Thursday, January 30, 2014

Blog Update - New Truck - Sad and Happy Day!!!

Well, damn near had a tear in the eye this morning when I traded in the old has been a good truck...I was amazingly lucky to find that truck in Florida - it was a rush deal so I would have something to tow the 5th wheel which I had already bought and it was in Tacoma Washington waiting for me...traded my Isuzu Trooper straight up for the damn thing. It wasn't the prettiest thing, but it served the purpose for the past three years...some minor issues in the beginning like no heater and a few other small items...but it got me all the way across the country and all over the mountain west for the past three years and never once left me stranded...add in all the way to Alaska and back and I would say it got used well....I suspect it had close to 300K miles on it and still runs pretty good, but I have a feeling that it is not much longer for this world.

So money arrived right on time thanks to my wonderful sister being able to get the investment account transferred to my bank.

Spent the past 4 days getting the hitch, generator and tool boxes unsecured from the bed of the old truck, it is all piled in front of my trailer and ready to get reinstalled in the new truck. It took a little getting used to the stick shift again, only missed one gear on the trip back to the campground and put $100.00 worth of gas in the beast!! Big Tank - 38 gallons which will be nice for the road....

So here it is!! I love that I finally have "cab lights" like a real truck!!!

And a final salute to the old F-150...Thanks for the memories "Old Blue"!

Ordered a tonneau cover for the new one and a new mount for my handheld GPS - and of course my "Run You Stick Bastards" decals!!

It will take the next couple weeks to get everything installed back in the truck - have to see what hitch mounts to order and get it installed and of course get the generator back up in the bed of the truck....with a full sized 8 foot bed I will have much more room, looking forward to that and it is a real pleasure to have a drivers side 1/2 door for the back seat, the old 150 only had the extra door on the passenger side - and I had ordered a set of mirror extensions and they fit perfectly so will be nice to be able to see the back of the trailer and if anyone is behind me....

Still waiting to finalize my summer plans but have an offer at Lake Powell that is really interesting, so another item off the old bucket list and a HOT summer on a beautiful houseboat in the desert...

You can see the video HERE!!

Stay tuned for details...

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Blog Update - January 22nd - New Truck - almost!!

I have been shopping for a new bigger more powerful truck to pull the RV...the trip to Alaska this past year took a toll on the old small block I really want to get a little bigger trailer and I was maxed out with the current truck as a tow vehicle....the engine in the current F-150 is strong and causing no problems, but I think that if I tow much more the next thing to go will be the tranny, it is fine now, but just have "that Feeling"!!

I looked hard in Kalispell and really hard in Salt Lake City on my way here, but was focused on a diesel for the pulling power, but they are pricey and even though an older one may be available and the engine would be fine, but the ones I looked at the truck was falling apart around the drive I started looking at tow capacities of the various V-8's from Ford, Chevy and Dodge, but leaning to either a Chevy or Ford...well I decided to get more serious looking here in S. California and sometimes things just happen for a reason.

Last Friday I decided to go to the movie, wanted to see Lone Survivor - great movie by the way. I had read the book and wanted to compare, well it is every bit as good as the book....but I timed it perfectly to get to the theater just about showtime, but I missed the entrance to the theater and had to turn around and go back...well while turning around I pulled right in next to a small car lot and they had a very clean looking I quick jumped out and did a quick once-over and figured I would go back after the movie...well of course after the movie it was closed.

I had enough info to ponder and do a little research and liked what I is a BIG BLOCK Ford V-10. I know a bunch of people with large motorhomes with the V-10, I had not seen one in a pick-up, it is also a manual transmission, which really doesn't bother me and with 95% of my miles, highway miles it really makes no difference. So I spent the weekend doing some extensive research and price shopping and quickly realized it was a good Monday I went gave it a real close going over and a test drive...only stalled it to get back in the manual shifter practice. Lots of power to spare and should not even know my little 5th wheel is back there!! Mileage is not a huge issue as I get shitty mileage now straining the little F-150 and I expect I will get better mileage than now until I get a bigger trailer anyway!

So today I went and cut a deal, waiting for some money to be transferred and should own it officially by the end of the week.

Here are a few pics - more when it is in the driveway!!

By the way - I love white cars - only thing I have owned until the F-150 for the past 20 years or so...

Sometimes things are meant to be...

Stay tuned!!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Blog Update - January 19, 2014 - Some Photo Work

I have had a pretty busy few days - had some truck issues to deal with, I have been putting up with some instrument panel issues almost since I got the truck and decided it was time to make a change...the tachometer has not worked correctly since I got the truck and also the odometer did not I ordered a used instrument cluster and installed it the other day, well the tach now works and the odometer works, but had to pull out again and replace a bunch of the illumination light bulbs, all fixed now and no problems.

Second issue on the truck is the transmission, I have been concerned about the health of the transmission for a long time, it takes a bunch of abuse hauling the trailer and is a weak link. I have been passively shopping for a newer, bigger truck for some time. Well the other day I found one I am interested in, we will see if I can make a deal and if it is in good condition. Update soon on that.

Had an old friend visit and we took a few day trips - see previous posts. This morning I decided it was time to work on some of the photos I took and see about getting a few posted for sale.

So without further ado here are some processed today! A few converted to Black & White

Stay tuned and GO SEAHAWKS!!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Blog Update - Road Trip Salton Sea January 12, 2014

It was time for some more exploring so headed West through Joshua Tree to the Salton Sea...had read and heard many stories about the Salton Sea and it's problems over the past 50 years or so and figured it was something worthwhile to explore.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Salton Sea a google will give you a ton of information, but most of it is pretty negative and sadly this has affected the area and caused much of its demise. Back in 1905 the government decided to divert part of the Colorado River into the basin which was a dry lake bed. This valley had actually at one time been connected to the Gulf of California in Mexico and was salt water - when the lake bed dried up all that was left was the salt...the diversion of the Colorado put fresh water into the dry salt bed and turned it into a "Salt Lake"....this happened between 1905 and 1907. In the 1950's the Salton Sea became a huge resort area and was frequented by more tourists than Yosemite National Park. In it's heyday it was a huge success with towns and marinas surrounding it's shoreline.

Then the downward spiral started with back to back Hurricanes in 1976 and 1977. which raised the lake level to flood stage and destroyed all of the marinas, restaurants and facilities. Now it pretty much sits in decay...however I found it very interesting at what has survived - the lake itself is quite beautiful although the water is dirty and filled with algae...the bird life around the lake is tremendous and is the primary source of visitors - bird watchers.

It is another example of trying to fuck with Mother Nature it never works out properly!! When will we learn??

In it's Heyday!


Nice birds here is a Grebe in it's winter colors!

Here is an Avocet!

Some of the scenery on the return trip! Amazing country!

And finally last nights sunset over Joshua Tree!

BTW - I forgot to mention an interesting fact - Salton Sea is 200 feet below sea level...

Stay tuned for more adventures - I have plenty planned!!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Blog Update - Back to the Desert Bar! January 11th, 2014

Time to try and meet up with my friends again and this time success. Friends who were in the campground in Haines Alaska this past summer are spending some time near Parker AZ and we tried to meetup last weekend and I was late and missed them, but yesterday everything went perfectly and we got to meet and had a great time talking of our travels from Alaska to the great Southwest! Oh and a beer or two flowed!

Who could ask for more - friends, conversation, music and beer!!

This couple - unknown to me was dancing in the desert above the bar (Grab shot)!

The music was great!!

A great time was had by all, always great to meet RV Friends on the road and catch up!!

Stay tuned for more "Good Times"...

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Blog Update - January 11, 2014 - Desert Zoo Reserve

Made the drive to the Desert Zoo and had a great time even though many of the animals were taking their afternoon nap. Got a late start and didn't get there until later in the time I think I will try the morning.

I still managed a few decent pictures in the fading light and my trip through the zoo was a quick one chasing the fading sunlight.

One shot that I found the most interesting is the receding mountains in the various shades of light...I have always loved the different shades as the mountains fade away into the distance and have found it hard to capture in digital, seems the painters have it easier....but this one came out pretty good.

This is the second time in two days I have seen these similar metal sculptures - need to find out the significance.

On to the animals!

This bird was fairly cooperative and I managed a few shots of him....

And one more of my friendly bird!! He was quite expressive!

More to come back to the Desert Bar today!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Blog Update - Joshua Tree and some more pictures

Took another trip into Joshua Tree and went on a few walks and managed to snap a few photos. I am on a quest to capture some frame-able art for the park...light wasn't real dramatic yesterday so not real pleased, but a few decent shots.

So on with the pictures!

I liked this rock sculpture - Mother Nature at her best!!

This area is big on rock climbing and met a couple from Northern California!

The tools of a rock climber!!

Stay tuned for more adventures - Headed to the Desert Zoo today!!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!