Dateline: September 7 2019. Edmonton, Alberta

Time flies when you’re on the road! Last post was from Bishop California, August 10. (Our big summer trip had started back in Kitchener Ontario back on July 26.) The next day we drove through Nevada - where we came frighteningly close to running out of gas in the middle of nowhere - to Arizona for a stunning sunset at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and to Utah for a very late time at the very nice Holiday Inn Express in Springdale. Morning after that we hiked the Virgin a River up to the incredible Narrows in Zion National Park, and day after that we drove through AZ and a New Mexico down to El Paso Texas where we lived for the next 5 days while I played in El Paso Pro Musica’s Summerfest’19: “Spanish Nights.”

The week was a heavy one; El Paso had just days before suffered the horrible mass shooting that left so many innocents dead. EPPM stepped up and rearranged our schedule to accommodate several memorial events at which our superstar and hometown hero cellist Zuill Bailey performed a beautiful and moving set of solo pieces… a series of moments none of us witnesses will never forget.

Our final concert at UTEP on the 17th was actually only the first of many that Zuill and Alfredo have gone on to perform with other colleagues in other communities around the country over the ensuing 5 weeks, so violinist Helen and I were a bit like their training partners on some level, flexible enough to handle the unpredictability of the week’s schedule and helping to iron out kinks in the program the two guys would be taking out on the road… It was so fun getting to know Helen and Alfredo - Zuill had worked with each of us separately previously, so this was an opportunity to bring us together, and it really turned out well. We had a blast and hopefully we’ll get another chance to see each other before long. Hint hint, Zuill!

From El Paso we drove north, hitting 4 Corners where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah meet, and Mesa Verde National Park just outside Cortez, Colorado - where we did a relatively quick drive through to view some of the easier-to-access cliff dwellings and table-top community archaeological dig sites. Relatively here means we only spent 3 hours going up and around the Mesa top, instead of an entire day or two. Sunset fell as we drove back down the mountainside and we ended the day with a room at the Inn at the Canyons in Monticello, Utah. And their pool was open when we checked in, and a few of us took advantage. That’s a nice place, I recommend it!

So it was now the 19th of August and we continued north to Moab where we took a few hours’ detour into Arches National Park, which of course was awesome and really deserves a full day or two, but c’mon, we were on a tight schedule at this point! From Arches it wasn’t too too far to get to Logan Utah where we were looking forward to seeing old friends for a couple days - Brad and Denise were my roommates in Boston when I was there for my Masters and met my future wife, and when I left after one year to join Cypress, they became my her roommates when she moved in after me for her second year of her own Masters. So, yeah, good, old friends! We stayed two nights with them and enjoyed a wonderful little hike on the Limber Pine Trail at the end of Logan Canyon, that Denise drove us up to and that doubled as a dog walk for their relatively new 90lb puppy, Grizz.

And finally, from Logan on the 21st we again headed north, stopping briefly at a very cool rest stop where a Lava Flow ‘geological site’ has been marked and trailed-around for drive-by tourists like us (thanks for the heads-up, Brad!), and then skirting west to experience a bit of Glacier National Park - yes, amazing - before crossing back into Canada for our last 6 hours of driving up to Edmonton. We’d left Logan around 7:30am, the day’s an unforgettable blur (you do the math), and we arrived at our new apartment at 2:30am on the 22nd.

What happened next? Watch this space!