Archive for the ‘Essentials’ Category

Dry Times

Posted: October 23, 2014 in Environment, Essentials, Photography

Yuma river bed_
While traveling through Arizona Paul noted that the Colorado River is fickle – at least when it comes to flowing through Yuma and then (not flowing) into Mexico. And I saw the USDA drought map. Good combo for ‘third effect” but not so good for our planet and anything on it that needs moisture.

Wrong Way

Posted: August 29, 2014 in Computers, Essentials


Paul is cruising in the wild West, somewhere near Cheyenne Wyoming, and his navigation system is bonkers. He knows where he wants to go but he can’t get there from here.

Lesson — update your GPS database, or better yet, cross-check that device with an old fashioned analog tool — a paper road map or atlas.

There are many apps for figuring out celestial comings and goings. One of the most simple to use is LunaSolCal which provides Sunrise, Moonrise, Sunset, Moonset, Moon Phase, length of day, alarms, etc.  Efficient and inexpensive.


Road Food – Part One

Posted: August 7, 2014 in Essentials, Food
Tags: , , ,

The classic downtown diner in a small town — NOT! They are rare my hungry friend. Here is a brief list of options for road-food-itis

  • Carry a snack at all times, preferably one with a smattering of protein. Paul always has three or four cheese cracker packets in his pocket – John opts for KIND energy bars
  • Hydrate. Keep a water bottle in the vehicle, stop and drink on a regualr basis, even if you are not thirsty
  • Trust but verify. The million travel websites and food rating links are not always reliable — you got a mobile phone — call ahead
  • The county seat/town square gambit.  Lawyers and judges (and cops) gotta eat and often demand chow a cut above fast food; look for the court house
  • Keep time in mind. Driving all night is driving into the zone of all-eatries-closed
  • Lastly, plan your day around food. Eat to live, or live to eat, you have to have nourishment to avoid getting hangry

_DSC2392 - Version 2 (1)

sleek and sexy--- (1)
Paul set out on a 66 day cross-USA photo safari in his 2003 Dodge van last year. The $4000 bargain now has 130,000 miles and is still running great. Gas mileage is better than the full-size vans he had in the past, with highway driving getting 22 mpg. Paul has spiffed it up with bedding, power inverter, and other hidden goodies. Mega-trip number two starting this month!  John on the other hand is a whore to fashion (!!!???) with his three-letter black convertible.

Pee Pee Essentials

Posted: August 6, 2014 in Essentials

Porcelain Thailand Japan
Other than to remember to put the lid down when you are finished there are a few things to keep in mind for the essential road trip essential. First priority for this traveler is cleanliness. Second, how can I get a two for one?  For instance stopping at the gas station will get one thing done — gas in the car — but the number two duty (pardon the pun) may not be so rewarding. My observation is go to the library in anytown USA and use the facilities. Not only do you get a sparkling clean WC but you can glean important information from the librarian such as where is the best restaurant (a subject of many upcoming blog posts) and the librarian can be your “fixer” in getting to know the lay of the land. Added benefit–  you can often grab free WiFi.

Second choice for clean restroom is a coffee shop — we all need caffeine on the road and coffee vendors are competeitive (think the big ‘bucks chain) and  tend to maintain a clean environment.

Lastly for an off-the-normal stopping off spot, and to see exotic wildllife, relieve yourself at a luxury car dealer’s showroom.  BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, etc.  Ignore the loafer-clad sales staff and go to the receptionist for directions. Extras can include WiFi, free coffee, and snacks.