I’ve heard the term “it’s the only way to travel” thrown out there more than enough times. By plane, train, horse back, by foot. It just doesn’t compare to knowing that at any point I can go anywhere and maintain a comfortable existence. Usually when I’m on the road, I live at the mercy of my environment. If it’s too windy my tent might be blown over. If it’s too cold, I certainly won’t get a good nights sleep. If we stay in the city, stealth is definitely off the table, hotels are usually not a viable option, and then there’s the risk of outstaying your welcome crashing at someone’s house. With the Boondocker, none of this is an issue. When life changes, the Boondocker gave us the ability to change with it.
Ten Sleep Canyon, Wyoming
I recently had the pleasure of taking her to Ten Sleep Wyoming. A small cowboy town, smack dab in the middle of the state. Our goal was to climb the cliffs in the famed Dolomite Canyon. 380 million years had shaped one of the most beautiful canyons I had ever laid eyes on. The canyon is steep, with some grades reaching 12%. I was impressed with how responsive the Mercedes diesel motor was on these steep inclines. Even more so with the mileage, as we averaged 20mpg over 1,000 miles. I had fully expected driving a vehicle of this size to be less than nimble and maybe even a little stressful. I was pleasantly surprised with how well it handled. And backing up was a breeze with the reverse camera.
Ten Sleep Wyoming Limestone
The climbing was some of the best I had experienced in the country. Miles of beautiful cliff band every where we turned. Amazing walls with vibrant blue and orange streaks. With every route varied in the best kind of way. Each day we climbed till our hearts were content, returning to the van at night totally exhausted. Normally we would have to leave earlier to be able to prepare meals. Not this time. Cooking was as easy as throwing some pizza in the microwave. So instead of messing around with cooking all the time, we could focus on what really mattered, watching movies and massages.
Lounging in the Boondocker
With so much room in the van we were able to really stretch out and work out sore muscles. In fact, foam rolling was a big past time. I was even more surprised with the fridge; it was cold enough to keep and freeze ice – a prized commodity when dealing with sore tendons.
What I didn’t expect was just how dusty the Buffalo Canyon could be. More than a few times on my road bike rides I was hit with a wall of dust blown from the hill sides. I’d return to the van covered head to toe in dust. Luckily for us, the Boondocker had just the ticket: a heated shower. Without having to track dirt back into the van, I loaded my bike in the cargo area (upright and without having to totally disassemble it), pulled out the hand shower head and got a nice warm shower before starting our climbing day.
Lunch in the Boondocker
Here we are rocking out and preparing our lunches to some indi rock on Sirius Satellite Radio. The other folk in the parking lot did not find it too enjoyable. Come on! it was only at 10!
On our forth night out we decided we’d entertain some of our traveling climber friends. We circled the wagons with the Boondocker center stage. We quickly set up the 20 inch monitor to face outside and tapped into the stereo system. One of my only regrets is not capturing a photo of 10 climbers lounging and watching Sherlock Holmes in the middle of nowhere. This is the life!
After a few days of this I had completely forgotten I work a day job. Life out there was just too easy. We were on course for having our best climbing trip ever. I ended up coming away with 3 5.14 redpoints and well over 10 5.13 onsights, and countless 5.12 onsights over the course of 6 climbing days. I really credit a lot of this to the fact that we were so comfortable during our journey.
You can read more about Ryan’s climbing adventures on his blog: http://ryanpalo.blogspot.com/