Vanishing Point

A site about climbing, bikes, and peculiar travels


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A bikey jaunt through the mountains

Posted by Eric T. on November 17, 2010 at 12:27 AM Comments comments (0)

Whoo! It's been a long time since my last post. A lot has happened, and it's difficult to keep this website updated sometimes. Starting with this one, I'll post all the interesting stuff that's happened since August.


I bought a Surly Pugsley with the savings I'd had since last year. Although it was a lot to spend, this bike rocks, so I'm quite happy with it. It's first trip was back in August or September, somewhere around there, from Molas Pass back to Durango. The original plan was to stay on the Colorado Trail the whole way, but due to weather restrictions I took a detour down onto the Hermosa trail on my last day. Overall, a spectacular trip.


The first day which proved to be absolutely beautiful. The loaded pugs ready to rock and roll!


The scenery was almost unreal for so much of the ride. Beautiful.


Day 2. One of the best camp spots I've had. I had a 270° view stretching from the Dolores river valley to the West, all the way to Missionary ridge to the East.




Day 3 proved to be stormy and I had no interest in going over Indian Trail Ridge alone. I backtracked a little to Salt Creek trail and rode(?) 6 miles to get to the Hermosa creek trail. Actually quite a fun little detour.


Salt Creek trail was... bushy.


Great little trip. Hopefully I'll be taking similar overnights this winter on the Pugs! I can't wait to ride the thing around when the snow really falls.


A teaser for next post: the Grand Canyon!

A tandem of my own

Posted by Eric T. on August 10, 2010 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (2)

Building a tandem is a great little adventure in making stuff. I've been telling my friends I want to build one up for months now, and I finally went for it. No one was excited about it, and I was worried I'd have to ride it around alone, but when they saw the finished product, everyone was excited. Haha!

Making a tandem at home poses several interesting problems:

-Finding two frames that are both shitty enough to chop up and weld but also sort of nice because you don't want it to suck, but also are the right size and fit together when you match them up.

-Getting the drivetrain right. Setting up a synch chain, tensioning it, and making sure it doesn't interfere with the main drive chain.

-Setting up handlebars for the stoker without paying for one of the expensive tandem stoker handlebar stems.

-Cabling it up without paying for extra-long $10 tandem cables.

-Finding someone who's ok with touching your butt to grab the handlebars in back and also won't wiggle around while you figure out how to drive the thing.

After all is said and done, it's a friggin blast to ride around town with someone else. Can't beat it for showing couchsurfers around town. At first I just wanted to ride around town on it, but now I think I'd like to set it up nicely and do a little bit of touring with someone. It's a really fun bike to have.

Everything's functional except the synch chain, which rides on 52 toothers. Since it's so damn big I can't fit a ghost ring in there, and plus the main drive chain rubs on it when I try to shift to higher gears in the back. It doesn't throw the chain unless you go over a particularly shaky bump. I'm working on finding some smaller rings.

I used Sheldon Brown's (who's page inspired this thing in the first place) toptube-seatclamp-stem contraption for the stoker's handlebars. Works great until I find a 1" threadless stem.

Let the cutting begin!

This is the front donor frame. I hacked off most of the stays, and sanded her down for welding.

The only modification to the rear frame was hacking the headtube in half. This would fit onto the seattube of the front frame. Luckily, they were both similar-era Schwinns and the headtube and seattube angles were the same.

A few messy welds later, and it's starting to look like something!

This is the frame flipped over and a new tube welded in between the bottom brackets. That's it! the frame is done.

Built up and ready to ride. You can see the synch chain on the 52s on the drive side of the bike. Could

Silverton to Lake City and back

Posted by Eric T. on July 30, 2010 at 6:46 PM Comments comments (1)

Here are some pictures of the mountain bike overnight I took a week ago. I left from just outside Silverton and over Cinnamon pass, through Lake City and then back over Engineer pass. It was all on jeep roads, so I had plenty of company for most of the riding. Some people would open their window and cheer me on, others would just look at me like they wanted me to get a job or something.


Anyway, it was pretty fun for just an overnight trip. When the weather's a little better I'd like to do a longer one.



I came up the valley and began up the pass just below here. Below me is Animas City.

Approaching the summit. 4x4s seemed to come in packs.

Woo! This is a nice picture of my setup. Old steel Rockhopper, framebag, sleeping bag on handlebars, tent and sleeping pad under saddle, and the biggest fucking tires I can fit into that frame.

The other side of Cinnamon. Let the boneshaking begin!

I hung out with an old friend in Lake City for a long morning, then attacked Engineer pass. This is out of town a ways, with the climbing about to begin.

This pass just goes up and up and up and up...

It was overcast and about to rain. It was also incredibly beautiful.

Interlude: Sometime after that last picture was taken, I was approaching the summit when an electrical storm began. After deciding that I wasn't turning back, I thought the safest thing to do was not to put my feet on the ground, and let my tires insulate me. It just about killed me, but I got over the summit in record time.

Looking down the decent back into Animas City.

Cool (steep) roads.

This is what some of the roads looked like. It made for interesting riding.

Self portrait. That sign says "if you can't keep it clean, STAY OUT!"

Overall, a really fun trip. It was mostly climbing up absurdly steep hills with a little regular biking thrown in. The total elevation gain over two days was 6400'. Not bad for a first trip.

Home, in every sense of the word

Posted by Eric T. on July 27, 2010 at 1:32 AM Comments comments (0)

I got home about 3 weeks ago, to a brisk evening full of delayed Frontier airlines flights. That first breath of fresh air told me I was home, I was back in the mountains.


How to sum up 3 months in Florida? I really have a hard time doing it. It's hard to explain that no. really, my time down there was valuable. I learned more about boats than I could have dreamed, and got to live among some truly gritty people for a time. I liked that. But did I have fun? Well, I wouldn't necessarily call it fun. Good times aren't always fun, but they can still have a certain magic to them. I think what it really comes down to is that Florida and I just don't get along as well as we could. I could learn to enjoy the humidity and twisted people more, and Florida could... well, it'll just keep on doing what it's been doing for thousands of years; make people sweat profusely.


Enough about that. I'm glad I went, and I'm glad I'm back.


Since I've been back I've been hosting a ton of couchsurfers. I'm glad I'm getting a chance to host since I've surfed quite a bit. Meeting tons of cool people. I think I'm getting more responses because of a less cryptic couch description and having added promises of adventure and interesting things. I might have to tone it down.


I've been working a bit, and trying to get over a mysterious illness that befell me several days after getting back. I also sewed up a framebag for the rockhopper and went on an overnight in the mountains(!). I also welded two old bikes together and made a tandem. Both projects were semi-recorded and will show up on the blog soon.

Maiden voyage

Posted by Eric T. on June 25, 2010 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Well, yesterday we did it. We sailed from Salt Creek in St. Petersburg to Clearwater. It was amazing!

We were side tied to Jesse's boat the night before, and had a proper celebratory dinner cooked by his wife Shelly. At 8:30 the next morning, we all jumped on the boat and cleared the deck, preparing for a day at sea. We motored out into the bay, and realized we forgot our sandwiches. It started out with a Northeast wind that came on about as strong as a fart, so we motorsailed. We continued under the Sunshine Skyway, this time under our own power. It was a triumphant moment, as last time we were being towed under it with no rudder. On the other side, the wind died down to half a fart and we motored on down and around the St. Petersburg Peninsula. Left the confines of Tampa bay and got out into the Gulf of mexico.

Captain Jesse at the helm.

Approaching the Skyway.

At about 3:00 in the afternoon when we were off of Madeira beach the wind finally filled in, and it filled in hard. 15 knots of proper wind kicked up out of the NNW, the boat heeled way over, and we were in business. We killed the engine and sailing!

Captain Jesse made sure to wash the decks with the waves, and a couple hours later we were at Clearwater beach. As we entered the channel, we discovered that our engine wouldn't start and we needed either a tow or a jump. Captain Scott called out tow service, and they came out and jumped the thumper to life. We motored in and ended up at the Clearwater municipal marina. We got a slip there and will be there for our shakedowns, and possibly until October when hurricane season dies down.

I jumped in the engine room this morning and have been working on bringing her back to life. A blown fuse, a corroded battery terminal, and a little oil leak are all I've found, but the adventure continues!