M+O Lab retreat

When you spend lots of time staring at strings of ATCG in the lab, it makes you want to scream AAAAAAAAAAHHH!!! (wait, I see a homonucleotide run here)

To prevent us from going mad in the lab, the bosses took us out to the Santa Rita Experimental Range to have a lab retreat over the weekend. I took this opportunity to have my first long ride in AZ.

Getting ready to go:

The ride down on I-19 was uneventful, although seeing all the km signs in the US for the first time got me a bit confused. However, after getting off the main road, I was surprised to find that there are a couple miles of unpaved road ahead:

It was definitely not fun to play motocross on a Ninja. Nonetheless, my bike handled the road okay and I got to the station without any incident.

After having a light lunch, we went out for a hike along the trail up to Mt. Wrightson:

We only spent about 3 hrs on the trail and did not make it all the way up, but we did enjoyed some really nice views along the way:

After the hike, we sat down and chatted about our ongoing and future research projects. I talked about my gene fossil hunt in bacterial genomes and the frustration with some bad gene annotations on some sequences that was done using 454 (homonucleotide runs are indeed a headache).

The dinner was incredible and I can't remember when was the last time I ate so much. Zakee's steaks are the best that I had in recent years and Gaelen's chocolate cake is simply delicious.

I am pleasantly surprised to find that Gaelen and Kevin are fellow boardgames nuts (we are a rare breed). We enjoyed a couple rounds of games (including For Sale and Bohnanza) well late into the night and had a lot of fun.

On Sunday morning, we all put on the lab T-shirt to have a group picture before we go.

Instead of going for another hike, I decided to go home early. On my way back I stopped by the San Xavier Mission:

When I get home the bike was really dirty after all the riding on unpaved road.

I don't mind riding a dirty bike and usually wouldn't spend time on washing my bike. However, the chain and brake looks really bad this time and I decided to give them a good cleaning. Fortunately that didn't take too long.
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