Sunday, March 30, 2014

Blog Update - Friday was One of those days!!!

Sometimes mans best plans just go to shit...Friday was one of those days for me.

It starts a week or so ago after getting the hitch installed in the new truck and realizing that the truck sits a little too high to provide the clearance for the overhang on the 5th it meant taking the 4 inch lift out of the truck...went to a local mechanic and negotiated a price and he gave me a list of parts to get...

Basically needed 4 large U-Bolts for the back axle and two stock shackles for the front springs.

Well the parts arrived on Tuesday and I arranged to have the job completed Friday - so up early and over to the mechanic - they remove the 4 inch extended shackle on the passenger side front spring and quickly realize the part I ordered did not fit...shit - so punt - put it back together and decide to lower the rear anyway which is the most important to clear the 5th wheel...well we take out the two u-bolts on the drivers side and the 4 inch lift block and quickly realize the u-bolts I had as replacements were the same size as the ones we removed,too long with the lift removed...but the whole friggin thing back together and I drive 40 miles Round trip to NAPA and order the correct U-Bolts - nobody lists the shackles I need for the front to the plan is lower the back to travel and do the front in Tuesday - mechanic again on Wednesday and hopefully I hit the road after that....

Here is the truck showing the 4 inch lift!

While at the mechanics he has two roadrunners he feeds and one showed up!!

With the delay I may stay a few more days through next weekend and head pretty much straight to Salt Lake City...still plan to stop at Fire Valley if I am feeling well, been a little under the weather lately....major wind storm here today and dust storm so bad I had to close the door on the trailer - sand so fine it blows right through the screen door and I have an inch of fine sand dust on everything...PITA!!!

Stay Tuned!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A story of Friendship! And making plans for my departure!

As I sit in Twentynine Palms CA making plans to leave and head to my good friend Steve Carters house in Salt Lake City for my annual USCG Required doctor's appointment I was reminded of how special Steve and his friendship is when he sent me a link to a YouTube video he created. I have known Steve since 1989 and he has remained a special friend all these years, I am fortunate to have been able to renew that friendship when I started my traveling ways a few years ago.

Steve and I met when I moved from Florida to Salt lake City in 1989, I went to work for a large printing company there, K/P Graphics and Steve was working there at the time, being interested in photography, fishing and music gave us an immediate friendship, little did I know that over 25 years later after neither one of us has worked together for many of those years, our friendship would be stronger than ever before...along with my other good, good friend in Salt Lake City, Lynn Hewitt!

So, after about 16 years apart, I had moved back to Florida in 1994 which was the last time I had seen Steve. I was returning from Alaska via ferry, train, bus and airplane....and needed a stop for a couple days in Salt Lake...I emailed Steve and asked if he could pick me up at 4:00 am at the bus station in Salt Lake City and put me up for a couple nights before my flight to Ohio on my way back to Florida. Yes, you read it right - hadn't seen him in 16 years and asked him to pick my ass up at 4:00 am, you see I had taken a greyhound bus from Kalispell Montana overnight to Salt Lake....well the bus was right on time and so was Steve, that's when you know what a true friend is....

A couple years later I am driving from Florida to Tacoma Washington to pick up my RV and Salt Lake was just a stop along the way, to see Steve and rest before the last leg of my journey. I rested a few days and then went on to Tacoma to pick up my new home.

A month or so later, I was back in Salt Lake dragging my house behind me and Steve officially designated me "The Gypsy"! His driveway has become an unofficial campground on my way North and South every year and this year will be no different.

A couple years ago, I was planning my departure in the RV from Kalispell Montana to Salt Lake and was trying to coordinate the arrival with Steve, he said I am heading to some "Therapy", well I immediately got worried, he is an old fart and I figured he had succumbed to some strange sickness, well I was right, he was needing some fishing therapy...Steve suggested I stop by Dillon and meet him and spend a few days in therapy myself...

So began the first year of our fishing Therapy! I spent a couple days and we fished and was happy that Steve shared his love affair with me....this past year we made a point of scheduling my trip South to coincide with his bi-annual retreat to the Beaverhead...and we fished and drank and shared more memories....

Steve and I only disagree on one thing and that is our choice of computers - he is an "Apple" guy and I am a PC Guy, but our love for graphic design and photography is shared. Steve is a wonderful designer and loves to create "slide show" videos...and they are wonderful and usually involve Montana, from the trains of the old west to fishing.

Before I departed Steve's this past fall, he said, can you give me the original photos you took of me fishing, I said sure, no problem and this is the end result of passing along those photo's.

They say your only meet 5 true life long friends in your life...I am happy to count Steve as one of those 5....his hospitality and travel advice is second to none - he is always a welcome sight. I think that our closeness is because we can fish for 4 or 5 hours and not say more than 3 or 4 words and just enjoy the magic of the outdoors and the silence of the atmosphere and the pleasure of hearing a trout rise without a word needed, we just smile at each other and know that we have been fortunate to have witnessed nature in all of it's glory. Then of course the evening comes and we can share the stories of the day and amaze each other with how much the fish has grown since we carefully released it back in the Beaverhead!

I plan on leaving Twentynine Palms around the 7th or 8th of April and take a leisurely trip from here to Salt Lake enjoying some of the scenery between here and there. I need to be there before the 21st of April for my Dr's appointment.

See you in a few weeks Steve, get the driveway ready!!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 16th, 2014 - Making Plans to leave 29 Palms

This past Thursday I got the 5th wheel hitch installed in the new truck, Friday I attempted to hitch it up and sadly the bed rails on the truck do not have enough clearance for the trailer to not hit when towing and it looks like I will be having the 4 inch lift removed from the truck - ordered the parts yesterday and they should be here mid-week and then I will have it done and hopefully ready to travel.

Had a wonderful St Patricks Day dinner in the clubhouse last night, great dinner and live music! Always a fun time.

So today I started selecting my route to leave and be in Salt Lake City by April 19th or so for a doctors appointment on Monday the 21st. I am planning an exploratory trip of about 8 or 9 days. Time to see some sites and take some pictures. Plan to hit Tecopa Hot Springs, Shoshone CA and part of Death Valley then head for one of my favorite places - Valley of Fire State park in Nevada then a quick stop in Mesquite and another in Zions before the drive up 15 to Salt Lake.

Have some plans also for the trip from Salt Lake to Lake Powell, plan to explore Capital Reef NP and probably hit Goblin Valley and a few other locations before arriving in Lake Powell at Bullfrog. Plan to dry camp a night or two in Goblin and also a night or two in Capital Reef...then take an easy trip and maybe stop along the way to Bullfrog!

This is where I will be this summer!

In the meantime - took a drive through Joshua Tree to get the hitch installed and stopped for a few pics.

Stay tuned as I finish things up here in Twentynine Palms and head for my next adventure!

Capt. Jim - "The Gypsy"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!