Josh with Sue

Posted by on December 11th, 2023  •  0 Comments

It’s been almost two weeks since we got back from Josh.

I remember lots of nights in the bat tent. Waking up and staring at the condensation. I made the damn thing too short so my head brushes the roof when i get up. In the big thunder and lightning storm the forward rain facing seam leaked in a couple ounces of water. It wasn’t enough to matter, but could easily be fixed with a removable zippered vestibule. I’m thinking a one inch leather strip on both ends. It would have holes punched every inch. I could lace on the vestibule, which would have it’s last attachment point on the corner stake loop on both sides. On the other end, I’d secure it’s vee point to the O tent single anchor with elastic. 

I climbed a few things well. Everything at Solarium went ok. Toe Jam was iffy but fine. Continuum, A 5.8 at Split Rock had me hanging 5 times. On our last day, the one following the thunderstorm, I led Hands Off and Double Cross like my old self…super strong and confident…figuring out the cruxes with ease…power to spare. 

But where was that guy during the previous 12 days? 

On the drive home:

Sue: “I got  this seat so far foward the airbag will kill me if I get in an accident”

me: “Oh shit, I better start looking for a new wife. Hey Siri!”

Siri: “Yes”

me: “Find me a Russian bride”

Siri: “Yes, I can help you with that, here is what I’ve found. There are Russian brides in Vladivostok, St. Petersburg and Moscow. Would one of those be what you need?”

Sue: “We want to see Anastashia!”

Laughter ensues…

Sue got a stopper stuck on beginners 1. She had previously borrowed my nut pick the day before. But I’d taken it back and forgot to tell her. So she couldn’t get it out and I had to lower down to clean it.

With me belaying her on the way down we were slow to get off. I placed two cams for the belay down the last chimney…it’s the Bousioneer, Papa Woolsey walk off. I made a mental note to pull the anchor before descending. But lowering the rope and the rack in the dark distracted me. I got down and did a scan of the rack to see if anything had fallen off when I slid it down. 

Good thing: t was missing the two cams from the anchor. I tried to climb up in the dark but that chimney is polished! I’d done it before but couldn’t figure out the damn moves!

Finally I realized I needed to mantel the last foothold while jamming a hip and reaching high. It goes, but just barely. In addition to no nut pick, she didn’t have an emergency head lamp or prusiks. On our next trip to town we got her all of that. She now has the petzl E+Lite.

I’ve had that lite 8 years and it’s never failed. It lives in my chalkbag. Sue also didn’t have a chalkbag with a zipper…so we bought her one of those.

But that got me thinking. My rock pack headlamp is an old school BD headlamp with 4 AA cells. It’s quite heavy and has one of those over designed single button functions to turn on red, blue and green lights. Plus it’s case is a gooey mess due to a spilled bottle of DEET. 

I’m thinking I could save some weight in my rock pack by switching to Sue’s main camping headlamp which is a Fenix HM50R.

That would fit in my chalkbag when I know for sure I’ll do a late route, and would be much better than hauling up my big ass BD light. It’s just as bright, but obviously doesn’t last as long. I like that you can keep a brand new battery as a backup.

I could use the bd light in the house or the rav4 with my big fenix always hanging in the truck.

This means the new smaller fenix would go in my rock pack, and the big BD would move to the house or the rav4. I’m gonna think on it. I hate blowing money on stuff I don’t need.

Since returning I bought a bottom bracket tool at rei. The guy down at the old town bike shop was right. You can’t use a mountain bike derailleur on a 3 speed front sprocket without the matching shorter bottom bracket. With the shorter axle, the derailleur can reach out far enough to push the chain onto the farthest sprocket. It was only a few sixteenths shorter, but it worked.

I had to tinker with  some cable lengths and set screws but it is shifting very nicely now thru all 21 gears. I’ve been climbing with both Gina and Chris at the gym. Gina was two days in a row Saturday and Sunday.

Lisa, Levi and Olivia were here Monday – Tuesday. Levi is starting to smile and Olivia is markedly smarter in just a couple weeks. She is forming sentences and clearly understands everything we say. 

Clint’s got a bear head in his freezer. Hunting has taken him down some unusual roads. It  cost $1000 to go to Josh at 15mph with gas prices around $4.50/gallon. 

I took, but didn’t use my big camera. The few photos I took with my phone are dumb. I do remember quite a few nights sitting by my propane campfire, sipping some whiskey and enjoying the quite sounds of the desert evening. 

My worst day was when I bailed off Double Dip at the second bolt. Rain was only 15 minutes away, and maybe I sensed that. But still, Double Dip!!!

I didn’t even recognize myself half the time. Blame it on long covid or pmr, or prednisone, or age…who knows. On the day we left I climbed Hands Off and Double Cross like my old self. 

If I’d stayed, I might have finished strong, but Sue was burned out on camping.

Since returning we’re back in ping pong 3 days a week. Those are some great friends down there. On Wednesdays Bob and Randy show up and they play some mean ping pong. I played about 8 games with them and lost every time. Still, Randy is very good at keeping loosing fun. He’ll get on a roll where he pops up high floaters, aiming them towards my right arm which is my strong one. 

I’ll slam them back as hard as I can. He’ll run way back and pop them up to the right corner again…rinse and repeat. It’s super fun. We both get something out of it. He improves his defensive game while I refine my slams.

Clint and family are in Hawaii for two weeks. Jamie’s got a rich relative with an island vacation home where they are staying for some helicopter pilots wedding. Sue is running herself ragged managing Clint’s farm. He’s got chickens and a fat old dog. Wyatt is a good dog, but he can barely walk anymore and mostly lays around. 

There are some wack jobs around town now stealing Kia’s. They hang out the window waving guns and terrorize the neighborhoods. Clint was half a block away and saw them attacking a guy with a dog. He had both kids and Wyatt with him and high tailed it out of there, dialing 911 as he dragged Rose and Wyatt away from the crime scene.

Sue walks that neighborhood all the time either for exercise or to walk Wyatt. But with these wack jobs shooting people in the neck (Federal Way last week) we have been wishing we had some kind of protection. I’m going to buy another one of those tire thumpers from Loves travel stops. It’s basically a billy club. Not much good against a gun, but better than nothing.

I’m looking into some other options as well. There are some interesting paint ball markers that have been modified for self defense. They call it “Less Lethal”, as in: depending on what kind of round you put in them, they will be less lethal than a firearm. There is far too much firearm gun violence in America. Jeez, it’s constantly in the news. The people who are promoting the “Less Lethal” paint ball markers argue that, if you are attacked by a pit bull, or a wack job with a knife, the markers shoot a rather painful rubber bullet. It can be enough to persuade the attacker to go away. But the rubber bullets aren’t lethal. They typically just bruise. You can also load them with rounds that contain pepper spray, or maybe it’s some kind of tear gas. Anyway, it’s an interesting trend for people who don’t want to, or can’t, carry a real firearm.

It’s a real dilemma. As a pacifist, and someone who dislikes guns, I have no desire to carry a firearm. The statistics are horrific for having a gun in the home. You are actually safer to not have one. My dad was the same way. He hated guns after his little brother was killed in a tragic accident when a shotgun tipped over. My grandpa kept it by the door to shoot crows up in Sitka, Alaska.

But with wack jobs cruising the neighbor hood, hanging out car the windows waving guns…what is a good citizen to do? 

I’ve finally finished both vestibules for the bat tent. Who knew sewing a cone shaped vestibule could be so hard? I tried using velcro, but that was a joke. I should have known better. Velcro is not capable of loading under tension. I ended up attaching the removable vestibules with zippers. Yup, that’s right. I’ve got one for each end…you never know which direction the storm is coming from. They protect the door seams…which leak a little. 

With all the work and headaches I’ve put into the bat tent I’m starting to really miss our old REI 3 man mountain tent. That thing was dry as a bone when it was new. Even a Smith Rock gully washer couldn’t make that thing leak. I remember sitting in it as the rain poured down in buckets, dry as a bone inside. 

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