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The Diary takes a holiday (continued) 8 September 1999
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I'm on holiday until October 25ish.  For details of where I'll be, see my previous holiday notice.

If you are really interested, I might be able to do updates here from time to time.   But no promises.

Watch this space
If I do any travel updates, they'll be listed in this section.  But hey, I'm on holiday!  Don't expect much.
Saturday 18 September 1999
Brian Head, Utah
I've just finished an amazing start to the holiday.  I spent three days in LA. I was staying in Westwood, which is near UCLA.  I rode my bike out to Santa Monica and rode the bike paths south towards Venice. Mark Rogo and I went up to Sycamore Canyon and rode up to the lookup and down the single track.  I flew out to Salt Lake City on Saturday.  Drove down with Nill, Tedd, and Jon to Kanab in southern Utah.  On Sunday we started our trip with Rim Tours. Our guides where Mike, Maggie, and Brad.   The first day was the hardest.  We were just inside Arizona and climbing slightly.  It was the altitude which got everyone.  That night we camped within sight of the Grand Canyon.  It was awesome.  The next day we did a great downhill into a meadow then a climb up to a service station.  Then a 5 mile down hill to lunch.  That night we camped at North Rim, again overlooking the Grand Canyon.   The next day was 9 miles out to another point.  Great riding and another great view.  Then we rode back to where we started.  The next day, we rode 10 miles out to the road end, packed up the bikes and went back to Kanab.

That afternoon, we drove to Brian Head.  It's at about 10,000 feet and we can really feel the lack of oxygen.  Walking up three flights of stairs leaves us breathless.  The first day we didn't ride (lightning storms).  On Friday some of us drove to Gooseberry Mesa, down near Hurricane Utah.  That is one great place to ride.  Lots of trails, slick rock, desert, high mesa views, just great!

Here are some URLs I know of which deal with Gooseberry Mesa:

Today we rode Dark Hollow / Second left hand canyon. That's about 13 miles, which was all downhill. Great ride through the trees, then a gravel road. Just great!

Tomorrow I leave for Salt Lake City to pick up a rental car and head north into Idaho and Wyoming.


Wednesday 29 September
I'm in Moab, Utah (  This is a great place for mountain biking.  I arrived here on Thursday of last week.  I recommend the Red Rock Lodge (51 N. 100 W. Moab, Utah 84532, 435-259-8315 Fax: 435 259-3823).  See for details.  They have a good bike lock up, are across the road from Rim Cyclery, and are in a quiet area.  They also are good about you checking out late on your last day so you can ride in the morning, and get back and have a shower before heading off home.  Quite a few mountain bikers seem to stay there.

That first night in Moab, I met some mountain bikers from Victoria, Canada.   They'd driven down, 24 hours straight (including the ferry from Vancouver Island).   They were off to do Moab Rim the next day.  I joined them. We took the chair lift up to the top.  The lift opened in April 1999, and they hope to attact mountain bikers.  Unfortunately, the trail doesn't look like it will attract the riders.   The main problem is the end of the track.  After gaining all that altitude, you have to walk down the side of the mesa through the rubble on a track is unrideable.   This is a carry-your-bike section which lasts about 25 minutes.  Not much fun.   There are certainly better rides around. I  can't see them getting much custom from cyclists. And defintely not any repeat business.  Mind you, the ride through Hidden Valley is quite good. But be aware of the hikers who come to visit the petroglyphs.   If you do plan to do this trail, do it from the south end (near Angel I think).

On the Saturday, I went out and did Slick Rock. I t's probably one of the most famous rides.  It is great scenery, and riding on rock is certainly unique.  The term "slick rock" comes from the pioneers, whose horses couldn't get a grip on the rock.  But mountain bike tires certainly get a firm grip on that rock.  You can ride up and across impossible slopes without your tires slipping. A ll you need is the power to get up the slope and the coordination.  And pedal timing is important.   You can see where many people hit their pedals on the rock.  They leave nice shiny spots.

The day I rode around Slick Rock, it was in the 80's.  It was hot.  I did the loop counter clockwise.  The track is laid out with paint and is easy to follow.   In some places the paint is fading a bit and is hard to see.  But you just retrace your route and all is well.  During the upcoming Fat Tire Festival, they plan to repaint the trail.  It is the 30th anniversary and the paint does need a touch up.

Do not underestimate the time required to go around Slick Rock.  Carry lots of water.  It is hot, hard work getting around.  I did the loop in 3 hours, of which 2 hours was actual riding time.

I was at first disappointed that motor vehicles where also present on the track.   But they are clearly in the minority and I saw no conflicts between users.   Motorcycles are the main motorised users.  Most of the track is unsuitable for more than two wheels.  It wasn't until after I had completed the track that I found out that the area was opened up by motorcyclists who first approached the authorities regarding creating a track in the area.  It also explains why some of the route involves very steep slopes.

Slick Rock is a good trail.  And given the hype about it, if you come here, you have to ride it.  However, I much prefer Gooseberry Mesa (see above), near Hurricane in southern Utah.  It's much faster, more like single track, and is more fun.  I highly recommend it. see for details. T he trail is marked with paint dots and is impossible to get lost on.   And the views are spectacular.  If you get a chance to go there, do so!

On Sunday, I did the practice loop at Slick Rock.  This is a fun wee loop.  I recommend you do that before attempting the full circuit.  Just so you can get an idea of what you are in for before you get in over your head.

Monday, I went back to Slick Rock and met up with some people from Washington and Colorado.  Four of us went off track and headed up to this cave we could see from the trail.  We followed the ridgelines to get back to the trail and the rest of the group.  The off track bit was quite fun and we quickly caught up to the rest of the group despite one person having multiple flats.

Tuesday I did Porcupine Rim.  This is a great ride.  Very fast, nice, and mostly single-trackish.  The climb is not difficult.  You can do this as a loop, but it's better to have some shuttle arrangement.

Monday 11 September 1999
I'm in San Francisco.  Actually, I'm slightly west of SF in a place called Concord.  Specifically, I'm at the headquarters of Walnut Creek CDROM .  Bob has allowed me to stay at his place.  But once the conference starts, I'll be at the hotel.

When I last wrote, I was still staying at Mike Smith's place in Moab.  He's a guide for Rim Tours.  Since then, I've stayed at the Red Rock Lodge.  They have a hose for cleaning, a secure lock up for the bike (with a token system so someone else doesn't walk out with your bike). T hey'll also let you check out late if you want to ride the last day of your trip.  Very nice!

I've had a good last few days in Moab.  My last ride was the easy Gemini Bridges.   Anyone can do this ride.  We saw more than one kid under 10 on this trail.   It's all 4WD road and no scary downhills or technical bits.

However, we did hear that someone drove their jeep into Gemini Bridges.  I mean into the hole.  It happened after we left.  The emergency vehicles went past us as we were packing up in the parking lot.  Details are not complete, but from what I can tell, he just drove off the edge of the canyon into the chasm below.  The only conlusion we can reach is that the driver did not first check to see how deep the hole was.  I guess he assumed it was a pothole.  Unfortunately, it was several hundred feet. He died.

I managed to do Porcupine Rim again.  Faster this time.  With Mark Rogo, Gary Klein, Julie Terry, and Jamie ?.  We had a good time!  Near the end of the trip, a runner started catching up to us.  So I headed off in front of the group to try to stay ahead of him.  I got ahead of him for a bit, but he nearly caught me twice.   By the time I got down to the road, he was about 100 feet behind me.  Good fun.

While in Moab, I became a frequent visitor to Eddie McStiff's and Red Rock Bakery.   McStiff's seems to be the best bar in town.  Good service and good food. I've met some interesting people there, some of whom I will be in contact with in the very near future.  With luck, some of them will come visiting and we'll do some riding in New Zealand.

I've had a great time on the trip.  But I'm ready to go home.  I miss the cats.  I miss my friends.  Some of them more than others.  But right now, I've got to get started on the final points for that paper I'll be delivering next week.


19 September 1999
Well, it's the first full day of the conference.  Jordan talked about the future and past of FreeBSD.  Interesting year it has been.  As for the future, there are some interesting things coming up.  From what I've seen and heard, some of which was rumour, some of which was glaned from what otheres were saying, I think we'll have some very big players coming into the FreeBSD market over the next year.  I would be suprised if Oracle did not announce/release a verion for FreeBSD by the middle of 2000.   Jordon estimated about 2,000,000 FreeBSD users.

And Jordan was presented with a Love-Ewe much to the glee of the assembled masses.

I attended Mark Murray's talk on security.  Enjoyed it.

The food has been good.  The water was off for most of the morning but it wasn't their fault.  A water main broke.

I finally met Rob Garrett, Chuck Rollaird, and Laz (all from #freebsd on undernet). We'll all (except Laz) be working on a project over the coming months (along with Jim Mock).

What else?  The course run by Kurk was good, bothin technical content, presentation style, and humour.  I would recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about FreeBSD technical issues and organisaion.  If you've done any system design courses, you'll see how things have changed since the good old days.

This afternoon I'll be going to the Security lecture by Warner.  Then it'll be the beer bash tonight. A bunch of geeks standing around drinking beer?  What more fun could possibly exist?  And I'm looking forward to being picked up at the airport when I return home on Monday.  Should be very interesting.  That's keeping me going through the slow bits.

As for last week, which I forgot to mention, I helped out the CDROM gang get ready for the conference.  One afternoon, we went to the dump to through out old stock.   Lots of stuff, which was outdated by newer releases, went to the garbage transfer station. E xciting stuff.  But we were working in a enclosed 11 yeard truck bed.   Very hot.  Very humid.  And very smelly.  From the garbage, not from us.

Another day I helped to stuff the conference bags which all attendees attended.   Very much fun.

And lo and behold, I went to dinner on Monday night with a bunch of people, Brett Glass included.  The rumours are not rumours.

20 October 1999
It's day 2 of the conference.  Yesterday afternoon I did the Security track and listened to Warner talk about secure distrubution of system upgrades.  Very interesting subject, but I grew weary late in the talk and departed.

In the evening, Kirk did a talk about the history of BSD.  Very good talk.   Humour played a large part in the talk and it was enjoyed by all.  It was taped, so see Kirk's site if you want a copy of the tape.  People buying last night would get the tape for US$30.  I would recommend it if only for hearing about the lawsuit from AT+T.

Large quantities of beer were consumed last night. I felt that this morning.   Luckily, my head was cleared by the time I gave my talk.  I'm glad that bit of the conference is over.

I scored big time this morning.  I received a Whistle tshirt and a knife.  Those will be taken home and stored away to be taken out when the geek fests are on.

I spoke with the execute editor of today.  Nice chat.  I think I'll be writing an article for them on the conference.  Here's hoping.  I did tell her about this website, so maybe she's reading this now [Hi].

This afternoon, I'll be sitting in on the Advocacy and Development tracks.  The Advocay talk will be about starting a user group, something near and dear to my heart.   The development talk will be by Mike (ocker) Smith and is about writing device drives.  I want to get into writing some code, and a device driver sounds like a fun way to start that (grin).

Tonight we have the dinner cruise.  We're talking about a cruise on the harbour with dinner server.  Should be great. Hopefully I won't drink as much as I did last night.

It's time for the Advocacy track to start. Gotta go.

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