Grumbleface Jr. Goes To Barely Alive Valley

To say that I wanted to go back to Death Valley after viewing Old Grumbleface’s recent posts would be a gigantic understatement. If we weren’t living in the time of Covid, I might have booked a flight to Las Vegas, like, YESTERDAY.

To say that I wish I had as big of a beard and as grumbly of a face as Old Grumbleface would also be a pretty big understatement. As you can see by the scraggly fuzz on my boyish cheeks, by the lack of conviction in my best grumbly face and by the fact that I’m not in Death Valley right now, I cannot match my idol in any way.

Some say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I say parody is the sincerest form of flattery. Therefore, I present this description of today’s bike ride.

I know from three different visits that California’s Death Valley is one of the most awesome places on earth. However, today’s alternative, Minnesota’s Barely Alive Valley is pretty awesome too. In fact, I would venture to say that Barely Alive Valley has everything to offer that Death Valley has. The proof is in the pictures.

Barely Alive Valley may not have a batpole, but it does have a FATpole.

Wild burros are not exclusive to Death Valley.

And we’ve got bohemian hippie art installations like this one.

And this one.

There are huge tires to climb along the backroads of Barely Alive Valley.

In case you thought the last tire wasn’t all that huge, here’s a bigger one. (I think my grumbly frown is improving.)

The Barely Alive Valley has many excellent dispersed camping opportunities. Some of these roadside sites offer mattresses and boxsprings for people who forgot to pack a sleeping pad. The Reckless Mr. Bing Bong took a nap here while I took a hike.

Oh yeah! We’ve got the beautiful vistas.

There are a few icy patches on the gravel roads but they’re easy to avoid. Most of the snow is gone too. It’s a warmer day than yesterday, but still only in the upper 30’s (F). I didn’t have to wear too much warmer clothing in Barely Alive Valley than I saw Old Grumbleface and Ace Support Crew wearing in Death Valley.

I even saw fighter jets doing their maneuvers on my ride. It was an enormous thrill.

Sure wish I had an Ogre to negotiate this rough road.

The age of this mysterious spiral rock art is estimated to be more than 180 seconds old.

There was even evidence of the famous skinny-dipping, gardening, mountain climbing, desert wandering woman who discards clothing all over the Cycle365 world. I’m pretty sure she was snowshoeing along this gravel road after the snowstorm a couple weeks ago and decided she didn’t need this face covering anymore.

I can understand her feelings in the matter. I tend to disregard my facemask when I’m distanced from others for quite a while.

That reminds me of one difference between Death Valley and Barely Alive Valley. I didn’t see one other bicycle rider, yet my cycling hero saw several of them. What’s up with that?

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

20 response to "Grumbleface Jr. Goes To Barely Alive Valley"

  1. By: Bill Stone Posted: November 18, 2020

    Ha! That was pretty darn impressive. However, I discovered one gigantic loophole in your otherwise perfectly parallel world. Where is your own personal ace support crew? Ha! I say again, ha!

    PS: As to my ace support crew, she’s currently hospitalized because I had to drive her to the emergency room due to non-stop uncontrolled laughter as she read your post. No one is sure if she’ll be able to make a full recovery, but they’re hoping to at least reduce the affliction to mere giggles.

    • By: gregblood Posted: November 18, 2020

      My sincere apologies go out to Ace Support Crew for causing such an odd ailment.

      I’m sure my own Ace Support Crew (AKA The Feeshko) would have ridden with me today even though she’s not much of a bike rider. It’s just that she’s only two months into her 6-month recovery plan after knee surgery.

      • By: Bill Stone Posted: November 18, 2020

        Well okay then. This post was so spot-on and hilarious that we can give you a pass on such a minor oversight while the Feeshko is indisposed. We hope she’s well on the way to recovery, and next time we expect to see a photo of her enjoying wine from a coffee mug, just like my ASC.

        • By: gregblood Posted: November 19, 2020

          Thanks for the pass, Bill. The Feeshko drinks no alcoholic beverage other than an occasional glass of wine, so when she feels well enough and is enjoying an apres-ski Cabernet in a coffee mug, maybe I can convince her to pose for a picture.

    • By: Rocky Posted: November 20, 2020

      Great reply! I hope you wife is doing better. Fortunately, I’ve been lucky to survive my fits of laughter without hospitalization!

  2. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: November 18, 2020

    That is Hill-larious vis-a-vis Valley-larious!
    Especially appreciated the 180 second old stone circle (with the heart shaped pebble at 7 o’clock. Lots of interesting rocks there.
    Maybe Bill should take ASC to a French Laundry Party as their Governor attended.
    One evening there and you would be 2/3 of the way to a new Ogre. (And not get up hungry in the morning 😉 )

    • By: gregblood Posted: November 19, 2020

      Yes, as a famous international chef, I am aware of the French Laundry. I probably will never be able to afford a meal there, but I can dream, can’t I?

  3. By: The Navigator Posted: November 19, 2020

    Excellent, Greg! Thanks for making me laugh 🙂 Best wishes to the Feeshko – I think it would suck to not have full and confident use of all limbs in the snowy and icy season.

    • By: gregblood Posted: November 19, 2020

      Thanks for the message Emily. You’ve reminded me that my next foray into geographical satire should involve Australia. Perhaps in the next couple days I’ll take a bike ride in what we call “Minnesota’s Land Down Under.”

  4. By: BobinVT Posted: November 19, 2020

    The parallels between Death Valley and Barely Alive Valley are quite amazing. And by the way, those icy-patched gravel roads and crumbly pavement would make me feel very much at home. We have our share of both. Best to the Feeshko, and I hope her recovery continues to go well.

    • By: gregblood Posted: November 19, 2020

      Is Vermont “the Minnesota of New England” or is Minnesota “the Vermont of the Midwest?” Or are both of our states “the Death Valleys of the North?”

  5. By: Rocky Posted: November 20, 2020

    Hilarious post, again! We are planning to go to Death Valley since we are in California but we’ll have to keep barely Alive valley in mind next time we are in Minnesota.

    • By: gregblood Posted: November 20, 2020

      Thanks Rocky, I have been reading about your California trip and look forward to the Death Valley part. It’s possible that after I read it, I might be tempted to make another trip to Barely Alive Valley to replicate your experience.

  6. By: Suzanne Posted: November 20, 2020

    One of your best, Greg! After each picture, I couldn’t imagine you would come up with something else, and then you did, again and again. The tires, the rock art, the dispersed camping opportunities, the videos, … all great!

    • By: gregblood Posted: November 20, 2020

      Thank you for the compliments Suzanne. I hope you feel the same way when I post my tour of Minnesota’s “Mini Germany” sometime in the near future. In the mean time, you can read about today’s ride in “Little Australia.”

  7. By: Scooter Posted: November 20, 2020

    That Reckless Mr Bing-bong! It gives me the creeps thinking of lying down on a mattress by the side of the road. You should have him fumigated, and maybe yourself too.

    • By: gregblood Posted: November 21, 2020

      I don’t understand your concern about lying down on a mattress. Is it the possibility that it might have been dumped there by residents of a meth lab? Is it the possibility of having been soiled on by coyotes and squirrels? Is it Covid-19 concerns? Bed bugs? The Reckless Mr. Bing Bong and I have slept in MOTEL beds that were almost as scary as that.

      • By: Scooter Posted: November 22, 2020

        Yes, yes, yes, and yes!!!! And yes to several other health and safety hazards you haven’t listed. You don’t watch enough horror shows, apparently.

  8. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: November 21, 2020

    If trees are ‘view blockers’ then those geese could be called ‘airplane engine blockers’ as they’ve brought down a few planes, most famously the one that landed in the Hudson River in New York.

    • By: gregblood Posted: November 21, 2020

      Indeed! If I saw a flock of geese like that and I was a pilot, I would take evasive action. I’d pull back on the elevating mechanism, do a loop-de-loop, turn my wings to an up-and-down position, and accelerate to warp speed. “Sully” Sullenberger of Hudson River fame would be jealous.

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