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April 14, 2003

I've been out riding. After my last entry, I had conversations with some friends about the sense of restlessness that I was feeling. I talked with my boss, and decided to trade last week for one of the weeks I'd already asked off for in July. Next, I emailed Jan and set up a time and place for her family to meet me in Las Vegas. And then I left.

I kept a short blog while I was gone.

The full trip report will be here, but here's a summary and a few of my favorite pictures. I've heard that some people using IE6 on Windows are having problems seeing the pictures. Sorry.

thursday, april 3
I left Palo Alto early in the morning, and headed southeast to Death Valley, CA.

friday, april 4
I don't know what I had been expecting, but I was amazed at Death Valley's beauty. I spent the night at the Furnace Creek Ranch (highly recommended) and spent Friday morning and early afternoon riding around the park. It's huge; I was out there all day and only covered about half of it.

Later in the evening, I rode to Las Vegas and met up with Jan, Keith, and Zeke.

saturday, april 5
A non-riding day. We all just hung out in Las Vegas and drank bubbly drinks.

sunday, april 6
I left Las Vegas in the morning and rode over to Hoover Dam. I was really impressed with their tour -- it was interesting and well-constructed.

Leaving Las Vegas (isn't that a movie?), I headed north along the western coast of Lake Mead, and ended up on one of Nevada's best-kept secrets: State Route 167.

I hopped onto I-15 in the evening and cut across northwestern Arizona and into southern Utah. A couple of hours later, I wound up just outside of Zion National Park.

monday, april 7
I left my gear at the hotel, and hopped on the free (and mandatory) shuttle to tour the park. Zion is really very beautiful, and I enjoyed my morning there. I'd like to go back sometime and try out some of their trails.

After lunch, I geared up again, and took Hwy 9 through the park until it meets up with the Zion-Mt.Carmel Highway.

I continued east through Utah, towards Bryce Canyon National Park. It was getting pretty cold by this point; the high temperature at Bryce that day had been in the mid-20s (F) and there was snow on the ground, though not on the roads.

tuesday, april 8
Bryce Canyon was amazing. The shuttle tours of the park don't start until May, so I rode the length of the park (18 miles each way) on the SVS in the balmy 35F temperatures. There was another couple there on a motorcycle that day, so at least each of us weren't the only idiots out.

After Bryce...well, we just kept heading south.

wednesday, april 9
The Grand Canyon National Park was the site for the now-infamous "I knew I should have inserted a fuse" 12v socket fire, which is a story for another day.

Once that was sorted, I did my usual morning shuttle tour, this time of the western edge of the south rim (otherwise known as the Hermit's Rest Route). I started to grow weary of touring.

Again, I suited up after lunch and toured a bit more on the SVS.

I left the park and started heading back west.

thursday, april 10
By now, I'd ridden through deserts in California, Utah, and Arizona; it was time for Nevada. I started in Boulder City (next to the Hoover Dam), and rode up the Extraterrestrial Highway (Hwy 375) through the middle of the state. Naturally, I stopped for pictures in Rachel, NV, whose claim to fame is being near to Area 51.

There's not much in the Nevada desert. I had originally planned on going up to Hwy 50 ("the loneliest road in america"), but after a few hours on highways 375 and 6, I was ready to go home. I ended up in Reno for the night, and rode back to the Bay Area on Friday morning.

So that's where I've been. It ended up being eight days, 2649.2 miles, four states, four national parks. More stories to follow, naturally.