Snow in Twin Falls || The Grand Road Trip

No desire to get out of bed today. It’s snowing:

This is a horribly taken picture from my hotel room here in Twin Falls with my laptop. My iPhone is out of battery so I couldn’t use that. Like I said, it’s snowing, sideways, and I don’t think I can get out of bed until it’s stopped snowing or until the I-84 webcams show the interstate as being at least somewhat clear. Here’s how they look now:

If you think I’m gonna get out there in drive in that you’ve got that exact thing coming. Because that is what I’m going to do. Once I slowly muster myself here, and drink some tea, and pack my shit, and finish raging at the stupid neighbors above me who spent all night stomping around, I’m going to hit the road. I don’t know how far I’ll make it. Maybe only to Boise. But I’m going to hit the road all the same since there’s no way I’m staying here again with these neighbors above me. I’d rather at least make it to Boise.

Also, tomorrow looks like a decent day for driving.

As the morning draws on the roads should get better. It is still snowing, though.

I desperately need to shave. Maybe what I’ll do is get up, walk over to Winco Foods, get some tea, get either another mechanical razor or maybe even an electric razor, attempt to shave, stretch or pad around my room and rage at the neighbor upstairs, and then finally start loading up the Subi.

The Subi.

Her name is not Bella. She rejected that name.

Also I’ve been looking at other Subi’s. In the 2014 year range. If I do get a new car I have two requisites: 1) That it be less than 10 years old. 2) That it have less than 100,000 miles on it. Maybe even less than 80,000 miles on it. I can’t even imagine getting into a car I own and being like, “Damn, this feels really comfortable and safe.” Because right now when I get into the Subi I think, “Get me the fuck out of here,” and, “We’re going to die.”

I really need to get her brakes checked out.

Yesterday I asked my friend Steve two questions: 1) What US state would you least want to live in? and 2) What Latin American Country would you least want to live in? He said Indiana and El Salvador. Indiana cuz of the vibes he’s gotten while driving through there, and El Salvador for the crime. I said Kansas or Nebraska or somewhere in the Deep South. And on third thought it would probably be somewhere in the deep south for me. Whichever deep south state has the worst bouldering. As for Latin American country: Honduras.

K, almost time to walk over to Winco Foods.

I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday and spent 40 minutes contemplating which book to buy, the whole time standing there farting cuz I’d just had a bunch of dates, and then eventually left empty-handed. I really wanted the Elton John autobiography, but if I bought that I got another book at 50% off, and none of the other books at 50% off looked that good. And I couldn’t bring myself to buy the EJ book without taking advantage of the deal. So eventually I left.

The idea today was to make it to the Tri-Cities. At least to Pendleton or La Grande. That’s definitely not happening.

It will not stop snowing.

At the same time, I must look at the positives of the snow. If I had woken up and saw this as a little kid, I would’ve been stoked. I would’ve been prancing around the room in my undies. I would’ve been stoked for the hotel breakfast and stoked to get in the car and stoked to have adventures. The snow is beautiful. I’m in a strange town, in Twin Falls. As long as I take it easy on the highway and drive carefully, the world, aka Idaho, is my oyster, aka spud. So now I’m actually going to get out of bed. I’m going to get bundled up. And I’m going to walk across the street to the grocery store. It is a winter wonderland, and I plan to walk in it.

High Times in Santa Fe

The Four Seasons? No: The Guadalupe Inn off Agua Fria Street.

Dear sweet mother of Jesus father in heaven I need to learn how to manage my money better. How much money did I spend today? There was gas, meals, spending way too much on dinner, buying a bunch of shit at Whole Foods, my hotel/inn for the night. It all adds up. It adds up real damn quick. And some might even consider me frugal. My hotel room cost $66 before tax. Lunch was basically a Whataburger with a large water. But it still adds up. It still adds up….

I am in Santa Fe.

New Mexico.

Not to be confused with “Old Mexico,” aka where I was a few days ago. When I was in Old Mexico I noticed a clacking that sounded like something was stuck in my tire. A rock, perhaps. I ignored it. I figured if it was a rock, it would eventually come out, probably when I was doing speeds near 80mph on the highway. And I remember thinking, after a couple days of driving, “Hmmm, that’s a stubborn rock.” But I still didn’t look at it.

Lo and behold, when I come out of a gas station in Vaughn, New Mexico, I see that it’s not a rock at all, but a nail. It’s currently lodged in the front left tire of my car, and it’s been there for about 1,000 miles. And the tire hasn’t lost any air. The tire also has about an inch long gash in it that looks like it should’ve caused a flat about 600 miles ago.

When I discovered both these things I thought, “Fuck, what do I do now. Do I keep driving it? Can I make it the 80-something miles to Santa Fe? What if it blows out when I’m doing 70mp?”

Then I thought: “Bro, it’s made it this far, it’s probably not gonna blow out. What are you gonna do, change the tire right here, take it to a mechanic? Get a new tire?”

Then I thought: “Who are these motherfuckers who wear their masks below their nose? Like, if you’re gonna do that, just don’t wear a mask at all. I honestly don’t really care whether your wear a mask. But don’t wear one below your nose.”

And then I got in my car and drove the rest of the way to Santa Fe and the Subi was fine.

And my shoulders were very tense from gripping the shit out of the steering wheel every time a semi passed me.

And I saw boulders on the way to Santa Fe.

And I wanted to climb them.

By the way, the Subi is apparently named Bella name. Barry and I named her that. She doesn’t like it. She cringes when I call her it. So mostly I still just call her The Subi. She is the love of my life. But I’m also thinking of donating her to King FM for a tax write-off when I get back. If we get back. I gotta get this tire thing figured out. Right now, the plan is to take the nail tire off and put what I think is a full-size spare on. And keep nail tire as the new spare. Terribly plan, right? Wrong. Wonderful plan. And that’s what I’m going to do tomorrow. I’m going to change the tire, because that’s the kind of stuff men do, and I am a (sort of) a man.

I might stay another night in Santa Fe. I like this place. The adobe has floored me. It’s so damn cute. It reminds me of a southwest Chefchouen, Morocco. The adobe makes everything feel cozy, everything feel like it’s from several centuries ago. Add that to the fact that when you go outside the cold makes the stars crisper and you can literally smell sage in the air. I’m convinced 94% of the households in Santa Fe are burning sage. This entire town smells like a sweat lodge. And it’s wonderful. And there are angel wings hanging above the fireplace in the room of my inn. And there’s a fireplace. And I’m staying in an inn….

So yes, I might have to stay tomorrow. And do a bunch of walking to rehab my knee. And change Bella’s tire. And maybe do some fasting. And enjoy all that beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico has to offer.

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?


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

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

Bi-di Bi-di Bampo | Hermosillo to Los Mochis

The beautiful cathedral of Los Mochis, Sinaloa. There was a wedding in this church yesterday, and many of the guests/wedding party are staying in the hotel where I’m staying. Nothing like seeing a wedding party wearing masks….

Waking up in Los Mochis, Sinaloa. I got here yesterday after about six hours of driving in which I didn’t get pulled over once. Actually, I did get pulled over once, but all they said was, “This car looks good. It should take you far.” They mostly wanted to see my Temporary Import Permit (TIP), aka were bored.

Now, when most people think of Sinaloa, they probably think about the city of Topolobampo, and the “-bampo” suffixes in the names of the cities in general. And this is forgivable. As a young boy I used to dream of Topolobampo. My father would come into my room at night when we lived in Chanhassen, Minnesota, to tuck me in, and I’d be sitting there with my hands behind me head, propping myself up on the pillow.

“What are you thinking about?” my dad would say.

“Oh, dad, you know what I’m thinking about.”


“It’s beautiful.”

And now here I am, at the age of 37, with the unique opportunity to visit Topolobampo which, in the indigenous language, means, “The place where you get the ferry to La Paz, where you can go diving with sea lions and get good fish tacos at that one place on the boardwalk.”

And thing is: I don’t think I’m even gonna go to Topolobampo.

I’m kidding of course. When most people hear “Sinoloa” they either think: Nothing at all, or, drug cartels. This is probably just because they have a cursory interest in drug cartels or because they’ve watched the series Narcos Mexico. And I’m in the same boat. I was worried about driving through Sinaloa, because I know one of the most famous drug cartels comes from this region. I’m still worried about driving through Sinaloa. But there’s nothing like going to a place to assuage your fears. You get to Los Mochis and you realize it’s a town just like any other. You realize there’s a main park, and a cathedral, and hotels and restaurants. People walking around. Young people sitting outside cafes. Traffic. Noise. Pigeons. Neighbors stopping to talk to each other on the street.

This is Los Mochis.

Topolobampo, after a bit of investigation, actually means “Place where tigers drink water,” and the “-bampo” suffix means “place of water.” Driving through Sinaloa and Sonora you’ll see LOTS of places ending in “-bampo” or “-bempo”: Bachomobampo, Chinobampo, Huatabampo, Sirebampo, Huatabampo, and of course: Mazatlan. These names come from the Cahito or Mayo languages (if I’m off please correct me!), spoken in Sinaloa and Sonora. When I lived in Oaxaca in 2011 I had the opportunity to study the Zapotec indigenous language. The only thing I remember how to say now is, “My eye hurts,” which I can say perfectly. Many people don’t realize how many indigenous languages are spoken throughout Mexico. The Mexican government recognizes 63 indigenous langues, and about 350 dialects of said languages (Wikipedia). Indeed, one thing you’ll notice when talking to Mexicans is they often refer to full-fledged languages as “dialects,” which I find apalling. They’ll call Zapotec “dialect,” or Nahuatl, “dialect.” These are not dialects. These are full-fledged languages, which in turn have their own dialects, just like Spanish has its many dialects in different countries and regions. Over a million people still speak Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, so when you get out of bed tomorrow, ask yourself, “Why don’t I speak Nahautl?”

And then go back to bed.


OK, I don’t really have much else to say but I’m gonna keep writing anyway. I’m not sure what to do today. I COULD of course go to Topolobampo, which actually looks kind of cool. First I have to avoid the near panic attack that’s been brought on by the latte this morning. And then I probably have to get another latte.

Ah, yesterday! Yes, it was nice not to get stopped by cops wanting a bribe yesterday. It was nice to get further from the border. And my hotel! My hotel is beautiful! I’m staying at the Best Western Plus in Los Mochis, right across the street from a cathedral and one of the main plazas, both of which I have a view from my damn hotel room. This morning I got up, EXTENDED my stay another night (no way in hell I’m driving more today), and then walked around the park. And then got a latte. And then drank the latte by the pool. And then came up to my room and tried to watch episodes of Alone using a VPN. And then cursed Hulu when it denied me for using a VPN. And then started typing this post, causing the desk I’m writing on to vibrate wildly.

This blog got over 50 views the other day.

I’m almost famous.

The silence right now is beautiful. My neighbors must be out somewhere getting breakfast. It’s not too hot right now. The high down in San Pancho next week is only 70! 70 degrees in freaking Nayarit! It’s glorious. Not glorious if you want heat, but glorious if you’re me and just want sun but nothing too hot. Viva Mexico. It’s time for chilaquiles.

Leaving Hermosillo Vibes | The Grand Road Trip

Cafe Central, Hermosillo, Mexico.

Leaving Hermosillo vibes, end of the world vibes, sun coming up vibes, need to get out of this hotel vibes, six or so hours of driving vibes, Best Western Plus in Los Mochis vibes, tomorrow Mazatlan? vibes, why am I doing this trip vibes, a little sick of being alone vibes, should I just go back to Seattle and get a job vibes, dandruff vibes, mask vibes, COVID vibes, avocado chipotle vibes, knee healing vibes, ibuprofen vibes, lack of air conditioning vibes, finernails that need cutting vibes, poor oral hygiene vibes, dentist vibes, highs in the 80’s vibes, just drive vibes, check your oil vibes, check the transmission fluid and the brake fluid and the power steering fluid and the windshield wiper fluid and any other fluid you can possibly check….


Patio at Cafe Central vibes. 10 peso tip vibes. Frappe vibes. Fasting today till 1245pm at the earliest vibes. Time to just leave now, I guess, vibes. Go get in the Subaru. Drive five hours. Maybe six. Check into the Best Western Plus in Los Mochis, Sinaloa? Stroll the town. Get some food. And get up in the morning and get on the ferry to La…………..just kidding. Drive to Mazatlan. Drive to San Blas. Stay at La Familia. Or go to Zacatecas. Or drive straight to Estado de Mexico and stay in that one AirBnb. Leave this hotel room by 9:30am. Go by that cafe real quick? No, don’t drink coffee when you’re fasting. It makes it worse. Just get in your car and go.

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



The Other Side | Palm Desert to Mexicali (Grand Road Trip Leg 6)

Sunset in Mexicali.

The first time I came to Mexicali was in 2007. I remember it like it was 14 years ago. I was 23 years old, freshly graduated from the Universidad de Washington, where I had just majored in Spanish and Portuguese studies, despite having never studied Portuguese. My Spanish was the best it’s ever been, since I’d just studied in Mexico City the year before. The idea was to go from Seattle to Buenos Aires by land and write a book about it. That book never materialized, though parts of a rough draft of it did, mostly written in a coffee shop in Victoria, BC called the Moka House and also a the UVic library, where I would also read Jane Eyre until I fell asleep and then meet my girlfriend for a late breakfast, which usually consisted of hashbrowns smothered in ketchup and sausage.

On that trip I was actually in San Felipe, a couple hours south, and realized that if I wanted to go further south in mainland Mexico I’d have to go all the way back to Mexicali and get a bus. So my host, a guy from my parents’ church originally from San Felipe, found me a ride with a couple going north and next thing I knew I was at the bus station in Mexicali and for 50 bucks I got a one-way ticket o Mazatlan, a bus ride that would take 24 hours.

In Mazatlan I stayed with my friend’s grandmother, and then on the bus to Guadalajara from Mazatlan met a guy named Jeff from Vancouver, who I’m still friends with to this day. We got black out drunk on tequila in Guadalajara, and the only thing I really remember is sitting around Jeff playing the guitar and singing. The next day I felt awful. And the next day we were supposed to do a tequila tour. Those were my first memories of Guadalajara. After Guadalajara I went to Mexico City, and then my girlfriend at the time and I went to Puebla and Puerto Escondido. Eventually I did make it by land to Buenos Aires, albeit with a boat ride from Panama to Colombia.

Now, here I am 14 later, back in Mexicali, this time with my ’97 Subaru who BARELY got a Temporary Import Permit today letting her/us go anywhere we want in the whole damn Republic. The world is our periwinkle. And this barely happened because APPARENTLY my car has a damaged frame. Which means I probably don’t even have a clean title. Which I was a bit dismayed/surprised to learn. But at the same time I’m thrilled I even GOT a TIP (Temporary Import Permit) because I thought you needed the title to get a TIP and it turns out all I needed was the registration.

So now I’m in Mexico. I have Mexican car insurance. I have permission to go ANYWHERE I WANT IN THE ENTIRE FUCKING COUNTRY, and that might be exactly what I do.

But first I have to decide: Am I going to eat tonight.

You see, I’ve been fasting all day today, and I’m coming up on 24 hours. This has been one of the easiest fasts I’ve ever done, because I’ve been distracted by 1) driving all day, 2) crossing the border, and 3) getting a hotel. I’ve had water and a little bit of green tea, but no calories. And while I would LOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE to eat tonight if I don’t eat tonight I could possibly do my longest fast ever, and tomorrow might be the perfect day to do it because tomorrow I might spend all day driving to Hermosillo.

Oh yeah, I’m probably not going to Baja.

I love Baja.

But, like, I’ve been there a bunch.

And I’ve never really been to Hermosillo.

And Hermosillo seems kinda dope.

Cuz it’s, like, the desert.

And it’s Sonora.

And if went there I might go to Chihuahua.

Which when I was younger I thought was pronounced, “Chi-hoo-a-hoo-a.”


You don’t really realize how ridiculous the border wall is until you spend some time on the other side of it.

If I don’t eat tonight, what am I gonna do? Just sit in my hotel room all evening? You see because if I eat then that’s something to do. That’s my evening. I eat and then I come back and I watch “Alone” for awhile and then I go to sleep. But if I don’t eat, then, well that’s an empty existence. But then again my whole life revolves around food. I’m like a golden lab.

OK, I’m gonna take a shower. That will feel nice. And drink some more green tea infused water. I forget that you can’t drink the water in Mexico. Which means if I want water I need to brave crossing the busy thoroughfare in front of my hotel. And I don’t know if I’m up for that. And let’s be honest, if I go to a grocery store right now there’s no WAY I’m not getting food. Ugghhhhhh this is so difficult. Why is fasting so hard.

OK time to chill.

I’m in Mexico.

So fucking stoked.

Leg 5: Lone Pine, CA to Palm Desert, CA

Twenty three minutes till Chelsea play. Christian Pulisic is not in the starting lineup. He’s on the bench. Will he play today? Did he get injured?

Good morning! And welcome to the lastest installment of “The Grand Road Trip,” where I chronicle a road trip I’m currently doing from Seattle to…I don’t know where. Somewhere south. I am currently in the city of Palm Desert, which is just east of Palm Springs, and of course just west of Indio. Just northwest of the Salton Sea. Just northeast of the San Jacinto Mountains. Just south of Joshua Tree NP where, on this trip, I unfortunately won’t be climbing. Fuck. I want to climb there so bad. I have unfinished business with a V2. I have unfinished business with a V0 stemming problem. And I really wanted to try Stem Gem V4 with a reverse takeoff.

But you didn’t come here to hear about all the boulders I can’t climb.

Or maybe you did.

Yesterday I drove from Lone Pine to Palm Desert. What a change between these two places. Lone Pine still felt like the north. It was still cold. It was closed to Bishop, which is rugged and cold and beautiful, which is close to Mammoth, which is even more rugged and cold and beautiful. Lone Pine: Close to snow and mountains. Palm Desert: Close to Mexico.

Which is indeed where I’m going today.

Diet and caffeine-wise, yesterday was a disaster. Today is a much different prospect. Today I’m fasting. I’m going to start trying to implement my “Wednesday Fasting” regimens, where I fast for 24 hours every Wednesday. I did this regularly about 10 years ago. But I’ve since become soft. Real soft.

I get to break my fast tonight at 8:05pm. Will I be in Mexicali? In San Felipe? Camping somewhere along the Sea of Cortez? Will my car start this morning?

The drive from Lone Pine to Palm Desert was one of the most uneventful drives so far. This might’ve been because of my addled mental state. At the beginning you could see the Sierras to the west, and then it was just desert, and then you could see the San Bernardino Mountains to the south, which we would eventually pass through. But before passing through these mountains I needed to get Chipotle, which I did in Hesperia or Victorville or some other god-forsaken city. I got a veggie bowl. Yesterday I was not in the mood to eat animals killed on my behalf. And I was in the mood for guacamole. And rice with cilantro. And pico de gallo. And sour cream. And sauteed veggies.

Fasting might be tough today.

Walker Lake, Nevada.

How far I’ve come, both physically and mentally, from Walker Lake, Nevada, pictured above. When you travel you get physical distance but you get mental distance, too. If I were to turn around and drive back to Walker Lake I wouldn’t be the same person when I got there, but I can’t really explain why. It already seems like a long time ago. It seems I was less mature then, even though the opposite is probably true. It seems like so much has changed since then, that I’ve changed so much, and yet it was only a couple days ago. You encounter a strange time paradox when you travel: On the one hand things that happened a week ago seem like they happened a year ago, and on the other hand they seem like they just happened yesterday.

Finally SHAK is starting to climb again.

Oh God did I fuck up my knee just knee getting up from a seated position?

I slept surprisingly well last night at the Deep Canyon Inn considering on one side of me there was a barking dog and on the other side of me neighbors screaming. I just turned up the fan. I started watching a series last night called “Alone,” about a bunch of guys who get dumped in the woods on Vancouver Island and have to survive as long as they can. This is pretty much my dream. Trying to find water, trying to start fires, listening to the howling of wolves? I mean, I know the idea of hearing wolves in the distance sounds romantic until they’re on your person, maiming you, but still. This is one of the reasons I fast. It makes you appreciate eating again.

Time to watch the Chelsea game and then check out of the Deep Canyon Inn and drive south, first getting some oil for the Subi. I never know if she has enough oil in her or not. It seems the flatness of the ground she’s parked on can wildly influence the dipstick. And then after getting oil on to the Salton Sea, and El Centro, and Calexico, and…Mexicali?


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.