Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the category “Daily Life”

The Reluctant Prepper

I took this with a telephoto backed off all the way in order to show what this view looks like to me instead of a camera lens that pushes it far away.

“Prepper” as in getting ready to leave Pike National Forest. I haven’t been able to get out much due to weird sinus issues, so it feels kinda early to do errands back in Frisco and Dillon tomorrow. Then I’ll overnight in Dillon again, hopefully where I did before. Friday morning, I head for North Platte, Nebraska to begin “the commute”. That normally involves driving 3-4 hours each day, starting late and ending mid-afternoon, where I can do as I like wherever I’m parked. This trip, it will be with a twist. If the mid-nineties forecasts hold true, those afternoons will Read more…

Into the Abyss

A word on the near future: The cell signal strength at Goosenecks frequently cuts out to zero, and next up is Valley of the Gods, which is reputed to have a weak or zero signal as well. So blog updates on this journey may be delayed for awhile. One thing’s for sure. Pretty much the rest of the trip is forecast to hit daily highs in the mid-90s due to the lower elevations involved (about 4,000′), so it’s going to be one sweaty and lethargic tour from here on out, most likely! Only the fridge and the new battery pack will be more challenged than me. I’ll post when I can…!

Out With the Old…

A trip to Northern Arizona Wind & Sun today netted a 15-minute wait before anyone could even respond to my coming in the door. They are much more of an Internet company than a retail store. Turns out that my four Fullriver AGMs were at their supplier, Battery Systems of Flagstaff, some 5 miles away and would not normally be delivered until Friday. But I could go pick them up there. So I did, and was assured that I could drop off my old battery set there the next day. If NAW&S hadn’t offered me 10% off as an Expo discount…

I decided to install the batteries at Cinder Hill OHV Area, since it would take several hours to throw all bench storage into the bed area (roof raised), pull fuses, and carefully work the cabling to trade batteries one by one. It went well, with only minimal bloodletting, although a funky automotive-style post with an M8 screw raised the connection point enough to make the cable eyelets fit under the battery box lids a challenge. The only disappointment was that Read more…

An Unusual Weekend

Parked at the Cinder Hill OHV Area, at last. Whew!

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

This year’s Overland Expo West was the largest ever, (130,000 attendees total, I was told) with enough acreage of gewgaws to exhaust anyone but a marathon runner. Honestly, just about every permutation of any concept or product was there in enough profusion to eventually numb the mind. Each of the many aisle lengths appeared to be a quarter-mile long.

The traffic stack-up to get in a day early (on Thursday) was over 45 minutes, since I arrived just when the gates opened at 1 PM. The check-in procedure itself was painless, since there was no need to even get out of the vehicle. Then it was on to the Read more…

Wish You Were Here!

This is the view out my passenger side window (though I stood outside on the cargo box frame to take it).

As the snap above reveals, my current campsite is magnifique. You can click on it to get a larger image. I had gone exploring on the e-bike and passed by a van parked in the trees near the intersection of NF-536 & NF-536A, a lengthy stub. GPS: 35.057183, -111.804945. Elev 7,129. Not far down 536A, I passed a lady walking her small mutt on a leash. After I asked about whether she’d noticed any campsites on her walk, she asked whether Read more…

On Second Thought…

Flowers are not in abundance here, so discovering some is a moment to appreciate. You can click on any of these photos for a larger view.

I moved camp. One reason was wondering what else could be workable “on top”, which was another 200′ higher in elevation. The other reason was noise. Despite the considerable distances between campsites, or perhaps because of it, locals love to come here and turn up their favorite music as loudly as their equipment supports, day and night, and of course turn their dogs loose. A recent report of attempted theft made me consider my deployed solar ground panels. Perhaps it was time to go back on mission and hunt up an additional measure of solitude.

Gaps in the trees during the climb allow quite a view.

Morbid curiosity had its hand in, once I made a start at pedal-touring the road above the switchbacks on NF-535. Up top is a different story entirely. I decided to pack up the camper and crawl all camping-approved areas as noted on the MVUM. So I idled down a branch at a water hole, which they refer to as a tank out here. 9018H goes straight west and cuts through an area where the forest shows signs of having been deliberately thinned out. The road itself is plain dirt, deeply rutted for very long spans, and occasionally troubled by Read more…

Deer Weather

Through a screen, darkly. The iPhone I used to capture this seemed to think I wanted to focus on the window screen, but hey, it’s a photo.

I moved back to NF-493 in Cottonwood to better get through a cool spell and rainstorms, which is better than cold and snow. At the moment I write this, it’s just past noon, and the outside temperature is 44 degrees F. The predicted high today is 55, but that’s for the lower elevations of Cottonwood itself, and I don’t think I’ll top 50 right here.

I decided to hit that isolated spot further up on NF-493, a quarter mile past where I stayed before. It’s a fab spot, but I gotta tell ya, the entrance to it is a tricky devil. I made it in after adding a rock or two to the climb, both to ease the “bumpage” and to save the tires from sidewall threats. A narrower rig with less overhang would have a somewhat easier time of it. I hope to cover that and a true view of this campsite in a later post, if the opportunity presents itself. Yesterday and today are very rainy, keeping me from wanting to Read more…

Leaving is Such Sweet Sorrow

Whoa! This is a view of Prescott Valley, I think. This is from a hiking trail 101, where vehicle trail 1006E ends.

Yep, after 10 overnights, food choices are getting pretty limited and the water tank may run out any time now. And a cold spell is moving back in for several days, making high-elevation camping an exercise in choices. Not to mention rain in the forecast, which makes new campsite choices and accessibility a temporary issue. With a heavy camper, you want to be planted and stay planted until things dry back out. That’s especially true here at Woodchute, but affects most other trails as well. By Friday, heat will return and it will be time to resupply once more before continuing northeast to a longer stay at higher elevations. It won’t be all that long before the Overland Expo West!

Below is a mere 8-second video I captured with my iPhone after I realized that Read more…

The Great Western Trail

These little stickers are on many trail marker posts here.

[I finally figured out how to set photos so that they can be clicked on and viewed much larger. Enjoy]

This will be an unusual post, in that I won’t tell you all that much about the title subject. You can search online for that yourself. Still, the small stickers I kept seeing along the Woodchute Trail I’m camped on made me curious, especially since one was placed on a trail clearly impassable by the Intrepid. I’m nearly at the practical limit of what the large-barge Furdster can do here, and to go more than a quarter-mile further up really needs a spotter to make progress practical.

Anyway, the so-called Great Western Trail is a modern patching together of existing trails into a network that is envisioned to go from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, and perhaps one day to Alaska. Because some of its pieces or at least locations have some historical provenance, as it were, its fans like to claim that some of your distant ancestors have used parts of it to migrate from one area to another. Mine? No, definitely not. Maybe yours. Some 350 miles of trail have been assembled in Arizona so far, and it’s likely that Read more…

The Sound of Music

The Photographic Studio and Audio Workshop at Rancho Begley, officially designated the “Command Center”.

It all started in the Defiant’s front “bedroom”, since converted by my son into a working office and library. Notice the record turntable in the far corner? Once I hit the road, I methodically sawed through literally hundreds of LPs, 45s and 78s to record them into raw digital form. With no space to store many boxes of records, this was the only way that I could continue to listen to the wide span of music and comedy that I’ve always enjoyed.

Talk about intense activity! Looking back, I don’t know how I kept at it so relentlessly – except for the realization that if I didn’t accomplish recording the whole pile of the most significant works (significant to me, anyway), then they’d have to be given away quickly or trashed without, and so disappear forever.

To cut the time needed to record each disk, they were all played at 78 RPM or whatever speed would allow them to play without skipping. Many records were worn, some were damaged, and nearly all presented the little clicks and scratches that characterize vinyl music. When that task was completed, the digital recordings stayed intact on a reliable hard drive. Now they’ve been waiting years for me to get back to them and translate them into a clean, listenable form that could play on a computer or smartphone accessing decent speakers.

They were recorded off the turntable using Audacity, a free and quite capable audio program. The first step to deal with the result is to pull each file up, rediscover what speed it was recorded at and then alter it to play properly within Audacity. It’s edited to whack off the extra nothingness at each end, as well as any pause recorded while the disc was flipped over to side B. Very few records are clean-sounding enough to export directly into an MP3 format, so that requires a translation into an .aiff file (or other format) that ClickRepair can deal with. ClickRepair is a very capable click removal program that fortunately can do a very credible job when allowed to operate automatically on its own. That generates a “cleaned” .aiff file that can be called back into Audacity or, when necessary, pulled into Denoise (created by the same guy who made ClickRepair) to get rid of background hiss. Whatever. Audacity can then be used to adjust the volume to workable levels, accomplish any final trimming, and export the file into a compact MP3 format that can be played on just about any device extant. To conserve limited hard disk space, the .aiff files must be deleted once the final MP# has been created.  Naturally, all this editing, cleaning and file format translation absorbs quite a bit of time to grind through.

So, as of late, my idyllic camping experience has more resembled a Read more…

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