Flying into Seattle in the midst of an uncharacteristically sunny and warm day was a gift. I was smiling from ear to ear on the train ride into the city. There was another reason to be happy. Vida was waiting for me to pick up in the Port of Tacoma.
The following day, I headed to the port to hand over a key for our canopy. The customs officials were antsy to have a look around. The wonderful ladies at the port’s customer service office called the customs official to make sure everything was on the up-and-up.
They actually don’t need your key anymore. They broke the lock. You’re shipping agent was supposed to explain to you that nothing could be locked.
Wonderful. Thanks shipping agent that we didn’t want to use in the first place. Ugh. The good news was that the truck had cleared and was ready to pick up. All I needed was an escort to take me 20 meters beyond the port gate. I paid $60 for this very useful service. My escort did share what she observed the day before: 8 customs officials circling the truck. Ha – safety triangles and vests are not so interesting.
Arriving at the truck, I immediately saw there was no reason for concern. The customs officials picked the lock. I was both shocked and completely impressed. So Vida is back on land, cruising around Seattle.
The rain did start two days after I arrived and it took me about an hour to start cursing the city. As if to appease me, a beautiful and perfect double rainbow appeared over the city. Alright Seattle, you’re right, I do love you.
We drove fairly far out of the way to hit SF and then cruise down the coast to LA. I crave efficiency, so the chosen route was slightly annoying for me. As usual, G pushed for it and it was worth it. It was great seeing old friends in SF and getting a taste of the tech industry there. Also had the pleasure of touring the Pinterest offices. Fun. The coastal (slow + inefficient + beautiful) drive from SF to LA is definitely worth doing at least once. Super lush with some great views. We held up at a friend’s house in Long Beach (thx Ian). What a great area. Long Beach aims to be bike friendly and the communities by the water have that laid back beach feeling. Cruising on the amazing bike path along the beach in LA might be the best thing ever if you’re wondering.
We drove from Las Vegas to San Francisco. On the way we camped a night in Death Valley and the next day we drove to Yosemite for a few hours. The environment change was amazing. Over night we moved from 300ft below sea level and 75F to 7000feet and below freezing temperatures. Snow and ice replaced dusty desert. Here are a few pictures from both places.
Red Rocks is my favorite climbing destination. I was there for the first time in 2003 for a week of climbing and debauchery around Vegas. It was amazing! Two years later in 2005 I went back to Red Rocks with some of the same friends from 2003 for another week of climbing. The second trip was a bit of disappointment. It rained and snowed basically 6 days out of 7 so we did only a single day of climbing. Now I visited Red Rocks for a third time. I was really excited to go back there, do some climbing and show the place to Teresa.
I was hoping for two or three days of climbing but things felt apart since we lost two days when we had a scare with the truck breaks. We still got almost a full day so I guess I am happy about it. Things in the park have changed quite a bit since 2005. First and foremost the park felt changed and commercialized. Three entrance lanes, a really big ranger building at the gate. Also the park felt like it has become overcrowded and unfortunately I saw a lot of garbage around the hiking trails and up around the park. The mouse problem has only become worse – lots of mice waiting for you to look away from the packs to dash inside. The other thing that changed is my climbing abilities. Where I was playing on Tsunami wall in 2005 with 5.12 routs now I was proud to lead a 5.7 … Still felt good, soooo good …
Back to Red Rocks for a third time!