Bittersweet Homecoming

Friends, the time has come for the climbing adventure crew to make our return to the flatlands and humidity of Florida. As I write, McGoo is steering us through Alabama – our ETA in Tallahassee is about 4:30 AM. But let me digress to Wednesday evening.

After my update describing our arrival in Colorado Springs, we went on a wild goose chase to find the Dakota Hot Springs campground. We finally found it a few hours past nightfall, and were shocked to realize where we were: a clothing optional concrete pool, fed by the sizzling waters of the hot springs. It was a comical experience to say the least. We cooked up a pasta dinner, leaving me too exhausted to dip into the springs until morning.

Niko and I woke up around 7:00, and promptly plunged into the warm morning water. It was a much needed bout of relaxation. Despite the view of leathery pancake boobs, the hour spent floating around in Niko’s arms was the perfect cure for my road trip frustrations. Once the rest of the crew awoke, we made a quick breakfast and headed back towards the Garden of the Gods.

Once again, we spent a good portion of the day trekking across rocks in search of decent routes. We finally hiked out to “The Snake Pit,” which was home to a number of good problems. We met a charming boy, Ryker, from Hueco, Texas. A fellow creative writing major, and V3/4 climber, we instantly bonded as I snapped away some pictures for him on his camera while he climbed. Our fun was cut short by a sudden rainstorm, which left us scrambling back to the Jeep with soaking wet gear.

This is the part where we retreat to Golden Corral – see the post below for details.

With full bellies, we decided to press Southeast. We drove through the merciless winds of Kansas, and it is at this point that all hell breaks loose. Jeff and I commented to each other about the noisy straps of the crash pads flapping around insanely in the wind. It wasn’t until we pulled over for gas that we realized the Kansas wind had completely unzipped our rooftop cargo bag that carried all our belongings.

McGoo was riding in the passenger seat, and as he turned to exit the car, we both saw the flap of the bag hanging limply down across his window. “Oh, shit.” We were both too frightened to inspect the damage.

Miraculously, it wasn’t a total loss. Everything we had was exposed to the demanding gusts of dry air, and yet only Jeff suffered missing items. His damage was bad; he lost his sleeping bag and every item of clothing he brought on the trip. Still, we are blessed that we didn’t lose more.

To add insult to injury, as the night pressed on, McGoo fell extremely ill. Plagued by a fever and cold sweats, we let him restlessly attempt to sleep as Niko and I drove through the night. I took up the later shift, commandeering the Jeep until the sun rose over Oklahoma. At the point where I could no longer continue driving, my exhaustion gave me away to McGoo’s illness.

I can’t remember the last time I felt so miserable. My body constantly jolted between cold chills and hot sweat, and my stomach churned like a butter mill. Then the Jeep seemed to have AC issues, so Jeff insisted that we drive without it on. I seriously contemplated tying myself to the back of the Jeep and ending my misery. It was horrible.

We pressed on until Memphis, Tennessee. Unable to contain our hunger, we pigged out at Lil’ Anthony’s soul food joint in the bluesy downtown area. I ate the most delicious homemade veggie burger I have ever tasted, and the boys ordered short stacks of the biggest pancakes we have ever seen. Refreshed and revived, we headed back on the road. It was decided that we should cut the trip short, because our illness combined with the sweltering southern heat would not have made for a pleasant day of climbing.

I can’t wait to get home and take a long shower to cleanse myself of the filth of two weeks living on the road. Most of all, I’m excited to be reunited with Starsky, my darling Black Moor goldfish. I’ll give you a final road trip update tomorrow, and then it’s back to writing about my sunflowers and Tallahassee adventures.

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Categories: Rock Climbing, Stories & Odes, Travel & Adventure

Author:Katie Boué

Katie Boué is the voice of TheMorningFresh.com - a travel lifestyle blog focusing on climbing, Airbnb life, and the outdoors.

3 Comments on “Bittersweet Homecoming”

  1. the mom
    July 30, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

    What ever happened to Capy?

    • August 2, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

      Baby Cap is still in his cocoon! I’m worried he might be dead in there, but there’s a possibility he may just stay in there until the beginning of next season.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A Beginner’s Guide to Car-Camping | THE MORNING FRESH - December 18, 2012

    […] Beware the wind in Kansas. Seriously, beware the wind. We had a giant canvas storage container strapped to the top of the Jeep, and during a stretch of particularly nasty gusts, the wind tore the canvas apart – and we lost nearly everything that was inside. I escaped the situation missing only my sleeping pad, but our buddy Jeff lost all of his clothes and camping gear. Major bummer. (You can read more about it in this post.) […]

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