An encounter with posturing dudes in the desert, stunning music skills, tangible journalism, and Ansel Adams deals wisdom.
What's up, Traipsteristos! Thanks for stopping by.
I'm back in the swing of things at home. Strange how I love the tiny van space and also instantly adapt to the ridiculous luxury of our house. I must say that indoor showers beat post-ride freezefests showering off the back of the van!
We'll miss our usual Friendsgiving this year, but hey, all this positive news about vaccines makes me think 2021 is showing promise. Yessss.
This Week's Newsletter:
Anew blog post about life lessons served piping hot on the trails, a mind-blowing musician, quality adventure journalism, and thoughts from an iconic photographer.
Exploring the desert mesas of Southern Utah.
Posturing Ain't Pretty (And Other Desert Lessons)
The area around Hurricane, Utah is a tumultuous riot of steep, rolling rock, an outdoor playground. The expansive views and fine winter weather create a dream destination for desert lovers, including mountain bikers sick of snowy home trails.
In January 2020 P.C. (pre-COVID), I'd journeyed to the desert with my friends Paul and Eric in search of sunshine and temps over 35 degrees. I'd quickly figured out how to pronounce Hurricane - Hurr-UH-CUN - and so far the only trip negative was Paul’s penchant for hiding in surprising places and scaring the bejeebus out of me, an immaturity battle I quickly escalated. (Eric wisely steered clear of our asinine antics.)
However, I generally prefer my heart-palpitating moments on a mountain bike. (Earmuffs, mom.) To that end, we beat my bike rack to death on the rutted dirt road to Gooseberry Mesa, a fabulous piece of terrain overlooking the surrounding valleys. Astride our bikes, we pedaled the undulating terrain, a natural skatepark for bikes.
At the bottom of a particularly steep rock, three guys were “sessioning” or repeating (and failing) the same move. As I rode up, a break in the action presented itself, so I gave it some gas and clawed up it.
I stopped at the top and one of the trio yelled, “Hey, have you ridden this before?”
“Nope. I’m from Oregon.”
“What kind of tires you got?”
Commence excuses. Justifications. Posturing. Typical tough guy BS reinforced starting in childhood. Anything to help these three guys feel ok that I, a root and dirt rider from the PNW, might waltz onto their terrain and ride something they couldn’t.
Read the reston the blog for what I learned from these posturing punks, plus plenty of photos! (No more P's, promise.)
Gooseberry Mesa: A skatepark for bikes!
Music That Makes Me Happy
I bet some classical music purists watch Peter Bence play piano and can’t stop yelling at YouTube. “You can't play it like a guitar or drum! LOOPING PEDALS? Sacré bleu!”
Whatever - he’s a classically trained pianist shaking things up! Learned the rules, broke 'em. Loud applause for his talent and audacity to explode the box.
All I know is I’m obsessed with the exuberant brilliance of Bence’s work and performing style, from the YouTube covers ofMichael Jackson andQueento his version ofDespacito (50mm views!) to his original work. I literally can’t stop grinning when I’m watching him perform. It makes me happy
If you prefer listening, he’s on all the platforms withThe Awesome Piano. I'm cranking it as I write this newsletter.
Up the Adventure...From Your Couch
Anyone else sick of reading on a screen? Is it ironic to ask that in an email newsletter?
If you're looking for a tangible, well-done piece of work, check out theAdventure Journal. A hot cup of tea and one of the quarterly issues makes me think, smile, and dream about future trips. As a bonus, they're committed to being a carbon neutral company, which is rare in the publishing world.
This is fantastic journalism and writing: pieces about the climate, whimsical ones about building a treehouse, or how one person's van life is another's actual homelessness. I bet there's an adventurer in your life who would love agift subscription for Christmas...
"Far too many people think lightly of idealistic attitudes and do not understand that this idealism is not involuted, but directed outward for the benefit of the world and the people living upon it. I believe the ultimate objective of life lies in creative and productive work; devotion to business and money, as ends in themselves, are but phases of a developing civilization."
I love his use of "developing civilization." Even Scandinavia battled mightily to provide health care and basic social support for its people. Nothing happens overnight and setbacks occur, but progress is happening.
That's it for this edition. May you dream of the desert while rocking out toPeter Bence's piano jams! (<--so good I linked to it again)