I Choose the Process | Fallon, NV to Lone Pine, CA

9:00am in Fallon, Nevada and I want to hit the road but my car is covered in snow. Luckily it doesn’t look like heavy snow. It looks like the kind my windshield wipers can handle. It’s not that cold out.

Going over Montgomery Pass the full-on blizzard conditions start. There’s a truck in front of me gong 20mph and I downshift into second so I won’t skid into him from behind. When I got off 95 the road started to climb, mile after mile of climbing, and I kept thinking, “How are we still climbing? How is this possible? We must be at 8,000 feet by now.” Then we merged with highway 6 and we were still climbing. I prayed that the Subee would hold it together, and she did, getting me over the pass. Once we were in California there was no snow at all. They asked me if I had any fruits or vegetables and then I was on to Bishop.

I planned to stay three nights in Bishop, but when I got there and went to the Von’s to fill up gas I thought, “Fuck this place. I’m getting out of here.” Everything about Bishop reminds me of the last time I was there, under much different circumstances, on a much different road trip. Things already feel like they’ve changed light years since then, but the memories are also still fresh. Pretty sure I wasn’t going to stay, I got a sandwich and a matcha latte at Schatz’s bakery, then made my way up to the Peabody Boulders.

If you’re new to this blog, let me tell you that last year about this time I became obsessed with the discipline of bouldering. It just so happens that Bishop is one of the best bouldering places on the planet, and it also just so happens that the Peabody Boulders, in the Buttermilk area, are some of the most famous boulders on the planet. Specifically the boulder pictured on the right side of the photo above, the Grandpa Peabody boulder. I figured if I wasn’t going to stay in Bishop I at least needed to see this bloc. I needed to touch the holds of Lucid Dreaming V15 and see The Process V16. I also wanted to check out Ambrosia V11, the 50-foot highball I’d seen Nina Williams send in a video.

The washboard road up to the Buttermilks was wretched. I kept thinking the wheels were going to fall of the Subee. Once I got there I parked in the completely wrong spot and didn’t take the trail up to the boulder because I didn’t know there was a trail. And then I was standing in front of it, looking at the lines, not thinking, “I’ll never be strong enough for this,” but rather, “I feel like I could pull on some of these crimps.” The main thing that impressed me about the Buttermilks, though, was the silence. There was no one there. It was cold and clear and you could see the Sierras in the background, looming over everything. I wanted to sit and appreciate the silence, but I also wanted to get out of there. I felt like I didn’t really belong there. I felt like it wasn’t my moment to be there. So I walked back down to the car, this time on the trail, and just as I was leaving two cars came ripping up the dirt road, disturbing the silence.

After Bishop I got on the 395 south, not knowing where I’d end up. I ended up in a town called Lone Pine, about 40 miles south of Bishop, in The Portal Motel. It was great. I watched Hulu. I chatted with friends. I spent way too much money on a black olive pizza from The Pizza Factory, and then spent several minutes stewing over the fact that I spent so much money when there was a special they didn’t tell me about over the phone that would’ve saved me a bunch of said money. And then, right before bed, I went out for a walk. The Sierras were glowing to the west, and the stars glowing in the sky. Orion’s belt was throbbing. I chilled at the skatepark for a bit, in the dark, but it was so cold that I was quickly forced back to the room. Right before bed I wanted to read and realized the only books I’d brought into the room were a psychology book by James Hillman and The Bishop Bouldering Guide. This presente a bit of a conundrum, as I wanted to read neither. But in the end I opted for the bouldering guidebook. I read the descriptions of some of the problems and also an essay on the development of The Process V16. To dedicate your life to bouldering, I thought, What must that be like? Finally around 11:30pm I turned off the light and tried to sleep but mostly just lay there, thinking. Thinking about what, I don’t remember.

 

Treachery and Nicotine | Leg 3: Burns, OR to Fallon, NV

Waking up in Fallon, Nevada and the first thing I notice is that my knee is swollen and stiff. Fuck. And yesterday I was bragging about how I’d gone on my first hike since my injury and how I’d be surfing in another month and bouldering in another two. Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about? Maybe the injury is worse than I thought? Or maybe I just overdid it. Maybe I need to finally take some damn ibuprofen.

(*Puts 4mg nicotine gum in.)

Good morning! Here I am in Fallon, Nevada, and it snowed last night. The Subee is covered in a thin white layer of gossamer fluff. Highway 95 beckons us, but for some reason I’m not eager to jump in my car. Is this because of my knee? Is this because of the weather? Part of me wants to just stay another day in Fallon, but I know that staying in Fallon would consist of me paying too much for a hotel and eating burritos from Safeway. Not exactly a recipe for happiness. So I’ll probably press onward, to Bishop. Probably.

My first hike post LCL injury, in the Steens Mountain Wilderness.

Or maybe not! Part of me just wants to get in my car and drive to Mexico right now. Cross the border. Be in a land where the sun continually shines and the hotels cost $30 a night. A land where I can eat for a third of the price and be more at large in the world. But aren’t I at large in the world here in Fallon? Must I always be somewhere else? Is my green tea done steeping?

Third state of the trip and then onward to California.

Yesterday I drove from Burns, Oregon to Denio, Nevada, stopping for a short hike on the way. It felt so good to hike, though I’m paying for it now with a swollen and stiff knee. Still, I would not take it back! Oh, to be alone in the wilderness, wondering if you’re going to be attacked by a wolf or a mountain lion. I don’t think I’ve ever hiked anywhere so remote. This last summer I went backpacking in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the Cascades, and even that, after an eight mile hike in, didn’t feel so remote, mostly because we were surrounded by goddamn humans. It’s hard to get away from humans, and sometimes you need to. Yesterday I needed to. And I did. I hiked probably a mile in on a trail called “Three-mile Trail” or something similar, and the only sounds I could hear the entire time were the brook babbling next to me and the wind caressing the trees. Which I think were juniper trees. But I have no idea.

Mordor.

I have to say I’m not thrilled about being in Nevada. Is anyone thrilled about being in Nevada? Why would you ever move to Nevada? Are there people out there who are like, “You know what? I think we should move to Nevada?” As soon as you have a thought like this you should be locked up and the key thrown away. Though what am I talking about. If you’re the kind of lunatic who wants to move to Nevada, that’s precisely where you should be. Far from everyone else.

Nicotine gum for cognition.

At Wal-Mart in Winnemucca I bought some 4mg nicotine gum. This is supposed to be for smoking cessation, but I don’t smoke so I’m using it for cognitive benefits. Plus it’s just kind of a fun thing to have on road trips. I also bought some turmeric gummies to hopefully help with the swelling in my knee, but I should really think about just taking some ibuprofen. I’m loathe to take NSAIDS. I know your body swells for a reason, but also due to our shitty modern-day diets we probably exacerbate the swelling with the insane amounts of sugar and crap we ingest. Continued swelling, according to one website I consulted, “destructs and distends the tissues, and distorts the anatomy.” I feel like in my case I might’ve done this all wrong. I RICED the crap out of my knee at the beginning, and so maybe now the swelling I’m experiencing is just my body healing. I don’t know, and I don’t know how many doctors I would trust on this one, because almost all doctors would just push NSAID’s on me immediately.

Doctors like to push stuff.

Crimson and clover, over and over.

As the title of today’s blog suggest, treachery abounded yesterday in the form of me…getting on an interstate. Yes, you read correctly. I am a fraud. The road trip is ruined. But also there wasn’t really a way to avoid it. The google map directions had me almost literally driving on train tracks on a railroad service road. I had to do about an 18-point turn underneath an overpass just to turn around. And then I realized all of the roads Google wanted to take me on to avoid the interstate were dirt roads. So I hit one of the onramps, and never turned back. And got to Fallon in about half the time. And didn’t exactly feel bad about it.

And now here I am in Fallon and it’s still snowing and my first nicotine gum has run its course. I don’t know if I felt anything. Am I doing this wrong? Does this stuff even contain nicotine?

My tea is done steeping.