Well, we're almost home. I"m sending this from my sister's house in Fresno, about 3 hours drive from Redwood City. The last travelogue you received from us was from somewhere around Galveston, Texas, and we just hit the wall. Too many new things, too much driving, too much cold weather, everything starting to blur together - it all started to seem like work, and not a vacation, so we decided to speed up our trip home by a week or two after being on the road since mid-October.

We spent 5 days parked in front of Dave & Maryanne Hamel's house in Scottsdale, AZ, which was relaxing. Cordula rented a car and spent 2 nights on her own in Sedona, getting her polarity reaffirmed inside of a vortex or something like that. Sedona is an upscale tourist area known for its spectactular desert scenery, arts, and for the purported vortexs, which are said to be electromagnetic energy fields eminating from the rock formations, which energize and inspire. I am happy to report that Cordula returned safely and newly inspired.

In the meantime, Dave and I went to a Rangers-Coyotes hockey game, a classic car auction, Home Depot, mideast and Indian restaurants, surfed the web using his cable modem, and did other 21st century stuff.

Just to give you an idea how different the rest of the world is from California and New York, we bought some scalped tickets for the hockey game. We got 5th row seats for 20% UNDER face value, and a friendly Phoenix cop told us about the official scalpers area, which was even designated by yellow lines on the sidewalk across the street from the arena.

Driving across Texas is a chore. It's big. It's nearly 900 miles across on I-10. Post-Galveston, we stayed at the not very interesting town of Seguin, just as an overnight stop and also the town of Fredericksburg.

Fredericksburg, with a historical German population and culture, has become a popular tourist center for reasons which are entirely unclear. We will remember it for serving the worst restaurant meal we each have ever had, anywhere in the world, and paying $35 for the privilege. It is truly the only time that both Cordula and I have left nearly everything on our plate - even their home-baked bread was terrible. The peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we had back in the RV were much better. We will also remember it for having only one part-time taxi, driven by an 83 year old retired sailor, who told us stories about his 4 ex-wives and his days in the navy, as he drove us to and from our culinary experience.

Fort Stockton, about halfway between San Antonio and El Paso, was one of the more armpit-like places we've seen - bleak desert, with non-stop winds, nothing much happening in the town, rundown from its heyday as an oil boom town in the 1920's & 30's. The oddest thing was the owner of the RV park we stayed in, who told me that she and her husband had bought the place about 5 months earlier, after falling in love with the area. To relocate to Fort Stockton, they sold their successful waterfront business in San Diego, which sold fuel and supplies to boaters. Ever seen the early '70's movie, "The Last Picture Show" with Cybill Shepard? That was this town. Why anyone would move there from San Diego generated a conversation between Cordula and myself that lasted a good 100 miles on I-10.

El Paso is huge. It blends with Ciudad Juarez over the Mexican border for a metro area of several million. It looks just like the towns in Mexico we have visited on other vacations.

We did spent one night on our way to Phoenix in Las Cruces, New Mexico which I had heard was an interesting town, but really was not, except for a small historical district. And, on our way from Phoenix to Fresno, we stopped overnight in San Dimas, California, in a surprisingly nice county park.

So - another night or two in Fresno, then 3 hours north, and we are home. It was a pretty exciting, interesting trip, and we look forward to catching up in person with all of you. 3 months went by very, very fast. Life is so short - we hope that all of you get to take 6 months off and travel while you are still young and healthy.

- cordula and steve -