My plans were to leave Joshua Tree, meet and stay with my friend Angelina in San Diego for a day, then drive to Tahquitz for a few days. The best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley...sometimes by mice.
As I filled up the gas tank in Joshua Tree, the gasoline poured out onto the ground. A local garage told me I had a leak somewhere in the filler hose; fortunately I had enough gas to drive to a Subaru dealership in Palm Springs that could hopefully fix the problem under warranty. The verdict: a rodent had chewed through the gas line, and it would take a few days to get the part. Rodent wear is unfortunately not covered by the warranty!
Renting a car through the dealership turned out to be painless and inexpensive, and I was soon on my way to San Diego. Since Palm Springs is closer to Joshua Tree than to Tahquitz, we decided to head back to J-Tree and climb for a few days while the car was being fixed. We met up with Ryan and two German climbers on holiday, Marcus and Martin, and though we didn't climb with them we did spend a great evening around a blazing campfire.
After a few days of climbing, the car was fixed and we headed back to San Diego for a day of R&R for me, along with two—yes, TWO!—showers in one day.
Ryan, Marcus, and Martin were headed to Paradise Forks just outside of Flagstaff, AZ, a place that was on my must-visit list. I jumped at the opportunity to join them, especially as Ryan considered that one of his home crags and was a walking guidebook of the area. My next stop was decided, and after a lazy day in San Diego I headed to Paradise.