Sunday, December 27, 2015

And a VERY MERRY Christmas to ME!

First things first. I was over in Pahrump (NV) for a few days before Xmas with my Dad and his wife Evie (stepmom), and we finally made it over to Hoover dam to check out the new (to me) Pat Tillman bridge. It's been open for at least a few years now and is TRULY amazing! It spans the river-gorge and eliminates the need for traffic to go down and over Hoover Dam and then back up the gorge on the other side. It's quite a remarkable bridge, and they even made a pedestrian-walkway clear across on the dam-view's only moderately scary as long as you stay away from looking down over the rail (the drop is 880' to the river below). Here are a few pics I took, (you can sort-of see the guard-rails it has on the very left of this first picture):

Looking back towards the Nevada side (the side I'm on taking this shot is actually in Arizona). You can see the bridge's cool shape by the shadow. 

Selfie of me looking back down at Hoover dam. You can see how FAR up we are by how far below the dam and the river are. There are no safety nets or high rails or anything on this bridge. After this pic I had to step away from the rail as I'm mildly afraid of heights (which is getting worse w/ age I've noticed). Hard to tell by this pic but past the dam in the lake you can see how LOW Lake Mead is by the white on the canyon walls. I took pictures of the water inlets (for the power turbines) and estimated by the exposed levels on the inlets that the lake is about 120' low. That's a LOT of water it doesn't have! 120' x the entire upper-surface area of Lake Mead...shows the desperation of the drought out west. Using my highly scientific and accurate water-measurement system, I'm guessing it's about a ga-zillion acre-feet low. Maybe 2.

And here's looking from the top of the dam at the bridge. What a magnificent construction feat that bridge is (not to even mention Hoover Dam its-self). It makes the view from the top of the dam even more dramatic. If you count the vertical concrete struts going down from the bottom of the bridge starting on the left side of the picture, right above the 4th one you can barely see an 18 wheeler heading towards the middle of the bridge. That really shows you the scale of this thing.

Here's a max-zoom shot that I then cropped even farther showing you another 18 wheeler right in the middle of the arch. On this one you can barely make out people to the right of the truck.

Anyway, had a great time in Nevada, though sadly I didn't win big (nor even small...I'm not much of a gambler, I only played Jeannie's $20 in a Wheel of Fortune machine, lost it all in 10 straight pulls...which is WHY I'm not a gambler).

And now for MY exciting news! A week ago Sunday (when I was getting ready to head over to Nevada) I finally checked my email, and lo and behold Ben (the owner of Newbury Park Bike Shop in Thousand Oaks) had messaged me back on Tuesday that they have one of their 2015 demo bikes for sale, and it's in my size (a large). Greg had told him months ago that I'm looking/saving for a new MTB, and he's been keeping me in the loop on any 'deals' that come along. I finally contacted the shop by phone while I was driving to Pahrump on Monday, and sure enough they still had it (that was a miracle). So I put down a deposit to hold it over the phone, and the rest is history. 

I drove down to Thousand Oaks yesterday (Dec 26th) to pick it up. Of course, the world conspired to TRY to keep me away...there was a forest fire just north of Ventura of all things, and the 101 freeway was closed in both I had to detour thru the mountains and hills northeast of Santa Maria, heading down thru Ojai....took me 3.5 hours to do a 2 hour drive (and there was snow and ice in the mountains on my detour!). But I made it...and HERE IT IS!!!

It's the 2015 Scalpel Team Carbon edition. It’s got a 1x11 SRAM XX1 drivetrain, Avid XX brakes (180 front, 160 rear), a Cdale Lefty carbon fork, Rock Shock Monarch shock, FSA carbon bars and carbon post, Enve carbon wheels…I’ve been scrimping and saving for 2 years now to get me a niner (was figuring I was going to get an Ibis Ripley XT sometime later this year when I finally saved that much $$, as it would run me just over $6000) and this just came onto my radar out of the blue. It’s from the Newbury Park bike shop in Thousand Oaks…their floor demo. So instead of the retail $9000 that the rest of the people paid all year, I got it for $3850 w/ full warranty…on paper I’m the original buyer and the bike is considered ‘new’.  It's a feather-light 22lbs w/ 4” travel front and rear.

The only changes I’m making are I have my Rock Shock Reverb stealth dropper post to install (but I needed a shim…this bike uses a 31.6 seatpost, my ancient Blur uses a 30.9…luckily I found a .7mm shim online, should be here in a few days). Also I just ordered a smaller chainring…this comes stock w/ a 34t (the 11spd cassette is a SRAM 10-42). I’m too old and weak to ride the long steep stuff that I frequent w/ that gear, so I have a 30t front ring on order, should be here by Friday.

It’s a full 8lbs lighter than my old 26” Blur (that has a cracked twice/welded twice aluminum frame)! Time for a new ride I figure…I'm not getting any younger!
  And with that I'm signing off....hope to get the new steed out for a shakedown cruise sometime today (when it warms up a bit...QUITE cold right now). Have a great week and a fantastic New Year! See you on the other side!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Merry Christmas!

As per my annual tradition, here is our 2015 Holiday greeting card.

 Well...I think that says it all. Have a SUPER WONDERFUL Christmas, and a FANTASTIC New Year! I'm now on vacation until Jan 4th...see you next year!

Be safe and have a great time!