Monday, February 29, 2016

Blog Update - Drive into Joshua Tree NP!

Yesterday I enjoyed my day off by taking a drive and a few short walks in Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree is a very beautiful park - it is High Desert with mountains and huge rock piles and of course a ton of Joshua Tree's. The park was very busy with all the campgrounds full and plenty of hikers and rock climbers.

Joshua Tree is a difficult place to photograph the landscapes are so far reaching it is very hard to show the perspective of how immense and rugged the area encompasses. My primary objective was to look for wild flowers in hopes they were beginning to bloom due to a little more moisture this winter and the recent warm spring days.

The wide expanse of Joshua Tree!

Chollo Cactus bud...

Chollo Cactus carcass the detail of the core is amazing.

Joshua Tree Bud!

Bee's at work on the few wildflowers I found!

Desert Daisy's!

I enjoyed my drive through the park, it gave me a chance to give the truck a good run after having all 10 coil packs replaced on Friday and the truck runs much, much better and according to the scan gauge shows about a 2 MPG increase in fuel economy and no error codes...made me happy!

It also got me back in touch with my camera as I have been remiss in going out to shoot. I have been very busy in the park taking pictures of all the activities and have missed taking my normal landscapes.

Now that the truck is running good I will be planning an evening in the park for some sunset shots and my goal this year of capturing the milky way over the rocks and Joshua Trees...I also have a trip planned down to the "Living Desert Zoo" in Palm Springs...that will have to be after the huge weekend event here at the park, it is Luau Time in the park....

Plenty of time for some good pictures before my long drive to Ohio in April. Stay Tuned!

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

King of the Hammers 2016 - some videos

Several friends have emailed me with questions about the racing at King of the Hammers - the past couple days a few great videos by the various sponsors and teams at Hammertown 2016 have posted some videos, I decided to put them in a blog post so anyone interested can see a little more of what goes on out in the desert....

This first one is about the winner - Erik Miller...

Some of the preparation of the top teams...including Erik Miller

Part 2 of the prep

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

King of the Hammers 2016

For the past 10 years a very large group of people gather near Yucca Valley in S. California to desert race in what has been called the toughest off road race in the world.

Johnson Valley and the dry lake bed gets turned into a thriving town of close to 40 thousand people in thousands of campers all to enjoy a full week of activities - the last day is the Ultra4 Race event. Ultra 4's are custom vehicles designed to run over a 100 MPH in the flat desert and also rock climb some of the toughest sections. All are custom vehicles most on a custom Bomber Frame with some having body parts to resemble their jeep ancestors while others choose to build custom sheet metal.

The race started as a challenge about 12 years ago - the high speed desert racers were challenging the off road rock climbers to a race - 12 years later the race now is the toughest off road race in the world. This year 104 vehicles started the race and 31 finished, just to finish is a win!

The dry lake bed is turned into a full town with thousands of RV's and Race crews for the motorcycle races, side by side races and this year they had a race what you bring race on Thursday - with tons of amateurs running modified vehicles in several classes. Friday the 5th of February the Ultra4's Race in the final event. The vehicles are unlimited with no real rules any size engine and as modified as you think will finish. Repairs must be made by the diver and crew on the course or in the pits only. So if you don't have what you need to repair you need to walk back to the pits to get the parts. Must have proper safety gear and the tools to cleanup any oil spills or hydraulic fluid etc on the car. The rock climbing sections have names like Waterfall, Chocolate Thunder, Jackhammer and Back Door. The race starts at 8:00am and the cars must finish all laps by 10pm.

Here is how they finished.
First Place - ERIK MILLER 4421
Second Place - JASON SCHERER 76
Third Place - RAUL GOMEZ 4483


Watching the Big Screen in Hammertown!

And the Winner is:

The 3rd place finisher is:

More car pics from Chocolate Thunder!

Part of the crowd at Chocolate Thunder!

Heading up the canyon!

Racing - the downhill pass!

More rocks!

Traffic in the rocks!

The start finish line!

Making Repairs in the pits...

Stay tuned for more activities while I am in Sunny California!

Capt. Jim - "The Wanderer"

Traveling and photographing the Southwest and Alaska!