Friday, September 21, 2018

Vodka for the cold

We are on the way home and likely to stay in motels rather than campgrounds. The temperature differential from yesterday (Zion National Park) to today (Green River, Wyoming) was 50 degrees. A few hundred miles and back to fall. This will likely be our final use of the rPod for the year and it is time to take it in to have it winterized.

The topic of winterization came up when we were visiting our Russian friends in Colorado Springs. They suggested that I winterize the camper with cheap vodka noting that when Spring came it would be far better if our drinking water line filled with vodka than antifreeze. Okay - I agree that this makes some sense, but I am also wary of the possible practical joke that could await my asking the technician at the camper store whether he would winterize our camper with vodka. 

I did an online search and the use of vodka to winterize your camper is a thing. The topic is commonly discussed on camper blogs and discussion sites. It is a controversial tactic. Evidently, the remnants of vodka in your water line might be more pleasant than traditional antifreeze, but vodka evidently dries out rubber fittings possibly leading to leaks. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Hairy Fellow

We tried Zion National Park again today. We got up early. Evidently, you must have to reset your Amazon Echo for a new time zone because the alarm (Beethoven's ninth) went off at 6 instead of 7. This would not have been an issue a week ago when my body was on Central time, but I adapt quickly and it was a bit too early to take on the heat of southern Utah.

You don't bring your Amazon Echo with you when you go camping? How do you get the morning news and time the meal in the magic pot or whatever that cooking gadget is called?

Anyway, we got to the park early enough to find a spot to park the car and take the shuttle. It was close and we were in the final third of the last parking lot with space. Maybe the Echo knew something we did not anticipate. That Amazon guy who is so rich is pretty bright.

We got in a couple of hikes about 5 miles in all. Pretty good for an old guy. We finally saw some wildlife. We each spotted one deer. This is about our average for driving out of our Wisconsin cabin driveway, but it is hot here and the larger animals must be hiding during the day.

We did see this fellow.

You have to look closely because these spiders camouflage themselves so well against a background of brown leaves and sticks. The image could have been better, but you can hopefully pick out the spider. This was the first tarantula I have ever seen in the wild. So this spider was a much better find than the deer which I must usually avoid rather than search out. On second thought, I would also avoid close encounters with a tarantula.  

Zion is kind of the opposite of Arches. With Arches you are mostly looking down into the result of millions of years of erosion that has cut out unusual structures such as the arches and hoodoos and spectacular canyons. With Zion, you are at the bottom of the canyon mostly looking up. Great hiking in Zion, better photos in Arches. This picture was taken just as the sun rose over the top of the canyon causing the bit of flair you see. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Desert Zen

Today was a day for laundry and relaxation. Tomorrow we want to get up early to head to Zion so we can find a parking place and try the shuttle to parts yet unexplored.

We did find time today to visit Snow Canyon State Park. It was a great experience and allowed the type of walking around exploration we enjoy.

This seems to be the region of the country where they seek energy from the vortices and do related strange things outside. Yes, I know this is someone striking a yoga pose (do you strike a yoga pose). Our daughters and daughter-in-law do this kind of thing and they tell me it is good for you. It was in the mid-90s so it must be something like hot yoga. I saw a van in the parking area from a nearby resort so perhaps they take interested parties to the pretty red rocks for an outing.

I tried to talk Cindy into posing with the mountains and maybe the setting sun in the background, but evidently, she did not think much of my photographic skills because try as I might she just ignored me.

I did take a few photos I liked so I guess I will just have to humor myself.


I had to write a quick addition to my previous post explaining how to geolocate an image. I was aware of this capability and I have explained in multiple times as a capability educators and their students might use. What I learned today was that this capability could be utilized in Blogger and my travel blog.

So, here is a tutorial on geotags in photos taken with the iPhone. When used on the iPhone geotagged images can be geolocated as shown in the following image. I then used the location assigned in the photo collection on my phone to recognize that these images were taken near Green River, UT, and used this address to assign a location for the post in Blogger.

I don't have an android phone at this time, but I know previous phones I have owned would also allow the addition of the geotag to the EXIF (information available from the camera such as camera settings and the geotag) stored in the image file. 

Hoodoo Scan

We made the effort to visit both Zion and Bryce Canyon yesterday. This meant we had to drive several hundred miles just to reach both from our base camp. It was not a particularly successful day as far as exploration goes. Both parks were overrun with people. In Zion, you could drive through but people were being urged to park outside of the park and take a shuttle to the park and then take another shuttle to explore the park. Certain areas were available only to people taking the Internal shuttle. Reminds me of taking a shuttle to explore Denali many years ago. Zion is different in structure from Arches so it will require a different strategy. It is more of a canyon so there are few areas to pull off, park, and take short walks to see things. Arches had many larger parking areas I suppose because the topography was suited to providing these opportunities to park and walk.

You can't be upset when the National Parks are so popular. We realized this would be the case from other recent trips, but we thought we would avoid the heavy season by exploring after schools had started. We don't see many children but many, many folks speaking languages other than English. Buses and buses loaded for foreign visitors. The U.S. has spectacular parks and folks with the means to visit will make the effort. The recent willingness of politicians to questions the value of reserved and protected recreation areas need to get out of Washington or New York and take a look. The opportunity to travel and just look is a true gift that makes America great.

I did take some photos yesterday, but my favorite was not taken in one of the parks. Windmills have always been a family thing because we used a windmill on the family farm. I have several unique images in my photo collection.

I did take some other photos. The image below is from Bryce Canyon showing the tall structures called hoodoos. I guess I had heard the word before, but I associate hoodoo with "the blues" as in hoodoo the hoodoo man. The meaning in the blues genre is to black magic (I think). I don't know if there is a connection to the geological use or not. 

I just realized there is a feature in Blogger that allows you to geotag a post with a location.  Cool. It just took me several years to discover this feature and I will have to use it more regularly from now on. I have my iPhone set to geotag all images I collect so in theory I should be able to go back to older images collected with my phone and precisely locate the image. Sounds like a lot of work, but maybe on some cold winter day I will give it a try and update my travel log.