Monday, July 28, 2008

Lemonade.

For 3 days we've been trying to recover the Scottish Deerhound "ribbon" images from the AKC lure trial. No luck. We've tried the SanDisk recovery software that came with the flash cards. We downloaded GetDataBack, with which we had significant success a couple of years ago- recovering 5 trials worth of images from a crashed external drive. Nada. I Googled a couple of other options, but they just aren't to be had.

On Saturday, we decided to take some pictures of the lure coursing judge, Denise Como..
(All you trial secretaries out there can now put a face to the name that appears on all your trial premiums!).

We had her hold all the appropriate ribbons, and Voila!

That's why we say, "when life gives you lemons...

...there's Photoshop!" (Elements).

Sunday, July 27, 2008

That's More Like It!

For all you suffering in unbearable heat and humidity back east? The "extended forecast" looks just like the current 5-day, and the previous week was identical as well. I suppose if you look back over the last 30 days, and ahead 30 days there will be little change. However, we're not bored yet. I could see how boredom could set in, though...... BAAAhaaahahaahaahah! NOT!

*****


The perfect weather notwithstanding, the Scottish Deerhound portion of the reason we drove the 2500 miles to California was pretty much a disaster. We missed two events due to breakdowns, and the one event we did shoot- the AKC trial- "we" lost the win pictures. Perhaps our luck will change now.


We've got two weeks before the next event, up in Hollister. Our schedule is starting to fall together as to how we will spend that time.


When we leave Santa Maria, we'll head up the coast to Paso Robles, where we will park for a day or three at Margaret's cousins. She thinks she remembers that her cousin's husband is a good cook. There's that "food theme" again!


Then we have some options. We've been invited by a total stranger- but one who is familiar with this blog, and knows someone who knows Dutch Salmon, and therefore we're all friends (I like that logic)- to stop and spend time in Coalinga.


Or.. we may drive from Paso Robles to Alpaugh and spend time with Dr. John Burchard, whom I haven't seen in 8 or 9 years, and his cohorts, George Bell, and Herb Wells, (another photographer whose open field coursing images many of you may be familiar with). There's a better than even chance we could go scare a few jackrabbits.


We may do both! And probably will.


That should get us near to where we have to be in Hollister, which I've been told is only about 25 miles from where we might get a chance to photograph one of these guys:


Stand by for that! For a Hollister weather image, just add 1-2 degrees to the above ;0)

Long range plans- beyond the Hollister trials- call for a return on Interstate 80, through Wyoming, where we may veer north to Medicine Bow and, you guessed it, kick up a few more jacks. White tails, in this case. Then up to I-90 so we can see the sites of our adopted state: Badlands, Rushmore, Crazy Horse. Then we need to get our driver's licenses renewed while we're there.

And finally, back to Michigan. Whew!

I've got to talk about our dinner here in Santa Maria the other night, but I'll save that for another post. I'm still processing that.. literally, as well as figuratively.

Time to feed the crew.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Oh by the Way...

Lest you think we're still stuck in Needles, rest assured that we got away before the really hot weather hit ;0)

We arrived in time for the Deerhound AKC trial, and have been hard at work all week long. We'll try and get some details up when we get a chance to rest. Good eats abound!

Meanwhile, male readers should check out this interesting archery post on Patrick the Terrierman's blog...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Help Us Spike!

We left Flagstaff around 11 this morning. The problem with the motorhome fixed, with a $22 part, and 4 hours or research labor. What was the problem, you ask? I don't want to talk about it. Let's just say it involved a part that I mentioned on the very first post on our trip.

Besides.. we have bigger problems now than some old K&N filter with too much oil on it.

We travelled 235 miles today, to roughly 25 miles west of Needles, California. We were into our second climbing stage out of the Colorado River basin when there was a loud noise, and it only took a second to realize that while the engine was still running, we didn't have any power steering. Cataclysmic destruction of the serpentine belt.

So, here we're parked, behind the Colorado River Cheverolet Dealership in Needles, waiting for them to open in the morning, so we can get the damn belt replaced, and not miss more than two deerhound events.. (LGRA, ASFA Lure Coursing).

You know you've heard of Needles if you watch your local weathercasts: "And the hottest place in the nation again was Needles, CA at 107 degrees". Fortunately, we'll be gone before Wednesday, when it will get really hot.


Oh.. and gas here? $4.99/gal. Yeah.. we could live here. It's hot... but it's a dry heat.

*****

Talk about a vertical profile! That trip down Oak Creek Canyon was nothing. In 4 hours today, we went from around 7000', cool-ish temps, at Flagstaff, to the California border at the Colorado River: 326' and 102 degrees. A shock to the system.

*****

And who is this "Spike"? You know. Click on the title.

*****

Decent little Chinese place here.... right up on the corner. Dinner specials packaged like lunch specials, including rice, soup, and soft noodles. Hmmm, noodles in Needles.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

See Ya.

"That's it then...we're all going to die."- Arthur Dent.

Another Perspective.

This is the vertical profile from the GPS track of our 113.1 mile "Saturday Joy Ride". We lost a lot of altitude in that first 25 miles, didn't we? That's the drop into the canyon, which included those incredible switchbacks in yesterday's photo. The higher portion there at the 50 mile marker is Sedona; the lowest elevation was where we picked up I-17 to return to Flagstaff. First time under 4000' in over a week!
*****
We had Fanny and Sandia with us. We can now add Afghan Hound, Wolfhound, and...... Whippet(!) to the list of things they've been called.. as in: "Is that a......?"

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sedona Road Trip

It's unusual that we have an opportunity to visit a place neither of us have evern been before. Today was that day.
We started by hopping off Interstate 17 at US Hwy 89A... the "alternate" route. That took us down, down, down through Oak Creek Canyon. Did I say around and around and around, as well?
...Count 'em...

The canyon ends at the city limits of Sedona. We took a look, and drove right on through, having no current need for any crystals, T-shirts, cappucino, palm readings or anything else on the main drag marketplaces.

We wanted to see Red Rock Canyon. And we did.

This is Cathedral Rock. Just one of the hundreds of amazing rock formations in the Red Rock area. We took lots of pictures. Lots. We'll put up a slide show when we have a better signal. We haven't had a slide show here in quite a while.

Robert Earl Keen Said...

"...the road goes on forever, and the party never ends." We think this unique sculpture was in Gallup, NM, but we can't be sure. It's all a blur any more.

Stuck in Flagstaff, Mile 1852.

I "knocked on wood" goddammit! You all read it here. So why, some sixty miles or so after our stop at the Jackrabbit Trading Post, did the engine suddenly lose power?

We had to pull off on the shoulder, where it finally died. We waited a couple of minutes, and on the second attempt it started right up. It was flooding for some reason. Back on the highway, we made it another 10 miles before it did it again.

We called our road service and got the phone number for a service center in Flagstaff. We had two more "episodes" before we finally made it to the Flagstaff RV Service Center.

The problem: It was a Friday afternoon, they closed at 5:30, there were 3 rigs in front of us... and they're not open Saturday. About 5:30 they at least got in to check the fuel pressure- good. Problem is not yet another fuel pump. Filter was clear, no blockages. Code reader showed a couple of sensors having problems that could conceivably be sucking the power down. All that pollution equipment that wasn't in vehicles when I was a kid!

Time was up. We found "Black Bart's RV Park, Steakhouse, Music Hall with Singing Waiters". Holy Cow! We didn't eat there, as the menu was way overpriced, and the parking lot was packed to the rafters, so to speak. Instead, we found yet another great Mexican restaurant... Salsa Brava. It was a "pork night". I had the Adovada Combo, and Margaret had the Carnitas Combo. It was good, good, good! The pineapple-habanero salsa was delicious, but not nearly as hot as advertised. My only disappointment of the night.

Since we're stuck here for the weekend, and going to miss the small Scottish Deerhound LGRA (8 entries) on Monday morning, we decided to "make lemonade". Today we're going to Sedona... gonna get our auras and chi adjusted to some new age brain-mush music or something. Or maybe we'll just go see the Red Rocks. Stand by.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Here It Is

Well you just know we had to stop at the Jackrabbit Trading Post near Joseph City, AZ.

So. How much did we spend in the Jackrabbit Trading Post? You tell us!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sad.

A once glorious place, passing into history.

Mile... oh, Big Whoop!

The object was to just get moving again. I we were in danger of succumbing to laziness at the Garth rancho. So, around 3PM we headed out, got through Albuquerque to the Flying J (for a fill up of what should be our last sub-$3.90/gal gas. We made it all the way to Milan- a distance of 107 miles. Total mileage now stands at 1609, with 860 miles to go to the first event site! It's all downhill from here! Uh, except for all the uphill parts.

Cooler than Todd's I-Phone!

When we arrived at Steve and Joan's place, home to Scottish Deerhounds, Galgos, and alien Pugs, the first thing Steve just had to show us was his AmazonKindle Reader. I'd heard about them, but didn't really know much, and frankly, was prepared to be underwhelmed.

Hah! Where to start...? 10.3oz, with a display that looks just like a paper page. (No back light! At night you have to turn on your reading light, just like a real book!) No glare, either. That's a good place to start. I hate reading articles and books on a laptop.. blogs, and newspapers' online sports sections are about all I can handle. I can handle this. And my aging eyes can sure handle scalable fonts!

It's priced about like an 3G iPhone, and is packed with about as many features, (except the phone part, of course). $359, available only from Amazon, includes the EVDO data network, so you can download books right off the NY Times best seller lists, and more, including magazines, blogs, and on and on and on. No need to find a hot spot. The only wires you ever need for it are attached to your ear buds, if you download a talking book!

Instead of listing everything it can do, I'll just point you to the link above.

There's lists of features and functions, videos of testimonials, and more. I'm pretty sure we'll be carrying fewer pounds of books around in the Express come Christmas...

HT to our "hand model extraordinaire", Steve Garth. ;0)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Land of Enchantment.

New Mexico has the most amazing, and constantly shifting and changing, cloud formations.

On the other side of the Sandias, the sun is setting, giving those of us on this side a spectacular light show. And the people who live here get this every single day!

We want to be those people.

Aliens in New Mexico

Hmmm? Am I right? Hmmmmmm? Am I?

Save the Planet, Be Humiliated on the BBC

Apparently, it's a real... car... quadracycle. Don't get caught dead in one.

Summer Hunting With the Family

Yes, it's possible. If you get up really early on a July morning, even in New Mexico, you can get your dogs out in the field before it gets too warm, and the snakes wake up.

Early means 5:00AM if you want to get to the fields near Moriarty at the crack of dawn. We loaded up Sandia with his sister, Maya, and his aunt, the notorious Camille, in Steve's Explorer and headed out at 5:30 in moderately cool 58 degree temps.

video

By 7:30, we'd run two jacks, and the temperature started to rise. We headed back to the vehicle, and by 8:30 we were meeting Joan and Margaret at the once-closed, and now re-opened with new owners, East Mountain Grill, (No web page). As good, or better than we remembered.

This is our "day off" from travelling. I've got a little project to finish on the motor home, and mostly we're just kicking back. Maybe we'll go ride the "World's longest aerial tramway" to the top of our Galgo's namesake mountain. Or maybe not, now that I've checked the rates. :-(

Maybe we'll just sit tight, and await tonight's next powerful thunderstorm.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 5, Mile 1502- Edgewood, NM

Sandia's back in the town of his birth whelp.
More tomorrow... we're gonna have us some fun.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 4, Mile 1347

Tucumcari tonight! If that sounds familiar, it may be because it's on countless billboards from Oklahoma City to Santa Monica, and from El Paso to Yellowstone. Or... you may remember that I've also used it before.

And your math skills haven't left you if you figured out we only drove 258 miles today. Needing dog food, and that all-important Route 66 bumper sticker (and a couple of T-shirts, as it turned out), we didn't leave Elk City until after Noon.

The museum looks nice, but we didn't have time to go through it. In fact there are a cluster of museums, and they can all be viewed for one price; $4 for AARP members.
The view from "The Road" (above), and proof (below) that "everything old is new again". This trailer was hand-built, using plans published in Popular Science (or a similar magazine), before WWII.

Seen one lately?

Smaller, by orders of magnitude, than what you see on clifftops throughout the West and Southwest, this "wind farm" was at the Farm Museum, which is also part of the Route 66 complex.

*******

Dinner tonight was at Del's in Tucumcari. Been in town at least 4 times and have never eaten anywhere else, and they don't even have liquor! So that should tell you something.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hey, You Care!

I guess everyone's fed up with ObaMcCain...

My Cabinet meetings will be held, appropriately, at the liquor Cabinet!


(Shamelessly stolen from Patrick Burns' Terrierman blog. HT to Patrick!)

Day 3, Mile 1089

Those who read the comments on these posts, will already be aware that this bridge was built by reader Pam's father. Those who don't read the comments, well, here's a bit of what you miss:

"Wow! Y'all are in my hometown! Forest Manor has been there since before I was born. Head just a little ways down Millcreek Rd and you'll see a house with a pretty little covered bridge in front. That's where I grew up. My dad was a big fan of covered bridges and built that little jewel, using all local materials and old-timey building techniques."

We've known Pam (and Glen) for a number of years, and I don't think I ever, in a million years, would have pegged her as Lebanese ;-)

So, whose hometown are we in tonight? Elk City, Oklahoma, some 450 or so miles down the road from Lebanon. I know one thing: Somewhere right near this exit is the National Route 66 Museum, and you'd best believe we'll stop in for a little visit before we leave in the morning. Funny... it's not like we haven't gone this route a dozen times before; it's just that we're treating this trip as kind of a vacation, because no matter how much business we do at the events in California- it ain't gonna cover the gas!

We'll probably have one more long day's run like we did yesterday and today. There's a method to our madness.. we get the long ones out of the way early so when the going gets more, uh, interesting in New Mexico, Arizona, and California, we'll still have plenty of time left to shorten up the daily trip legs. We also want to spend more than a day visiting with friends in New Mexico.

Meanwhile, my discipline with my right foot's paid off, as we logged an impressive 8.6 MPG on the last fill-up! This machine's never run so good; Knock wood.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Day 2, Mile 637

That's more like it. 387 miles today. Over 1/5th of the way to Lompoc. 637 miles in the books. Got our second fill-up at the Flying J in Sullivan, MO, and we're getting 8MPG. You laugh, but that's good mileage. Dropping to 58MPH seems to do the trick.

After "sleeping" without power last night, in the humidity and sound of droning big rig diesel engines, we decided tonight would be a campground night. Smart campers that we are, we belong to Passport America, so Margaret perused the campground guide for cheap places on our route, and here we are at the Forest Manor Motel & RV Park in Lebanon, MO. It's on "The Mother Road", and it looks like it's been here since Route 66 was the only way to "motor West". We'll spend some more of this trip on this historic highway, so stay tuned. I realized that among the bumper sticker collection we have on the rear of the Express for places we really, really like, we're missing one for Route 66. We'll have to rectify that, maybe once we get into New Mexico.

The rain and humidity have begun to abate, and with it our "Service Engine Soon" light has gone off. I wish I knew which sensor where was causing it. High humidity and/or heavy rain light it up. The induction system's been cleaned, and I recharged the K&N air filter, (and I'm really embarrassed about how filthy it was). The beast really ran well when I left Rob's shop... but that was a low humidity day. We'll get it figured out eventually.

Tonight, it's a shower and a viewing of "There Will be Blood", and tomorrow we'll sleep in! Next stop should be somewhere near the Oklahoma/Texas Panhandle border. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Day 1, Mile 250.



Yeah. I know. We didn't get very far today. That's us... the blue line, parked for the night at a rest area just West of Indy. Sign says no overnight parking or camping, but we've stayed here before, and so have most of the trucks that surround us and keep us safe.

The green line is Microsoft Street & Trips recommended route. Reality check, and experience led me away from it immediately. Only a fool would take 80 south of Chicago... on a Friday night... or any night... or day.

We'll be on the road much earlier tomorrow.. especially if the state cops boot us out. Unlikely.

UPDATE: 8:30 am, day 2, still sitting at the rest area as the rain is falling at a rate of an inch an hour. Did I mention our initial fill-up yesterday was $260? What a fun trip this is going to be!

Mile "0"

It's been a while, hasn't it. I could lie and say I was waiting for more guesses on the previously posted "quiz". Guess three is all I'm going to get, and all three were correct. The answer was, of course, "Twin Peaks". "But what about the Harry S. Truman clue, Dan?", you ask. He was the sheriff. Margaret's son, Tony posted the most creative answer. Check 'em all out.

Meanwhile, in just a couple of hours, we'll embark on our longest trip in 2 years- (thus, the "Mile 0" title... ). We're going to the Scottish Deerhound Club of America's national specialty in Lompoc, California. We've got 10 days to get there. I really wanted to leave earlier this week, but before we tackled the heat and long climbs of the trip, the Express had to get a new radiator. So for the past two days we sat at Margaret's brother Rob's shop, getting the job done.



That's Rob under the Express. (Note to Sherita: be glad... be very, very glad... there was a lot of profanity under there.) Rob's happier working on E-type Jaguars, so this was a bit of a challenge. But it's done, and we're running around 50 degrees cooler. Mission accomplished.

We'll try to chronicle the trip on a regular basis. Our route will take us through IN, IL, MO, OK, TX, NM, AZ (I-40 mostly). If we're going past your house, get out on the overpass and wave! Better yet, invite us to dinner.

We'll leave you with a nature image of a very cool moth:


UPDATE: Since inquiring minds wanted to know, I did some googling and can now tell one and all that this is a Great Leopard Moth, (Hypercompe scribonia), as if that shouldn't have been immediately obvious. ;-)