Monday, February 16, 2009

Travels with Roman Holiday (or 3 and half days on one jar of peanut butter)

Airline travel is so common these days, it's like taking the bus. It may be hard to believe, but there was a time when people used to travel across country on the DOG (aka the Greyhound bus).

Here's my story about the DOG.

Roman Holiday boarded the DOG in upstate NY with my climbing gear and a jar of peanut butter, headed West via Rt. 80. About 3.5 days later, I was sleeping next to a river in Yosemite Valley with a nearly empty jar that same peanut butter.

Was it worth the 3.5 days sitting on my butt?

Heck yeah, I saw the land scape of the USA. I ate at truck stops. I met funky people along the way. I took showers in restroom sinks.

It was my own personal "Travels with Charlie".

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Crash & Burn (bouldering crashpads)

Crashpad: an expensive piece of form that a climber hopefully lands on if they blow a boulder problem.

Go ahead & grab a beer, & let me take you back to the days before crashpads. First of all, you had to learn how to fall without breaking an ankle. You also had to known how to down climb if you ran into a dead end [editor's note: down climbing is a lost art these days].

In a nutshell, bouldering was a bit more dangerous & you had to be a bit more committed to the boulder problem at hand.

But I guess one could make the argument that with a crashpad, one can do higher problems. And I guess I agree with that to a certain extent, but in my mind, crashpads have soften the sport of bouldering.

Bouldering is the most pure form of rock climbing; it should stay uncluttered.

And yes, I don't own a crashpad.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Should I Stay or Should I Ride my Bike

(Or should I strap that 12-pack to my bike rack?)

Yeah sure, it's great to go for training rides and do some races here and there, but for me, I like to combine a little adventure with the bike.

Case in point -> Fall 1985: two poor college kids buy tickets to see The Clash. We throw a 12-pack on my bike rack & my buddy, who is missing brakes for his bike, pedal 25 miles to a ferry, cross Lake Champlain to Burlington, VT and watch The Clash in fine form.

Next morning, dragging a bit, we pedal home just in time to miss Calculus class.

The point is: adventure can be had with a bike, a little bit of money and a good outlook on life. You don't need all that fancy stuff to have fun.

And the kicker is, I still have my ticket stub from that concert and that buddy is still a close friend of mine. Priceless.