Pokémon games are meant to be easily accessible for all ages but every now and again there crops up a puzzle that is suck obtuse bullshit you have to consult the internet.
There is a hut on the Route between Celadon City and Saffron City with a guard who tells you the road is closed and that he's thirsty. After returning to Celadon and turning the Team Rocket Hideout upside down in search of drinkables I broke and brought up a the Bulbapedia walkthrough.
Turns out there's a random NPC sitting at a table in the Celadon Mansion (which is actually a hotel) who just gives you some tea. For some reason Drake, my trainer, decides to simply pocket a cup of tea for later like she's Doctor Who and uses it to bribe the guard who shares this tea with the other guards and leets you through.
The road that is closed, by the way, is six steps long. It isn't even a Route you step out onto, you just exit the building and you're in Saffron City.
The current team:
Shelby the Wartortle, my bashful starter. (Lv32)
Lucretia the Nidorino, who has a female name because I don't remember those symbols right. (Lv33)
Karai the Arbok, whose Bite is worse than her bite.(Lv28)
Digby the Dugtrio, whose probably getting dropped in the near future. (Lv27)
Faraday the Pikachu, bane of all Flying types. (Lv26)
Floof the Growlithe, a serious fellow and my newest acquisition. (Lv20)