At some point, I will probably feel inspired to write more specific details of the second half of our trip just ended, replete with photographs and witticisms and anecdotes and the like. That day will probably not come in an icy fluorescent computer cluster, rolling past midnight and anticipating sleeping in an overwarm empty house, using twin six-foot pool floats as a mattress.

What I can offer you today, however, is the below summary of the trip, which I offer in equal parts to posterity and to you. I can also offer you this fact that I learned today: there is such a thing as pigeon racing. On the way to see the film “In the Loop” today, Emily and I were behind a truck full of racing pigeons. There is, apparently, no limit to the human capacity to exploit birds.

SUNSET to SUNRISE SUMMER SOJOURN 2009
Summary of Events

Day 1 – Tue, 7/7 – Berkeley, CA to Tracy, CA
Highlights: Departure, seeing all three apartments lived in during time in the Bay Area.
Movie: “Ice Age 3D” at the Grand Lake in Oakland, CA.
Book: War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy (begun before trip and only book read subsequently unless otherwise noted)
Night in: Tracy, CA (Home of the Guitar Hero)

Day 2 – Wed, 7/8 – Tracy, CA to Fresno, CA
Highlights: Going to the park with the nieces and nephew.
Night in: Clovis, CA (Garin Homestead)

Day 3 – Thu, 7/9 – Fresno, CA
Highlights: Detailed discussion of educational policy with Em’s parents.
Night in: Clovis, CA (Garin Homestead)

Day 4 – Fri, 7/10 – Fresno, CA
Highlights: Swimming and board games with the Garin clan.
Night in: Clovis, CA (Garin Homestead)

Day 5 – Sat, 7/11 – Fresno, CA (with King’s Canyon NP, CA)
Highlights: Boyden Cavern with rock-hopping in nearby river.
Hike: Small loops near sequoias (KCNP)
Night in: Clovis, CA (Garin Homestead)

Day 6 – Sun, 7/12 – Fresno, CA to Yosemite NP, CA
Highlights: Epic hike into Ostrander Lake, quick tour of Yosemite Valley.
Hike: Up to Ostrander Lake (YNP)
Night in: Yosemite National Park (camping, Ostrander Lake)

Day 7 – Mon, 7/13 – Yosemite NP, CA
Highlights: 6th wedding anniversary dinner at Wawona Hotel Dining Room.
Hike: Down from Ostrander Lake (YNP)
Night in: Yosemite National Park (Wawona Hotel)

Day 8 – Tue, 7/14 – Yosemite NP, CA to Los Angeles, CA
Highlights: Dinner with Russ at Mao’s Kitchen.
Night in: Beverly Hills, CA (Chez Gooberman)

Day 9 – Wed, 7/15 – Los Angeles, CA
Highlights: Games with Russ.
Night in: Beverly Hills, CA (Chez Gooberman)

Day 10 – Thu, 7/16 – Los Angeles, CA (with Altadeena, CA)
Highlights: Visiting Pandora’s summer home, epic life talk with Russ.
Night in: Beverly Hills, CA (Chez Gooberman)

Day 11 – Fri, 7/17 – Los Angeles, CA to Grand Canyon NP, AZ
Highlights: Loopy discussion with Emily about GCNP’s dystopian future, Em seeing Mather Point for first time.
Hike: Test-hike half-mile down Bright Angel Trail at dusk (GCNP)
Night in: Grand Canyon NP, AZ (Maswik Lodge)

Day 12 – Sat, 7/18 – Grand Canyon NP, AZ
Highlights: Returning to the Canyon’s trails, creek at Indian Garden, three-mile-house stop on upward journey.
Hike: Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden and back to South Rim (GCNP)
Book: This is Water, David Foster Wallace (in entirety at Indian Garden)
Night in: Grand Canyon NP, AZ (Maswik Lodge)

Day 13 – Sun, 7/19 – Grand Canyon NP, AZ to Albuquerque, NM (via Flagstaff, AZ)
Highlights: Rim hike and shuttles, lunch at the Bright Angel Lodge, Em’s big driving stint.
Hike: South Rim Trail to Mojave Point (GCNP)
Night in: Albuquerque, NM (Casa Clayton)

Day 14 – Mon, 7/20 – Albuquerque, NM
Highlights: The Frontier and Hurricane’s, catching up with the parents.
Movie: “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” at the Century Downtown 14 in Albuquerque, NM
Night in: Albuquerque, NM (Casa Clayton)

Day 15 – Tue, 7/21 – Albuquerque, NM
Highlights: Touring parks with Dad.
Night in: Albuquerque, NM (Casa Clayton)

Day 16 – Wed, 7/22 – Albuquerque, NM
Highlights: Morning coffee run, El Patio, balloon puzzle.
Hike: Petroglyphs National Monument
Night in: Albuquerque, NM (Casa Clayton)

Day 17 – Thu, 7/23 – Albuquerque, NM to Colorado Springs, CO (via Santa Fe, NM)
Highlights: Seeing the La Plazuela in the La Fonda reopened, for better and worse.
Night in: Colorado Springs, CO (Marriott Extended Stay Hotel)

Day 18 – Fri, 7/24 – Colorado Springs, CO to Denver, CO (via Manitou Springs, CO)
Highlights: Waffle House, Manitou Springs arcade walk.
Hike: Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs
Baseball: San Francisco Giants 3, Colorado Rockies 1
Night in: Denver, CO (Tess’ Place on Clayton Street)

Day 19 – Sat, 7/25 – Denver, CO
Highlights: Finding out about our moving van’s accident.
Movie: “Public Enemies” in Denver, CO
Night in: Denver, CO (Tess’ Place on Clayton Street)

Day 20 – Sun, 7/26 – Denver, CO
Highlights: Seeing Yana and her son, Lyle Lovett at Red Rocks.
Night in: Denver, CO (Tess’ Place on Clayton Street)

Day 21 – Mon, 7/27 – Denver, CO to Douglas, WY (via Cheyenne, WY)
Highlights: Epic mountain thunderstorm, wildlife in Moraine Park.
Hike: Lake-hopping hike shortened by thunderstorm, Moraine Park jaunt (Rocky Mountain NP, CO)
Night in: Douglas, WY (Motel 6)

Day 22 – Tue, 7/28 – Douglas, WY to Wall, SD (via Chadron, NE)
Highlights: Picking up Nebraska (state #47), Wind Cave, wildlife in Custer State Park, too many Harleys.
Hike: Wind Cave Natural Entrance Tour, Centennial Trail meadow hike (Wind Cave NP, SD)
Night in: Wall, SD (America’s Best Value Inn)

Day 23 – Wed, 7/29 – Wall, SD to Badlands NP, SD
Highlights: Wall Drug, Em seeing the Badlands, aborted scrambles down rock formations, just beating thunderstorm to set up tent.
Hike: In toward the rock formation (BNP)
Book: The Tales of Beedle the Bard, J.K. Rowling (in entirety in tent overnight)
Night in: Badlands NP, SD (camping, unnamed rock formation)

Day 24 – Thu, 7/30 – Badlands NP, SD to Sioux Falls, SD (via Mitchell, SD)
Highlights: Buffalo herds, rock scrambling, Corn Palace.
Hike: Out from the rock formation (BNP)
Night in: Sioux Falls, SD (American Budget Lodge)

Day 25 – Fri, 7/31 – Sioux Falls, SD to Minneapolis, MN
Highlights: Jolly Green Giant and DQ in Blue Earth, walking downtown Minneapolis.
Baseball: Los Angeles Angels 11, Minnesota Twins 5 (11 innings)
Night in: Minneapolis, MN (Churchill’s Palace)

Day 26 – Sat, 8/1 – Minneapolis, MN to Gooseberry Falls SP, MN (via Duluth, MN)
Highlights: Highway 61, Lake Superior, tree-climbing, campfire stories.
Hike: Around waterfalls, over rivers, and to the lake (GFSP)
Night in: Gooseberry Falls SP, MN (car camping)

Day 27 – Sun, 8/2 – Gooseberry Falls SP, MN to Minneapolis, MN (via Duluth, MN)
Highlights: Discussion of religion with Ike/Mo and friends, lunch in Duluth.
Hike: Along lakeshore and up to the abandoned fireplace (Split Rock Lighthouse SP, MN)
Night in: Minneapolis, MN (Churchill’s Palace)

Day 28 – Mon, 8/3 – Minneapolis, MN to Madison, WI (via McGregor, IA)
Highlights: Picking up Iowa (state #48), lunch at Latino’s Mexican Restaurant in McGregor, views of the Mississippi.
Hike: To various viewpoints of effigy mounds (Effigy Mounds NP, IA)
Movie: “500 Days of Summer” at Sundance Theater in Madison, WI
Night in: Madison, WI (Holiday Inn)

Day 29 – Tue, 8/4 – Madison, WI (with Wisconsin Dells, WI)
Highlights: UW campus, Wisconsin state capitol, the Dells.
Hike: Very brief “hikes” on Wisconsin Dells boat tour (the Dells).
Night in: Madison, WI (Holiday Inn)

Day 30 – Wed, 8/5 – Madison, WI to Chicago, IL (via Milwaukee, WI)
Highlights: Breakfast with Angelo, oil change and Miller Park visit in Milwaukee, Ray Bradbury Park in Waukegan, IL, nice hotel staff.
Baseball: Chicago White Sox 6, Los Angeles Angels 2
Night in: Chicago, IL (Holiday Inn Express, Magnificent Mile)

Day 31 – Thu, 8/6 – Chicago, IL to Detroit, MI (via Ann Arbor, MI)
Highlights: Walking all over Chicago, Michigan campus, Japanese food in Ann Arbor.
Movie: “Food Inc.” at the State Theater in Ann Arbor, MI
Night in: Detroit, MI (St. Regis Hotel)

Day 32 – Fri, 8/7 – Detroit, MI
Highlights: Walking much of Detroit, amazing lunch, People Mover, return to the Renaissance Center, fireworks at Comerica Park.
Movie: “Orphan” at the Ren Cen 4 in Detroit, MI
Baseball: Detroit Tigers 10, Minnesota Twins 8
Night in: Detroit, MI (St. Regis Hotel)

Day 33 – Sat, 8/8 – Detroit, MI to Cleveland, OH
Highlights: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Night in: Cleveland, OH (Holiday Inn, Airport)

Day 34 – Sun, 8/9 – Cleveland, OH to Pittsburgh, PA
Highlights: The most absurd “National Park” ever, 10th row 1st base seats at PNC Park for cheap, chess.
Hike: Early morning towpath walk around bikers (Cuyahoga Valley “NP”, OH)
Baseball: St. Louis Cardinals 7, Pittsburgh Pirates 3
Night in: Pittsburgh, PA (Extended Stay America Hotel, Airport)

Day 35 – Mon, 8/10 – Pittsburgh, PA
Highlights: Duquesne Incline, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, massive thunderstorm.
Night in: Pittsburgh, PA (Extended Stay America Hotel, Airport)

Day 36 – Tue, 8/11 – Pittsburgh, PA to Philadelphia, PA (via Carlisle, PA)
Highlights: Return to Dickinson College campus, Hershey’s “Factory” Tour.
Movie: “Julie and Julia” in Philadelphia, PA
Night in: Philadelphia, PA (Messily Manor)

Day 37 – Wed, 8/12 – Philadelphia, PA (with Easton, PA)
Highlights: Visit to Crayola “Factory” Tour in Easton, PA with Mesco/Afsheen (not driven by our car and thus exclusive of 6,206 miles), dinner at Ariel/Michael’s.
Night in: Philadelphia, PA (Brickhouse of Books)

Day 38 – Thu, 8/13 – Philadelphia, PA
Highlights: Mugshot’s coffee shop of slowness, reading, talking, lounging.
Night in: Philadelphia, PA (Brickhouse of Books)

Day 39 – Fri, 8/14 – Philadelphia, PA to Princeton, NJ
Highlights: Dropping off Ariel at the airport, Route 1 to Princeton, arrival.
Night in: Princeton, NJ (The New Place)

Wow, that took a lot longer than I expected to type. Please excuse the fun names I used for people’s various places of residence/hosting. And many thanks to those people, namely the various members of Emily’s family, my parents, Russ, Ike/Mo, Mesco/Afsheen, and Ariel/Michael. And extra-special thanks to Em’s sister Holly for helping us book Hotwire rooms from the road, which probably saved us hundreds of dollars. Seriously, we stayed at some ridiculously nice places for absurdly cheap.

Really looking forward to how hot it’s going to be back in our new place right now. This computer cluster joins much of the state, apparently, in over-air-conditioning the world when it’s a little hot outside. I’m going to have to carry a jacket everywhere in New Jersey summers, just in case I want to set foot in a building without catching pneumonia.