June 27, 2006

Los Alamos Dirt - Fireline Trail - Acid Canyon Loop

Sometimes it's good to take the low road. East of Los Alamos, into Bayo,Canyon...there it is,
the Fireline Trail. It's new, it's swoopy, it's dusty, it's curvy and it's bad-ass. It's short though. When doing the the Bayo-Acid Canyon loop it's a good way to get off the fire road as you are heading east in Bayo. The sweetness about it - is that you get to check out all the dorky McMansions on the cliff side and just hope and and pray thet you are there when a little mass wasting brings those puppies crashing to the valley floor.

To get there - take the Bayo Canyon trail east from the Los Alamos round about and when you hit the bottom, you'll see it snaking east along the north facing slope of the canyon. It drops you onto the fire road which then takes you to the sewage treatment plant, where, just after that, you will hang a sharp right and head back west up Acid (pueblo) Canyon on a fire road- past the rock penises and up Walnut Canyon and back to town. It's a good 1.5-2 hour loop and you will probably not see anybody - which is always a good thing.

Fireline view...where's the dynamite?

The east end of Fire Line
Acid Canyon is trippy man

June 23, 2006

Velarde Dirt - The Velarde-Truchas Low Road to Taos

In Velarde NM there is a road right across the
highway from the elementary school. You on a bike? - Take it. It's the 4WD road to Tuchas and Ojo Sarco. Summertime? better get yer ass out early before the heat and the rattler's get ya. Wintertime? - yer lovin' it but you may be riding through a little snow towards the top. The road starts out smooth and, up until recently, you would pass through some typical New Mexico scenery, dicarded washing machines,
piles of tires, ATV scarred hillsides etc. Most have this has been cleaned up recently - but it WAS pretty messed up. The ATV jack asses are still there though.

About 1.5 miles from the highway the road drops into an arroyo and unless it's rained recently you'll need to tractor through in your easiest gear - the road goes though several of these all the way up, until you make it into the ponderosas. In the spring there can be LOTS of water. Most of the road is 4WD only and gets rougher and rougher the higher you get. At about 4 miles the road forks, left to Ojo Sarco, right to Truchas - this time I'm going right. Trout town. Climb, climb, climb until you get to a series of three cattle guards then the road mellows a bit and you will be in the pines - and much cooler temps. Another 30 minutes or so the road heads south and kicks up steep through a series of baby-head covered arroyos and then onto a gently sloping mesa for the last stretch into Truchas. I don't really like to ride all the way to town because there is a shit-load mad dogs that are trained to attack white skin. Basically I just turn around and head back the same way. Looooong downhill back to the highway. Round trip, it's about 34 miles. Not the most exciting ride - but it's the best one we have from the house....and you are almost guaranteed not to see another humanoid for at least three hours.....and it's always great to take a dip in the Rio on the way back.

June 14, 2006

At last - the Atlas

From the coast we headed back to Marrakech and then to Imlil, the base for climbing and treking in the Atlas. We ended up climbing nearby Jebel Tobkul, the higest peak in North Africa. It's a couple of days to do it but luckily there was a refuge for us to stay in since we did not bring a tent, only sleeping bags. The main climb was cold as hell - probably in the 20's with a 40 mph wind and all we had were wind breakers. It's how I imagine climbing in the Alps - lots of rude Frenchies all decked out in moutaineering gear and barely willing to glance at you and say "Bon Jour". Just another reason, I'm thinking, why I don't need to go to Europe.

Jen in Imlil grubbing on yet another Tajine (clay pot stew)


Some folks were smart and had their shit packed in


Jen at sunrise on Jebel Tobkul - hating life and hating me for haulin' her ass up here. She was the only one I saw that did the climb in tennis shoes!

Looks warm - but not

The summit - looks like some people had the extra energy to pack up a few cans of spray paint. Wish they had the energy to carry up a few beers and stash em for me at the top

Back to Marrakech

Chris was right - when we saw these signs in Morocco, we didn't know if we were suppose to "stop" or load up in a tobagan

Ta Gene or not tajine, that is the question. Tajine pots cooking away

June 13, 2006

As he told me: "take my fez, you'll thank me later"

From The Sahara we motored on over to Fes - One of the few places where we were not hasseled by shop owners and faux guides. It was still hot and we wandered through the the packed tiny "hallways" and huge labarynth of the souk (market). It was big and and the "streets" are so narrow you could barely get a donkey through. We had to squeeze out of the way when some guys were trying to get a body, strapped to a piece of plywood, out to the main gate. coming into town, we drove around for hours trying to figure out which way was up. Ended up staying in a place with AC, pool and a bar - not the usual digs but was a good choice since it was about 100 degrees and most hotels not only do not have AC, but they do not even have ceiling fans - usually makes for a miserable night.

Over to the roman ruins of Volubilis were strong roman gods used to rub down the bodies of young roman boys with olive oil and eucalyptus. The practice was ok then - but not now for some reason. Right next to Volubilis is the holy city of Moulay Adriss - if you're not Muslim - can't go into parts of it - luckily we had fake Muslim ID cards made before heading over there. If it wasn't for my Bart Simpson "Cowabunga" shirt I was wearing - we may have fooled them and gotten in. - Damn them Muzzies.

Next stop Essaouira on the coast. The ocean here has some serious issues - it's frikin' angry at the world - we wouldn't touch it. Cool town, but not a whole lot going on - didn't see anybody in the water, which was a sign to...um...not go in the water.

All pictures taken in pretty much the worst light possible. Click to enlarge.

Then to the Atlas Mountains...

This is "baaaaaad" ass........oh wait, you're taking us WHERE?

Moulay Idris - holy city craziness

Moulay Adriss as seen from Allah's house

Voulbilis floor mosaic - PETA is planning a protest

Volubilis - serious roman burliness

Volubilis - storkin' it here too

Essaouira - should wear a hat around here


Mas Essa

"meet me at the dock - I have the blue boat - can't miss it"

One good thing about being a former French colony - escargot on the street. SICK

Just based on the name - not a bike I would buy

The fuzzy part of Fez


The front door to Fes

"Quality" is always extra in Morocco


June 02, 2006

Road to Morocco - Giant Sand, Giant Heat

Over the High Atlas and into the Sahara. Hot as hell through Ouarzazate, Todra Gorge and Dades Gorge and eventually emerged from the frying pan and ended up in the fire – Merzouga. This is where the big Sahara dunes are – or at least the start of them. Merzouga is a nothing town right near the Algerian border. Unfortunately, only a few days after we left there was a big flood here and several people died. This time, less words, more pixels.

Ouarzazate market

super scribbling

Ouarzazate kasbah

gimmie my camera back

Storkin' it

Omlette de fromage and Berber whisky

More kasbah action

Dades gorge

Todra Gorge

What the....

"ya sure - show me another gawdamn carpet"


Berber crack - saffron

into the heat

Local Litespeed dealer

brown snow drifts

and yet another idiot

"lets keel doze Ameerikans over der"

Terrorist boot camp - day 12


an extremely poisionous salamander that lives in the sand

"geez lady - your breath reeks!"

More to come...