Sunday, April 23, 2006

Vacation: Day 2

After waking up in our Xterra we decided that we had to make getting coffee a priority. No one else seemed to be awake, and we thought it'd be safe to run to town and get some coffee... Well, on the way to town we passed several folks who were obviously on their way into the park to camp. After hearing the park ranger at the gate say "Oh, you might want to hurry back, this is our busiest weekend of the year" we pushed on to the coffee shop. When we found it closed we decided to turn around and run back to the campground to secure a campsite!

We hunted around, and started asking folks when they were leaving (in as-nice a way as we could). Eventually we found a great campsite, and headed back into town for coffee and groceries. We ended up finding a great breakfast place called the 'Country Kitchen' and getting some bacon and eggs!

After breakfast and some grocery getting, we made our way back to the campsite to try and head out for some climbing at Real Hidden Valley. When we setup camp in the morning the skies were clear, but the skies clouded up as we arrived in R.H.V., but we thought we'd have enough time to climb.

We first tried Sail Away, but it was busy, so we made our way to the base of the 'Thin Wall'. Right as we were about to start climbing (harnesses and all) when the skies opened up. We packed up quickly and started to walk very quickly back to the car (luckily a short walk!) as the wind and rain picked up. It was already a bit chilly, so the rain made it downright cold! I also remembered that the tent was open so we made it back to camp double-time to close everytihing up and dry the tent.

After all the drama of getting a campsite, a poor night of sleep, shopping, breakfast, and a busy bunch of stuff to get out to the climb, we were exausted. With the weather turning nasty, we decided the best plan was beers and a nap in the tent... We crashed out quickly and slept for a few hours as the rain poured down outside.

After our wonderful little nap, we awoke to a beautiful dynamic sky and a stiff breeze. We drove around a bit and saw the most beautiful, sunset (see picture of Darcy below on the road below, and the vertical picture too).

Finally after this long day of errands and running around we tried to have a campfire, which turned into a blowtorch as the winds picked up! After the sun when down it felt like a tornado moved in! I think we had wind gusts up to 50mph all over the park that night, AND it was COLD! We didn't sleep too well as the wind kept rippin on by and waking us up!

Anyway, overall a productive, if borind day...


We have just arrived home after a nice 10-day vacation out West, and I thought I would share how things went:

April 13th: Travel Day

We left Boston at 11:am after a fairly relaxing limo trip to the airport. I have discovered that a limo-rental service (those using towncars, not actual 'limos') is the best thing for air travel since sliced bread! Cheaper than parking (by half!), easy and cleaner than a taxi, and a much better ride! So anyway, traveled from Boston to Minniapolis (SP?) for a 3 hour layover. We found a great mexican place in the Airport called _Tequileria_ that served excellent Marnegritas and pretty darn good mexican fair (for an airport!). After eating we wandered the airport for a few hours and then caught our flight to LA.

Upon arriving in LA after a LONG flight (crying baby's need their own plane!) we made our way to the Hertz bus, which brought us to our rental car, a Nissan XTerra. It was the new Xterra, which is bigger in every way than the old Xterra (the chassis is based on the full-size Titan pickup truck). We made it to the truck and headed towards our first stop, the new REI in Santa Monica, CA.

Turns out I should have kept reading about the Grand Opening, because it isn't scheduled to happen until May 5th! We found the construction site that WILL be REI, but no store... so we turned around and got back on Rt. 10 and headed east towards Joshua Tree. The drive from LA to J-tree takes about 2 hours, and it was already late when we made our unfortunate REI discovery, so we tried to make good time to J-tree.

Driving in LA is an interesting proposition, especially in a truck that drives like its always on sand. No sudden movements or it will heave and sway all over the place! Anyway, after a LONG ride to J-tree, we rolled into the park, only to find a "campgrounds full" sign on the entrance! Well, I wasn't going to be turned away after all this traveling, so we drove into the park, and went directly to my most reliable campground, Ryan Campground. We didn't find any sites, but we did find a place to park the truck. After all our traveling, I was too tired to try and do anything else but sleep, so we set up our sleeping bags in the back and went right to sleep.

We dreamt of good climbs and of large women.


On our final day in Joshua Tree I led this climb called Sail Away (5.8-) which was a LOT of fun, but harder than I remembered. I had a hard time finding a stance to place gear near the top, but otherwise it was a great climb. Here is D lowering after she seconded this climb (despite being very cold). Posted by Picasa

Here is D, chilling (literally), near Skull Rock after sunset. The sky was SO dynamic, and the wind was howling pretty hard. It was cold, but we managed to do a few hikes that day. Posted by Picasa

An image from the top of the Joshua Tree mesa in Joshua Tree, CA. This was just after sunset near Jumbo Rocks campground. Posted by Picasa

A picture from our Ryan Campground in Joshua Tree, CA. This was after a very windy day, and the clouds had wrapped themselves into an elaborate ribbon which refracted the sunlight into a beautiful rainbow. Posted by Picasa