I decided to drive home for Xmas of 2001. What with all the hassles of flying now I figured... Ok, not really. My company decided to shut down entirely for the week of Xmas - without pay for the 26th-28th. Then, since there were only 3 work days the following week, I got to thinking, "Hmmm. This might be a good time to take a little trip." (Well, a big trip I suppose.) And then I figured that if I took some time off the 2nd week of January too I could have 3 weeks off all together! So that's what I did. I told 'em at work that I would be gone for 2-3 weeks because I was going to drive home for the holidays, visit my family and friends for a while, then work my way back doing what I like to do best - Exploring! They said no problem. (Aren't they great?) So after wrapping my gifts and things up at work I took off for the east coast (from the office mind you) on Friday, the 21st, at 12:30pm. Twenty seven hundred miles and 57 1/2 hours later I pulled up in front of my parents' house in Falls Church, VA. Quick trip I know, but the idea was to spend the bulk of the time exploring on the way back.
I celebrated Christmas with the entire family, including all 7 nieces, delighting them all with my take on Emeril Lagasi's recipe for Brine Turkey, and updating their wardrobes with the latest from Big Dog. Before departing on Saturday I visited each of my siblings' household (except for Tim in NY), imparted some computer and audio/visual advice, induce some to go out for sushi, and got a rare chance to spend some time and interact with my nieces. Already feeling a bit antsy, I departed about noon on Saturday, the 29th.
The rest of the trip back is chronicled on the following pages. On the way back to California I visited some extraordinary places, and hope that I am able to convey at least a sense of their wonder and beauty. So once again, if you wish, travel vicariously with me as I first head from northern Virginia to Big Bend NP at the bottom of Texas, and from there to... Well, you'll just to have to read and see where for yourself.