Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dar la vuelta....

Which means, more or less, make the loop, do the round-trip, return home.

I've done a bunch of vueltas in the past couple decades. The office I've worked out of for the past two years was actually my bedroom back in 1996, odd as that sounds. The same mottled vinyl fold-out couch is still there, but now it is surrounded with filing cabinets and desks. We just did a loop that took us from South Dakota to Washington to Arizona and back to South Dakota. A subset of that vuelta was a vuelta in Costa Rica, five weeks making a loop that brought us across the continental divide a few times, along the Pacific coast, and back to the airport. Some fire assignments are endless with loop after loop- mapping the edge of a fire, patrolling the edge to make sure it hasn't slopped out, round and round, day after day.

Now we are "home", though how long the Whitney Preserve will have that designation is up in the air. It is good to be here now, and with a little more time to live before the all-consuming fire season cranks up.

In retrospect, the Costa Rica trip was fine, but the difficult riding made it less enjoyable than some previous trips. I still love bike touring, and think it is a great way to see and really experience a country, but am very aware that it isn't ideal for all countries. Still, considering Costa Rica was Plan C, it went fine.

I keep thinking of putting pics on here, but not right now, got to take advantage of the day's final dose of caffeine coursing through my veins to clean up stuff left chaotic by the unpacking. Well, ok, just one.
"Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing." George Sheenan

Friday, January 21, 2011

The stuff that works

We are done, and have been in Tucson for a week. Smooth travel from Costa Rica home, even considering a late flight that caused us to miss our connection in DFW. American Airlines staff were prompt and helpful with getting us on a slightly later flight, which was fine, actually allowed us to have some good bbq for lunch. Anyway, good to be back in the USA.
Riding up Mt. Lemmon today, I was thinking about how great it is to have really good gear that doesn't let us down. White Industries hubs are indestructible, so far, and easily serviced. Schwalbe Marathon XR tires have long had a legendary status for their durability, and based on the beating we gave them in Costa Rica, it is entirely valid. Our '90s vintage Specialized Deja-2 frame has survived thousands of miles of rough riding, along with more abusive forms of travel- in boats, under buses, on top of buses, in airplanes, on top of tiny taxis. Avid BB7 brakes are flawless, they always work well (as long as you don't melt them down with ultra-steep, long hills), and never break. I could go on, but those are the real superstars of the parts list.