Sunday was awesome. After abnormally minimal debauchery on Saturday night, we all arrived at the Purgatory wall. Matt Morse and a French guy named Thierry had trundled off early to the Motherlode region, while fellow Primo Chalk athlete Neal Sipahimalani and his girlfriend Chelsea Sommer came with us in Bert to Purgatory with the main goal of ticking Lucifer, a heinously thin 5.14c that Neal’s been working on for a long time. After a warm-up, we watched Adam Taylor run a casual lap on Neal’s project. It was badass. Neal was unpsyched due to the heat but I think watching Adam got his heart racing, and he tied his 115-pound frame into the sharp end and climbed easily through the bottom section, falling two hard moves from the good rest in the middle. So close!
Byron took off with his parents to spend some time at home in Bloomington, and we had to drop Neal and Chelsea off at the Motherlode parking lot so they could go home with Thierry and Matt. Since it was still early and I still had more juice in my forearms, I dragged Vikki up to the ‘Lode to check out this supposed insanity. I should mention that Vikki is currently in non-climbing mode because of a bruised rib. (I made her take a lead fall to get rid of the heebie-jeebies, and she got injured by irony, and a ledge.)
Well, it turns out that the Motherlode is indeed completely insane. In the middle of the giant, steep wall is the huge Madness Cave which features 90 feet of 45° overhang and several hard 5.13s and a .14a called Omaha Beach. To the right and left of the cave are dozens of 4- and 5-star routes, ranging from 5.11 to 5.14, and most of them are quite long. We met James, who had been working Harvest (.12d) with Matt and Thierry, and who was more psyched than Eeyore isn’t. We climbed until dark, trying and nearly doing Harvest, then moving over to 40 Ounces of Justice, the easiest of the Madness Cave routes. We ended up going bolt-to-bolt and not even reaching the chains, and generally feeling incredibly small and insignificant. Several massive whippers were taken.
Vikki and I dropped James off at Lago Linda and went home for cheeseburgers. Then came Monday.
Monday was a rest and work day. Rest days kinda suck, but we were so beat up that we were actually looking forward to it. With Byron gone for a while, we worked on transferring a bunch of footage from one hard drive to the other. We did laundry, emailed sponsors, made plans for our New England visit, and caught up on other computer-based things. It was a balmy 85°, and we were thankful that we weren’t forcing ourselves to yard on slimy jugs.
It all started to go downhill in the early afternoon. As we hung up the laundry, we noticed that the fridge had stopped working. This had happened before and the fix was to just blow the dust out of the burner, but this time that didn’t work. There goes our perishable food, and Spenser gets no cold beer. Hooray.
Shortly thereafter, Vikki comes into the basement where we work and tells me the awning had blown over. Um, what? Yeah. We ran over to check, and the wind had taken the awning and lifted it up and onto the roof of the trailer, yanking the tent stakes that were supposed to keep the legs on the ground and breaking one of the struts that keeps it in place. We rolled the awning back up and cursed.
We worked some more, but in one of those weird, distracted, unproductive hazes that often occur when the internet comes into play and things around you are disintegrating. Then the thunderstorm came. Thunderstorms are far from abnormal around these parts. Lately the weather has been dry during the day with rain and thunder at night, and in this case there was another huge downpour. After eating leftovers for dinner, we retired to bed and Sopranos, only to notice water seeping in from the wall behind Vikki’s bedside. This meant that the roof run-in was more serious than we thought, and that my home caulking job hadn’t done the trick.
If you have ever shopped around for trailers or RVs, you’ll know that the worst thing in the world for them is roof damage. As soon as water gets in there behind the walls, you’ll get mold and rot, not to mention a severely decreased resale value. Realizing that our minor accident was actually a major one was a daunting realization, and I literally started banging my head against a wall.
Well, nothing to do about it at that point. We lay down and pressed play. Just as Ralphie’s thoroughbred horse streaked to a victorious finish, I felt a weird tickle on my foot. I thought it was an ant crawling, and then I felt an insanely painful sting and ripped off the covers to discover a wasp (WASP?!?!) underneath, which must’ve been hiding there, pissed off, ever since we took the laundry in. Let’s just say the offending arthropod, about the size of Bugs Bunny’s front teeth, did not pass painlessly (nor easily..frickin’ tank bug, that thing).
So Mondays are awful, even if you’re differently employed like us. But ya know what? This is the life we chose, and I’m okay dealing with a non-working fridge and leaky roof if our backyard is the Red River Gorge.
after reading this, I feel like i experienced this terrible Monday, hope it gets better!
and I love the sopranos, amazing series!
Thanks man! My foot finally has gone back to normal and we’ve got a plan all figured out for getting the roof fixed. And also, we’re editing the HP40 night climbing footage, so keep an eye out. You’ll be in there!