September only has 30 days. I bet you knew that already. Yep, I forgot or I would have written this post yesterday. Oops.

So September for me included one Oregon rest stop, one stay in a friend’s driveway, five California parks (including Fossil Falls, my first Bureau of Land Management park), a drive through Nevada, a Utah state park, the Grand Canyon, an Arizona state park, and two New Mexico parks. Twelve different places, six different states.

You’d think picking the best of the month would be difficult. It’s not.

Oh, if I had to pick the best night sky it might be a challenge. I think I’d pick the one I saw two mornings ago, but that’s partially because of the soundtrack. Z wanted to go out at about 5, so I bundled up, put her on her leash, and took her out for a walk. It was still totally dark and the sky, for once, almost clear, so I could see thousands of stars against a pure black. But then, in the distance, I heard a crowd. Like at a football game or something, booing the ref. I listened, listened harder, and eventually my sleepy brain translated the noise: not an audience yelling, but coyotes, howling. Lots of them. Talk about a surreal sound. It was very nice to snuggle back down in my bed in the cozy van after that, but it was an experience I’d like to remember.

And if I had to pick the best meal, I’d have a really hard time. I should write a post about cooking, because I’ve been having thoughts about it, specifically about what it means to be a good cook. The short version is that I think my cooking skill has leveled up again and it has nothing to do with my ability, just with the tools I’m using. I bought the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker this summer and it is amazing. Not right for everything — I tried eye of round in it twice, and I preferred my former recipe. And the pork chop I tried was good, but not as good as my grilled pork chops usually are. But for steak, chicken breast, root vegetables, and OMG, corn-on-the-cob, it’s amazing. The corn was absolutely the best corn I have ever tasted — I can’t imagine how good it would be with early-in-the-season white corn. Well, yes, I can, and my mouth is watering at the thought. But yeah, best meal would be difficult to choose, because I have eaten and cooked some delicious food this month.

Still, best place, best moment — well, the hard part would be to pick which day, which beach. But the very easy winner is Arcata, spending time with friends and our pack of dogs.

four dogs, all sleeping

The post-beach pack. Top right, almost hidden in the dog bed, Riley. Top left, Bartleby. Center, Buddy. And on the couch, completely unwilling to accept that dogs stay on the floor in this house, Zelda.