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.