The Wine Cyclist


Putting 2009 On The Map

by on Dec.31, 2009, under Cycling, Miscellany

I like maps. I’m even a bit of a map geek. And I’m of the opinion that maps are the best way to sum up all the insanity that was 2009. So I give you, the maps of 2009:

You may remember that cycling trip I was doing this summer, well, here’s a close approximation of the route.

And then there was driving/car camping tour of the southwest more recently. This autumn’s route looked something like this.

I didn’t check these for overwhelming accuracy. It is, after all, New Year’s Eve, and I’ve got some very important drinking to do tonight. I hope your 2009 went well. I wish you all the best for 2010.

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A Southwest Recap in Pictures (Part 1)

by on Dec.27, 2009, under Miscellany

A photographic recap of the first month of my recent travels in the southwest.

Great Sand Dunes

San Juan Mountains

Mesa Verde


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Thanksgiving in the Woods

by on Dec.07, 2009, under Miscellany

I think I’ve found a new tradition. One that is all manner of fun. Thanksgiving in the woods.

1 - On ManifoldFailing to find a spot indoors for our Thanksgiving feast this year, we opted to put together our own little feast — one cooked up over the campfire. I really can’t take too much credit here, as my traveling companion did most of the food prep and cooking work, but hey, I payed for the food, so I get some appreciation, yeah?

It was Wednesday night we had our feast, instead of the usual Thursday, as we wanted to spend that whole day soaking in some hot springs near where we were camped out in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico. We grabbed some turkey legs from a little food co-op in Dixon the night before, but they weren’t quite thawed out by midday. So, we popped them on the manifold of my car’s engine to defrost over the remainder of the drive (some 100 miles or so).

2 - On CampfireNicely thawed, and even slightly roasted on the manifold, the turkey legs were ready for cooking just as soon as we got a campfire going. With some sourdough bread, there was to be a most delicious stuffing (not that we could really stuff it in the turkey legs, but that matters not). And we had an assortment of other sides: mashed potatoes, asparagus and applesauce. All (excepting the applesauce) cooked over the campfire you see here.

I popped open a Dolcetto from Black Mesa Winery (Velarde, NM) to go with the feast and a feast it was. Just look at that spread. We even had the requisite leftovers for munching over the next couple of days. Actually, we only had turkey left over. The stuffing was just too 3 - Feast Spreaddelicious to leave any of it behind, and we were modest enough in cooking the portions of potatoes and asparagus that there were none left over. Of course, killing off a single bottle of wine between two people is hardly ever a challenge.

This was so much fun, that I think this is going to be my Thanksgiving tradition from now on. In the future, I will find a good spot in the forests of Oregon or Washington or somesuchwhere, invite a whole crew of people, and have a big camp-out Thanksgiving feast. More than just turkey legs, I intend to learn how to roast a whole bird in the campfire. Who’s in?

In other traveling news, we have departed the Land of Enchantment for the great state of Texas. First order of business: hike up the highest point in Texas. Here’s some video from the top of Guadalupe Peak. Enjoy…

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Olympic National Park

by on Oct.09, 2009, under Miscellany

IMG_0962I know, I know. I’m a lazy bum. I’ve been back from Olympic National Park for over a week now and I’m just getting around to writing the blog post. No excuses. Honestly, it’s hard to fully describe the experience. ONP has some of the most incredible scenery I’ve seen to date. So, I’m not sure what to write. I guess I’ll just spend a few paragraphs telling you what I got up to, and perhaps waxing philosophical, and then I think I’ll just throw a bunch of pictures at you (the one to the left there Mt Olympus). How does that sound?

I went in to the park the first time along the Boulder Creek Trail (near the Elwha River) on the day of the autumnal equinox. It was a fairly leisurely hike by my standards, so I spent some time that afternoon lounging about in the Boulder Creek hot springs. I do love me some hot springs. After that, I hiked my way up an incredibly scenic trail to Appleton Pass, my campsite for that first evening. From there it was back down to the Sol Duc River, up to Deer Lake for another night of camping and then up over Bogachiel Peak on day three.

IMG_0980Along the Hoh River making my way up to Elk Lake (my third campsite), I ran into Brian and Dev (pronounced Dave), who were hiking about the same area as I the next couple of days. It’s always good to have some company, especially for some of the crazy trails that make their way up to Blue Glacier (pictured to the right) and Mt Olympus. We spent a day checking out all of that, and the next day was a long hike out through the Hoh Rain Forest. Excellent times indeed hanging out with Brian and Dev. they even gave me a ride back into Port Angeles.

From PA, I schemed out my next adventure on the Olympic Peninsula, and two days after leaving the main area of the park, I was out along the coastal wilderness of Olympic near Lake Ozette. I spent two days doing some surprisingly difficult hiking south along the coast. There were many rock outcroppings that I needed to scramble over, and of course the rocks were wet, seaweed-covered and otherwise slippery, which makes for an interesting challenge.

Now, I’m back in the civilized world for a bit, but I guarantee it shall not last. In less than a week, I’m making my way for the southwest to explore many of the national parks, monuments, and other wonders of that incredible area. The adventure continues!

As promised, pictures of Olympic National Park…

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Keep On Walkin’

by on Sep.13, 2009, under Miscellany

IMG_0890Yeah, yeah… I’m a lazy bum. I’ve been hanging out in Seattle for a week and I haven’t gotten around to posting something until now. Sometimes I get distracted from such things, you know? A week was spent in the woods. It was fun. Oh, you want more detail than that, I suppose.

August 29th, I caught a ride from friends of mine in Portland out to the town of Cascade Locks, OR. That weekend there was a Pacific Crest Trail festival, with a few dozen thru-hikers and an assortment of other PCT-affiliated people. There was also beer. Tasty beer. By the keg. I met many people that evening, some of whom I even remember meeting (also known as the people I met before the kegs were tapped). The next day, after a ginormous breakfast in Cascade Locks, I crossed the Bridge of the Gods into Washington and began my walk north along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Despite being in good shape from all the cycling, it took me a while to get used to the whole backpacking thing. One uses many different muscles backpacking than you do cycling. The body as a whole also takes much greater impact. My feet, especially, were very sore from the plod-plod-plodding along, and my hips as well, from carrying the load of my pack. I worked many muscles while cycling, but since I was only really responsible for forward momentum and are not actually bearing the weight of the travel load myself, my legs didn’t take quite as much impact damage. Ibuprofen is a much closer friend to me, now.

So the first few days were relatively short (at least compared to the PCT thru-hikers, who have 4-5 months of backpacking under their belts at this point). I put in a couple 18 mile days, and a long, hard 23 mile day (that hurt), before getting used to things and settling nicely into a 20-25 mile per day habit.

The only reason I got off trail when I did was that things got very cold and rainy Labor Day Weekend, and I was camping at altitudes over 5,000 feet. I had rain gear, and some cold weather base layers, but I really wasn’t geared up for the extent of the temperature drop. I figured it was time to head coastward. So near Mt. Rainier, I moseyed my way to a road crossing and hitched my way into Seattle.

Enough talking. Here are some pictures for you…

View from Bunker Hill.

View from Bunker Hill.

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Trading Bicycle for Backpack

by on Aug.28, 2009, under Miscellany

Thank you all for the wonderful congratulatory comments on my last post. As much as I want to leave that picture up on the top page for a while, I figured I’d drop you all another post to tell you what I’ve been up to since and what I’m up to next.

I’ve been crashing with some friends of mine in Portland for about a week. For those of you who have never been, Portland is a very nice city, and I’ve only just scratched the surface with my brief time here. And yet, being back in civilization is strange. Fortunately, it’s not going to last. Tomorrow, I’m back out on the grand adventure bit. Only I’m not taking the bicycle…

The lovely red Trek FX that has served me well for 3,000 miles is taking a well-deserved break. Instead, I’ve picked myself up a backpack — a Gregory Baltoro 70 to be precise. I’ve loaded it up, and tomorrow I’m off into the woods! I’m headed over to Cascade Locks, OR for PCT Day. From there I’m walking north on the Pacific Crest Trail for a while, probably up to US 2. I know I’m encroaching on Russ Beebe‘s territory now, but I’ll try not to steal his thunder. In fact, I probably won’t be online much over the next few weeks to post updates and such, but I’ll tell you all about it… uh… you know… whenever I get back to civilization.

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Pictures of the Columbia River

by on Aug.17, 2009, under Miscellany

Hey sports fans, this is getting exciting, no? I’m almost to the coast…

Hat Rock State Park

Hat Rock State Park

Maryhill's Stonehenge

Maryhill's Stonehenge

Mt Hood

Mt Hood

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A Note About Creative Commons

by on May.07, 2009, under Miscellany

I know most of you are pretty web savvy, and you already know all about Creative Commons and the work they do. Feel free to skip this post. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this group, however, I wanted to take a step back and explain a few things. In the spirit of what the organization’s about, I’ll quote directly from their own About page:

Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright.

We provide free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof.

The nuts and bolts of this is that, while I hold a copyright on all of the original content (text and photos) of this blog, I’m putting it out there under less stringent conditions than copyright law allows.

Thanks to the same license, we have that lovely picture at the very top of the page. I did not take that picture. Instead, I found it on flickr and noticed that the photographer, ixab, had released that image under a creative commons license, allowing me to use (and modify) the image.

88x31So, for the record, all of the text content and all of the pictures on this website are released under a Creative Commons license (unless otherwise noted — by the way, that lovely Creative Commons license logo you see over to the left has been released by the organization under a CC license). More specifically, it is released under what’s called a BY-NC-SA-3.0 creative commons license. If you click on through, you can see the full deal of that license.

The basics are that you can share and modify the content on this website provided you attribute it to this website, you do not use any of the work for a commercial purpose, and you share any adaptations under the same Creative Commons license.

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