Mud Falcon



December 2005    San Francisco

After 200,000 miles, two owners and 15 years, my fabulous ride finally has a suitable name.  I was outside the Toronado in the stinky Lower Haight, talking to a wiry little long-haired dude named Tad. As it turns out, Tad is big-wall climber of note, well-known in rock-climber circles as a skilled and  daring man who posts new routes up formerly unclimbable rock faces around the world. We shared beverages, and then he widened my world.

In case you are not aware, these people climb sheer rock walls in places such as Yosemite, Kazakhstan and Patagonia, some of them nearly featureless 5,000′ faces on 20,000′ mountains, and requiring up to ten days to climb. Such gecko-people climb by day and sleep by night on a narrow, precarious stretcher (porta-ledge) that they bolt and/or tie to the rock walls.

I blurted out the obvious question, the question that any respectable person would ask an astronaut, flagpole-sitter or Queen of England:  “How exactly do you evacuate your bowels?”  I nearly tripped over myself asking it, so urgent and pent-up was my question.  In a way, the question itself was constipated, having festered in my head for years.

“Well,” Tad began, “funny you should ask.  These days, we deposit into certain containers and pack them down just the same as we pack them up.  We dispose of then properly afterwards. Lovely.  Back before the sport took off and was popular, before the routes became crowded, things were different.  We used to simply bring up a supply of paper bags and shit into those, and chuck them overboard.  We called them ‘mud falcons.’  Well, yes, it is true, we named them in honor of planet Earth’s fastest moving animal, the silent and deadly peregrine falcon.”

This predator rarely misses, dive-bombing straight down at up to 190 mph (really –  go and look it up.) That would make it a category 5 hurricane, but with talons.  It is the most feared aerial predator on earth; it is Death from above.   Tad further explained that the reason that climbers changed their ways is that those on their way up did not stand a chance dodging such rancid air mail.  He said that climbers on approach were occasionally devastated by such shit-bombs, or, maybe worse, stuck a hand firmly into a scarce hand-hold upon which such a care package had exploded from thousands of feet above.

Somehow, it struck me as a fitting name for my fabulous ride, for it too is silent, deadly fast and given much leeway in tight city traffic.  Woe the pedestrian jay-walking in the path of my econo-box of death.  The Mud Falcon abides.

Behold the Mud Falcon:


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4 Responses to “Mud Falcon”

  1. Getting Busted as a Family « Housefly Says:

    […] and me.  I was at the wheel, which was attached to my battered, underpowered Honda, also known as The Mud Falcon. We finished dinner and much wine and scotch, then started the 10-mile drive around back to the […]

  2. It’s Never Out of Season! « Housefly Says:

    […] grabbed two hooves and dragged the deceased across the asphalt to the wide grassy shoulder whereThe Mud Falcon […]

  3. Love & Haight « Housefly Says:

    […] bums start cracking on you. Several times each year I have the pleasure of getting into The Mud Falcon and finding that a homeless dude has invited himself inside. Usually it is because I have left a […]

  4. setting up google authorship Says:

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