Sunday, September 10, 2006

The end of Maple

Mt. Pleasant Utah is the local town where we go on rest days to do laundry, get groceries, and read books under a shade tree in the local park. A couple of years ago when we were there for the 4th of July we even has the pleasure of seeing an amateur rodeo where none of the cowboys could stay on the bull for 8 seconds. Since we missed the rodeo on this trip, we felt a little disconnected with local culture so we decided on night to stay in town a little late and taste the delights at the drive-in theater. I noticed that Monster House was playing, but I was going to go to the drive-in despite the movie. After all, it isn't about the movie, now is it? Much to our luck, Monster House had finished its run and Talladega Nights was playing. I had no idea what this movie was about, but it had to be better than Monster House. We pulled the van in, parked it sideways so we could lounge on the crash pad by the open side door and went to the snack bar and bought popcorn. We felt a little awkward at first since we were the only people in the lot that didn't have a huge pickup truck. What is the etiquette? Is it o.k. to drink beer? Is the sideways parked van blocking the view of others? Is it o.k. to get out and take photos of the van? We quickly relaxed when it became apparent that nobody cared a lick about what we did.
For those of you who haven't seen this movie, it is pretty damn funny. Maybe it was the beer, maybe it was the trucks running their engines during the movie, maybe it was the large extra butter popcorn that I consumed during the movie, but I laughed my ass off.

Other things that happened: we met tons of cool people. Here is a photo of Megan and I hanging out with Guy and Wendy. Wendy is from Santa Fe and takes long road trips with her dog, "Lolita, Lolita, Donde estas su pollo?" Lita for short. Wendy and I immediately became friends after I mentioned to her that I helped to start "Climbers for Kerry" and she gave me a big hug. Wendy is nursing an elbow injury, but that doesn't prevent her from climbing on 5.12s at maple. Pretty cool.

Guy travels in his truck 6 months of the year with his dog Mica (cute chocolate lab) and sent Millennium (14a) last week. He has the road trip life perfected. His rig is a custom made Truck topper that is quite well designed. On rest days, he gets a private study room at the college in Ephraim and turns it into an office. He's got it all ironed out.

The camp hosts, Charmaine, Bill and their daughter Risa are some of the sweetest people you'll ever meet. If only all camphosts could be so kind and loving. It makes the experience that much nicer to know that you are being protected and loved by great people.

So after sending some projects and not sending others we had to pack up and leave maple for Boulder, CO. The drive is 9 hours and it freakin' rained like crazy all the way through Colorado. The van, being the powerhouse that it is, kept a roaring 35 mph pace over some of the passes. Also, at elevations over 8000 feet, it emits a loud knocking sound. A bit to make me nervous. Needless to say, the drive sucked.

So here we are in Boulder, hanging out with our good friend Jeff and taking my 94 year old grandma on drives through the mountains. I don''t think she had left the old folks home for a couple of weeks so it was great to get her out. We got a little lost on dirt roads in the hills above boulder, megan got car sick in the back of the van, and that knocking sound kept coming back as I was trying to use the engine to brake the car on the super steep hills. It was an adventure, but my grandma sat there smiling the entire time. She is so incredibly cute!

On Tuesday morning we pack up and board an airplane for Rome, then Lake Como, then Hvar in Croatia, then Ithaca in Greece. I'll keep the updates coming from Europe.

Take care out there,

Friday, September 01, 2006

Megan's Adventures Home

It's great to be back to the simple life of cooking in the van, climbing all day and sipping from my box wine. I spent some extra time back on the east coast with family and old friends. Since I haven't been able to climb due to my "boxer's fracture" in my left hand I thought it would be nice to spend some extra time back east.
Most of my time I spent in Southern NH at my Dad and Step mom’s home. It was nice to have the luxury of a shower everyday. My brother was
visiting from Virginia to do a Half Iron Man, so I was able to hang out with my niece for an extended period of time and get pretty silly with her (she's 7). I'm hoping to recruit her into an avid traveler as she gets older. She already knows she wants to visit Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and California. International and domestic adventurer.
I went to College in Northern VT at UVM. So I had to go back and visit all my little buddies, old work places and favorite restaurants. One of my closest friends recently had a baby (Mia) so it was nice to be able to meet her and see what two close friends can create.
Another favorite stop off was Shelburne Farms, an amazing old Farm on Lake Champlain. I worked there after college and helped with their environmental education programs. They have lots of fun farm animals and I had to get in some critter time. I scrathed some pig bellies and picked up a chicken for Marshall. Oh they were so cute.
After VT I headed down to Mass in the pouring rain. In a 6-hour period I managed to get into a car accident with my Dad's truck in a tunnel in downtown Boston and get food poisoning. At this point I am happy to be back with my stronger Bubs, living the easy life at Maple. I miss you all and can't wait for anyone and everyone to join us.

Take care,

Protests in Salt Lake City

On tuesday evening after the whole updog incident, I drove north to Salt Lake to pick up Megan. Of course, I paused slightly when driving through Orem to listen to the van and make sure she isn't breaking down. So far, so good.
You know how when you haven't taken a shower for a week and you don't really feel that dirty cause you are in the outdoors and dirt is everywhere, but then you go to the city and suddenly you feel like the stinkiest, dirtiest, little rug rat in the whole place? Well I felt like that when I walked into the Salt Lake airport. However, Megan still loved me and we were quite excited to see each other.
We spent the night in Salt Lake because, a) I didn't want to drive the road out to maple in the dark (I am so afraid of hitting a deer) and b) there was an anti-bush protest scheduled in Salt Lake city the next day.
"Anti-bush protest in Salt Lake?" you might ask. In fact, Salt Lake city is a fairly liberal town in the heart of the most conservative state in Utah. The mayor, Rocky Anderson, is this total progressive minded guy who decided, when Bush came to town to give a speech, to stage a counter protest right in front of the city hall. Ohhhhh the controversy. The Utah media has been going on for the last few weeks about how bad mannered Rocky is to mot make bush feel welcome. We have been hearing about how voicing opposition to the war is helping the terrorists. Voices have been heard, and this is my favorite, about how voicing dissent will squash our freedoms by not allowing the president to do his job.
So you bet you we went to the protest. From what I read, there were about 4,000 people there (although it seemed like less to me) and we sat through a lot of bad speakers and then heard from Rocky who gave a complete breakdown of Bush's faults and his illogical approach to war. It was a speech that got me riled up and can be found here: . And the local media is just pissed about the rude manners. Tee-hee-hee.
So now we are back at maple. We climbed yesterday (yes, Megan climbed a few pitches with her broken hand), resting today and then will climb through the weekend.
I hope everyone has a good weekend, and of course, I'd love to hear from you.

Oh, yeah, and here is a photo of me and Megan in the parking lot of Ken Garff Volkswagen in Orem. This is just before we got the bill for $1150. God bless the large flag and the shade it gave us.


Up Dog

So I'm climbing up at the Pipe Dream with a guy named Guy. He in his 40's climbs 6 months a year and is working a 14a called Millenium. On this day, I was working out Beta on a 12c called orgasmo. Pretty fun climb climb with 3 distinct bouldery cruxes. I wish I could say it had rests in between the cruxes, but it doesn't really. Once I get the hard parts dialed, the redpoint crux will be fighting the burn on the 5.11 to the anchors. There is one notorius huge sloper cobble (think big brain hold in the gym) that you have to match on. Her name is Bertha. Bertha will spit me off.
I was in between burns, eating some nourishing Chef Bouyardee Ravioli (and kind of ashamed of it) when one of the people climbing up there, a woman from Boise, walks up to me and says "Are you eating up dog?" Now, i hadn't really spoken to this woman yet, so I was sort of caught off guard and a little ashamed of my ghetto snack, so I reply: "huh?" She repeats herself: "Is that up dog that you are eating?" I sit there and think for a minute and then reply: "What's up dog?" She looks at me in the eye, shrugs her shoulders and says: "Nothing, what's up with you, dog?" then walks away. I laughed pretty hard. All was friendly in the Pipe Dream for the rest of the day.