Thursday, May 12, 2011

one for the road, eh?

Pictures inserted randomly.......

getting ready for a trip to a foreign country isn't something i do routinely. I don't really enjoy flying in planes so i don't hesitate to make my last night in town one my liver regrets. This trip was no different except my last night in town was cinco de mayo in my old stomping grounds. The sequence of events leading up to my departure should mostly be kept secret but there was some boozing with a few of the usual suspects. I have a habit of putting my wallet and cell phone on my lap while i'm sitting at a resaurant to keep them off the table and outta my pockets. Whatever time that was when the authority figures of Casey MOores decided they wanted to clean up and go home and started hearding us out into the streets I got up and the wallet mustve fallen to the floor. 

The morning of May 6th. Hung over, wearing carhart like dickies and no shirt on a leather couch in tempe... ie FUCKING sweaty and miserable... i run through my basics list.. keys, check.. cell phone, check... wallet? where the fuck is my wallet? in the cushions, under the couch, in the kitchen, bathroom.. did i drop it on my way home? my plane leaves in 1.5hrs SHIT! to shorten a long story we walked through the kitchen of caseys at 0855 and the cook grab it off the register and I was on my way with a 50 minute window...before the plane takes off...

Seattle was seattle... blue mohawks and rich people with lots of REI gear they prolly used that one other time... Iceland was so sweet to fly over and may be a cool place to check out one day. The women all look the same... and that's OK... Then it was off to London.

London was pretty cool for the short period of time I was there. I cruised around on the Underground a bit... did my best to mind the gap. I was sitting in a Pub getting my grub on when some jokers in costumes start rolling in. BTW, it's 2pm and some of the gents in the establishment were getting twisted drunk. But the guys in the costumes... Hulk Hogan, Superman, OOmpalOOmpAs, a gang dressed up like a game of monopoly, American Football Players, the ultraviolence gang from clockwork orange, prisoners... standard costume hijinx all start coming into the pub drink a few beers.. really fast.. and bounce, theyre gone for good. I was like what the fuck!? this trip is going to be insane if this is how it's starting.. later i hear from someone much more worldly than me that this action isn't uncommon. a group of guys sitting at the bar sang a few drinking songs in the midst of all this and i felt like i got the whole enchilada in London time for the Channel Tunnel Eurorail...

The channel tunnel is the most boring wonder of this world. All i have to say about it is with all that engineering how about some damn windows or a few light fixtures so the people of the world can admire your incredible work. This is where i realized i've listened to this song, Pearl Jam more than all the others in the ipod so far this trip. Traveling goes like that.

Paris by night. As my train was pulling into paris it was clear to me that paris isn't my kind of city. luckily the intinerary kept me running. I arrived in one train station and spent about 30minutes looking for my next train. Finally, i decided to show someone behind a window my 'ticket' he had a look of disbelief on his face. I don't speak a single word of french but i figured out he was telling i needed to be at the train station on the other side of the city and i needed to take the 'orange' metro to get there.... let the games begin. I had an hour and a half to make it across paris on the Orange number 5. Easy. I even took a nap on a super comfy bench. Luckily, i was woken up but some annoying, fat kid that bumped into my foot while his parents were trying to figure out up from down. Then it was time for the night train to Nice. As i'm walking to Seat 28 on Coach 28 i notice bunkbeds through the windows of all the coaches.. on the inside i'm thinking nice i'll get to sleep for real since that has happened for at least 2 days now... i was also worried i'd snore a lot and make everyone mad but decided that was really not my problem. coach 26... 27 wtf? regular seats. coach 28 regular seats bummer.. get on there is an old lady sitting in my seat. I'm the only non french speaking person around so i sit accross from her. ultimately this was the right move because i now know seating assignments are really loose on these night trains. I got my own pair of seats. Sounds nice enough and i got to see one of the more impressive sunrises of my life so i won't complain about how day 3 without sleep is about to start.
Nice, France is one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen. I was so fortunate  to walk all over the city before everyone else woke up. Backnote, my buddy told me a ferry would take me from Nice to Finale so a while back I google mapped it and looked easy enough. I thought thatd be a sweet thing to do. For the record, I leave a lot to chance in my travels. So i walked probably 5 miles from the train station to the Port. The girls selling Ferry tickets had never heard of Finale Ligure and thought I was insane. So I bust out my netbook and google map and show them the route. I show them the route and the girls tell me i need to buy a ticket from the company that's in the same building but in the room behind theirs. The other company doesn't open for 2 more hrs. So I'm sitting outside looking at the beautiful yachts and surfing the web on the free wifi and i notice it's gonna take 11hrs to ride a ferry from Nice to Finale Ligure. FUCK! I can't do that I'll die from exhaustion, literally and figuratively... between the illness and possible acute renal failure from dehydration.

Train tickets, i need a train ticket. On the googles, www, intertubes there is no help getting on a train from Nice to Finale Ligure... it seemed like Finale didn't have a train station and that is what the SNCF website kept telling me. Luckily,  Angela got on the FB for a second and I got her to give me the insider scoop. I needed to got to some place called vermilla.. which the french call vermiglia, or vice versa,  get off the train, buy another ticket headed toward some damn Italian city and it passes through Finale Ligure. So i got to walk 5 miles back to train station and this all goes down like that.

That train ride followed the coast and went through San Remo and Monte Carlo. Ugly......
1600 I'm in Finale Ligure, Angela met me at the train station then bought me gelato on the walk back to the apartment, stylin. Except i got a sore throat that started in Seattle and has done nothing but gone from annoying to excruciating and I haven't slept for three days which is a long time to go without sleep even by my standards...

Next day no climbing unfortunately, I had to just lay on the beach and get some sun. I met Angela's Italian friends who were mostly working in Finalborgo.. Marco running the climbing shop, guy at the butcher store, Alessandro climber guy who seems to reupholster, the coffee shop girl and the pizza guys... had a prosciutto i funghi pizza, chianti and tiramisu. They all think the name 'Jeff' is funny, they smile, chuckle and repeat my name with disbelief when they learn it as if there is some inside joke i totally missed out on. Appearantly, 'Jeff' is just a reallllly unitalian name... i'm looking into this.
The next day got epic in hurry. I got on a bike and road it to Finalborgo Angela was on the scooter. On my way back to the apartment i got lost... really lost... for a long time. And i dunno, on a bike that's way too small a few signs that say 15% grade and being lost to the point that you find yourself riding in circles in a foreign country, DOMS from the 10mile walk around Nice,  the sorethroat... i was WORKED and was thinking about calling off the climbing,UGH. Needed a birra, got one and then it was climetime.  I illegally drove a scooter (with no helmet) to Il Pilastro. Il Pilastro is where you will find a nice selection of Euro Death Slabs. I climbed several of the 6a+ variety and even at that grade i feel lucky to still have all my limbs intact. Exquisitely technical climbing which i find fitting for my climbing style. I just wish they were about at least 5-10 degrees steeper without the ledges. I must admit being the first cliff i climbed on here I was mildly worried there was no steep climbing here. The rock was absolutely bulletproof and the approach was just the right length for my lazy ass. The sorethroat was still raging, but i'm here to climb dammit so climb is what i will do.

11-5-11. the sun came up again and i don't feel worse. not to say thr sore throat was any better in the morning but it wasn't worse for once. First thing was to get me a helmet for cruisin on the scooter so i don't have to go to jail in Italy. That was a long walk which involved two macchiatos. But i got a pretty rad motorcycle helmet. Then we rode the scooter to a zone caled Fallesia Dell' Orso. Which was bolted up in 2006. The routes were short but the moves were wonderful. Long pulls on small pockets and incut crimps. Climbed quite a few routes. One was brutally sharp. The rest were sharper than you might expect on limestone but not too bad compared to some of the stones in this world. When the climbing was done I laid on the beach.  That's about it for now. Still have 5 weeks of climbing and kickin it on the beach. Francesca the girl who owns the apartment comes back from Venice tomorrow. Saturday going to get on some steeper, harder routes with a guy named Pierre.  Garn and joni are doin 4 days in Finale in about 2 weeks... sure there will be at least a few more stories to tell...... and the throat is back to scratchy... hoping tomorrow i'm 100% again.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Crazy World

In no time at all, I've purchased land that needs developing and the race car that might win its class in the Baja 1000. There was a ton of rock climbing, desert walking, driving, sanding, cleaning and learning that went on this past month and a half. Not to mention a bit of work squeezed in the middle. My body was finally beat down enough that I needed to take a few days to recover. So here I am hiding out in Tempe where it's beautiful outside, just hanging out, polishing up a roll-cage, thinking about what's next. I think it's time to call it on this section of the year. I was sweating uncomfortably in jeans yesterday and I think spring has sprung.. in the desert at least. The move is looking like back to Flagstaff to work hard for a few weeks. The fun I just had was expensive and I need to get some work in to earn this trip to Europe. The price of gas seems to be at an all time winter high to me which is kind of a bummer... wish there could be better alternative fuel choices for RVs. The land in Texas is rugged, full of cactus, warm in the winter and fairly desolate. Plan is to do some work there starting in November, wish I could make it back tomorrow but the drive time to climb time ratio doesn't make sense. Even if i do own a piece of it now, strange and unfortunate how it all worked out. At least when I go back I'll have the Baja done. November plans could offer some variety to life outside the comfort zone we'll have to wait and see. This past season in Hueco I learned that variety is good. I tried to get better at doing many sequences quickly rather than doing the hardest shit i could muster and destroying myself. Stayed relatively injury free, my elbows were routinely more sore than I like by the end. Climbed a bunch of cool stuff. Bailed out to Jtree when it got incredibly cold in Hueco. Coldest I've ever been. It was the finest I've climbed in Joshua tree. Climbed a ton of good problems. Surprised I had never done the coyote corner..  problems all documented in the planner. Looks like a great foundation with a lifetime of growing potential in the El Paso desert. I'm ready to sport climb a bit and start getting ready for Europe. I hate to admit it but  there is a ton of stuff at Jacks I've never done that I should do. Maybe catch the Asylum before it gets too hot. I've got a dune buggy I need to get to a spot where I can drive it to work everyday. That project is going down in Tempe and has a deadline. The time can, should and will be filled in AZ. I'm looking forward to trying to work as much as I have planned. The time I spent at work went by quickly.. my feet just hurt.. gotta take better care of those dogs on work days. When you're feeling positive about your job and work you should probably ride the wave. Maybe I'll finally do my CCRN stuff while i'm fully immersed in the nursing world again. Pictures were a failure again. 10months of Bago living done

Thursday, January 6, 2011


The past few weeks seemed to drag out right to the bitter end. It all started with my 26th birthday. Tried to keep things low key. A few good people gathered at Casey Moore's for a quiet dinner. Chris and Garn got me a shake weight. Against my better judgement, I willingly drank too much of every kind of alcohol. Fortunately, I had done a weeks worth of climbing that morning. I fell off he last moves of The Rail 8 times or so.
The Rail

 And did a bunch of other cool problems around the Oak Flat area. The day before I did a problem called Meatsuit.. weird name but it had some fun moves.

The rain came in fast right after I did it and we bailed back to Tempe.

Work went by quickly. 

Then it was off to Joshua Tree for xmas. Not much to write about this trip because I didn't do much. Rode the xtracycle around the park a bit. Put up some sweet christmas lights.

 Cooked a pretty good dinner for GArn Joni and Brian. The cobbler was the biggest one I've made in the small D.O. and it was pretty good. Climbing was kind of gross cause it was really cold and damp.  Nevertheless, I did some slab called Slabmaster in my campsite and I flailed on Scatterbrain a bit.

 Never felt warmed up enough to be trying that. I finally figured out how to do a problem called Chuckawalla. Once i figured out the first move I was able to quickly link in the sit start and did Chuckawalla sit.

Walked around the Outback with Chris and Garn.
garn on upside-down pineapple
chris in the hobbit hole off-width

 That was my high point so I gave up climbing for the trip had some holiday beers and watched Fists of Fury

Then it was back to work. Work was good. I got to take care of some really sweet old ladies who I felt actually got better. New Years yielded temps as low as -18 in downtown Flagstaff and the bago was snowed in.. badly. Walked home from work when the Jeep wouldn't start then dug it out since i was already cold and miserable. Pipes were freezing but the jacuzzi worked the whole time. Then the work stretch was over again.

Rolled down to Tempe to hang out for a couple of days before going to Hueco to focus on climbing for a few weeks. Plans changed again and things settled on Hueco until mid February when I go to Flagstaff to work and housesit. Posted the bago up at Angelas house and rolled around d.t. tempe on the xtracycle. Dry River Yacht Club played at the Yucca but we only caught 2.5 songs. Luckily they are playing again Friday.

Today. Today was a good day. It was the first day I've gotten to climb in 2011 and I did The Rail. Finally, tried something totally different at the end and it made the last move quite manageable. After the 4th try I felt really weak in the hard moves. Then after 10 failed attempts at the hardest move I changed my shoes did the move and finished the problem. I'm fully on the road now living in the Bago with the Xtracycle. Sold the 4runner to simplify things and I feel pretty good. I'm leaving Tempe early Sunday morning and will be climbing in Hueco Tanks on monday. Next blogpost should be mid Hueco trip. There's a rumour of Garn wanting to see what it's like to drive the Bago down to Potrero Chico for a few days. We'll have to see what shakes down.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

still no camera, still no pictures... just rambling about rv living

These past few weeks have been interesting for me. I've more or less committed to resting from rock climbing. I've been climbing one to two days a week on things i've never really been on before. Leaving sunny, full of life Hueco and coming back to the freezing cold, currently uninspiring, vortex that's flagstaff sucked a lot of the life out of me. The bago lifestyle was definately challenged by snowy weather. Fortunately, Tempe was a welcomed, warm retreat. Waking up to an inch of snow reminded me I need to a bit more religious about checking the weather. One weekend of stress, then another housesitting while the bago rested in Tempe brings me to today. The long distance bago shuffle prompted me to commit to something more life changing. I want to sell my 4Runner. It's highly likely I'll let it go January 5th before I leave AZ. Some other changes that have develeped. I'm not going straight to Hueco. I'm going to the Southeastern part of this country based on Nicks good word. My friends Nick and Jill recently moved back to Boone, NC. They told me I'm always welcome, they're not currently working and are psyched to climb a lot. It currently seems like Boone will be too cold and wet but deeper into the south we should be in luck. I've had a much more positive outlook on work lately which makes me feel better. The count down is on until I have total control of my schedule. 3 weeks. In one month I'll be hitting the road. The Bago hasn't had any mechanical issues in 6500miles and seems to be running like a top. My camera has been charged.. now i need to remember the damn thing, my apologies.

What little climbing I've done the past few weeks was in spite of some pretty serious back pain a few massages and a lot of stretching ultimately set at bay. The routes have been good.  Nick and Jill showed me The Blackhole at the Priest Draw before they peaced out. Then I found a route at the Homestead on the ol' mtnproject that no one had done and appeared to be an open project. Went out there with Chris did a really fun route called 'Johns Meat Market' then i got myself up the project. I tried it on toprope and did all but one move. Went back the next week and rope soloed on it did all the moves, it'll take some work to link the top section. I also soloed on Tufa the Soul. I'm not going to say I'm too short to do that route but that's a long move. I'll try it next time I'm out there. Then I had a positive week at work! Next weeks climbing went down out in Queen Creek. Tried to do some bouldering. Brings me to today where I'm starting to contemplate getting back to getting and ending this 3 week long break from climbing regularly. I'm about to enter 3 months of serious bouldering. As much as I want to start climbing again I want my body/mind rested well enough to keep the psyche and feel healthy through the next few months.

I'm thinking of staying in Flagstaff through my birthday and leaving for Joshua Tree from here Dec 23. Back to Flagstaff to pound out some work and the roadtrip begins. Sometime between now and then I'll turn  it on again and get my forearms ready. Might not be today though.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I blinked and November was almost over. I finally found all the pieces to charge my camera. Unfortunately, my camera was back in Flagstaff when i found the cables. This is merely a journal entry. Not entirely sure where to start with this one because a lot of things happened the past 2.5weeks. It all got kicked off with a day of endurance training at the Pit fueled by the last attempts on Goliath. Somewhere in that day there was a onehang effort on No Joke, I went through two partners. Keith climbed the first half of the day with me and Carrie the second. Keith had to pack for a climbing trip in Turkey. I was in luck that Joe had belayed me up the thing the day before and I was able to leave my draws on the route without anyone stealing them, a rare occurence in the unfriendly sport climbing city of Flagstaff. A few rest days at work led to a commando trip to the Enchanted Tower with Garn. It was unfortunate that this trip quickly became the worst day of climbing at the tower all year. That's all I'm going to say about that because the we were off to Tempe. It was the most interesting night I've had in a while. My only plan was to have a few beers with my good friend Shawn at Casey MOores. It quickly escalated to a crazy time and Black Carl was playing at the Yucca,  we had to go. The rest of the night will remain word of mouth tales. Best night I've had out in a really long time. Then back to work because my schedule was not a pleasant one this month. I got the sickness from someone somewhere and I think it was a pt. I barely remember. I was sick for days spun into confusion about what to do with my 8days off that was about to start. Finally committed to the original plan of Hueco Tanks. Got to Hueco in 10 or so hours accompanied with Joe. It was really good for the soul and my health to be back in the desert. The days there went North Mtn, East Mtn,Rest, North Mtn, East Spur/West Mtn. All great climbing days and gave me a glimpse of what I'm looking forward to January when my minimum work requirements change.Between walking around the park and a BBQ I met some great people along the way including a guy named John who I heard established the Mars Roof. Really nice guy about to graduate from nursing school. Look forward to climbing with him a bit after his graduation. We ended the trip at the Enchanted tower. I almost acquired a cool black kitten in the middle of nowhere newmexico. There was snow on the ground. The pleasant lady at the Datil gas station/cafe wants to know how to market to rock climbers better. If your passing through and have any ideas let her know. I told her to sell chalk and keep selling cheeseburgers and beer. Fortunately, this trip into the tower yielded the best day of the season I was able to experience. Quite a contrast from the previous trip. The air was still, silent and crisp. I climbed what i truly believe to be the finest pitch of rock climbing of my climbing career thus far. I didn't 'send' Goliath but I did my absolute best and that's no disappointment. Thinking about relaxing around AZ for the next few weeks and getting prepped and psyched for spending 6 or so weeks in Hueco Tanks come January 8th. That's a brief glimpse. I may edit this one a bunch i just had to get something out before i lose track

Saturday, October 30, 2010

aka Jeff on Goliath

~i'm not gonna edit my journal for grammar. if that bugs you at least there are pictures this time. you can see that we were out in the woods rock climbing~

my short work week ended uneventfully sunday morning with a stroll through the damp hospital parking lot. to my knowledge the Bago was packed and ready to roll out to the Etower for the October climbing finale. joe carrie and I had a plan with some loose goals, mostly get pumped, take big falls and have fun. For me, the drive was uneventful. the bago didn't break down.I slept pretty much til we got to datil. fueled up, talked with the skinny hick in the market about the routes at the Land Beyond and met some crazed newmex hippie who had been traveling india for a bit then bought a Bago kinda like mine. I was real cordial but I was afraid he was going to hug me. We bounced our way down the dirt road. There is a strange vertigo feeling i get when it feels like the bago could tipover on sketchy roads... it only happened once. We parked and I was finally feeling awake. The idea I had about what to accomplish this trip was quickly thrown out the window when joe was PSYCHED on Goliath. Quick warmup which included some Rumpelstiltskin...

carrie on rumpelstiltskin. i think. maybe that's grendel..
 then I got the opportunity to hang quick draws from the 16 or so bolts on Goliath. As the sun was setting we retreated to the comfort of the Bago. Day 2 brought us a lot of wind, just like the internet had said. We started late and still climbed a whole lot. started with a tour of the good moderates around the tower. Ooey Gooey is always fun. Checked out Blessed and Blissed.

Joe Morgan. Blessed and Blissed
  I 'flashed' that I guess.. as the terminology goes... that was nice... then we got blown around on Goliath. An ongoing debate over Bruce Lee movies was ended in a draw. Carrie nourished us with more bomb cooking and I made a Krusteaz. Due to subpar conditions we all left some gas in the tank. Day 3, tuesday, was the day where it all came together high up on Goliath for me.

The top crux which is about as hard as a warm up boulder problem I thought was damn hard I admit to being weaksauce pretty often but I really didn't want to tell anyone just how hard i thought the crux was. I wanted to skip the clip cause even if i did the moves there was no way i could find the fine motor ability to clip that draw as pumped as I am there. That's an obvious catch 22 because if you skip a clip on that route your fall went from really big to fuckin huge. In all honesty i was ready to throw in the towel on the route for the season. I decided to try a move that is really big for someone like me with short arms instead of the rad body tensioney cross over deal I had tried again and again and again. Sure as shit. Not only did I stick it... I clipped, I breathed, I rested, I chalked up and hung out there. So I rested and went for it with my new knowledge of movements. I knew at the first rest that the end of my thrid day on was a bad time for a focused effort went for it and fell. The day was over. We kicked it and watched the origianl Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Day 4. last day of the trip. Joe sent the first pitch of Goliath. It was awesome to watch the endurance grow in a guy with all that power in just 4 days. I essentially warmed up on Goliath then went for it. floated all the cruxes only to be thwarted by a foot hold hidden around the arete and under a draw. when i found it, it was too late. hands opening...  i desperately tried to deadpoint through the last hard move anyway although it was obvious I wasn't gonna stick it.

Lowered off, rested, tried again, regressed, snagged all my draws cause it was time to go home. the sun was setting fast and we still ahd draws on two of the north facing routes. I burned up those carrie cleaned them on TR. I wanted to repeat humpty dumpty, one of my first 5.12s. pretty much tried it in the dark. looked right when i needed to go left at the top just like the first time. hah. The pump was dizzying after those bonus pitches. Carrie and joe walked back to the bago. I sat and chilled. Ended the trip sitting at the base of the tower as total darkness set in. I soaked in how good it feels to have a breakthrough on a project. Sending is nice but it's like acing an Algebra exam first you need to learn Algebra. For me, the first time I really 'figured it out' was the most memorable and that's the feeling that sticks with me forever.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The White Wall - an October overiew

The White Wall got rained on in intervals all day it never had time to dry enough for climbing. Fortunately, perfectly horizontal limestone roofs at the Priest Draw are across the street and about 2 minutes from where the Bago is currently located. Over the past few months other climbers have been telling me to check out the one roof I never scoped because I didn't believe I would ever be strong enough to do any of the problems under it. We were FIRED up to get on No joke and Total Recall well rested and didn't transfer all of that psyche to bouldering but we were close. Seemed like a good day for the Mars Roof beta spray down and to take a break from sport routes. I did all but one move on The Receptionist and I'm psyched to work on linking more and more of those awesome moves together. The last hard move is a problem by itself that's gonna take some figurin out. Not sure if Joe's beta is gonna do the trick for me there I've heard rumor of Jill doing a heel hook there and her beta hasn't steered me wrong year to date. I was definitely flailing with a purpose. I now believe that doing any of those problems is not out of the realm of possibilities for my body/mind combination. It's gonna take a lot of work though. Made me think about and question just how many projects I'm working on this fall. Training on and for these routes has definitely made me a stronger climber. That's insignificant compared to what I've  learned from climbing this month.  I have not done any of them from start to finish without falling which is easily discouraging. I've put more focus on enjoying the process and loving the moves and the adventure and uniqueness of every focused attempt I make on these routes. The consistency of my climbing is markedly improved by this. No doubt I've gotten pissed off when I fall with the last hard clip in my face, or my feet pop off or even just by feeling weak. Now I recognize it and remove it sooner. Prolly transferable to life in a lot of ways. There is still one week left in this month which means there is still one trip left. Sunday morning at 0800 I am going to The Enchanted Tower with Joe Morgan and Carrie. Rolling in the Bago. Pictures and report to come. Time to put observation in motion. Only trying Goliath once or twice there are two more routes there I really wanna get on. gotta train for my new November plans.....