Allow me (the other rider) to chime in here.
Tom first mentioned this ride in February when we were in Death Valley. I couldn't commit because I was hoping to find work by then. By April, no job was in sight, so I committed. Tom admitted that he was hoping it would work out that way. It's hard to be offended when you're thinking the same thing.
I've never been over Monitor Pass on a bike before- it is a real treat.
On the way over, I noticed that the back brake wasn't working. A quick roadside check showed that the pedal was hitting the skidplate. Nothing else seemed wrong, so I readjusted the pedal and had no more real trouble with it. I imagined trouble with it once a few days later, of course.
Out on Topaz Lane, we had a little scare as we came across some jumping quads using the road as a landing zone. Fortunately they stop faster than we thought.
The first of many roads through sagebrush: