We had a crazy realization today. After choosing not to go to Mexico on this trip, we never did the math. We only have 7 weeks left in the USA before we hit the 6 months mark, which is the maximum amount of time a Canadian is allowed in the USA under normal conditions. To be more precise, only me needs to leave by April 7 as Elaine got a new 6 months from her going to the funerals in Canada a few weeks back. I kind of see now why they were hesitant to let her back in the USA. They actually stamped her passport B-2 which means that now if she was to leave and re-enter the states again, she would more than likely not get a new entry date. That’s another thing we have come to realize on this trip, you have to stay on top of it when it comes to spending great amount of time in other countries. Getting banned from your winter escape country would suck big time if you messed it up.
We were going to spend Valentine’s day in J-Tree( a dinner/dance thing at Yucca Valley Community Center) but now that the clock is ticking, we’re going to hit the road as early as tomorrow. Next stop is Mt Lemmon, just outside of Tucson, Arizona. Sounds like free camping is readily available and that there’s all sort of climbing there: Sport & Trad Climbing and Bouldering. We have also done some math and at the least we will need to reallocate $300-$400 to the Gas budget (We originally budgeted $5000 CAD in gas). It shouldn’t be too bad as we are almost always below the budgeted weekly amount. Next on the list after that will be Hueco Tanks, just outside of El Paso, Texas.
Climbing wise we have touched a great amount of the bouldering around here. It was quite nice but very humbling as we were often struggling to make it up anything above V0(One of the easiest grade for bouldering). It’s not unusual to have a problem that’s 20 feet tall and not even get an R rating because the fall is clean. There’s also many crack and slab problems that aren’t necessarily within our comfort zone.
The rock can be really sharp too, and it was Elaine’s demise. She got numerous flappers (it’s like getting a blister but having the skin on top of the blister rip right off immediately, it takes the whole top layer of skin off of your finger) and after trying to climb with bandaged up fingers, she got a massive flapper yesterday. She’s now out of commission for a few days if not more.
Me and Conrad did our first rope climb in J-Tree called Bat Crack. It’s a 5.5 with some chimney & crack moves. We got what we were expecting from a 5.5 route in here.. definitely harder than any other 5.5 we’ve done before. Still had a blast and we made it up alright. We even got some booty, recovering a #1 cam, a trad quick draw and two non locking carabiners. It wasn’t even stuck.. it was simply used to bail out. Pretty crazy what people are leaving behind.. especially when gear is so easily recoverable.
It’s sad that we found out about the following on our last day here but we were finally able to get some goodies from a dumpster. Nothing crazy but free produce is always nice. I also like that we’re getting very comfortable with our dumpster diving. Today there was a guy doing whatever in the loading bay of that store and we just drove past him and parked by the dumpster. He definitely looked but he didn’t come over to tell us to move on or anything.
It’s a small world.
While we were looking for an available campsite at the Hidden Valley campground in the park, some dude signaled us to stop and he offered us to share his site. As we were looking for a full site to split with Conrad & Kristine, we had to turn down his offer. On the other hand, it gave us just enough time to realize that we had actually climb with this very couple at a remote crag one day while we were in Quebec. We clearly remembered each other and that was super cool to run into them again. Even though we couldn’t get a site that one night, we got to hang out other times when we did. The climbing community is pretty small.. even more so the week-day (Monday-Friday) climbing community.
We have posted this on Facebook already but if you’ve missed it, here’s the video Conrad made about his/our time in Joshua Tree. It’s pretty funny and we had a good time acting in it. The youtube version doesn’t seem to be playable in the USA so if that’s the case, head over to Facebook to watch it. Their page is public and visible to all, even if you’re not on the book.
Feb 5- Feb 11 : Weekly & Totals since we left 33 weeks ago.
Our budget for this week is now $196.53 CAD for food & fun.
Fuel: $114.30 / $4397.60
Food: $99.02/ $2270.76 (include $22.28 for propane)
Fun: $0 / $4751.29 (No fun!!)
Total for the week without fuel: $99.02
Total with fuel: $213.32
Total spent since the beginning: $11419.65
Total budget: $15756.21
Budget left: $4336.56
E & M