Daily Archives: September 25, 2021

A labor of love – My labor day climbing road trip! Part 1: Driving to South Dakota

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Saturday, 04-Sept-2021, through Saturday, 11-Sept-2021

I love road trips. I’ve learned that, speaking to various therapists and councilors in the last year or so, long drives are a major form of meditation for me. I have something to keep me focused, and I’m accomplishing a goal, but I can let my semi-conscious mind wander and reflect on what’s been happening in my life.

I try to do this at home, of course, but… I always get too stressed out, feeling like I should be doing something instead of just sitting back and letting my brain process all the various thoughts and possibilities that are constantly screaming around in my skull.

For my birthday, I’d originally planned to climb at Index with Daniel… or possibly backpack into the North Cascades with hSaturday, 04-Sept-2021, through Saturday, 11-Sept-2021

I love road trips. I’ve learned that, speaking to various therapists and councilors in the last year or so, long drives are a major form of meditation for me. I have something to keep me focused, and I’m accomplishing a goal, but I can let my semi-conscious mind wander and reflect on what’s been happening in my life.

I try to do this at home, of course, but… I always get too stressed out, feeling like I should be doing something instead of just sitting back and letting my brain process all the various thoughts and possibilities that are constantly screaming around in my skull.

For my birthday, I’d originally planned to climb at Index with Daniel. When that fell through, I’d sketched out a road trip down highway 101 into California with my friend Laurel. That fell through too. Finally, I gave up and decided to do something on my own – something I’d always wanted to do, but had never quite been able to make happen.


An ascent of Devil’s Tower...



Saturday and Sunday, 04 and 05-Sept-2021



Saturday:



I left Wilsonville at 8:00 on a Saturday morning. I’d woken up around 7:30, which… for a Saturday, is crazy-early. But I had a full day ahead of me, and a long day of prep work behind me that I wasn’t about to waste.

I’d spent a ton of time the previous week, and almost the entire day Friday, preparing for this trip. I’d printed maps, confirmed reservations, made a list and checked it far more than twice, and even went grocery shopping to buy food, plastic bins, and various other accoutrements required for a 2,500 mile roadtrip to states I’d never been to.


The plan was to drive to Missoula, Montana, and stay the night at a hostel that I’d reserved. Then, finish the long drive out to South Dakota, and spend the night about an hour away from the climbing destination. You know, to give me time to wake up in the morning?

The drive got underway cleanly. I drove, and Oregon flew by. Washington followed suit, with the terrain and the Columbia River Gorge passing beautifully behind me as I drove onward.

When I broke into Idaho, my jaw dropped.

I’ve been to Montana before, but the roads through Northern Idaho… they’re just purely glorious! Beautiful hills, tall trees, and winding roads with impossibly high speed limits. No traffic, with the exception of a few 18 wheelers and people driving faster than their old trucks should feasibly be able to. Just the open road…



I made good time, getting to Missoula. I’d estimated 10 hours, based on the 9hour driving time Google estimated, and instead I made it in 8.5… even counting in stretch stops every 2 hours. Turns out – open highways do let you make good time on the road. Especially when you’re driving a happily maintained Mustang (knock on wood).

I’ll admit – my back and legs were pretty stiff by the time I walked into the Hostel. I had the rumblings of a caffeine migraine coming on as well, which absolutely didn’t make for an auspicious start to the trip. None-the-less, I persisted onward. I made myself a light cup of tea, took a quick nap, and then took a walk downtown to get some BBQ from a place Clara, Brian, and myself had loved the last time I was in town.

I ate, I rested, and I felt a bit better. Then a shower, some writing, some reading, and a good end to an excellent first day.




Sunday:


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