Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Desert Snakes

I have been telling my neighbors that they do not have to worry about rattlesnakes in the desert this time of the year as they are hibernating in their underground dens. Then, I get this photo from my friend, Terry, who said they came across this monster yesterday while riding in the desert...


Well, I guess I can always get a job with the Fake News Network.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Earp Falls

I took advantage of today's nice weather by taking a leisurely Sunday drive to Earp Falls on the California side of the Colorado River...

Crossed the Parker Dam into California

Enjoyed the view on the way to the falls

Arrived at the falls

Avoided the road hazards on the way home

All in all, a nice day exploring off-highway.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Hobo Graveyard

Franconia, AZ is a derelict railroad siding stop that was formerly the site of a section house for the Santa Fe Railroad. Today, all that is left are the concrete foundations, a couple of grave sites and a whole bunch of rusty cans. I had heard there were a number of hobo graves here but these were the only ones I was able to find...



I did, however, come across a couple of modern day hobos...

My neighbors, Jim & Diana

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Pizza Ordering Shoes

What do you give the man/woman/in-transition (no gender bias here) in your life who has everything? How about a pair of shoes that order pizza...


Using Bluetooth technology, you simply pair-up your shoes with the Pizza Hut app on your smartphone and then press a button on the shoes to automatically order your pizza and have it delivered to your door. All that is needed now is for a beer company to develop a similar product.

Regrettably, this is where I have to apologize for getting your hopes up. This was a promotional program developed by Pizza Hut for "March Madness" and a limited edition of only 64 pairs of shoes were made. Guess we are back to buying generic gift cards for friends and family.

Here is the iJustine video that made me aware of the promotion...


Sunday, January 07, 2018

Blockchain

"Blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”

I first heard the word "Blockchain" when it was invented back in 2008 by an unknown person(s) known by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto, for the digital cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. In recent years, I have been reading more and more about how this technology has the potential to change the digital world as we know it. However, I had no idea as to how it would work or what it could be used for.

Lately, I have been watching YouTube videos from the TED Talks channel which quote "shares the best ideas from the TED Conference with the world, for free: trusted voices and convention-breaking mavericks, icons and geniuses, all giving the talk of their lives in 18 minutes". The video that prompted this post is titled "How the blockchain is changing money and business" by Don Tapscott. In my opinion, it is easy to understand and a great introduction to the technology and its potential.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

How to reply to spam

Just in case you are on the east coast and are experiencing Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth about global warming, here are a couple of videos regarding spam emails that may give you some ideas on how to entertain yourself while trapped indoors...

Friday, December 29, 2017

Arizona Pinstripes

This is a public service announcement to all Jeep owners. Before riding with Steve & Jayne (http://www.jeeptheusa.com), people would look at my Jeep and say things like "that's a good looking vehicle". Now, a month after of following them to places a billy goat would not go, they say things like "would you mind getting that eyesore off the road, it's embarrassing"...

Looks like I will be buying buffing compound in bulk

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. May Santa grant all your wishes (even if you were a little bit naughty). 2017 was a good year for me. I got to see some amazing places and met some wonderful people. I am looking forward to doing more of the same in 2018.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Swansea Ghost Town

Swansea is an old copper-mining community that existed in the early 1900s between Parker and Bouse, Arizona. It consists today of old buildings and concrete foundations. As you walk around the area, there are plaques telling you about the history of the mine/town and its various structures.




Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Desert Hill Climbing

If you look south from I-40 between the Lake Havasu exit and the California state line, you will see a series of hills with a trail that resembles a roller-coaster ride. Here are a series of clips from my dash cam (run at 2X speed) that hopefully, will give you an idea of the experience...


I recommend viewing at the highest resolution your bandwidth will allow

As usual, photos/videos never quite show how steep these hills are. You will note that at the top of some of the hills, all you can see is sky which is a little unnerving as you don't know if the trail makes a sharp turn on the downhill side or worse yet, whether there is any oncoming traffic. That said, they were a lot of fun to run.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Eagle Pass

The Eagle Pass trail is just across the border in California south of I-40 and the town of Needles (home of Snoopy's brother Spike). I cannot recommend this ride due to the seemingly endless washboard washes that beat up both you and your machine. Plus, there is not much in the way of scenery. This is the only photo that I thought was worth showing...

Monday, December 11, 2017

McGuffie Cabin

Steve and I departed the park at the crack of dawn (8:00 a.m.) heading to the McGuffie Cabin west of Alamo Lake. We forded raging rivers, climbed mighty mountains and I am pretty sure if you look up "middle of nowhere" in the dictionary, you would see a photo of our route. Not everyone who has undertaken this arduous journey has been successful...

Click on photos to enlarge

Steve converts his jeep into an amphibious vehicle

McGuffie Cabin

All the comforts of home

Who has a boat in the middle of the desert

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Warm Springs Trail

The Warm Springs trail makes a big loop north of I-40 from Franconia to Powell. Although it is not difficult, it is rocky and very rough. Make sure your vehicle's shocks and springs are in good condition as they are going to get a workout (not to mention wear and tear on your body).

The highlight of the trip was a spur road that took us to the top of a mountain where the Klaner and Doolin Pits are located. The views were outstanding...



On the way back, we came across a wild burro family...


Update (12/8/2017): Steve's photo of me doing a little "rock crawling"...

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Planet Mine/Ranch

Today, I had the pleasure of joining Steve, Jayne, Frank and Barb on a Jeep ride to the Planet MIne/Ranch area east of Parker, AZ. Steve is the author of JeepTheUSA.com, a highly informative site listing over 350 trails in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. You can even download GPX tracks of the trails to your smartphone, tablet or GPS so that you never get lost.

Jayne, Steve, Barb, Frank at the old ranch

The mining area itself is a series of ridges and washes that makes for a rugged beauty and at times, challenging riding...





Here's a compilation video of what I consider to be some of the highlights of the day...


Monday, December 04, 2017

Wheelingit Camping Map

One of my favorite RV blogs is Wheelingit, a well written and informative site. In looking at Nina's latest post, I noticed a camping map at the bottom of the page that has links to all of the places she has reviewed and which I thought might be of interest to other RVers. Click on the image below to bring up the map...

Friday, December 01, 2017

Bitcoin

A recent episode of The Big Bang Theory had the guys going back in time to find some Bitcoins they had mined years ago that were now worth quite a bit of money. As fate would have it, back when one Bitcoin was worth ~$100, I bought a couple of inexpensive ASIC Bitcoin USB Miners and began mining. After a number of months, I generated 0.1 Bitcoin. As more and more really big miners entered the market, it became increasing difficult for me to compete so I parked my coin in a "wallet" at Coinbase and quit mining*.

Now that one Bitcoin is worth over $10,000, I sold half of my stash for ~$500 and had it deposited into my checking account. I figure if the price goes down substantially, I can always buy it back at a lower price. If the price goes up substantially, I can sell the remainder at a greater profit.

If you like to live life on the razor's edge or just have more money than a Michigan farmer, you may wish to play around in this market. Just remember it is highly volatile which makes it a risky investment. Here's a chart of Bitcoin's recent history...

*Mining today requires some relatively expensive equipment and a source of inexpensive electricity. Most mining is now done in China.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Google Home Mini

My Google Home Mini smart speaker arrived yesterday and I have been playing with it since (if you are not familiar with smart speakers, click here for more info). The Home Mini is ridiculously easy to setup and use. Like most new users, I have been trying out all kinds of questions and commands to see what it can do. Although it will not be able to answer all your questions, you will be surprised at what it can answer. I think of it as part personal assistant and part encyclopedia. And it is only $49. Amazing!


If you would like more in-depth reviews of the Mini, check out these YouTube videos.



Update (11/24/2017): B&H is currently selling the Google Home Mini for $29 with free shipping and no sales tax outside of New York and New Jersey. They are also selling the Google Chromecast device for $25, a $10 savings (offer ends 11/27/2017).

Friday, November 17, 2017

Bridgewater Channel

After dinner I took a leisurely walk along the Lake Havasu Bridgewater Channel. Very scenic, very peaceful...

Click on photos to enlarge

That's London Bridge in the background

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Doctor Visits

I have taken the opportunity while in Lake Havasu to get in all of my annual doctor visits (internist, dermatologist, dentist). They all said I have a couple of good years left if I give up drinking, women and eating anything that tastes good. My response was "why would I want to go on living". I would rather OD on chocolate and go out with a smile on my face.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Arizona Sunset

The last couple of days we have had just enough cloud cover in the mornings and evenings to generate some spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Here's what we were treated to tonight...

Photos do not do these scenes justice, you have to be here to truly appreciate them

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Topock66

I joined Mack, Jolene and some of their friends on an off-road ride to Topock66 for lunch. We had "Goldilocks" weather (not too hot, not too cold) with lots of sunshine and a light breeze. The only negative was the dust. I am going to have to move up my weekly bath.



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

It's Halloween

A lot of people in Havasu are dressing up for Halloween. I met this young lady at lunch and complimented her on her outfit. She returned the favor by saying my costume was much more frightening. Unfortunately, I was not wearing one...

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Signs of Aging

I'm back in Lake Havasu City for the winter. There is a large retiree population here which got me to thinking about ways you can tell you are not getting any younger...
  • You meet the guys at McDonald's every morning for coffee
  • You consider anyone who stays up past 10:00 p.m. a "wild party animal"
  • Everything hurts and what doesn't hurt doesn't work
  • The gleam in your eyes is from the sun hitting your bifocals
  • You feel like the morning after and you haven't been anywhere
  • Your little black book contains only names that end in M.D.
  • You turn out the lights for economic rather than romantic reasons
  • Your knees buckle but your belt won't
  • Your back goes out more than you do
  • You get your exercise acting as a pallbearer for your friends who exercise
  • Your best friend is dating someone half his age... and isn't breaking any laws
Well, I've got to go... am late meeting the guys for coffee at McDonald's. Feel free to add any other "signs" in the comment section below.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Jeep Crashes

Here's a short video on "how not to drive a Jeep"...


A number of these crash sites are in Moab

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sherp ATV

All Terrain Vehicles continue to get better and better at going places you think you would never drive. The Sherp is one of the more impressive machines I have come across lately. It is made in Russia and appears to be distributed in North America via Canada for ~$100,000.