Curry with Seth

IMG_7497         We’ve been enjoying watching many of the World Cup matches on the Boob-Tube lately. I do not recall such thorough coverage during past World Cups. As I type this Sunday afternoon, I’m watching the Costa Rica-Greece game, which is in excess time at 1-1 at the moment. I’m not sure what to make of shootouts determining outcomes in World Cup matches. Both teams are dealing with cramps and hydration issues given the high Brazilian temps, as occurred this morning as well during the Dutch victory over Mexico. I believe the commentators mentioned it was 100 degrees and they were actually taking water breaks during the halves. The bouts thus far have been entertaining given the abundance of talent on the pitch. Granted, flops and dives are a problem for soccer. Watching the United States-Belgium game on Tuesday should be fun and may call for some time out of the office. Actually, there’s been a significant amount of World Cup time out of the office with the kids already. Monday (tomorrow) will have nice competition as well. It’s the week of the Fourth of July holiday, perhaps summer at last. Hot temperatures in Missoula have certainly not been an issue of late. Today, between short rain bursts and gusty winds, the thermometer reading has remained around the mid-60s. It has actually been quite pleasant over the last week or so. Unseasonably cool, yet pleasant in my view nonetheless.IMG_7490         Following a sleepover at one of his buds, Seth and I decided this morning to take the mountain bikes into the Rattlesnake for a brief Sunday afternoon jaunt. It’s been interesting watching the old Diamondback get passed down from Todd to Erin and now to Seth, who has been cruising around the neighborhood like I once did when a kid as well. The liberty to ride around the neighborhood has been interesting as his older siblings were not able to do so due to traffic and safety concerns. Perhaps with the younger child one throws up his hands more willingly and simply says “go ahead.” This following a few spins around discussing vehicle awareness and general safety, of course. Seth has met friends through school, soccer and band who also are riding about the neighborhood. When we were kids during the 1970s, neighborhoods were more static, with the same old chums in the same homes right up through middle school and in many cases beyond. Today, society, or the community in general, seems to be constantly changing around us. We’ve been in the same home for a decade yet our neighbors’ homes have had numerous occupant changes. Kids have to make friends more quickly today, I reckon. However, this does not seem to be much of an issue for today’s technology connected and driven youth. I guess I will note that the lasting relationships developed during our “neighborhood gang” years in Charlie-West were probably more enriching and enduring, trust being an agent that develops over time and has a tendency therefore to carry forth into later years. This may be something today’s youth are missing in their lives.IMG_20140629_134944         The Rattlesnake Valley was jumping today. On the route over I noticed many cyclists and walkers along the drive as well as numerous rafts being towed to local rivers. The rivers are still high, as the snow remains in the surrounding hills, though it’s almost July. I’ve yet to cast the big bugs (Salmonflies and Golden Stones) that are typically out during the runoff this time of year. The parking lot was crowded, so we decided to park along the road between two new vehicles. For some reason I’m constantly trying to understand how is is that folks can afford the new rigs I seem to notice everywhere? Zero interest loans must be in vogue again. I’m also trying to understand the nation’s consumers’ short sightedness regarding the “guzzlers.” The non-fuel efficient vehicles seem to once more abound. It was not that long ago that people could not get rid of their guzzler fast enough, accepting below Blue Book prices to free themselves from the budgetary gas trap. Now, given the religious insanity in the Middle East rearing its ugly head once more, oil is again on the rise. Perhaps one should keep an eye out on how this plays out in the domestic vehicle world. “We need a $2 or $3 per gallon gas tax to pay for the wars,” knowing things were already on the rise, I mentioned anyway to a fellow I know in the petrol distribution field over lunch last week. “The problem is the revenue will be diverted to other programs, as it always is, rather than paying down the debt,” he (correctly) replied. It would be inflationary on an already fragile economy; however, perhaps future generations would not go bankrupt and expensive campaigns abroad may be more thoroughly debated prior to wading Willy-nilly into timeless sectarian conflicts. A gasoline consumption tax may drive fuel efficiency innovation to new levels as well. The last one to ever recommend a tax, I am willing to think about the future and not today only. Our government spends too much and appears unwilling to address the issue. America needs to become energy independent. I’m not sure fracking is the answer, but maybe a gradual conversion to natural gas will be part of the solution. Fracking is not popular in Montana. Like many, I also am not sure what to make of exporting our raw resources. It would help the trade balances. Most laissez faire types would say green light, especially to parts of Europe where now a problem exists; however, there will be an opportunity cost as any elementary level educated fellow understands. Perhaps the bicycle is part of the solution as well – at least commuting around town. If more people did so, it may have a gradual impact on fuel prices and waist lines. Were gasoline $6 or $7 per gallon, more folks might consider buying a bicycle.IMG_7488         I did not take Seth through “Rick’s test.” A little section along the creek below the parking area that is technically difficult but fun. We headed up the corridor road which parallels Rattlesnake Creek. There were folks hiking with their children on their backs in backpacks. There were children being pulled in bob-carts behind their mother’s bicycle. The place was alive. Missoula is an outdoor town. We turned off the road and headed up Curry Gulch. Seth was wearing a “Wild Rockies” hydration pack that his brother Todd had won years ago during the Jana Bremmer Memorial XC in Salmon, Idaho. Another handy-down. It was pleasant riding behind Seth, seeing the pack and thinking back at all of our past family outdoor exploits in Montana, Idaho and Oregon, racing the mountain bikes, fishing and camping during the trips. Today, the Curry Trail was in perfect condition and we discussed basic techniques such as how to handle the rock gardens and proper ways to deal with other trail users. Speeding up and saying nothing was suggested – not. We rode across a few of the wonderful wooden bridges that are common in the Rattlesnake and I looked into the clear water. The main Rattlesnake is running high still, but clear and I thought of a few favorite fishing holes up stream below where the Billy Goats hang out on cliffs, well above the Franklin Bridge.IMG_20140629_143414         Seeing clear water and thinking of past fishing exploits along the Rattlesnake turns my mind to my old bike mechanic bud, Max. Now in SLC, I was wondering as Seth and I rode how Max was getting along? Seth and I did not quite make it up to the old red cabin, turning around in a section after two trail joggers came by. “That no lie was worth it dad!” Seth said following a descent in one section. I had mentioned the climbs were worth it as the descents were fun. Someone during the climbs, however, was not quite sold at the time. We dropped back onto the corridor road along the main creek, deciding to ride upstream. Ken, who I’ve known over the years, rode up from below on his horse along with two of his friends, one wearing a game warden’s patch on his upper sleeve. We visited for a bit and I said, “I guess we’ll have to remove the Cutthroats from Seth’s pack!” Laughter. Ken mentioned they’d been riding below Frazier. I was clueless.
        We rode bikes a bit longer and Seth drew on the blue duct tape covered drink tube from the pack. Given all of the moisture this spring, everything in the Rattlesnake is a healthy green. During years when this occurs, I never take it for granted as the valley can always use the water. We worked on getting the front tire off and undoing the old cable V-breaks in the process. I still like V-breaks. My youngest seemed to be getting the hang of the process finally. Changing actual tubes won’t be far behind. Another wonderful outing. Such days are invaluable and sustain me.

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