If anything, it’s been crazy. My roommate and I just got done watching a few episodes from the new Invader Zim DVD, which arrived today along with the new matt pond PA album. Earlier in the evening we were chilling on the front deck, drinking beers and watching everyone in the world try to weasel their cars along the packed streets of Lava Road, in their tiny personal attempts to escape the Cascade Festival of Bikes and Closed Downtown Streets Festival. We saw a Model A, the Pizza Mondo Delivery Geo, and the same purple Oldsmobile twice. Earlier in the evening I spent a few hours in Drake Park, listening to matt pond PA, soaking up the remaining sun, and trying to finish The Open Society and Its Enemies. If I can complete this book it will be the first that I have finished in half a year. Well, here’s hoping.
Yesterday evening I hit up Smith Rock with Jody and Travis. Joel showed up about an hour late, and we climbed at the Christian Brothers until dark. I flew up a top rope on a 5.10b, and even beasted through the crux that momentarily flummoxed everyone else. I’m a better climber than I was when my leg was broken, that’s for sure.
Monday I didn’t have to work, and Mark was down in Bend so again we went out to Smith to do some climbing. We picked up a few extra quick draws on the way out, and I ended up leading my first 5.8 climb, Five Gallon Buckets, which was actually my second lead climb ever. Hardly anyone was out climbing that day,and it was a scorcher by our standards. My car said it was 93 degrees in the shade, and we most definitely were not climbing in the shade. Near the end of the day I started to lose my mind. That’s a lot of heat for a couple of cold-blooded Minnesotans.
Mark and I staged our own Sunday morning worship by packing into the Subaru, driving up to Swampy Lakes and mountain biking for fifteen miles. I fell once coming around a dusty curve too fast, scraping up my left side and laughing about it too much. We took a hot downhill run all the way to the Tumalo Falls area, swung over near Skyliner Trailhead, climbed for hours to get up along Swede Ridge, and eventually found our way back to the car for a lunch of bagels, hummus and fresh cherries. After lunch we drove up around the Cascade Lakes area, and stopped at the Sparks Lake meadow to play frisbee. After our bike ride neither of us had any energy left to play frisbee, so we ended up jumping from post to post in the parking lot until some leather-clad bikers showed up and started wrestling snakes.
Sunday evening we watched the fireworks from the Phoenix Inn parking lot, and while the show was spectacular you could tell everyone was disappointed that Pilot Butte didn’t catch on fire this year. We also got to enjoy the recurring counterpoint of car stereos not synced up to the same station.
Saturday morning we tromped around downtown Bend, grabbed some bluegrass music from Ranch Records, and picked up half a kilo of Yerba Mate from the Saturday Market. Later on we headed out into the wild wild desert to explore some lava tubes, and Mark bouldered some hot roof problems near the mouth of the cave. I didn’t climb, as my thumb was still narfed up. Driving back from the caves we took the Toyota off-road and scaled the highest butte we could find, while listening to James Brown. We ran crazy around the car whooping and hollering at the landscape. Unstoppable were we.
Friday evening I got out of work a little bit early, caught up with Shane, and we headed out to Shevlin Park for a quick (and rather technical) biking session. I got eaten by bushes once and spilled over the handle bars, and again got kicked way wrong off a two foot jump, ate it on my front wheel and bent my left thumb all wonky. Mark pulled into Bend around 10:30, so we stumbled around downtown before ending up on the sidewalk in front of the Barcelona, sipping (choking) on martinis and catching up on life.
After getting rained out on Tuesday and ending up at the gym, Jody and I regrouped at Smith Rock on Thursday to take another shot at Cinnamon Slab. Jody did the trad lead and we knocked off both 5.6 pitches, and thus I broke the cherry on my first multi-pitch climb.
Next Thursday I’m flying back to Minnesota for a week, and there’s a lot of ya’ll out there I want to catch up with. My proposed tour involves Minneapolis, Minnetonka, Loretto, Elkader (Iowa), Prairie du Chien (Wisconsin), Madison, Shell Lake and Duluth. If you’re near any of those venues we should party, but always with the understanding that these things are typically thrown together at such a horribly improvised level that it is impossible to plan for any of it.
Well, here’s for trying!