Throwback Wanderlust

Newspaper Rock, Canyonlands, UT

Damsel took this image of Newspaper Rock, an Anasazi petroglyph site in Canyonlands National Park exactly eight years ago today. We were on a summer vacation about a year before we retired. Newspaper Rock is just along the roadside on the drive through the North part of the park.

We have been planning another vacation trip for the fall that should find us in Utah again, but visiting places that we have not seen before. We will also be seeing a few of our family who will be meeting us along the route. All of that is in the planning phase now, but we need to solidify the plans before too long in order to coordinate lodging, family, meal planning and the whole nine.

We’re anxious to go, but old enough to know that we can’t just charge out there as we may have done in the past. Soon - very soon.

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Campsite Setup in Palm Desert

Campsite Setup

Our absence from posting here is, in part, due to our recent excursion to the People’s Republik of Kalifornistan. A necessary evil, since we want to keep in touch with our new grandson face-to-face in his first years so he knows who we are. We have been to this particular campground just about every month since grandbaby’s birth last August.

Bob took this image of the campsite after getting all the stuff out for grilling steaks and corn on the cob. This menu requires both camp grills since there are six steaks and six ears of corn to prepare simultaneously. The one grill hooks into the RV propane tank and the other, smaller grill, has a small bottle of propane attached. One grill for corn and one for the tenderloin steaks.

The baby’s first birthday is next month and, of course, we can’t miss that event, so we’ll be out there again in a few weeks. All of the traffic, the obnoxious politics out in K-stan and the hot weather at near sea level in the low desert this summer notwithstanding, it is worth the minor discomforts for us to be able to go to see this wonderful new addition to our family.

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Telescope Adapter Kit

Telescope Adapter

The kit for adapting the Canon camera to the Meade telescope arrived in the mail today. I tried it out and found that it basically works but I still have some issues on stability because the moment arm of the camera is large compared to just an eyepiece. I experimented with objects across the hollow from our house, including the neighbors electric meter, just to get a feel for what I am up against. I am yet to be satisfied with the first attempts, but I’m sure it will get better.

We won’t be doing any experimenting tonight, but we will go out and see the celestial triangle of the gibbous moon, Mars and Saturn. We plan to continue experimenting next week since our plans don’t include astrophotography until then.

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Astrophotography Practice

Waxing Gibbous

It is only 404 days until the Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017. I have started thinking about what sort of equipment we will need to record the events associated with a solar eclipse.

Last night, I took the photo of the moon, seen above, with my Canon SL1 and a 300mm lens. That’s the bare minimum needed (along with a solar filter) to capture sun images. It did a pretty good image (without the filter) of the waxing gibbous moon last night just before 10PM Arizona time. The settings were: 1/4000 sec exposure, F-8, ISO 6400 and 300mm focal length.

The image above is satisfactory, but not as good as it could be. So, to facilitate further experimenting with the camera and astrophotography, I ordered a telescope adapter kit which offers several good interface options between my DSLR camera and my older Meade ETX90 five inch telescope.

The full moon will be next week and I’m hoping to have the camera/adapter/telescope interface figured out by then. More experimentation to come.

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Tiny Pink Cactus Flower

Tiny Pink Cactus Flower

This is the little Mammillaria yaquensis fishhook cactus that our friend Crotalus presented to us last fall when we met in Palm Desert. The cactus had this flower open yesterday and there are two more buds that may open soon.

This cactus and the other two Crotalus brought to the RV campground now reside in the courtyard in front of our house. There are several other cacti out there plus some tomatoes, squash and basil that we hope to be able to use in the kitchen.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Throwback Panorama - Vacant Wickenburg Lot

Six years ago this month, Damsel and I had purchased our property in Arizona and were awaiting for the financing to fall into place so the construction of our new home could begin. Despite the unpleasant delay, we still had plenty of business to do in Town, so we continued to spend about a week per month here. Construction would begin in August and the contractor had already placed the stakes in the ground where the corners of the building would be. Click on the image to view the large panorama.

Vacant Wickenburg Lot

We had considerable difficulty getting a title lien released on our California property which was preventing our Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) approval. Finally, I found the lien holder and had it released and the funds were then in the bank to start the Arizona home construction.

Reminiscing about our experience six summers ago, Damsel and I are very happy to be where we are now. The California property is sold and the HELOC and primary Mortgage are completely paid in full.

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Clearing the RV Drive

RV Drive Now Clear Pile of Cut Branches

I took the Roadrunner (our 32 foot Georgetown RV) to top off the fuel tanks yesterday in anticipation of a planned excursion this month. On the way back in the RV drive, I noticed that the large mesquite adjacent to the concrete was hanging in the way and I made contact with some of the small branches as I drove up to the back of the house.

Damsel and I cut a lot of the tree down before, but it has grown a lot since then. We cleared the tree in June when we brought the RV back, so it must have grown a bunch in less than a complete month since then.

We removed three large branches and sawed the closest to the driveway trunk flush to the ground. The remaining part of the tree is growing away from the RV drive and shouldn’t be a problem anytime soon.

I didn’t take a before photo of the tree, but the after is the image on the left above. On the right is the pile of branches that we drug across the road to be further cut up and disposed at another time, possibly later this week or next. Click on the images to enlarge.

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