New Whirled Order (some climbing, anyway...) TR


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Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 8, 2012 - 11:03am PT
The Three Week Whirled Wind

Wanna go for a ride? You sure? Three weeks in the life of Dingus? Be ready to hold on then, ok? This is gonna go pretty fast.

It All Started Like This

Not really. Its like one of those 'when did the universe begin?' questions. When did what; begin? This is a tale with no beginning and apparently no ending either. Rather its part of a continuum. The ole slice-o-life bullsh#t, nawmean?

Life isn't always like this of course. There are also the weeks of banal labor pecking away on a keyboard at a desk, don't get me wrong. Jeez a guy's gotta get some rest sometime, right? And yet its been an amazingly busy year and it shows no signs of letting up. I could see the next handful of weeks were going to be saturated with work travel. That travel would doom me to more prison ship time, the prospect of which filled me with a nagging little anxiety. That anxiety fed the 'lettin it slip away!' feelings that come with the approaching end of summer. Circadian rhythms inform our souls of giant hands of time ticking off the seasons one after another.

So how about we start here, staring out the window of a prison ship, down at the very beach I'd walked the previous day. Venice Beach is down there, and of course Santa Monica. My daughter is in that photo too, in one of those buildings, at the very instant I snapped the image. Weird huh? The previous few days in L.A. had been very busy but very cool too. Another time and place for tales from the City of Angels. This story starts by leaving Los Angeles.

Hello Sacramento! That's my town. You can see the downtown area, the Tower Bridge, Old Sacramento, the pyramid building over the river in West Sacramento. Of course the mighty Sacramento River splits the city and it its reason for being. Kind of a stupid place to build a city. But it wasn't built so much as it grew like a wild weed fungus back in the gold rush. Steamers from San Francisco stopped right down there, at the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers, and unloaded hordes of miners and supplies. A tent city was born and its been here ever since, pretty cool huh? That's my town.

Three days later an errand takes me to the airport in San Francisco.

Not flying for once, my task is one related to travel security and a branch of the U.S. government. I'll leave that tale for another time too. But the job takes me to the international terminal at SFO and it was lunch time and I was hungry and there, over there, behind the stairs? A sushi joint, and it looked pretty good to me, too. Sick, I know, to eat sushi at an airport, but maybe you'd be surprised these days, about airport food, if you haven't traveled much recently. This was pretty damn good, I had two more nigiri before it was all over and the bill signed. Hdey there Taco!

I even rode an airport bus haha. So WEIRD to be doing these things in an airport and NOT traveling somewhere. Odd in the extreme for me, I am The Traveler, not the picker-upper. A delicious departure from routine, frankly.

The Gods of Traffic (Banshees, all) smiled upon us, as did the Lords of the Winds. The persistent Bay Area fog departed even as I fled back across the Bay Bridge. I met my friend in Berkeley for a boulder sesh at Indian Rock. We took it very easy and mostly just hung out and talked. We were talking about our forthcoming travel schedules, hers was about to launch the following day, mine was, well, I was mid-journey already, as usual.

The very next afternoon we met again at Donner Summit up near Truckee and Lake Tahoe. There we hiked up the flanks of Donner Peak for another easy afternoon of bouldering. I was feeding my 'last chance' anxiety and she was headed to the Black Rock. Such is life, meet here, meet there, just don't try to nail me down to something too far out - it ain't gonna happen.

We had fun and I needed the exercise.

And then we were off, each of us going in an entirely different direction. Perhaps she'll share the tale of her adventures. I was about to take off, too.

We're good friends and we get a lot of climbing done. So this was it, for us, this summer, our last hurray. We bouldered a few problems, talked more and watched a positively amazing sunset. Good times.

Damn good times....

But that persistent anxiety sent me fleeing back up the west slope the following day, for a frenzied afternoon crack session up at Carson Pass. So in 5 days I'd been, well, you see it right here. I did multiple laps on a dozen or more fairly high but easy cracks and logged several hundred feet of quality climbing on golden granite on another perfect California afternoon. Finally I felt like I'd fed the beast something she could chew on!

Another amazing sunset. A comment about 'lunacy' I'd read earlier in the day had me focused on the moon that evening. There's madness, in the moon, you know.

And BANG! Next day I was in the air again. The story starts to go James Bond right about now. I'm just sayin... ok? This sh#t is real though. And then there was that moon. I know, some of you won't believe we have such a big moon.... for such a small... town. (Thanks Hondo!)

So I'm going up north right. In one of air travel's anti-logic, I first have to go back to Los Angeles to catch a flight to Vancouver. The morning flight down the central valley, rising out of Sacramento, down into LAX? Presents the savvy traveler with prime and I mean PRIME Sierra eyeballing opportunities, left-side-of-the-plane in-front-of-the-wing if you please. Mine was in first class and accompanied by a bloody mary. Indeed a Bloody Mary Morning, looking down at THAT....

I gotta tell you, it can be easy to get sucked into the poor poor pitiful me syndrome, looking down at El Cap like that, from the tiny porthole of a prison ship. Pretty easy indeed. Especially if one has been drinking... but I fended off those buggers with the prospect of some good times up in Canada. I was rewarded with some of the nicest sunrises I have ever seen in my life, from a very high floor in a posh hotel. Not a bad way to go really, if you HAVE to go?

And more bridges. Them Canucks have themselves some pretty bridges. Pretty bridges, harhar.

Like I said things went kinda James Bond up here, but, well, need to know basis I'm afraid and yall don't need to know. But errands took me up here.

And there she is that jewel on the Pacific, Vancouver, British Columbia, in typical weather. Da da DAH DAHHHHHHH!

Dah DAH!

But you know what? The Weather Gods frequently smile upon me, bright and friendly. And this year I have been taking my good weather fortune with me where ever I go. And I go a lot of places nawmean? So a lot of people have been blessed with my good weather luck. I even brought (swear to god, I have witnesses) 3 days of sunshine to San Francisco this July... I mean it, I did, and you're welcome San Francisco! I never did get into Vancouver proper, as my work kept me outside of the city.

They have lovely bridges, just lovely.

And I love bridges.

Its one of the only things I see eye to eye with Ayn Rand on. (hah! that sentence just flowed out of me)

Mission accomplished I was treated to a golden sunset reflected off the Great Salt Lake on the way back to Sacramento. I had one day, count em, ONE... to reset my suitcase and hit the road again.... the next mission was about to begin and when it was over? I wanted another one, hah!

to be continued....

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 8, 2012 - 11:05am PT
While You Were Away

A hoped-for day of calm reflection while I washed and repacked clothes was not to be. Work-a-day world concerns kept me frantic all day; hair cut, mad dash to dry cleaners, work reports, phone calls, washing, drying, folding, repacking, more calls, more calls, more calls. The worm was turning. I wanted to spend some time with my daughter so we went and had some sushi and a little sake and random spur of the moment afterward we decided to get in an after-dark bouldering session at the park down the street from our house. This was total spur of the moment, in our finest tradition and it had a dark magic going, and would turn out to be our last climbing of the summer.

We've been enjoying these small bouldering structures for many years. My kid learned to climb, in part, on them.

So we got after it, really and did a bunch of laps. Totally shred my forearms in the process, it was nice!

Its got some good mantles and is continuously overhanging so there is no rest for the wicked.

Well almost no rest, hehe.

Kate cranked away too.

It was awesome and a great way to close out what for us has been a good summer of catch as catch can climbing. We've been able to squeeze blood from a rock, actually.

That's because Kaity can crush the rock. With her bare hands.

Why she's a climber, of course.

Just riding the wild mustang of life like her Pop, taking what comes her way with grace and style. I was off again at 4:30 the next morning, back to the prison ship, the mission continued.

to be continued
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 8, 2012 - 11:08am PT
Whirled Away

Sunrise over the Sierra, sunset at JFK. Idling time away in yet another international terminal, let's see... the one, two, three, four, five, sixth; the 6th international terminal for me in like ten or twelve days (I really can't be bothered with the specific tally). Remember what I said about how easy it can be to feel sorry for oneself? Especially fueled with that nagging anxiety about the coming flight?

As I watched that sun go down I couldn't help but snap a few images. Sunsets seems to be a theme of this story and these stories largely write themselves. A phone call cheered me up immensely but failed to quell the underlying tension. But drugs and alcohol graced me with 7-hours sleep on an 11-hour flight OH YEAH BABY! Now I know its not healthy but I really don't need the lecture, ok? What I needed and got, was sleep. Thanks to a friend. Thanks Friend!

When I got off the prison ship I was a stranger in a strange land. A land of legend, myth, power and magic.

I mean life can take you in some weird and unexpected directions if you let it. If you're willing to grab the tiger by the tail and hold on, that is.

You might find yourself in a posh hotel somewhere on the other side of the world.

Watching a most amazing sunset out of your window, sipping a cocktail and sort of grinning at the absurdity of it all.

See what I mean about the sunsets in this tale?

So lovely you can drink it from the sky, without a glass.

I could imagine soft music right about now, a haunting sax and some softly whispered words

Watching the sun sink into the Mediterranean Sea was an amazing experience. Standing there, thinking of where I'd been in the preceding days, I felt like I was floating on gossamer

Not your typical business hotel

But a pretty cool place

I mean... come ON!

No need to ask....

Can't you hear her singing right about now? You know who I mean...

Singularity on the edge of an exotic ocean.

Dawn in a resort community, lifestyle of the rich and famous

Great food, outstanding food actually some of the best I've had anywhere. And the coffee! Merde these people love their coffee as much as I do! I loved them for it too!

And the hits just keep on coming....

Not what I expected

Life is a grocery, though

And this is sort of a tradition with me....

I liked it

I liked it a lot

Didn't sleep well though. Time upside down. Feeling tired

but then I got inspired

Easy enough to do, really

Take a deep drink my friends, whenever you can... of life. I mean a BIG GULP!

You just might find yourself a stranger in a strange land too. Whoda thunk a Tennessee boy'd be here?

What does the Raven say?

Whatever, brah!

More cool sunrises

Several of them actually. Now I worked my ass off while I was there, running errands you don't want to know about. Jet fueled insomnia had me up before sunrise, up after sunset, every day. Sleep deficit began to accumulate. But it didn't matter, I was in full sensory input mode, drinking life from the fire hose. I managed to slip in the moments of solitude that are so necessary for me to maintain the charade of my sanity.

But soon it would be time to go.

I'd go back in a heartbeat and find myself plotting ways to do so...

to be continued...
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 8, 2012 - 11:10am PT
Milktoast, I Presume?

The next 24-hours hand me, well, best to show and tell, rather than tell and show. A departing trip to a mall

Just walkin around like I owned the place

Digging the heat and the complete lack of control and free-fall of a feeling of just being....

A trip to the airport, clearing the security apparatus, boarding the big 747 to take me back to new York... and the dark bugaboo of anxiety, facing another 12-hours in the prison ship. Even before we departed the captain came on the intercom and announced we'd be late getting into JFK. Big storm over the Atlantic, detours and headwinds, would add an additional hour to our flight time. Oh joy.

I would get little sleep on this flight however. Just one of those flights when nothing worked, not alcohol, not drugs - nothing would induce sleep. Luckily my seat neighbor wasn't sleeping either and we talked away the endless night, much to the chagrin of those around us. I think we pissed off more than a few people with loud talk and laughing. We had the killer exit row seats too, rubbing salt into the wounded eyes of sleepy passengers. Yeah f*#k yall too!

But the late arrival caused me to miss my connection, back to... harhar, L.A. again. No Angels for me! My airline booked me on a later flight though another city. The prospect of hours of idle time at JFK really stuck in my craw. And an opportunity had come up, if only I could capitalize on it. Hmmmm.... so an hour of wrangling with airline representatives finally had me politely insisting to a gold desk supervisor that having flown a half million miles on their airline in less than a decade they owed me a favor and should break their rules and do as I asked. I didn't lose my cool, I was even apologetic in my insistence. It paid off. Phillip put me on hold, came back and said he would take care of it. And he did.....

And there I was...

Driving into the city

on a Thursday morning

I mean you can't make this sh#t up. At least not easily.

The juxtaposition of it all, combined with the lack of sleep really put me in an altered state

And BOOM! Just like that I was in Bryant Park. Now THAT was unexpected. I was supposed to be pretty much in L.A. at this time.

After checking into my hotel on the Ave. of the Americas, (hah! Try THAT last minute, rooks!) I wandered down the block to find me some American food.

Gawking at the amazing hand of cards I'd just been dealt.

11 AM, sitting at a bar, eating a very, very good burger and looking out the window at this

I did manage to nap for a bit in the afternoon but sleeping those golden moments away seemed foolish. I wanted to extract every second of it I could. Back in the car at 6 PM I jockeyed for position with an army of cabs, a fleet of buses and the vast crowds of rush hour 6th Ave. madness. My friends if you had been in the car with me you would have been proud of me. I held my own, sh#t... I ruled. Not one cabbie horn was honked at me, they knew... Dingus was in the house.

Right down that street I drove, on NO SLEEP. If only the mayor'da known theyda thrown me down UNDER the jail, lol.

Its crazy, you're driving up a Monopoly board of streets and POW! You're in Central Park, zoomin along this road behind mad taxis with road bikes and joggers and famous boulders off in the trees for which you've no time and can't even spare the attention to look at. Its CRAZY!

Gotta admit, never saw this coming.

My GPS directs me to the right hood in yet another land of myth, fable, power, wealth and legend. Here I am, right in the middle of it, acting like I know what I'm doing when in reality I'm a sleep deprived spy on a mission. Oh well, someone has to do it.

ZOINKS!!!!!11111 What in THE HELL! Dingus!!!!1111

The place was packed with thousands and the scene was in full swing. It'd been a few months for me, since I was last in this spot, a lot colder back in January.

I'd had dinner with an exotic and beautiful spy of course. Drinks at a swank bar, sushi at The Blue Fin in Times Square. Milktoast, at your service. Dingus Milktoast... (no need to ask...)

I gotta admit this was my favorite ad in the land of milk and honey. I mean this one really does something for me.

But my arrangement with Devil Airlines included a stiff price - the Hell of a 7 AM JFK departure. Them that know, know. Them that don't, don't wanna. Let's just say I was still on NO SLEEP. None,

And A.M. was a depressing mind f*#k however, fleeing New York City in the dead of night, basically.

3000 miles and several hours later, its noon and I am driving back to my house in sunny California.

The kid and I went out and had dinner again, Vietnamese this time. But first we went for a drive in the monster van and stopped at Consumnes River preserve and watched the fat old sun sink behind the coast range for yet another legendary sunset. I'd watched that sun come up over New York City earlier that same day and the evening before that I'd watched it settle into the Mediterranean. Pretty frickin bizarre, time travel in the literal sense. I left the memory card (containing these images) in my PC at home and thus I could not take the final shots of the Whirled Wind Tour.

So there you have it - the weeks of Dingus.

to be continued...


Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 8, 2012 - 11:23am PT
After checking into my hotel on the Ave. of the Americas, (hah! Try THAT last minute, rooks!)

one of the thrills of a profession depending on travel is the mastery of the reservation system... it sort of makes you feel bad for people who actually believe that the phrase "I'm sorry, we have no..." whatever it is you need, a room, a flight, a meal, means you can't get those things...

but your mind fills up with so much of that stuff, and your self-image becomes so dependent on those accomplishments, that it can detract from life.

Oh, and in cities where taxi travel is considered de rigueur, you don't get points for driving yourself... usually you spend a lot more time and money dealing with a vehicle you don't need... cum Romano Romanus eris you hick!

Thanks for taking us along...
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 8, 2012 - 11:29am PT

F*#king New Yorker know-it-alls.... HAH!

I actually had one lecture me about my work contract ON THE WAY out - 'you're flying in COACH! Shoulda had that one in your contract, buddy.' He advised with a smirk. Sh#t you knott!!!

Thanks Ed. But I needed that car to make it work and you know the Airtrain... it stops at the rental car center on the way to the subway and I could NOT entertain the thought of that AM ride back out the subway and to make the $$$ work I couldn't incur the cab fee.

Cheers bro
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 8, 2012 - 11:46am PT
the recent Airtrain power failure description was a lengthy article in last week's NYTimes, I can't imagine the abuse those Airtrain people must have taken... people, no, not people, New Yorkers, stuck on their way into the airport to get flights left sitting on the Airtrain with no information, for two hours!

I live vicariously through your travels, but as I have been saying recently, my new status is "no status." I recall the shock of realization, looking at my boarding pass and thinking "what is that number 6?"

I'm not flying a whole lot for business, and I love it!

On one recent meltdown afternoon trying to make the IAD to SFO connection I had to change from UA to VA, what a difference... from the UA terminal which resembled, in my mind, what must be happening in Syria right now, to the serene, civilized and apparently lightly used terminal that VA is in... first to board? people with no luggage carts!

I asked for and received a refund from UA, which probably cost more to process than the refund value... not being one to pass up the opportunity to wield the sword of righteous indignation, I informed UA that "I would instruct my administrative assistant to book travel with UA being the carrier of last resort"

But I never have been the traveller you are...

Sport climber
A true CA girl, who landed in the desert...
Sep 8, 2012 - 11:52am PT
Great summary, DMT!

I hope you do get out to climb today, or this weekend, if you can see straight. ;)

{I like your choice in sexy spies.) :) Keep rockin'!

Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 8, 2012 - 11:56am PT
Hi Leggs! Going to wake Kaity up right now we're headed up to Carson Pass today. And likely to meet Lady Scarlet tomorrow for the ole double whammy.

Ed your travel experience and kindness (for a New Yorker, that is) truly comforts me. I mean that, fellow traveler.

Make it count!

to be continued...


Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Sep 8, 2012 - 12:01pm PT
After that I'm off for a bike ride and a different sort of meditation, though they're all branches grafted onto the same tree.....

Trad climber
SF Bay Area, California
Sep 8, 2012 - 05:46pm PT
Wow! Thanks for sharing!

Did you get any more pictures of inside the grocery store? Whenever I travel, that's one of the first places I love to go, because...I always find it fascinating. This hasn't changed over the years and now it's become a tradition for me. I bet the pastries/sweets/candy aisle was awesome.

It sure was pretty nice to get some August's last rock time with you, two travelers sharing space and having a blast...

And for Black Rock, well, someone already posted a TR filled with meaning. I'll leave it to others to be appropriately eloquent. But here's a sunrise that stuck with me.

I kept telling people that looking into the sun is dangerous, but I guess they were too blissed out to do anything about it.

This trip was the very first time I've ever seen a truly purple sunrise...amazing enough that I forgot I had a camera.

And yes, there was only a little bit of fun to be had...

So begins California's real summer season...hooray for September!!



ps - that's spelled with two 't's Dingus! hee hee...!


Sep 8, 2012 - 08:23pm PT
Good stuff Dingus. You rock !!!!
Captain...or Skully

Sep 8, 2012 - 10:59pm PT
The double whammy begins with 2 "T's"...

Sep 9, 2012 - 01:12am PT
There was Dingus in the air.

Like I said things went kinda James Bond up here, but, well, need to know basis I'm afraid and yall don't need to know. But errands took me up here.

We know. It was about the alien that the government wounded.

And there was something about bridges.

And you could have been on the trail of P. Brown.

But a few gentle reminders for the next visit are in order.


Boulder climber
Sep 9, 2012 - 01:42am PT
Who's your "friend"? She looks nice.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 10, 2012 - 12:32am PT
Weakened Whirled

Bouldering with Kate

Sometimes I scare myself.

Kate jumps right into the fray, first problem. Well aight then girl I guess its on!

I kinda like it

Don't mess with her. Girl's got guns.

Her old man was kinda going crazy

As usual

Doing lap after lap, seeking the flow

Kaity onsighting


I did get after it for a bit

Had a good time doing some laps on the wyde, like this one

Felt totally solid

So I went big a couple of times

Burl used to put me up to this one so its an old friend so to speak

Its a bit, thoughtful... up high

Some perspective

Laps in the sun

Kate chilled for the 2nd session

And I logged the miles

Its therapeutic

So why not another round?

Just don't slip.

A little chimney action is good for the soul.

The boss

My dogs were worked

So we stopped at the Kirkwood Inn, the old historical cabin restaurant that's been like there since the days of Snowshoe Thompson.

We had some burgers and enjoyed the post bouldering bullshit session in the finest of traditions.


Sport climber
A true CA girl, who landed in the desert...
Sep 10, 2012 - 01:06am PT
A. You're a crazy driver :)

B. Please climb with both hands, cameraman.

C. Kaity could teach me a thing or two about just GOING FOR IT! She is awesome.

D. I love this thread... (I hope you were wearing sunscreen!) :)

Thanks for sharing the joy...

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Sep 10, 2012 - 01:24am PT
Fun to read, as always!
little Z

Trad climber
un cafetal en Naranjo
Sep 10, 2012 - 07:21am PT
boy, this thread takes a long time to load, but is worth the wait.

love the mystery of Dingus at work. If I ran in to you while you were on the job, and if I said "Hello", would you then be obliged to silence me? always, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions,

good luck Mr. Milktoast!


Sport climber
A true CA girl, who landed in the desert...
Sep 10, 2012 - 09:48am PT
Thankfully my 'puter loads this thread right up! I love it, and now I have a Counting Crows song in my head. Ha!

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