News‎ > ‎

October Country

posted Oct 31, 2014, 10:39 PM by Tony Burgess   [ updated Oct 31, 2014, 10:44 PM ]
Fall in the Sierra is dirt biking weather.  It's also the best time of year for many reasons but the freedom, climate, color, harvest, and time off work all combine to create a new world.   Unfortunately it lasts only 31 days.  Below are some recollections, enjoy!

October 1st, 2014
Waking up on the first day of October I didn't know what the day had in store.  But as it progressed, you'll see an incredible string of luck.  First off, apples were ready on the trees and so I grabbed one before heading to Mammoth.  It was good, but not enough so over to Von's for one of their horrific breakfast burritos ($2.50).  These burritos are pretty bad, but, with a little coaxing the chef will add in the extras like heavy onions, chipotle mayo, and a greasy olive spread that binds all the ingredients together.  On this morning everyone who bought a burrito got a free lunch sandwich coupon too.  "It's just spitting them out to everyone", remarked the cashier.
Later, half price growler fills were on tap over at Mammoth Brewing -- first Wednesday of every month.  After a couple fills (Mammoth IPA and a seasonal Hefe) and grateful for that too I headed over to Chevron where they give you 10 cents cash back per gallon on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  10 cents isn't a big deal, but add on 20 cents from Von's card and another 20 cents from my special Pentagon gas card am I'm getting close to Bishop prices in Mammoth.  Speaking of which, if you know of a mountain town in our country with better deals, schools, hospitals, access, and opportunity I'd like to hear about it.  Not bragging, just grateful.
As the day wound down I found myself as a guest grillmaster at a wine tasting party back at Crowley Lake.  You never know who you'll meet and I talked it up with Dave the Kiwi, an old time friend of Mammoth's Bear Whisperer, and boy, did he have some stories.

Dirt work on Rock Creek road (and other rides)
About every 20-30 years the paved Rock Creek road outlives it's usefulness and needs to get torn up and replaced.  While that's going on the road in the canyon is dirt, so bring out the dirt bikes.  The road construction crews enjoyed seeing us and wanted us to perform minor feats like roosting the water tender, hitting small gravel piles, and winding it out.  We obliged.  We also rode Sand Canyon, Whiskey Canyon, and all the fun connectors in between and headed down to Baja Crowley too for some beach racing.  Perhaps the best ride was from Hilton Creek to the top of the San Joaquin Ridge, a few miles past the Minaret Vista.  We utilized some hidden single track routes along the way, noticed some getting blown out, but most were hidden - which is fine with us.  Speaking of single track, the USFS has plans to re-open a famous stretch of it that we lost a couple years back.  It's great really, but I always wonder about why pay the "Friends" to close the single track and now pay again to rehab and re-open.  For those who would like to comment, please do.  The Geothermal Single Track is actually quite fun and a huge asset to motorized two wheelers.

"Look at those two Big Fucking Stoners"

Imagine being on vacation with your wife and overhearing this right before digging into a giant $5.99 ham-steak at Katie's Café, inside the Carson Valley Inn.  It was spoken by an angry dad to his teen son as they were waiting to be seated across from us. 
I get that I'm big, but my wife isn't - she's actually just perfect.
I'm also not a stoner and have never smoked weed.  I did though, vote to legalize it and watched that initiative go up in smoke.  So what to do?  Basically, I understand that our brains are hardwired to come to wrong conclusions.  If you don't believe me, just look at the below image.

Our brains can trick us, squares A & B are the same shade.  So basically, when you are dead set on something and you know it true beyond proof, keep an open mind because you may be dead wrong with summary judgment.  I'm guilty too and realize seeing sometimes isn't believing.  But I'm chill and enjoyed my ham steak versus sticking my steak knife in his ass.  And for the rest of you, cut down on the usage.  I'll get there soon enough.

The "Moe" the Merrier! (future rides and SRR)

In October we held one MC club meeting at Shogun's happy hour and there was some talk about a new club president for 2015 and an extended multi-day ride planned right in the midst of the Ventura MC ride and Dick Allen's Sierra Safari.  It will be 4-7 days, ride, roost, eat, sleep, and repeat -- all staged out of a historic back-woods locale, for club members or by invite.  The more the merrier!  And along those lines...
SRR - the Sierra Responsible Riders, a new agency friendly motorcycle club is forming in Mammoth Lakes to work with the USFS to get more single track open and maintained.  Their first meeting is November 4, (7:30 p.m.) over at the new bowling alley and free pizza to boot!  Please give them your support, we certainly do.  MMC is an outlaw club -- and although we are well written, we don't mesh with current land management.  SRR flyer below.

Long Valley bears fear dogs, over-loaded apple trees bear witness
Our apple trees are heavily laden in October.  Previous years bear were a problem, but not this current one.  They stay away because of "big mouth".  Which is good because last year a bear broke my foot, indirectly.  Four bears would circle our house early in the mornings, and chasing them away I slipped on a stair and broke a toe.  Bears will strip small fruit trees in a matter of minutes and then crap and piss all over your drive.  Nothing gets rid of them like a big angry dog.  Unfortunately, a big angry dog doesn't go far with neighborly charm, "Jesus Christ!", exclaimed one elderly lady as she walked by.

Yosemite Valley (and proposed MC fee entry increase out of line)
Speaking of access, one fall day we dropped the kids off at school (8 a.m.) and two hours later we were at the Curry Village breakfast buffet only to have missed it by one day.  Oh well, the Yosemite Valley is quite visual in the fall, better with a light snowfall to get the waterfalls going, but fall colors are what we went for, followed by the 88 cent tall cans of Old English 800 that they sell at the market. 

On the way home, between Tuolumne Meadows and the Tioga entrance we came across a young family pedaling up the 120.  They were stopped in the middle of the highway, perhaps trying to catch their breath.  Just seemed like a dangerous place to have your kids (in the middle of the road) but what do I know.  You can read about them in the Mammoth Times that came out October 29, 2014.  Have fun in Death Valley!

Fall colors
This year we had uninterrupted fall color from October 1st - 31st.  Halloween usually brings a 50-50 chance of snow.   Motorcycle parts turned yard art amidst the dogwood and aspen.

Mines of Moria hike
October is hiking weather too.  We made plans to visit the Mines of Moria (or Khazad-dum) high up in the Misty Mountains to liberate some gold.  The High Council of Elven Lords, namely Elrond-burger, officially denied us access with our motorized chariots so we packed a lot of Mono Market Lembas and hit the route.  What a spectacle!  At the entrance to Moria previous battles lay evident with rocks blasted and bleached bones.  To make a long story short, we extracted high grade gold ore and made it back to reality in time to pick the kids up from soccer practice, but not without extreme physical hardship.

Gates to Moria stand tall after eons.
"Big Mouth" watches for tentacles.

Ultimate Homestyle Potatoes (UHP)
Fall weather is cooler and that makes for better eating prior to a days adventure.  These potatoes will carry you 15 miles by foot or 150 miles on iron horseback.
Olive oil, salt, pepper, granulated garlic, crushed red pepper
2 Crowley store potatoes ($2 ouch!)
1 Onion
2 Slices organic uncured bacon
3 Serrano peppers, ring sliced
6 Enormous Kale leaves, or other sturdy green
2 Tree picked apples
6 chopped garlic cloves
Chop it and cook it all up in ample amounts of olive oil to desired crispiness.  Season heavily.  Enjoy.  Get moving. 

As October winds down so comes the preparations for re-entry into the workforce.  It's something that weighs heavy on my soul and as a result bizarre dreams occur.
In my dream I was involved in a wreck driving one of the Public Works white pick-ups and got killed.  Which is odd because I rarely drive PW vehicles.  Either way I was dead, and summoned to appear in spirit form at my brutal deposition between former Town manager Tracy and current Parks super Dennis.
Tracy was ruthless and grilling both me and Dennis for failed safeguards, sloppy risk management practices, etc, etc.  I mean it's bad enough being dead, I couldn't even defend myself.  But, my voice came and Tracy screamed over it, "you don't even know me!!". 
Oh yeah?  I thought.
How about all those scream-fest blow ups with you and Mike Comstains? (not his real name)  I used to sit in the office right next to you both and went through a couple full-blown tantrums.  Yes, I get that this happened 20 plus years ago in the Town Offices but dreams sometimes don't make any sense.
Rudely awoken, I made preparations for work.