Motoring along in my 1986 Nissan 2wd manual-everything pickup (having just ticked over 243,000 miles on the odo) yesterday, I stopped in Craig, Colorado for petrol. I was returning from Steamboat Springs, where I'd just picked up the most detailed and purpose-built snow-touring cycle I can imagine. The attention to detail and painstaking amount of labor have to be seen to be imagined, but (IMO) can still never be comprehended. Dispensing gas into the tank I chuckled a little thinking about the virtual pricelessness of the truck's cargo relative to the optimistic six hundred bucks the truck could fetch on it's own.
After topping off the tank I went inside to refill my external water jug and empty the internal container. As I exited the lavatory and strode up the junk-food aisle I had to step aside to let a large woman waddle past. In so doing I bumped into a rack and a pair of gloves fell to the floor. Bending down to pick them up, it occurred to me that for 2+ years I've been looking for just the right pair of gloves to use inside pogies when riding in strong cold. My current gloves are ok but they lack a certain je ne sais quoi and I've been on the lookout for a replacement set. I snatched them and stood back up, examining what had literally thrown itself at my feet. The tag read simply "Microfleece glove - $8.99".
I live 4 blocks from an REI, 10 blocks from a gucci mountaineering store, and less than 2 miles from a veritable plethora of high-end ski, board, hunt/fish/camp, and hiking retailers. Every few weeks I haunt each of these establishments looking for the necessities and niceties I need not just for touring, but for everyday recreational riding and commuting. In two+ years of looking, the closest I've come to glove nirvana has been at REI, where their $40 asking price for one pair seemed worthwhile only because no other glove has come close in performance.
A wry smile spread slowly across my face as I wiggled my hands inside at the Craig Loaf 'n Jug. Soft, fuzzy microfleece enveloped my fingers in warmth. In seeming defiance of the big brands they'd somehow managed to make them truly seamless on the inside. Roughly 1/8" of critical wiggle room was apparent at the end of each digit, the length of the gauntlet seemed custom-tailored to match the cuff on my riding jacket, and the price--well... who could argue?
The wry smile morphed into a shit-eating grin as I strode back out into the cold, towards the ancient pickup cradling the ti wonderbike, four-fiddy worth of priceless comfort on each hand.