Alex Turns Three

Alex and his new cameraAlex, our eldest great grandchild (we have two total with another expected in November), was celebrating his third birthday today. Last May, when we were visiting the grandkids in Northern California, I let little Alex “borrow” my little pocket sized Canon A710IS. At 2½ years old, he managed to take a few good photos among the messed-up ones you might expect from a kid that age.

So, for his birthday today, we sent him a Kid Zoom Camera designed for kids 3 to 8 years old. The photo above shows him with his new camera just after opening it.

We will likely return to Northern California later this year to celebrate the arrival of Alex’s little brother. We shall see what progress Alex has made with being an expert photobug at that time.

Photo via FecesBook™ posted by my eldest granddaughter. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Cassini: The Grand Finalé

Cassini Spacecraft

Early yesterday, I awoke to news that the 20-plus year mission of the Cassini Saturn-probe spacecraft has come to an end. The durable spacecraft, launched in 1997, had more than tripled its four-year scientific mission’s original timeline plan. Early on September 15, 2017, the spacecraft executed it last command to dive into the atmosphere of Saturn and disintegrate.

Since Cassini arrived on station thirteen years ago, we watched the marvelous discoveries and monitored the experiments performed with eager anticipation to see what new facts about the Saturnian system of moons, rings and the planet itself might be revealed. We were not disappointed.

So, adios to Cassini. We look forward to seeing the next explorations planned not only by NASA/JPL, but also by other commercial space exploration entities.

There is considerable information about the now completed mission at the Cassini Grand Finalé toolkit page.

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Never Forget

Beacons

It is hard for us to believe that it was sixteen years ago that America was viciously attacked by Islamic Terrorists. That morning, we watched in horror as the TV coverage of the events in New York and Washington unfolded.

Now, sixteen years later, America is still under attack, not only from the terrorists abroad, but from within. The radical left and their useful idiots continue to attempt to destroy our Constitutional Republic by numerous means. Climate change, political correctness, unabated abortion and denial of the right to keep and bear arms are a few among the devices being used to suppress true liberty. Two hundred and forty-one years ago, the Founders knew that the attacks on freedom were inevitable when they wrote the Constitution and the ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights.

We still remember the tragedies of 9-11 and we must also galvanize ourselves against ALL of America’s enemies, including those within our borders. Stay vigilant and Never Forget.

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Great American Solar Eclipse - Totality

Totality Sequence

The eclipse last month as seen from our vantage point in Casper, WY: early, mid and late totality. The moon was moving from the upper right to the lower left in this perspective. You will note the vignette of longer wavelength light along the lower left of the first image and along the upper right of the third image. The mid eclipse image did not have much direct sunlight refracting around the limb of the moon.

When you click on the image to enlarge it, you will need to scroll both horizontally and vertically since I left Damsel’s originals at full resolution, each being a bit over 1300 pixels square. You can view the early, mid and late totality by clicking the three previous links.

The images were taken at approximately 11:54, 11:55 and 11:56 AM, on August 21, 2017, Wyoming time. Totality lasted 2 minutes and 26 seconds from our vantage point in Casper.

The next American total eclipse which will take place on April 08, 2024 will have a totality lasting over four minutes from where we currently are planning to watch near Kerrville, Texas. The duration is longer, I guess, because the Earth will be closer to aphelion and the Moon will be closer to perigee than was the case two weeks ago.

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Parked at Home

Parked at Home

When we brought the RV home yesterday, we were unable to get it into the driveway to park behind the house because the roadway was washed out such that driving through the dip would likely bottom out the rear section. We were aware of the problem before we took off for vacation and planned to park it across the road for now.

The RV’s location relative to the house made it more difficult to unload and unpack those items that don’t stay as part of the furnishings and stock. The several trips to do this are extended by a distance of about eight to one. Nevertheless, we got most things relocated yesterday with a few more items transported today.

We plan to have the road filled in with dirt so we can again have access to the hookups behind the house. I still need to flush out the holding tanks and regain access to the electricity back there. It’s still pretty hot in the daytime and our routine is to run one of the A/C units on board to keep the temperature below triple digits inside.

Before we fix the road, we will be waiting until we’re sure the monsoon season is over. No sense fixing it if it will just be washed out again.

In the meantime, we have a few more warranty items we noted on the trip that will require another trip to the dealer down in Avondale. We’re going to arrange for that early next week.

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Last Night on the Road

Holbrook, AZ

Tonight is the last campground stay on this wonderful excursion. We will have covered about 4300 road miles over a period of three weeks. We got as far east as the Mississippi River at Dubuque, Iowa and as far north as Fargo, North Dakota.

Damsel and I both agree that this was a fun and interesting trip. Personally, I got to knock off some “bucket list” items, including visiting the last two of the fifty American states, driving the “Million Dollar Highway,” watching a total solar eclipse and visited and decorated the graves of some on my ancestors.

In the morning, we will break camp after the usual breakfast and chores and head west toward Flagstaff on I-40 and then south on I-17 to AZ 74, over to US 60 and on into Wickenburg. We look forward to being home again and getting back into our routine. The next anticipated road trip will likely be around Thanksgiving when our third great grandchild is due in Northern California.

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Hooked Up in Albuquerque

Albuquerque

We arrived at this campground this afternoon after taking I-25 from Raton, in northern Mew Mexico, down to I-40 and west to the west side of Albuquerque. After passing Santa Fe, the traffic increased by a significant factor and, of course, when getting to Albuquerque, it doubled again.

We stopped for supplies on the way in Las Vegas (the other one). We wanted to purchase some beer and a bottle of wine at the Walmart, but there is a screwy ordinance that forbids sale of adult beverages within a certain distance form schools or churches. Weird.

Since this trip started, one of the daily chores has been to debug the huge windscreen of the RV. I have a scrubber on a long pole which gets dipped in soapy water and that gets followed up with a rinse from the hose and then the long pole squeegee comes out to finish the job. Trouble is, the next drive is only an hour underway and the windscreen is again littered with numerous flying insects.

We are still having a lot of fun even though the trip will be over soon. One more stop in Holbrook, AZ, tomorrow, and then the leg home.

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