The Wine Cyclist

Tag: camping

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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Yellowstone and Back

by on Jul.31, 2009, under Cycling

IMG_0542I was able to spend three very lovely days in Yellowstone National Park. I ended up purchasing an Interagency Annual Pass figuring I’ll probably also be hitting up Glacier, Olympic and who knows what else over the next twelve months. Well worth the cost.

My friend in West Yellowstone dropped me off Monday afternoon and I spent a couple days backpacking around the Fairy Falls area and camping out in the Yellowstone back country. This way I could stay away from most of the tourists during the peak season (though even getting back country camping spots was a challenge). Wednesday morning, I made my way over to the Old Faithful area and hiked up to Mallard Lake and back. I of course, watched the ever famous geyser as well (honestly, ho hum).

Fairy Falls
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The hike up to Mallard Lake.
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IMG_0566Yesterday morning, I set out from West Yellowstone headed back up the Madison River Valley. I ended up putting in 110 miles yesterday and made it all the way to Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park. This morning, I took the caverns tour, and that was quite a bit of fun as well.

Alas, I haven’t the time to upload those, or the many other pictures I’ve taken this week. I should have some more time as I get into the Missoula area. I’m about to head over Lemhi Pass and cross the Continental Divide tomorrow. I’ll be sure to check in again sometime next week with more details.

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Land of 10,000 Lakes

by on Jul.03, 2009, under Cycling

Naa NaNaNaNaa NaNaNaNaa NaNaNa NaNaNa NaNaNaNaaa

Erm… sorry. That’s Land of 1,000 Dances.

IMG_0410I’ve made my way across the rest of Minnesota and I’m now updating this blog from Fargo, ND. This view here is looking across the St. Croix River in Stillwater, MN.

It’s been very windy in Minnesota. The first three days in setting out from Stillwater were especially windy. I need to get used to it. I know I’m basically heading into prevailing winds the whole trip, but it does get very tiring at times. The cross winds are especially brutal. Balance becomes a bit of a challenge when you’ve got a 20mph gust coming at your side.

The kindness that I’ve been encountering along the way has more than made up for it, though. By chance, I connected with a birthday party in Little Falls. There was music, food, volleyball, a nice big bonfire and all manner of good times. It was a great evening.

There’s been some solitude in my camping as well, and that can be tough at times. Camping alone is just not as much fun as camping with a group of people. Fortunately, I’m usually exhausted enough by the time that I crawl into my sleeping bag that I just pass right out and it doesn’t matter.

So I’m 630 miles into the trip. So, not quite a quarter of the way done. I need to run a few errands in Fargo today, though, so I’ll wrap this post up now, and just give you all some more pictures. Sadly, there’s no picture of a “Welcome to North Dakota” sign. I crossed the Red River on back country roads that they didn’t feel were important enough to sign. Ah well.

(continue reading…)

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Time For A Break

by on Jun.27, 2009, under Cycling, Philosophy

So I’m sure you’re all waiting for this blog update. Here you are. I’m still alive and well, but tired in Stillwater, MN. Over the past five days, I’ve logged nearly 300 miles of cycling. Whew…

IMG_0388I set out from Madison on Monday morning. Look at that beer gut there. We’re gonna do something about that, no doubt. I’ll take an after picture of me on the Oregon coast and we can look at the two side by side.

It’s been a long, hot week. I think the highs I’ve encountered every day this week have gotten close to 90, if not broken through (I think Tuesday was 95), and the humidity’s been pretty intense too. Rare cloud cover made for a lot of cycling down sun-parched roads. Fortunately, I have a nice stockpile of sunscreen to keep all that annoying solar cancer away. Even with all that, though, I’m developing a solid and well-defined cyclist’s tan (kinda like a farmer’s tan, but with some extra shapes produced by the cycling gloves).

IMG_0393It was a very warm night to be camping in White Mound County Park on Monday night. I noticed a lot of abandoned firewood at other empty campsites. Enough that I could’ve built a pretty sweet fire, but it was just too damn hot. I was sweating bullets for quite a while and didn’t even want to think about crawling into my sleeping bag until after the sun had set. Even then I had left it half-way open all night, but I awoke early, and knowing it would be a long, hot day, set out early as well to get as many miles in as I could before the heat really started pounding down.

Made a stop in the library in Richland Center to check in online briefly, and post some quick updates (by the way, I seem to be updating my twitter page more often than this site. So for more timely, if less detailed updates, surf on over there as well. Say what you will about twitter, and I can say many things, but it is, on occasion, handy). All the computers there were running linux, which I thought was pretty cool for a small town library. The morning was getting on, so I was off again, down a very hilly US Route 14 into Viroqua, WI. There are some surprisingly solid uphills on that route. A few climbs of 8% or greater grades had me thoroughly worn out. I think that I’m getting better at these intense climbs, slowly but surely.

IMG_0395At the top of some of these climbs, at least you might run into this very friendly sign. The sign you see here is probably a cyclist’s best friend. It means time to cruise like the wind. There are many other road signs that have special meaning to cyclists. Perhaps there’s a blog post in there somewhere.

There was a very lovely homestead just out from Viroqua whose owners let me crash for a night. A fun game of scrabble and some delicious fresh fruits and veggies was about all I could take in my exhausted state, but a good time was had no doubt. Back on US 14 the next morning and I was up over some more hills, heading through La Crosse and up to Trempealeau.

(continue reading…)

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