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  • In August of 2008, I went to Dallas, Texas to get my "type rating" on the Citation 560 XL. Most of my time was spent buried in books full of systems descriptions and procedural profiles. The types of things that make for good jet pilots.

    There were a few good moments of evening R&R at a little spot called Willhoite's in Grapevine (I even got Billie Jean out of the cover band). But the days were full of airplane-this and airplane-that. For two weeks, that's all we (my classmates and I) did. But for just one day off.

    On that day off, I made it a point to take the rental car as far as I thought I could away from the Grapevine TX hotel I was stuck in without getting lost before class the next morning. My training partner, Hans, just crashed out in hotel world. But for me, for some reason, rock-climbing gyms seemed like a good thing to look for.

    Granted it was the hottest summer on record in Dallas in ... forever ... or thereabouts. (And the rental car was black. ) So it wasn't like I actually needed, or wanted, to do any climbing on rocks, or, fake rocks, for that matter. But it seemed like a good way to kill some time not thinking about airplanes.

    So I drove. And drove. (It was all Dallas to me.) From Grapevine to Richardson. Which I don't think is actually that far. I did stop at some other little rock gym along the way. Which felt sort of like going to Rite Aid, except with holds on the wall. Not happening ...

    Then I found Stone Works. An amazing rock gym situated in some old silos along side some railroad tracks. ¡Awesome! Though, other than a dude workin' the front desk, there was nothing happening. Who climbs anything when it's 120° just sitting still?!? Or, does anything for that matter?

    So I explored the silos, chatted with the dude about this and that, and contemplated being the guy hanging from a rope at the top of the silo in that (record) heat.

    I just bought a drink from the cooler and drove back to the hotel. But it's still the coolest rock gym I've ever seen.
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