So here's what you need to know about this trip:

We went on a long driving trip last year, and during the winter after this trip I was pining for desert and sunshine, and I said to Doug, I want to go camping in Utah for a couple of weeks next summer; there's lots of stuff still to see and I have the time.

Have fun, he said, I'm not going.

So I thought about it, and then our friends Carol and Eric told me about Combatcon, which is a convention devoted to western martial arts, and that sounded like a lot of fun, so Diana and James and I got tickets. It's in Vegas at the end of June every year.

And then I thought, well, if I'm already in Vegas, I'm right next door to Utah, I should just go camping after Combatcon. So I made plans to do that- be in Vegas for Combatcon from Thursday afternoon June 25 through Monday June 29 (so I could have a day in Vegas after the con was over) then leave from there for Utah and camping til July 12. I asked a bunch of people, none of whom ended up being able to come with me (although yes, several of my friends actually did want to come to Utah in July...!)

Doug and I talked about me going alone; he was concerned about two things: one, that I would forget all about him and not call him, and two, that something would happen to me and he wouldn't know where I was. So I agreed to call at least every other day to talk, and to make sure he knew where I was staying every night. And that worked for both of us.

Of course, he joked about me getting killed in Utah, so I finally looked at him and said, would you like me to take out a life insurance policy on myself for this trip? Sure, he said, and I got a $300,000 internet policy...good thing he didn't have to cash it in!

My phone is a cheap Tracfone, which works fine but doesn't have great coverage; there were times (like in Kanab UT) where I could only get connected in one place. I had a prepaid pay phone card with me, and actually used it once when there was no other way to call.

Also, my camera is awesome- it's a Panasonic Lumix that takes GREAT pictures...except sometimes, when it decides not to. I really thrashed it last year and this spring at Death Valley, and noticed a couple of days into this trip that there is a dark blob of dust on the sensor...I fixed that in the pictures that I wanted to keep, but it was damn annoying. Also, no matter how much I cleaned my lens, I often have glare that looks like smudges, but it comes and goes; don't know what that's about. Time for a new camera, I think...