Hi. My name is Mike and my last newscast was September 14th.
Yep---I've been on vacation. My wife Rhonda and I like to take two weeks every summer (or in this case late summer and early fall) and go camping. This time, our travels took us to towns like Flagstaff, Sedona and Moab as well as national parks and monuments including Zion, Lake Powell, the Grand Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bryce Canyon.
A few notes from the road:
Farm to fork has caught on. There's a lot more locally-sourced and well-prepared food in restaurants in rural Arizona and Utah than there was when we visited the same region last four years ago.
Anyplace you've never been that you think is remote (the Navajo Nation, for example) really isn't. Be prepared to meet and take tours with half of Europe and half of Japan.
Homesickness is not a problem. Fun fact: One in every eight vehicles in America wears a California license plate. You can be 750 miles from home and be surrounded by a sea of cars with plates from the Golden State. It's like being on the Cap City, just with towering red rocks everywhere you look.
Utah---the entire state---is the cleanest place I've ever been. The only thing I can figure is that when everyone else is asleep, people come out and vacuum the streets and highways. You could have surgery on the sidewalk and not get an infection.
And most importantly---if you're going to put 3,700 miles on the odometer in two weeks---a great travel partner is everything. I'm blessed to have that in Rhonda.
As much fun as we had, it was also good to come home on Saturday. We took Sunday to clean and put away the camping gear and then, on Monday, my last day of vacation, I did something completely different.
I spent yesterday at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, attending the tenth annual Silicon Valley Reinvents the Wheel event, presented by Western Automotive Journalists (full disclosure: I'm on the WAJ board as VP of membership).
It's an all-day symposium with speakers from companies where the computer, the cloud and the car intersect. The biggest take-away: Autonomy and electrification are coming, but maybe a little more slowly than some of the blue-sky estimates you've heard (2020, 2022). The smart money (and these are some of the smartest folks you'll meet) is now on the mid to late 2020s (say, 2027-29) to be the tipping point where electrification and true autonomous driving both cross the 30-40 percent mark in terms of sale and usage.
That seems like a long way off to some, and way too soon to others, no doubt. But if you're one of the folks who thinks it can't get done that quickly...just remember, you couldn't have read this post or listened to the KFBK Afternoon News on the phone you owned 12 years ago.
Speaking of which, Kitty and I will be on at 4. Hope you'll join us.