Oh, Cana….Gold Bar || Road to Enlightenment

Having a little bit a fiesta on the boat over here. I got a wedge of brie and some yerba mate and I’m listening to KEXP. Some kind of DJ. It JUST got fully dark outside, today the sunset after 6pm, all was glorious, I walked to the Locks where I did my physical therapy and hung out with the cormorants a bit.

So today I did the following: This morning I got in my car and drove up to Greenlake. I thought I was gonna go to the Whole Foods on 65th but then I was like fuck it and got on I-5 going north. The plan was to go to Gold Bar and hike up to the boulders and just kinda look at them. Maybe touch them a bit. Maybe just sit there in the forest next to them. Maybe just think about them. Maybe not even make it all the way to the boulders but at least give it my damndest. Then I thought, Screw that, I should drive up to Canada! Well, not all the way to Canada of course, but at least to the Peace Arch Park, where I could at least SEE Canada, where I could go up to the very border, maybe even dip a hand in or a foot in. I’m not sure how they have things set up out there, but from what I understand the American side of the border is open. Who knows when the border will actually open. This is something I check almost every day. I google “US canada border” and check out the results. It’s been a year since the border’s been closed. It’s been OVER a year since I went to Canada. I remember it perfectly. I caught the train after work on a Friday (I think). The train got delayed, because Amtrak is a disaster. I got into Van at midnight. And had a glorious, glorious, weekend. Went swimming at the Mt. Pleasant community center pool with my friend Jeff. Pretty sure I did a gainer.

ANYWAY, I thought about driving up to Canada this morning, even thought about getting a hotel in Bellingham, but at the last second decided to just keep going towards Gold Bar.

(K, had to turn the radio off. And have some more brie. The wedge is gone. I’m gonna have some weird dreams tonight.)

ANYWAY, ok. Where were we. Oh yes, I went to Gold Bar. I debated whether to put the pad on my back for extra exercise but then decided if I could make it all the way up to the boulders, three miles, and back, that would be quite the achievement. Last time I made it probably less than halfway. And keep in mind the steeper parts are towards the end. ALSO keep in mind it looked like it was going to rain. But I pressed on.

After about 10 minutes on the trail I passed a guy walking the opposite way and he didn’t even look at me. Didn’t say hello, didn’t even look at me. There we were, two dudes in the middle of thousands of acres of DNR land, passing on a one-lane dirt road, and home-slice doesn’t even look at me. What a weirdo. What. A. Damn. Weirdo. Or maybe he was a COMPLETELY normal guy. Maybe I’m the weirdo. It’s not like I said hello to him. I just kind of looked at him. And then he passed. And I thought, That guy probably hurts people and enjoys it.

Anyway, I made it up to the boulders. My knee felt pretty good. Just before getting to the boulders it started to rain/snow and I took refuge in the forest, under the BMOC boulder. Not that that really helped, since this boulder isn’t really overhung. But parts of it are kind of overhung, I realized today. This bloc has three lines on it, all of which I’ve done. A great V0, a short but fun V2, and a cool V3 that traverses from the V0 into the V2. Today I just caressed the beginning crimps of BMOC V2 a bit and wondered what it would be like to climb it (again). Thought about where I’d put my feet. Then I took refuge under the rock again.

(It’s officially pouring outside and my boat keeps lurching back and forth and I hate it I hate living on a boat I want to get the fuck off this thing slash I’m going to Leavenworth tomorrow for the love of god).

So yeah, that was the mission.

It was…..pretty awesome.

It was wonderful to be in nature.

And wonderful to touch some boulders.

-Marko

Welcome to Iconik Coffee Roasters || Santa Fe, NM


Hiiiiiiii, welcome to Iconik Coffee Roasters in Santa Fe. My name is Katie, am I going to be administering your colonic today?

I’m sorry, colonic? I just wanted to get some tea. 

Yesssssss, well it’s not actually a colonic, but that’s the way some of our customers feel after seeing our prices. See, what I’m going to do right now is take a few tea leaves, put them in one of those fancy bags that hangs off the side, fill it with water, and then charge you $4.50. So that’s why I call it a colonic, because it makes many of our customers feel that it’s taking something from the very depths of their souls. 

Wait, a tea costs $4.50? 

Yep, let me just go ahead and ring you up. Will you be paying with credit card? Bit Coin? Ethereum? Other alt coin? Perhaps you’d like to do a wire transfer? Also, just so you know, after I run your card I’m going to do that thing where I swivel the screen over to you and it’s going to ask you what kind of exorbitant tip you’d like to leave me. Because you see not only am I charging you an arm and a pancreas for your tea, I think you should tip on top of it, too, cuz like, living wage, right?

Right….

Ok, I’ll just go ahead and get that yerba mate started for you.

Great.

(comes back)

Ok, here you go. I noticed you only left an 18% tip on your tea. Now, that’s “Good,” but you might’ve noticed that 20% was “Great” and anything above that was “Excellent.” Do you want to talk about why you left such a miserable tip? Are you having money problems? Did you recently get laid off. It’s ok, we can talk about it for a second. Just keep your mask on and don’t look me in the eye. 

I think I’m just gonna go.

Have a wonderful day. Come back again soon. 

Thus went my yerba mate-getting experience in Iconik Coffee Roasters here in Santa Fe just a moment ago. Now, I talked about this place yesterday. I went there for a matcha latte. It was delicious. It was one of the finest-crafted matcha lattes I’ve ever had. The almond milk actually tasted like almonds. It was creamy. They did latte art.

But $7 for a matcha latte?

Get the hell out of town.

Today I went back there for a yerba mate cuz I noticed yesterday they had it and I wanted a pick-me-up before hitting the road again today and driving to Moab. And the yerba mate cost $4.50. $4.50 for loose leaf tea. And then they have the gall to swing the the screen over to you making you feel like you need to tip. Please don’t swivel your screen over to me. I don’t want to touch your screen. I don’t want to touch any screen. And please don’t ask for a tip when I’m already paying you a week’s salary (from when I worked, of course) for your damn tea. Swivel the screen back to yourself. Now swivel your little hips around and make the tea. So I can get out of here and drive to Moab.

Anyway. This place really does have good product. But my god the whole vibe is pretentious.  It’s one of those places that has shitty art on the walls and they think that just because they’re asking $800 for a painting it somehow makes the painting good. I’m afraid that’s not how it works. Your painting looks like a troupe of ducks took a crap on a canvas. That actually might be more interesting. I would actually probably pay more for that than that painting. In fact, when I get home to my boat I might actually leave a canvas on the end of the dock for a month and see what happens to it. I’ll call it, “Le Canard.”

God, why do I sound bitter this morning.

I’m not bitter. I’m stoked as fuck. I had a great time in Santa Fe, it’s now one of my favorite cities in the US and I can’t wait to come back to New Mexico, to come here again and also go bouldering in Roy, the weather’s great, the Subi has new tires (well, patched), and we’re ready to hit the road. And I have a yerba mate in my hand right now. And I just took a picture of the chiles hanging outside my window. And I slept well last night. And I got kombucha and mate this morning. And I’m contemplating whether to go to Whole Foods to get cash back so I can leave a tip for the housekeepers in USD or if I should just leave the pesos I have in my wallet.

Plus I sort of did yoga this morning.

Oh! And the best part about this morning? Yesterday I wrote down a list of life changes I want to implement in the upcoming weeks. One is to wake up at the same time everyday. That time, for whatever reason when I’ve done this in the past, has always been 7:30am. Not too early. Not too late. And this morning when I woke up, stretched, fluttered my bleary eyes, and then finally reached over and grabbed my phone and turned it on and looked at the clock guess what time it was?

7:30am.

Mountain time.

And now it’s time to hit the mountains, Iconik mate in hand.

 

 

Santa Fe #2

Southwest kitsch at its finest.

I have never felt so deliciously unmotivated as I feel right now lying on my queen bed here in the Guadalupe Inn in Santa Fe, Mexico. The fireplace is going. The internet is working again. There are a plethora of wonderful cafes just a javelin-throw from the inn, but I don’t want to walk to any of them. I did just walk to one of them, Iconik Coffee Roasters, where with tip I paid $8.00 for a matcha latte. This is now the most I have ever paid for a matcha latte. Which I guess makes it unique in that regard. And it was a good matcha latte, but no matcha latte is worth eight dollars, save maybe the one I got in Monterrey, Mexico a few days ago that was sold by a girl in the running for friendliest girl on the planet and made with fresh peanut milk. And that matcha latte cost $2.50.

Ahhhhhh, the fireplace. With the blue angel wings hanging above it. The clear, blue sky outside. The crisp air. The REI that’s just a five-minute walk away. How can a capital city be so sleepy? Should I move to Santa Fe? What are the drawbacks? The generally arid climate? Does the adobe get old after awhile?

The plan right now is to drive to Moab tomorrow, stay there for a night or two, then drive somewhere north of SLC, then somewhere in the middle of nowhere in Oregon, and then back home. I’m not in a HUGE hurry to get home, because I see that a big cold front is coming. I hope the boat is ok. I hope things aren’t freezing on it right now. I’d say I hope my succulent is OK, but our souls are joined now, so that succulent isn’t going anywhere. My soul is also a bit joined with the boat’s, definitely joined with the Subi’s, and inextricably joined with anything involving bouldering. I can’t wait to boulder. I want to boulder so bad. I have a virtual physical therapy appointment on Monday, and then hopefully in-person the following week. The physical therapist I talked to today who will be seeing me is, wait for it….a climber. What luck. He knows what a heel hook is. He knows why I want to heal. He knows that I need to be projecting primo granite blocs and that I need to be doing it as soon as possible. He knows that if you’re sending, you’re not wallowing. And by sending I just mean touching holds. And by touching holds I mean dreaming about the movement.

Getting ready for some life coaching with my friend Jen. Forty five minutes till that, though, so I should probably go for a walk first. Get some mate. I didn’t want mate five minutes ago and now it sounds like a great idea. The sun is shining and two of the Subi tires got fixed today. Both had screws completely puncturing them. One of them has a gash in it. The one with the gash in it has become the spare. The whole escapade cost 45 bucks, and I also decided to tip the mechanic. Now I feel a lot better about the drive home with the Subi. The last 80 miles were pretty disconcerting yesterday.

Ahhhhhh, the sweetness of this bed and this room and this fireplace. The wanton sloth. Sometimes I feel bad about being lazy, but for some reason today I feel great about it. Maybe it’s because sometimes it’s not being lazy. Sometimes it’s just resting, letting your mind rest, letting your mud settle until the water becomes clear.

And then boiling that water and making mate with it.

Bathing in Vitamin D | Last Day in Zacatecas

Pigeon. Zacatecas, Mexico.

It’s time to seize the absolute living daylights out of this day since it might be my last day in Zacatecas before I start heading north tomorrow. Tomorrow to Saltillo, then Monday to Nuevo Laredo. Go to Banjercito and get the deposit back for my car. About 200 dollars. And then drive to SOMEWHERE in Texas and be back on American soil. Doesn’t sound very sexy, does it? That’s because it’s not. Is there anything sexy about Texas? Why does everyone want to move to Austin. I don’t want to move to Austin. I want to be as far away from Austin as possible. I want to move to Alaska.

Having some black tea at my AirBnb in Zacatecas, which is dangerous on an empty stomach. Those tannins. Knee is feeling pretty good considering amount of sugar ingested yesterday. Swelling seems to FINALLY be going down. Which is amazing. I still elevate it. I still don’t feel like I could run. I still try to avoid lateral movement. But I’m a little less worried about it. A little less worried about walking on uneven surfaces.

God I can’t wait till Cafe du Monde opens so I can go get mate.

I just went up to the Subi to see if I could find the oil filter cuz the dudes at Autozone the other day suggested I really need to change the oil filter after so much driving and so much time since an oil change. I never even thought about changing the oil filter. So I did what I do best when it comes to working on cars: I opened the hood and stood there looking at it, concerned. If you ever want to feel like a man, just do this. Open the hood of your car. Stare at the contents looking pensive or concerned. You will feel your testosterone levels rising.

Obviously I couldn’t find the oil filter. But I did get down on my back and look at the undercarriage. I can’t tell if it’s mangled or not. There appears to be a slight oil leak, but it’s so minute it’s not even dripping on the ground. There’s a drip, but it’s hanging there, afraid to jump. There’s a clean area around the drip, which my cousin’s husband told me was a great indicator of a leak. But when I checked the oil this morning it was MORE THAN FULL. I don’t understand this car. What the hell is going on. Sometimes I check it on level ground and it’s bone dry. Other times I check it and it appears oil should be bursting out of the top of it.

When I get back home I’m getting BPC-157 and injecting the fuck out of it into my knee.

My AirBnb in Zacatecas is small but adequate. It has a microwave and a fridge and a coffee maker. It has a smart TV, which I haven’t used yet. It’s about a 5-10 minute walk from the historic center, and a 5-10 minute walk from my favorite cafe, where I will be going ever so shortly, Cafe du Monde. My neighbors were being loud last night but I just put on some white noise and that did the trick. It’s good to write blogs before I get too caffeinated, because when I get too caffeinated I feel like the world is coming to an end. Why drink caffeine at all then??????????????????????????????????????????????????? you might ask. Slash you’re probably asking. Well, because I’m addicted. Is that so hard to understand? I’m addicted to two substances right now. Caffeine. And sugar. I’m probably more addicted to sugar. I recently cut out caffeine for a week, but it would be harder for me to cut out sugar for a week. When you cut out caffeine and sugar you don’t have as much of the highs and lows, but the problem then is you don’t have the damn HIGHS. Sugar makes you high. It’s wonderful. And then it drops you right back down.

Hang in there, Subi. Please God.

My teeth are so damn clean from yesterday. These fucking tannins in my stomach.

OK, time to seize the day. I hope you all are seizing the day too. It is sunny here and I’m gonna bathe in vitamin D.

– MW

Hang in There | Zacatecas Day Three

Museo de Francisco Goitia. Zacatecas, Mexico.

Oooooooh, today is a tough one. I was on top of the fucking world this morning. Got my laundry done. Went to the dentist. Got some mate. Went to a museun. It was sunny out. And I don’t know what’s happened this afternoon. I want to get the hell out of here but I know that won’t help anything. Still, I might do it. I have tonight paid for and tomorrow night paid for, and then I might start heading north again. Through Coahuila and Nuevo Leon. Into Texas. Into New Mexico. Into Colorado and Utah and Idaho and Oregon and all the way back to Washington. Google says it’s 34 hours of driving from Laredo, Texas to Seattle. Aka 40 hours if the Subi and I are behind the wheel. If the Subi makes it. Oooooooh, what do you do when you feel like this. What do you do. What do you do. What do you do. What do you do.

Well, I just made popcorn, that’s one thing.

And I’m watching some episodes of Alone.

And I’m making “Chill” tea, a tea with passion flower and valerian root that’s so far not making me chill. I might need to go get a sandwich.

So let’s talk about the positives. One thing that’s dope is that more people are reading this blog than have read it in many years. I think it’s because I’m posting very regularly, which makes search engines index it better. I have no idea. Another positive thing is that I haven’t smoked any cigarettes! I haven’t smoked a single cigarette since I’ve been in Mexico. Or since I’ve been on this trip, actually. No, that’s not true. I smoked one in Hermosillo. But the point is that my knee is feeling pretty good. I mean it still feels super unstable, but I can tell it’s healing. Healing from a torn ligament is a slow process. I need to figure out how to be happy when I can’t boulder, when I can’t surf, when I can’t play soccer, when I can’t run. But it’s tough.

Another positive is that I just got a fresh gallon of water.

Another positive is that I switched to a fresh mask today.

Another positive is that both my parents have gotten the first round of the vaccine.

Another positive is that I have wonderful family and friends I can go back to in Seattle.

There, I feel better already.

Hmmmmmm, what else could I talk about. Oh, I got back on the collagen train today. And I’ve found some places in Zacatecas I really like. My favorite park, my favorite cafe, a place that has cheap lunches I’ll never go back to because the food tasted a tiny bit like it might’ve been cooked with sewer water. My favorite cafe is called Cafe du Monde and serves yerba mate and has little balconies that overlook one of the main streets. Pretty self-explanatory. My favorite park is La Alameda, right by where I’m staying. Smooth tile ground, skateboarders, foliage, a gazebo. Also pretty self-explanatory.

God, when am I going to be able to boulder again?

I can’t wait to go to SBP Fremont.

Writing this blog has made me feel better. I’m gonna go out and get a little food and come back and watch another episode of Alone. And drink more valerian root tea. And hopefully sleep well tonight.

Besos,

Wetzler

Trying Too Hard (#8)

I think I might be trying a bit too hard on this blog. I say this because on my other blog, dedicated to American soccer phenom Christian Pulisic, I don’t try hard at all. I just have fun. But for some reason on this blog I feel compelled to make the writing good, which of course only makes it bad. There was a famous Sportscenter commercial where Kenny Mayne is hitting golf balls into the satellite dish behind the company offices. The guy helping him says, “Hold it like a bird. Not so hard that you crush it. Not so soft that it gets away.”

Ahhh, these metaphors for life.

The above picture was taken by my right arm outside Villa la Angostura about two years ago. The girl in the picture had some kind of exotic name with syllables where they shouldn’t have been, and as I usually do, I briefly fell in love with her on our walk. She had a boyfriend. She was very clear about that. But that didn’t stop us from enjoying a nice hike together and drinking mate in the mountains of Patagonia.

But what does this have to do with anything?

It has to with mate because the reason I’ve been trying hard on this damn blog is because I want it to be something. I have no idea what. I want recognition. The other day I heard that someone had said about me, “I got caught up on Mark’s blog. Sounds like he’s still traveling around, still drinking mate and talking about how much he loves the waitress. But, like, nothing’s really changed, has it?”

I was of course deeply hurt by this until I realized that the reason I was hurt was because it was completely true. That’s been the last 10 years of my life. Traveling around. Drinking yerba mate. Falling in love but now really. And then moving on the next day.

Which is actually completely fine.

But then I made a promise to an 80-year-old Chilean woman that I would stop doing that. So I moved back to Seattle. I bought a boat. And now I live on said boat, and it’s where I’m typing these very words, listening to the rain outside, wondering where I might be able to travel to next, and also wondering if it’s time to boil water and drink a little mate.

-W

Several Seconds too Late (#1)

I’m in Ballard. I didn’t ask to be in Ballard, and yet I’m forever finding myself there. That’s what happens when you live on the Magnolia side of the locks. You’re not going to go into Magnolia to do grocery shopping and run errands. That’s for the rich/criminally insane. If you live close to the locks you’re obviously going to cross said locks and do all of your errands in Ballard. You’re going to go to Trader Joe’s. You’re going to get the coffee samples given out by the lady who’s always gossiping about her co-workers. And then, loot in hand, you’re going to walk back to the locks along Ballard Ave, possibly stopping at Miro to get tea.

At least that’s one possibility.

There are many, many more possibilities. Some of them involve the bus. Some of them involve not getting tea. Some of them involve getting — stand by please — mate.

I have not had any mate today. Or yesterday.

But what I have had so far is green tea and black tea. The nook off the kitchen of my sister’s house is surprisingly tranquil. From it you can hear: A) the fountain from the neighbor’s yard, and B) the hum of the refrigerator in the kitchen. I don’t know which is more soothing. It also allows me to be close to my sister’s dog who likes to sit on the back stoop, surveying the yard for squirrels she can possibly murder. When she finds them she watches them intently at first, and then eventually goes sprinting after them, always arriving several seconds too late, or never having a shot in the first place since squirrels are generally in trees.

Generally. They also like power lines and fence tops.

If you’re a longtime Where’s Wetzler fan you know the following: 1) I’ve been traveling on and off for the past 10 years. I’ve visited many countries. I’ve visited many countries people don’t know are countries, like Monaco and Lichtenstein and San Marino, to name exactly three. But you also know that recently I promised someone — let’s call her my friend, let’s call her my mentor — that I would “settle down.” This meant me buying a boat in Olympia, sailing it up to Seattle, and living on it near the Ballard locks.

But fret not! I will still travel. Today for example I’m going to travel back to Trader Joe’s where I will buy more matcha/green tea cans. Yesterday I bought six. The idea was to ration them over the course of two days, but I ended up drinking all six yesterday. And then even more travels are on the horizon. Mexico in October. Vietnam in November. And I know what you’re asking yourself: Aren’t crabs just really big marine spiders? And the answer is yes, they’re probably in the same family. I would imagine they are. And someday I’ll probably get around to googling it.

And I know you’re also asking yourself: How are you going to have a blog dedicated to travel when you’re not even traveling that much, when you, Yaweh forbid, have SETTLED DOWN? And that’s a wonderful question. One to which I don’t really have an answer to yet.

I guess we’ll find out.

-W