Monday, December 29, 2014

'Follow Me' Drones

For you high roller/tech adventurers there is a new generation of drones coming onto the market that will automatically follow and film you as you experience life-on-the-razors-edge. You can now be your own one-man aerial film crew.

For more information:

Thursday, December 25, 2014

2014 Photos

I thought I would relive the year by creating a slideshow from some of the photos I took in 2014...

I recommend viewing on the full-screen HD setting

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Judy's Ride

Judy took her first big ride in her RZR 570 and talk about a fast learner; by the end of the day she was going places a mountain goat would not go. I am afraid we may have created a monster. Watch out Evel Knievel, there is a new thrill seeker in town...

Judy in her RZR

Gail, Judy, Terry

The Gang

A lot of experienced riders will not try this
(much steeper than it looks in a photo)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Parade

Every Christmas some of the park residents decorate their off-road vehicles and parade through the park. To paraphrase Cyndi Lauper "seniors just want to have fun"...

Santa's 4 wheel drive sleigh

It's not easy being on the cutting edge of fashion

Parade judges

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Rattlesnake Den

My friend, Mack, sent me some photos of a rattlesnake den here in the southwest...

Fortunately, this time of the year they are in hibernation but starting in April you definitely want to watch where you walk.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Pinal Peak

I downloaded a track from Everytrail to my gps that allowed me to loop Pinal Peak south of Globe, AZ. Once again, it was not a hard trail but had enough variety that I was able to gain more experience in the Jeep, particularly, with off-camber and hill climbing conditions.

As you climb in elevation, the desert recedes and you enter an area of tall pines and cooler temperatures. It's like two rides in one.

The road less traveled

Surprise of the day

View from 7,777 feet

My ATV/UTV friends are beginning to suggest that I am getting soft now that I am inside a cab protected from the elements and enjoying the comfort of heating and air conditioning. Nonsense! Just today the cappuccino machine in the Jeep broke and I had to rough it by going to Starbucks. Hey... no one said driving off-road was going to be easy.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Apache Trail & 4 Peaks

These were good trails to familiarize myself with the new Jeep. They are not particularly hard but have enough variety that I got to try all the neat gadgets on the Rubicon including four wheel drive (high & low), sway bars and wheel lockers. Now, I know how to use them, the next step is knowing when to use them.

Today's photos...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Jeep Rubicon

One of the things I enjoy about the western states is the abundance of wide open public land, something that is almost non-existent east of the Mississippi. However, access to a lot of this area requires a four wheel drive vehicle with high clearance. To this end I have purchased a 2010 Jeep Rubicon as a complement to my Polaris RZR side-by-side for exploring off-highway destinations. This is a big, beautiful country that I hope to see as much as I can for as long as I can.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hardt Tank & 1900

The summer rains made these trails much rougher than last year. It was a true "rock crawling" day.

Hardcore riders

The Sonoran Desert can be surprisingly beautiful

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tortilla Flat

Tortilla Flat is still a great place to visit for lunch or dinner and the chimichangas are as good as those from past years. Here's a couple of seasoned cowhands bellying-up to the bar...

On the way back, we stopped at the Goldfield Ghost Town...

where I photographed of a real cowgirl (model)...

More Government Regulation

The federal government is proposing mandatory design standards for off-road vehicles that could negatively affect safety and performance. Click here for more information and if desired, contact your elected representatives to voice your opinion. You can forward this post and link using the envelop icon below.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Box Canyon

In my opinion, if you can take only one ride out of the Arizonian, it should be to Box Canyon. The variety of terrain combined with interesting waypoints and spectacular views make it a great four wheeling destination.

Here is what is left of the old stagecoach depot on Mineral Mountain road...

On our way back, we met George, the owner of the Mary R mine. His father discovered gold here on Thanksgiving Day in 1922...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bomb Range

Mack & Joleen, who I rode with in Moab, are spending a week at the Arizonian before heading over to Quartzsite for the winter. Part of the RVing experience is meeting and making friends in one part of the country and then re-uniting in another part.

In as much as this was my first off-road ride in five months, we took a half-day trip out to an old WWII practice bombing range behind the park. Here's the bomb disposal crew in action...

That's the remnants of an old bomb in the foreground

Monday, November 17, 2014

360 Panoramic Photo

I am still discovering unique features on my Nikon CoolPix S9700 camera. The most recent is the ability to take a 360 degree panoramic photo...

Click on photo to enlarge

I am not sure how usable this feature is as it appears the photo would have to be enlarged quite a bit in order for it to be really effective. However, it might provide an interesting perspective if taken from something like a ferris wheel - time will tell.

Also, I have found some additional settings that may improve the camera's ability to take photos in low light conditions; I am still experimenting with this.  All in all I consider it to be a very good point & shoot camera for the price.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Arizonian Resort

I am back at the Arizonian RV Park east of Gold Canyon, AZ where I will spend the winter. This is my fourth season here so it has become somewhat like a family reunion in that I get to reconnect with friends from previous years. It's that camaraderie along with the great off-road riding and warm, sunny weather that keeps me coming back.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hoover Dam

If I did not know better, I might think I am getting old. Last night, when I took my sock off, I discovered a blister the size of Rhode Island on my toe but never felt it because the rest of my body was in much more pain from two days of non-stop activity. Thankfully, Sunny suggested we drive down to the Hoover Dam today which probably saved a life or at least a trip to the ICU.

Today's photos...

Dam from the bridge

Bridge from the dam

Hoover "Dam Burger"

One thing I have learned in the last three days (other than do not try to keep up with Sunny) is "The Strip" is no longer an inexpensive place to visit. You are going to pay a premium for anything close to Las Vegas Boulevard.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Red Rock Canyon & Valley of Fire

Today, we drove out of the city to visit Red Rock Canyon and the Valley of Fire. These parks are a photographer's nirvana as they have rock formations of every shape, size and color.

Climbers at Red Rock

No problem understanding why they call it the Valley of Fire

Watching a professional photographer at work

Cabins built by the CCC in the 1930s

The surprise of the day was running into a group of big horn sheep...

Tonight, we saw Cirque du Soleil's "Zarkana" at the Aria. In my opinion it was good show but not a great one. Whereas, I would go see "Mystere" a second time, I cannot say the same for "Zarkana".

Monday, November 10, 2014

VIP Visitor

Sunny Weathers*, a friend from NC, is in town for a couple of days while her husband, Stormy, is out in SD blasting defenseless, unarmed pheasants out of the sky. Hopefully, Sunny can win enough money at the casinos that they will not have to depend upon frozen pheasant carcasses to get through those brutal NC winters.

We spent the afternoon walking the strip taking in the hotels/casinos/attractions including the new "High Roller"...

Here's one of the more honest panhandlers...

Of course, being in the desert, it is extremely important to stay hydrated...

At one point I thought we had made a wrong turn and ended up in Paris...

The Bellagio had the best Thanksgiving decorations...

We spent the evening on Fremont Street where Sunny was going to ride the SlotZilla zip line but it broke down while she was waiting for her turn which was a lot better than breaking down while she was on it.

I finally got back to the RV about 11:00 p.m. which I consider the wee hours of the morning. It's not easy keeping up with a veteran triathlete.

*Sunny Weathers is her "nom de plume", a time honored literary device used to protect her anonymity from adoring fans and law enforcement.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Blog Visitors & Technology

The Revolvers Maps in the column to the right graphically represents "Visitors" from 34 countries that have viewed this blog in 2014. In the first nine days of this month, individuals from Slovakia, Bulgaria, United Kingdom, Turkey, Canada, France and Slovenia have been here.

For someone who grew up when there were only three channels on television, multi-party wired telephone lines were the norm and there was no air conditioning much less computers and the Internet, today's technology is simply incredible. And to know that people from other countries (some of which I cannot identify on a world map) are reading what I have written and looking at photographs I have taken only adds to the amazement. Wonder what the next generation will see and experience in their lifetime?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Fremont Street

Fremont Street on Halloween night is many things but boring is not one of them. Some of the costumes looked like they were done by Hollywood special FX artists. Unfortunately, my new Nikon camera did not do as well in low light conditions as I would have liked as a number of photos came out blurred and unusable.

I started out the evening by having a "single by-pass burger" at the Heart Attack Grill where customers were given a hospital gown to wear and your server was a "nurse"...

This place is definitely not for the politically correct

Then on to the Fremont Street Experience...

Monday, October 27, 2014

Camera Update

The more I use my new Nikon CoolPix S9700 camera, the more I like it. The quality of the photos appears to be as good as those taken with my older Nikon D80 and the 1080i video is outstanding. Although I initially envisioned it filling the niche between my cheap Sony point & shoot and my more expensive DSLR, I am beginning to think it may replace both of them.

There are many features to the camera that I am still exploring but the two I have found most interesting are the built-in gps and wi-fi. The gps function inserts a waypoint into each photo's "exif" data. This can then be used to show where the photo was taken on a map. Google's Picasa Web Albums makes this very easy to do.

The wi-fi function lets you wirelessly transfer photos from the camera to your smartphone or tablet via Nikon's free Wireless Mobility Utility app. My Samsung Galaxy S3 is a good phone but not a real good camera so I can see me using this feature occasionally.

Lastly, while downtown on Fremont Street this morning, I came across a sign that I thought a certain individual, who will remain nameless, would enjoy (hint: she eats like a lumberjack but never gains any weight)...

And it seems only fair that if she gets a sign, her husband should get one also...

Update (10/31/14) - I have had cameras that shot horizontal panoramic photos but never one that does vertical panoramics as well. Should be good for taking pictures of skyscrapers, rocket launches, tall blondes, etc.

One negative for the camera is it does not work well in low light conditions without the flash. I found this out the hard way by losing a number of Halloween evening photos which were too blurred and under-exposed to keep.