Even a leaky radiator couldn’t slow down the amazing Josh as he replaced the part in the parking lot of a Flagstaff auto parts store and got us to our planned camp before dark. (another benefit of the old vehicle is easier DYI wrenching) Praise God that he noticed the leak before heading across the Mojave Desert – we send our thanks to so many of you who are covering us with prayers as we travel.
Our driving has resembled one of Josh’s beloved Mount Elden MTB rides, cruising down into the Owens River Valley from the peaks of Northern Arizona before grinding back up across the Tioga Pass on the highway that then carries us downwards again into Yosemite Valley.
Down in the Bishop, CA area where we spent a couple days climbing and biking we found the landscape to have a bit of an identity crisis. At eye level it’s about as ugly as it gets…long, flat stretches of sandy dirt and scrub brush. But if you can focus above that on the snow capped hills that form the gateway to the Sierras, then it’s actually quite pleasant. The weather is similar. In town it will be balmy and pleasant, but one always wonders when the black clouds enveloping the hills are suddenly going to swoop down in and send us running for shelter.
After a week on the road we’re hoping to settle for a bit here in Yosemite where we can finally get some hot showers (yes, it’s been a week since we’ve taken a shower). However on a positive note, our frequent campsite changes have allowed us to dial in our routine. We’re wondering if we’ll even have to talk to each other by the end of the summer. We just get up and go about our own tasks; I’ll wash the dishes, pack lunch and pack the tent while Josh organizes and loads everything and checks the engine. When we see all is done, then we know it’s time to drive off. Well, Josh drives, while I read a book or…write this.
So even though our travels probably don’t seem all that interesting so far – one thing I heard a lot when we announced our plans for this trip was “wow, I wish I could do that”. So if that was you, check out a freelance column I’m writing where I’ll be posting a series called “the dirt-bag diaries” that focuses on the practicalities of the planning process behind making this trip happen. You can find the link here, and it will be permanent in the links section of this page.
Warning… non-climbers keep reading at the risk of extreme boredom or confusion
We climbed at the Owen’s River Gorge which we found to have stellar rock and be easy to navigate as out-of-towners. You won’t be sandbagged as the ratings are in line with AZ crags. Aminda was thrilled to find a fun route put up by now Tucson resident Scott Ayers, mastermind behind some phenomenal Stronghold lines.
But because variety is somewhat lacking and the scenery is a bit Queen Creek-ish we wouldn’t recommend it as a destination area for Arizonans, despite the Valley hard-man lore surrounding it. But it would certainly be a worthy stop if you need some variation from other activities that might bring you to the area. (there is definitely a lot to do!)