If you’ve never asked a 3 year old to guess your age, put that on your bucket list. I’ve been put anywhere from 5 to 100. They usually guess below 10 because you must be however old the other big kids they know are. If they don’t guess “big kid age,” they usually guess the highest number they know, because the older you get, the bigger you get. Little kids don’t understand peaks or primes of life. To them, age, strength, and “bigness” are directly proportional.
Every year, usually late in the summer, somebody’s underpants get hoisted up the flagpole at Longbow Forest Camp, and the freeballing owner is sacrificed over the bonfire in front of a cruel audience of hissing creeps who used to call him family. It is the most wonderful time of the year!
Longbow has been a family tradition for almost 30 years. Not technically my family, but my best friend’s family, which is close enough. A monstrous rotting stump of a tree sits near the kitchen, and all of the kids, who are now 30, used to drive their little toy cars all over its terrain. I’ve been coming to Longbow for close to 10 years*, just barely missing toy-car-stump era by about 15 years. Usually we enjoy activities such as moving huge logs, teasing Karl for bringing a gun, badminton, crawdad capturing, cold river swimming, and making the fire so big and hot that it melts our beer bottles, but this year was slightly more death-defying.
“Who shall call them from the grey twilight, the forgotten people? The heir of him to whom the oath they swore. From the North shall he come, need shall drive him: he shall pass the Door to the Paths of the Dead.”
-Malbeth the Seer
In this passage, Tolkien was actually referring to the boulderer’s destiny of climbing at Priest Draw. You shall walk the paths of the dead, and the forgotten people will fulfill their oath: to let you cam your flesh into their bomber limestone pockets.
Due to the utter futility of attempting to understand whether anything that has ever happened in this world is good or bad, and despite everything I said previously, spending too long in Las Vegas was not a mistake. If we had left any earlier, we never would have gone to the Gold Point dirtbike rally, and our current life would be a little bit different, and a lot emptier. It was a weekend that will go down in history… now that I have a blog. I mean, frick, watch out, History.
Unfortunately, this all happened over 2 years ago, so the order of events will be mostly inaccurate. The only 3 survivors who know what happened that weekend have had all of their finger tongues removed in case they felt like being contrary in the comments section.
As it turns out, a good way to make dreams come true (or at least make your life change) is to just start typing things you like into the jobs section of Craigslist. For example, a floor stain like myself might try such search terms as: frozen burrito, roadkill, or my own muscles. Sparkling with a childlike optimism rarely glimpsed in our fair Eli, he entered motorcycle into the search bar, and forever changed the course of The Rampage. In fact, he derailed it temporarily and the trailer is sitting vacant (hopefully including mice) at our friends’ house outside of Reno for the next 5 months while we roll around the East Coast living out of hotels and working a demo tour of Can-Am Spyders.
Recently, I had the honor of being interviewed by the ever-positive, always inspirational, and well-named Arielle Parris, author at the adventure blog Cycked!org. Click here to read this exclusive interview. Be sure to click around while you are there, they are good people who find exciting adventures, and everyone can learn something from them. Unlike this place, where the most useful thing you will learn is that hands are just big forks. Thanks again to Cycked!org for allowing me to sully a corner of your wonderful website, it was a pleasure working with you.
Quitters win all the time. Like that time we stayed in Las Vegas for 4 months because we had a water-treading job that paid $9/hr and a free rubble pile of a backyard to stay in owned* by a rich kid cokehead who bought a decrepit Mafia mansion for some reason. We stuck it out until long past shit got too crazy and then we quit, like winners do.
In an effort to move as close to Red Rock Canyon as possible, for as little money as possible, we settled into the dysfunctional commune that consisted of David the owner*, Paul the crazy old guy in the van, and whatever randos David brought over during benders and, possibly, cover-ups. The agreement was that in trade for rent, Eli would fix the ignition wiring in David’s ’67 Lincoln Continental, and I would weld fresh floor panels into the driver and passenger foot areas. So we moved in.
Whatever you think about Sierra Blair-Coyle, statistically speaking, she probably climbs harder than you. If not, she probably competes better than you. She climbs a solid two grades harder than me, and looks better in her slutty clothes than I do in mine. I have respect for her as a climber and as a fellow sports bra aficionado.
So who inspires me to climb harder, fight through adversity, and be more honest? Alex Puccio, Emily Harrington, Hazel Findlay. I don’t follow Sierra Blair-Coyle on Instagram or Facebook. The difference is that seeing pictures of Alex Puccio in a sports bra makes me feel proud and want to train hard. Seeing pictures of Sierra Blair-Coyle in a sports bra actually kind of makes me feel silly for wearing one around. This could be due to my ravenous coveting of another woman’s gnarly six-pack, or the fact that SBC receives so much criticism for… essentially for being perceived as promiscuous, which isn’t fair. Or that compared to SBC in a sports bra, I feel the way I would imagine an inanimate object ironically wearing sunglasses feels.
An eerie blue light appears on the early morning horizon, and eight legs twitch with anticipation. The Water Spider is captivated by the glow and changes course. A woman with white hair has illuminated the beacon and she stands under it holding a dildo the size of 3 eggplants. She whacks the supple mass on a baker cart, and as the impact reverberates through its realistic flesh, she dispassionately wonders, “What do people even do with this thing?”
My job as Water Spider is to bring the woman with the white hair more black plastic to wrap her thousands of sex toys in, because she has exhausted her supply. There are others like her, selflessly black-wrapping fist-shaped butt plugs in order to protect the modest, heaving buckets of protein powder from a conveyor onto a cart, feverishly separating hundreds of similar shades of eyeshadows into perfect rows, all chasing arbitrary productivity goals set by the managers. The Water Spider speed-walks about a marathon by the end of the day while dodging Tokyo-drifting forklifts, keeping the area in order, and making sure everyone has what they need to do their job. The Fernley warehouse is one of the “legacy” (oldest) facilities, and is almost completely devoid of robots. Conveyors snake around much of the airspace, which gives the facility its warehouse feel, but almost all of the work is done by humans holding scanners.
Moe’s Valley is the rusty, dangerous, nostalgic playground of bouldering areas. The sandstone is chossy and uncannily rust-colored, there is a dedicated corner for shitting in, dirtbikes and ATVs loudly orbit all the boulders, and sometimes teenagers show up to get real drunk and leave garbage everywhere. It is by far one of the best places this adventure has taken us to.
Located in St. George, Utah, Moe’s Valley is a travelling climber’s paradise. The Shinarump Conglomerate sandstone is soft and full of petrified wood and other old junk, which has allowed the elements to dramatically erode it into gymnastic and exciting boulder problems. The camping is free and spacious, the approach is relatively short, the setting is dreamworld space-terrain, and there are infinite first ascents waiting to be climbed. We fell in love with Moe’s, which makes my above description problematic.