All the photographs in this post were taken with my point and shoot that still has dust on the lens hence the dark splodge in the middle of the sky sometimes. They were also mostly taken through the windscreen with one hand, all completely safe though! So apologies if they are not the best quality.
My last few days at Joe's were not as full of climbing as I had hoped due to bad weather. On Wednesday 28th April I drove to Salt Lake City to give a friend back a crash pad I had borrowed. I needed a rest day so it was a good opportunity to get a short reprieve from Orangeville. The drive was fairly unadventurous apart from the snow that had started to fall on the high passes. I arrived at Steven's about midday and asked if he would mind if I stayed over rather than drive the 2 and a half hours back in the dark and the snow. He said yes so I thought I would just drive back in the morning and get 2 last days before leaving on the Saturday for Tennessee. I woke the next morning to about 3 inches of snow covering my car and it was still falling. I stayed an extra day. He has a very comfy sofa so I was not complaining. I occupied my time in SLC helping him with a 5ooo piece jigsaw that he was in the middle of doing and caught up with his usual funny stories.
I travelled back to Joe's on the Friday hoping to try and finish off a couple of problems I was getting close to completing, but alas by the time I got there snow was in the sky again and it was very windy, so the rock felt very moist and no good for the friction I needed. So once again I have unfinished business in Utah.
A very cold Saturday arrived and it was time to hit the road again. I set off towards Colorado, a road that I have driven a few times now so I knew where I was going and I expected some snow on the passes through Aspen and Vail which are both above 10,000 feet. I was right, there was snow but the roads were clear so the drive was not too stressful. I was only going as far as Boulder on the first day so it was a relatively short 8 hours. I was staying at another friends house, sadly he was out of the country but he very kindly let me sleep in his bed.
I set off early Sunday morning and was just going to drive as far as I could. I managed 12 hours and got all the way through Kansas and 50 miles into Missouri.
The drive through Kansas was not very exciting a very long straight road and with not much to look at. I was hoping for a yellow brick road to follow but sadly the roads were just gray with a yellow line along the edge. The impression I am left with from driving through Kansas is, that it is very flat and basically just one big farm. Clearly a very religious state with many billboards telling me Jesus lives, weeps and can be trusted. I believe these are traits that apply to many people other than Jesus but nobody else seemed to get a mention. They also seem to be extremely pro life.
No yellow bricks to be seen.
lots of flatness
Did not stop to meet the Tin man.
Jesus is real apparently
Next was Missouri, very similar landscape and billboards to Kansas, it just took less time to cross. They did have a town called Emma so not all bad.
Indiana, thankfully was less dull to look at and had beautiful trees and fields of yellow rapeseed. It was strange to actually smell scents in the air again, there are surprisingly few in Utah and these smells reminded me of home which was comforting. It was starting to get hot though and my lovely Saturn does not have the luxury of air con so I was melting slightly. My impression of Indiana is that they are still fairly religious and pro life but on the other hand also like their adult stores. They also have a large number of very large firework stores. Weird. There is a town called Santa Claus in Indiana, or at least I think it was a town maybe now I think about it Santa might live here in the Summer months to get away from the cold...
Not too much in Kentucky fairly similar to Indiana, although I did hit Louisville at rush hour which was lots of fun, I had to change gear and everything.
Then finally Tennessee. Yippee. It was mostly dark so I assumed it was pretty similar to Kentucky. I arrived in Knoxville about 10pm and found a motel for the night. Sweet.
The next morning I was meeting Matt and Justin, the very nice Southern boys who persuaded me to come visit the South, and we went to a local crag called Obed where we did some sport climbing. I managed to lead a couple of routes which I was quite proud of as I have not been on a rope in a long time. I did get pumped by about the 2nd bolt but it was good fun to do more than the standard 6 to 10 moves of a boulder problem. The day concluded with a trip to a Mexican restaurant for dinner and margaritas. Happy days.
The only thing that annoyed me about driving all those miles was the mother truckin tail gaters. People will actually drive 2 feet from the back of your car on a 2 laned open road where they can over take and not just car drivers either the huge trucks do it too. I may have sworn a few times, but hey they will just think that I am some slow Canadian driver.
So far I am loving the South it is a sea of green lovliness.
Just in case any of you ever need directions from Utah to Tennessee here they are;
I - 70 East
I - 64 East
I - 75 South