30 July 2009

Guest blogger -- Kate

The title of this post is slightly inaccurate. I've simply asked Kate's permission to paste a recent e-mail of hers here--minus a few of the many sand photos she took for her father and plus a couple of commas. Right now she's in San Diego, Robert's hometown, having the best vacation of her life.

Remember, all friends and family -- you should consider the invitation open to provide me with similar material. I'm particularly partial to weddings, trips, reunions, and new babies.

Hey Mom and Dad,

First a couple of pictures from the Moroccan meal I promised to send. Everybody thoroughly enjoyed it... [Kate's specialty is Moroccan cuisine--she'll spend hours shopping for and chopping the ingredients]

So . . . the first day involved a nightmare at Philadelphia airport. Made our flight by about 5 minutes. We then went to meet his friends Jimbo and Rebecca and went out to the lake. Sadly didn't get any pictures of Robert waist deep in the water and on the back of a waverunner with me.

Today headed out to the DESERT. The topography here is amazing — couldn't get pictures of some of the bigger rocks — mainly landed on corners in the road where I didn't feel like stopping. Just to give you an idea though. I'm sure when we talk you can explain it all to me, Dad . . . .

And right next to all this was the dirt hills with no rocks . . . .

Here are the dunes that we finally arrived at— the Imperial Dunes. This is the area where I got a sample as there was a break in the fence. Man, I can walk on blacktop in bare feet but have never felt it like I did here. It was 112 degrees today.

The Mexican side of the desert. Yes, we went through three checkpoints on the drive there and back.

Luckily however on the way back we got off at another stop Robert noticed and it turned out to be the park entrance. The dunes are also known as Buttercup, which is popular for dirt biking in more temperate times of the year. Somewhere the friend you met on your trip might know.

And I'm sure you also know, Dad, that this was where the desert scenes in Return of the Jedi were filmed. We were lucky enough to come upon three avid fans taking pictures. Sadly they had already started to get derobed by the time I snapped them, but it was a storm trooper — not sure — and maybe Princess Leia in a certain outfit. Unfortunately not the bikini top one for you, Dad . . . .

I could barely see the actual screen of my camera so not all came out great, but here are some more. [a few photos edited out]

And the actual sand is collected. Yes, I was a little hot by the time we had gone up a bit.

The smaller light colored car in the distance is ours. Got upgraded to a Chevy Malibu. Not the best on gas but a very comfortable ride and it has a stereo I can play my ipod through. Very nice . . . .

Some more scenery from the way back.

And a picture of the samples we collected. Color from the picture is not accurate — it is a little lighter. We did observe however that the stuff we collected at the edge was much finer in general and had fewer dark pieces. I assume that makes sense as it is the lighter stuff that drifts farther and the darker is probably made of a heaver material.

Oh what a daddy's girl I am, as Robert says.

Well we are back off to Poway to meet some of his friends tonight. Got to meet his sister this afternoon and she is incredibly nice. We might go on a 12-mile hike the day that I have after Robert flies out for Depeche Mode.

Anyway — hope you guys are doing well. I did mail off the package to you for London so hopefully it makes it.

Kate xxxxxxx

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