West Trip Summary

As wrap up for the West Trip (no pictures in this one), here was our basic itinerary. This was recorded after the fact, so it doesn’t show any options or contingencies and some of the drive times are from memory or are otherwise inaccurate. The rough color coding is this: green was as planned and I wouldn’t change the plan; yellow was maybe slightly unplanned or has slight modifications to the plan; red indicates that something should have been done differently. The last few days have a good chunk of yellow because our original plan was to go around to the South rim of the Grand Canyon, which would have taken a few days longer. Since we didn’t do this, these days were kind of planned on the fly.

I think my general perception looking back is that we probably should not have tried to do mountains in conjunction with Arches, Zion and the Grand Canyon. They were simply too far away and required too different of equipment to easily mesh into the same trip. It also was a bit rushed, allowing no time for acclimation to altitude, which probably would have been nice. If going to hike mountains, I think I would try to stay in one place in Leadville for a week and just go from there. It would allow a few days for acclimation and maybe a day for rest as well as eliminating the need to pack up everything in the morning, making for earlier starts which would be necessary.

Another thought is that, as can be seen from some of the yellow, we could have scratched a couple days (probably Grand Junction, Aspen and the slot canyons), which in addition to the mountains would have had the trip down to 8 days, halving the number of vacation days needed. This is debatable, since on one hand it’s nice to conserve vacation days for kayaking and skiing, but on the other, it’s nice to maximize the fact that we had two partial travel days and the cost of flying out west.

Day Itinerary Time Notes
Monday Fly to Denver,
Get food supplies,
Drive to Rocky Mountain National Park
Daytime Drive – 0:30,
Daytime Drive – 1:30
Time to kill in Denver,
Waste less time going to REI and get to Rocky Mtn. Nat. Park earlier
Tuesday Mt. Ida,
Cascade Falls,
Drive to Leadville
Evening Drive – 2:45 Too much wind on Ida,
Wrong trailhead for falls
Wednesday Mt. Elbert,
Drive to Grand Junction
Started at 9:30 – 10:00, returned at 6:30,
Evening Drive – 3:00
Ran out of time, should have been hiking by 7:00AM
Thursday Colorado National Monument,
Drive to Moab
Evening Drive – 2:00 Drive took an extra ~40 min having to return for gas.
Colo Nat. Monument was interesting, but kind of filler – maybe skip and drive straight through to Arches
Friday Arches (early morning) Lightning, hail…,
Should have booked two nights immediately
Saturday Arches,
Drive to Zion
Evening Drive – 5:45 Google maps says that going to 15 would have reduced the drive to 5:30 (enter Springdale from the South, avoid winding roads)
Sunday Early Zion (for Narrows pass),
Get Narrows gear
Hotel was expensive, but maybe needed to get backpacking gear ready for early departure.
Monday Narrows Maybe take lighter shoes since they’re going to be packed most of the time anyway.
The Zion Adventure Co. seemed like they might have been a bit better, BUT not sure they had drypants with booties.
Tuesday Narrows,
Drive to Kenab, AZ
Evening Drive – 1:15
Wednesday Grand Canyon Day Drive – 2:00 each way Should have been to the Visitor Center near sunrise,
Should have camped at GC,
Should have been hiking earlier
Thursday Bull Valley,
Willis Creek,
Drive to Bryce
Day Drive – 1:50 (google maps) Maybe take freeway to Bryce and then looped back to the canyons.
Kind of filler, but ended up very nice.
Friday Bryce Canyon,
Drive to Grand Junction
Evening Drive – 5:20
Saturday Drive to Aspen,
Hikes,
Drive to Denver
Day Drive – 2:20,
Day Drive – 3:35
Drive from Grand Junction to Denver would have been 4:40
Aspen was kind of filler, but was nice for short hikes.
Sunday Pack,
Wildlife Refuge,
Fly home
Time to kill in Denver – REI

Back on American Soil

Over the past few weeks it’s occurred to me how much more time than normal it takes to accomplish certain tasks. There a slight issue with language, but it’s more the unfamiliarity with the procedures. When in an unfamiliar area, tasks that would be standard at home need to be thought through and planned. I can’t just walk out the front door and head to where I want to go – I need to write down street names so I don’t get lost along the way. I can’t just hop in my car and go, I have to get directions to my destination from the concierge and then wait for a cab. I can’t just grab a component to swap out and try a different value. I can’t just go grab something to eat at the vending machine without asking someone where it is and how to get there.

Some of these things are small, some are not. All in all it adds up to everything taking just a bit more time and effort than you’d give it credit for in a familar setting. I think this is a big part of why I (as well as others reportedly) typically feel more tired when traveling than when at home.

Rain

It’s been raining all day so far and likely won’t stop for a while.  I’ve been waiting for this day for some time, just sittin’ on the couch, watching the rain fall.  It’s not quite as good as a full blow thunders storm, but it will do.  It makes me want a house with a nice bay window on the water.  It also means that the Chippewa will be up tomorrow.

Delightful deeds, done dirt cheap

I was driving along today and witnessed something that restored my faith in humanity a bit. There is construction on Hagadorn right now, which disrupts the sidewalk near Grand River – leaving pedestrians just a thin strip of dug up dirt to walk on right next to the road.

While I was at the light, I saw an individual guy and a small group walking South past this section. They navigated it just fine, but as I scanned what was going on, I noticed coming the other way was a blind guy (I would have placed him as being an older grad student). The individual guy passed him, but then when he realized what was about to happen turned around, stepped back through the group following him and helped the blind man through the section.

The light turned green, so I am not completely sure how the situation ended, but I saw enough to know that the bilnd man was safely back on the unbroken sidewalk. I was impressed with the assistant, who up to that point had been minding his own business, and probably continued doing such immediately after, but his simple assistance for 30 second must have been immensely helpful. It kind of made my day.

Stuff

I have been keeping this notepad file open for a month or so… mainly noting songs that caught my attention at various times… now you get to see it…

Puddle of Mudd – She fucking hates me
Lee Ann Womack – A little past little rock
Pointer Sisters – I’m so Excited
Rhett Akins – That Ain’t my Truck
LeAnn Rimes – Commitment

Marty Stuart – Tempted
– Every Second
Cindi Thompson – What I Really Meant to Say

Toby Keith – Go With Her
Brad Paisley – The World

Cross Canadian Ragweed – Maybe I Miss Your Body

Garth Brooks – Standing Outside the Fire
Vertical Horizon – Everything You Want

Terri Clark – If I Were You

And an IM quote from my little brother:

“oh well um…. it means um…. cool”

he takes after my use of … 😛

And a standard quote:

There is one irreducible requirement for training a dog: you have to be smarter than the dog.

Thoughts:

I did not know it was possible to jump a water bottle out of a vertical holder whlist on a sidewalk, but indeed it happened, so now my brand new water bottle is scuffed up. Tear.

I have gone on three bike rides this summer. I am getting better, I should have timed tonight. In about a week I should be up to full speed. Once that happens, I can switch over to the road bike and see how that compares (if I don’t kill myself on the first ride).

Doug and I went to a kayak demo today. I am not buying a new boat, but it still fun to try out what’s available and chat with people. I think my hand is now well enough to off side roll my boat. Yeehaw.

I’m remembering some of my dreams as of late. I’m not sure this is a good thing (some of them are kind of disturbing) :-/. I think I shall start documenting them.

Thoughts

Well, given fun stuff to do for the last few nights, tonight was sure a letdown. I had two movies, one turned out to be a 10 minute long animation, the other was in Spanish (and crap). I think I’ll go fill up on gas then go to bed.

Other thoughts from throughout the day:

Josh will be in town tomorrow night, so there will be something going on.

I have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Velenzuela on Thursday – that is good.

Another realized benefit of a harem (possibly more so than a throng, because harems often live with you) is that having someone to sleep with (non euphemistically) on cold nights would allow better conservation of body heat.

Kayaking this weekend!!!!!!!!!! I should go to Meijer to get some stuff.

I should change my perspective on the dating I don’t do – instead of the optimistic seeking the right person, dates should be seen pessimistically as an elimination round, with the best outcome being a quick K.O.

Goals

I have concluded that on the order of half the ‘data’ I receive every day is complete bullshit. I bet that my brain’s bullshit filter would put google’s to search and filtering algorithms to shame.

Secondly – as discussed with Doug – my summer goal shall be to “acquire throngs of bitches.” Quoted, because it must be put in these terms to be acceptable – “getting lots of women” while superficially the same would constitute complete and utter failure.

Steps to this goal: 1) Shave my head 2) get ripped 3) kayak like the bad ass I am 4) talk Michael into visiting with the Wrangler so we can drive it around and pick up chicks.

Dear Microsoft

If any of you keep up on the new ‘developments’ in Windows you might have heard about the window transparency that will be part of Vista. Indeed certain software allows this now. This makes it so you can see the stuff – windows, icons, desktop, etc. underneath your current window.

I would be curious if MS could take it a step further and allow you to click on objects on the second or third level. Generally this would be only useful for icons, since windows would then come to the top. I think it would have to be implemented as a click on dead space in a window would translate through if there was a clickable object under it. This would mean that any white space in a web page would be click-through-able.

Now, the real extension of this that I would like to see would be with remote desktop. I often am using two computers during my day and have one running over remote desktop on my second monitor. If you could make the entire remote desktop window click-transparent I could then control applications running on the native computer without having to minimize the remote desktop window. In this case, I would consider any space not occupied by a window on the remote machine to be dead and thus transparent sending all clicks to the native machine. This would of course require me to use some intelligence as to where I placed windows, but could be marvelously convenient.

If someone from MS reads this, I hope you take the Google approach and put someone on it right away since it’d be cool. I claim that if you did more things because they’d be sweet and fewer because they’d make loads of money we’d all be happier and like MS more.

“There’s a corner where you can go fuck yourself” ~ Me

I have concluded that there are enough people entertained by the thought of me shaving my head that I could make money off of this venture. So – you can all send paypal money to me, and when I get $33 then I’ll shave my head. And since you’d be technically paying for it, I’ll post before and after pictures for your enjoyment. Sound like a plan?

In further news… the kayak rack – it’s sweet. You can arrange a viewing if you like. I also am making a structure in my room from the remaining lumber for shelving / hanging stuff from.

I got my blender back from Mark – we now have three blenders. I will also pull mine out and set it up rather than using one of the others – I really do like mine better. I think it works better with less waste, although this is obviously a slanted opinion.

And for your consideration, since I’m listening to it again… WHAT THE FUCK ABOUT MAKING IT TO CHEYENNE MAKES YOUR WIFE LEAVING YOU “OK”????? I suppose if the rodeo means more to you than your wife, that would explain everything – which might be the case for this fictitious person.

I Can Still Make Cheyenne by George Strait:

Her telephone rang ’bout a quarter to nine
She heard his voice on the other end of the line
She wondered what was wrong this time
She never knew what his calls might bring
With a cowboy like him, it could be anything
And she always expected the worst
In the back of her mind

He said, it’s cold out here and I’m all alone
I didn’t make the short go, again and I’m coming home
I know I’ve been away too long
I never got a chance to write or call
And I know this rodeo has been hard on us all
But I’ll be home soon
And honey is there somethin’ wrong

She said, don’t bother comin’ home
By time you get here I’ll be long gone
There’s somebody new and he sure ain’t no rodeo man
He said, I’m sorry it’s come down to this
There’s so much about you that I’m gonna miss
But it’s alright baby
If I hurry I can still make Cheyenne

Gotta go now baby
If I hurry I can still make Cheyenne

He left that phone danglin’ off the hook
Then slowly turned around and gave it one last look
Then he just walked away
He aimed his truck toward that Wyoming line
With a little luck he could still get there in time
And in that Cheyenne wind he could still hear her say

She said, don’t bother comin’ home
By time you get here I’ll be long gone
There’s somebody new and he sure ain’t no rodeo man
He said, I’m sorry it’s come down to this
There’s so much about you that I’m gonna miss
But it’s alright baby
If I hurry I can still make Cheyenne
Gotta go now baby
If I hurry I can still make Cheyenne

She never knew what his calls might bring
With a cowboy like him, it could be anything
And she always expected the worst
In the back of her mind