Brother and I in Stanley Park in Vancouver. Yes, it is raining.

My final October Death Valley trip with 25 guests. One of them captured me in motion at the top of our final day hike at Zabriskie Point.

"Hi Mum and Dad? Guess where I am!" (Answer: Drinking $0.99 Margaritas in Vegas)

During the whirlwind Hollywood visit with Jess, my co-leader and Vegas stopover companion.

Me, at Half Moon Bay, California on the Coast Ride. I had the photographer cut out the "B", I wish it was 'Half Moon Hallow' or something, because that would be awesome.

Darkness is falling slowly on the corner coffee shop I am perched in. Near this window I have been watching Hu's Automotive. The traffic in and out has been slow but consistent. I have been slowly knocking away at my long electronic to do lists in a similar fashion.

Taking a breath from Backroads life, I find myself in Vancouver visiting Thomas. He is doing incredibly well and blossoming into a delightful young man. I only question his skinny jeans, a style I was convinced was only for very skinny European men. Thomas has graciously showed me around Vancouver, we've sampled coffee in his new neighborhood, and played around in the rain and dined out at local haunts. I had a chance to visit dearest Lisa, an unexpected surprise as she is here for work, and have made plans with a few other peeps from the Calgary lululemon experience and University. Minus the impending signs of a winter I am trying not to consider too much, all is well in my world.

Two big trips in Death Valley, neither spectacular, and I am looking forward to my final haul and another chance to shine. I feel incredibly deflated when I leave trip(s) feeling cosi cosi (Italy's salute to 'so-so') about how a trip went. One more trip, one more unit drive, finishing paperwork for the season... and I will be dropped back into Calgary. Time to think, time to recover, time to re-group...

But the end of October wasn't a complete loss. I had a blast working in the Desert as I saw old friends in the park. Ed, a retired man who works concierge and valet at the Furnace Creek Inn, Danielle, a seasonal waitress I befriended in March of 08, Piper, a live-wire who works at the bar of the hotel and occasionally as a waitress. I like her because she has a bizarre tattoo on her neck, the thickest southern accent I have ever heard and a sweet and mild demeanor despite her strange hairdos, outrageous clothes and grating laugh. Friends came to visit me in Las Vegas for three nights after my trips. I learned Blackjack and Craps, drank large drinks from Slurpee machines and soaked in the green light of the MGM grand from our windows. Fast forward to this November evening and I believe things are looking bright for Holly Higgins. Bright indeed.

So I go back to my electronic list, my new Incubus album (Monuments and Melodies) and all around general kicking ass of life. I mean that in the nicest, most awesome, most monumental way.
I am attempting to pedal forward, except I have a small problem. I am biking into the worst headwind of my entire life. I cannot hold my handle bars in place long enough to complete a full revolution, treatment and gusts of sand keep sweeping up into my face. I wipe my face on my jersey but it is full of sweat that has dried in the desert heat, making my clothing stiff rags of dried sweat and sand, crisping in the heat of Death Valley. It is 102 F, the hottest it has been in October for 40 years in Death Valley. I am letting two guests draft behind me on my bike and I wonder to myself what I have gotten into. I feel like I am biking in a bikram yoga studio. I wonder how long it takes to die of heat exhaustion.

My fearless co-leader and myself found ourselves in the hottest, driest, gustiest four days of Death Valley trip history. We were afraid people were going to bake in the sun like the cookies you buy that are gooey dough and you can cut with a butter knife and put into the oven for a few minutes and then they are chewy and delicious. Except the people would not be chewy and delicious, they would be brown and crispy. And angry. And dangerously dehydrated...

Devin and I managed to recover from our rocky heat start and plowed through to have a great trip. I now have less than ten hours to wash my clothes, check my email, respond to it, have a shower, pull information for my next trip and execute it. All in a hard days work. Only five more days until a blissful day off... Five more days...

Other random life stuff that is not pertinent to the above writing but I wanted to mention anyway.

1. I cannot seem to post photos on my blog. I do not know why. I have tried several ways... I have Cali photos and Death Valley pics to put up. Weird.

2. I miss Calgary, for the people especially sis, Lis and G-ma, Bumpys, Talisman Centre, YP and David Walkers Wines.

3. My Mum has a blog and you should read it:

4. I do not have one clean article of clothing in my bag.

5. It is perfectly acceptable to walk down the street of Boulder City with your friend/co-worker in your bikini with a beer and a towel from your hotel, looking for an open hot tub to sit in. In fact, if the beer is open that is even better.

That is all, until the exhaustion passes, Good Night.