Sunday, June 27, 2004



An easy day from Green River into Colorado, through Grand Junction, third
gear over Vail Pass, third gear up to the Eisenhower tunnel, down into
Denver in the rain.

Driving over mountain passes, it's not unusual to see signs at the top
warning truckers to stop and check their brakes. So I wonder: how do
truckers check their brakes. They pull over and what? Touch the wheels to
see if they're hot? Reach around and pinch the disk? Really, what to
truckers do to check their brakes at the top of a mountain? And why?

I understand that they will need their brakes going down the other side, but
they just came up the front side. Did they have to use their brakes to get
up? Unlikely. What is there about driving uphill for about an hour without
using your brakes that would make it necessary to stop and check them to
make sure they're okay?

In Barstow, on Thursday, we pulled up at the RV island to fuel. Both lanes
were occupied, so we picked one and waited. In front of us was a new white
pickup truck with flames painted on it, towing a big white fast boat. In
the other lane was a new white motorhome with flames painted on it, towing
the white jet skis. We wondered if they might be together. Judy got out to
check. It turns out they were together. He and she. A couple, with three
kids. They had been out playing and were headed home. She is a
schoolteacher. He is retired. He's pretty young to be retired. 35. 35
years old, retired, three young kids, and playing with toys like that?
Retired from what?

Football. Pat something. Played with the Raiders and Patriots. Tall
skinny guy. Must have been a wide receiver or db.

At Susie's house on the river, we sat out at night and watched the bats.
John would get out his 5 million candlepower hand held light, and shine it
into the sky until he spotted a flying bug. He'd hold the light on the
flying bug until a bat swooped through the beam to snatch it up. We saw a
lot of bats. We saw nighthawks, called riverhawks there, and stars and
satellites. We listened to the screaming moans coming from the other side
of the river at night. Screaming moaning frogs in the desert.

A three hundred fifty mile day.

The trip is over. We saw lots of good stuff. Picked up some new birds.
Made it to 300. Didn't get to see the purple martins in Kansas. Didn't get
to see the black swifts in Ouray. Didn't get to see the giant condors
flying free in the Grand Canyon.

Guess we just didn't stay out long enough.

Green River


Simple day. Las Vegas to Mesquite. Passed Highway 93, Brother bill's
favorite Highway. St. George, Cedar City, Beaver, turn right at Cove Fort.
Cross the steep mountains, up the Sevier Valley, through Richfield and
Salina, cross the badlands (San Rafael Swell), and cruise into Green River.
Stayed at the Shady Acres RV Park this time. Cooling down into the

Found some more rough cement road. Drove in the left lane for a while.
That helped.

Judy was being silly tonight. We went to the edge of a field to show Annie
the cows that were grazing on the other side. Annie loves cows. But they
were on the other side of the field.

Judy started calling them. That was the silly part. Cows don't come when
you call them. Besides, she was making the same noise she makes when she's
calling horses. She wasn't calling cows, which don't come when you call
them, she was calling horses. Just as I was gathering momentum in sorting
this all out for her, there was this random shuffling movement on the other
side of the field. All those cows started moving for no apparent reason.
Our direction. Judy called again, and they broke out into a run. They all
ran straight over to our side of the field, and stood there at the fence
waiting expectantly. Maybe it was feeding time and they mistook us for hay.

New Mexico. I don't really want to work there much. Only during the months
it's cold in the Colorado high country. After that, given a choice between
more work in Colorado, and new work in New Mexico, I'll take Colorado.
Maybe it's not fair to sign up clients there if I only want to be there
during two or three months a year.

A four hundred mile day. Tomorrow, cross the high country.

Las Vegas


We want to be closer to Colorado until Becky has her baby. Headed north.
North on 15, east on 70. Pretty simple.

I was just thinking about those triggers for traffic lights. How do you
think they work? First you build the intersection, then you make those cuts
in the pavement where the first car stops. Then the traffic signal is
smart. It knows if there is a car there or not. But how does it know? It
can't be a pressure button. That would be too tricky to manage. Is it a
metal detector? Is it a wire loop and a magnetic field? Who knows? Who do
we know that knows?

Maybe I just want to expand into New Mexico to see if we can do it. That
would be a good enough reason, wouldn't it? We'd probably need a physical
address to put on our letterhead, wouldn't we? I wonder if we could get
anyone in New Mexico to hire us with just a Denver address.

Spent the morning on the beach, had lunch, and headed out. Made it all the
way to Las Vegas. Didn't stay at the fancy resort we stayed at last time.
Picked one closer to the freeway that would provide an easier in and out.
Good WiFi connection here. Works just like it's supposed to.

As soon as we left the coast, the air got crummy again. White and hard to
see through. Limited visibility through Riverside. It cleared up at
Barstow, 190 miles into the trip.

Saw a sports car stretched into a limousine.

The weather at the beach was mild. Seventy-five during the day, and
sixty-five at night. Now we're back to the hundreds again for a couple

A three hundred mile day.

Tomorrow. Green River, Utah.

Saturday, June 26, 2004


The little beach.


The park next to the beach.


The little path to the beach.


The beach RV park at Oceanside.


At Ralph and Jill's new house.

I was playing with the kids, and got suckered into riding the monkey bike.
I don't know why. I don't even know what a monkey bike is.

FW: Arizona

Headed north. Passed the town of Hope. Of course, on the other side of
town was the sign, "You're beyond Hope now." Highway 89 north from Congress
is a slow road. The surface is good, but it is scenic. 20 mph road, all
the way to Prescott. Very scenic desert mountains. Advisories posted for
vehicles over 40 feet in length to turn around and go back. No problem for
us. We're 39' 10" (plus the tow car). No problem. Prescott is a mountain
town. Beautiful setting. It's all weathered granite and pinon pine. It a
bigger town than we expected.

Kept moving. Still north. Stopped for the night at Sunset Crater National
Monument. Saw a stellar's jay. That's it. One stinking stellar's jay.
Beautiful campground. No birds. A pine tree forest. Black volcanic
cinders on the ground. No brush. An open forest. Nothing on the ground
but pine needles. 7,000 feet. What a difference a day makes. Same state.
Ninety-five degrees yesterday in the low desert. Twenty-nine degrees this
morning in the high desert.

When we first got here, we asked for a bird list. We always do that just in
case. Sometimes we get lucky, and they have one. We asked. They looked
all around. They said they had one but couldn't find it. By the time we
left, I could have volunteered to write the bird list for them. Stellar's
Jay. One bird.


Moved on. We're headed back toward Colorado, still in Arizona. This is our
first visit to an Escapee's park. Escapee's Rainbow Park, just outside
Congress, AZ. $10 per night, full hookups. 110 sites. No reservations.
It's first come, first served. No limit on how long you can stay, except
that it's first come, first out. If someone arrives and the park is full,
the person who has been there the longest has to leave.

There are also RV and house lots to buy. 432 of them. Filled with friendly
residents. The Escapees club is built on a philosophy of providing whatever
help they can to RVrs. They encourage volunteerism and cooperation. It
seems to be working. We talked to at least twenty people. Every one of
them seemed genuinely interested in making sure they did anything they could
to help.

Thursday, June 24, 2004



California towhee. 302. Don't get many of those in Colorado. Got two in
sister-in-law Barbara's back yard.

White headed small dark gull with an orange beak on the beach. Heerman's
gull. Already got that one.

Worked on some more mailing lists. Judy thinks I might be too excited about
expanding into another state. Like maybe that would be spreading us too
thin. Well, we're not too thin yet.

The sun came out. Beach time.

Judy had a great idea tonight. Hot Pastrami sandwiches at Angelo's one more
time. Oof.

Probably should leave tomorrow.



Still at 299.

Our RV site is right next to/underneath the railroad tracks. They're on a
berm and a bridge. We're next to the berm part. Amtrak runs passenger
service back and forth all day long. The Coaster. Brother Bill is probably
familiar with it. Traffic dwindled to a few freight trains overnight. We
put on a couple of fan background noises, and we hardly heard the trains at

Judy did some errands and visited with her sister-in-law Barbara. I stayed
to do some work. I tried the WiFi. No signal. I tried the cellphone. No
data signal. Plenty of voice signal, but no data connection. They have
WiFi here, but with a very limited range. They invited me to bring my
laptop to the office and try it there. It worked. It worked, but only sort
of. I received all my email. I could look stuff up on the web. Nothing
would go out. I can't send email here, only receive it. So I know what the
office is up to. They just can't tell what I'm up to. I'm still cleaning
up Colorado client lists and thinking about New Mexico.

It's cool and cloudy here, but warm enough to go walk on the beach, so I
think we'll go walk on the beach.


Hanging out at the little lagoon down the path between here and the beach, a
little white tern was flying around. We see these all the time in Texas.
They're Forster's terns. But this one had his summer outfit on, so he
looked different. I looked him up when we got back to the motorhome. He's
different alright. He's even smaller than a Forster's Tern. Yellow bill.
He's a Least Tern. Number 300. Yeaa.

301, Tricolored Blackbirds. They look like red winged blackbirds, but they
have white instead of yellow under the red on the wings. They're basically
only in California. They're in the marsh between here and the beach.

Saw a pied billed grebe. Saw some other grebes with white streaks on their
heads and red faces we don't recognize. Looked them up. There is no such
grebe. They are probably an immature something. We saw some immature
coots. They have red faces instead of white. It doesn't say anything about
that in the book. Maybe we should just stay and watch these grebes until
they mature and we can tell what they are.

Becky got released from bed rest to light activity.



Still at 299.

Judy spent some time with her mom this morning. I spent some time doing a
little work online. No WiFi here, but a good cellphone data connection. I
wonder if we should expand into an adjacent state. It would be easier to
work on the road in New Mexico in the winter than in Colorado.

We decided, since we were already here, to press a little farther into
California and go to the beach. Went to Paradise by the Sea RV Park in
Oceanside. It is almost on the beach, and has a trail that runs through a
little park and right out onto the ocean. It has a chain link fence for
security at night. The fence has a locked gate. And concertina razor wire
on top. Oh well. We'll ignore that part.

Seventy-five degrees. An ocean breeze. It is so nice here. That's it.
We're not going anywhere else. I can work from here.

Racquetball therapy. Had to drive to Vista for it, but that's not very far.
Challenge court. Two guys playing. The winner stayed. The other left.
The winner was awesome. He was totally relaxed. He hit every shot. He was
invincible. He crushed me at zero.

My first game is never my best. I settled down and played again.
Methodically. I got a few points. I even got ahead. His game changed. He
forced a few shots and missed a few points. He won, but I got to double
digits. The next game, he only got to single digits. During the game after
that, his son showed up. I'd guess his son is eighteen years old. I played
him next. His son hit even harder than he did. But he didn't hit as well.
He didn't get very many points.

Angelo's in Oceanside for pastrami sandwiches and taquitos. Oof. Krispy
Kreme crème filled donuts for dessert. Double oof. It was all Judy's idea.
I'll never listen to her ideas again.

I taught her a lesson, though. She bought the donuts, but I served them. I
put four of them on her plate.

Alka Seltzer should finish off the night just fine.

A forty-five mile day.


Sunday. Father's Day.

Still at 299.

Made a quick run to the beach at Oceanside. The literature here at the park
suggested it would be quick. It took hours. We missed some commitments.

Took Helen to Judy's nephew Ralph and Jill's new house in Temecula. They
had a family Father's Day gathering. The new house is very big, brand new,
and very nice. Played with the kids. Had a good time. It was a good day.

We have done everything we needed to do this trip. We want to be home for
Becky's baby. She is not supposed to have it until the fourth of July, but
she's been threatening to have it early. The baby has dropped. The doctor
put her on bed rest for a few days to try to calm the process down. We call
every day to see if we need to pop right home. We'll appreciate it if she
can give us three days notice.

Tomorrow. Off to Arizona for condors in the canyon.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004


The park in Temecula.

We don't always get to be the only ones in the park.



Still at 299.

Left Sue and John's house on the river. Drove from the desert to the inland
valley of California. Interstate 10. Blythe. Desert Center. Indio.
Cathedral City. Thousand Palms. Desert Hot Springs. Brother Bill's
springtime stomping grounds. Palm Desert. A giant windmill farm. The sky
turned rather white as we drove in from the desert. The blue sky went
white. Maybe it's just humidity from the ocean flowing in. It is so
strange to drive though a valley and only be able to see the hills on either
side for five miles or so. After that, they just disappear into the haze.
That's not something that happens in the high country. Typically, we can
see a hundred miles in any direction if there aren't too many mountains in
the way.

John advised us to tank up in Arizona before we crossed into California. We
paid $1.79 for diesel. We see it here for $2.13. That's still less than we
paid for it a couple weeks ago in Durango.

Settled into a nice park associated with an Indian Casino. Pechanga. It is
nicely separated from the Casino. You have to take the shuttle to get
there. We didn't.

A two hundred fifty mile day.



Annie, lying in a puddle at 106 degrees, working on her tan.



We looked up the quail and it was gamble's. It was that little black patch
on the belly. Still at 299. It was that little black patch on the belly,
and the range map. The birds are almost identical, but their ranges don't
overlap. If we see a quail out here in the desert, it will be a Gamble's
Quail. If we see one closer to the coast, it will be a California Quail.

Floated the river again today. Different experiences entirely. Yesterday
was the kayaks, the only boats on the water, admiring the fish, listening to
the birds, analyzing the path of the currents at low water, searching for
sunken artifacts. Leisurely. Quiet.

Today was the twenty-eight foot patio boat. A powerboat. A pontoon boat.
Six of us. Not crowded. Room for fifteen or so. Ice chests. Music. All
the beers, pops, water we could drink. Floating quietly, except for the
conversation and music. Loud and fast at thirty-five mph. Stopping at sand
bars to get out and wander in the water. People to yell at, and wave to,
and visit with. A guided tour. Other boats and jet skis going every
direction. Drifted way way down the river. Blasted back.

Different experiences entirely, and both well worth doing.

Tomorrow. Off to visit Judy's Mom Helen in Temecula.

Monday, June 21, 2004


Kayaks on the Colorado.

Las Vegas


The park in Las Vegas was nicely landscaped. Each site had a little bit of
grass. Every night, we could hear the sprinklers come on at eleven. They
would run for just a few minutes, then shut off. Later, they would come on
again, for just a few minutes, then shut off. They would do it again at
five am, for just a few minutes. I guess they were being careful not to
water so much all at once that water could run off and be wasted. A little
bit of water wets the ground and soaks in before the next round of water
hits it. And it was all very carefully done under the cover of darkness.

In Colorado, we get a phenomenon called Virga. Virga is rain. You can see
the dark cloud. You can see the streaks of rain falling. The ground
beneath is totally dry. Not a drop. All the rain evaporates in the dry air
before it makes it to the ground. It doesn't always happen that way.
Sometimes rain makes it all the way to the ground. I can imagine sprinkling
lawns in Las Vegas at mid-day being something like that, though. Water
squirting out of lawn sprinklers, spraying into the air, the grass below
totally dry. Lawn sprinkler Virga.

I'm not saying it really happened. I'm just imagining it.

Life on the river.

It's hot here. In the hundreds. Blue sky. Light breeze. The river
running past. The river is controlled by the dam right upstream. Usually
the flow is low in the mornings, and they let out progressively more during
the day, so the water is at its highest in the afternoon and evening. It's
like a tide to monitor. When you jump in the water, you get swept away much
faster in the afternoons than you do in the mornings.

John and I floated the river in the kayaks. We started before it got hot.
It was only in the nineties. Three hours. Seven miles. We stopped a lot.
Sunscreen. Judy and Sue went shopping for clothes and toe rings. Then they
drove the Jeep to pick us up at a boat ramp downstream, and have lunch in
the restaurant on the river there. It was a nice float. And the toe rings
are stunning, as well.

We saw some quail in the desert outside the restaurant. I wonder if they
were gambel's quail, or California valley quail.

Sunday, June 20, 2004


Disconnecting in Carbondale in a light rain following the thunderstorm. We
have a routine. I drive us there. Judy goes inside and gets us registered,
while I disconnect the tow car. I got the disconnection done, and went
inside out of the rain to check on Judy's progress. She was still inside
chatting at the front desk. I hadn't been inside more than a minute, when
the woman behind the counter directed us to our site. She was very
specific. She looked right at me and explained "That's space "N", like in
knucklehead." What was that? I was only in here a minute. I had hardly
even made any smart aleck remarks at all. She must be a man-hater.

So we're settled in at the Crystal River Resort outside Carbondale for a
week. It's right on the Crystal River. It's a little rough here.
Carbondale is a little rough. A messy mountain town. But when you look
around at where we are, Wow! What a place to be.

We're parked with the water right outside our window. Good background noise
for sleeping. We're right next to/under a blue spruce tree. The mountain
chickadees are outside, only three feet away. There is a white-breasted
nuthatch creeping up and down the tree trunk.

The water looks a little high and rough for fishing here at the campground.
The water in the Crystal River is silver gray, just like always. Tomorrow,
we'll scout around for a friendlier spot to fish. A little less drop.
Smoother slower water. I've never liked the Crystal for fishing. That's
because I have never done well here. We have some information about where
to fish upstream, though, which could change my opinion. This might not be
a stupid river after all.

Today, we drove back to Aspen to pick up the bicycles. We drop them off at
the Physics center when we first get there and leave them all week. It's
handy to have them right there for lunchtime transportation. We got so
excited yesterday about finishing up and getting out of town before the
down-valley rush hour started, we forgot to load them back onto the car.

Let me explain rush hour in Aspen. A beautiful town like this, isolated in
the high country, you wouldn't expect something so cosmopolitan as a rush
hour. But Aspen is different. It is so beautiful here, more people want to
live here than can fit. As a result, property values got bid up. They used
to complain that all the local residents got pushed out by the millionaires.
Now they're complaining that the millionaires are getting pushed out by the
billionaires. It comes down to this: If you have to work to be in Aspen,
you can't afford to live in Aspen. Aspen is for people who have already
made their money.

It takes a lot of people to provide the services and support for the Aspen
residents. People who can't afford to live there. They commute. They
can't commute out the east end of town, because the only thing off that
direction is Independence Pass. They go west. West to Basalt, El Jebel,
Carbondale. There is no relief in Glenwood Springs, so they turn left and
go off toward Rifle and Parachute. It's forty miles from Glenwood to Aspen.
Thirty miles from Carbondale. It's not cheap to live in the towns
down-valley, but it's possible. We checked the classifieds for Aspen. You
can get a one bedroom apartment in Aspen for $2,000 a month. They commute.

We haven't actually seen the commute. It is legendary, so we avoid it at
all costs. Even without rush hour, it's a difficult road to drive. It
alternates between two lanes and four lanes. The speed limit is sixty-five
miles per hour, but the drive is punctuated by stop lights. Stopping for
red lights at highway speed. Maybe ten lights between here and Aspen. I
don't know the road well enough yet to anticipate all of them.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Las Vegas


The conference concludes. We talked about strategic planning and about
working smarter.

In the back of the space next to us, under a tree, in the gravel, is a
killdeer nest. Mom is sitting on the eggs, on the ground. If Judy or I get
close, she makes noise and gets defensive. If Annie gets close, she runs
off. We're being careful not to get too close.

The owner's manual says we should wash and wax the motorhome every six
months to preserve the finish. That has been bothering me because we have
owned the motorhome for more than six months now, and I haven't managed to
get to that yet. Judy found a crew washing motorhomes in the park yesterday
and had them wash and wax the Bounder at our site. They had it completely
done in a couple hours. It looks great. I feel better. I didn't need that
weight in my wallet either.

Off to Susie and John's house on the river.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Las Vegas


The conference continues. We talked about what is happening in the
profession, OMB Circular A-133 audits, marketing, and communications.

After the conference, Judy and I went back to Red Rock Canyon for a dinner
picnic. Got an entire family of chukar. Sas phainopepla, ladder-back
woodpecker, raven, coopers hawk, cactus wren, rock wren, and a wild burro
encounter. A very loud wild burro encounter.

The sleeping weather is good. It's over a hundred every day, but it cools
off into the eighties after dark. We set the air conditioning on sixty-four
and open the windows above our heads. By morning, the outside air has
cooled off to sixty and the air conditioning has stopped running. For that
part of every day we get cool clean unconditioned air.

Got back to the motorhome and was looking through the bird list and
discovered that chukars aren't on it! 299! A whole family of big chukars
and little baby chukars.


Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Las Vegas


Hey. This is not like vacation. I have to get up at 6:30 to make the 8am
conference start each day.

Here at this park, we're at another WiFi location. If you can connect, you
get high speed wireless access. I have a modern laptop computer. We use a
wireless network at work all the time. I thought maybe I could change the
configuration, and log on to their WiFi service. The WiFi service offers a
tech support line. I called. It's not that easy. First, the tech support
guy had me change all my internet settings, then he told me it wouldn't
work. Matt, I'm going to need some help when I get home. I went back to
the park office and bought the wireless LAN unit I can plug into my
computer. That works. Now I own the unit. For a subscription fee of $30
per month, I have WiFi at any park that offers it. Now, when we're working
out of town, we need to start scheduling which parks to stay at by whether
they offer WiFi or not.

As cool as the GPS navigator system is, when you put the right address in,
know what they don't show? Rest stops. Think about it. If you're planning
a program to help people travel, wouldn't you want to indicate where the
next rest stop is? I can't believe they didn't do that. In fact, I'm so
convinced they wouldn't do that, I think it's pilot error. I think they did
it, and Judy and I just haven't been able to find it yet.

A ten-hour day at the conference. Long day. We talked about the future,
billing what you're worth, digital CPA firms, and managing conflict.

Tomorrow.... More.

Las Vegas


Cousin Ed, the Las Vegas taxi driver, stopped by for a visit last night. He
assured me that traffic on Sunday would be completely different from traffic
on Saturday. He even explained the logic. This is Las Vegas. The crowds
arrive Friday night. Saturday they fill the city with their cars. Sunday
they go home. Saturday is the worst day of the week for traffic. It makes
sense. Sort of. I decided to try it again today. Carefully.

We drove the route Ed suggested. He was right. It worked. I attended the
Sole Practitioner's Brunch. The drive worked so well, I'll even try it
tomorrow for an 8am start. We'll see if his explanation holds up to weekday
rush hour traffic.

It's a hundred six degrees outside on the sunny side. That's not in the
sun, that's under the awning. In the shade. Over on the other side, on the
shady side, it's only 99. It makes a difference. Inside, it's 76 degrees.
This is much better air conditioning than we had in Shamu. It's still
roof-air, but it's vented into the ceiling. It doesn't just blow cold air
out from directly under each air conditioning unit. Both the air
conditioners feed into ducts that vent out at regular intervals all along
the ceiling. It's a good design.

The Jeep parks in the direct sun here. I leave the tailgate of the Jeep
open any time we're not in it to cut down on the solar gain.

Driving along, on the way here, I realized we've come full circle. All
those years ago, traveling in the VW Bus, sitting over the front wheels,
rear engine pushing us along. It's the same design. Nothing has changed.
We're back to doing what we started with. It's just a big VW Bus.

When we're plugged into 50 amp power, we can run both air conditioners, the
coffee maker, the microwave, the hair dryer. It doesn't matter. The lights
don't even dim. I wonder how much power the house in Louisville is plugged
into. The lights in Louisville dim when the air conditioner kicks on.
Circuit breakers pop if we turn on the hair dryer while the coffeemaker and
toaster are already going.

Fueling has evolved into a generally benign experience. It's better than it
used to be. With pay at the pump, we never get stuck standing in line in a
smoky building, waiting for the cashier to ring us up. But fueling in
Colorado, I forget what the experience can be like in other places. In
California and Nevada, at least parts of California and Nevada, they have
discovered a wonderful offset to their costs. Advertising. The pay at the
pump screen? After it has collected your credit card information, they can
make it yell advertising at you. And better than that... they can disable
the pump handle so it won't stay on unless you stand there and hold it, or
they can abbreviate that spring shaped wire that helps the nozzle stay in
the filler hole, so again, you have to stand right there, and you can't walk
away while they're advertising at you. And. And. You don't have any
volume control. You can't turn it down. I don't know how much the station
gains by doing this. If it is a penny or two a gallon, I would gladly pay
that much more for my fuel to avoid this. I would pay a lot more than a
penny or two to avoid this experience.

Wait! Wait! There is something else. I'm not done yet. I'm standing
there filling a motorhome at the diesel pump, and they cut me off at $50.
$50! If I'm willing to stand there and put $100 in my tank, why would they
want to cut me off at $50? It's not like they have to. The tank before
this, I got to put $150 in my tank off one credit card ring. Why do they
only want me to spend $50 with them?

That's it. Gas stations suck. Let's all boycott gas stations. The ones
that suck, anyway.

Today we talked about succession planning and paperless offices.

Tomorrow, the conference starts in earnest.

Las Vegas

An improved lot. Improved with a stream running out of a flaming volcano.
The volcano wasn't actually lit when I took this. It was later that night
in the dark, though.

Las Vegas

And beyond.

Las Vegas

And a little bigger still.

Las Vegas

Something a little bigger than a Bounder.

Las Vegas

The Bounder in all its glory.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Las Vegas


Another leisurely leaving. Check in time at our next stop is noon. We're
an hour and a half away. We hung out and enjoyed the morning sun. Left at
ten thirty.

This is not a trip to measure fuel economy. We drive down the road with two
engines running: one to move us down the highway, and the generator to power
the air conditioning. Whatever it takes to run the extra engine, it's worth
it to keep the interior air conditioned.

We're booked into one of those high-end RV parks where people buy and fix up
their own lots. It's more expensive than a KOA, or the RV Park at Circus
Circus, but compared to two-hundred fifty dollar a night rooms at the
Venetian, it's a bargain.

We plugged the address into the GPS navigator. We hit the highway. We hit
resume. The miles were effortless. Our RV park is on the south end of
town. The freeway traffic through Las Vegas was painless. Getting to
within a mile of the park was painless. Actually getting into the park was
not. Judy called and got the street address so we would know where to go.
Missing a turn, and turning this rig around on small roads can be a
challenge. Well, the person on the phone gave Judy the correct street
address, she just didn't give her the correct name of the road. Get off at
Blue Diamond Road, and go to 8175. She neglected to mention that we wanted
to turn right on Arville road before we went to the address 8175. There is
an 8175 on Blue Diamond Road. We had to go there to discover that there is
no motorhome park there. So there we were. Completely outside town.
Two-lane, high-speed highway. Lots of traffic. Both directions. No
traffic lights. No intersections. Time to turn around.

It took a while, but I found a shoulder I could get on, with an opposing
shoulder I could drive on, once I had made the dash across the traffic.
Only a few things fell down. We disconnected, Judy got the park on the
cellphone again, and drove the Jeep, while they talked her into their
location. I waited by the side of the road. Then she called me on my
cellphone and talked me into her location. Yea for cellphones. There is no
sign for the motorhome park out on Blue Diamond Road. There is no traffic
light. You just have to know.

But once here, what a beautiful place. It's a little hot. It's over a
hundred. And I called it an RV park, but it's not really an RV park. It's
a coach resort. Class As only. Mostly pushers. Hardly any gas. And
they're all bigger and more expensive than ours. More than half the coaches
here are those dual rear axel rigs, up around 45 feet long. They make us
look small by comparison. The sites are landscaped. Some are way
landscaped. Some have fountains, pools, streams, entire outdoor kitchens,
fireplaces, cabanas. The basic lot costs $100,000. Some people spent that
much more adding goodies.

It turns out that getting here was not our most difficult challenge of the
day. After we got set up, we decided to go find the easiest way in to the
Venetian Hotel for the conference tomorrow. There aren't any sessions
today, but it's worth a drive in just to get oriented. Saturday afternoon.
How hard could it be?????

Traffic. Gridlock. Accidents. Construction closures. Detours. More
traffic. More traffic than the roads could bear. Horn honking that had no
chance of helping. An angry mob. It didn't take long to get deep enough
into it that all I wanted was out. I didn't care where the Venetian was. I
didn't care about the conference. I just wanted out. From the moment I
realized that all I wanted was out, it took another hour before we could
break free of the traffic. It really, really sucked.

It took a while to calm down from that.

Don't know if I'll try it again tomorrow or not.

There is good news for this day, however. 298. The list has expanded to
two hundred ninety-eight birds. After a few hours, when I felt ready to
venture out again, we headed to Red Rock Canyon Park, twenty miles outside
Las Vegas - the other direction. West. Beautiful place. And guess what!
It's filled with red rocks. And birds.

We didn't go there until late, so we didn't see very many. Gambel's quail.
Nighthawks. Phoebes. Different from the birds we usually see. We were
looking through the bird book when we realized that those nighthawks buzzing
us, low in the desert washes, were not the nighthawks we see in the evenings
circling high in the sky in Colorado. These are lesser nighthawks. They're
a different bird. 297. Then, on the drive home we spooked a poor-will off
the road. They look something like a nighthawk, but they're smaller, and
they don't have those white stripes across the wings. We've seen these in
the desert before, but didn't realize what they were. Poor-wills. 298.
Only two to go.

Sunday, June 13, 2004


From: Steve Taylor []
Sent: Sunday, June 13, 2004 6:30 PM
To: Bill Taylor (E-mail); David Taylor (E-mail); Tom Taylor (E-mail)
Subject: 51a

The desert view.



Way back at the start of this trip, I accidentally filled up with Number 1
diesel. Since then I've managed to put Number 2 diesel in it like I'm
supposed to. In Durango, we discovered Biodiesel. We stopped at a station
to fill up the Jeep, and the diesel they sell there is Biodiesel. Blue Sun
Biodiesel. What a great sounding idea. It's made from vegetable oilseed
crops. It works in existing engines. There is no drop off in engine
performance. It is biodegradable and less toxic. It produces about 80%
less pollutants from combustion. That's what the literature on it says.

We only found it in that one station. We'd have tried a tank of it, but it
was a small station we couldn't have gotten the Bounder in and out of.
We'll keep an eye out for it.

Did I mention the service intervals on the diesel? We took it in for an oil
change before we left on this trip. It takes a lot of oil, they measure it
in gallons instead of quarts, but it turns out we only have to do that once
a year. I asked about a tune-up. How do I know when it's time for a tune
up? The service writer told us to drive it for a hundred thousand miles,
then get back to him. I like that.

We were farther west in the time zone yesterday. It was hard to wait for it
to get dark before falling asleep. We didn't make it.

The badlands of Utah. One hundred fifteen uninhabited miles. Cones,
spires, castles, turrets, parapets, canyons, gorges... and flowers. It is
hot and dry here, but we can see fields of late spring flowers from the
road. Nice.

Stopped at the same rest stop we always stop at to admire the view. There
was one other car there. From somewhere else. It was filled with a family.
They got out. We don't think they are veteran travelers. Mom, Dad, and two
early teenage girls. One daughter headed for the rest room at the other end
of the view area. It wasn't really a restroom. It's an outhouse. She went
in. She came back out. Distressed. "Mom" she shouted, "It's round! It
looks just like a can!" They all went to see.

Most of the freeways we drive on are asphalt, but it seems to us that states
tend to take out asphalt freeways and replace them with concrete freeways.
Why do you suppose they do that? Maybe concrete freeways last longer, and
so, cost less in the long run. We drove on some concrete freeways in Utah.
Lots of Interstate 15 in Utah is concrete. Concrete freeways suck. I think
this Freightliner chassis provides a pretty good ride, but it sure shakes
and rattles on an old concrete freeway.

Stopped at a rest stop, and was watching a Western Kingbird with the
binoculars. It was more yellow underneath than some. I was struck by how
yellow it was. Then it quit fluttering around and landed, facing away from
me. It was gray. The entire top of his body was gray, while facing away.
So much for the mystery bird yesterday. It was a rear-view of a western

Here we are in Mesquite Nevada. Ninety-five degrees. Not that hot. Hot
and dry. It feels good.

We checked out a motorhome park attached to a casino in the center of town.
You know how, sometimes you look at an RV Park and think it's going to suck,
but after you've been there a while it grows on you and after that you end
up loving it? Not going to happen here. We moved on to a nice park on the
outskirts of town. Not a birdy place at all. Saw a house sparrow. Saw a
grackle. That's it.

We waited for it to cool off to 85 outside, then sat in lawn chairs and
watched the stars brighten. We can see the big dipper every night. The
North Star sure is high in the sky this time of year. We're used to seeing
it low on the horizon from southern Texas in January.

A three hundred fifty mile day. Not very far to go tomorrow to Las Vegas.

Green River

The Green River camp.

Green River


Breakfast in New Orleans, dinner in Timbuktu. Okay, we skipped breakfast at
the edge of the eastern plains. Crossed the Continental Divide in
spectacular blue-sky weather. Another perfect day. Lunch at the Dillon
Lake Overlook. Across Vail Pass, through Glenwood Canyon and DeBeque
Canyon. Out through the Western Colorado Mesas, and into the Utah desert.
Utah. For all the traveling we've done, this is the first time we've been
out of Colorado in months. Stopped for the night at Green River State Park.
This used to be a regular stop with the kids on Spring Break trips. It's
shadier than we remember.

It's a very birdy place. Lots of birds we recognize, and then.... A New
Bird. A new bird. I know it's a new bird, because I have no idea what it
was. I saw it perched. From the back. The bottom half looked like a
sparrow. The top half looked gray. From behind. What is solid gray from
behind? It could have been a Lawrence's Goldfinch, but I don't know if
they're here or not. I went to get Judy and it was gone when we got back.
Never saw it again. We don't know what it is, but we know there is a new
bird here.

It would help if the park had a bird list, but they don't. That's a great
help, when you're trying to identify a bird, and you can check a local bird
list and eliminate the birds that have never been sighted where you are.
Sometimes the bird lists indicate the relative abundance in each season.
That really helps. We can use all the help we can get.

I thought the Jake Brake would be proportional, but it's not. You can't
feather it with the throttle and drive it smoothly. It is tied to the
transmission. It is purely incremental. It downshifts. Let off the gas
enough, and the exhaust brake kicks on in an appropriate gear for that
speed. Step down on the throttle, and it switches back off. At 65 mph, it
downshifts and provides a slight braking assist. We can handle a long 5%
grade at that speed. The first big assist pops in at 45 mph. That's the
one we ride down the hill if it's not too steep. It will handle a long 6%
grade on the freeway. There is a more serious hook at 35 mph if we need it.
That will ride the 7% grade down the continental divide without resorting to
the foot pedal brake at all.

Cruise control. I've already declared that I like the way cruise control
works on this thing. What else I like about it is that it keeps the speed
you last selected in memory: even when you turn the key off. Start it up
again the next day, get it rolling, and hit resume. You're right back to
where you were the day before.

Green River, Utah. A three hundred fifty mile day.

Tomorrow, the badlands and beyond.

Saturday, June 12, 2004



Our last day at work. Our office neighbor and friend Gary Kring bought a
celebratory, "end of busy season" lunch, for his office and our office
combined. It's an annual tradition. Judy and I planned to leave right
after lunch. We're heading for the Las Vegas conference, Arizona,
California, and..... condors in the Grand Canyon.

I worked till eight. All ready for an early start tomorrow morning.

The weather started earlier today than yesterday: right after lunch. Dark
dark skies. Wind. Rain. Tornado warnings. Quarter size hail. Wave after
wave of weather came through, clear into the evening.



Funny thing about the Honda. It doesn't have a thermometer or compass. Why
would they build a car without an outside thermometer and compass?

Last full day to get my Denver work done. The Durango job is my only
remaining project from the Western Colorado trip. I stayed home and worked
at the house all day to get it done. And done it is. Finally. We won't
look at the realization on that job. We'll consider it an investment in the
future. Sue, the bookkeeper, promises me a 20 minute audit next year.

Sat on the porch swing tonight and admired the lightning show. Annie sat
between us and shivered. It was a good show, even if Annie didn't think so.
We heard reports of golf ball size hail to the north of us, and three foot
drifts to the south of us. We just got a light show and heavy rain.



I love that drive home from the eastern plains, watching the shadow of the
Rockies rise in the distance. But now we're back in the office. It's a
nice return. The work doesn't pile up and wait for me while I'm gone now.
It just gets done. Ohmigod! I think I'm dispensable.

We had quite a busy season of December year-end clients. It takes through
June to get them cleared out. After that, though, we'll have some excess
capacity. It's nice to have time to relax and breathe, but we don't want
too much of that. We don't want anyone to get bored. We're putting
together a list of nonprofit organizations that have year-ends that are not
December. We'll send some information to them to see if we can get a little
more work in the second half of the year. I've wanted to do this list for
years. Two thirds of our clients are December year-ends. It would be nice
to balance out the work. I've always wanted to do this list, but couldn't
figure out how. How do you find nonprofit organizations that don't have a
December year-end? Thank you internet. Now we have access to information
about nonprofit organizations we can accumulate and sort. Jamie is taking
care of it. A list of potential clients in Denver that are not December
year-ends. Thank you Jamie.

I caught myself referring to our time in Denver as "the trip". I was
describing to Jamie what I could get done in a short amount of time, and
explained: "I don't have time to do everything this trip. Maybe I can
finish it next time." Interesting transposition of perspective.

Got the financial statements finished up for the Silverton job. It'll be
ready to go out in a couple days.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004



We get to wake up to different birds here than at home. Well, the robins,
mourning doves, house sparrows, starlings, grackles, red-winged blackbirds,
and house finches are the same, but here we have meadowlarks. At home, we
don't hear meadowlarks from our house in the morning. Here, we're
surrounded. Meadowlarks, kingbirds, and orioles. We don't get kingbirds in
Louisville at all. We woke to the sounds of birds singing. Birds singing
and leftover balloons popping in the morning heat. It's hot already.

The day-after-brunch. There were a lot of presents. I got it all on tape.
And let me say that I'm confident these videotapes worked. I backed up and
viewed enough samples to know they're all there.

Time enough for a quiet visit with Larry and Lolly before moving on. It's a
nice place to stay out there. Larry and Lolly are threatening to move back
there this fall.

It was ninety degrees out by the time we left. Ninety degrees outside, and
a hundred inside the motorhome. Fired up the generator and started the
central air. Started the engine and the dash air. It took awhile.

Tanked up at a truck stop. We paid 20 cents per gallon less than we did for
the last tank. Guess the annual Memorial Day gas crisis is over.

On the way out from Louisville, Rags took his drugs, then went to sleep it
off in the cat box. For the trip home, he stayed awake and his chin didn't
even get wet. He's such a manly cat.

We're back to Louisville for three days.

Fort Morgan


The Wedding Day. The morning was a blur. Flowers. Film. Errands.

When we go to Fort Morgan to Larry and Lolly's, it isn't really Fort Morgan.
They're at exit 73. Fort Morgan doesn't really start to happen until exit
80. The Wal-Mart is at exit 82. You have to go all the way to exit 90 to
get to Brush. You can go down Highway 34 to get to the middle of Fort
Morgan from Larry and Lolly's if you want. It doesn't involve the
Interstate, but it is more direct. We made that drive back and forth quite
a few times this visit. And, like always happens when we hang around
somewhere for a few days, we're really getting to like this place. We
particularly like the home base, parked out next to the hog barn.

The afternoon was a blur. The pre-wedding dressing and conversation. Got
it on tape. Pre-wedding pictures. Got some of that. The ceremony. Got it
all. The post-ceremony photos. Skipped that part. Then, back to the ranch
for the party. And what a party it was. A barn dance. The bride and groom
arrived. Jodee and Todd. The DJ got the party started with his
introductions. The barn got packed with two hundred fifty happy people. We
all got food. As the evening progressed, everyone got happier. And louder.
The DJ was engaged till ten. He went into overtime. Larry and Lolly don't
have any close neighbors. It's a good thing. And I got it on tape.

I wanted to go see some purple martins this trip. We've never seen purple
martins. Our bird count is still at 296. I want 300. I know exactly where
a colony of purple martins lives in Kansas. I have a map. And we have an
invitation to come see them. Nine hundred purple martins living in hanging
white gourds. We're already in Eastern Colorado, so it couldn't be much
farther to pop over to Kansas. Except that it's on the other side of
Kansas. Six hundred miles each way. I counted the number of days between
now and when we leave Louisville for the conference in Las Vegas. It just
doesn't work. No purple martins this trip.

There is some good purple martin news, though. I found a name on the
internet to contact. She wrote me back. There are purple martins in
Colorado. You just have to know where to look. She knows where to look.
And she told me. Sunlight ski area. It's outside Glenwood Springs. All we
have to do is get back to Glenwood Springs in the summertime and I know
exactly where to go to find them.

I checked the internet for a bird list for Southern Nevada. It looks
promising. If we can get to some canyons outside Las Vegas while we're
there, we should get to see some interesting birds.

Tomorrow, the last of the wedding events. The opening of the presents.

Monday, June 7, 2004

Fort Morgan

The barn, in preparation.

Fort Morgan

The Bounder. And the hog barn. Happily there haven't been any recent
residents there....

except for us, anyway.

Fort Morgan


Drank our morning coffee and watched Annie and the squirrels. There are
always a few squirrels around. Red squirrels. They like the maple trees.
And the cottonwood trees. And the phone wires and the blue spruce and our
rooftop too. We have had as many as five squirrels in our yard at one time.
Annie's job is to keep them all in the air at the same time. At least off
the ground, anyway. This morning was a record six squirrels. Squirrel
juggling. Six squirrels in the air at all times.

A quick teleconference to present an audit report to a client board meeting.
This client is a Denver client, but they have board members all across the
state. So we have a phone meeting. I like it better when I'm in a room
with some people and a few others attend via conference call. It's always
strange when I'm the one on the phone with no one else in the room. I don't
get much feedback. There is a little shuffling of papers in the background.
Sometimes some muffled conversation I can't quite make out. I try to speak
at an appropriate pace, and make appropriate pauses, but it's so blank. It
illustrates how much we depend on expressions, gestures, and direct
interaction to pace a presentation.

Off we go. On the road again. As we head down the road, Matt and Kari have
gone back to the Colorado River State Park outside Grand Junction in their
fifth-wheel to hang out there again for a long weekend. Sounds like sunny
hot weather for them.

Here is my challenge for this weekend. I have been assigned the video
camera. I have been elected videographer. This would not be cause for
concern, except for having been assigned this responsibility at Jacob and
Yousun's wedding. For that, I was unprepared. I had no experience with
video cameras. They handed me one and showed me how to use it. It didn't
look too hard to use. Downright simple, in fact. Almost idiot proof.
Almost being the operative adjective.

I went about my assignment thoughtfully, working to capture all the key
events from the best possible angles. I turned it off and on, zoomed and
unzoomed, recorded and paused. I did it all. I left, pleased with having
executed my task so well, considering my lack of experience. Later, I found
out the tape was blank. It's not possible, but the tape was blank.
Somehow, I taped the entire event, without once properly engaging the record

For this occasion, we came properly armed with our own video camera. We
bought our own, and made sure I was familiar with all the features. I know
I know how to use this one.

Motorhome on the toll road, transponder on the dashboard, sixty-five miles
per hour, no traffic. An easy loop around to Interstate 76. Checked the
fuel while we were driving. The last time we tanked up was in Durango. We
still have half a tank. I like that.

Out through Eastern Colorado towns. They pass quickly. Lochbuie, Hudson,
Keenesburg, Roggen, Wiggins, and Fort Morgan. Lunch on the road. Judy
prepared it while I was driving. We stopped in Keenesburg for a few minutes
to eat it.

An eighty mile day. The motorhome parked next to the hog barn. A wedding
rehearsal. A rehearsal dinner. Lots of happy people. Lots of video.

Sunday, June 6, 2004



This is it. Last day in town before we head out to the wedding in Fort

We were lucky enough to live across the street from Archie for thirty years.
Great old guy. He was always old, even thirty years ago, because he was
always older than us. Young at heart, active, interesting: that was Archie.
We crossed the street and talked to him over the fence for thirty years.
Ultimately, he actually did get old and die. But before he died, his
daughter Lolly, and her husband Larry, and their daughter Jodee, moved down
from Fort Morgan to help take care of him. And stayed. Now we're lucky
enough to live across the street from Larry and Lolly. Daughter Jodee is
getting married, back at their old stomping grounds in Fort Morgan, so off
we go to hang out with them for a couple days, and see if we can help more
than get in the way. Larry tells me we have a nice flat space to park the
motorhome right next to the barn. The hog barn.

I've got my Honda legs back under me, and it's a nice car again. I
particularly like the climate control. What a logical thing to do. Instead
of chasing the changing conditions with the heater controls, trying to find
the temperature you want to be, just pick the temperature you want to be,
and let the mechanism take care of all the details. I wonder why they don't
offer that on the dashboard of motorhomes. Guess there is too much climate
to control from there.

I have to confess. I've discovered I'm an elitist. Driving to work
yesterday, to a new client's office, I wasn't looking forward to driving
through the middle of Denver to get from our house on the northwest side, to
the client's office way out east. That's a lot of driving, and a lot of
traffic all the way. I had allowed an hour for this exercise. Leaving
Louisville, at the top of Murphy's hill, I realized that the new beltway
would loop all the way around to the north, then east, past the airport, and
south to the neighborhood I was headed for. And the best part is: it's a
toll road, so there was hardly anyone else on it. My own private road! I
can pay extra and have my own road with no traffic! I'll take it.

We have a transponder in the glove box of every car, so it is painless to
pay. Just throw it up onto the dashboard, the machine reads it as you pass
through, with no slowing down for tollbooths. It was good. And, it only
took half an hour to get there.

Friday, June 4, 2004



It's a good return to work. A quiet day yesterday. I had decided to leave
at four to get an early start on racquetball. Just before four, the phone
calls started, and didn't let up until five. No problem. Just lots of
things that needed to be talked about.

Today, I did a review for a new client, so I got to go work at their office
all day. Environmental Learning for Kids. They take inner-city kids out
camping and fishing, and teach them some wilderness ethics.

The ground is warming. I can tell. I can tell from the ceramic faucets in
the bathroom. They're the old style, four lobed faucets. It's easy to
recognize exact positions for water temperature. All winter long, I have
been setting them in one particular configuration. Now, on our return from
a month and a half away, that setting results in a scalding hot shower. The
temperature of the water coming out of the hot water heater hasn't changed.
The cold water mixing with it has to be warmer. The instant ice water from
our cold water faucet is warming.

We like the layout of the motorhome. With one sliding door in the middle,
it's clearly divided between front and back. We can hang around in the
front in the evening without having to close it all up. When we start
settling down for the night, taking showers and such, we can close the
middle door for privacy and to keep the shower heat back there. We slide
the door back open, last thing, and when we wake up in the morning, we have
a nice bright room out there waiting for us.

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

FW: trip41


It's all a matter of perspective. This is the first day I've driven the
Accord. I moved up to a bigger car from the RX-7, to a nice substantial
Honda sedan. After driving only the motorhome and the Jeep for all this
time, the Honda feels silly. It's just a little roller skate. It feels
like we let it down off its air suspension and we need to lift it back up
again, except it doesn't have air suspension.

We could use better internet access on our trips. Sometimes the cellphone
hookup worked, but there were a lot of areas that didn't have cellphone
coverage. The Alpen Rose Park had WiFi. A local wireless internet access.
It was fast when it worked, but it was unreliable. It went out of service a
lot. Clients would let me hook up to their landline phones, but that didn't
work well either. If their phones had multiple lines coming in, I couldn't
get past that barrier. We talked to other motorhomers with giant internet
dishes pointed at the sky. They had reliable access, but they were also
planted in one spot. Those dishes didn't look portable. I expect internet
access to get easier and faster every year. We still need it to be a little
of each.

If anyone knows something we should be doing to get better internet service
on the road, we'd appreciate any help.

Tuesday, June 1, 2004



We see this stopover in Louisville as just that: a stopover. The trip goes

We did settle back into the house a little bit, though. We even spent the
night in it last night.

We didn't have anything at home that needed immediate attention on our
return. Our neighbor Bob did such a good job with the house and yard; we
could come home and just relax. And open the dining room windows. They
haven't opened in thirty years. No telling how long they had been painted
shut before that.

I didn't get what I expected on this trip. Judy didn't get what she
expected. She expected more leisure time, more days to fill. It turned out
to be a very busy trip for her. I thought we would have some breaks between
jobs, a more leisurely schedule, more time for contemplation, but it turned
out we needed every day for the jobs we scheduled. It was a busy trip for
me as well. I'll hope for a little more scheduling cushion next trip.
Actually, I think if we schedule the same, the fact that they're repeat jobs
will help a lot.

It surprised me that we had to restate prior auditors work as much as we
did. Normally, even if you would have done something differently, you can
use the prior auditor's work as a starting point and just move forward. I
like it better that way.