Day 4:
No rest for the weary. After finally going to sleep somewhere around 12am and sleeping fitfully due to not having enough clothing (it got down to about 60 during the night), I awoke about the same time Mouser did and we hiked up a dune to watch the sunrise at about 6am. After about an hour or so of just wandering around and the others slowly rising, I went down and had a couple quick bites to eat and some water before starting in with the dune jumping again.

It turned out that on the same dune we had been jumping off the evening before, there was another side that was even steeper (and therefore even more fun to jump off). We all (Mouser - Lukas (2) - Nichol - Allana - Lukas and Allana - Nichol and I) took turns flying off it for well over an hour (while others snapped up some really excellent photos of it all). Even though I hadn't eaten very much that morning, I had tons of energy and ended up bombing off the side about 30 times (pictures of me jumping: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - frames - frames2 (2 and 6 are my faves)). I guess I was kind of a ham, but it was lots of fun.

At about 9am, we decided that we were all hungry and took down the tents and packed it all back to the cars. After eating some brunch at a local restaurant, we took off toward the VLA (Very Large Array). It was also at this point where I missed a turn (I didn't know we had to turn and Mouser had fallen asleep) while driving and we went completely out-of-the-way. Lukas and Allana were already going on their seperate way to Las Vegas, but we ended up missing the chance to say goodbye to them at the VLA because we didn't show up until about 3 hours after we were supposed to.

The VLA itself was excellent. There were about 30 dishes nearly 100 feet in height each that could be configured into different settings through an elaborate rail system depending on what sort of research was being done. If you've seen the movie Contact with Jodie Foster, the VLA are the dishes that she's sitting under when she first hears the signal from outer space. Very neat.

Most of the day was spent driving and the musical selections ranged from cheesy trance music to bad (but very funny) white-boy rapping with great lines like, "I'm the waiter and I'll poop in your soup" and "Jump Up! Jump up and down on my nuts. Aw Yeah! Do That Stuff!" It kept us amused, but perhaps you would have had to been there to understand the humour.

That night, we ate at an excellent Mexican restaurant outside Santa Fe, then continued on to Los Alamos and saw some of the most high-security areas in the nation before winding down and crashing at John and Mouser's condo. After 2 days without a shower, including sand stuck in nearly every crevice from the desert, it felt good to finally clean off.

Day 5