Time to Fast || R2V6 #3

For some reason I never posted this. But I kinda like it. So here it is:

OK OK OK OK. I’ll talk about the session at Smith Rock yesterday. I don’t want to talk about it because it involves rope climbing, but I’ll talk about it anyway.

Basically what happened was this: a crew of five of us went down to Redmond, Oregon ostensibly to climb at Smith. The first day though people went skiing. Adi and I didn’t ski but rather hung out with her friend who lives in Bend and played with her dogs. Which was the correct decision. I haven’t skied in 22 years, and so I need to plot my return to glory carefully. Also it would’ve cost $150. So yeah, not skiing was the right decision.

Then YESTERDAY we went to Smith. But first we stopped at Junction Coffee in Redmond. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend this place. The coffee is delicious. The décor is tasteful. And when we were there they had soothing French music playing. I got an oat milk latte and it was sublime. If I wasn’t fasting today I might go back there. Though probably not because I’m sure Bend has great coffee too. Does Bend have good coffee? I have no idea.

The main thing you need to know about Smith Rock is that it’s BEAUTIFUL. Beautiful in an, “Oh my god this place is idyllic I wonder what it looked like before the influence of humans there were probably animals and shit way.” Beautiful in a, “Damn this kind of like a mini Yosemite” way. Beautiful in like a, “God I hate rope climbing literally the only thing you do is bake at the bottom of the cliff and yell at each other” way.  It must be said though that my body was not feeling in tip top shape, so I didn’t try any remotely hard climbs. Had I tried harder climbs, had I LED, I might’ve been more stoked on the climbing. But my body just didn’t feel good, hence the reason I’m fasting right now.

OK so that was Smith. Then afterward I went to the Meadow Camp Boulders for the first time and tried to climb Centrifuge V2 and Zithromax V2. I got shut down on both. I think they’re both fairly stout V2’s. Zithromax seemed kinda sick. I figured out some beta for the start and could probably huck to a good hold up on the arete but wanted to do it static. The landing was not good. I had one tri-panel pad that was basically folded in half on a rock. I’m debating going back there tomorrow for round two, and I’ll probably hike there today from the LOGE, where I’m staying, to check out the rest of the area. The best thing to do on a rest day is check out new blocs.

ANYWAY, as I mentioned before I’m also fasting. The goal for this fast is 72 hours, which is a big goal. I just passed the 16 hour mark, which is actually no small feat. Fasting is all about mindset. If you have it in your head you’re DEFINITELY GOING TO FAST UNTIL YOU WITHER, you’ll fast for a long time. But if you think, Ohhhhh, I’ll just see how it goes. Maybe I’ll do 24 hours, maybe I’ll do 36, then you’ll probably do 16 and go straight to Chipotle and drown yourself in a burrito (which is actually what I did yesterday for my last meal and it was delicious).

So yeah, the goal for the rest of the time in Bend is to fast. The plan right now is to stay till Wednesday morning, still fasting, and then drive back to Seattle, still fasting, and then break the fast at 17:33 on Wednesday. If this happens, it will be my longest fast ever by a day. Mostly I’m stoked right now to get to the 20 hour mark, because that’s apparently when a lot of detoxing happens. I got some detox tea yesterday from Safeway and so far today am actually DOING things. One trap you can fall into when fasting is just laying around all day watching the minutes tick by.

But anyway. Bouldering. Tomorrow. Tomorrow maybe I’ll go to Bar Fly V6, or maybe Blood Knuckle V5, or maybe I’ll just say screw it and go back to Zithromax and throw myself at it and not send it and start crying.


Sagebrush and Juniper

I’m standing in front of the supplements in Whole Foods in Bend, Oregon trying to find a certain kind of turmeric. It’s apparently liquid soluble and thus more “bioavailable,” and it must be said that when I took it before my digestive system felt better than ever, though that could’ve been because I was supplementing magnesium or any number of other factors. In the end I don’t find it and thus leave with only two wares: a hop tea by Hop Lark, and a Zevia black tea blood orange flavor. Neither of these have any calories, which is ideal. I can’t have calories. I’m fasting.

I traverse the parking lot to the Costco section where I parked. This is Bend, Oregon, known as an outdoor paradise, but I’m in a Costco parking lot, which is decidedly less paradisiacal. My plan when I get in the car, though, after drinking one of the beverages, is to drive east. I don’t know where I want to go, just not here, somewhere without cars, where the only things are dirt, sagebrush and juniper trees. I want to hear the sound of the wind on the high desert, to not be surrounded by cars and buildings and people. This will prove more difficult than I imagined.

I head east on Neff Road and pretty soon things are how I wanted. It’s just me and a road. No traffic behind or in front of me, and the houses are gone now, given way to ranches, and pretty soon these are sparse, too. With the help of Google Maps I make my way to where I think there should be some trails to hike up to some cliff-looking formations where there might be boulders, too. But every time I think I’m getting close the road either becomes a dead end or a private road or simply impassable. Every damn parcel of land out here is owned by someone. Every sage bush, every juniper tree, has a human owner, and the ones I see in the distance on the butte next to the cliff, though presumably free of any owner, are blocked by private land. There are no trails, only roads that turn into driveways adorned with hostile “Private. No trespassing signs.”

Private driveway.

Dead end.

No trespassing.

The butte looms in front of me like a dream and that’s all it will ever be for me, since access looks impossible. I briefly contemplate just driving down one of the private driveways but imagine some guy in a cowboy hat toting a gun sauntering off his porch to point it at me. I don’t feel welcome out here. I’m sure the people are welcoming once you get to know them but if you’re just driving around in your ’97 Subaru looking for a place to look at some damn rocks it certainly doesn’t feel welcoming.

Finally I give up and turn around and start driving towards Bend. After a few minutes I stop to pee and there’s a dead coyote lying near the road, flies buzzing around it, its fur the same color as the brown grass, soon to be fertilizer for the brown grass. I thought it might be silent here but above me power lines crackle and every 30 seconds or so a car comes screaming by. When I finally get back on the road I’m immediately tailgated by a man in a Jeep who’s so close I can see individual stubble clusters on his face. Eventually the degenerate passes me, and I’m free again for a short while. I have the road (sort of) to myself. As we get closer to Bend, though, the traffic becomes thicker, and pretty soon I’m back at the strip mall that houses the Whole Foods where I was just looking at the supplements. I failed on my quest to go to the butte, but it still felt good to get out of the city for a bit, amongst the juniper and the sagebrush, even if I barely left my car.

Grand Road Trip Leg Two: Saint Helens, OR to Burns, OR

It was hard to leave Saint Helens, Oregon this morning. I rolled out of bed at 8:30am (!), and apart from a nightmare got a wonderful night’s sleep.

My first stop was Portland, where I wanted to go to Whole Foods. I was heading into the middle of nowhere, so there would be no more Whole Foods. I bought a Rebbl Matcha and a Go Macro bar. I had to take advantage while I could.

After Whole Foods I forced myself to go to Powell’s Books because it’s only a couple blocks from Whole Foods and it’s one of the best bookstores in the world. Though I had nothing in mind to buy I stumbled upon the Karl Ove Knausgaard section just to see what I could see and lo and behold, there was a book called Inadvertent which is Karl Ove Knausgaard on writing. I didn’t know this book existed. I looked at the back cover. $8.98. I sprinted to the cash register.

From Portland I took Burnside Street east, which would eventually turn into Highway 26 which would take me by Mt. Hood and into Central Oregon. I didn’t want to go to Central Oregon. Central Oregon is a necessary evil of this trip. It’s impossible to get to Nevada and California without going to Oregon, unless you take a big detour into Idaho, a state I wanted to visit even less. I don’t know what it is I have against Oregon. I like surfing in Oregon. I like the lack of sales tax. I like that it’s somewhat similar to Washington. I don’t, however, like how they don’t let you pump your own gas. And I’ve never been particularly attracted to Portland. Oregon just seems kind of…blah. Kind of like, “OK, let’s get this over with and get to California.” I mean, the coast is beautiful, I suppose. But right now I’m not into the coast. I’m into getting to the middle of nowhere, Nevada. Into getting to Mexico.

Powell’s Books.

Once over the pass I stopped in Madras, Oregon, for lunch. I went to Safeway and got a turkey pesto avocado Sandwich and enjoyed one of the few human interactions of the day. The woman working told me she liked making sandwiches with focaccia bread and I countered with something like, “Well, I like eating them with that bread,” and retreated to the parking lot, where I ate alone in my car, contemplating the road ahead of me and the proper pronunciation of “Madras.” Madras led to Prineville, and sometime after Prineville is where I started to speed.

I’m not much of a speed-demon when it comes to driving. I used to be, in my teenage years, ripping around suburban Washington in an ’88 Honda Civic, pulling e-brakes in the parking lot. But nowadays I drive the speed limit, unless I’m really bored. The stretch between Prineville and the highway to Burns was one such stretch. It might be the first time I’ve gotten my Subaru over 80, which doesn’t sound like much, but keep in mind around 68mph my Subaru starts to shake like an F16 taking off. I discovered something today, though, namely that there’s a sweet spot around 74pmh where it stops shaking, and again at around 80pmh. So for awhile I was cruising.

A bucolic landscape outside of Madras, Oregon.

I must say I do like Central Oregon, despite the trucks kicking up pebbles at your windshield. I pulled over for a bit somewhere and just stood, basking in the sun and my orange puffy jacket. I peed. I kept driving, stopping in a place called Riley, which is the junction of 395 (which is the highway that goes to Bishop [!]), where I got black tea and an orange. At this point I was only about 25 miles from Burns and America’s Best Value Inn, which I had booked during my sun-basking pitstop. I’m obsessed with lodging and the website Booking.com. Sometimes when I’m bored I just look at the Booking map view to see if any establishments catch my attention. I have a pretty good handle on the different American hotel chains, which is why I was surprised to see that the America’s Best Value Inn in Burns, Oregon, had a rating of 8.5. I was under the impression staying in an America’s Best Value Inn was a bit like staying in cellblock D of your local penitentiary. I’d never seen one rated this high. I was greeted at the front desk by Nikki, who told me the hot tub was open and I could make an appointment. First, though, I went for a stroll around Burns, which actually DID feel a bit like penitentiary, or at least the places I went. I curtailed the walk in favor of going back to the hotel. At 6pm I had my solo hottub date, where I played in the jets and lasted about 15 minutes.

For dinner I had panang curry from Linda’s Thai Room. It was surprisingly delicious. It was interesting to see people dining inside masks. When I went in to pick up my food wearing a mask I saw one guy look at me like, “Now, wait just a gosh darn minute. Cheryl, go get the truck…”

I ate my curry back in the hotel room and for dessert had a Butterfinger McFlurry from Dairy Queen. My diet has already begun to suffer a bit on this trip, but I’m not worried about it. It evens out in the end. After dinner I watched a series on Hulu called “Looking for Alaska” and of course immediately fell in love with the female protagonist. In the middle of the night I woke up and thought, “Why am I doing this trip?” and had a strange longing to be back on my boat! Luckily, those thoughts were quickly banished from my head as a fell asleep. I don’t know why I’m on this trip, and that’s precisely why I must keep going.

The Grand Road Trip | Leg One: Ballard to Saint Helens, OR

It’s finally happened. I’ve finally started my road trip south. I was supposed to start last week but then I decided to hang around for my doctor’s appointment, where I learned I have a partially torn LCL that will take 2-3 months to heal. So what better way to kill time in the winter waiting for your ligament to heal than by getting in your ’97 Subaru and heading south toward Me-hee-ko?

I’m calling it The Grand Road Trip, semi named after The Grand Forest on Bainbridge Island, a kick-ass name and one of my favorite places to go walking (and apparently a cougar lives there now and is preying on local livestock).

One of the goals for this road trip: To not take interstates. Which in theory is a romantic idea. You see the land! You live among the people! But in practice it meant that leaving Seattle I had to pass through places like Kent and Tukwila and SeaTac and the dreaded Puyallup.

Despite this, from the first moment it was still enchanting, turning onto Airport Way S. down by SoDo stadium. Airport Way S took me past Boeing Field and the King County International Airport (I didn’t even know this existed; Do they have one-way flights to Guam?), and onto Military Road S, and from there through the aforementioned places I wasn’t thrilled about but that were a necessary evil to get out of the greater Seattle area.

Once on 161 south things began to get better. I passed Alder Lake, which for a moment made me feel like I was back in Central Switzerland, fresh off the mountain and looking for a comely lass in the local ski lodge to share a Stein with. This led me to the town of Elbe, which apparently has Germanic influence, as noted by the word “Kirche” written on the local church. Here I stopped in a general store and got a large Earl Grey with “just a little bit of cream” and then sat on a bench outside, eating cheese and crackers and gazing out on the lake. Already I felt good about my decision not to take interstates. It was hard at first, leaving Seattle and seeing I-5 south signs every five minutes and knowing I could just faceplant onto the freeway and be at my destination in almost half the time. But this trip is not about destinations. I have nowhere to get to. I have nothing to do. I just want to see new things and appreciate the place where I am, places like Elbe with their Teutonic places of worship.

The church in Elbe, WA. The pastor is a monolingual German speaker named Hermann, or so I hope.

After Elbe it was onto highway 7 which took me to the lovely town of Morton, known for….a lumber mill, maybe? Morton was one of those towns that was charming in the way your slow-witted nephew might be charming. It’s great to be around him for a little bit, but then when you’re not in his presence anymore you say to your wife, “Jesus, I’m glad our kids didn’t turn out like that.” Or maybe he’s like that cousin you have that lives in Minnesota or Iowa or some god-forsaken place like Missouri, where he lives in a subdivision at the end of a cul-de-sac, and you visit him and he’s so happy, so carefree, and though you’re touched by his happiness you also know he’ll grow up to be a manager at Applebee’s and never leave the country (though he’ll still be happier than you). Anyway, Morton is something like that. The only thing interesting about it was a group of semi-goth highschool kids that got off a schoolbus, and the fact that in Morton you have to decide if you want to take Highway 12 east towards Yakima, or west towards Longview.

I went towards Longview.

I kind of WISH I had gone towards Yakima, but by this point I’d already made my reservation at the hotel where I’m currently typing these very words, the Best Western Oak Meadows Inn in Saint Helens, where the woman at the front desk wasn’t wearing a mask and many of the patrons weren’t wearing masks and she asked me “How is the virus up [in Seattle]?” She also thought it was dumb the pool was closed “‘cuz, you know, chlorine,” to which I didn’t respond. Despite a lack of teeth she was super nice. She gave me corner room far far away from the group that was checking in, whereupon I went on a two mile walk and saw four churches, at least as many fast food restaurants, and a Wal-Mart. Saint Helens has a lot going on. If there were to be another eruption it would be a shame if this place didn’t make it.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. After Morton and the goth kids and the life or death decision of whether or not to go towards Yakima I worked my way back towards I-5, and then took a two-lane road just west of I-5, where I went to Safeway and got an express special with General Tso’s chicken. My diet so far on this trip has been phenomenal. Energy bars, tea and fake Chinese food. I should probably just get a pack of Skittle’s right now and call it a night.

Tomorrow I’m going to head into Portland to go to Whole Foods and also Powell’s Books. I don’t really want to go there, but it’s one of the best bookstores on the planet, so I have to go. And then after that onward towards Central Oregon, maybe, if I’m lucky (or just keep my foot on the accelerator from time to time), ending up in a town called Burns.

But for now I’m going to enjoy the splendors of the Best Western Oak Meadows Inn in Saint Helens, Oregon. I’m already in another state. And traveling without interstates is awesome! Shame about the pool, though…