About a year ago I was planning on heading back to the dirtbag life. Also about a year ago, I messed up my leg pretty badly. Well I have now recovered enough to climb and live the dirtbag dream.
I used my year of recovery to try to optimize my road rig. So I ended up getting a Sprinter van (Which was quite the adventure. It includes multiple mechanical breakdowns and an unexpected week long stay in New York.) Once I had the van, I did a whole lot of work to make it work for my purposes. I also got a dual-sport motorcycle to carry on the back since this behemoth of a vehicle can’t go a lot of the places I want to. I will be sure to do a video tour of my new home at some point.
This trip does not have an end date set, so being a fiscally responsible adult is more important this time. That means I work a fairly regular job as a programmer, but I can do that job in any location. It is a pretty good match for a nomad. I do climb less, but my knee does not object to the slower pace.
One of the scarier parts of living on the road for me is finding a new spot to set up camp at. I look at maps before hand, but you never know exactly what you are going to find until you arrive. And if it doesn’t work out? Better have backups. (You always have backups) And now with this big rig, there is the question of can I get in? Can I get out? The spot I headed to in Colorado was pushing the limits of what my van could handle. And once I explored the area a bit more, I found that my backups were no good. So I am very thankful that I have a spot to stay for now.
Colorado had an unexpected welcome for me: a couple feet of snow the day after I arrived. After a comical attempt at riding out on my bike, it became apparent that I definitely was not going anywhere for a while. But thankfully I was fully stocked on food and water. So my next days were spent clearing snow from my solar panels and hiding from the cold in my sleeping bag. If there is one constant in the mountains, it is that things change. So before too long I had 70 degree weather again. But at this elevation (roughly 8,000 feet), there is still a good 30+ temperature swing at night.
The first day that the snow melted enough for me to leave, I went on a little ride to explore the place. It was incredibly nice to just ride through the mountains and take it all in.
Once I made it to Clear Creek Canyon to start climbing, I met up with a good group of climbers and got my first taste of real climbing in a while. It is a little scary to jump back in and find my rhythm. But I did a kinda tricky 9 on lead and followed a 10b clean. All of my old strength and technique does not return immediately, but I do remember instantly why I love climbing.
This life can be hard. Sometimes it is scary and the rhythm is not always easy to follow. But it is a tune I am glad to be learning again.