Sunday, January 27, 2008


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.


  1. The Craig loaf-n-jug, huh? You probably could have gotten some meth, handguns, and toothless teenage prostitutes while you were at it.

    I went in the Shop-n-hop to buy a Wyoming map and the heat wasn't even on inside the store! (and it was 15 degrees outside). But there were a bunch of inbred looking locals chain smoking cigarettes and engaging in small talk. They were very helpful and directed me to the "other" shop-n-hop where I might have better luck finding a map.

    Before last weekend, I hadn't been to Craig for a few years. Plenty long enough to forget that all the stereotypical jokes about Craig, America are completely true. Scary.

  2. Hey, that "low tech" stuff is awesome when you find it. I have a pair sorta like that. I got them in a laost and found at the car repair shop i used o wrench at. Nothing comes close to hese gloves for the purposes you outline here.

    Price: FREE.

    Yeah.....I'm on the look out for some more like that.

    By the way, your description of your "shit eating grin" is a very clear picture in my mind. I think I saw that on your face once upon a time.

  3. Ha,Ha the glove story is ironically funny...I have found the best gloves for my mitts in a Farm & Ranch store (my wife shops there)and have yet to pay more than $9 for them. I have many big name gloves laying around that I use only on "cool" days (not cold days) seems that none of the big guns work as advertised or last very long, while the cheapos work without any famous name or claims to fame and last more than a season.