You don't need an elaborate plan or a lot of money for a great vacation. This one certainly didn't have those. Thanksgiving dinner was over and people gathered on the couch to watch dogs play and offer sincere compliments to the various chefs. I was wondering if it would be acceptable to eat a fourth slice of pumpkin pie when Andrew, without prompt, said "I have five days of PTO I need to use." Temporarily forgetting the pie, I allowed a faint smile and asked, "where are we going?"

I'm not fortunate enough to have PTO, but that's hardly going to stop me. We discussed possible locations before deciding on a few. Having driven to Alaska and back in 19 days, I felt confident we could visit several places and play the details by ear.

A month passed and there was still no real plan, even as we crammed the bikes and gear into his Jeep. There were three destinations: Joshua Tree, Death Valley and Red Rock Canyon. We had a time frame: 5 days. For some, that may have been stressful, but it was plenty for us.

We reached Joshua Tree around midday, found a campsite, rock climbed by moonlight, slept and rock climbed some more the next morning. On our way to Death Valley, we took a scenic detour through Big Bear Lake hoping to get a quick ride in. Unfortunately, it was already covered in snow. We briefly discussed driving up the Highway 1, but decided to stick to the "plan". After hammocking that night in Death Valley, we drove all over - modifying the itinerary after every stop. The two of us set foot on the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere, biked to a waterfall, explored sand dunes and watched the sun set from the eastern rim. We made Vegas by nightfall and crashed at my cousin's. The next day was spent entirely inside of a harness at Red Rock Canyon. The last day was saved for riding the trail Allarah died on in September that year.

Suffice it to say the trip was amazing. Until next time! I'm not sure what I'll do this weekend, but I'll figure something out :)

Happy adventures!

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