Friday, December 28, 2007

not smart enough without my coffee

i often joke when i go refill my coffee cup, that i'm "off to get another cup of brains." and people laugh, because it's kinda silly to think of a person's intelligence coming out of a cup.

today, we have proof that i'm not COMPLETELY joking when i say these things. i started to pour my first cup of coffee this morning and got halfway into it when i realized i was pouring it onto my oatmeal instead of into my mug! i had coffee and brown sugar oatmeal this morning, which was not half bad.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

merry christmas!

nothing puts you in the christmas spirit quite like watching kids experience christmas for the first time. their wonder, innocence, and inquisitiveness are a beautiful sight to behold and good for the soul. so, thanks to my nieces for reminding me of how much PURE FUN christmas can be. i've never been scrooge-y about christmas. i've always enjoyed it, although i sometimes give in to the stressful feelings of having too much to do and not enough time to do it in.

it's a blessing to be here at my parents' house, watching 2 year olds "decorate" the christmas tree by (literally) throwing bows at it. the redhead throws with purpose and makes them stick. the blonde tends to throw (goddess forgive me for saying this) like a girl, so hers fall off and her sister has to reapply them. we've taken all the bows off and thrown them at the tree three or four times now, because it's fun. "nana" has strong memories of how frustrating childhood is when all you want is to explore and play, and all the grown-ups keep doing is telling you "no-no, that's [dangerous, breakable, hot, not-for-kids, etc.]" she has done her best to make her house a totally explorable, kid-friendly zone. all the breakable, heirloom decorations are either on high shelves or still in storage. everything that's out is either dollar-store quality and won't be missed if they break it, or tough enough to survive their exploration activities. the kids are loving it, and so are we.

and now, back to it. i'm in charge of the cooking. technical challenge of the weekend: making popcorn in a pan on the stove. my sister is on an allergen-free diet, and there are no microwave popcorns that conform. she showed me how to do it, and aside from a few burned kernels, i think i did alright. it certainly had a down-home taste to it that i don't think i was imagining.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


...that you really need to go to a holiday party and behave irresponsibly and indulge with excess until you forget that you have a dayjob, number 1:

Your Friend says, "Hey, let's stop at the store on the way to the party and get something to drink." Whereupon you reply, "Yes, we need to leverage the opportunity to work through the process and procure some supplies." And when your friend's jaw drops to the floor and asks if you did, or did not, just assault her with meaningless buzzwords you reply, "What did I say?"

That's right, kids. If you find yourself inadvertently spewing business buzzwords to your friends, on your weekends, and you DON'T EVEN REALIZE YOU'VE DONE IT, you need to have a large frosty glass of holiday cheer, or a meat mallet to the head. Take whichever you prefer, but take it soon.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


i heard this story about my niece recently, and i've been telling it to anyone who will listen. so here it is...
my sister is walking past the bedroom of her two year old twin girls, with her 6 month old baby on her hip. she notices one of them fast asleep, and the other one lying in bed talking to herself. she decides to check in to make sure the talker doesn't need a diaper change or juice or something only moms can give.

SISTER: *walks in and lays baby on foot of bed* Honey, are you ok?
TALKY TWIN: I love Jesus.
SISTER: I love Jesus, too, honey. And he loves us, like his children.
TALKY TWIN: *gives her mother a you're-not-getting-it look* No, I love BABYJESUS! *points, for emphasis, at her sister at the foot of the bed*

apparently, the toddlers have been learning about babyjesus at school, as is the way this time of year. and somehow, in the brain of a toddler, Baby Sister and Baby Jesus have conflated into one thing. so right now, sister is babyjesus, and sometimes just Jesus.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

oh, and while i'm at it...

happiest of happy birthday wishes to Squirt, Fluffy, and Trouble. all three of you are in my heart and in my thoughts today. for the brief, feverish moments that i was awake yesterday, i thought of you then, too. :) but that might have just been the fever dreams...

Did anybody get the number of that truck... ?

It hit me like a truck, it did. I thought at first it had to be bacterial, simply because my throat was so sore and my fever was so persistent. It turned out to be a virus, after q-tips up the nose, lights down the throat, and a blood donation were all tested and reviewed. Either that, or I'm allergic to snow. It might be both, come to think of it. Michigan last week gave me plenty of opportunity to be exposed to both. After having slept for 40 of the last 48 hours, I can now say that I'm feeling fine. So, the truck loses, and I win. And, for the sake of irony, I would like to report that Saginaw airport loads and unloads their aircraft in much better STYLE than O'Hare in Chicago does. When you have checked a bag planeside because the aircraft is too small to accommodate your standard roll-aboard overnight suitcase, and you have to STAND OUTSIDE IN THE HORIZONTAL SLEET to recover said bag, you know you've arrived in travel hell. And I'll tell ya, ladies and gents, Chicago has a lot to learn from Saginaw on that score.

This week, I'm off to Knoxville, TN. If I return without my hair glowing green or anything, I'll be pleasantly surprised. Apparently the facility I'm visiting has enough hazardous areas to warrant an online safety training that is required for all visitors. So now I know not to cross the magenta ropes that are marked "RADIOACTIVE HAZARD AREA". Thanks to the training, I'm safely prepared. :P

Tuesday, November 27, 2007



wow, do i want this clock.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Free Rice Vocabulary Game

Free Rice is a website in the vein of The Hunger Site, The Breast Cancer Site, etc. Visitors to the website click on a link, view a couple of advertisements, and the revenue generated goes to a charitable cause. This one is affiliated with the United Nations and is set up as one of my personal favorite activities of all time - a word game! yea! So, if you go visit the site and answer a vocabulary question correctly, you donate 10 grains of rice. The game keeps a running total, with special counters for 100-grain and 1000-grain piles, while the latest grains go into your "bowl".

My high for today was a vocabulary level of 47, but most of the time i was around 44 or 45. I donated about 1500 grains doing that. I shot right up to 45 quickly, but then knocked around the 43-46 range for a good long time. Once I made it to 47, I came over here to write it up. :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

writer's block

lately i'm suffering a bit of writer's block. i simply don't have anything to say. i've tried to fight through it with a couple of half-assed memes, but that's not really working. so today, i'm going to tell you about the outstanding dinner i made for rose's birthday last night. alas, i'm not nerdy enough to have taken photos, so you'll have to imagine what it looked like.

the main course was buffalo steak in a tart cherry sauce; the sides were butternut squash and wilted spinach with caramelized onion. the cherry sauce was a huge experiment, and i'm pleased to say that all reporters either enjoyed it or lied convincingly. it was the first time in a very long time that i cooked without tasting the dish all through the process, so even i was pleasantly surprised. however, we did start all three dishes with the 2 crucial steps of melting 2 tbsp butter and pouring 2 oz wine into the cook, so it was hard to go wrong from there.

i sent rose to the store for all the odd ingredients that i don't keep in my kitchen, like sun-dried oregon cherries. i have maraschino cherries, but those aren't quite the same and could never be classed as 'tart'. unless maybe they were in a beverage called a 'tart' because of its umm... effect on chicks who drink fruity things with cherries in them and umbrellas on top. rose had to call me three or four times from the store for direction and substitution options because Whole Foods doesn't prominently display plum wine or sun-dried cherries. as a result, we ended up with some Organic Tibetan Goji Berries, which i thought was a hoot. according to wiki, the "tibetan" part is probably a big fat lie marketing strategy because the tibetan plateau is remarkably unsuitable for commercial fruit production, even if it were organic production. the goji berries were very close to the cherries, and were quite prominently displayed, according to rose. for those who wonder, they are quite tasty little boogers, kinda like a dried cranberry, but with just a hint of savory about them and not so fruity-sweet. think of an early strawberry that's ripe enough to be red, but not ripe enough to be particularly sweet yet.

the squash was tasty and uber-simple. i halved it and scraped out the seeds and pulp (which are remarkably pumpkin-like) and then scored the flesh deeply with a knife. i smeared it with butter, dropped a tablespoon of extra butter into the hollow, sprinkled it liberally with nutmeg, covered each half with foil and set it foil side down on a cookie sheet to bake at 350 for an hour. yum! i love me some winter squash. rose had never eaten it before, so she now has a new seasonal food addiction. plus, it's a nice carrot-free source of beta carotene. have any of you noticed how grocery store carrots taste these days? they pretty much taste like dirt. bleh.

for the spinach, i minced some garlic and slivered some onion into about 2 tbsp of olive oil in my honkin' weapons-grade cast iron skillet. then i tossed in a bag of baby spinach until the whole mass was about halved in size. i pulled it off the fire and put it into a bowl where i drizzled it with balsamic vinegar and LOTS of lemon juice. probably about the juice of half a lemon, if i were one of those nutty cooks-from-scratch types. but i'm not, so the juice came out of those darling plastic lemon-shaped bottles with the long pour spout. i guess that's there just so you don't inadvertently grab the unnaturally shiny yellow bottle thinking it's an actual lemon. as far as i can tell, the spout serves only to make it look like a lemon with a strange protuberance that might be a tumor...

the buffalo steaks were marinated in equal parts balsamic vinegar and worcestershire sauce, with a generous addition of lemon juice, black pepper, pickled ginger, and bavarian herb mix. for the cherry sauce, i used 1/2 a medium sized sweet onion, sauteed in butter, about a cup of apple juice, cup of cranberry juice, 3 tbsp sweet red wine (i used a beaujolais nouveau because we couldn't find plum), a cup of dried cherries, and a half cup of Genuine Organic Tibetan Goji Berries. then i made a sachet out of cheesecloth and into it i put a bay leaf, 4 black peppercorns, 3 whole cloves, 1 clove garlic and all the pickled ginger i could fish out of the marinade. i simmered the whole lot for about 20 or 30 minutes. i removed about 1/2 cup of the cherries from the sauce and set them aside. i pulled out the sachet, as well. then i put the sauce into a blender and made it smooth. i topped each steak with the sauce and a few of the whole cherries.

nom nom nom!

rose was in charge of cooking the meat, which i assume she did on the grill outside. she ran off with the marinating dish when i told her she had about 10 minutes left, and when she came back, there was a plate of medium-rare buffalo steaks in her hand. it is good to have a sous chef, no?

happy birthday, love!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

meme sheep says baaaaaaa!

You Are 68% Open Minded

You are a very open minded person, but you're also well grounded.
Tolerant and flexible, you appreciate most lifestyles and viewpoints.
But you also know where you stand firm, and you can draw that line.
You're open to considering every possibility - but in the end, you stand true to yourself.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

i'm not quite dead yet...

i'm not dead. but in the last two weeks, if this is any indication of how things are going here, i've crossed into diamond status with Hilton's loyalty club and gold with American Airlines. and that's AFTER redeeming miles for a leisure trip.

it's good, because it means that i'll get better treatment when i'm traveling. and since i'm not going to stop traveling any time soon, i might as well be treated nicely.

i'm home until 4 this afternoon, and then i'm off to huntsville, al for the rest of the week and the weekend. hopefully, i'll get a chance to get online and post pictures of my fabulous halloween costume sometime soon.

oh, yeah. the leisure trip was to haverford, pa (dangerously close to philly) where rose and i attended a halloween party hosted by some dear friends. it was quite a hoot, but i never did wrap my lips around a cheesesteak. i'll have to try harder next time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

bathroom curtains?

in my ongoing quest to keep my faithful readers informed about the state of women's rest rooms around the country, i present to you the latest weird thing i have observed in my travels: paper stall curtains!

so what is a paper stall curtain? well, you know how the standard stall divider is separated from the wall or the next panel over by a short gap? the size of the gap varies due to the mounting hardware used to attach the thing to the wall, but it averages about 3/4 inch. well, at the facility i'm teaching in this week, someone decided that gap was large enough to threaten her privacy, i guess. i wandered in, put down my paper ass gasket, and prepared to do what it is we do in a toilet stall when i noticed this long streamer of toilet paper dangling from the stall divider just in my peripheral vision. someone had hung a makeshift paper curtain to block the view through the gap between the stall divider and the wall. and this raises the question: did the previous occupant of my stall erect her paper-thin veil of modesty because she herself has viewed something objectionable through the gap between stall panel and wall? or did she catch someone peeping at her? my curiosity is piqued!

it is completely beyond my ken that someone might actually attempt to observe a stall occupant in her disadvantaged state, but i am assured by an ex-girlfriend of mine that this did occur to her, and not in the larry craig way. and this story, i think, is REALLY REALLY weird. let me know if you agree...

my ex fell ill at work one day and found herself in the women's room, doing what one does when one's gastric system is in distress. she heard some foot-shuffling and other traffic outside her stall, but she was in her own special world of misery and paid no particular attention to it. upon exiting the "necessary room" and returning to her desk, she heard strange titters from her coworkers (say it with me: cow orkers) and felt her spidey-senses tingling. she had the strange feeling that she (and maybe her unfortunate lack of intestinal fortitude) were the subject of office gossip. as she was telling me this, i interrupted her story to interject, "Surely," says i, "nobody came out of the restroom and discussed what she saw in there! To do that, she'd have had to bend over and peer under the divider and identify you by your shoes, and that's just ridiculous! No grown person does that!" surely, she assured me, this was exactly what had happened. on the one hand, i was stunned at the puerility and the crassness. on the other hand, this woman's propensity for stirring up drama was well known to me by this time, and it just fit.

still, i ask you, gentle readers... if you came out of the toilet and found yourself the subject of gossip for solo activity conducted in the privacy of your stall, would you be embarrassed for yourself? or for the harpies who were sitting in the cube farm discussing you? seriously. i thought this was a one-off thing, just one crazy pot-stirrer's crazy behavior in a crazy office. is this stall-spying problem more widespread than naive little me would like to think? do i need to start hanging paper stall curtains, too?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


it's been two weeks, and i haven't written about camping yet! i'm a slacker!

rose and i went on our annual camping adventure to Rainbow Ranch with our friends. it was an absolute blast. the weather was gorgeous, the sunsets were incredible, the beer was cold, and the marshmallows were hot. i couldn't have asked for more.

No, really.  I couldn't ask for more.

as usual, i took my dog, who is a hyperspastic labrador retriever. she is six years old, and most people still think she's a puppy because she's just so... juvenile. i also had my sister's yellow lab, orenda, with me. when we were in the planning stages of this outing, rose asked me how orenda did at camping... which caused me to laugh until dr pepper came out my nose. then i referred rose to my sister to ask how well orenda handled camping, and my sister laughed until caffeine-free diet coke came out her nose. she gently explained the situation, orenda had never gone camping because my sister is not the sort of woman who goes camping. seriously, the only camping my sister has done since she was about 10 is the kind where your parents send you off to a college campus to play basketball for a week over the summer. so, in spite of the fact that she had to sleep outside for, like, the first time in her whole life, orenda seemed to enjoy the camping, too.

we played in the lake with the dogs most of the day saturday. because we are the place where stereotypes come from, our little lesbian tent town had as many canine residents as it had humans. there were dogs everywhere, and they all splashed in the lake, chasing each other and playing fetch. even the pug! the dogs were so tired after two solid days of swimming that they slept for two solid days once we got them home. it was bliss! orenda somehow managed to lose her collar in the lake so we faked a leash and a collar out of some rope that i had in my truck. she looked like a real redneck dog for the rest of the weekend. :)

speaking of pugs, did you know that if you squeeze a pug's head its eyeballs will pop out? yeah, i think that's an urban legend, but the girl who brought the pug was just dog-sitting and she had a long and ridiculous list of instructions to follow regarding the dog's care. basically, it boiled down to this: DON'T TAKE A PUG CAMPING! but the pug had fun and probably felt more like a real dog that weekend than it ever has in its life. we started discussing all the things pugs can't do one night around the campfire, and with the assistance of a little creativity and some BEvERages, we came up with a photo essay. from this photo to shot 35 from that album, we illustrate all the things one should NOT do with a pug. also, you should not do this or anything on any of the next 14 or so shots with a pug. there's a lot of overlap between those two galleries. if you're only going to look at one picture, it should be because at this point, i think the pug was a little tired of the traveling gnome game we'd been playing with it. if i knew how to LOLCATS that thing, it would say "we are not amused."

and that was my rainbow ranch camping adventure. thanks to sylwester and julie for the photos!

quote of the weekend, which actually came after the weekend was all over:

Why do we turn into circus seals around you?

i dunno. maybe it's because i laugh real hard and throw sardines when i'm amused?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I'm working in Vermont this week, and... maybe I'm slow on the uptick... but did any of the rest of you know that Vermont has a BUNCH of COWS?!?!? Yeah, it had plumb evaded me, this bit of knowledge. I know I had to know this in the back of my mind somewhere, because I've had Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and I'm a compulsive reader, and I know they buy their milk from a local co-op of dairy farmers who don't squirt rBGH into the cows. And I've had Vermont Cheddar cheese, I'm sure. Still, nobody was more stunned than I was to walk into my suite at the Comfort Inn and find a bucolic landscape photo featuring COWS on the wall of my room. I associate that sort of stuff with home, and well, Vermont is about as far from "just like home" as I can imagine, at least east of San Francisco.

So while I'm in Vermont, I took the factory tour at Ben & Jerry's up in Stowe and drove up the mountain to Smuggler's Notch for some scenery. I ate ice cream for supper and enjoyed the gnarly road immensely. It is debatable whether I'd have enjoyed the road up the mountain more on my bike. I think I would have, except that tonight the fog had fallen on the valleys and the air itself was wet in a singularly rain foresty way. That meant the asphalt was wet, and with the foliage turning and dropping here, that would have made for a slick and scary road to ride in the dark on a motorcycle. I'd just concluded that even with all the negative factors I'd still rather be riding when the road got so narrow there was no center stripe and the turns got so tight that cars from opposite directions couldn't navigate them at the same time. That made me very glad for the rented cage I was driving, even in light of a glorious near-full moon.

Yeah. Fall foliage, fog in the valley, full moon, view from the mountain, belly full of (free) ice cream. Travel sucks, don't it?

In conclusion, I leave you with a picture from the Ben & Jerry's flavor graveyard. Something I did NOT know is that Ben & Jerry debut about 10 new flavors a year, meaning that 10 old flavors get the boot. Flavors that were really dismal sellers and have no hope of resurrection get a bad epitaph and go in the flavor graveyard. Others are simply put in the deep freeze. People can vote on the website to resurrect them, but so far none of the resurrected flavors have passed the test of the open market and they've all been re-retired. Here was my favorite "gravestone"

i also bought my new little niece a tie-dyed onesie, because i'm a hippie freak and i think every kid needs tie-dye in their closet. it has "ben and jerry's" printed across the chest which is a whopping big irony, because the kid is so lactose intolerant that her sisters can't touch her until they wash all milk/cheese residue from their hands and faces with hot, soapy water. still, this has introduced her mother (my sister) to the goodness that is sorbet. poor thing. fruit ice cream was never her thing. we used to go to the ice cream shop down the way when we were wee kids, and she ALWAYS got some uber-creamy chocolate-enhanced flavor. me? the sherbet. so tonight, in her honor, i ate TWO SCOOPS of Half-Baked, which is itself a blend of Chocolate Chip Cooke Dough and Brownie Batter Ice Cream. because she's back home eating my piece of the world's sorbet allotment.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Mayor

THIS is the reason for Coming Out. When gay people have the courage to explain their orientation to those near and dear to them, the dear ones see the human face of gay people. We are not monsters. We are not depraved beasts intent on destroying the moral fabric of or the family unit in America. My gay agenda mostly consists of getting paid for doing my job, spending my free time with family and friends, and remembering to pour out the milk when it goes sour, y'know?

The quick summary for the link averse: Jerry Sanders, the mayor of San Diego has tearfully confirmed that he will support gay marriage, as opposed to civil union, in San Diego. Part of his decision was based on his recognition that he couldn't sanction unequal treatment for his gay daughter.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dallas Pride Parade 2007

Dallas has their gay pride celebration in September. Most cities have theirs in June, to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969. But in Dallas, nominally to honor the first reversal of the Texas sodomy statutes by Judge Barefoot Sanders (I am not making this up! That's his name!) and realistically in deference to the blistering heat of June weather in Texas, we hold our parade in September. Even then, it's pretty doggone hot. The good thing about this is that I was able to attend San Francisco Pride this year in cool, comfortable temperatures in June, and then Dallas Pride in relatively comfortable (relative to June in Dallas) temperatures in September. Double my fun!

Hot or not, we were out with our Big Girl Britches on, braving the crowds and the drama and the deadly strings of flying Mardi Gras beads, and having fun. Here are some pictures! The black bike in the foreground is the next evolution of design for my bike. It's called a Valkyrie Rune. It's not my idea of a replacement for the fantastic tourer I ride, primarily because it doesn't have a stock passenger seat or saddlebags. Mine is the red one behind, with the Texas flag hanging from it. Rose's is just behind mine with the US flag on hers. We mount flagpoles on our luggage racks for this parade and it looks pretty sharp, if I do say so. You can see for yourself... It's not that I'm a queer aesthetic snob or anything, but I really like the appurtenances to my bike to look nice and DUCT TAPING a 1x2 to my passenger seat doesn't fit my snobby queer aesthetic standards. :) That said, the overall effect was very nice from a distance, as you can see. A long line of open-minded motorcyclists stretching off to the horizon! Muahahahaha! My gay agenda plan for world domination is nearly complete!

The girl on the back of my bike is Rose's ex. The girl on the back of Rose's bike is said ex's current girlfriend. They found us along the parade route and hopped on board. In accordance with the age-old adage that 'nobody rides for free', they bought us a beer after the ride was over. It was great fun! I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a little weird, but either they're as drama free as we are, or they were on their best behavior. Either way, it was All Good and we had fun hanging out. Here's another photo of me with my passenger. It has been suggested that Rose has a "thing" for tall brunettes, but I'll let you be the judge of that.

Once the parade was over, we pulled in near the park and sat in the shade to hear the fabulous Anton Shaw sing us some tunes. Pretty soon, I couldn't sit still any more, and I got up to play catch with the Diablos who were out tossing the rugby ball around. No, they're not actual demons. Just a bunch of guys who are mostly gay and play rugby. Thanks for letting me play, boys! And let me close by saying that there is absolutely nothing in my long years playing women's rugby that prepared me for seeing a drag queen in silver lamé miniskirt, bolero jacket and knee-high boots running down the field to receive a pass. Just nothing. I don't even know if a picture could adequately express how weird that was.

And that's the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade 2007. Weird, but good. But for all the sights of the parade, nothing was as weird as seeing myself from behind, playing rugby in jeans.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Nevada, Great Basin National Park

Hot and Dry
Well, Nevada is just as hot and dry as you imagine it to be. However, if you get to a high enough elevation, it cools off. Also, traveling early or late helps. I know all of these things. Did I do them when I was in Nevada? Not so much, no. In fact, not at all, really. I'm not what you'd call a "morning person". In fact, the only way you could call me a morning person while maintaining your poker face would be to declare it Opposite Day first. So we didn't get out of our hotel room much before 8 in Nevada, and we rode a short distance to Great Basin National Park, where we dorked around for most of the day.

We did get up to some elevation there, and I dragged my girlfriend on a short hike. It's not particularly comfortable to hike in motorcycle boots, just in case you were planning to try it. The elevation made the midday heat more bearable, and we saw some neat sights and took some good photos up there. We even met an interesting gentleman who learned the international sign language for "Holy Crap! Check out the deer up there on the shoulder!" while trying to pass us as we stopped in the middle of the park road to take pictures. See? Deer! In all fairness, doing the hand motions from "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" that I learned in third grade might not count as International Sign Language. But the gentleman spied the deer before he spooked it and let his car roll quietly back down the mountain a few score feet so we could finish our photography. We all pulled into the next scenic turnout together and had a nice chat. If my girlfriend can find his business card, I'll add a link to his travel blog here. He's retired and touring the country, blogging his adventures. I was a little jealous.

Too Far!Unfortunately, the time spent in the park meant we were stuck at Stateline through an afternoon power outage that crippled the gas pumps in every town we had enough gas to reach. Stateline is a fascinating place: a gas station and diner on the Utah side where taxes are low, and a casino on the Nevada side where gambling is legal. We took pictures of the old manual gas pump (how cool would it have been if it had contained actual gasoline!?!?!) and tried to decide what to order from the greasy spoon diner there, since they were cooking with gas. We ate some very greasy food and browsed in the gift shop and eventually the electricity came back on. This allowed us to press into Utah, where we rode through the sunset and into Green River.

One final note on Nevada, before parting: their Cattle Crossing signs are ... special. They were special enough that Rose and I both noticed and commented on them when we drove past them. Maybe it's the free-range law in Nevada that gives cattle the right-of-way. Maybe it's male chauvinism. Either way, in most states I've visited, the cattle crossing sign looks approximately like the one here on the left. Cattle Crossing Not so in Nevada! They have very fancy cattle crossing signs that look like this one on the right. It makes me want to write a lame joke about Steers and Queers. Or Steers That Are Queers. Or something. Maybe the critter depicted on the sign is just a very happy, free range steer. Either way, I leave you to ponder the question, since neither Rose nor I could answer it.

Now, as you may know from viewing my "Words I Like" section over there in the right-hand border of this blog, I have a pretty dim view of the Interstate Highway system as a means of tourism. As an engineer, I'm well aware of its purpose (Ike ordered it built out of the frustration he felt trying to marshal armies across Europe in WWII) and as a dedicated, lifelong roadtripper, I'm aware of its usefulness. Still, as a motorcyclist, I tend to look down on the "Superslab" as it's known among us two-wheelers. It is, as Charles Kuralt noted, a great way to get from one end of the country to another without seeing anything along the way. The exception to that rule, however, is I-70 through Utah. In ordinary daylight, the scenery is breathtaking. In the cool gloaming, as the night replaces the day, the soft light reflected by the jewelled earth tones of the landscape are achingly beautiful in a way that my words cannot touch. So I'll shut up now and let you see it, with a note that credit goes, as always, to Rose for the photos. Magical Utah

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

rain fell on alabama

in alabama, there's this big cultural thing about how "stars fell on alabama". every little municipality here has its name on the city limits in a star-shaped sign, it's all over the license plates and bumper stickers. i am here to tell you, brothers and sisters, that the song got it WRONG. meteors may have graced the atmosphere here once or twice, but what FELL on alabama was RAIN. in buckets. in sheets. in giant waves pushed by the tires of semi-trucks coursing down i-85 in the dark of night. thus, i feel nothing but unlove for the rain that fell on alabama last night.

i tried to be prepared. i saw clouds overhead, so i checked the weather radio before i went roaring off into the hills to find this little restaurant by the lake, just to be sure. yes, i have a weather band radio. it came in the CB unit for the bike. this does NOT make me a geezer.

the weather radio said that we had a weather front in birmingham moving EAST. for those playing along at home, montgomery is SOUTH of birmingham. it is not EAST. east of birmingham you find such exciting destinations as atlanta. i, gentle readers, am SOUTH of birmingham. naturally, all my brilliant geographical knowledge did not avail me dryness yesterday.

luckily, i was able to kick up my feet and watch the weather channel for a couple of hours at the restaurant where i ate dinner. unluckily, i had to drink coke instead of the delightful $1 beers that the bartender was serving up. had i known how long i was going to be stranded, however, i might've had a beer or two. as it is, i'm an optimist, so i kept drinking coke and looking for the sky to clear.

luckily, the busboy gave me good directions home that did NOT involve the twisty, hilly road i'd ridden out there on. twisty, hilly roads are BIG! FUN! when you're in dryness and light. they are sucky, anxiety-riddled death when you are in dark wetness. unluckily, i hit another cell of the storm about 10 miles from my hotel. i had to pull over under a freeway overpass to sit it out.

luckily, the overpass loomed almost immediately after the hard rain started and was relatively safe and dry. unluckily, i sat there for 30 minutes looking at the dry, comfortable gas station on the far side that i couldn't get to because i had passed up the exit while i was so fixated on JUST. MAKING. THE. OVERPASS.

bonus fun: my leather gloves were apparently dyed black on the cheap. when i came home, all of my fingers and a ring around my palm were stained dark black. i looked like i'd been very thoroughly fingerprinted!

Friday, August 31, 2007


Indoor Plumbing!rose and i left out of napa and rolled on down the road toward yosemite national park. yosemite, of course, was not part of The Plan (TM, Pat Pend) so we didn't have any hotels (let alone any towns) scouted out as landing zones. we drifted into Jamestown, CA courtesy of a AAA road map and a gracious good wind. we pulled up to the first hotel in town, a cute old B&B on main street with a wooden sign hanging from the balcony. it was locked. there was a guy standing outside jiggling the front door handle. he'd forgotten his key and was locked out. we figured if a registered guest couldn't get in there, we sure couldn't. so we rolled on down the street to the next place. it, likewise, was a cute old B&B. they had exactly one room open, so we took it. what a good decision that turned out to be! the National Hotel was precious, right down to the teddy bears waiting to snuggle with us in our twin beds. the water-closet style bathroom, shown here, was actually pretty recently updated. they also had the text from an original sign posted in the guest rooms, just after it was built at the end of the gold rush as a hotel for miners.
Newfangled Contraptionsthe hotel was built in 1849, and has been in continuous operation since then. the bar and barroom are made of hand-carved redwood. it was both simple and gorgeous, and i regret that i didn't get a photo of the glass chain decorating the mirror behind the bar. i've never seen anything like it. the hotel has apparently been through 2 devastating fires, but the bar has been saved every time! i guess the miners knew a good thing when they saw it. we had the most amazing 4-star dinner of our entire vacation in the cafe out back, shaded by a canopy of grapevines that have obviously been trained patiently over the long years. some of the parent vines were as big around as my calf. (!!!)

Outside YosemiteWhite Face
the next morning, we actually rolled into yosemite. it was just as pretty as everyone said. i now understand why ansel adams spent so much time taking photos in the park. the contrasts there are sharp enough to cut yourself on... mosses so green they're almost black, rocks so white you have to look twice to figure out if they're snow or rocks, beautiful groves of ancient trees, shattered fields where fires raged, impatient minivan drivers, dawdling rv drivers. around every single bend in the road there was something we wanted to stop and photograph. if we had taken all the pictures we wanted, we'd still be there.alas and alack, we had to hit the road. we couldn't stop indefinitely in yosemite to take pictures. in fact, we didn't even stop for lunch! we ate at a little gas station/cafe/souvenir shop on the far side of the park on the edge of Mono Lake. from there, we headed off into the wilds of nevada on US Hwy 6. we were still off the route that was part of The Plan (TM, Pat Pend) but if we made decent time across nevada, we would be on track when 6 intersected 50 in Ely. So we bid California a fond adieu, and rolled east for Nevada. in closing, this is just about the only picture i took that came out nicely. all the above shots? yup, you guessed it. my girlfriend's work.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Oh, What a Night!

Actually, it was the sunset, not the night, that was spectacular. In that I mean it was literally a spectacle. I am in Cazenovia, NY this week, which is a very small town about a half hour from Syracuse, NY.

One of the things I truly adore about my current gig is that I travel on my own. I have a reasonable degree of control over where and when I eat dinner, which hotel I stay at, who drives the rental car, etc. And this means that if I'm willing to hop in the car and schlep my happy hind end an hour and some change up to Lake Ontario for dinner, I can do so. So I did.

Dinner was nothing outstanding, just a fried fish sandwich, albeit a good one. I found this place called Rudy's just off the campus of SUNY Oswego and I ordered my fried zucchini sticks and fish sandwich and sat out on the picnic tables out back, weighing down my napkins with my beer, watching the sun set into Lake Ontario.

When you're from the gulf coast, moonrise over the water is a fact of your life. Sunrise on the beach is a beautiful thing, and is generally the nicest time of day. But you never get to see the sun drop into the water when you live on the gulf coast. It doesn't work that way. In fact, the fact that the sun rises over the water can be so deeply ingrained in one who was raised on the Gulf Coast that she could roust her sister out of bed at a ridiculously dark hour to drive to Santa Monica beach only to watch the sun rise over the condos across the street. Not that that's ever happened to me, but it could. ;)

All of which is to say that on the rare occasion that I am able to catch a gorgeous sunset over the water, I very much strive to catch and enjoy it. The waves crashed, the seagulls begged, the sun set, I drank my beer, and I enjoyed it deep beneath the level of my skin and my mind and all the way into my feeling soul. 3 hours in the car is rarely spent on a more worthwhile pursuit.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Napa Valley and the North Coast

GEEK! After San Francisco Pride, Rose and I rode up through the city to the Golden Gate Bridge. She'd never been, and I'd never gotten to take pictures. We had to get up to the north side of the bay anyway, so rather than taking roads we'd already been on, we opted for a new route. It was a long drive in nasty traffic, but I love that bridge, and I got to take geeky pictures with the cross-section of the cable. What's not to love? I have to give my girlfriend all the praise and credit when it comes to the photos. She took my (borrowed, fancy) camera and her (simple, old) camera and her tripod and made great and gorgeous shots. I made some pretty crappy snaps that manage to make the golden gate look like a tinkertoy. So, if I haven't mentioned it yet, all the (good) photos I've posted are her work. I'm the author, she's the illustrator. It's a great partnership! And here's one, courtesy the tripod:

Beautiful Golden Gate
So after pulling out of our space in the crowded Golden Gate overlook, we waved at the German tour group on their rented BMW motorcycles who were pulling into our parking space, and turned our noses northward for Napa. A long-time friend of mine found herself living out there recently and decided to finallyGo for Launch! tackle some of the things she had on her list of "stuff to do before i'm 40". She had to change the title to "stuff to do before i'm 50" but she's working her way through it. One of her things was to learn to fly a plane. All well and good, but plane rental is expensive. She got tired of renting and decided to buy, because that's the sort of woman she is; as she somehow managed to avoid living beyond her means when she was young, she can afford it. I, personally, am spending half my disposable income paying for my dissolute and misspent youth. So she sent us out to the airport and arranged us some time with her flight instructor and her plane and off we went to see the sights of the Northern California Coast. Truly, it is a beautiful place.

Point Reyes Lighthouse
We flew over the San Andreas fault, the Point Reyes National Seashore, an elk herd, a hidden little surf beach, the Monterey County Open land trust, the only oyster supplier in the bay area, and the flats where they make sea salt. Tremendous! Scenic Napa And as a super-bonus for you, dear reader, I have an out-of-chronology bonus winery shot that we took a few days earlier when we were driving through the valley. The road ahead was supposed to lead us to Lake Tahoe and thence across Nevada on US Highway 50 (according to The Plan) but as you may recall, Lake Tahoe was on fire this summer. Okay, the lake itself wasn't ON FIRE, as such. But the forests surrounding it were on fire, and said Highway 50 was closed. So we had to change The Plan. My aforementioned long-time friend is a California native, and she made the wonderful suggestion that we drive through Yosemite National Park and wind our way across Nevada on Route 6, which would put us back on 50 close to the Utah border. It was a perfect Plan B! So we said goodbye to San Francisco Bay and headed off for Yosemite.
Good Bye, Embarcadero

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

San Francisco Pride

I rode my motorcycle to San Francisco and all I got was this T-shirt.

which, actually, i love. the shirt is the negative of that jpg image, which is fine in a place like san francisco where the summer temperatures are around 75 F. in dallas, we make white t-shirts for pride because (even though we have pride in the early fall) it's still blazing freaking hot and nobody wants to wear a black t-shirt when it's 100 out. seriously, rain is an improvement on the weather at dallas pride, because it keeps the temperatures tolerably low.

After tooling around Napa Valley all day Saturday, attending the Dykes on Bikes Pride Party, and eating lovely seafood at Fisherman's Pier on Saturday evening, we queued up for the parade bright and squirrelly Sunday morning. The DoB (aka: San Francisco Women's Motorcycle Contingent) were very excited because they finally were near the end of their struggle with the US Trademark office to protect the name of the organization and make their unofficial name into the official name. The parade draws 400 or so bikes every year, and about a million spectators, and that requires a pretty high level of organization. ORGANIZED We had to stage up between 7 and 8 to start the parade at 10. I am NOT, repeat NOT a "morning person". My day usually only has one 5 in it. Verily, it has also only one 6 in it. On this day, I was ON. MY. BIKE. at 6 AM. And in case you'd forgotten, San Francisco is COLD in the summer. It's especially cold in the dawn's early light.

Proudly Sleeping

But I lined up, I got my coffee, and then I lay down for a nap. And, no, I didn't spill any of that coffee. Apparently, the nap created something of a stir. I, naturally, was dead asleep and didn't know that I'd created a stir until the sun started peeking over the tall buildings of Market St. and woke me up. Taking Pictures of the Picture Takers But my girlfriend and her friends thought it was so funny that people kept stopping to take my picture that they took pictures of the people taking pictures. I picked up a passenger for the parade, and we had a great time riding down the route and waving at all the people. One of my favorite features of the parade is that the Dykes on Bikes go first. If you've ever driven a stick-shift in gridlocked traffic, you know how not-fun it is to do stop-and-go in first gear. it's really awful on a bike because your clutch is operated by your left hand, and you eventually get a cramp in it, no matter how many times you've squeezed those grip exercisers that were ubiquitous in the 80's. where did they go? anyway, with the bikes at the front, they get to set the pace and they don't have to stop every time a marching band out front decides to hold up the parade so they can grandstand for the ... um ... grandstand.

After the parade, we went to the Pride festival. It wasn't drastically different from any other Pride festival i've ever attended except that it was very big and I'd heard of the bands that were playing. Oh, and it was cool out. People were in the most AMAZING costumes, elaborate things made of feathers and glitter and paint that would've totally melted in the Texas heat but which were made possible by all the cold water out in San Francisco bay. And city hall was flying a pride flag out front. That was pretty damn amazing. Not only was I proud, but the whole city was proud with me. I'm not sure I can explain how that feels, but it's kinda like how it felt when I was in survival school in the Air Force and at the very end of the week we spent as POW's in an "internment" camp, our formation was ordered to about-face. we expected to see the People's Republic of Berzerkistan (thanks to Gary Trudeau of Doonesbury for that very awesome fictional country name) flag that had been flying overhead all week and which we'd been forced to salute and pledge allegiance to. But the US flag was flying there instead. We all cried a little. It's like coming home, but it's more... it's a like a homecoming you desperately need don't dare hope for because you knew it can't happen... and then it does.

Pride City

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

it's not so much that i'm addicted...

...when compared to the population of folk who play, it's that i'm so very addicted when compared to my demographic. :) i'm only 63% on the general score, but compared to other women my age, i'm at 99%. i gotta start recruiting some friends!

Your Score: Well on your way!

You are 63% Addicted!

You play a lot, and you're starting to get hooked. Keep it up and soon you too will be part of the ever-growing group that is totally addicted. Or, see the warning signs now and get out while you still can!

Link: The World of Warcraft Addiction Test written by survivedestiny on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Monday, August 13, 2007


do you remember that scene from "The Lion King" in which Rafiki (the crazed old babboon advisor) gives Simba some ridiculously cryptic advice and then skitters off across the plain, chanting nonsense about squashed bananas to himself? Simba looks dumbfounded and a bit sour-faced afterwards.


well, i re-enacted it. sort of. mostly, i made a squashed banana and a sour face.

in my defense, let me open by saying that i have no recollection whatsoever of putting a banana into my briefcase. i've been on the road a lot lately, and i've also had my sister's ex-service dog living with me. either of those could be the ultimate reasons for the stray fruit. it's possible that someone handed me a banana, either my girlfriend as i was dashing off to the airport, or one of those nice people who keeps the continental breakfast stocked up and clean at my hotel. it could've even been one of my students. any of those people also could've simply put the banana on top of my bag and then the unattended banana could've fallen into the bottom of the bag.

my sister's ex-service dog (who has been visiting my house since hers was invaded by a screaming baby) likes to pick things up and bring them to people. part of her training, you know, to be useful and bring you your dropped cell phone or keys or wallet or whatever. she's very good at it, and your articles arrive at your feet drool-free and with no extraneous tooth-marks. this is much more than i can say for my own black lab, who only brings me things when she wants them thrown back out so they can be retrieved. molly mauls everything she gets her slobbering jowls around. and lest you think you could outsmart her by using something clearly bigger than her head, like a basketball, let me assure you that she's popped her share of basketballs. poof. not bigger than her head anymore, and much more satisfying as a chew toy that way.

so somehow a banana ended up in the bottom of my bag. and apparently, it stayed in reasonably healthy and unharmed state for some time there while i had a travel respite. i was home for almost three whole weeks attending distance learning classes and filing expense reports and other hateful forms of paper-based torture. so back out on the road i went... and i noticed an odd smell when i was on the shuttle from my parking lot to the terminal. it was kinda like kettle corn, sweet and salty. when it got stronger, it was more sour. i thought it was an odd smell for a shuttle bus to have. then i got to the admiral's club to have a drink and dinner and wait for my (delayed) flight to board. and i smelled that smell again, but stronger, it seemed. i thought i must've gotten something on my shoes or my hands or something. so i washed up and checked my clothes for odd spills. finding nonesuch, i thought that was the end of it. then, when i was sitting on the plane i went to put my computer back into my bag and i smelled that odd smell again, but strongly. it was now unmistakably coming from my bag. it was sweet-ish, but also kinda sour, like vinegar.

and then i did something extraordinarily stupid and one which i caution you never to try. i put my hand down in my bag to find out what was making it smell like that. my fingers squished into the banana... or what was left of it. i pulled it out of my bag, which was also stupid, but i couldn't very well leave it in there, could i? i made a dumbfounded face, a brief visual inspection ensued, and i quickly identified it as fermented squashed banana. the lady next to me made a sour face and nearly blew sprite out her nose. she seemed to be laughing, but i'm going to go with "laughing at" rather than "laughing with" here. i quickly found an airsick bag and disposed of the former fruit.

on landing, i got to my hotel and removed the rest of the squashed banana from my bag. alas, there was no way to clean the bag with the materials and facilities available to me in the hotel. which is really alright, because after a year's use, the bag was starting to wear out. so i chucked it. i went to work the next day with my (recently washed) gear shoved into the plastic laundry bag that hotels always have hanging in the closet. that afternoon, i stopped by my friendly neighborhood office supply store and bought myself a new bag. i like it better than the old one, too. it's comfier in the shoulder straps, and it spreads the bulk out so it's easier to fit underneath the seat in front of me.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

never in a bajillion years...

...did i think i'd be agreeing with pope benedict xvi on any of the controversial topics of the day. but here's one we agree on. until we have some sort of scientific theory more sound than "proteins came together in a primordial soup in a random way to spark First Life, and maybe lightning was involved" about how the whole process of evolution was kicked off, i'm happy to believe that there's room for the touch of a Maker in there. however, that's no reason to eschew the mounds of evidence that say favorable adaptations stick around and change whole species because those adaptations better equip individuals to thrive.

for the link-averse, the following is the salient excerpt from the article above. and to this i say, "Right on, Your Holiness."


In his talk with the priests, the Pope spoke of the current debate raging in some countries, particularly the United States and his native Germany, between creationism and evolution.

"They are presented as alternatives that exclude each other," the Pope said. "This clash is an absurdity because on one hand there is much scientific proof in favor of evolution, which appears as a reality that we must see and which enriches our understanding of life and being as such."

But he said evolution did not answer all the questions. "Above all it does not answer the great philosophical question 'where does everything come from?"'

Monday, July 16, 2007

San Francisco

once we had ridden across all the deserts, we then had to ride through the winds that keep them so dry. california has some un-freakin-believable winds. we didn't quite make it all the way over to the pacific coast highway (Highway 1) but we did ride the Historic Camino Real (Highway 101) which parallels the 1 on the eastern side of the Coast Range. it's not as twisty, or as pretty, but it's faster for it. as an added bonus and a surprise, one of our friends from bakersfield finagled a little time off from work and joined us in the morning for our ride out to the 101. we enjoyed a fantastic twisty ride with gorgeous and unique scenery, a local guide, good eats, and great company. here we are, taking pictures of each other taking pictures:

the winds made the 101 just as exciting as the pch, i promise! i've heard other people tell stories of riding down the freeway with the bike leaned over like it was in a turn just to balance out the wind. and really, deep down, i thought they were exaggerating. motorcyclists are just a skosh shy of fishermen for dramatizing things.

so there i was, riding my behemoth of a bike up the 101 freeway in california, and i had to lean her over to keep her flying straight. it was bizarre. my friend (in the pic just above) who was riding with us from phoenix to san francisco has half as much engine as i do, and with her passenger, she had twice the load. her engine was maxed out, so we slowed down a bit below the ambient speed. even then, the wind made handling the bike an electrifying experience. and i mean that literally, in the sense that every single one of my hairs was standing on end... and my senses were crackling with the sights and sounds and smells... and the hot, dry air made me feel baked and chilled at once... i was aware of every truck on both sides of the highway... and all the passenger cars jockeying to get past the trucks and each other... and the yawning golden valleys on either side of the road waiting to eat me up if i leaned too far or not far enough, misjudged the wind, or misread a car's intention. by the time we hit the traffic jam rolling into san jose, i was ready for a break.

we did just almost require a tow truck to get my girlfriend past the exit to Cupertino, CA, where her beloved mac HQ is located.

then, after about 10 minutes sitting still on the outskirts of san jose in our black safety gear... we decided that we'd had enough of a break from the wind and we began my initiation into the most simultaneously civilized and barbaric practice in motorcycling: Lane Sharing, aka: Lane Splitting. in california, while this practice is not specifically allowed by law, it's not illegal; and as a practical matter, if you want to get anywhere in the gridlocked traffic so common there, you have to do it. so basically, a 4 lane freeway becomes a 7-lane freeway, with bikes running between the cars. at very low speeds this is tolerably safe, even if it is white-knuckling to the biker. studies have shown that it actually improves cyclist safety because it cuts down on the oh-so-common rear end collision that occurs when a distracted rush-hour driver fails to see the bike because they're looking for something car-sized. ask anyone who has ridden long in california, and they'll tell you all about their personal safety rules (usually a speed above which they won't try it) and the number of mirrors they've dinked or the times they thought OMGIMGONNADIE! i had been leading up to that point, but i declined the privilege during this exercise. and, even with my behemoth of a bike, i made it. we stayed reasonably close together, went just a few miles an hour faster than traffic, and when the traffic started moving consistently, we just slid back into a gap in the regularly-scheduled lane space. i'm not sure whether i liked it or not. it was definitely a mixed experience, but that's what i said about snow-skiing before i learned how to stop. well, i knew one way to stop, but that was basically to throw myself into the snow, and the results made for a very MIXED experience of skiing. it was always exciting, but not always fun.

this was us in california, one of my favorite pictures from the trip:

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Alamogordo, Tucson, Phoenix, Bakersfield, and San Francisco

Three Day Route

for the next three days of our trip, we weren't tourists. we were riders. we just pounded out the interstate miles gettin' where we had to go. at our first gas stop out of New Mexico, we pulled off the freeway to get gas and gatorade (the staples of desert riding!) the convenience store operator was also a rider himself and had a fabulous route suggestion that would save us time and miles getting into Phoenix, it bypassed Tucson and covered some prettier miles on the old US highway route. ordinarily, we would both have leapt on the opportunity to get off the freeway, save time, save miles, and see Something Pretty. unfortunately, rose was experiencing an intermittent microphone problem with her CB, and that meant we couldn't take the cool route because we had to go to Tucson.

Tucson, you see, is the headquarters for J&M, the manufacturers of our CB units. so we glued our wheels to the interstate and pushed on into Tucson. it was hot as blazes, but the kind folks at J&M fixed the microphone free of charge and got us back on the road quickly. they even gave us good directions that bypassed the nasty interstate construction and traffic logjam attendant thereon. the directions were perfect, too. as we approached the freeway on-ramp from the city street, we could clearly see TRAFFIC NOT MOVING on the freeway. we figured we had been led astray. we'd have to sit in NOT MOVING TRAFFIC for a couple of miles until we got out of town and out of the construction. i'm not sure i can adequately express how miserable NOT MOVING TRAFFIC is when you're in the desert, straddling a 6-cylinder engine, wearing a black jacket, black gloves, black helmet, and deprived of any mechanism of air cooling aside from the hot exhaust coming out the tailpipes of the NOT MOVING TRAFFIC in front of you. but lo, as we accelerated up the ramp, it became clear to us that the on-ramp joined the freeway about 50 feet past the end of the construction zone. the traffic behind us was still NOT MOVING. we, on the other hand, were MOVING. yea!

we stayed over with friends in Maricopa, AZ which is just south of Phoenix. the next day we stopped off at a really unique little diner in Gila Bend, AZ for breakfast. The place was called "The Space Age Diner" and it was all decorated up to make you feel like you were in a space ship. Or, like you were in what people in the 50's thought space ships would be like, really. It paid tribute to all sorts of space stuff, both the historical and the fictional, the decor was fun and funky and the waitress kept the coffee coming. my girlfriend, the NASA groupie, loved it. i couldn't ask for more, especially at that hour of the morning. i'm literally rendered mute without coffee, and if i'm not i should be.

Sunrise in Alamogordoone of the other staples of desert riding is Getting Up At The Crack Of Dawn.
at that point in the day, the temps are relatively low but you can still see well enough to ride safely. so we did. those of you who know me know that i am more the Getting Up At The Crack Of Noon sort of girl. so mornings are all a little blurry in my head, but they mostly involve lots of coffee and me squinting at the horizon and asking "is that what sunrise looks like?"

sometimes the answer was "no, that's a power plant" or "no, that's a big truck with lots of yellow lights". eventually, i'd get it right. the sun would come up, and then it would be, as my friends in college liked to say "Africa Hot."

so, when you're powering out the miles on the interstate, there's not much to see. it goes like this: "oh, look! a... well, i'm not sure what it was. it went by so fast." but we played silly motorcycle games and we took pictures of each other. so for three days, the ride looked like this:
Riding with friends
Chelli and Drew

Me on the Valk

Africa Hot