What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Hey all! Welcome back, and thanks for your patience. It’s been a busy few months, for everything except writing. I hadn’t planned on taking the summer off from posting, but that’s how it wound up. A quick catch-up, then I’ll fill you in on what’s next for Off the Rails.

The North Park Book Fair was a great success. Thanks to the organizers and the folks at Verbatim Books, and the beautiful San Diego weather, attendance was huge. I had a great time chatting with visitors and other authors and made some wonderful connections.

The week after the Book Fair my girlfriend and I and her son moved into our new house. Yes, the housing market is completely nutty, but it was the right time for us. It’s a wonderful space for us but getting settled has been a lot of work and I hope the plumbing calls are over for a while!

I was able to get out with some friends (old and new) the first weekend of fall for a camping tour around the Salton Sea and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Perfect weather for the excursion, and all of us got to see some new stuff, including Desert View Tower, Obsidian Butte, and Salvation Mountain.

Cottonwood Campground on BLM land in McCain Valley, overlooking Carrizo Gorge

I’m also just back from a week-long work trip to Breckenridge Mountain near Lake Isabella, the tail end of the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains. I met a fire lookout ranger who was on month five living in the tower. A small wildfire had cut off his power two weeks earlier (the reason I was there), and nights were getting a bit chilly without the electric heater!

Luckily, most of my other work projects have been short and local, but they’ve been heavy on the writing, and I just haven’t had the mental energy left over to devote to the blog to get it to the quality I want.

That should change soon, so I can get back to the Nobles Emigrant Trail. This summer’s Dixie Fire raged through that region, including parts of the Trail in and around Lassen Volcanic National Park. In my next Nobles post, I’ll fill you in on what was lost and what was saved.

In the meantime, I’m heading to Mojave National Preserve again, conducting archaeological surveys for the National Park Service. I’ll be spending about half my time between now and Christmas on that project, with many nights camping in the Preserve. Keep an eye on the Off the Rails Facebook feed for some posts on the Mojave Road, including Fort Piute and the Mojave Road Mailbox.

Thanks for coming along – see you all soon!

Along the Mojave Road, Cedar Canyon, Mojave National Preserve

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