‘Climbed’ a half-day, climbed in quotes because it consisted entirely of me attempting to toprope an overhung 10c at Cooper’s Cove in Miller Fork and failing miserably. My arms were so tired after climbing the past two days and my fingers were raw. If there is a single thought that never fails to make itself present in one’s mind after leaving the Gorge, it is ‘I need to climb more’. After a half-pizza at Miguel’s (sausage, ricotta, broccoli, and mushroom), I said goodbye to Shawn and Mimi, Andrew and Andrew, Manny, Jack and his crew, and drove an hour to Lexington to work from Common Grounds, recommended to me by Andrew Dangler. Worked on the new portfolio page.

  • 📍Red River Gorge
  • Miguel's
  • 🍲Miguel's
  • 🍺Andrew Jones' homebrew

Day 2 of climbing. Manny, Sujay, and Violet arrived late the previous night and joined our crew. We started out at Johnny’s Wall in Muir Valley, but every route was wet. Shawn and Manny led a couple of the routes anyway (a 5.10b and 5.10a respectively), and Mimi and I followed. Wasn’t very fun with the wet rock but they would have been a lot of fun if they were dry. From there we ventured to the classic Bruise Brothers wall, which was dry, sunny, and crowded. Manny led Return of the Manimal (5.10d), and beasted through the two roof sections. I followed on toprope. Next, I turned my attention to Rat Stew (5.10a) on lead. I was super nervous to lead throughout the trip, I don’t know why. It’s kind of annoying that I’ve been climbing so long and still struggle through some easy climbs and get so psyched out about leading. But Rat Stew was a big confidence boost, and I sent it without much difficulty. Still, I was super pumped by the end of it and started getting those golfer’s elbow muscle spasms. I also sent Send Me On My Way (5.9-) later in the day, one of the best routes at the Red.

We stopped by Sunnyside at the end of the day and Shawn and Mimi climbed Fear or Common Sense (5.11b). Shawn sent every route he climbed today! We stopped at the beer trailer on our way back, then got pizza at Miguel’s (I got bacon, avocado, broccoli, and sweet potato). It was the Red River Reunion, so there were a few hundred people at Miguel’s. There was a raffle, a short movie showing, a huge bonfire, and live music. Andrew Jones offered some of his and Andrew Dangler’s homebrewed Raspberry Sour, which was so good. I passed out, exhausted, around 11.

  • 📍Red River Gorge
  • Miguel's
  • 🍲Rockhouse
  • 🍺Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata
  • 🏢Day off

Met up with Shawn and Mimi in the morning and headed out to Serenity Point at the Miller Fork Park. Huge overhanging wall with a bunch of 10s and 11s. We climbed a 5.9 slab route first as a warm-up (warm-up for Shawn and Mimi, that is), then Shawn and Mimi put up two 5.11b’s and a 5.11d. I played around on the 5.11b’s on lead but didn’t make it past the 2nd or 3rd bolt. Felt very weak in general, and unprepared for the cold. It was so cold. Started at around 37 degrees and warmed up to maybe 42 by the end of the day. My fingers were completely numb on the 5.9. The friction was greattt though, haha. We nicknamed our group for the weekend the Jugseekers.

Rockhouse for dinner, followed by a tired game of Dominion in the comfort of the warm Miguel’s basement. I met up with Zak Stoldt, who I had randomly connected with on Instagram several months before, and who had messaged me when he saw my van in the parking lot of Miguel’s! Zak is also custom converting his own van, hoping to be done in a few a months, and is also a web developer and climbing hobbyist. He hung out and played Dominion with us before we all called it a night.

Worked from House Blend during the day, then drove the rest of the way to the Red in the evening. I was worried the van wouldn’t but it arrived safe and sound around 1am.

Started driving down the road, but my engine was making some nasty sounds and the ‘service engine soon’ light was occasionally flashing. So I stopped in Arkadelphia, Arkansas (yes that’s a real place) and had it looked at. “You need to go buy a lottery ticket”, the mechanic said after inspecting it. He said I had been running on zero oil. This was a complete surprise because I had just had an oil change 3,000 miles ago, and that time they said I would be good for the next 7,000 miles. But apparently there was a leak somewhere and I was hemorrhaging oil. He filled it up completely with 5 quarts, made a very dire assessment of the engine’s lifespan (that it was up in the air whether it would even last until I got to Kentucky), and sent me on my way. This was extremely worrying to hear, but it seemed to run fine the rest of the day - no noises, no flashing lights, very smooth. I drove about 7 hours to Dickson, TN and found a Wal-mart to lay my head down.

Drove into Dallas for lunch with Jennifer Dayrit and Kelvin Pho, who I hadn’t seen since I was in Madison. It was great to catch up with them. Jennifer is working in marketing in Arlington and planning on starting law school in the fall, and Kelvin is in his second year of medical school in Dallas. Such underachievers. We had poke, which is like a sushi bowl cuisine. I worked from Sip | Stir for a few hours, then started driving toward Kentucky.

Met with Ana Arredondo for lunch at Curra’s Grill. Talked about climbing, education, teaching, travel. Ana is a 2nd grade spanish teacher at KIPP Austin, and has plans to open her own Montessori school in the next few years. Naturally I had a ton of questions to ask her and I began to seriously consider applying to teach at KIPP, which has long been a thought in the back of my mind since my Education and Entrepreneurship class in college.

Worked from Summer Moon Coffee much of the rest of the day, where they fire-roast their beans for a bitter, smoky tasting coffee. Distracted and emotional for much of the day and the week with the end of a relationship.

Walked around Austin for most of the day during SXSW. Started by checking out SXSW Create, a makerspace with dozens of robotics, DIY engineering, and science booths. I got barbecue at Cooper’s downtown, after my Ride Austin driver recommended it to me. I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten that much meat in one sitting before in my life. You order the meat by the slice and pay by the pound. I got beef brisket, beef ribs, and sausage, all dunked in this juicy bbq sauce. It may have been the best barbecue I’ve had in my life, but I also ordered way too much and struggled to finish. After finishing, I was quite certain I never needed to eat meat ever again.

I walked through the state capitol building, hopped into a tour that was going through, and learned all about Texas government. Worked from Caffe Medici the rest of the night.

Rainy day. Was going to walk all over Austin during the SXSW festivities, but that idea fell flat again. Almost gave up on the day out of frustration about parking and the rain, but finally decided to just park outside the city and uber in. Uber and Lyft aren’t actually in Austin, but they have their own versions, which makes me really wonder how in the world Uber is losing money when they have such high market share and the technology is obviously not all that complicated if three clones can pop up in a single city. Anyway, I ride-austined in (doesn’t have the same ring to it) to downtown. The driver (I think his name was Andy) was super cool and we got to talking about travel abroad. He thought my US travels were fantastic and he was very encouraging. I had been feeling pretty burnt out and isolated from so much time alone, and Andy brought a much-needed burst of enthusiasm and clarity to my week.

I walked through the futuristic launch venue of Nio, an electric car company that made its debut at SXSW. They had a self-driving electric car that claimed to be the fastest electric car in the world (breaking several track speed records), and a concept car that made me excited for 2040 (when they hope to be able to bring something like it to market).

I worked on my networking skills at the open job market and talked to several companies there, then I started walking back to my car, stopping at an outdoor coffee shop to work. After awhile, a man walked up and sat down a few feet away on the bench. I knew I recognized him, and I knew instantly from where. It was Carlos Costa, a model and employee of Beardbrand. Beardbrand is one of the largest clients for the company I work for, and they are based in Austin. I have worked on their site frequently and built a new site specifically for the three Beardbrand models’ favorite products. So I spent a few solid weeks staring at pictures of Carlos Costa, and here he was in the flesh, 5 feet away from me 😂. I said hi and told him I worked on his website. Small world.

  • 📍Austin, TX

Same here…

  • 📍Austin, TX

Forgot what I did today…

I worked on my new mentoring page for much of the day from Epoch Coffee. Don’t remember much else about the day.

Went to a Nodeschool meetup in the northwest part of Austin. We went through an old React tutorial, which was mostly review, but it was still good to review it and catch a few things I didn’t fully understand.

Was right next to one of the Alamo Drafthouse locations afterward (a well-known theater in Austin) so I caught a showing of Logan.

I worked from Flitch Coffee in the morning, one of the many coffee/food trucks in Austin. Then worked from Buzzmill, a 24-hour coffee/cider/beer joint where I’m 98% sure I was the only person without a tattoo. Made some tweaks to the blog’s design and added navigation for the daily logs.

Went to church at The Austin Stone, a large, modern church in Austin. Normally I’m not a fan of these ultramodern church services - they seem disingenuous and overproduced to me. But I liked this one, it didn’t feel that way. Hung out most of the rest of the day at Austin Bouldering Project. They have an entire second floor with work and lounge spaces, so I could go back and forth between working and climbing, which is awesome. ABP is definitely one of my favorite gyms I’ve been to.

Had big plans to walk all over Austin and explore, but instead it rained all day. So I spent most of the day sheltered from the rain at Radio Coffee, a hip coffee and beer bar with a couple food trucks parked nearby. Cool space. Got some work done on my blog.

  • 📍Austin, TX
  • McDonald's coffee
  • 🏢Van

Work at Fuel Made is slow right now so I did some work on the blog, finally learning and understanding enough about Redux to implement it on the site. Added the month/year navigation to the Daily Logs.

I also developed an outline of a schedule I’m going to try to follow whenever I can. The past few weeks I’ve felt like I’m not accomplishing as much as I would like, nor exploring and experiencing the places I’m visiting as much as I’d like. I’ve felt unfocused and unstructured. I’m hoping that structuring my days a bit more will help to focus my attention and get more accomplished, both professionally and recreationally.

  • 📍Austin, TX
  • McDonald's coffee
  • 🏢Van

A work-from-Walmart-parking-lot day. Man are there some interesting characters in and around Wal-mart. Discovered funfunfunction on Youtube after hearing about it in the JS Jabber podcast and watched probably 20 videos in a row. Pure gold. It’s a youtube channel by Mattias Petter Johansson, a programmer at Spotify, in which he teaches intermediate to advanced functional programming concepts. He’s a brilliant and entertaining teacher and I couldn’t stop watching.

  • 📍Rock Dog Campground  🚐  Austin, TX
  • Van Brew
  • 🍲Licha's Cantina
  • 🏢Van

Drove from Rock Dog into Austin to hang out with Meredith. We walked around South Congress street, where there are a lot of unique shops and restaurants, then got upscale Texmex at Licha’s. Beers at Lazarus Brewing Company followed by two-stepping aka stumbling around at the Broken Spoke, where “you’re in honkytonk heaven”.