Friday, June 30, 2006


You know -- I saw Eric Clapton 4 times in my life. For me, getting on a plane is never as much fun as Eric Clapton. Tonight I sat around with the pilot Al from Peru, and he talked repeatedly about the damage and scariness of the idea of landing during a monsoon storm. There are thunderstorms and such (rain) at the other end, wild dust storms and thunder here (without rain).

I was thinking about Ruby today and his recent post about black men who don't ride bikes. In the story Dopamine, Johnson, played by Rueben Grundy, a black man, rides a bike beside Rand, played by John Livingston. And here is the conversation (a marathon what -- anyone might ask?):

Johnson: [both ride bikes with a marathon] Hey, Sarah was looking for you last night.
Rand: She was?
Johnson: What's up with you two?
Rand: I'm not sure. It doesn't make any sense.
Johnson: What do you mean? Why do we have to make sense of everything?
Johnson: Yeah it's nice to know when some low pressure system pushes moisture laden air over a heated land mass and that we need a ... umbrella to get to work.
Johnson: Hey man, rain used to be with the gods of thunder cried.

Rain used to be when the gods of thunder cried. Again. Rain used to be when the gods of thunder cried.

What scares me is not the flying it's the landing. I don't get nervous in the plane -- I get nervous when the plane gets near the ground. This is all very logical. I help build aircraft, for God's our sake. And it scares me to fly land.

Why. Because rain is the gods of thunder crying. and there's no accounting for that. "Why, that was an act of God" the gods ... and so on.

So tomorrow I go down the road on a journey:

"I went down to the crossroads
Fell down on my knees
Down to the crossroads
Fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above for mercy
Take me if you please"

Al bought his fellow pilot a beer and reached out to shake my hand. "Goodnight my Friend."
And the new Jane said, "I don't know what I am going to do with you being gone for a week."

All of this promises to be fun.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Cameras 2, Bikes 0. Or, Find the Coyote.

Days 10, upstate NY and the coast of Maine, Sandwich Notch NH, coastal NH. The house sitter has arrived, the house is locked and everything is loaded ... It's trip day. This is a film free trip -- I think it might be my first in a while. Has anyone seen the bug repellant?

I'll see you on the other side.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Home: Coyote

Home: Coyote. Mixed Media, 84" x 30" X 30." Detail. Shawn Kielty, © 1995.

Date: 17 June 2006
Miles Riding: 17.94
Weather: 109 °F. Monsoon, dust, leaves, and tree trunks, rain.
Ipod: Fleetwood Mac, Dust.
Bike: Commuter.
June Bike Mileage: 159.97 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 24, 2006


This picture doesn't show that this bug is about as big as my thumb.

I won on Annie's blog -- Annie has one only cavity! Lucky for her.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Bird Brain Productions

Bird Brain Productions has a few good shots of the Brins fire currently burning in the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness in the Coconino National Forest near Sedona, AZ, and near his (my friend Ed's) house. These following three images are copyrighted 2006 Bird Brain Productions, All rights reserved. If you want to hear what he says about the images be sure to check out his site.

What's at risk? Oak Creek and The West Fork of Oak Creek, both spectacular in the fall.

Desert Rat Award

The Ever Happy Hiking Buddy at the cave at the top of the saddle -- 500 ft above the deck. There were bees up there so we didn't stick around. ... despite the 105 + temps -- I think I remember him saying, "It's not that hot today." Desert Rat Award.

On the Ipod today: Fleetwood Mac, Hypnotized.

"They say there's a place down in Mexico
where a man can fly over mountains and hills.
And he don't need an airplane
or some kind of engine and he never will.
Now you know it's a meaningless question to ask,
if those stories are right.
Cause what matters most is the feeling you get
when you're hypnotized."

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Esperanza -- Waiting and Hoping. I am waiting and hoping. Here at the three palms oasis. My daughter wants me to meet her boyfriend. I met a father. I dreamed of being in a phone booth in Marseilles. Telling where the keys to the house were. What a strange dream. The heat has won. A glass broke while I was talking. There are no cats left to feed. I am waiting ... The air conditioner has stopped. I hired an au pair for myself (just kidding); A housekeeper.

Today's hike was good -- 4 miles or so from the end of Meridian up to the notch and back in the Tonto National Forest. It was cooler than it has been -- probably around 105.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


San Francisco Bay. Digital Photograph. © 2006 Shawn Kielty. All rights reserved.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Old Bag's post about the the OBJoes. So I am going to start calling women on my blog Janes.

This past week is interesting. I went to San Francisco -- saw old friends. When I was young the bay was never healthy like this. It was sick and dirty. I went for this hike with my friend John ... Later I turned down a fair offer to stay there. Why? You might ask. Several key personal issues, among them, the new Jane, who is becoming a friend (for those of you that remember the old Jane ... the new Jane is not the old Jane, she's the new Jane). In all fairness, the truth is that I don't feel prepared to leave Arizona -- I am just not done here -- and I felt incredibly rushed and annoyed by the implications of urgency and ... other things ... to be found in that offer. I dread the bad commutes and expensive houses. And the long hours. And frankly there's the new Jane.

I am now earnestly trying to teach the hoppy bird to say "Hi Jane" for the second time. Just in case the new Jane wants to come over. The Hoppy bird asked me today if I had changed his name to a girls name without asking him, because I keep calling him Jane. "Hi Jane."

He wants to know what happened to the cat. He says "Hi girls" (in the old Jane's voice -- I might add), but there are no girls left. Pearl the Cat ran off into the desert during last week's monsoon with a crazy look in her eye, the same way her nutty sister did, and hasn't been heard from since. I think it must be a spell cast by a coyote. So now I am catless. The rodent population is on the rise, as are the rabbits, quail, doves and rattle bull snakes, not to mention scorpions. Maybe I should start encouraging the bobcat to hang around and play. Since there are no cats left to harass the birds -- I have started filling the feeders again (this should perk the birdchick's interest -- maybe I should get a bird cam). I had to stop feeding the birds previously because Pearl the Cat turned it somewhat abstractly into a cat feeding. Now -- it's becoming an oasis here -- especially with the irrigation for the three palms going. "Here at Three Palms Oasis, East of Pheonix ..."

You might notice that I have grown more aware and comfortable here in the Valley of the Sun, in just two years it has grown to feel like home. I have managed to make a few friends here, and like the fact that it's hot enough to fry an egg on the sidwalk every day. I don't know what life would be like without my ever happy hiking buddy to work out with once or more a week. I am glad that our acquaintance grows into a friendship. The friendships have been slow to develop. But there they are. I am growing these roots -- and suddenly I am feeling like I have two homes. I have grown to know the birds, plants and wildlife. I sweat freely and frequently. I know the desert just as well as I know the freeway map of the San Francisco Bay Area.

I rode in to town to spend dinner with the new Jane. My odometer vanished. The best guess is it's like riding to work, so ten each way. Half in daylight, half in the dark. She offered to take me home -- what was I thinking, when I said I need to ride.

Jane? I can hardly wait for you to come over.

Date: 17 June 2006
Miles Riding: 20.00
Weather: 108 °F. SunStars.
Ipod: Fleetwood Mac, The Way that I feel.
Bike: Commuter.
June Bike Mileage: 142.03

Cleanup Day

I am cleaning house today and listening to the Cowboy Junkies.

Sweet Jane
Lou Reed

Anyone who's ever had a heart
Wouldn't turn around and break it
and anyone who's ever played a part
Wouldn't turn around and hate it
Sweet Jane, sweet Jane
Sweet, sweet Jane

You're waiting for Jimmy down in the alley
Waiting there for him to come back home
Waiting down on the corner
and thinking of ways to get back home
Sweet Jane, sweet Jane
Sweet, sweet Jane

Anyone who's ever had a dream
Anyone who's ever played a part
Anyone who's ever been lonely
and anyone who's ever split apart
Sweet Jane, sweet Jane
Sweet, sweet Jane

Heavenly wine and roses
seem to whisper to me when you smile
Heavenly wine and roses
seem to whisper to me when you smile

La la la la, la la la, etc...

Sweet Jane
Sweet, sweet Jane

Ok -- that was fun -- I rode over to the market for lunch.

Date: 17 June 2006
Miles Riding: 4.01
Weather: 108thousandmillion°F. Sun.
Ipod: Fleetwood Mac, Black Magic Woman.
Bike: Commuter.
June Bike Mileage: 122.03

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Misguided Angel.

Falcon Field and the Mesa Water Tower. Digital Photograph. Copyright 2006 Shawn Kielty. All rights reserved.

Today was a workout day. I finally broke through the one mile barrier that has been stopping me while running. Kelly the trackstar beer and steak tender suggested covering the display on the treadmill with a towel so I couldn't read it. This helped, and I backed off my mile pace to about 4.7 miles an hour or about a 12:30 mile speed. Somewhere near this is probably my 5k pace.

Date: 17 June 2006
Miles Riding: 22.10
Weather: 102°F. Sun
Ipod: Sheryl Crow, Soak up the Sun.
Bike: Commuter.
Treadmill: 2.65
Weather: 68°F
Ipod: Cowboy Junkies, Misguided Angel.
June Bike Mileage: 118.02

I have a story to tell involving chocolate syrup.

Don't Know What to Say About This.

There have been a lot of casualties this spring. Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 16, 2006

Oh La La

The bird chick asks "have you seen the scotch egg, ostrich style?" I had to admit -- I hadn't. I spent a bucket of money loading up my ipod. Including the Rolling Stones. Christine McVie, Nina Simone. The Indigo Girls. Beethoven's Ninth. It's getting interesting.

Today I got some new road tires in the mail. I was quite impressed with the tires on the Roadie. Vittoria something or other; with Kevlar™ flak jacket. So -- I bought some for the commuter. After I put them on I went for a ride. It was a lot faster.

Date: 16 June 2006
Miles: 10.2
Weather: 102°F. Sun.
Bike: Commuter.
Ipod: Nina Simone, Wild as the Wind.
June Mileage: 95.92

Photo Set

© 2005-6 Shawn Kielty. All rights reserved.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Deviled Ostrich Egg.

A picture ... alas ... no. Maybe next time. So I am in California for a weekend with out a bicycle. I did manage to get out for a run this morning. One mile -- nine minutes -- 4 mosquito bites. Drat -- I remember now why I like Arizona. Walked one mile back to the car. It's something like 50 degrees here and it's chilly. San Francisco is in it's summer glory.

Spent today with some old friends and families ... Saw an ostrich egg get boiled -- which seems to take two hours. "What does it taste like?" I ask. "It tastes just like chicken." Go figure. How can rattlesnake, lizard, swordfish and ostrich eggs all taste just like chicken? I think they're all trying to trick me eating something I won't be happy about.

I am glad I don't like chicken.

I want to point everyone over to Annie's post wishing Rob Lucas the best. Rob's racing in the race across America. Go Rob.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Harris Hawk Nest

Went out for a bit of a hike today to find this Harris Hawk nest.

And test out these new trail runners, notice the cholla pad stuck to the shoe.

Temperature: 104
Miles hiked: 4

I saw an haboob. No kidding. suddenly the sky was full of a cloud of dust.

And then we had one of these. An exciting day.

© 2006 Shawn Kielty. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 4, 2006

New Bars

Date: 4 June 2006

Miles: 16.2
Weather: 102°F. Sun.
Bike: Roadie.

Miles 5.2
Weather: 112°F. Sun.
Bike: Commuter.

Ipod: Bonnie Raitt, The Road's My Middle Name
June Mileage: 85.72

16 miles of this went down this morning at just 102 degrees or so. With the other 5 miles at the heat of the day -- test riding the commuter after the new handlebar went on. The new bar is an Easton EA70 Monkeybar 27in 685mm Lo in Black anodize. Plus end bars. Check it out.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

What I did on my Summer Vacation

Date: 3 June 2006
Miles: 21.16
June Mileage: 64.68
Weather: 112°F. Sun.
Bike: Roadie.
Treadmill miles: 2

There just isn't much to say about this. This is me taking a break at about mile 12. It's nice in the desert when you have water. If you have a lot make sure to waste it on landscaping so we can all know how important you are.

I carried about 2 liters in a CamelBak™. I can never manage to explain how much I hate these. And two regular bottles, to make sure that I wouldn't have to die. At about mile 8 I stopped at Bellagio's to get filled with ice water. I highly recommend this and it's not cheating. Although I can never embrace a CamelBak™ in the way I should, I have a few suggestions. If you are going to depend on one ( I mean -- the "as if my life depended on it" depending on it), then you should carry two bladders. Since they are crap and have a tendency to leak at the valve for no reason that I can imagine, and encourage you to bite the valve harder ( again by not working correctly) as though you are trying to break it (you will one day and the precious contents will pour out onto the ground) , you will inevetably be delighted that you have thought far enough ahead, to not be risking your life now that your camelbak™ valve has failed and all the water has leaked out. Maybe you will get some cooling benefit from being soaking wet -- if you are really lucky.

When you are planning a ride at 112 degrees it is acceptable to fill your CamelBak with ice before filling it with water. No one will call you a wimp. They will thank you if you share it with them. When you are riding, feel free to squirt your thighs and the backs of your gloves with the hot liquid that sits in the hose, and then drink freely from the cold liquid. It will only hurt a bit.

The last mile was a bit rough ... but that was okay -- because the Izze™ pomegranite juice drink at the end on the ice was still so delightful. As was the cool shower. As was the entire shish kabob dinner at Bellagios.

I am not even going to talk about the Suns right now. "And Dallas has the first lead since the 2 point lead they has at the start of the game." It looks bad.

Update:: They lost.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Riding through Fire.

Date: 2 June 2006
Miles: 12.58
June Mileage: 43.52
Weather: 110°F. cloudy, monsoony, occasionally humid, blowing dust.
Bike: Roadie.

Things change when it gets hot like this. Cold water hurts to drink. It's hard to ride a bike. Getting in the car is a special treat. Contrary to popular belief, leaving a CD in your car will not cause it to melt. I know this. Some people put on oven mitts when they get in the car. In this climate you learn how to drive a car without touching it.

Temps inside the car can exceed ground temperatures and are deadly hot -- maybe 160-170 degrees (Don't nap in your car). When it's really dry, getting out of the car and closing the door are guarenteed to shock you. You adapt, only closing the car with a clothed portion of your body to avoid the inevitable shock. Getting in to the car at the hot times of the day is dangerous. touching any hard or black surface can result in burns. the steering wheel, the stick shift, the seat belt. So you learn to drive without really touching the car.

It was 110°F. today, and whew! Everything moves slower at that temperature -- except the drip from the chapstick. Sunscreen left in the car will burn you if you try to use it. Recycling trucks catch on fire (I saw this).

It was a good ride. When it's this hot the wilderness starts just below your skin. Any mistake can result in pain or death. Skin burns in the sun after about 10 minutes. Cooling stops if evaporation stops -- so sweating and water (and food) are all imperative. Falling down just out of sight, getting lost, or even a wrong turn can imperil even the most prepared. I wore the standard desert wear I always choose. White Nordstrom™ Classic Oxford shirt, cotton T-shirt, wool socks and real shoes (no sandals), shorts and in this case a helmet. I packed a rain coat (for the thunderstorm) a bandana (for the dust storm), and two liters of water.

And it was a good hard ride and reminded me of spending about 20 minutes in the sauna ... I feel better now. It's supposed to be hotter tomorrow.

Creepy Eagle Ear Canal Grossness

Be forewarned. The birdchick has out done herself.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

I can smell the heat reflected from the road.

My hot bike is the one in the middle. © 2006 Shawn Kielty. All rights reserved.

Jill said ... yesterday:
And people think I was crazy for biking in the winter! When I was living in Utah, I never understood the "But it's a dry heat" justification. Heat is heat, and like you said, low humidity will suck you dry. I've been hiking in Arkansas when it was 90 degrees and 90% humidity, and it wasn't as bad as biking on black top when it was 107 and 10% humidity in Salt Lake.

Your oven is a dry heat too, but you probably don't want to live in it.

They so much do that. Justify the acceptable characteristics of a 115 degree summer by claiming it's a dry heat, especially if they live somewhere else. Often when they are talking about Arizona though, it isn't even a dry heat -- It's a monsoon. Which, in the vernacular of Arizona -- I like to refer to as a dry rain. Once the temps are solidly above 100, when you exercise, you are anything but dry (if you are dry, and exercising, and in heat over 100 degrees -- you need hospitalization). Although your body cools more effectively in 4% humidity than in 90% humidity, the true story is that a tuned and healthy body in good order cools itself extremely well, even when the temps and the humidity are high. Yes it's hot, and I think the bike is cooler than running or hiking, because of the movement. I prefer to be outside because that is where the rest of the life is, despite the pools and spinners and treadmills, and ellipticals, all carefully before the tv's of the windowless gym -- the endless options to the heat.

Ruby said this, "I was in Phoenix once. It was so hot that I could smell the heat reflecting from the sidewalk. It was in the middle of October. I can't imagine, what the summer is like. "

I said this in reply:

"I can smell the heat reflected from the sidewalk. Has anyone heard of infra-red blocking skin cream? No? Go figure. Ground temps can be signifigant.

'If the advertised air temperature for a local area is say, 110 degrees F; you can expect the ground by mid-afternoon to be maybe 150 degrees F and the air temperature at your knees to be about 140 degrees F and at your head level to be about 130 degrees F.These extreme temperatures are a far cry from the reasonably hot temperature of 110 degrees F that you heard predicted on the weather channel that morning. Your body's heat gain by conduction: The above example of 150 degrees F for ground temperature is actually conservative; in fact ground temperatures can easily reach 175. ... Hot air concerns: With air temperatures over 130 degrees F, the air that you breath becomes dangerous.' Source.

One thing he suggests is to cover your body when it's hot, which is the one thing most people don't do. Ever try riding your bike in a Sauna?"

Today is a day for that. The smell of the of the sauna today was part fresh oil and exhaust, and the obvious smell of the heat scorching the nose hairs. Other times it was just huge with the heat radiating off of the road surface . It was hot today. But not as hot as tomorrow. The morning commute was easy as the temp was a mere 85. Just 85.

Date: 1 June 2006
Miles: 21.21
Average Speed: 13.0
June Mileage: 30.94
Weather: 108 °F. Sun
Bike: Roadie.

Miles today 30.94, on the hottest day so far this year. It feels good, but it is tiring. My tires felt soft today.

New Blacktop

Collared Lizard, Digital Photograph. © 2005 Shawn Kielty. All rights reserved.

Date: 1 June 2006
Miles: 9.73
Average Speed: 17.6
June Mileage: 9.73
Weather: 82.3 °F. Sun
Bike: Roadie.

There is new Blacktop all along my ride. It generates a huge amount of heat. This afternoon's fitness ride with the usually happy hiking guy promises to be hot. I might need some Lizard Skin™ to spray on my undercarraige, methinks.