Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Dirtbag Pilgrimage Beginnings





"The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning you didn't even think to ask" (Jeff Johnson).

We did not come up with the concept of the "Dirtbag Pilgrimage." The idea is simple: a road trip of the west coast, chasing good weather, pristine rock, and pure adventure with great friends.  This trip was something that had been in the works for the last few years but aways seemed to get pushed aside.  As an educator, I have the amazing opportunity to have two months free from work every summer.  As an adult, I have the amazing ability to find the perfect excuses to push this type of trip aside.  It is always easiest, cheapest, and safest to stay home.  On May 28th 2015, it was time to stop making excuses, load up the car, and head out.

The trip started in Denver CO and the first stop was Boulder.  My climbing partner and good friend Will would be sharing the adventure for the next few months...so the first stop was probably the most important.  Will and I loaded my car with all of his belongings.  He had recently sold his car, quit his job, and decided that at the end of this trip, he would be leaving his home in Boulder and returning to Ventura CA.  He had all of the qualities that make a perfect climbing partner: unemployment, homelessness, few material possessions, and the ability to go with the flow.  We knew what we were embarking on would change our lives and there was an energy at the beginning that was hard to explain.

As we set off on the much anticipated trip of a life-time, my Subaru Outback reached 70mph for the first time since I had decided to do some pre-trip work on it.  Something was wrong.  My car was shaking all over the place.  I figured my tire rotation had thrown off the balance, so we made our way to a local tire shop.  We were 5 minutes into our trip and already sitting in a waiting room getting my car repaired.  We decided that the best solution was to get a laugh and a coffee out of the situation.

An hour later, we were on the road again.  We made out way out of Boulder on interstate 70, heading for the California coast.  Our first stop would be Will's parents home in Ventura to drop off his belongings, hang out on the beach, and surf for a few days.  The first few hours were smooth sailing.  I was in charge of the first driving shift as Will rested in the passenger seat.

We crossed the boarder into Utah and catastrophe struck.

As Will slept quietly in the seat next to me, he let out a wonderful fart and woke himself up.  He had a terrified look on his face.  "Dude, I think I just shit my pants."  What a perfect reason to take our first gas station stop.

Luckily, this fear of an unintentional bowl movement was an overreaction.  We were dealing with a simple fart and were able to continue on our way with little hold up.  Will took over driving and we made our way to CA.   We pulled into his parent's driveway by 7:00am.  We had driven through the night.  Will had fueled up on Red Vines and energy drinks and carried much of the weight of this push.

This trip would lead us throughout the West.  We made our way to Yosemite, Smith Rocks, the summit of Rainier, the top of The Chief in Squamish, and a jacuzzi in a castle in Banff.  One blog post cannot encompass all that this trip was, everything we learned, and all of the great people we met along the way, but it is a start.  My thought is that a Blog post with too much information is seldom read, so I will break this trip into different sections for the sanity of the writer and anyone silly enough to want to read it.

Me seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time

Our first night was spent by an illegal campfire, eating s'mores, and hydrating.