To Sell or to Sail?

Friends! The Euro Trip is over. I am now back on my boat. I must say: I’m not entirely thrilled to be back on my boat. I mean, yes it’s beautiful. Yes, it’s peaceful. But I’m getting really sick of living on this 27 foot piece of fiberglass. Something needs to change, and something needs to change relatively soon. Which is why this fall I’m either going to A) Sell the boat (frowny face), B) Sail the boat south (if the boat’s in Mexico living on it suddenly seems way more attractive), or C) Leave the boat in Seattle, spend the winter OFF the boat and traveling (basically living in Latin America), and then in spring come back to the boat and finally sail it south. The moral of the story is this: Keep the boat and sail it south (now or in spring), or sell it. These are the two options.

This topic segues perfectly into shorter term plans. Regardless of what I do with the boat, what am I going to be doing for the next few months? Well, at first I thought about getting a job. But then I thought, No, that’s kind of lame. I don’t want to do that right now. The thing is, I’m much too excited about my fall and winter plans to get a job right now. When I think about living in an apartment in Seattle this winter and working some kind of “normal” job, even if it is a cool job like interpreting, I want to drown myself in Hood Canal. Seriously, I got an email from a hiring manager the other day about an interpreting job in High Point, Seattle (a neighborhood basically in West Seattle that would take 40+ minutes to commute to from where I live near the locks), and it felt like a death sentence. But then I think about the plans I had before I decided I needed to “get a job.” Sailing to the San Juans. Going to Canada to chill in Vancouver and boulder in Squamish and maybe hang out on Vancouver Island for a bit. Then possibly sailing south, and if not doing a shit ton of bouldering. Either way doing a shit ton of bouldering. In October going to Cabo for a wedding, then Mexico City, then possibly Bogota, and then definitely Chile. And that gets me excited. That I actually look forward to. And maybe it’s just me putting off “real life,” but at this point I don’t really care. I’ve put off “real life” for so long that I won’t be living “real life.” I’ll live my life. Other people can live “real life.”

I do, however, plan to take the Foreign Service Officer Test in October. Because I’m mildly interested in being a diplomat. And because last time I almost passed it.

And I also want to possibly take the legal interpreting exam, but it’s unclear whether that will be offered this year, due to the pan-de-mic.

If/when I HAVE to get a job I don’t really want, I’ll do it. I’ll do it with gusto. Every time in my life I’ve needed to work, like actually needed to, I’ve done it. But right now I don’t have to. So I’m going to do the things I actually want to. Because life is really short. And only getting shorter.

ANYWAY, it’s good to be in Seattle right now, for the most part. I’ve been climbing a ton, and my body is somehow hanging in there. I’ve been working on Leggo My Ego V6 at the Index River Boulders, but mostly I’ve been climbing in the gym. I’ve been stoked on gym climbing lately. It’s so social. It’s so easy (logistically). And it’s also so easy to work on your weaknesses. Granted, climbing outside is still cooler. There’s nothing like being alone in the middle of the forest standing before a hunk of gleaming granodiorite grandeur, puzzling out how to get to the top, but for whatever reason lately I haven’t felt like getting in my car and driving an hour and a half just to fail. I can get (basically) the same feeling of movement at the gym, which is a 10 minute drive. And at the gym I can watch other people climb, aka crushers, and I can meet people. I can still have projects. I can still get super excited about certain climbs. And it’s just so….easy.

That said, holy shit Leavenworth this fall is going to be fun.

Anyway, that’s more or less an update on what I’ve been up to since I’ve been back in Seattle and what I’m thinking for the next few months. The trip to Europe was (fairly) great. The flight back was atrocious. Twelve plus hours of ACTUAL flight time on a budget airline with a guy behind me who treated my seatback like his personal punching bag. At least I had an aisle seat. And the seat next to me was empty. When I sat in my middle seat and saw two empty seats by the window I immediately asked a flight attendent if I could move there if no one came. And no one did come. So when they said “boarding complete” I pounced on the empty row like a cobra on a naked mole rat. But the flight was still awful.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week. It’s great to be in touch.

– Wetzler

Matcha Lattes in Monterrey

Monterrey??????? Maybe.

Nothing like lying with your shirt off on the bed a the Hotel Krystal in Monterrey, Mexico, leg elevated, not watching the Super Bowl. I just had one of the best matcha lattes I’ve ever had. Well, two atually. I went to a place called Tierra Libre that I found by googling “matcha” using the map of Monterrey and it came up. I got a hot one with in-house made almond milk, and a cold one with peanut milk. I never thought a latte could be made using peanut milk. This might’ve just changed everything. I’ve been looking for coffee replacements over the years, and so far the two front-runners are: Matcha lattes, yerba mate, and black tea. OK, that was three. But right now matcha is winning the charge. Yerba mate is amazing but it has too much caffeine. Sure, if you’re in Buenos Aires, hanging out on an esplanade with a group of your friends, passing the gourd around, passing the thermos around, passing some empanadas around, maybe kissing some guys on the cheek, then you’d be a fool not to have mate. But if you’re at home by yourself on a boat in Seattle, then, yeah, it’s a bit too much.

I remember the first time an Argentinian guy went in for the kiss. Now I’m almost offended when they don’t.

The question is this: Should I wait for Tierra Libre to open tomorrow at 1pm before hitting the road, throwing off the entire timing of my day, but allowing me to sample yet another one of these matcha dream theaters?

No.

Obviously not.

Tierra Libre?????? Definitely.

Tomorrow I need to get a decent start. I’m not really looking forward to tomorrow, I will not fib. I have to drive a couple hours to the border, dodging what will surely be a gauntlet of bogus speed checks manned by “cops” looking to help me out by not sending me all the way to the station to pay my “ticket.” Then I have to figure out how to get my Temporary Import Permit cancelled. Then I have to figure out how to get in line for the border. Then I have to actually cross the border, and then I have to possibly drive the seven or so hours to Pecos, Texas. I mean, that’s sort of the loose plan. I could always stay another day in Monterrey. I’m absolutely not going to do that, but I could.

For dinner I got a portobello burger with salad and a chai latte with peanut milk, also from Tierra Libre. Before tip it cost $7.16.

High times at the Hotel Krystal. I just asked the room service people to bring up a big bag of ice so I could ice my knee. I read today that loading a healing ligament (not to the point of re-rupturing it, of course), is the best thing you can do for it, so I walked up the ten flights of stairs to my room, which normally wouldn’t be much exertion but pushed my knee a bit. Which is great. I want to push my knee. I’m back to watching tons of bouldering videos, starting to get stoked again. A couple weeks ago the idea of climbing a V0 or doing the first few moves on a boulder, as long as they were easy and you weren’t too high off the ground, sounded impossible. Now it sounds mostly possible. I mean, it doesn’t sound particularly smart, but it sounds possible.

The thing you need to do when you get injured is inject peptides into yourself. It’s the only way to heal.

I’m running dangerously low on water but what am I gonna do? Am I gonna leave my hotel room at 10:30pm at night to go to a convenience store? Claro que no.

Who wants to drive to Pecos with me tomorrow?

I don’t know when I’ll be back in Seattle but I do know this: I’m gonna make a physical therapy appointment for sometime fairly so so it forces me to get back. And then, what, gym membership semi-soon at SBP????? Are you kidding me????? Crushing slab??????

K I’ve literally been elevating my leg for like the last two hours.

Time to not watch YouTube and go to bed.

Aka time to watch Alex Puccio videos and get stoked.

Stained glass!

– Wetz

Zacatecas!!!! | Mazatlan to Zacatecas

Que hermosura. Suave, sedoso, y hermoso…

It was a curvy road, this morning. Leaving Mazatlan. A curvy road. So curvy that a couple times I felt like I was getting carsick, and I was driving! I didn’t think it was possible to get carsick when you’re driving, just like when you’re seasick the best thing you can do is start driving the boat.

The Subi ran into a bit of a problem today. We had driven about halfway from Mazatlan to Durango, when there were cars stopped waiting for road workers to let them through. So this meant a little stop and go traffic for awhile, and as soon as we were in this line the Subi’s engine promptly started smoking. And it smelled a bit like burning rubber. Or burning oil. So I started cranking the heat to try to get heat out of the engine compartment, and she didn’t overheat, though I have no idea if my heat cranking actually helped. And then finally the line started moving again, and I just kept going. Maybe it’s low on oil (I check the oil every five minutes)? Maybe it’s just a shitty, old car? Maybe a belt actually did break the other day?

Ahhhhh, the Subi.

So now I’m in Zacatecas, and it’s beautiful. I can officially add this to my “Top 5 Favorite Cities in Mexico” list. Others on it include: Mexico City, Guanajuato and….oh I don’t know, maybe San Jose del Cabo? El Roble? La Union?

I had originally planned to stay a night in Durango, but when I came out of the hills where the engine started smoking and careened on the plains that hold Durango I thought, “Yeah…….no way I’m staying in this city tonight.” Sometimes when I start driving it’s hard for me to stop driving. Like, all I wanna do is drive all day and all night and just get SOMEWHERE, or get AWAY from everything, or something. I think the reason I just wanna keep driving sometimes is because it can be kind of stressful to arrive somewhere when you don’t know the city and you don’t have lodging booked. So if you just keep driving, you delay that stress. Until the stress of driving for 10 straight hours outweighs that stress.

Now I’m in a beautiful guesthouse in Zacatecas, and tomorrow I’m hopefully moving to an AirBnb. And I have a confession to make real quick: I don’t know if I’m going any further south on this trip. Like, I don’t know if I’m going to Mexico City. We’ll see. I’m gonna spend a few days in Zacatecas to walk around and drink coffee and think about things. Also, there are good tamales here.

The knee feels great after the fast, just so you know. It really helped to bring the inflammation down.

I think I’m gonna read Circe and go to bed. Or maybe start on season 4 of Alone. Or maybe watch YouTube videos.

This place is really freaking quiet. I think I’m gonna sleep well tonight.

Buenas noches.

– Wetz

Man’s Search for Topo | Los Mochis to Mazatlan

Alki Beach.

Part 1

The question on everyone’s mind right now: How long will it be before I can boulder again? AKA this is the question on no one’s mind, and not even really on my mind right now. In fact, this is precisely something I’m trying to avoid thinking about.

My knee actually feels pretty good today. I have eaten nothing today. I just passed the 24 hour mark, which apparently is the sweet spot for digestive repair. I need this digestive repair considering the amount of coffee I had yesterday and the wretched (though right now it sounds so good) pizza I had for dinner. I’m drinking green tea that I just got from Starbucks. This is my evening. Oh, and watching Alone. Alone. But at least this road trip sort of has a point now! I mean, it always had a point: the weather was terrible in Seattle, and I was hurt. So, rather than wallowing on my boat until the days got a bit longer and the weather got a bit better, why not drive to Mexico and spend some time in the sun and rehab? The perfect plan, right?

Right.

Except gas is kinda expensive.

But other than that the perfect plan, right????????????????

Actually, yeah, pretty much right, except I forgot how alone I’d be. Which of course is my fault. I could be meeting more people. And I have met some people. And I have friends in Mexico City, should I go there.

One thing I’m stoked about right now is that right now where I am in Mazatlan is pretty much the furthest south I’m gonna go. I mean, I’ll go a little further south, to get to places like Guadalajara and Mexico City, but those places are pretty much east. ALSO, I WILL NEVER HAVE TO RETRACE THE KILOMETERS I JUST DROVE THROUGH SINALOA AND SONORA. EVER AGAIN IN MY LIFE, IF I DON’T WANT TO. And this is huge, because I don’t think I want to. When I eventually leave Mexico, I will either drive A) Back to Mazatlan and through Baja, or B) Up to Monterrey and into Texas. I’ve never been to Monterrey and all the space between Mexico City and Monterrey, and I’ve never been to Texas. Not that I have any desire at all to go to Texas. In fact, I patently don’t want to go to Texas. But I would rather do the bulk of my driving in The States on the way back. When I’m ready to go home, I’m just gonna wanna get home.

But I could also always go to Guatemala.

Today’s route, Leg 7-ish????

The plan for tomorrow: Wake up, go swimming in the ocean, chill in the hotel room, take a walk on the beach, maybe try to go to the dentist for a cleaning (this is an absolute must while I’m in Mexico slash 33% of the reason I came here), drive to San Blas, stay with the wonderful familia at La Familia, go to Stoner’s or some other beach in the evening, watch Alone, write a blog post, go to bed (hopefully still having not eaten).

The plan for tonight: Walk to Oxxo. Buy Topo Chico with “Twist de Limon” and also a gallon of water. Go back to hotel room. Listen to waves. Fall asleep listening to waves. Read the book Circe. Maybe buy travel insurance. Research ayahuasca retreats.

Part 2

This is wild. A week ago I was in Lone Pine, California. I was also in Bishop. I was also in Fallon, Nevada! And now I’m in Mazatlan, sitting out on a balcony, listening to the sounds of the waves. And all because of a right foot pressed against an accelerator pedal in a ’97 Subaru Outback.

Speaking of which, I got passed today by ANOTHER Subaru also with Washington plates! Wild stuff, I know.

I’m starting to get hungry.

Ok, ok, take a step back.

Just walked to the Oxxo where I got a lime Topo Chico and a 6-gallon container of water. I’m good on water for the next week and a half, aka the next 24 hours or so. Aka I might just stay here tomorrow night too. Aka depending on how much it costs on Booking.com.

Aka I need to brush my teeth.

Aka I want to brush my teeth.

Am I in autophagy now?

Probably not.

Mazatlan sunset.

The smell of the ocean is intoxicating. Tomorrow I’m going to get up and go for a swim. I’ve been doing some soul-searching on this trip, of course. I think anytime you’re alone for long stretches of time you start to do some soul searching. And I’ve come to the following conclusions: 1) I need community. 2) I need to feel like I have some sort of purpose. Fuck meaning, I’ve long given up on the search for meaning. You give things your own meaning. Meaning and purpose are SIMILAR, but they’re not the same thing. Purpose is something you can definitely have, and I think meaning is more something you can sense. My goal in 2021 is to get to the point where I am excited af to get up every morning, excited af to get out of bed. Like, I wake up and I’m just like jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesus it is great to be alive.

That is my goal.

It is also my goal to boulder V7. In 2021.

Which means I better get this knee healed.

Which means I better get some rest.

– W

All Men Make Faults | Mexicali to Hermosillo

Thinking how just a few days ago I was going over a pass in Nevada at 7,000 feet in blizzard conditions, shifting into second gear to avoid rear-ending a semi, is a bit weird. Now I’m in Mexico. I’m in Hermosillo, in the state of Sonora. It’s 11:12pm and I’m in the Hotel Ibis and outside I can hear sirens. I had an avocado chipotle chicken sandwich for dinner, with a red berry smoothie. Today I got pulled over two times and had to pay bribes both times, amazingly the first time in my life I’ve ever paid bribes, in Mexico or anywhere else. In retrospect I could’ve said, “Take me down to the station. I wanna do this the official way,” but I didn’t. I paid the first police officers, in Sonoyta, 500 pesos. I paid the second police officers, in a town called Altar, 400 pesos. 900 pesos in total, or $45 USD. I was so pissed after the second encounter that I slammed on the horn while ripping down the highway and screamed myself hoarse.

And now I’m at the Hotel Ibis in Hermosillo. And I’m pretty stoked. I’m scared I’m going to keep getting pulled over every time I drive for having gringo plates and a gringo car (no one has Subarus down here) and being gringo, but I’m still pretty stoked. The bed is comfy. I’m staying here at LEAST two nights so I don’t have to drive tomorrow and can also explore Hermosillo, and now I’m fully in Mexico. I’m not at the border anymore. I’m not near the border. I’m in the capital of Sonora.

The border wall between Mexicali and Sonoyta.

Good things from today:

  • Seeing the border wall (more “interesting” than “good”)
  • Driving a long distance
  • The car still running well
  • Successfully checking and adding oil
  • Getting to Hermosillo to a nice hotel for half of what I’ve been paying the US
  • Getting far enough south that I feel like I can start to slow down
  • The weather is perfect
  • Getting sun

Things I could’ve done better:

  • I could’ve paid the second cops $200 instead of $400, or even just said, “Fine, let’s go before the judge. I wasn’t speeding and you don’t have radar so let’s do it.”
  • I could’ve been HYPER vigilant about not going more than 40km/hr in and around town, even though EVERYONE around me is speeding (but not everyone around is in a Subaru with Washington plates).
  • I could’ve eaten better (this is something I can say essentially every day of my life)

After getting to Hermosillo I celebrated with a frapuccino from a coffee shop that specialized in coffee and comic books. It’s in a mall just down the street from my hotel and I’ll definitely be back there tomorrow. I’m so stoked to not be near the border anymore. I’m also so stoked on how cheap AirBnb’s are. I was just checking Durango and you can get ENTIRE APARTMENTS for like $13 a night. What am I doing staying in hotels? But that’s how it goes with road trips, or with longer trips. You usually pay more at the beginng, but then you get in a groove and start to slow down a little bit and spend a lot less money. I guess that makes sense, because if you were to REALLY slow down you’d be living there, and then you’d (hopefully) be paying local prices.

And since I don’t usually post pictures of myself:

I am incapable of making a reasonable face for a photo. Jenny Newman, eat your heart out.

More from Hermosillo tomorrow!

– Wetz