Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. New Mexico hot chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 boneless skinless free-range chicken breasts
  • 1 c. diced onion
  • 1 Anaheim chile pepper, diced
  • 1 Serrano chile pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 10 oz. can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 14 oz. can black beans, drained
  • 3 tbsp. masa
  • 1 c. warm water
  • 1 handful tri-color tortilla strips (used for salad garnish)
  • 1 diced avocado
  • cilantro
  • grated Monterrey Jack cheese
  • sliced scallions
  • Preheat toaster oven to 375 F
  • Mix cumin, chile powder, garlic powder and salt
  • Drizzle olive oil on chicken breasts (both sides)
  • Rub 3/4 of spice mix onto both sides of chicken breasts
  • Bake chicken at 375 F until done, about 30 min.
  • Shred chicken using 2 forks
  • Saute onions, garlic, peppers on medium heat until soft, about 5 min.
  • Add shredded chicken
  • Add Rotel tomatoes and green chiles
  • Add tomato paste
  • Add chicken broth.
  • Add black beans
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer
  • Mix masa in 1 c. warm water, add to soup
  • Simmer for about 20 min.
  • Place handful of tortilla strips in bowls, add soup, garnish and serve

Green Curry Pork and Zucchini

Green Curry PorkIngredients
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 boneless grass fed pork chops
  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. Thai green curry paste
  • 1 Anaheim chile pepper, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 zucchini, 3/4 in. cubes
  • 8 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. Thai basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • season both sides of pork chops with garlic salt, thyme, salt, and pepper
  • brown both sides of pork chops in a deep skillet, remove from skillet
  • reduce heat to medium-low, add onions.  Saute for 2 minutes, until pan de-glazes.
  • Add curry paste, saute onions until soft, about 2 more minutes
  • add peppers, saute 1 more minute
  • add coconut milk, increase heat to medium
  • add zucchini and mushrooms, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low
  • add pork chops after slicing into 1 in. cubes
  • add Thai basil
  • simmer for 15 minutes
  • Serve over brown Basmati rice

First Overnight Gravelventure

Gravel Bike

According to the internet, a gravel bike is a cross cross bike –  a cross between a cylo-cross bike and a road bike.  I’m not sure exactly what that means.  Read the internet.

My Gravel Bike

gravelbikeI spent a day shopping at five local shops, and selected a bike with a frame that fit me correctly, could be modified with clearance to mount 40mm tires, and a shop wrench who was competent to make the modifications.  One of the shop guys spent an hour doing a complimentary bike fit, which set up the bike with a good starting configuration.  Later, I raised the saddle to where it was supposed to be, flipped the stem so it felt more like a road bike, and switched to WTB Nano tubeless tires.

As of this writing, the bike fits me almost as well as my Davidson.  It has a longer wheelbase, meaning it lumbers through turns, but has better stability on rough road.  The tubeless tires running at 35 psi provide a softer ride over washboard and rocks.


I’m pretty sure OED hasn’t added this word to their tome of true words yet, because I just made it up.  Gravelventure means taking your gravel bike somewhere you’ve never been before.  Ideally, but not necessarily, a gravelventure includes some unpaved road.  It’s okay to check out your route on Strava, rideWithGPS, or Google Earth, but not okay to drive it beforehand in your FWD.  Sag support on a gravelventure is out of the question. Riding from home is a plus.

My First  GravelventureS
FR 17 to New River Mesa
FR 17 to New River Mesa

I began exploring the local forest service roads near my house.  Road conditions range from sandy smooth, to bumpy washboard, to rocky to impassible.

I rode with my buddy Brett Blanc (BB) from Tonto Hills, out the Seven Springs Road (AKA Arizona FR 24) to the 51 Ranch, which I never before knew existed.  A week later, I rode Lone Ranger style out FR24, hooked a left on FR41, then another left onto FR17.  When FR17 became unrideable,  I carried my gravel bike half mile over a boulder field to the top of New River Mesa.

Humboldt Supersoon
Humboldt Supersoon

A week later BB and I climbed Humboldt Mountain under the light of a super moon.  Although I had ridden that route several times before, this was my first and possibly only climb under a super moon.

Overnight Gravelventure

Pretty obvious – ride your gravel bike somewhere, stay overnight.  That means you have to carry some extra stuff. While camping out provides the ultimate freedom to stop anywhere, staying in a motel means you carry less stuff, get a shower, and don’t wake up the next morning with aches and pains from rocks rubbing your ribs.

My First Overnight Gravelventure
Road to Superstitions
Road to Superstitions

I rode from our home in Tonto Hills, AZ, south and east to the Superstition Wilderness, a mountainous region created by a resurgent volcano 25 million years ago.  After riding the requisite 50 miles to escape the city, straight road became winding road. Office buildings gave way to towering spires, buttes and rock walls.  Massive faces of dacite and welded tuff glowed in the golden afternoon sunlight, and most of the traffic vanished.  Eventually the asphalt pavement turned to dirt and washboard, as I descended two miles into a box canyon formed by Fish Creek.

Box Canyon
Box Canyon
Apache Lake
Apache Lake
Amber Bock
Amber Bock

Ninety miles from the start I reached Apache Lake Resort, special only because it was there, a king size bed and restaurant in the middle of the wildness.  The motel room was basic and I was the only customer eating in a spacious restaurant where the waitress served me draft amber bock in a plastic cup.

Tortilla FlatThe following morning I found to be most enjoyable, foregoing coffee and breakfast to climb a couple thousand feet through the crisp morning air and riding fifteen miles before having breakfast in the saloon at Tortilla Flat.