Monday, April 09, 2007

Roadtrip 2

Well, it's Monday, the day after Easter. The past two days have found us along some majestic areas along the rugged Feather River, just outside Chino CA. We climbed at a place called Grizzly Dome, which had some excellent slab and sport routes. We happened to meet one of the areas pioneers and maintainers, who was a great friend in showing us some stellar routes. Brad is currently bolting a new route in his spare time, which after my test-flailing, may go in the mid to hard 11's. It should be a great route, with a very interesting crux sequence. I learned that my 60m rope is actually a 70m, since it allowed us to toprope more than a normal pitch yesterday. (Woot! 10m for free, and no wonder I got tired of flaking it out in the gym.) We'll definitely been meeting up with Brad again, as he had great stories of places he's climbed and seem to agree with us on every philosophical aspect of climbing (crowds, ethics, style, etc). He's a very cool guy.

Camping was fun - we simply pulled up into the hills along the river and took an access road way above the valley. The train still sounded quite close (toot toot!) but the view was vertigo-inducing. The drive itself was some mild off-roading and quite narrow in places. After choosing a flatter spot, we snarfed a hearty meal, enjoyed some great local pino, and slept on the sandy, pine needle forest floor. Hanmi manage to get some interesting photos of the location before we saddled up and headed south.

Central California is a hot valley of monotonous tree farms, vineyards, and rustic pit stops. We chugged along south of Sacramento to enter into the land of fast drivin' and hot breezes. Rosie doesn't keep up so well with the teenagers in their suspensionless civics, but we made it to Fresno in pretty good time. Fresno itself seems like a city with a hole in it. The "downtown" is full of empty-looking buildings, each with faded paint and a bulbless marquis. We wandered around a bit and then drove to the university district (not much different) looking for a wi-fi spot. Thus, this post brought to you by Starbucks.

Hanmi's hair has decided to become another entire personality, joining us on the trip. From morning to night, sleeping to waking again, it's a different shape and expression. Sometimes it's Bride Of Frankenstein, sometimes Eraserhead, sometime Robert Smith. She takes it all in stride though, and laugh along with me. After all, "its only hair" is almost a motto in our family - from the dog grooming to our own follies.

After this, we're planning a few days out again, a bit northward, toward Shaver lake. There are some sweet crags hiding out there, and they should be warm enough to keep us climbing for several days. Then, we'll probably decided again where to go. We're keeping it easy and not really deciding until we're driving.

I'd like to send a big THANKS to Cedric, the best man with the plan on the East Coast. He returned a shot-in-the-dark phone call today to chat and relay some info about old contacts in Phoenix, AZ. Sounds like he's doing well, and hasn't lost a bit of the charm/wit I remember of him. Sounds like Gary in AZ still remembers me, so we may get a chance to visit him along our way.

Climbing has been strong, managed to do everything except Brad's new project without a take/fall. I will definitely feel better when we can crank for a few days stright. The past few days has been a bit stormy or too cool to stay for long. The best places of the trip are still yet to come, with Yosemite, Tuolumne, Tahquitz, Red Rocks and Joshua Tree in the next 2 weeks, then places in AZ and CO, UT and ID on our way home. So much to do!

Doggies are doing fine. They are active morning and evening, then bliss out in the midday sun. Nights are a body pile in the tent, since everyone wants into the sleeping bags. All in all, they're doing well.

Days out: 4
Pitches: 6
Replaced: Dog Food, ice in the cooler
Gas prices: $3.29
Best Meal: Camp veggies w/wine and steak


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