Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mineral Road Switchbacks

We drove BLM 129 (Mineral Road) from Highway 313 (Canyonlands Road) to the Colorado River. The views from the switchbacks going down the mountain are impressive...




Fruit Bowl

A while back, I came across an awesome 4K drone video of slack liners walking across the Fruit Bowl, so we drove the jeeps out there to see it first hand. Unfortunately, the site was empty and the lines had been removed but the scenery was still great...


Corona Arch Trail

We hiked 1.5 miles back to the Corona Arch, a massive 140 foot tall rock formation. The weather was just perfect; mild temperatures and a cloudless sky...

That's Bowtie Arch (left) & Corona Arch (right) in the background

Michele & Sunny training for Mount Everest

Years ago, a pilot named Tim Martin flew his airplane through this arch
(click here to see him flying)

Friday, April 21, 2017

Long Canyon

Here's a video clip Sunny shot last Tuesday of us coming down Long Canyon. The highlight of the trail is driving under a humongous rock that fell across the road some years ago...


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hells Gate

Here's a video of Preston and Greg climbing Hells Gate, an optional obstacle on Hells Revenge...


Who says there are no "real men" left

Update: Greg & Merry's video of an old man in a RZR 900 XC coming up Hells Gate...


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wings @ Moab Brewery

Once again, our group takes advantage of 25 cent wings at the Moab Brewery...


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Gooseneck State Park

Much to our surprise and delight, Preston & Lois, Cory & Cheryl and Greg & Merry from the Arizonian RV Park were already at Gooseneck State Park in southeast Utah when we arrived. A great time was had getting caught up in the afternoon and then sitting in front of a log fire and star gazing that night.

These are professional RVers, do not try this at home

View from my RV

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde is huge. It protects nearly 5,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings...



Friday, April 14, 2017

Cascade Canyon

Sunny, Stormy and I took the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad up to Cascade Canyon and back. I had originally wanted to do the Soaring Tree Top Adventures, a series of 27 different zip lines that range from 56 to 1,400 feet in length but it was not open for the season as was the ride to Silverton. We had a perfect weather day which made for great photos and videos...





Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Very Large Array

If you saw the movie, Contact, with Jodie Foster, then you have seen the Very Large Array (VLA), a group of huge radio telescopes about 50 miles west of Socorro, NM. Fortunately, I had my friends, Sunny & Stormy Weathers, with me to explain the highly technical aspects of the VLA and related equipment...




Undoubtedly, the highlight of the trip was a fly-by from ET and friends...


Monday, April 03, 2017

Yuma Territorial Prison

If today's prisoners think they have it tough, they should have spent some time at the Yuma Territorial Prison when it was operational. The extremely small cells housing multiple inmates with only a bucket for sanitation must have been insufferable in the heat of summer...


Although the prisoners called it the "Hell Hole", ironically, the citizens of Yuma called it the "Country Club on the Colorado" as the prison had more modern amenities than most homes in town. Click on photos to enlarge.










Here's a photo of a typical cell block...


However, for those inmates that broke the rules, there were "dark cells" which allowed no light in at all and were pitch black. Now, if that was not bad enough, rumor has it that the guards would occasionally toss in a rattlesnake or scorpion. Yikes!

Lastly, the phrase "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" must have had this woman in mind...

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Boondocking

Camping in the desert is surprisingly peaceful and relaxing. I am staying overnight in the BLM's La Posa area south of Quartzsite. My nearest neighbor is maybe a half mile away and the only sounds, other than my snoring, are the wind and an occasional airplane. If it was not for that restraining order from the American Society for the Prevention of Blindness, I could run naked through the cactus (there's a mental image that's going to haunt you for a while). Here's the view through the RV's rear window...


Another reason for staying here is the opportunity to see how well my two Honda generators hooked up in parallel run an air conditioner. I bought a Honda EU2000i Companion back in the early 2000s for my trip to Alaska. Even when I had the Fuzion toyhauler which had its own generator, I would use the Honda at night to run the TV and charge the battery because it was so much quieter and sips gas. However, 2000 watts is not enough for a 15,000 BTU AC which I understand needs 3500 watts so I purchased a regular Honda EU2000i. By running both units with Honda's parallel cabling, I now get 4000 watts which I am happy to report runs the AC just fine...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Captain's Log Stardate 94841.33

Log Entry

  • My two day mission to go where far too many people have gone before was successful. I dropped off my Jeep & RZR (thanks Kim), refueled the ship and headed back to Lake Havasu.
  • The OK RV Park was full and Moab was crowded as Jeep Safari 2017 approaches.
  • South of Monticello I passed through a strange nebula that turned everything white...
  • Arrived back at the RV at 19:30 hours after a very long day.
  • Consumed life-saving quantities of American Honey Bourbon (medicinal use only).
Captain passes out.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Captain's Log Stardate 94838.55

Log Entry

  • I-40 between Kingman and Flagstaff is in serious need of President Trump's infrastructure spending. There were places where it was easier to drive in the potholes and dodge the high spots in the road.
  • Near Williams it appeared that a massive manhunt was underway. Law enforcement vehicles with lights flashing were parked along the south side of the Interstate for miles with officers overlooking the fields and woods. I would not have wanted to be on foot in that area today. Update: they caught him.
  • It was 51 degrees in Flagstaff at 1:00 pm. A rude awakening to my finely tuned constitution.
  • Arrived safe & sound in Blanding, UT where I will be spending the night (tip of the day: motels in Blanding are cheaper than Moab this time of the year).
  • For the non-trekkies out there, click here for a Stardate calculator.
Captain out.

Monument Valley

Sunday, March 26, 2017

John's Drone Video

John (or more likely, Jan) from the Arizonian RV Park uploaded a video to the Guest Photos page of the blog. Unfortunately, only a single photo was displayed so I downloaded the video to my computer, edited it by deleting all the nude scenes (don't want a NC-17 rating from the MPAA) and added titles and music. Here's the "G" rated version...

Use the arrows in bottom right of screen to enlarge video
You can also set the quality of the video by clicking on "Auto"
(if you have the bandwidth, I recommend 1080p)

Travel Plans

I am getting ready to haul my Jeep and RZR to Moab, UT tomorrow and then return to Lake Havasu to load up the RV. It's a bit of an inconvenience having to make two trips but well worth the effort to have both my toys in such a remarkable OHV area.

Before returning to Moab, I am going to take a long side trip to Yuma and Tucson to see if those are areas where I would like to spend next winter. Then, it's on to Las Cruces to join that dynamic duo, Sunny & Stormy Weathers, and explore New Mexico & Colorado on our way to Moab. We plan to visit Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands National Monument, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and Cascade Canyon via the Durango & Silverton Railroad.

As I once told Willie Nelson, "it's good to be on the road again".

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Old Rules Do Not Necessarily Apply

When I was growing up, I was taught that getting an education, working hard and saving your money was the way to succeed in life. Although I still consider that good advice, a lot has changed as the result of the Internet.

I am amazed by the number of people who are making huge amounts of money by publishing creative content on social media sites...


Here are two examples that defy the norms:
  1. Casey Neistat - He dropped out of High School in the 10th grade at age 15 and did not return to school or graduate. He later ran away from home. From age 17 until 20 he lived in a trailer park with his girlfriend and infant son. Prior to moving to New York City, he worked as a dishwasher at a restaurant and short order cook. His first job in New York City was as a bike messenger. Today, he earns an estimated $140.6K - $2.2M per year via YouTube.
  2. Sailing La Vagabonde - Riley and Elanya are a young couple that met in Greece just after he purchased a sailboat. He had been working on off-shore oil rigs and she had been bumming around Europe singing in clubs. Without any formal training, they started making videos documenting their travels sailing around the world. Today, they earn an estimated $5.9K - $95K per year via YouTube and almost $9,000 per video via Patreon (they make approximately one video per week).
The two things these people have in common are a good work ethic (I know from personal experience that creating quality videos is extremely time consuming) and they enjoy what they are doing. Granted, not everyone has the imagination and talent to do what they do but if you can, what a great way to live.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sign of the Day

I saw this on the back window of a pickup truck...
"Legal gun owners have over 300 million firearms and 50 billion rounds of ammunition.
Seriously, folks, if we were the problem, you would know it."

Friday, March 17, 2017

How Do Deaf People Think

Occasionally, I come across something that makes me wonder why I never thought of it before. Today, it was "how do deaf people think". Those of us with verbal language skills, think using words. However, if you were born deaf and never heard a word, how would you think?

It turns out that if an individual has learned sign language, that's what they use to think. However, if they never learned sign language, then they have a problem. Language (both verbal and sign) is an integral part of how the brain functions and those with no language skills are generally mentally impaired and elected to political office in California.

How did I become this fountain of knowledge you didn't ask... why YouTube, of course.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Immigration Ban

I see a Hawaiian judge has blocked President Trump's temporary immigration ban. My suggestion to the President would be: "send all the refugees to Hawaii". Wonder how long that restraining order would last then.

Why does Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf States not take Muslim refugees

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Maggie Mine Slot Canyon

Wow! How often do you get to drive and hike a narrow slot canyon? Maggie Mine Slot Canyon is not easy to find or get to but is definitely worth the effort. After leaving I-40 you follow a rough, dirt road about 50 miles before turning into the canyon. Most of the time the scenery is primarily Joshua trees and jackrabbits the size of small kangaroos. As there are no signs to the canyon itself, I have uploaded a track to Gaia GPS where you will be able to view data on the ride and download the file in several different formats.

Do not attempt to drive the canyon in a vehicle larger than a jeep. As you will see in the video, there are some very tight spots...



Lastly, there are several spur canyons off the main one that are suitable for hiking only...


Monday, March 13, 2017

Patreon

Patreon is a website where individuals can get paid for their creative content. It's really amazing when you think about it. For the first time in history, a person with very little resources can make an amazing amount of money just by publishing items online that others enjoy seeing.

Not one to be left out of cutting edge technology, I have created my own site at https://www.patreon.com/jb1800. I am still in the process of learning how to use the various posting options so there may be changes as I learn what works and what doesn't.

Just in case there are some "high rollers" out there who want to become a Patron, I have created a "rewards program" for contributors at various levels:
  • Basic $2.00 Reward - Check under your couch cushions to come up with enough change to make a non-deductible $2.00/month contribution to this blog and receive the highly prized "atta boy/girl/in-transition" reward (no gender bias here).
  • Totally Reasonable $5.00 Reward - For the moderate sum of $5.00/month, you will enable me to continue living life on the road without selling blood, bone marrow or a kidney which I am sure is reward enough for the kind and generous Patron that you are.
  • Who Am I Kidding $10.00 Reward - For the outrageous sum of $10.00/month, I will be able to live the luxurious lifestyle with which I would like to become accustomed and you will receive a photo-shopped picture of me next to a Rolls Royce limo in front of a spacious mansion (clearly, I am having delusions of grandeur but a guy has to dream).

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Rovey's Needle

Rovey's Needle is a unique rock formation off the Cattail Cove trail south of Lake Havasu City. I would recommend approaching it with a four wheel drive vehicle due to the sand washes (may be impassible when wet) and several steep inclines. The last section involves a short, rocky hike.

Approach to Rovey's Needle

From here you have a short hike

Eye of the Needle & Honeycomb Rock
(severe case of "rock acne")

Geocache

View of the Colorado River on the return

Due to the rain we had this winter, the desert is alive with Spring flowers

Friday, March 10, 2017

Crown King Arizona

My friend, Terry, sent me some photos from Crown King, Arizona...

Click on photos to enlarge

Obviously, my kind of town! What more could a guy ask for?

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Why Did I Not Think Of This

The current number one best seller book on Amazon is Reasons To Vote For Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide. As of this writing, it has a five star rating (highest available) based on 501 customer reviews (read the reviews as they are almost as good as the book).

Amazon describes it as: The most exhaustively researched and coherently argued Democrat Party apologia to date, "Reasons To Vote For Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide" is a political treatise sure to stand the test of time. A must-have addition to any political observer's coffee table. "Thorough" --Ben Shapiro, nationally syndicated columnist and New York Times bestselling author.

What makes this book such a phenomenal success? Although it has an index and a bibliography, it’s filled entirely with 266 blank pages! The author is going to make a mint for writing nothing.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Maps to GPX

While surfing the Net to find new places to explore in the Moab area, I came across an interesting site called the Fruit Bowl. Apparently, it is quite popular with slack liners, base jumpers, and rock climbers from all over the world...



In the process of looking for directions to its location, I came across a nifty website called Maps to GPX. You simply enter a Google Map URL link and it converts the directions to a GPX file which can be uploaded and used in GPS units. Here's a track I created to the Fruit Bowl...

Click on image to enlarge

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Fake News

It seems like everyone, including mainstream media, is getting into the "fake news" business. Not wanting to be left out of a growing trend in the publishing industry, I feel pressured to make my own contributions...

Hillary Caught Telling The Truth: In a surprising and utterly shocking development, Hillary Clinton was caught telling a bold-face truth to reporters. In the past, she has done this only when under oath and threat of perjury. Even her steadfast and most zealous supporters were caught off-guard. Nancy Pelosi (we must pass this bill in order to know what's in it) commented "this is not our party's way...clearly, her major health problems have impaired her judgement".

CNN Registers As Lobbyist: CNN has announced that it is giving up all pretense of being an independent, fact based news organization and has registered with the government as a lobbyist organization. CEO, Jeff Zucker, stated that "we have lost so much trust with the American public by way of our false and biased reporting that we felt we could make more money as lobbyist... plus, we no longer have to worry about all that journalistic integrity nonsense such as having two sources confirm a story".

Trump Quits Twitter: White House Press Secretary, Sean Spencer, told reporters that President Trump feels so badly about by-passing the mainstream media via his Twitter account that he will no longer 'tweet'. There is some concern that this move may give the media less to report and therefore lead to job losses within the industry which ironically, is the opposite of Trump's goal of creating more jobs in America.

Mexico To Build A Border Wall: Mexico has announced that due to a massive influx of illegal immigrants from Guatemala and Belize, they will build a wall on their southern border and America will pay for it. Although there were no specifics on how the USA will pay for it, speculation is there will be a border tax on all illegal drugs smuggled into the country.

As I once told Mark Twain, "The difference between nonfiction and fiction is that fiction must be believable".

Sunday, February 12, 2017

London Bridge Locks

Occasionally in my travels, I come across something that I find interesting but have no clue as to why it is there. On the east side of the London Bridge, there is an iron railing that is covered with dozens of locks...

Click on image to enlarge

Is it art? Is it a way to keep people from stealing the bridge? Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Fisherman Intaglio

The Fisherman Intaglio, a stick figure carved in the ground by early Native Americans, depicts a man holding a spear with two fish shown below and a sun and serpent above. It is located between Bouse and Quartzsite, AZ off the Plomosa Road. It is not well marked and you have to hike a ways to get to it.

I recently bought a DJI Mavic drone and thought this would be a good way to view the complete figure from the air. Due to recent inclement weather and high winds, I have not had much time to practice flying my new toy so the video is not as professional as I would have liked. Still, you can see the potential and with time, I hope to shoot some amazing videos.



Click on image to enlarge

FYI - In order to achieve the drone's compact size, they gave it a short landing gear so you need to have a relatively flat surface for takeoff and landing to keep from damaging the propellers.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Illegal Voting

There has been much discussion in the media about illegal votes cast in the national election. Some believe it was in the millions, others believe it was much less. President Trump has called for an investigation into the matter. I am for such an inquiry, assuming it can be done in a fair and non-partisan manner, as Americans need to have faith in our election system.

In my opinion, there are some cases of dead people voting along with people who are registered in two or more states. However, I suspect those numbers are rather small compared to the total number of votes cast. What I believe to be a much more significant problem is illegal immigrants voting.

There are currently 12 States and Washington, DC that allow driver's licenses to be issued to people in the country Illegally. These licenses can in turn be used as identification for people to vote in a number of states. Add-in fraudulent documents such as counterfeit Social Security cards, fake “green cards,” and phony birth certificates and you can see that a determined individual would have no problem voting.

According to the Pew Research Center, there were 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2014. California has the largest number of illegal immigrants with an estimated 2.4 million unauthorized immigrants making up about 6.3 percent of the state's total population. 

Common sense suggests that some illegals voted in the national election. The question is... how many?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Rough Riders

Mack & Joleen were kind enough to invite me ride with their club, the "Rough Riders". As the name suggests, they like to go where most people fear to tread. I must admit they have a unique way of checking out their skid plates while on the trail...


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Wastebook

Senator Jeff Flake has released Wastebook: PORK√©mon Go, the latest chronicle of government waste in a series started by former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn. The report covers 50 items and more than $5 billion in spending on outrageous government programs and frivolous projects. All of this waste is going on while our national debt is approaching 20 trillion dollars (that's $20,000,000,000,000 or ~$166,775 per taxpayer).

Click on image to see real time numbers

Friday, January 20, 2017

Visiting VIPs

Yesterday, while sitting on the couch contemplating solutions to our nation's problems, a brown truck pulled up behind the RV and a thin, skinny woman got out. She looked vaguely familiar but it wasn't until I saw Greg that I knew it was Merry. She immediately laid to rest my concern that she had gone bulimic and just to prove it, they invited me to join them for dinner. We had a great time at Shugrue's Restaurant overlooking the Colorado River and I got to hear the latest salacious gossip from the Arizonian RV Park (the only thing known to travel faster than the speed of light).

That's the London Bridge in the background

PS - my solution to the national debt crisis is to fine all politicians $10,000 every time they tell a lie. I figure the country will be out of debt in no time at all.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Havasu Balloon Festival

This weekend was the Havasu Balloon Festival. Inclement weather the past two days hampered most of the activities but this morning it cleared up enough for a group of balloons to launch...




Sunday, January 01, 2017

Hualapai Mountain Resort

One of my park neighbors showed me some photos of elk taken at the Hualapai Mountain Resort southeast of Kingman so I decided to drive over for lunch and take a look around. Sure enough, the elk were still there...



The snow was an added bonus...

Elevation ~6,200 feet