Yep...I'm a formally trained and degreed rock hound. 1) Granite and shist are mutually exclusive, one is igneous and the other metamorphic. Granite gives good traction 2) I haven't had time to pound on rocks long enough to find out. I'm usually running pretty fast when I'm outside the wire. I don't stop for anyone or anything......except maybe a camel in the middle of the road. 3) I can tell you that I'm re-building Afghanistan from the ground up. Building all manner of infrastructure; roads, power plants, waste water treatment plants, housing, schools, clinics and bases in support of the Afghan National Army. The projects we're building are helping to restore economic viability to one of the poorest (2nd-4th?) war-torn countries in the world. 4) Thanks Mark, it's nice to stay in touch on ADV. Looking forward to hooking up next summer. Those shots of your KLR got me lusting once again for another DS.....can you say "Super Enduro?"