Reuel Baughman - one of my army friends.

Pavement ride with Pallette in the morning.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Grand Canyon

A long day today. Bus trip (charter for our Army Reunion group) up to Grand Canyon. Took several photos - some pretty good, others just for our group. Eventually they will on my web site.

Back to the hotel about 8pm. Golf tournament in the morning - I will be taking pictures. Before that, I am hoping to travel out to McDowell Mountain Park to get in a little singletrack riding. It will be 3 days off the bike - getting withdrawals. Not sure what I will do when I don't have mountain trails to explore. Having soooo much fun out here riding in the SouthWest.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Back up to Sedona

Originally, we were scheduled to jeep out on the desert today. For some reason, that was changed to a trip up to Sedona for lunch and tourist things.

Had I known that, and with the Grand Canyon trip in the morning. I would have stayed up in Sedona last night. Oh well, at lease i didn't have to drive. Rode with others from the reunion.

Out first stop in Sedona was the same trailhead where I rode out from. I sounded like a native - telling them the names of the various formations.

Missing my bike today.

Today's photo shows couple of my army buddies and me in front of Cathedral Rock.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Morning Ride then to Scottsdale

This morning, I needed to ride before heading to Scottsdale for my Army Reunion. Headed back up the Bell Rock Pathway. Today was an "exploration" ride. Checking out the trails that branch of the Pathway.

The Templeton Trail looks a little over my abilities. Same for the HT trail. Was looking for the Bail Trail to go around Little Bell Rock. Eventually found it - on my way back. By then, thinking that I should just ride back to the hotel.

I made it almost the whole length of the Bell Rock Pathway. I worked on climbing rocks, riding slickrock, descending a rocky trail, and just the climbing and descending. By the end of the ride, I am a better at riding over the rocks and a rocky trail.

Now, sure, some spots I had to walk. Sometimes it was for the technical nature of the trail. Other times, I needed a break/rest. The important things - I had fun and I rode better.

Arrived my reunion in the afternoon. Chatted with some of my buddies. By the dinner time, I was obvious that I was fading.

Back up to Sedona tomorrow - with the Reunion Group. For tonight, off to bed!


This is a cycling blog, but I will start this posting with my "tourist" activity. Yesterday, I spent half the day in Monument Valley. Drove the gravel road amongst the rock formations. Lots of photos of the formations.

Then on down to Sedona. I have to say the drivers in Arizona (at least those in the NE section) are reckless. I was driving at or near the speed limit. In 2 hours, I think there were only 3 or 4 cars I passed. Everyone was flying pass me. That, and they love to tailgate at 65 mph! Most of them were driving pick-ups. By the time I was to my hotel I was frustrated - and in need of a bike ride.

Stopped at the Bike and Bean. Talked with folks there and got the skinny on riding the local trails. As the temperature dropped a little, I headed out on the Bell Rock Pathway. Today's photo is my bike on the Pathway. That went well, so turned off and rode the Big Loop Trail. I was very happy with my progress riding rocks. that, and the climbing. it has been getting that I don't realize how much I climbed, until I start flying back down!

Boggy Draw Trail

Saturday, I was up early and ready to ride! Decided to go up to Dolores to ride Boggy Draw. I was told it is a flowing, easy trail. And so it is. Really nice, relaxing ride. Only one section (marked as "blue", where I had to walk - steep and rocky.

The photo here is one of the nice, flowing sections of the trail. Really enjoyed the ride.

Showered and checked out of the room and headed to Four Corners. (At least what USED to be the intersection of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona).

From there up to Bluff, Utah on to Mexican Hat, UT. Drove over to check out Goosenecks State Park. While in the area, went on over to Valley of the Gods. Made that gravel drive. Beautiful valley will rock formations like Monument Valley.

Early to bed.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mesa Verde

Friday, it was a drive over to Mesa Verde. Did a driving tour. Had thought about doing one of the payed tours of the "homes". Was told all required very strenuous climbing steps and ladders. Decided would be more fun getting my strenuous workout on my bicycle.

Stopped at the restaurant at Spruce Tree House. Talk about a SLOW serving line! Then there was a 1 year old (I estimate) was bawling, screaming. Gave me a headache. I know that when I was that age, there was no doing that! Otherwise my dad would give me something to cry about (a good spanking).

Anyway, found the bike shop in Cortez (Kokopelli Bike and Board). They gave me skinny of trails in the area. Showed me a very good map of the local trails. The map is produced by a local publisher. If you go to the Cortez, CO area, pick up the map by BigLoopMaps.com.

When I got back to my room and working on the computer, the room did not smell right. I asked at the desk if the room might be a smoking room. The desk clerk said she could not check (computer problem?). Back while in the room, it started really getting to me, so I sent back to the desk. New desk clerk. She said I am in a smoking room and that's the way the reservation came through as. I showed her my confirmation for a non-smoking room. They have no more non-smoking rooms. Eventually I was moved to the Rodeway Inn.

With finally settling on the 2nd room there, I decided to head over the the brew-pub for a beer. Met up some guys working for the Forest Service and had been mountain biking that evening. Had a good conversation. One is from Fort Madison, IA. Another knows a friend in Omaha that had raced a Psycowpath race.

A good ending of a frustrating day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Back Up Horse Gulch

Boy, was I tired last night! After dinner at The Diamond Belle, I crashed - big time. Woke up about 2am - not sleepy. Did some photo processing. Within an hour - back asleep. Didn't get up until 7am!

Breakfast at the Durango Diner. Eggs, sausage, toast and an awesome pile of hash browns. Visited bike shops a little. Found another mirror like I like - picked up one at Durango Cyclery. Another bike shop (2nd Ave Sports) had jersey in my size and a pair of nice long, baggy shorts.

So now, my singletrack ride today. (that's what you really wanted to read about, right?)

I headed back up Horse Gulch, wanting to ride more of the trails there. Unloading the bike, my heart rate was in the 80s (it was about 150 yesterday - according the monitor). Feeling pretty good walking the bike up the gulch. Rode Meadow Loop to the junction with Stacy's Loop. Stopped for a couple times to slow down my heart rate/catch my breath. Even rode more of Stacy's Loop than i did yesterday.

Next, I decided to check out Mike's Trail. Didn't look too bad at the junction with Stacy's Loop.. Let me tell you, for what I am used to, there are some very rough climbs, rock fields, and "what the #$%^" descents. Think I walked more than ride that trail.

Out of Mike's trail, I was faced with the decision to which way to ride Cuchillo. At this time I was looking for a nice, easy ride down. I chose to the right. Think I chose the wrong way. After a nice descent, the trail quickly climbed. I hiked the bike up the trail. By this time I was riding a ridge. That would be all and good, except the ridge was a rock field! Eventually, the trail came steeply down the ridge - more walking the bike. Guess I should have turned left on Cuchillo.

Its was a good day riding. Rode trail sections better than yesterday. Negotiated trail more obstacles that I have before. A better rider, and very tired rider!

My original plan was to drop off the bike and hike on the Colorado Trail later today. Don't think my legs would hand it - so decided to call it a day for riding. After all, more photos to process today. This evening, time to start packing my room and say good-bye to Durango. Heading to Mesa Verde tomorrow.

Today's photo was taken on the descent down Cuchillo.

Addendum: URGH - was just finishing this addendum, when the Internet times out and I lost it. Anyway, this evening I was looking for a salad bar with dinner (keep my vitamin K in control). At the motel, they only knew of one - in an expensive restaurant. Searching the web, I found Beau Jo's . They are mostly a pasta & pizza place. I opted for the buffet. Had a good salad, a small helping of pasta, and several pieces of very good pizza. On top of that, the have a senior discount - $2 off the buffet. The only place I have seen in Durango that gives a senior discount. Find Bea Jo's south/east of downtown across from the Comfort Inn.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Yea! Singletrack

Last night I was so tired that I did not even eat. Hungry this morning - so I went to the Durango Diner for a hotcake and sausage. They are known for their large hotcakes. The one was enough for me this morning. (Could have eaten more, but did not want to stuff myself.)

Set out to check out Durango singletrack. The trail head at Horse Gulch was packed. Anyway, I wanted to ride the Animas River trail to see if I can now handle the altitude. Feeling good, and the trail ended near the local Trek dealer (Hassle Free Sports), stopped in to see what they can recommend.

They suggested Colorado Trail (at least for the first 2.5 miles, where then there are sharp switchbacks). I headed to the trailhead. The trail surface is anything from rocks, native soil, gravel, pine needle-covered. I did pretty well. Negotiated the rocks better than I have done before. Had to walk up a couple little sharp rises in the trail. As I got 1.5 miles, the trail was on a ledge, overlooking the creek. It got to the point that I was not feeling comfortable walking the bike up the trail. First photo shows the point where I decided to turn back. I was pleased that I was able to ride among the rocks - gained some experience.

Now, I was not ready to give up on singletrack today. Headed over to Horse Gulch. I had to walk up most of the gravel road (about .5 mile). The altitude was also getting to me. Guess I should do these kinds of walks/rides in the morning. Anyway, had a good ride. Rode the Meadow Loop and Stacy's Loop (about 3 miles of singletrack). The second photo was taken on Meadow Loop. Some wildflowers are in bloom. There were a couple sections of the trail that I did not feel comfortable riding. That, and my heart rate spiked from riding in the afternoon and the altitude.

Plans are to ride Horse Gulch again in the morning. Then later in the day, perhaps hike up the Colorado Trail.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


So, what did I do today? I rode the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

It was a beautiful day to take a railroad ride. The D&SNGRR provided some awesome scenery. The trip took basically the whole day (3 1/2 hours+ each way, lunch at Silverton). In Silverton, I had lunch at the Shady Lady Saloon - an original brothel/saloon.

Back at the motel, the laptop was busy processing some 300 photos I took today.

I was not sure about spending $71 and all day to ride the train. It was worth it. With the nice weather, I rode in an open gondola car. Seats facing out. Recommendation - if you can, reserve a corner seat in the gondola (1, 24, 25, 48). That give you easy access to the aisle (and the other side of the car).

Here, our train, powered by locomotive #482, negotiates the "High Line". That's the Animas River below.


Yesterday dawned clear and cold in Dillon, CO (40 deg!). I had a bit of a head ache from the altitude (over 9000 ft in Dillon). For these reasons, I skipped my planning morning bike ride and got on the road.

Most of the drive was boring. Hwy 285 through Colorado is not exciting. Not much to snap photos until I hit Wolf Creek Pass. The photo here was taken at the scenic view West down the pass toward Pagosa Springs.

Lots of construction on Hwy 160 coming into Durango. Stopped at the Visitor Center for info. Then checked into my motel.

Grabbed the bike and headed downtown to find the bike shops. Stopped by Mountain Bike Specialists - checking out the shop ride on Thursday evening. I found out that they are planning to ride a much more difficult trail than the trail on the web site. Guess I will have to scope out rides myself.

On the way back past my motel, to the local Trek dealer - Hassle Free Sports. The wrench did some adjustments to the shifter and read derailleur (was a little out of alignment).

During the ride. my heart rate was over the roof! Probably from missing a meal middle of the day and the altitude. Will have to watch this here.

Capped the day with too much food at The Olde Tymers Cafe downtown Durango. It was burger night. And checked out the local brew (SKA Pinstripe). Chatted with "Cowboy Bruce", who gave me some recommendations.

Now, what to do today? Do I take the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad? Hike up to Horse Gulch to check out the trails? Something else? Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

On the Road Again

I am on the road again. This morning I headed out for my Army Reunion. Was not excited about the drive until I hit Colorado. Stopped at the first tourist information/rest area and loaded up on reading material. Then, I could not wait to get to Dillon (tonight's billet).

It was some "weather" driving today. General mostly cloudy until I hit Denver. Deluge in Denver Cars stopped under bridges), tornado warning, and hail. Then snow as I exited the Tunnel (Loveland Pass). Pleasant evening in Dillon. Did not ride this evening - maybe in the morning. But so far, I am not short of breath at the 9000+ ft altitude here. If I can keep feeling that way, bodes well for Durango.

Tomorrow to Durango - for 4 nights/3 days.

The photo here is the Blue River in Dillon, CO.

Monday, June 8, 2009

June Full Moon Ride

About 20 riders headed out from the Xtreme Wheels for the June Full Moon Ride. This months ride was on the Wabash Trace up to Margaritaville. Folks brought their refreshments and some food. The bike shop supplied additional food.

Beautiful evening, and a great ride. Welcome the new Full Moon Riders; Good to see everyone. Watch for information about the July Full Moon Ride here, on the Xtreme Wheels Blog, and on Facebook.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Yes, I am Still Riding

Just in case if you are wondering - I am still riding. Have not commented much here after my trip to Rapid City for the Black Hills Fat Tire Festival.

Last week I rode a couple days at Manawa to get my dirt fix. Sunday we had out first Sunday Morning Ride from Panara Bread (Mall of the Bluffs). This is our "Tour de Bluffs" route. Took a couple days off with the rain (my sore butt was appreciative).

Today I needed some repairs done on my car. It ended up to be an all-day affair. Good the opportunity to ride while the car is in the shop. Ended up riding 42 miles (the most I have ever ridden in on day). 110 miles in the last 7 days.

Today's ride included 2 miles in the dirt at Manawa. Manawa is in good shape - so planning to ride there tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

BHFTF Photos

It took some time, but I have processed the photos I took at the Black Hills Fat Tire Festival. Since I rode 2 days on the Mickelson Trail, most of the photos here are from that ride. They are divided up into the 2 days of the ride.

Surf over to my photo web site: http://win-photo.photoreflect.com

Kanesville Krusher Photos

My photos of Kanesville Krusher are posted. The photos are divided into 3 groups - Kids Race & Misc, Category 3, and Category 1 & 2.

Here's the link for my race photos: http://win-photo.photoreflect.com