Truckin' around....

I grew up on a farm -- a farm with lots of race horses and some crops.  And on that farm, among other things, I learned to do two of my now-favorite things -- to ride a bike and to drive a truck.   (Thanks, Daddy!)

These days, it's growing more popular and "green" for people to ride their bikes everywhere.  I guess I can get kudos for riding mine around, even though usually it's for "fun", although I've been known to run a few errands on it (one errand was about about 60 miles/roundtrip, although, admittedly, it was more because I wanted to ride, not specifically to be more "green").  

On the other hand, however, it seems to be quite anti-"green" to drive a big ol' noisy jacked-up truck.  To those folks, I nod my head, say "roger, out", as I drive away as a happy girl in the big ol' truck -- the Excursionator with the faint Arizona "pinstriping".  Simply, I just plain out adore that truck!

Yes, it's huge and sorta like a modern day T-72, but it takes me just about anywhere I want to go.    Although pretty darn big, it's actually pretty low-key and quiet other than the sweet hum of its diesel engine.  Ol' Excursionator will get me as far off the beaten track as I need to go, and I can either hang there or dismount and keep going by foot, bike and/or dirtbike....any of which Excursionator will haul without even flinching.    (Donkey has actually been transported INSIDE of the truck...not really planned, but it worked.)   All over the southwest, the Rockies, several trips cross-country back east and to Fla, Alaska, around Canada, almost Mejico (see below), etc.)    Sorry, folks, a Prius just won't do it.  

Crossing some snow run-off in Colorado.

Rise and shine!
Other than having one too many pairs of running shoes, flipflops, sunglasses, Lululemon gear, I'm pretty minimalistic, so I like that the Excursionator plays several roles in addition to mere transportation.   

It provides a roof over my head when needed, as many many many nights have been spent slumbered in its hull.   It even serves as an observatory....laying on top, you can see the gorgeous night sky, stars, planets, etc., which can really only be seen so clearly from our high-altitude desert mountains of the west.   We've sat up top watching and listening for critters, and have watched elk, moose, deer, bobcat, antelope, bear (both grizzly and black), porcupine, javelina, rabbits, turkeys, skunks (esp all the slow/squashed ones up the canyon), raccoon, squirrel, sheep (being herded), and even had a bunch of curious cows LICKING the back of the truck up in northern Colorado a few years ago.  Last week, I sat up there, ate chips and salsa while watching surfers brave the cold Pacific swells.

So now, I just wanted to give a huge thanks and a shout-out to the Excursionator for being so darn good!   I just got back from another outstanding roadtrip.  2100 problems at all.  

   . . . Mojave National Preserve, the forest outside Ojai (wow!), Santa Cruz/Monterey for an XTERRA, southern Californina to chill, Anza Borrego to explore, almost ol' Mejico (didn't happen), then back to warmth at home in Northern AZ.    (Did I mention that the water temps for the Calif race was a friggin frigid 51 degrees??!!!    OMG!!!!    But I digress.)      

And even with the gas prices being pretty high right now, the prices for DIESEL in California were surprisingly not too bad.  Yay!  It actually gets/got pretty good mileage, provided me with a bed every few nights (when I wanted to escape concrete and/or wasn't in a beachfront hotel), emits satellite radio to me, and lets me get off the beaten path any ol' time an intriguing patch of dirt calls my name.    And it's sorta it's birthday/anniversary...hitting 100K miles this week!  Just getting started!

So, here are some pics from the most recent trip...

I love these long trains parallelling old Rt 66.

View looking down when I woke up after a long day of driving the day prior. Near Ojai.  (That's a road down there.)

Crap, y'all have those here too??  Errrr.

The Pacific was MUCH warmer here near Santa Barbara than up off Santa Cruz where I actually had to swim in it for a mile...FRIGID!!

XTERRA MTB course at Wilder. Fun trails...linking the beach with the forest.

XTERRA Pacific Cup Championship - Brrrrrr! (Photo by Brightroom)
Laguna Beach. Seven miles of good sand for running.

Still showing up for the MTB races, even though waaay outta shape. It's fun no matter what!
(Photo by Lester Sarmiento)
XTERRA Pacific. 
"Hey, you rude condescending surgeon in Flagstaff w/whom I sought help in 2009: Really?  I'll never run again? Ha ha ha!"   BIG GRIN!!! :-)
(Love the Newtons!)
Ooops, guess it's time to turn north and head on home.

So, yay, for everyone trying to be green.  I'm all for that!    When I can, I will opt to walk, to ride the bike or to ride Donkey (who, cooincidentally is BRIGHT green).  But it's good to know that the Excursionator is out there ready and reliable. 

And, THANKS DADDY...for those important lessons which have undoubtedly help direct my life.   (...and sorry that I didn't pay better attention to your tractor-driving lessons and wrecked those two in the sink-hole.)


Happy Mama's Day, Mama!! :-)


Thanks for everything you are and do for us, Mom! :-)


Trying to Stop and Smell the Cacti...

For the past three days, I've been conducting an experiment: Chilling (what is that?!)    Sleeping in (made it til 0845 this morning!), eating whatever & whenever I'm hungry (grilled cheese at midnight last night), propping up my feet in front of the TV (wow, TV options suck!), MTBing/running/etc for no more than an hour, and generally just trying to chill, rest and recover.    I actually went on two "mere" walks, although I must admit they were actually recons on some MTB local trails that I am told might be a bit too challenging for me.   (Btw, yep, they were right...challenging indeed...but were good hikes in my barefoot 5-fingers anyway.)   

So far, the experiment is going ok, although I'm having a bit of a hard time wrapping my MIND around it all.   want to keep moving at 500 mph.   The past few weeks were at at least 500 mph.   Coming back home to AZ is always full-speed the first few days, as I can't seem to fit enough outdoor fun in the day....MTBing, running, exploring, dirtbiking, etc..   Then, those first few days smeared into the next week, with good friends coming to visit, the  Whiskey 50 MTB race (a great race put on by Epic Rides) which is another story of its own :-), many more hours of MTBing and showing our friends the trails, trying to keep up w/the guys on the dirtbikes, etc..   Poor lil "Donkey" didn't stand a chance.   

From sun-up to sun-down. 
So much to do, so little time. 

I'll write up more later, but wanted send a short sign of life, as well as say THANKS again to our friends who came all the way to AZ to play.   Hope you had as great of a time as I did and can't wait til the 2012 edition!




Next up...  Heading west.  My first attempt at a full XTERRA  since the knee issues, on the same singletrack I first "learned" to ride.