Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Little things are important - and some pics - January 29th, 2013

I will start out with a couple pictures then we will get into the a little thing I have missed while in the RV.

I took a drive to a State Park close to the campground and it was pretty lame, but did manage to get up close and personal with a nice small buck. I was only about 15 feet from this guy and he showed no fear! Amazing.

And another

I have been seeing a nice Red tail hawk along the highway near the campground and today I had the camera and stopped to take a pic. I hate that he is on a electric pole rather than a tree, but you take what you can get!

Now for the little things that are important and something I have really missed. I really love poached eggs and have missed them here in the camper, I had a little one egg poacher and I lost the lid, plus I never really liked it because I usually want two and by the time the second one was done the first was cold. I love them on toast and also on corned beef hash or roast beef hash or as eggs Benedict. My mother used to just dump the egg in boiling water and swirled it around, but I never perfected that method and always ended up with a mess.

So the other day I did some research and found some silicone egg cups you put in boiling water, well they seemed perfect for the camper, take up almost no space and easy to use. So I ordered two and tried them out this morning when they arrived.

Real simple and a great idea...why didn't I think of this???

I just put some water on to boil and buttered up the cup and dropped in the egg while waiting for the water to boil.

Once the water was boiling put the cups in the water, turned down the flame and put a lid on and cooked for 4 minutes.

A great breakfast!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Best of 2012 and 2013 so far!

I decided to put a new gallery together while entering some photo contests and used the gallery to create a new slideshow of what I feel are some of my best photos over the past 18 months or so.

Sit back and enjoy the show! In no particular order

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Yesterday January 23rd - 150 miles for nothing!

Yesterday I decided that an early rise and some exploring was in order, time to see some of the sights around here.

I woke before the sun rose and just as I was preparing my coffee I glanced at the frosted window of the door to the camper and was struck by very vivid colors of the sun rising, so I peeked outside, turned and grabbed my camera and went out to capture this!

Figuring now it had to be a great day to explore, I looked at the map and decided a little circle trip back RT 66 was just the order for the day. Hoping to find some interesting old buildings and scenery to photograph. Well let's just say, I drove 150 miles and had a hard time finding anything to shoot, ended up with about 12 or 13 photos...a lesson learned and now I don't need to go there again.

Here is what I found!!

One of the more interesting things was several Burma Shave signs still kept up and looking good! Brought back memories for sure!

I did some more research today and plan on another hopefully more productive outing tomorrow!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Monday, January 21, 2013

Trying Times - But fun! Weekly Udate 1-21-13

I left Moab, Utah on the 8th of January with predictions of -25 degree weather, some people have suggested that my winter plans and location were not the best choice and I would have to agree. I spent over two weeks in Moab suffering through below zero weather, dealing with frozen water pipes in the camper, frozen waste tanks and downright cold weather. I can report that the little oil filled electric heater in the camper kept me pretty warm even on the coldest night, so that was good. But I can also report that a camper is not the most comfortable place in weather like that, outside was pretty much off limits and just dealing with the frozen waste tanks was a huge ordeal which required some creative thinking on getting them thawed out so they could be emptied.

I also discovered what happens when the grey water tank is frozen and full. The lowest "drain" in the grey water system is the shower and once the tank is full everything drains into the shower...the shower will hold quite a bit of water and had I not been using it for storage, it would not have been a big deal, but when I discovered it was full of water and removed what had been stored there. A bag full of external hard drives for my computer was a loss. I managed to recover a few of them, but lost two large ones. Happily they were "empty", I had purchased a very large external drive and had emptied all the smaller drives onto it. But a couple hundred dollars worth of hard drives were ruined and made their way to the trash.

So when I saw the prediction of negative 25 degrees it was time to head further South. As it turns out my choice of Kingman AZ was a good one, although when I arrived the weather which was going to affect Moab also arrived in Kingman, being further South it wasn't nearly as bad, but I did experience sub-zero weather, but warmer sunny days to deal with frozen waste tanks and frozen water supply line etc. Much more manageable.

The primary reason I chose Kingman was a wonderful in-expensive campground and it was close to an upcoming Balloon Festival in Lake Havasu City this past weekend, but there was one more trauma to deal with before that!

I live with my computer, it is as much a part of my life as my cameras. I use it in my photography, for work for the Lodge, ever important email, accounting software and online banking and bill paying. It is probably the top asset in my humble abode.

Tuesday Morning January 15th, I awoke and put the water on for coffee and as always opened up the laptop to retrieve email and read the news. Well the computer would start up and run, but nothing could be seen - not the Blue Screen of Death, but rather the black screen of nothing. So I set about to try and solve the problem. Quickly realized the hard drive was operating but the visual part was not working. For those who are familiar with laptops the visual part if built in to the motherboard. So packed up the computer and found a repair place in Kingman, there is really only one, but good people. Bits & Bytes! They ran the usual checks and sure enough the motherboard wad "fried" and I proceeded to shop for a new laptop. The choices in Kingman were not that abundant...Wal-Mart, Staples and the place I took my computer to be analyzed. They had the best offering albeit a touch more than I wanted to spend, but manageable. So on Thursday morning after two days without a computer, getting money transferred etc...I picked up a bright and shiny new laptop. Then the trials of getting everything transferred to the new computer from the old.

I was fortunate here in that I store 90% of my crap on an external drive and I am fairly religious about backing up and copying files to the external drive, but not everything. But, you might remember that the hard drive was functioning, so I removed the hard drive from the old laptop and just so happened to have an external USB case which would hold the drive...remember the flooded shower, it was one of those drive cases. Put the drive in the case and magically everything from my old computer was available to transfer to the new one. I was happy again!

So I spent all day Thursday, well into the evening, digging through an office box I had stored in the front of he trailer with all my software etc. and proceeded to get everything installed and files transferred. I was operational with email and accounting by the end of the day.

My original plans of going to the Balloon Festival on Friday the 18th was still a reality, so off I went for the 1.5 hour drive to Lake Havasu. I arrived and found it to be little more than a glorified County Fair - with rides, food court, dog show, old hot rods and a huge field with 10 or 15 little trailers with balloon stuff, but no balloons up and inflated. Seems it was too windy...disappointed I spent the day wandering aimlessly waiting for the scheduled 3:30 launch. I mingled with the Balloon folks and they all said it was still too windy and they would not be dragging the balloons out to only not be able to fly. But I had a recovery plan, so I headed back to the truck and made plans to drive to an old Ghost Town / Tourist Trap called Oatman, AZ. So off I went, filled the gas tank and took off for the hour long drive, it was a slight detour from a direct path back to the campground, but "on the way" in a circuitous sort of way.

I know most people come here to see my photography and not read a book of all my trials and tribulations, so here are some pictures.

How windy was it...when i returned to the campground, it was my plan to enjoy a very nice Rib-Eye steak on the grill...but the grill refused to stay lit due to the wind, but I seared it, then finished it on the stove in the camper. It was very good!

Now for some pics around the Balloon Festival!

Now off towards Oatman!

Needless to say, Oatman was a worthy side trip and I will return again when I have more time to explore. By the time I got there, many of the stores were closing and so I didn't get to browse much.

Upon my return I went to process my photos only to discover that my version of Adobe Creative Suite had run out of installs and could not be used. I had neglected to upgrade over the years, I was on CS3 and they are now on version CS6, I missed 4 and 5. So I downloaded from Adobe the trial version of 6 - took almost 11 hours, then installed it, took another 2 hours. All during this time, Windows 7 needed 154 updates to be current, as well as Quickbooks 2008, and Microsoft Office etc. So most of Saturday and Sunday was spent getting the computer totally up to date. Restarted the computer a zillion times.

I would have to say that my winter since Pat and I's vacation has been trying to say the least. But all is well now and have great plans for the rest of the winter and next summer.

Good News:

Pat has flight reservations to fly in to Las Vegas for Spring Break and will join me here to explore the area, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon and Fire Valley State Park are on the agenda!

She has also planned a trip to Alaska and Denali where I will be this summer, so all that is very good news.

Still making plans for the huge adventure of driving the truck and trailer to Cantwell Alaska in late April! Should have some great photo ops on that trip.

Thanks everyone for following along and enjoying my mobile life!

One other bit of good news - an interior designer called the other day and has a client he is working with who wants 6 of my pictures of Antelope Canyon. So those have been processed and sized properly for 16 X 20 prints. Now to get this deal done and finalized...it will more than pay for the new computer!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Friday, January 11, 2013

January 11 - Photo Recap

I have been asked to create a slide show of some of my better photos from my travels in my RV. I also plan on doing one for my Alaska Years, stay tuned for that in the next few days or so

So Sit back and watch a slide show of some of my better images.

This same slide show a larger version is available on my website!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wednesday January 9th - Brief Update

Day before yesterday in Moab I heard on the radio a weekend weather forecast and they were predicitng 20-25 degrees below zero for this coming weekend. I had already endured 12 below a couple nights and frozen pipes and holding tanks and I was determined to not go through that any more. So Monday I spent the day researching where to go and getting the trailer ready to travel, anytime it sits for a while, it takes a couple hours to get things stowed away or it ends up all over the place while underway.

So yesterday first thing in the morning I gassed up the truck and hitched up and motored South out of Moab heading towards Kingman Arizona where I found a very nice campground for a reasonable monthly rate, in fact buy two months the third is free! With nothing else really planned for the winter, I figured why not! Plus it is warmer than Moab by about 40 degrees.

It was about a 600 mile drive so a long day. South down through Monument Valley then South and west towards Flagstaff then straight West to near Kingman. The RV Resort is right before Kingman off Rt 40. Old Rt 66 passes right by here and I am told there are some interesting old motels and diners, so I am going to take a drive today!

I didn't arrive until after dark but the office was open and they directed me to my site. Backed in, didn't even unhitch - hooked up electric and cable TV and had a snack and hit the sack.

This morning I unhitched, filled my water tank and also hooked up to water and dumped my once frozen waste tanks, thankfully they thawed out on the drive down and overnight. Went and took a long pleasant shower in some of the cleanest and nicest RV Showers I have ever been in. 10 foot by 10 foot with a sink, toilet and nice stall shower, just like home!What a nice surprise. The campground is about half full with a nice assortment of rigs, some big ones and some small ones. Grounds are immaculate! So far I am very happy with my choice.

Got some good news before I left Moab yesterday. Pat, my girlfriend has booked her airline ticket for Spring Break. She will be flying in to Las Vegas and we will do some sightseeing around here! Made me very happy, Pat and I get along well and she loves to travel and doesn't mind the cramped quarters in my little RV. We will see Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon and Fire Valley while she is here, all day trips. Plus we will probably explore Rt 66. She will be here for a week in late March, right before I head North to Alaska! That will be another adventure since I am driving the RV up.

I couldn't make the drive yesterday without taking a couple pictures. More of the campground later today and maybe a few from my drive around. Oh did I mention my favorite place is right outside the gate - Dunkin Donuts!! Going for a nice coffee for lunch!

Here are the pics:

Stay tuned for more details of my new found spot. Going to the Balloon Festival in Lake Havasu City next weekend.

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest

Monday, January 7, 2013

Changes in the winds - warmer climate for one thing!

It is amazing what a difference a few days can make. This past week has been very frustrating, constant weather issues with the trailer and I have NOT been a Happy Camper!

However a few things changed on Friday and it made being here a little more palatable! One my next summers location in Alaska has been finalized! I will be working in Cantwell, Alaska right outside of Denali. I will be running a tour boat up the river there! Sounds like a blast and something totally different. I will be working with this company. www.denaliparkadventures.com

Check out the video on the Jet boat page!

So anyway that made my cold weekend much more exciting. I am really looking forward to doing something different this summer, I will miss the daily fishing but will be able to some some good fishing on my days off, which I am looking forward to.

Fast forward to this week. Still cold and predicted to get even colder by the end of this week, they are talking minus 20! Time to get out of here, so today I am spending getting the trailer ready to travel, buttoning things up and heading south to a place near Kingman Arizona, plan on spending next weekend at the Balloon Festival in Lake Havasu! Should be fun and a great photo opportunity so stay tuned.

Here are a few pictures from the cold arctic weather in Moab, Utah.

Cactus Pictures and sunshine in a couple days!!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest