After climbing in Socorro, which feels like months ago now jeeze!, I stuck with the Kearney family and headed to Pie Town, NM. Prairie and her family get together every year on the 21st to observe a very sad anniversary, but she said it was totally cool if I came along. I wasn’t sure, though, since it sounded like a private family event. Prairie’s boyfriend David was with us, and I decided to just take my cues from him. Their mom, Nita, is a glorious hippie New Mexico lady who grew up on the beach and lives in a huge log house in Pie Town. It’s one of those super hippy family houses that I love, where every wall is crowded with framed snap shots and random postcards, there’s strange, interesting stuff everywhere, all the food is home grown or organic and there are lots of very comfortable sofas. It was fun to sit in her living room and think of how organized and spare Prairie keeps her van-home. My best friend Lily also grew up in a house like Nita’s, and her apartments are always minimalist and hyper-organized. Must be a skipping-the-generation thing.
After a few days in Pie Town, we headed to Las Vegas, and I got to visit Flagstaff for my first time on the way! I sometimes fantasize about moving to Flagstaff, because I have some very lovely friends there and the bouldering and sports action looks like endless, convenient fun. We got coffee with Carrie, which was a huge treat. Carrie is over 7 months pregnant and gorgeous. She gave me this adorable hat…
Vegas itself was a little weird. I had never been there before either. I thought I could get into it, and maybe I might have if the weather had cooperated, or if I’d gone in Vegas, Showgirls party city mode. We spent the first night there boondocked in a WalMart parking lot, which I had also never done before. It was really scary. I did not like it. At all. Give me a creepy rest stop in France where I’m crushed in the back of my rented hatch back Ibiza any night of the year, I don’t like sleeping in WalMart parking lots. Apparently, however, it’s a thing people do on the road. There were a few full on campers parked there also. Still.
We spent the next day at the Kraft boulders in Red Rocks, which were kind of wet but pretty impressive nonetheless. I fell in love with this mega classic v4 called the Pearl. Then I pulled on a jug doing something very easy and it moved, and I was officially freaked. We got on some more potentially delicious problems at the Kraft, but it was super wet and the sandstone there is pretty fragile. I was nervous about falling unexpectedly, or breaking some key hold and having an angry mob run me out of town. The locals at the gear shop had urged not bouldering until things dried out more.
Christmas day I spent at Starbucks in Las Vegas, missing my family and Hueco and the Mastadon and Austin, and being kind of Christmas bummed. I talked to my parents and sisters on the phone for a long time. They were all hysterical over issues with Katie’s wedding dress (the bodice is way to small). Fortunately Katie had brought some nice whiskey home from the UK, and everyone was pleasantly mellowed and watching the Muppet Christmas Carol by noon.
Then I talked to my oldest and dearest friend Jessica, who was also somewhat hysterical on Christmas over a very difficult couple of weeks she’d spent in New Jersey dealing with her extended family and the very sad death of her grandma.
I suggested, since they’re all in Houston, that Jess and her husband Dave go over to my parents house and drink it off with the Raber’s. It was so comforting to catch up with everyone.
After that, I decided to take Prairie, Walker and David out for the Jewish Christmas tradition of Chinese food. We feasted and talked and laughed, and I’d say it was an awesome and memorable Las Vegas Christmas. That night we parked in a random parking lot, which was freaky, and got yelled at late at night by large scary men with flashlights. Feeling rather like a one-woman holy family, no room in the parking lot, I headed back to the pricey Red Rocks campground on my own.
It rained most of the night out there, and I realized climbing was going to be minimal and explodey for a few more days at least. I had a look at the soaked boulders in the morning, and decided me and Vegas were over for now, and that I only had so much of the dirt bagger thing in me. I kind of suspected as much. I like adventures and trips and camping and epic hikes, but I’m not a lifer. I called Lily and asked if I could show up at her place in Los Angeles in a few hours. I said bai bai to the Kearney’s, we made plans to catch up in Malibu for New Years, and I hit the road.
And now I want to move to Venice. Which is an issue for a future post.