is just how much driving I’ve done since December 23.

3000 round trip from Tucson, to Murphysboro to see the famdamily

700 round trip from Murphysboro to Chicago (in one day!) to move the reminder of Emily’s crap back home.

900 round trip from Tucson to Idyllwild, CA to visit Brendan and Mary

It’s going to take a few months of pedaling everywhere to offset all that petroleum I burned through for sure.

The impromptu visit out to the inland empire was a surprise birthday party for big 30 Brendan. Mary orchestrated a little surprise party for him so I headed west. We were treated to rain most of the weekend so riding was cut back to a minimum. Instead we spent a lot of time in Siren headquarters building fixtures and working on bikes. That was worth the drive alone. Lots of geekery and tinkering going on. Finally we decided to bite the bullet and go get some singletrack. It was a rain ride for sure, instantly becoming nearly saturated. The temps were alright as long as you could keep moving. We headed down to The Hub behind the Arts Academy so we were never far from the house. Mary toted along a quart bottle of potato, leek, celery, curry soup that we enjoyed under a tree. Brendan and Dave headed back up the hill as they were getting cold. Mary and I stayed out a bit longer and tied together a couple extra loops of singletrack.

I did get to ride around on The Song #2 which was a good time. Brendan sent me home with it to beat around on until the Old Pueblo. I don’t have a lot to say about it as the conditions were awful for feeling out geometry and handling, slik, gooey, sloshy mess. I’m looking forward to getting out on more familiar trails to really get a feel for the bike.

Sunday it snowed so we spent more time in the shop, got some lunch and I jumped ship so as to avoid get snowed in. On the way home I stopped in Tonopah to get gas and glimpsed a sign for hot springs 1/4 mile down the road. There I found El Dorado Hot Springs, a great roadside soak in a clawfoot tub under a mesquite tree. Not a bad way to interrupt a 6 hour drive at all!