Thursday, October 31, 2013

Blog Update - Time to reflect on this past year's travels

First, I would like to thank my truck for surviving the tremendous ordeal I put it through these past couple years and especially the past 7 months. My adventure North began in Kingman Arizona on April 8th - 9,044.7 miles ago. And ended yesterday afternoon with my arrival in Twenty-nine Palms, California. The truck and trailer survived with very few issues. The truck never left me stranded and only one repair while "on-the-road". Of course I had to rebuild the front end in Montana, but that was planned, a surprise at how bad it was, but at least at the BEST repair facility, my good friend Jim Flinchbaugh super mechanic! First day after leaving Flinchbaughs the alternator died in Red Deer, but the truck got me to the Moose Lodge and I was able to find a reasonable repair place...but it got me there!

Here is a little summary of the adventure!
Total Miles - 9,044.7
States or Provinces - 22
Fuel Costs - $3,409.83
Average MPG - 11.05
Average Fuel Price Paid - $4.63 per gallon
Highest Fuel Price Paid - several time - $6.10 per gallon
Fuel in Gallons - 751.69

It was an amazing journey with too many stories to tell here, but a book is in the making!

Now to tell the story the way I prefer - in Pictures - a few of the highlights!

Rebuilding the front end of the Ford in Montana

Finally hitting the start of the Alaska Highway!

The two spare fuel tanks after the "out of fuel" adventure in the middle of friggin nowhere!

They are still in the truck and still full and will be from now on!

Just part of the beautiful drive...

The sign post forest!

A beautiful view!

Hazardous Driving Conditions...

The amazing view of Mt McKinley!

The wildlife!

The jet boat fiasco!

The wonderful experience of Denali!

Finding a glorious spot after leaving Denali!

Finally an answer to the Age Old Question!

The wonderful Crab Feasts in Haines! Thank you Joyce and Kerry for a wonderful summer at Oceanside RV Park in Haines, AK!

The "Bear Scare" will always be a great memory!

The scenery is unforgettable and hard to explain! Alaska is amazing!

Fireworks over the water in Haines!

Making great friends at the campground and enjoying the evenings!

The feeding bears!

The animals on the return trip through Canada!

The opportunity to return to Yes Bay for a little fishing and work!

Back on my boat!

A nice King Salmon!

Fishing with my great friend Steve Carter on the wonderful Beaverhead in Dillon MT.

Enjoying great friends in Salt Lake City!

Able to enjoy one of my favorite spots as one of the last nights of my long journey!

Stay tuned my friends for another adventure is just beginning with my winter near Joshua Tree National Park begins. I will post a couple pics tomorrow of my winter spot. Today is a get settled day and reflect on the good things I have been able to experience this past year!

I will begin on a "magazine" of this adventure in the coming weeks...there is so much to say and show.

Sorry this is so long, but tough's my blog!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blog Update - 3 Days of travel Southbound and one of my favorite Parks - Valley of Fire State Park

I left Salt Lake City on Monday morning the 28th of October with a wind warning in effect and knew it would be a slow go, but figured if it got bad, I had plenty of water and would just pull over and wait for better weather. My goal for the day was to reach Mesquite Nevada. Well quite frankly there were a couple times just North of St George Utah where I almost called it quits and pulled over. Went through some driving rain and wind and some small hail...but the clincher was when a micro-burst hit the tractor trailer in front of me and I saw the trailer tip and his right side rear wheels left the ground...going 60 plus miles per hour, I gripped the wheel and figured when it hit me, I was going over...but somehow it did not effect me other than slowing my ass down with the headwind to about 45...I pressed on and the weather got better and made Mesquite easily by about 4:00 pm. Thank Goodness there was a $9.99 piece of prime rib waiting and a cocktail or two and some quiet time in front of a slot luck there, won a few times, but amazingly it ended back up in the friggin machine!!

Good nights rest in the casino RV Park and an early morning departure for one of my most favorite State Parks in the country. I made the short 50 mile drive to Valley of Fire State Park. To get there you drive through the small town of Overton and then just at the entrance to Lake Mead National Recreation area you turn off and into the State Park. If you love the red rock country and the desert this park is a DO NOT MISS! I have been here 4 times now and still have things left to see. I was lucky the skies were a brilliant blue with some nice clouds and of course the wonderful bright red rock!

Enough of my rambling...on with the pictures!

My little home at the entrance to Lake Mead!

At the entrance to Valley of Fire.

In the State Park!

Drove out to Fire Canyon and went on a nice walk! This is a 6 shot panorama


Went to the campground and got set up in the new RV Section which offers electric and water hook-ups. For you RV'ers they offer both 50 amp and 30 amp and 20 amp hookups! Very nicely done. You will need a water pressure reducing valve I measure 120 pounds of pressure!

How nice is this set-up!

After setting up camp I took a long walk around the campground with my camera and came upon a very photogenic Harris Antelope Squirrel (Yes I know it looks like a chipmunk, but it isn't, there are no chipmunks in the desert) This guy really cooperated and allowed me to get pretty close. Enjoy.

The rest of the evening was just enjoying the view from the campground, processing some pictures and relaxing with my neighbors who were from Australia. Needless to say it was a very enjoyable day and serves to remind me why I am doing what I am doing. The quiet solitude of camping in such a glorious place more than makes up for the small living quarters and drive time to get where I am going.

Then this for dinner! Life is good!

As I post this I am on the highway well past in Las Vegas sitting in the camper outside of a McDonalds having a good cup of coffee and planning the rest of my route to Twentynine Palms my winter location which is about a 140 miles down the road. There are several ways to get there and I am trying to pic the most scenic route and arguing with the GPS's selected route!

Hopefully I will choose the correct route, but right now the GPS route seems to be the best choice.

Stay tuned for some pics of my new winter home tomorrow. I am anxious to get there!!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Blog Update - Utah Fall Colors and meet a new friend!!

Yesterday was a day to take a drive, run some last minute errands and get out the cameras in preparation for the continuation of my Southbound Journey!! The end of the day was a visit with some friends and a little Sunday Night Football with a new friend!

Here are some fall colors!

My new friend Ethan - 4 months old and a real pleasure to watch football with - Note the hat he is a Viking Fan!

Today I leave Salt Lake City in a wind advisory - SW Winds and I am heading Southwest, so it will more than likely be a slow go and a fuel guzzler...but time to head further South to my winter quarters in Twentnine Palms, CA. I plan to make a stop or two along the way and will arrive there by Wednesday or so....

Stay Tuned for some fantastic photos of the desert and Joshua Tree National Park over the coming weeks and months.

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!