O. K. Bill, we’re going to do this one straight. None of that supposedly “funny” stuff you usually try to write. Just a nice, simple account of the progress you’re making getting ready for the trip to Red Rock. You are making progress aren’t you? We know all about those plans of your: building the bed for that beat up old van, digging all that camping junk out of the basement; lining up climbing partners, getting in climbing shape, blah, blah, blah. Well, have you got anything done? As for the climbing, old man, what makes you think you are going to be able to get up, much less lead, those long “moderates” you’ve been drooling over in the guidebook? They are pretty high and look awfully steep.
Who is that guy? And why does he bug me so? Seems like he follows me almost everywhere I go. When he’s not pointing out what I’ve messed up or haven’t got done, he’s telling me what will go wrong and what I can’t do right. Does everybody have one of those fellows riding around in his head? Oh hell, who knows?
Any way, buddy, I have gotten a lot done for my trip, thank you! I’ve lined up several climbing partners; and identified likely routes that don’t look too hard and get sun most of the day. I’ve made lists of the gear and stuff I will need to take, and am assembling it. You know you’re going to forget something you need, dummy. Probably, but I can always buy it once I get there. Las Vegas may not be civilization, but it does have stores, including Desert Rock Sport, said to be a fine climbing store.
Ezzy (the minivan) and I will take the Southern route: down Interstate 81 and then across I-40. There appears to be a good supply of campgrounds along I-40 that are open year round. The trip ought to take about 4 days. Leaving bright and early on February 11th, we should arrive at the Red Rock campground late Thursday, affording one day to get oriented before my first climbing appointment. Yeah, but what if that old heap of junk minivan breaks down? It’s pretty much a wreck. Well, I guess we’ll just deal with that if and when it happens. Ezzy has been to the car hospital where my racing buddy Ed York (an outstanding and honest mechanic) gave her a once over, repaired her front suspension (which has been making funny noises for about 5 years), and put new shoes on her. I’ll bring the auto tool kit, floor jack and jumper cables. I’ve got my cell phone. We’ll cope.
Today I built the bed and installed it into Ezzy. You really think you’re gonna be able to sleep in that thing? I don’t see why not. I’ll just drive until I am really tired and then ..... ZZZZZ. The bed is very narrow and the van will be cold at night. That “southern” route of yours doesn’t exactly run through the tropics. Hah, I got that covered. My old Eddie Bauer -20 deg. down bag is going to make a reappearance, along with a Dacron bag. If they aren’t enough, my old expedition Parka is coming too. I’ll be drowning in fluff. And you really think that bed is wide enough? For a person who can sleep each night wedged into a 12 inch space between his wife and his cat, the bed will be plenty big.
The kitchen is shaping up. I dug out the old Coleman camp stove and bought some new gas cylinders for it. I got a really cute little tea kettle and a Melita funnel and filters so I can make the essential morning cups of coffee. Add in some pots, plates, a cup and a bowl and food making is taken care of. The first aid kit is restocked. Good. Probably going too need that puppy. Hope you have lots of stuff for aching muscles, sore joints and sprained ankles. Oh, shut up!
What about the conditioning program? How’s that coming? Truth to tell, it’s not coming so well. It was doing OK in December and early January. Week before last I climbed 4 times, twice outdoors (we had some really warm weather here near Washington D.C. Hard to understand why with the candidates and their hot air all in Iowa, but we did). Then I got sick and have been house-bound for the last 10 days. Gonna try back at the gym tomorrow, so we’ll see. But I should be totally recovered well before leaving for Red Rock.
What makes you think that, at your age (60 years) and having been out of climbing for 35 years, you have any business trekking all the way across the county to climb 1000 foot cliffs in Nevada? Are you nuts? Probably. But this trip to Red Rock is certainly no less reasonable than was that day in the Gunks 18 months ago when I did my first trad lead in 35 years. Indeed, since then I have worked back up to where I am leading 5.7 at the Gunks, at Seneca and on Cathedral Ledge in New Hampshire. Those areas have pretty stiff ratings. If I can lead 5.7 there, I should be able to climb it at Red Rock. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Good luck, you’re going to need it! Thanks, I guess.