Sunday, December 31, 2006

Kelso Dunes

It's been about twenty years since I last climbed up these dunes. Beautiful day and although there were others heading up, I had the summit to myself. Great views towards Cima Dome and Mojave Sink, as well as Kelso itself - where they've done a nice of fixing up the old train station into the new Mojave Desert Preserve museum and visitor's center.

Mojave Desert

Thursday, I left M&D on their own for breakfast and the morning round and headed off for the California desert. Nice to get out of the traffic and the construction and the commercial schlock. South through Searchlight, then old Route 66 through Goffs and Amboy (where it doesn't look like you can buy a malt any more). Hiked up Kelso Dunes - beautiful, cloudless day, with almost no breeze. I still love the thick forest of Joshua Trees on Cima Dome.

Red Rock Canyon

During Round Four, M&I headed up to Red Rock Canyon. Nice contrast to the city, which is visible in the distance and whose suburbs have climbed the hill along West Charleston right up to the park boundary.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Boulder Canyon

On Tuesday, we drove down to Hoover Dam. Slowly -- since the traffic below Boulder City was terrible. The new bridge will be great, though I guess they haven't made much progress since the cranes collapsed in September. We didn't go on the tour - too crowded - but we did walk across the dam so D could add Arizona to his list of states visited. Parking garage was pretty cool the way they tucked it into a side canyon.

Las Vegas

We spent the holiday in Seattle, but flew to Las Vegas late Christmas Day for the four-day North American Open. D opted to play up, which is admirable, since his chance of winning the big bucks would have been better if he'd played in his own division. Besides playing chess, D has watched lots of ESPN. During the rounds M&I have wandered the strip, watching volcanoes and pirate ships. We walked across the both the Brooklyn and Rialto Bridges (different nights).

Bally's put us in the newly-renovated north tower the first night. Fine, except the phone didn't work, the toilet didn't work, and you had to walk through the casino to get to the tournament rooms. So we asked to move. They said the decor in the south tower might not be as nice, but it seems fine, and now we look out on the Eiffel Tower, with the New York skyline in the distance. We can watch the south half of the Bellagio music-fountain show, too.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

East Wenatchee

We headed for the Methow, looking forward to a few days in the snow before Christmas. We delayed our start so the Methow could put itself back together after last week's storm - at least get the electricity back up and the roads plowed. We left Monday morning and got as far as Bluett Pass before the water pump failed. Coasted down to U.S. 2, got pointed to a small garage in Dryden, and then got towed to another small garage in East Wenatchee. Where we spent two days learning about cooling systems, timing belts, and head gaskets. At least there was a motel next door and a good Italian restaurant (Garlini's). Headed home by bus yesterday, when it became clear that we had been blessed with the Subaru head gasket curse. Hope that job gets done fast so I can retrieve car before the holiday. M&D managed to light Chanukah candles in the hotel room without setting off the smoke detector. On a related note, I got to watch Davis furniture go up in flames across the river on Tuesday morning.

BLOG probably stands for belated-log or backlog. Somehow I made it through D's Bar Mitzvah, ultimate frisbee season, several chess tournaments, and a few family birthdays, all without posting anything. Maybe over the holidays I can fill some gaps - or maybe I'll just resolve to be better next year.