Jan 042006

This will be short because it’s late, but 12:45am is the only quiet time around here. Got into Vegas yesterday and was met by my sister and her family. We toured around the Strip and saw the lobbies of the Belaggio and Caesar’s Palace (very cool). We had lunch at the Hofbrauhaus, which had real German food and beer even though no one there spoke a lick of German and the menus had numbers to order with, like at a Thai place. It was good, but really expensive. We went to M&M World, which had five stories of every conceivable piece of M&M-related merchandise you could possibly dream of, and a wall of bulk M&Ms in almost every possible color. So of course I had to make a gay pride bag of them. I would have done the leather flag, but it was too hard to layer properly in a plastic bag, and I didn’t want to have to explain that one to my sister. She loved my gay M&Ms though.

We stopped at the edge of town to hit Babies R Us and Sydney dragged me all over the store, where she touched or played with every single item she passed by, sometimes twice. Just like me at Micro Center. Afterwards we headed back to Ft. Irwin and ended up in the longest traffic jam I have ever seen in my life. Everyone was leaving Vegas after the New Year’s weekend, on a two-lane road that stretched from Vegas to LA. A solid band of red taillights moving at about 40 mph for 140 miles. I’ve never been so glad to turn off of a road as I was when we hit the road that leads to the base, which is another 37 miles of absolute nothing between the highway and the main gate.

Today was spent just hanging out, resting, and playing with Sydney. About midafternoon everyone laid down for a nap, and I drove around the base to check it out. If you like high desert mountains, this is the place to be as long as you don’t feel the need to see a tree anywhere. It’s colder than I expected, but the air is as about as clean as possible. It’s also very quiet, and I can see how a lot of people can’t stand to be stationed here. I’ve always enjoyed remote solitude, so I think I could deal with it pretty easily. I drove out near the Goldstone Deep Space Communications complex, which is run by NASA, and took some pictures of the radio telescope dishes. I couldn’t get too close since I ran into some “No Trespassing” signs, but I managed to get some decent shots. Apparently you can sign up for a tour but I don’t think I’ll have time for that.

On the way to the complex, which is about two miles off the main base road, I stopped off the road to get out, soak up the silence, and look at the mountains. It was so utterly still that when a buzzard or hawk of some kind flew over me, I could just barely hear the wind rushing through its wings.

After I got back Syd and I jumped on her new 11′ trampoline (with safety net walls), and I managed to jump around for a good 45 minutes without a single spiral fracture or compressed vertebrae! After dinner Mollie and I headed to the gym. She’s working off her baby weight from having Gavin, and I hadn’t worked out in over a week. I technically wasn’t supposed to be at the gym since I’m not military or a spouse, but no one checked my ID, and with my current haircut I blend right in. I got quite a shock when the guy using the elliptical next to Mollie had a t-shirt on with the HRC symbol. It’s a pretty safe way to advertise on a military base, because very few people outside The Tribe understand what it means. Pity he wasn’t at all cute…

Tomorrow we’re planning to check out a nearby ghost town, and maybe head to the nearest town (such as it is). Thursday we’re tentatively going to get up butt-early and drive to Sea World in San Diego, but we’ll see how that goes. Enjoy the pics from the previous post; when I have more time I’ll get them labelled and organized.

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