Writing contributions from our friends
The Choss Boys invite friends who have shared in their adventures to contribute stories from their own perspective.
When I first told my family that I was going to Las Vegas to visit Daniel, my mother choked, “You’re going to elope?” and my father offered helpful advice, “Don’t gamble.” Of the thousands of people who jet off to Sin City every year, few are as lucky as me to spend two weeks camping in the desert, climbing majestic canyons, and gazing at Daniel’s clear hazel eyes and rippling muscles. The Choss Boys were gracious and accommodating hosts for the latter half of November. It was not without its troubles - the van Wesley’s electrical system gave out my first day of arrival - but for a girl whose main goal was to spend time with Daniel, my time in Chossworld was well spent.
My first impression of Nevada was golden sunshine, a warm breeze, and being squeezed with the force of someone who has been clutching and grasping for his own survival for the past four months. We spent that afternoon on a wild goose chase looking for a recycling bin - an adventure that has never been so hilariously futile. Apparently the citizens of Las Vegas do not recycle. Over the next few days, I had to adjust to other strange things about the southern States. I got used to seeing “No Guns Allowed In Building” (well, obviously!) and I came to expect bare concrete walls and identical adobe houses down every residential street. The walled isolation of Vegas suburbia actually turned out to be rather romantic for the first three days, during which Daniel and I had rented an AirBnB and spent most of the time cooking, sleeping, and poaching in the hot tub. However, reality hit soon afterwards with a phone call from Nick and Dave: “Guys, the van has died. We had to get it towed.”
The next week was a jumbled mishmash of visits to the mechanic, climbing adventures, and of course, attempted climbing adventures that inevitably ended back at the mechanic’s. The problem was that Wesley’s battery was not getting recharged by the engine while driving. The van could run, but we had to bring it back to “Big O Tires” for a full recharge every day while we waited for a rare part to be shipped in from California.
Each day became a hilarious game of “Who thinks Wesley will start today?” and if we were lucky, “What are the chances that we will get back to the campsite if we go to this crag today?” We often lost this real-life version of Russian roulette. At which point we would tumble out of the van and swing booster cables to attract attention from cars passing by. (My version was to swing it overhead like a lasso in the Wild West.) Las Vegasers may not do their environmental duty regarding recycling, but they surely are kind and helpful when you’re in a bind. The morning the part came in from California, Daniel and I undertook the challenge of getting Wesley to the mechanic while Nick and Dave hitchhiked to a nearby climb. After the fourth boost within five miles, Wesley refused to budge. Luckily, Boost #4 was Sofia, a buoyant Georgian lady who patted our knees maternally and settled us into the cab of a tow-truck that she had called using her own AAA membership. The mechanic installed the part in Wesley the next day. (“You’re damn lucky. This part is discontinued and was the only one we could find in the country.”) Wesley ran beautifully after that!… for one more day.
But I shall not drudge on with our mechanical woes.
I definitely see the appeal of the sport that has kept my Lover Boy fascinated for the past five years. The movements are graceful and strong, and the tactile interaction with one’s natural environment achieves new heights, pun intended. I quickly discovered that fear of falling was the least of my concerns. It was the fear of not being about to go up that was the problem. Daniel (part monkey, I suspect) chattered and made jokes as he breezed up one particular 5.7+ multi-pitch climb ahead of me (“I like your heavy panting, babe! Sounds like you are… enjoying yourself.”) I am proud to say that I did get to the top. But there was a whole lot of swearing, pep-talks to self, and pumped-out limbs literally shaking themselves off of holds that was happening down where Daniel couldn't see from 25 meters above me.
Needless to say, it was a very sore body I dragged to the downtown core of Las Vegas to spend the last three days of the trip relaxing with my Beloved. The hotel we booked was a castle monstrosity complete with turrets and a surrounding moat. Such is Vegas: flashy, gaudy, and completely over the top. Daniel and I found we could only take a couple hours at a time before our brains and eyes were so overstimulated that we retreated to the haven of our hotel room to recuperate. (Inevitably, the hotel room was overstimulating too - in other respects - so we would emerge back onto the street for a breath of air in a never-ending cycle of sensory overload.)
We topped off the trip with a dazzling show by Cirque du Soleil and dinner at a fancy Indian restaurant. Daniel is a rather adaptable sort of boyfriend; he’s just as comfortable “roughing it” in a tent in the desert as he is looking dapper as a dinner date, glass of wine in hand. Even though I didn’t gamble on this trip, I feel like I’ve won the jackpot with this incredible man. As for eloping, well… there’s always next time. Thanks for everything, Choss Boys!
- Sarah Jane