Back in the Saddle! Mounting Biking Long Loop | Estrella Mountains Az

It has been over a month since my last ride….and it shows. I have been in the mood to explore new trails, so I decided to hit up the Competitive Track Long Loop at the Estrella Mountain Regional Park near Goodyear Arizona. Truth be told, the ride started out kind of bland. The first few miles equated to nothing more than a brisk ride through the desert. Thankfully the last half had some better features. If there is one thing I hate, it is miles with no smiles!

 

Ride information:

Trail= Long Loop, Etrella Mountains Regional Park, Arizona

TrailForks= https://www.trailforks.com/trails/long-loop/

Strava Link= https://www.strava.com/activities/1231934604

My Gear= https://wanderingpop.com/my-gear/

Chunky!….Mountain Biking Mesquite &Willow Canyon Trails | White Tank Mountains, Arizona

The Mesquite Canyon to Willow Canyon lollipop might be one of the most underrated routes in the Phoenix area. I get it…it’s not National or Desert Classic. But what it lacks in popularity, it makes up for in character.

As you will tell in the video, the climb is difficult…dare I say brutal. However, the downhill action made up for the effort used to get to the top. Sections of Willow Canyon will certainly test a bike and rider’s capabilities. A pre ride bolt check is highly recommended!

So sit back, hold on and let’s ride!

 

Ride Information:

Trail= Mesquite & Willow Canyon Trails, White Tank Mountains Regional Park, Arizona

Trail Map= https:http://www.maricopacountyparks.net/assets/1/6/white-tank-8×11.pdf

TrailForks= https://www.trailforks.com/region/white-tank/

Strava Link= https://www.strava.com/activities/1231934604

MTB Project Link= https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/7001271/mesquite-trail

Questions about my gear…click here

5 Things I Learned While Camping With Toddlers

110°F…..that was the high here in the Valley of the Sun on Friday September 1st, 2017. I called Jess to remind her of our reservations for Sunday at Fort Tuthill. I was looking forward to the break from the heat. But more importantly, I was looking forward to our first camping trip as a family. I was excited yet nervous about what was to come. Being trapped in the wilderness with a soon to be 2 year old and a soon to be 4 year old felt like a cruel game of hot potato using time bombs….

During the phone call, Jess and I got our logistical plan together. As I’ve stated before, Jess usually handles the bulk of the planning. All of my life, I have had someone plan trips for me. Mom and Pops took care of the planning when I lived at home and Uncle Sam was kind enough to handle the rest of my travels after turning 18. Thank goodness I found someone that actually enjoys organizing and planning things as much as Jess does….otherwise, I would just show up to random places at random times with nothing to wear and little to no agenda. Now, I don’t want that to sound like I sit back and let her do the work while I get to enjoy all of the fun. I know what my jobs are…gather the heavy bags, pack the car, and drive straight until told to turn….

So….what did I learn about camping with toddlers?

  • Trust me….you forgot something.

You undoubtedly forgot something that “you can’t live without.” For us it was Ella’s tennis shoes. But guess what….Her sandals pulled through. Plus, we were not about to pull out a twenty mile hike, so all was well. The worst thing that came of it was a few dirty piggies.

  • Forget about sleep!

Let me tell you something. Toddlers move when they sleep. At one point during the night I sat up to cover Emma back up and I watched Ella reach across and slap Jess as hard as she could. I couldn’t keep myself from laughing. We also made a huge error in our preparation. We thought an air mattress would be a good idea. Turns out, it’s a terrible idea. If one person moves you all move. There is no way to avoid it.

  • Embrace the happy accidents.

While pulling in to the camp ground, I was a little taken by surprise at how close the County Fair was to our campsite. This had me worried about what was to come with the night ahead. However, it couldn’t have worked out better. We were easily able to walk to the fair, enjoy some fair food and let the kids ride some rides, play some games, and pet some animals. All the while, not worrying about loading everyone back into the car right after a 2 hour drive, finding a parking spot, and again loading back up once we were all done. Because everything was within walking distance we were able to enjoy more of the night and each other.

  • Slow down and disconnect.

I think I got cell phone reception at the campground, but maybe I didn’t. Being in the woods and around the family I was able to put all the Tech aside for a while. Jess brought her Cannon EOS 6 camera and I think that helped as well. Having it prevented us from having to pull out our phones each time we wanted to take a photo.

  • Remember, this is all brand new to your kids.

I think this is the most important thing that I can stress in the post. Keep in mind, however that first trip goes will be the cornerstone for all other camping trips to come. I think the same can be said for a lot of things in life. If you approach everything as positive as possible, then the trip/event is more likely to be a success. I feel if you don’t, than the chances of them growing up and enjoying camping outdoors may be hindered.

As you can see, our trip did not go as planned. However, Jess and I were able to laugh at the things that went “wrong” and enjoy the time we had as a family.

 

Mountain Biking Toothaker and Rainbow Valley| Estrella Mountains, Arizona

Highlights from my mountain bike ride on Toothaker and Rainbow Valley trails at the Estrella Mountains. This little loop is usually one of my favorites, but it was a little different this time.  Due to the recent monsoons, the trail was really loose and a lot more  chunky than usual.

With that said, I find it best if you start at the trailhead and work your way up Toothaker and back down Rainbow Valley. The route provides a nice long descent which makes the climb well worth it! As always, if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.

 

Ride information:

Gear:

#WanderCam

 

 

2017 Pivot Firebird | Test Ride Day 2

I have been ogling Pivot’s 2017 Firebird ever since I saw a review of it on MTBYUMYUM’s channel. On paper, this bike is a force to be reckoned with. While watching the test rides performed by the experts, there is no doubt that the Firebird is capable of handling just about anything you can throw at it.

 

But how would the Firebird perform in the hands of an average…..dare I say novice mountain biker? Could a bike with this much suspension travel handle climbing trails? Or is it strictly a bike park rig, destined for lift access only trails? All of these were questions that I had and honestly while searching the internet, I could not find the answers too. So I decided to find them myself.

I contacted Sonoran Cycles out of Surprise Arizona (Link Below) to find out if a demo of Pivot’s 2017 Firebird was even an option. Thankfully, Terry was more than willing to help me out. He even contacted Pivot himself to get the bike in the shop just in time for the weekend.

Day 2 of the test ride brought us back to Fantasy Island North Singletrack (FINS). I felt that it was only fair to the bike to ride the trail systems that I know best in order to establish an honest opinion of it. With that all said, who doesn’t like a ridding at FINS?

 

Also, don’t for get to check out Day 1’s Ride at the White Tanks.

Ride information:
What to learn more about my gear? 

2017 Pivot Firebird | Test Ride Day 1

I have been ogling Pivot’s 2017 Firebird ever since I saw a review of it on MTBYUMYUM’s channel. On paper, this bike is a force to be reckoned with. While watching the test rides performed by the experts, there is no doubt that the Firebird is capable of handling just about anything you can throw at it.

 

But how would the Firebird perform in the hands of an average…..dare I say novice mountain biker? Could a bike with this much suspension travel handle climbing trails? Or is it strictly a bike park rig, destined for lift access only trails? All of these were questions that I had and honestly while searching the internet, I could not find the answers too. So I decided to find them myself.

I contacted Sonoran Cycles out of Surprise Arizona (Link Below) to find out if a demo of Pivot’s 2017 Firebird was even an option. Thankfully, Terry was more than willing to help me out. He even contacted Pivot himself to get the bike in the shop just in time for the weekend.

Day 1 of the test ride brought us back to The White Tank Mountains. I felt that it was only fair to the bike to ride the trail systems that I know best in order to establish an honest opinion of it. However, weather was not cooperating with me that day. Being that this was filmed in the heart of monsoon season, I actually lucked out a bit I guess. Even so, the humidity was way up and the temperature peaked at about 110°F. Please keep this in mind while you are watching. There were a lot of rest stops while on this ride, but I promise you the bike was not at fault.

 

Ride information:

Gear: Find It Here

 

Video: Mountain Biking Mule Deer | White Tank Mountains, Arizona

 

The gimbal has arrived! Highlights from my mountain bike ride on Mule Deer at the White Tanks in Arizona. This was my first ride with the Evo SS Gimbal. The footage came out great. However, I need to work on my gear setup a bit to ensure nothing interferes with the gimbal. When I got to the trailhead at 6:00AM, the temperature was reading 93˚F. Not that I am a speed demon, but needless to say, this ride did have its slow sections! As always, if you have any questions or feedback, please leave them in the comments below. Don’t forget to subscribe!

Ride information:

Trail= Mule Deer, White Tank Mountains Regional Park, Arizona

TrailForks: https://www.trailforks.com/trails/mule-deer-15223/

Strava Link= https://www.strava.com/activities/1053569978

MTB Project Link= https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/7026150/mule-deer-trail

Gear:

EVO SS Wearable Gimbal: http://amzn.to/2t0pH7V

Camera = GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition @1080P 60FPS with ProTune on.      Buy it here: http://amzn.to/2pSt4hw or….get the Hero 4+ Black Edition 😉

Helmet= Bell Super 2R Buy it here: http://amzn.to/2p8luAa

GoPro Chestie Mount, buy it here: http://amzn.to/2qL77li

#WanderCam

Desktop Superheroes

While at work, I spend a majority of my time behind a keyboard staring at a computer screen. Hours go by as I comb through lines of machine code to develop new enhancements or troubleshoot current problems. At times, the mood can shift and become quite intense. A common problem in manufacturing is the fact that when machines are not running, money is being lost. Depending on the extent and what is actually influenced by the machine being down, minutes mean hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.

“Never let ’em see you sweat” -Mr. Jerry Haupt.

Those are words I live by. When the pressure is high, always remain calm and collected. Often times reacting hysterically in these types of situations only makes matters worse. Although my job is not constantly surrounded by this level of intensity, I often enjoy and thrive when the stakes are high. Hopefully that does not come off in an arrogant tone, because it is not intended that way. But, truth be told, I find that I function better when the pressure is on.

With that said, there are times in those moments when I feel like I have exhausted all of my resources and still cannot find a solution to the problem. When this happens, I need a pick me up. Something that lets me know that there are far more important things in life.

That is when my Superheroes come to the rescue. The picture above is the background of my desktop at work. When I close down or minimize all of my applications, I cannot help but smile at those two goof balls. The way they are looking at each other makes it appear they are discussing their next big mission to save the world. Little do they know, they save mine every day.