Week of July 27th

map of the US



roadside view

last week



today I drove. And drove. And drove some more. I left Austin and headed west, passing those Texan windmills, (what do they call them?) and watched the greenery get sparser and sparser.

i left Texas and headed north into New Mexico. Driving along I past jack rabbits and lots of road runners by the side of the road.

as the sun was setting I realized I was going to arrive in Carlsbad about the time the bats were going to take off for their regular flight. Unfortunately, I didn't see anymore than I had the night before.



irst planned stop today was the natural phenomenon of Carlsbad Cavern. A constant 56 degrees, it was the first pleasant cool air I've felt in a while. Unfortunately, my pictures from the digital camera didn't come out, so you'll just have to wait for my other pictures to be developed. (You can wait.)

next I headed north to Roswell and checked out the International UFO Museum & Research Center at 114 N. Main St.

Mission Statement
The International UFO Museum & Research Center was organized to inform the public about what has come to be known as "The 1947 Roswell Incident." [It goes on for another page or so.]



[Click on the "eye" icons to see the pictures.]

UFO Museum

actually, it's a gift shop designed as a museum. The museum is free, but the audio tour is $3. The Museum does fulfill it's mission statement in mind-numbing detail, and then fills the rest of its space with a lot of cheesy art about aliens. There is a lot of information there too, but if you've seen any of the X-Files or anything on Fox for the past year, you probably know most of it. Alien 
[Proof of Alien Existence!!]
Petrfied Wood
[Petrified Wood]


on the way down to Scottsdale to see some of my relatives I drove through the Petrified Forest National Park in northern Arizona. The petrified wood itself was not as interesting as I had hoped. I envisioned forests of stone stretching on for acres and found instead blocks of petrified wood littered about for an acre or so.

however, some of the other stops along the way were great; the Painted Desert, the Agate Bridge where a giant petrfied log acts as a bridge over land that was washed away, and Newspaper Rock, where you can see ancient hieroglyphics that you can assign your own meaning to, since no one knows what they say. There is another series of hills that are called the Tepees which are badlands erosional formations colored by iron, manganese and other minerals.

  continuing south I passed through Tonto National Forest, a trip that took well over an hour. It was one of the most beautiful parts of the drive I've had so far; winding mountain roads, unbelievable vistas and seemingly plenty of camping and biking. Not having time to stop, I decided that I need to come back at some point.

once I got into Scottsdale I hooked up with my cousins Russell and Ryan and we went out to dinner with my Aunt Shirley and Uncle Michael as well as Shirley's mother and my cousin Erica, all of whom are taller than me. It was my uncle's birthday, and since he and my father are twins, it was my dad's birthday, too. If you want to wish my father a happy birthday, please do. Or visit his home page.

It's my Dad!!

ey Dad, happy birthday. (The Porsche is in the mail.)

after dinner us kids, (anybody thirty and under,) went out to a bar called Cajun House, a place where Disney meets Bourbon St. It had that manufactured rustic look, a good number of pool tables, and very cute waitresses. It met my requirements.



i guess for me it was less Disney and more Bourbon St.

  today I waited until the hottest part of the day to go for a bike ride. It was a cool 105, and people are right, dry heat is different. You don't sweat so much, so you don't realize how hot it is.

biking through some of the paths they have set up here in Scottsdale I got a good view of Camelback Mountain, which looks a lot like a camel lying down. (I understand that the government is considering tearing it down because it's leading to underage smoking.)



heading west on I-10 I left Scottsdale and its 105 degree days for the west coast and San Diego where my friend Dan lives. Driving through the southwest corner of Arizona I passed a small airfield with some army jets on display, but no other planes as far as I could determine.

  driving on a road parallel to the highway I saw little more than some small shrubbery and the occassional illegal immigrant. Seeing a few trails off the road I took the 4Runner offroading for the first time ever. Pulling out of the desert, dust rising high behind me, a was quickly pulled over by the Border Patrol who were very friendly once they realized I didn't have any space to keep a hitchhiker if I had picked one up.  
  lso, to all my friends who have been sending me the copy of Tyson on the cereal box, I have enough copies. But thanks.  


dan and I decided to leave the U.S. for the day and head down to Tijuana for some cheap margaritas and to take in the sites. It was my first time in Mexico, although I've been told "T.J." isn't the most authentic Mexican stop, being a border town.

 The Border
[The Border]
we parked at the border and walked over to the Mexican side. Seconds after we got on the other side the non-stop sale began. Hundreds of taxi drivers descended on us like a swarm of bugs with their mantra, "tres dineros," "quartro dineros," "tres dineros," for a ride to Revolucion Ave.

ijuana is great for cheap drinks and food, but you can't walk 10 steps without being hit up for something. Vendors standing by the doorways trying to convince you that they have something in their store that isn't on sale at every other store on the block; guys who own donkeys painted like zebras that will take your picture with said donkeys; little kids holding up a handful of bracelets in your face every ten feet; bar employees trying to convince you that their 2-for-1 drink specials are a better deal than every other 2-for-1drink special up the street.

even when we sat down at a bar with a view of the street we were bombarded by photographers, character artists and roving mariachi bands. Unfortunately, since we didn't go see any strip shows or donkey shows, (you don't even want to know,) we ran out of things to do after a few drinks.

at night, back in San Diego, we headed out to Pacific Shores by the beach and then went to Winston's to see some live music.

[Revolucion Ave.]
Dan & me
[Dan & me beachside]


it was time to take a cermonial baptism in the Pacific Ocean to mark the geographic halfway point on my trip, so we headed down to Mission Beach.

surprisingly, it wasn't very warm, even though the weather has been great. Still, we chilled by the beach for a couple hours, and headed back to Dan's pad.

next week


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