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California: Day 1
October 7, 2007

Our 2007 vacation has begun! We landed safely in Las Vegas and after some shenanigans with the Dollar Rent a Car people we were finally under way with our sporty Subaru Forester. The beauty of the desert was immediately apparent as we headed out of Las Vegas, surrounded by mountains on all sides. After driving for 30 minutes, we could still look back and see the city!

Day 1 was Mojave National Preserve, known for its cute little "Joshua Trees". Don't get too close though, they are armed with mean spikes. To our surprise, the desert air was fresh and cool, just below 70 degree fahrenheit. We enjoyed driving the roads through the preserve, stopping occassionally to get out and take a closer look at the plants and to breath the air.

The visitor centre was a nice stop, and the people there were very eager to answer any questions we had or even to look up additional information on the Internet. I asked whether the Mojave was popular with cyclists, and as it turns out, there is a very long 500 mile bike race that is finishing on our day 2. They pass right through the Mojave National Preserve and end up in Twentynine Palms, which is the little desert town that we're staying at currently.

Onward to day #2!

Rapberry jam
July 21, 2007

When I was 10 I had the opportunity of staying with my grandma and grandpa Bigham for a week or two while my parents vacationed in Florida. I remember that my dear grandmother would always have the kitchen tidy and the breakfast table set before bed. The next morning, we would gather at the little round table, often covered with a colourful table cloth, for breakfast. My grandma Bigham's jams were a delight. Her tart, sweet, raspberry freezer jam was my favorite.

So this weekend, while Meredith was away in Ottawa, I decided I'd make some raspberry jam for the first time. I grabbed my back pack, a couple 1-pint cartons, and headed off on my bike to Nauman's.

It was a perfect day for picking, and I enjoyed the peace and quiet of the raspberry patch for half an hour, sometimes standing bent over, other times sitting in the grass peering into the foliage to see if there were any berries I had missed. A couple times I bumped my carton and I imagined how horrified you'd be if you knocked it over. On the other side of the row was a elderly couple that reminded me of my grandparents... it's pretty neat to be blessed with so many fond memories.

Strawberry jam
June 17, 2007

Meredith and I had the delight of making some strawberry jam this weekend from berries that we picked earlier in the morning at Herrle's Market. Only 3 more hours before they're set and ready to be eaten! :) mmm!

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