Friday, December 28, 2012

Update - December 28th - Moab, Utah

Well, I am not always the smartest individual in the world and last week was a perfect example. Plenty of snow in Salt Lake City, but I was anxious to get to Moab, so Thursday after the winter storms subsided, I headed South. No trouble on the drive down, roads were clear, but it was cold! And I mean cold.

I arrived in Moab early in the evening, got in a campground, unhitched and turned up the heat and took it easy. That night it went down to 12 below zero...well my little camper is not prepared for that cold of weather and in the morning I discovered my fresh water pipes were frozen, so I spent all day Friday and Saturday opening up access areas to the plumbing and blowing warm air in there with a fan. By the end of the day Saturday I had water running and hot water from the water heater, so all was well.

I have left the access areas open and a small fan running so no further problems although I am pretty sure my waste tanks are frozen, not quite sure how I am going to deal with that in the short term, but a long term solution will be tank heaters and permanent small fans for the access panels to the water pipes...that will be the project over the next few weeks...

I am tentatively planning on remaining in Moab for most of the winter, we'll see how that goes, I hope it gets warmer.

But the past couple days after some pretty serious snow, I have managed a few pictures.

And now a little holiday cheer!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Update December 18th - Snow Delay

I arrived back in Salt lake City from Ohio last Wednesday and the plan was to stay here through the weekend and head down to Moab yesterday or today, however...we are under a "Winter Weather Advisory" and I am not real keen on towing a trailer in bad winter weather, so I am staying put for another day or so. It looks as though I should be able to get underway on Thursday or at the latest Friday.

I figured I would continue to get the trailer squared away and I had a few minor corrections to my website to do and I have finished an email blast for Yes Bay.

Winter Plans - Right now I will be heading down to Moab, Utah and plan on spending the remainder of most of the winter there. I have negotiated a deal do do some work for a tour company down there - NAVTEC. They are the people that I went rafting with in late October / November. They need a little help on some web marketing and a computerized reservation system and other office procedures, so I will spend the few months or so helping them. Moab is one of my favorite places and I am looking forward to spending some time there and doing some more exploring and taking pictures.

More about NAVTEC here:

Summer 2013 Plans - Right now this is a little more up in the air. I am currently in negotiations with a couple different operations in Alaska and also have a few in the lower 48 I am talking to. No decision will be made until around mid-January, that is when I expect to hear from my first choice in Alaska which will be something totally new a different for me, which has me quite excited about the opportunity. It is with Denali Park Advenutures - Where I would be running a jet boat up the river with a boat load of tours on a 3 hour tour! Sounds like Gilligan's Island to me, but would get to explore an entirely different area of Alaska and photograph some outstanding wildlife and scenery. So this is my first choice and would more than likely have me driving to Alaska and either taking the ferry with the trailer, driving the entire distance or shipping the trailer up by barge and me driving or utilizing the ferry. All options I will be considering once I hear whether I have the job or not.

The two other opportunities in Alaska are different locations but back to fishing. Which will be fine, but I may more seriously consider several options in the lower 48.

Stay Tuned for details as they happen!

In the meantime enjoy a few pictures I have taken the past couple days in snowy Salt Lake City!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Just Trying to Make Sense of Yesterdays Tragedy!

I am not one to use this medium for political ramblings or soapbox speeches, however this morning as I sit quietly enjoying my coffee I can't help but be reminded of the sorrow that so many families are facing today in the little village of Sandy Hook Connecticut. And I wonder, what has happened to our society and young people that would allow this type of behavior to grow.

My childhood was remarkably different from what our children today must endure. Family values and core values were an integral part of my growing up. We knew right from wrong and were reminded of it everyday. Our parents instilled these values at every opportunity, along with our church, our teachers, our Scout leaders and our neighbors. Doing something wrong away from home generally resulted in a phone call to my father or mother by a neighbor, teacher or acquaintance. And I had to deal with the consequences when I got home which could be quite severe by today's standards, which is part of the problem.

So what is different today than from when I grew up, where and what caused us to loose those values that defined our society?

1. Parenting - Parenting skills have been lost. Parents so intent on making money and providing all the latest gizmos for their kids have left behind teaching the basic core values of right and wrong, respect for others, trust, integrity, faith and more. There are a zillion sub-headings that could go under this category alone. But today I think I will focus on just the main topic.

2. Corporal Punishment - In the schools, at home, at church, at Scout Camp in your neighborhood. It was all a reality in my childhood. Now parents, teachers, neighbors, Scout leaders everyone are restricted from any kind of punishment of a violent nature.

I remember the snap of my fathers fingers would bring me to a complete stop of whatever I was doing and I knew if I continued there would be hell to pay. Fear breeds respect and it begins as a toddler being taught what "Good Behavior" is and what is acceptable and what type of behavior is not. An out of control child at 3 will be even more out of control at 14 or 17.

I remember distinctly being asked by a friend to get involved in something I knew was wrong, my answer was simple - Not Me, My Dad will KILL me!

I am in no way condoning any form of abuse, it sickens me to even think of that, must be my core values shining through, however a warm ass from a good whipping did me no harm. A paddling at school always brought on another when I got home!

Observation - My parents knew exactly where I was every minute of the day and what I was doing. Of course this was long before computers and the internet, but today you can be assured my folks would have monitored every key stroke, every site visited and there would be restrictions.

Desensitization of Violence - This is rampant now in our society. And I ask how can that be, since we have regulated it to death, seems it hasn't worked. The Road Runner can no longer drop a piano on the poor coyote. Heckle and Jeckle can no longer poke and punch each other. Droopy Dog can no longer punish the cat for tormenting his "Little Buddy". And so on, and on...

BUT - Violent video games are an ever present part of our young peoples lives today and it has removed the value of life to a quick shot on the computer and instant death offering the user no consequences or sense of real death. I think you would find that many of those who go on a rampage such as the one yesterday have ingrained themselves into thinking they are actually part of a game.

I guess it really all boils down to caring. The most basic value we were taught from the age of nothing to adulthood. Our parents, grandparents, preachers, Scout Leaders, neighbors all instilled this most basic value in our lives and somehow our society today has lost that. We took prayer out of schools for fear of offending someone, we stopped the pledge of Allegiance, for fear of offending someone, we have taken away punishment by our schools and parents with fear of lawsuits, our politically correctness has removed our core values and the result is another tragedy perpetrated on innocent children by another child.

I am by no means an expert of raising children, but I know I raised one and led many others as a Scout Leader and I did it the way my parents did it. So far my son has turned out to be a fine adult and I know he knows right from wrong and he is not permanently scarred by an occasional ass whipping and I hope when he has children he is not afraid to watch his children with a close eye, love them, care for them and teach them the difference between right and wrong.

Forgive me for my ramblings, I just needed to try and understand why these type of rampages continue in our society today. And just so you know, more restrictions on guns will have no affect on our lack of parenting and observation of our children. If they have no idea of the difference between right and wrong, they will find a weapon to use to do their damage and drag our society even further down the drain.

I can still recite the Scout Law - A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent. If more of our kids had this instilled in their life, maybe they would better understand right from wrong!

As an update - I am currently shoveling snow in Salt Lake City and when the weather cooperates on Tuesday or Wednesday I am heading South to Moab, Utah where I will spend most of the remainder of winter. I will be doing some web design work and helping a tour company - NAVTEC develop some better office procedures and reservation software. And of course I will be taking some pictures of the beautiful country down there and get this blog back to featuring those photographs rather than a vehicle for my ramblings. Stay tuned for next summers Adventure, it looks like I will be heading up to Alaska, more to the North and spending time around Denali. I will more than likely be driving up there with the camper either behind me or shipped up or on the ferry...plans are in the works and I should have my plans finalized by mid-January, so Stay Tuned!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A little Work - Bathroom Remodel

It is amazing how I get roped into projects! While on the vacation with Pat, she discussed her frustration with her outdated downstairs half bath. She had removed ugly wallpaper which according to her was glued on with a vengeance. Needless to say a good portion of the wallboard paper was also removed and a fair amount of scaper gouges in the walls.

I had planned on coming to Ohio to visit my family and I told her I would take a look at the walls and bathroom and see what I could do.

The project grew into a total rebuild of the bathroom, toilet didn't work properly, so a full rebuild of that was in order with all new innards and seat! Removed the existing sink and built in counter which was even uglier than the light above it, although that may be hard to imagine. Dressed all the walls with wallboard mud, smoothed out the rough spots, filled the holes, sanded, filled again and sanded some more. Walls will never be perfect again, but managed to get them paintable.

A couple trips to Home Depot and Lowe's for some ideas and fixtures. Pats checkbook shrank a little, but we found something she really liked, picked some colors of pain, new flooring, faucet sink and vanity.

Here is the before - after old sink removal and wall patching!

Here is her favorite light fixture - by far the ugliest I have ever seen!

After paint and sink install!!

If shes happy I'm happy!

In the middle of all this we made a trip to Cleveland and the West Side Market!

All in all a great project which turned out very nice and Pat loves it so we are all happy! I head back to Salt Lake City to rendezvous with my camper on the 12th of December. Then head somewhere into the desert Southwest for further adventures.

Stay Tuned!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Vacation Update - Day 12 and 13 - Indian Petroglyphs & Zions

After Antelope Canyon - Day 12 was kind of a bust. We drove from Page for the day over to Kanab area and went to Coral Sands State Park. Although this may be a good place to go 4 wheeling in the sand dunes, there is not much there to see, so the morning was kind of boring...except Pat had picked up a map to a series of Indian Petroglyphs that she was determined to see. As I read the map I felt it may be fun, although there was a warning that it required a 7 mile drive on a very sandy 4 wheel drive trail, with the last two miles very narrow and rugged and in fact it even described the trail as "paint damaging" due to overhanging scrub oaks along the trail.

I decided what the hell and figured if we got stuck, we got stuck and since my truck is a 1997 with plenty of nicks and dings, how bad could it be?

Little did I know...

This is where the trail narrows and the going gets pretty rough. At this point we had traveled about 5 miles on a very sandy and unimproved road, the next two miles would prove to be challenging. The 4 wheel drive part was a requirement with some very steep, sharp turns on a very narrow trail, lined with plenty of scrub oaks to rearrange the paint on your vehicle. The sand was deep and tough going, but we had no problems.

After we arrived at the trailhead, the short moderatly strenuous hike turned into a major climb down the 1.5 mile round trip had a 1600 foot drop and then climb back up, so I went about half way and Pat continued on down.

This is Pat on her return where I waited for her. Of course she was not happy I was taking her picture after the climb back up!

This is just a small sample of the new pin-stiping on my truck, it was on both sides!

Here are a few of the Petroglyphs she got to see!

Then it was 7 miles of bad road again and more paint damage back to the highway! She claims it was worth it, but I am not too sure, but if she is happy, I am happy, she assures me that is the case!

We returned to Page and the campground for the night then hitched up the next day and headed to Zion National Park, one of my favorite places!

Now some great scenery shots around Zion.

And now one of my favorite pictures of Pat by the River in Zion.

And her attempt at taking a picture of me by the river!

We had a wonderful vacation, sadly this was the last adventure day as we departed back for Salt Lake City and her departure the next morning. 14 days of traveling and exploring Southern Utah came to a wonderful close.

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Vacation Update - November 4th - 6th - Antelope Canyon

After the River trip - Oct 30 through Nov 2, we stayed in Moab another 2 nights to rest up and do some laundry and get ready to continue our adventure.

Sunday November 4th we broke camp in Moab and made the long drive to Page, Arizona, via Monument Valley. We stopped at the Burger King in Kayenta Az, since we had heard they had a great display about the Navajo Code Talkers and they did, so we had a milkshake and explored.

Then on the way to Page from Kayenta we took a small detour to the Navajo National Monument to see some old Pueblo style Indian Ruins. It was worth the 9 mile detour and comes highly recommended.

There was also this wonderful fossilized Dinosaur Track!

This is a distant shot of the ruins, you have to go on an escorted tour to visit the actual ruins and they were not offering it when we were there.

After our days drive we settled into a campground in Page and made plans for our next days adventure to Antelope Canyon. This should not be missed and in fact you should make plans to go there as soon as you can. It is amazing. If you can only do one of the canyons, choose the lower canyon as it is far better and more dramatic than the upper canyon.

Antelope Canyon!

In the Lower Canyon there is an Arch formed by the water and I made Pat stand in it to give you an idea of size of this place.

There are many very tight turns and alcoves.

The lower canyon has many steep drops, it descends about 230 feet overall and they have nice stairs and ladders.

The climb out of the Lower Canyon at the end is an Adventure! This only shows about the first half of your ascent!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest