I'd like to apologize to the readers of this blog for my unexplained absence between the 16th and 18th of this month, when nothing was posted here.  The truth is that I went off hiking by myself in the Red Rock National Conservation Area, just outside Las Vegas — because I needed some space to clear my head.

While in Mexico, I was able to put things back into focus, reorder my priorities and set ambitious new goals for the future.

There's just something about the pure air of the Canadian Rockies that sharpens a fellow's perspective.  Up in that high country, far above the worries of the world, I was lucky enough to run into my old friend Mark Sanford, Governor of South Carolina, who was having a little “time out” of his own.  We fished for trout in a sparkling brook, cooked up our catch over a crackling fire under the stars and commiserated about our crushing responsibilities.

It helped, I can tell you.  As we brought our little boat about in a brisk gale in the Bay Of Biscay and headed towards the shelter of the harbor at Santander, we felt ready to resume our burdens.

I know people were worried about me while I was gone — the Gobi Desert isn't a place you want to wander in for too long on your own — but I'm back, I'm fine, and I feel renewed.  When Mark gets home, I'm sure he'll have a very similar tale to tell.

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