Before we get to the fun stuff, and this weekend was a truly excellent one, I should say that I hate being lonely. This need not be synonymous with being alone, I can get along quite well with myself and have been profoundly lonely in a some of the loudest rooms of my life. But I’ve never found finding friends to be particularly easy, and my dad dying when I was 11 did not assist that. And when I find one pole, as this weekend, I tend to find the other.
Alas for Meredith that she gets to put up with me, but she got the phone call last night, and helped me feel much better. Asking her to marry me is still the smartest single things I’ve done.
The other pole was meeting three nice folks who share a few of my more esoteric interests. I forgot that between Moab and Mexican Hat is a substantial chunk of Utah, and rolled into the Mineral lot a bit before 11. Killing the lights still woke up Chris and Dave, and I met two very perky heads sticky out of sleeping bags. I fell asleep quickly. It was fortunate that their alarms died, as I spent twenty minutes in my bag doing remedial stove-pump maintenance so I could make tea and ramen (true breakfast of champions). Cooking in the truck was a brilliant idea, and my feet were nice and toasty when we got off on the road.
The Green River doesn’t get this frozen too often.
To make a long story shortish, “Ranger Bob” got sneaky on us. My opinion is that he saw our tire tracks in the snow and rushed down a route through the cliffs below the visitor center to cut us off. Not very friendly; yes he could’ve been liable for “allowing” us to continue, but I find it hard to not interpret his dedication as assholish in the first degree. So, I produced my pass and ID (ALL of which he copied down), and back through the snow we went. According to Harris’s report, we may have had a rough time of it, but twenty minutes earlier and we would have had him. The price of a hot breakfast…
After we got back to the cars, it took Mr. Nice a while to get back, and when he did he had the sputtering-crab action going. Seen that before, not so good. Feed ’em and beat ’em, they taught in WFR. For new friends, I commit the special courtesy of not using sticks. Once Mr. Nice was able to put a few sentences together, we stuffed him in a sleeping bag and headed off into the warming day. The snow faded rapidly going down Mineral towards the switchbacks, and Mr. Nice would later confirm my assertion that it’s hills are excellent mimics of Iowa’s. I’ll definitely be having another crack at the White Rim this winter.
The worst event of the weekend was still to come: lunch. Isabella’s pizza, by far the best in town, was no more. Combined with the Moab Diner being closed for remodeling, and I was almost unable to fulfill my function as knowledgeable expatriot. We did have Zac’s, which is……Zac’s; this a feat of necessity. We also managed to eventually find the south end of the Sovereign singletrack, which may well have provided the highlight of the day.
The kind of riding where you must stop if you want a drink of water. Brilliant. Looking forward to the Rim Ride.
The technological aspect of bikes has fascinating social implications. Somewhat like climbing gear, and I’ve yet to trail run with enough people to know if they check each others shoes out. Yesterday with each encounter the obligatory questions and looks: what gear, tires, brakes? Are they like dogs, and rapidly evolve to look like their masters? Yesterday seemed to bear that out.
So, Chris and Dave are itching to get off; purpose is hard to not follow when you have been thwarted, and I was astounded that Dave recovered his energy so quickly and well. So I retreat to the Motel 6, call Meredith, and managed to thoroughly loose myself watching reruns of Star Trek: The Next Generation. One of my favorites when I was 10. There’s a very good reason we don’t have cable (why Meredith is watching a dreadfully mellowdramatic Jane Eyre on Masterpiece Theatre right now).
Up at 5, back asleep, up for good at 6. Denny’s is the only place open, and it seems that Dave Harris had a similar evening and morning after his White Rim sortie. The first person I ever met first on the net and then “for real” was a climber; I drove to Denver from Iowa and crashed on his couch, met him that morning. Then we went aid climbing in the Fischer’s. The net has proven consistent since, outdoor folks are almost always good people, especially over coffee and too many calories.
Then Dave was off for home, and the gut bomb and I were off running on Poison Spider. About the hardest I’ve ever worked for 12 minute miles, and felt damn good after three hours of them. The Red Hot next month isn’t going to be fast, but I’ll do fine, and am very much looking forward to a day out in that terrain. I’m predicting between 8 and 830 for the race.
All that was left was rehab and the trip home. A fat latte can do wonders, and Kayenta is like visiting another country, yet more disconcerting because you’re supposed to be in your own. More on that later.
If you made it this far, good on ya; and good night.
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