Thursday, April 10, 2008

a little R & R & R...

Red Rock Rendezvous is an annual gathering of dirtbags in the eastern reaches of the Mojave desert. Some good friends, now living in the West, convinced me to join them in an attempt to shed the soggy ups and downs common to Mid-Atlantic spring weather. The weather was interesting, but we'll get to that.

Silas and John TP.

Like a rock star, I decided to do this over a long weekend - using only a day of vacation. Fly out Thursday night after work, taking the red-eye home Sunday night in time for work on Monday. Unlike a rock star, I slept in a tent that would eventually be blown over in a strange 70 mile per hour wind gust.


To sum it up, we climbed on some sandstone, climbed on some limestone. We led, followed, and top-roped. We hit the Ultraman Wall, the Rescue Wall, the Black Corridor, and some other crap. We drank some beers. I made some loud, drunken disparaging remarks about what activities I would do if given the choice between solving world hunger and doing said activities. We learned from some PROs. We climbed a little sandstone/limestone laminate. We laughed. We drank some beers.

JF playing rope gun on the hard stuff.

The weather was great. Sunny and 70 during the days. At night the mountains would cool and wind would rip out of the canyon over the campground. Between that and the burros braying, sleep was in interesting proposition. It started raining Sunday afternoon, so we had to bail on the climbing and we headed to the Vegas strip.

Desert weather is more fickle than a 7th grade girlfriend.

Heh... lion balls.

And I ran into my dad on the way home.

[open curtains, Monday morning, Just getting off the red-eye with 3 hours of sleep, I'm walking down the ramp from the plane to the airport gate. I turn on my phone. As I go to put it in my pocket it rings.]

ME: Hello?

CALLER: Hi Robert it's Dad.

ME: Hey Pop.

POP: I'm sitting here in the Philadelphia airport and thought I'd call to say hi. I always think of you when I come through here - I know you're in and out of here like food in a bulimic's gut.

ME [look of surprise and amusement on face.]: What gate are you at?

POP: I'm in the Philly airport...

ME: I know. At which gate are you located?

POP: A5, why?

ME: I'm at C24. I'll meet you at Terminal B.

POP: What?

ME: Just walk to Terminal B, wait at the Dunkin' Donuts stand.

[End Scene]

Family resemblance.

Turns out the old man had a layover on his way to OK City. We had about 5 minutes to catch up, laugh, hug, and head on our merry ways. The world is a small place indeed.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


It has been a while, dear reader, since I have updated this - your grimy window into my modest microcosm. I must assure you, I have not been avoiding your prying eyes. My shades have been drawn tight during my period of mourning.

My heart, you see, is broken. There is no more anger; there is no more denial; there are no more black clouds loaded with tension, ready to burst forth with tears. There is just sad, silent acceptance.

My Garmin has been murdered. After a short, but exceedingly rich life, my Edge 305 has been laid to rest; its beauty in display and simplicity in interface slaughtered by wanton carelessness. Reduced to a plastic and PCB brick from a shining beacon of information-overload in a dark, dismal world of unknown gradients and cryptic coordinates.

Not only is the backlight dead, Garmin's blood has run all through her screen.

No longer will I be able to dork out after a ride; learning, as my legs still twitch in a bath of lactic acid, that my heartrate ebbs and flows in concert with the undulating terrain of the Mid-Atlantic. No longer will I be able discern the exact duration of a zone 4 interval. No... no, dear reader, those days have passed. And now I enter an age of murkiness, an anti-renaissance, where I must rely on my body's internal alarms and warnings to ascertain the difficulty of a just-consummated group ride.

Sparing you the details of her grisly demise, I will tell you this. No GPS device, no matter how tough the exoskeleton, can bear the overwhelming force delivered by the closing of a Mazda3 hatchback door. My complete disregard for her safety in such a situation has left me ridden with guilt, bereft of hope, and disillusioned with myself. I only hope that time will heal the wound.

Garmin: as she would have wanted to be remembered.

Thank you for your ears and tender understanding in this, my darkest hour.