Category

Musings

What The Hell Are We Doing?

By Musings, Trip JournalOne Comment

Our blog posts have been sparse, our photography even moreso, and our list of ticks has not grown. What gives? What happened to the “climb all the time can’t-stop-won’t-stop” never-ending road trip? That, dear reader, is the exact question we are trying to answer. Since we got rousted out of Canada back in the beginning of October, things have been hectic. That was right after I hurt my finger, and in the midst of trying to finish the edit for Alex Honnold’s Birthday Challenge. We spent time in Bellingham, Salt Lake City, filmed one last Birthday Challenge in Joe’s Valley, and found ourselves back in Salt Lake for Halloween. We did not party; we quite literally hid in the dark while children tried to get candy from us, while trying to work on a timelapse for the Honnold video. I don’t read many productivity blogs, but I would wager that 0% of them advise constantly interrupting your workflow with travel, changing your work surroundings daily, and keeping irregular hours. It’s Not That It’s Not Working, Exactly… You know when you’re projecting a route, and there’s a section in which you can do all the moves and even link most of them together, but you just don’t see it all coming together, ever? And then someone points out that you can use a drop-knee on most of the moves, and suddenly you realize you’ve been climbing inefficiently and, frankly, stupidly? This is what we have been feeling like. We work hard, we try…

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My Friends Are Awesome

By Musings, Stuff We're Psyched On3 Comments

I was once told that you are the average of your five best friends. It’s a cute saying and is probably quite accurate for most people, although it may speak more to humanity’s tendency to self-segregate. I’ve found that my friends tend to be on the more adventurous and quirky side, though to be honest I may have sought those friends so that I can be pulled up by the collective average. Over the course of our nearly three years on the road, we’ve encountered our fair share of adventurous spirits and inspiring figures. The ones that impress me the most, though, are the ones you and I have never read about. Sure, we expect the Wide Boyz to thrash themselves and then pull off a heroic ascent by the skin of their teeth, with much suffering along the way. But who wants to do all that without any sponsor dollars riding on it? Ryan Tetz does. He participated in an experimental bike race that had to be shortened mid-race so as not to kill all the riders (most of which dropped out anyway), and he was one of the only finishers. He’s currently in the middle of a 6-week hellstorm of hurt, 6 extreme endurance challenges in a row. He just finished pedaling his bike across Yosemite National Park, en route to Nevada from the Golden Gate Bridge. He started at 6:26 am in Marin, and reached the Nevada state line 27.5 hours later, braving, among other hardships, a nighttime descent of Tioga Pass with…

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Beware the Fake Ass Bloggers

By MusingsNo Comments

We are, to use the parlance of our times, psyched. We live on the road, we’ve met great people, and, like the shirts with the smiling stick figures, life is good. But that doesn’t mean we can’t complain. And since we really don’t do it very often, it seems fair to, every once in a while, call out certain behaviors that will ultimately result in us losing our psyche. Today, I’m going to call out Fake Ass Bloggers. This is a tear-down in the name of public service. The formula is simple. Privileged twenty-somethings get a taste of camping, or visit the Grand Canyon on a family trip. They like it and start a blog. Suddenly, a couple of strangers comment on their posts. Oh shit. Now there’s a following. Before you can blink twice, another social media hero is getting people PSYCHED to get outdoors! This would be great, if that’s where it stopped. But our outdoor hero is ambitious. Our outdoor hero wants some free stuff. Our outdoor hero wants more exposure. What’s wrong with that? you might ask. Well, that’s what I’m here to tell you. The outdoor industry is obviously keen to get as many people hiking and biking and climbing and eating 7-dollar-a-bag space food as possible. “Outdoor” is like the magic modifier that makes everything cost double.  You see, normal humans will venture off the pavement with whatever they normally wear and eat, modify it as they see fit, and still have enough money to stop at Whole Foods…

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Fun is Life and Death

By Birthday Challenges, Musings, The InteriorOne Comment

“I am deadly serious about us having fun” – Michael Franti, In The Middle I think one of the secrets to happiness and success is to take the non-serious things in life seriously, and the serious things less so. Or, since we are the ones who decide what is serious and what isn’t, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that one must allocate their gravitas wisely for the sake of happiness, and survival. Proper Seriosity Birthdays generally fall into the non-serious category. How many times have we “celebrated” someone’s unique, fleeting existence on this planet by sitting in a crowded restaurant, lucky to be within earshot of the birthday boy or girl? How many birthdays do we let pass with little more than a few cheap “you’re old now” jokes? Answering for myself: many. As a child, comforted, cared for, and complacent, my birthday was an occasion for gifts. As an adolescent, I craved little except simple, good times. My birthday falls during the summer, and more than anything I remember wanting my birthday to be more like any other summer day than any other summer day, which at the time meant 2 on 2 basketball, deli sandwiches, and MarioKart 64 (or sports on network TV). Birthday Challenges are the opposite. We take a silly day and make it silly hard, and we try like hell to complete some silly goals. We even train for them. Why? Well, that’s a very involved question, but a short answer might be, “to…

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It’s My Birthday & I’ll Abstain from Doing a Birthday Challenge if I Want To

By Musings, Trip JournalNo Comments

Today is my birthday. And… I’m not doing a birthday challenge. After a summer of challenges, I’m burnt out. For me, the most difficult aspect of Spenser’s challenge was an inability to plan ahead. With the unpredictable weather Squamish is infamous for, plans always hinge upon a smile from up above. I couldn’t stand waking up most mornings not knowing what the day had in store for us. Our plans inevitably fell apart, our back-up plans often had to be reworked. I’m tired of planning. It’s not that I feel burnt out with the birthday challenge idea. I’m still really psyched for you to do a birthday challenge. I also had a great time and learned a lot from mine last year. It’s just not what I want to do this year. Other than not having to plan, I have no clue what I want to do and, since we have to go to Vancouver to take a friend to the airport in the morning, it’s surprise Vikki Vancouver Birthday! (Brought to me by Spenser.) You may (or may not) have noticed that I haven’t written in a while. Now that Spenser’s challenge has been over for a weeks, I’ve had time to digest what the hell happened this summer. It’s been an incredible whirlwind, with some of the highest highs I’ve ever felt. Usually the highs are complemented by concurrent lows, but for the past few months the scale was tipped. Don’t get me wrong, there’s been fighting and crying. Disappointments, headaches, and times…

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Random Acts of Kindness

By Musings, Trip JournalNo Comments

Today I’m supposed to pick up one of my very best girlfriends from the Vancouver airport late at night. A couple hours ago, Spenser noticed that both headlamps on the truck were not working. When he told me, I chuckled a little. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. EH? Thankfully, the Ford dealership is a stone’s throw away from the coffee shop we are posted up at on this rainy Friday. It’s Friday at 2pm. They’re clearly busy. The service parking lot is completely full so I pull in and park next to the side of the building. I walk in and immediately beg the first person I see for help. Without hesitation, he walks outside with me to see what’s going on. Gawd, I love Canadians. He re-checked the fuses that Spenser had already taken a look at. Nothing blown. Next, the bulbs. It was strange that both had gone out at the same time, but that could be coincidental. Or, more likely, we didn’t notice when only one was working. Bingo! Phew, it’s the bulbs. After figuring out the problem, Greg, the ridiculously kind Ontario native, showed me how to change the bulbs on my own to save us some cash. Then he told me where I could buy a new pair of bulbs for much cheaper than what the Ford dealership would charge us. Gawd, I love Canadians. I’ll be honest. At this point, with the rain and my usual avoidance of dealing with truck issues (Bert is one intimidating beast!), I…

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The Week That Was

By Food, Musings, Trip JournalOne Comment

We’re officially in Las Vegas, Nevada. More importantly, this means we made it one week and 900 miles without succumbing to our food demons! We hit a few bumps in the road en route to the West side, and a week ago we would have relied on food to make us feel better about these mishaps. With our 30-day food challenge, we were forced to take solace in salad. Guess what? We survived. Shocking, right? I often tout that the most important thing that we have learned through our travels over the past 2 years is to be open-minded. I feel a bit silly now as I realize I was never open-minded about food. I believed that I needed starchy carbs like rice, gluten-free bread, or pasta to feel full. Well, here’s another shocker: I was wrong. Except for being extremely gassy, I’m doing fine (Spenser, too). Better than fine- I feel pretty darn great. I know my digestive system is still adjusting to all this fiber I’m ingesting, so I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the passing gas. 😉 Of course, our charge across the country wasn’t all negative happenings… Except for the necessary stops due to the mishaps, we charged across the country only stopping for a few days in New Mexico. We explored the boulders outside of Roy, NM with Eric Bissell and friends last weekend. Eric also showed us around the exquisite granite in La Madera, about an hour north of Santa Fe. Spenser…

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The 30-day Real Food Challenge AKA #RealFood30

By Food, Musings, Staying Healthy, Trip Journal5 Comments

First of all, apologies for not getting this post up sooner. We started our 30-day challenge on March 14, but we’ve been in the no-cell-reception, no-wifi-zone bouldering area outside of Roy, New Mexico (which was AMAZING–more on this sweet spot in a later post). I, of course, should have planned ahead and gotten this post up before we were in the middle-of-nowhere, but…well…still working on that whole planning-ahead thing. Promise. Last week I wrote about why we want to do the challenge, now here are our rules, so y’all can keep us honest. The Absolutes: –       No gluten: no wheat, barley, or rye. –       No dairy: no cheese, no butter, no whey, no milk chocolate! –       No bread products, not even GF ones: no chips, no crackers, no tortillas, no baked goods. This is mostly because both Spenser and I love bread products and rely too heavily on them. When I buy a loaf of gluten-free bread, I end up eating it in 1-2 days flat. That’s pretty ridiculous. –       No soy: which includes soy byproducts such as soy lecithin, which means chocolate is going to be hard to find, but not impossible! Wondering what the heck soy lecithin is? Read more about the emulsifier that is found everywhere nowadays here. –       No energy drinks: no 5-hour energy, no Red Bull, and so on. Yes to coffee & tea. –       No soda –       No fake sugar, not even what you find in usual gum. Watch this when you get a chance. It’s…

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Photo credit: Sebastian Kaulitzki/shutterstock.com

Inspiration Found

By Climbing, Food, Musings, Staying Healthy, The Interior, Trip Journal3 Comments

After a week of California vacation binge-mode, we are back in Chattanooga and feeling motivated again.  Sometimes a forced break really helps put things into perspective. Spenser talked a bit about our climbing haps in his last post, and this post is going to about another things we can’t live without: food. [No matter how much traction the Breatharian movement gets! Okay, but seriously, I know food can be an addiction, but this as a long-term sustenance plan is nuts.] While in San Diego, we figured we’d take advantage of our locality and head up to Encinitas to visit a company we were first introduced to at the OR show in January, GoodOnYa. Spenser knows that I am always on the lookout for good gluten-free products, and during the OR show, he happened upon the GoodOnYa booth. We were able to snag a box of bars during the show and devoured them over the next week. They were delicious and, for once, we were pleasantly surprised by each and every ingredient. My stomach is incredibly irritable, even beyond my Celiac Disease. I also don’t do well with soy (read: mad indigestion), so it’s an annoyance to find a gluten-free snack bar that fits the bill. Since we loved the bars and, even more importantly, the company ethics, we decided to pay the GoodOnYa office a visit and see if we could figure out a way to we could work together. They have a small office on the 101, and an…

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How Do You Access Adventure?

By Musings, Trip Journal14 Comments

People often tell us that we are on an adventure. This always gets me scratching my chin. I mean, really, we just climb little rocks. We’re not big-walling, we seldom sleep in a tent. We’re not polar explorers. As far as climbing goes, we’re usually on a well-beaten path. We actually live quite comfortably, and though we are thrifty, we don’t really have financial stress. Yet, it was adventure, in some sense, that we sought when we left the default world nearly two years ago. What does that mean? an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity. daring and exciting activity calling for enterprise and enthusiasm. Rock climbing certainly conjures up images of adventure. Stallone. K2. Vertical Limit. That Mission Impossible opening scene. The climber archetype, as per pop culture, is fearless to the extreme, well-versed in all kinds of gear, and with the exception of Stallone, highly intelligent. The modern climber is in some ways more heroic than adventurous, rock solid in the face of uncertainty. I’ve been pulling on holds both plastic and geologic for ten years now. Climbing is my comfort zone. Rarely do I feel heroic or adventurous. Being an introvert, social gatherings take much more mental energy for me than a day spent on a personal struggle against a route. I’m much more scared by the thought of going to a crowded bar. Sometimes, stepping into a large group of people is scarier to me than stepping off the ground on a committing highball. Similarly,…

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