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Jmarmck
20-Nov-2014, 10:59
I am getting really itchy feet. I was thinking of packing the gear up and hit the back roads bearing west. I want to eventually end up in 4 corners area and wander for a week or so. How far west? I do not know, but Mammoth Lakes would be nice. It might be too much of a haul from S. Georgia. Obviously, photography is the objective of this trip so photo gear will be included. I have no intentions of wandering from the vehicle, not much anyway. Camping is probably out of the question this time of year except maybe in Death Valley or Saline Valley.

Here is the deal. I cannot find any traveling companions. I have been on many road trips but the only times I was alone across country was either going home or in route to another populated place. Never an open ended trip with no real destination other than an area that is known for isolation and its unforgiving nature. I am not a f%&kup. I have excellent common sense (so I've been told) but sometimes things just happen.

How many of you are willing to strike out on your own? Have you actually done it? What challenges did you find on the road as a solo traveler? Are there any special items needed that one would not normally consider? What are situations to avoid? AND by all means what are the advantages to being alone?

What do you think? Would you set out without a destination or even a path to follow................alone?

Christopher Barrett
20-Nov-2014, 11:05
I've never done it but have been thinking about it a lot lately. When I'm with someone else, I always feel like I'm making compromises to be considerate of what they may want to do. I explore better alone, even in my commercial work.

Of course it's much safer in general to travel with a companion.

Michael Graves
20-Nov-2014, 11:22
I love making trips like you describe. Once I set out from my house to the corner store to pick up some little item or the other. I realized I had my cameras in the car and lots of film, because I'd started to do a trip the weekend before and never unpacked the gear. Three days and two states later, I finally got home, and couldn't for the life of me remember what it was I wanted from store. That was before I was married, but with the lovely wife I have, I can still do stuff like that. Back in September, we took off on a "day trip" with all the gear. We got to talking about the trip I took back in May with my daughter to Prince Edward Island, and she said she'd love to see it. And that's how our Saturday trip turned into a 3-day trip. Good thing it was a long weekend! Of course, that's not a solo trip, so it doesn't count.

Back in my college days I decided to make a day trip to one of the larger lakes in Arizona. Wound up walking the circumference of the lake before heading home. That was with a Nikon, a backpack, two lenses and a fly rod. Would have gotten really hungry without the fly rod.

Just make sure you either have plenty of cash or a good balance left on a credit card. If the car breaks down away from home, you got no choice but to pay their rates. I've had that happen twice now.

Kirk Gittings
20-Nov-2014, 11:31
I've pretty much always done solo trips. When I am into shooting seriously, I can visit the same spot day after day waiting for the right clouds etc. My schedule when shooting does not really allow for much normal site seeing except when scouting locations. Then when i drill down to s a handful of shots that I want to concentrate on the site seeing is over and only being in the right location at the right moment matters. Here is an example from my AIR at the Petrified Forest that I have shown before. I spent hours every afternoon in a small area on the north edge of Blue Mesa during the monsoons waiting for something like the first shot to happen-it did finally on the 6th afternoon. In the meantime other images arrived in the same location. This "wait was one of my ,ost enjoyable time I have ever spent with a camera. But I guess my question is who would want to fit their needs on a shooting trip into my schedule? So I guess I prefer to shoot alone as I don't then worry about whether the companion is enjoying the trip.

Jmarmck
20-Nov-2014, 11:41
Many years ago I decided to go camping, by myself. I drove to a little place called Boxley, Arkansas then took a road up a mountain. I drove for a bit till I found a place to pull off the road and have the truck out of sight. I hiked several miles into the Ozark Nat'l Forest and pitched camp for two days. The first night I heard large heavy tromping outside the tent. Never saw what it was. The next day I came back from a hike only to find a skunk sleeping in the tent......on the sleeping bag. Strangely enough I have had this happen more than once.

Since then, that that area has now become pretty famous. It is called Hawksbill Crag. Look it up the area is fantastic. It turns out that if I had only driven a couple more miles down that road I would not have had the long hike through the woods. So it goes.

I got no real real excitement from the trip. But is was a learning experience as well as a reflective period. I have had several wilderness travels like it and would highly recommend it.

The new idea is different though. It involves much longer distances and time not to mention cash, and I am not as young as I used to be. I did a similar trip with my wife to be (at that time). But was disappointed by having to outrun an early storm.........the goal was Monument Valley and we ended up in Tucson.....where it still rained.

matthew blais
20-Nov-2014, 11:41
I did a 30 day trip about 6-7 years ago. Up the Coast here, camped for several days in Oregon, got soaked, did a hotel for a night (laundry and dry time), then continued up the coast and onward Eastward to End up In Michigan for a week to visit family.

I often left the freeway to parallel the freeway on country roads. Stopped when I wanted to explore. Spent several nights in (nice) hotel Parking lots sleeping in my truck. Took a different route back. The last 3-4 days were ridden with anxious desire to get home.

Other than the family visit and desired freeway routes, I had no real plans. It was awesome.

So the advantages of being alone are stopping wherever and whenever. The disadvantages are I can only entertain my silly self for so long.
Met some interesting characters along the way, some of which sat for the camera.
Small town cafe's are great.

Have a general plan and timeline, and be willing to change it
Let people know where you are, people who give a damn anyway. :)

Have fun if you do it.

Bruce Barlow
20-Nov-2014, 11:54
Last year I did 39,583 miles around the perimeter of the US, with some pleasant diversions into Canada. 8 1/2 months, living in a Chevy cargo van with a mattress in the back. Solo. Mostly on 2-lane roads. Every day was magical. Many, many stories.

The National Park Pass is the greatest bargain on earth.

Heroique
20-Nov-2014, 12:13
"Alone" in the Nat'l Forests of my region (not Nat'l Parks) is how I spend 98% of my time under the stars.

A few personal habits...

If not a backpacking trip, I trust my 2003 Honda Civic which has no problems – late spring, summer, early fall – navigating some of the loneliest (unimproved) forest roads in our nation. Many times, I pitch my tent near the car, and drive on the next morning. Before departure, I consult my U.S. forest district topo map (the 1:64,000 scale is good for car travel) for that day's exploration – making rough plans to arrive in a good area, by late afternoon, to look for my next tent site. This style of exploration ends by November due to sleet and snow that can force one to abandon the car for the season and hike out on your own!

Instead of what responsible explorers remember to bring, I'll mention a few items they forget:


1: A good forest hatchet – not necessarily a full-sized axe
2: A full-sized shovel
3: 25-50 feet of rope
4: A couple of pieces of thick plywood, maybe 18" square

(Let's just say the condition of the FS road you take into a forest might not enjoy the same condition when you leave. For example, think fallen Alder trees.)

Jac@stafford.net
20-Nov-2014, 12:23
After a family tragedy I lived, worked and traveled alone for many years. Forty-thousand miles of it was on a motorcycle, and since then it has been in a GMC Surban 4x4, and lately a Toyota RAV4 (V6).

Tip #1, to quote William Least Heat-Moon, "Life doesn’t happen along the interstates. It’s against the law.”

I'm an olde pharte and do not entirely trust technology, although I made my career of it, so some of the following might seem silly. I try to have paper road and topo maps. Other items include a first-aid kit for myself and others just-in-case (I was a military medic.) Roadside emergency gear such as flares, a couple flashlights, emergency pump. Space blanket. A high visibility reflective vest for roadside and some field work. (Two well published photographers I know do the same.) Get good stuff. Don't shop where this guy does. (http://www.digoliardi.net/acme.jpg)

If you are in wildlife areas, the DNR and Federal agencies have some awesome maps and literature. You paid for it already.

I have a 12V (soon to be 110V AC) cooler in the truck. It's great to keep film. They work best when full, so fill empty space with sandwiches and beer. Or something.

The only unpleasant things I've encountered: Drunk shotgun toting back-woods citizen, once. Turned out well, but he drank my last beer. (Do not have any political bumper stickers on your vehicle!) Shot gunned once in the field but almost out-of-range so it only stung like hell. An off-road accident taught me to never leave heavy items unsecured in the back of the truck. A tripod flew by my head. Could have been bad. Cargo nets are my friend. (I no longer do any serious off-road driving, thus the lightweight Toyota.)

Establish a stash somewhere in the vehicle. The panels in mine pull off with a plastic tool. In there I keep spare IDs and a credit card. Also a transponder, but that's excessive.

Stop more often than you want to. Mail exposed film home when you can. Parachute cord and genuine Gaffer's tape is a must.

Trust, smiles, and sincere good wishes are your currency.
Enjoy. Life is good!

Oh, send folks postcards. They love it. Nobody gets postcards anymore.

Jody_S
20-Nov-2014, 12:35
I've done a few thousand miles on abandoned logging roads on the Gulf of St-Lawrence North Shore area, on a 4-stroke 200cc dirt bike in the summer, and occasionally in a mini-van with a bed in the back, in early winter before the snow got too deep. Met more wolves than people. No incidents, except for the time I came around a curve a little too fast on the bike, in the dark, and almost ran over a bear cub. I didn't stop to see if he was all right. I've also camped solo in the Canadian high arctic, in polar bear country. No incidents, loved the solitude. I had a Cree guide/freighter canoe pilot scout the area for bear sign before leaving me alone until he felt like coming back and getting me. I would really like to do it again, but responsibilities, the ridiculous price of gasoline and flights to the arctic, etc., have all conspired to keep me within about 30 miles of home for the last few years.

David A. Goldfarb
20-Nov-2014, 13:35
At the beginning of this year we relocated from New York City to Honolulu, which involved shipping the car from California, so given the choice of paying an extra $1000 to ship it by ground from New York to LA or to take a solo road trip (my wife and son had gone ahead in August, so she could start a new job, and he could start school at the beginning of the year), visiting friends and family and making photographs along the way, and having the peace of mind to know the car wouldn't be delayed by a ground shipper en route, I decided to make the road trip and wished I'd done a few more of them earlier.

Leaving on New Year's Eve after finishing with the movers and wrapping up a few last details in my office in the Empire State building, I headed for the NJ Turnpike, down to Washington, DC., through Virginia, stopping to visit friends in Durham, then across I-40 picking up old Route 66 in OK City, up to my mom's place in Vegas from Flagstaff, then to my sister's in LA for a few days. I gave myself three weeks from New York to my flight from LAX, dropped off the car at the dock in Long Beach and took a cab to the airport.

It was great to be able to set my own schedule and visit the locations I wanted to when the light was good. I processed film in a Nikor daylight sheet-film tank in motel bathrooms along the way. Our household goods didn't arrive for another three months after I got to Honolulu, so the darkroom is finally set up, and I'm working through a backlog of film processing since arriving earlier this year and proofing the negs from that trip and beyond.

I highly recommend processing film on the road, even if it means simplifying your process somewhat (I did that by processing everything in Acufine instead of ABC Pyro). It gives you immediate feedback to be sure you're equipment is working properly and that you aren't making some repeated error, while you can still revisit the last location, and besides, what else are you going to do on your own in the middle of nowhere at night? (Don't answer that!)

I documented the trip a bit at: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum37/125963-road-trip-4x5-film-supplies-along-i-40-a.html

Heroique
20-Nov-2014, 13:40
Camping is probably out of the question this time of year…

BTW, any chance you can wait until April or May?

You'd be reducing so many risks, opening up so many opportunities.

If it has to be now (Nov.-Dec.-Jan.), maybe a trip to the Gulf Coast, and down into Florida?

Darin Boville
20-Nov-2014, 15:17
Did a solo trip from California to Ohio this summer. Loved it. Took two weeks, one-way. I departed from my usual national parks routine (mostly) and hit every art museum I could, spending a full day at each museum and taking tie to look and think. Didn't realize the art museums in the middle of the country were so good. Big eye-opener for me and a great trip. Might do it again next summer.

--Darin

Darin Boville
20-Nov-2014, 15:18
BTW, any chance you can wait until April or May?

You'd be reducing so many risks, opening up so many opportunities.

If it has to be now (Nov.-Dec.-Jan.), maybe a trip to the Gulf Coast, and down into Florida?

Oh my, yes. Take a southern route. Snow and ice are no fun, specially if you didn't grow up in it.

--Darin

David A. Goldfarb
20-Nov-2014, 15:26
Definitely, I'd recommend the southern route. I was driving a day ahead of the polar vortex this January from New York through Tennessee or thereabouts. Also, in the low season, there aren't so many tourists and there's plenty of opportunity to explore sites in the southwest.

Jac@stafford.net
20-Nov-2014, 15:33
Didn't realize the art museums in the middd of the country were so good.

If you have not discovered the following gem in our Minnesota countryside...

https://www.mmam.org

Jmarmck
20-Nov-2014, 15:44
Yeah, winter. Well I am torn there. I figured that I might document some of those more famous areas in a season that most do not see. But average high temps of 40 is not too bad but not exactly my idea of fun. I was looking at a hotel in Mexican Hat The San Juan Inn. Their winter rates are good and it is fairly centrally located to a lot of places. But I am having trouble getting past winter.

I may wait till April and the desert flowers. That may give me more time to plan. Take Kirk's ideas. Explore during the day and shoot when the light is good.

In the meantime there is Cumberland barrier island about four hours east of here. The gulf is just a couple hours south but it is all pretty built up. Florida just does not float my boat.

Darin Boville
20-Nov-2014, 16:01
Yeah, winter. Well I am torn there. I figured that I might document some of those more famous areas in a season that most do not see. But average high temps of 40 is not too bad but not exactly my idea of fun. I was looking at a hotel in Mexican Hat The San Juan Inn. Their winter rates are good and it is fairly centrally located to a lot of places. But I am having trouble getting past winter.

I may wait till April and the desert flowers. That may give me more time to plan. Take Kirk's ideas. Explore during the day and shoot when the light is good.

In the meantime there is Cumberland barrier island about four hours east of here. The gulf is just a couple hours south but it is all pretty built up. Florida just does not float my boat.

Don't do winter, not on your first cross country trip, unless you are a snowbird. Also, don't forget that the shorter days will limit you in may respects. But do go--the Southern route in great, too...

--Darin

Leszek Vogt
20-Nov-2014, 16:22
Just went through Mexican Hat and Monmouth Lakes. The latter is too much resort-orientation for my taste. Marty, you could get snow (maybe not Buffalo type) in Monument Valley. But, that (visually) could be a plus. I had over 250 places to choose from....and I knew this would be absurd....so I limited myself to 31 (still with flexibility). Yes, I was so flexible that I was unable to stay at Joshua Tree (because of the recent holiday - all campgrounds were full)....and I missed No. G. Canyon, even though it was still open in early Nov = too many miles to back track.

My recent SW trip had too many high points....so everything blurred into one giant h. point. It became an open-ended 11,757 mile exploration, that took 70 days. How do you spell glorious ?

Prep your vehicle as best as you can and enjoy the trip.

Les

jp
20-Nov-2014, 16:29
I do solo short-trips regularly. My wife is not interested in motorsports or photo workshops. I haven't done weeklong+ adventures much; maybe in a few years when the kids are older. If you've never done solo trips, do a short one for just a couple of days!

The various suggestions are good for supplies. I'd suggest a bit of cash as well as plastic; as someone plastic money gets locked for fraud when traveling about. I grew up in the woods basically, so I don't mind roughing it if needed. Maybe watch city slickers for entertainment.

Jac@stafford.net
20-Nov-2014, 17:00
I'd suggest a bit of cash as well as plastic.

A bit? A lot of cash is better. Just do not keep it all together. Cops off the grid do not take plastic.

Jim Galli
20-Nov-2014, 17:01
I guess I'm a loner. I LOVE going alone. The pictures are where you find them. I do it in a Model A at 47 mph.

One trick that works well for me. Do your route on google earth and choose roads away from the interstate. 2 lane roads that go through the old forgotten places.

Jac@stafford.net
20-Nov-2014, 17:12
2 lane roads that go through the old forgotten places.

Blue Highways.

richardman
20-Nov-2014, 17:43
I have itchy feet too! LoL

For me, I have additional considerations: first there is the thing call $dayjob$. I work in the Silicon Valley, running a teeny company, so I will HAVE to have Internet access. Second, as a small Asian guy, my family worry about my taking solo road trips. While I can "take care of myself," especially if that rosewood staff is handy, it's something to consider.

Plus that while I enjoy going to National Parks etc., I think I may take a road trip to "See America," the Route 66 type of thing, but with a 4x5, and not walking, and definitely not in silence either :-)

Jac@stafford.net
20-Nov-2014, 18:14
IWhile I can "take care of myself," especially if that rosewood staff is handy, it's something to consider

I am comfortable with a Colt 45 automatic.
.

Jmarmck
20-Nov-2014, 18:15
Oh, I am not new to road trips, even solo road trips. But the solo without a definite destination into isolated areas is new . And the cash aspect is a must. Also, not doing winter would take some of the angst out of it.I am very familiar with I-40 as I have been on every inch of that road several times. But once I hit Amarillo I am off the interstate with paper maps in hand looking for alternate routes. I figure one day to get to Fayetteville, AR (a frequent trip for me). A day maybe two there. Then one day to Santa Fe. From there to Farmington, NM and Shiprock then to Mexican Hat. At least that is what is in my mind right now. So given one day in Fayetteville I am thinking Mexican Hat on day 4 with Shiprock behind me.

What do you think, five days in Mexican Hat? Then one or two days to Page/Cameron (Little Colorado gorge and Little Antelope Valley). I think by that time I am looking at 3 days back to Georgia. Or is 5 days in Mexican Hat too long? I really don't want to be this specific but I would really like advice form those of you that have spent time in these regions.

Though, Sedona area looks really cool but that may be too far. (Yes Google Streets is a very cool tool)

What is difficult is the route back. I hate backtracking so it is either I-40 or routes south.

As for the day job. I am wrapping up a number of projects this week with no dead lines till spring or later.
Maybe Cumberland Island is a better short term.

I don't think DV or Mammoth would be possible on this trip. But the Mammoth region in winter is a very beautiful thing. I lived there for a few years and would like to revisit with LF.

Jim I agree with you about the 2 lane roads. Tonopah to Ely to Beaver, UT used to be my route back to Arkansas. Though it was normally at night and with a heavy foot. Have to be careful in that region for the open range and wildlife. Regular slaughter house.

Jmarmck
20-Nov-2014, 18:19
I am comfortable with a Colt 45 automatic.
.

I was wondering about that.

David Lobato
20-Nov-2014, 19:29
It's been several years since I did quite a few solo trips, but they were all great. I had a shell on my truck for camping and afternoon naps. No schedules whatsoever. Always pack lots of film and enough film holders. Times have changed but my desire for more solo trips has not. Have a different truck now, it's old and loves backroads. Good chance I will do a trip next year. Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face.

HMG
20-Nov-2014, 20:30
Only you can decide if you're comfortable being alone for an extended period. I am, though I prefer traveling and camping with my dog - who never argues with my decisions.

I'd be cautious about a stash of cash: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2014/09/06/stop-and-seize/

I do think it's worthwhile for someone to have your travel plan and to check in every few days. Carrying a firearm is a personal decision, but if you do, you really need to know how to use it and know the laws wherever you will be. I prefer bear spray; but even that is subject to laws in various states.

There was a reference somewhere in the thread about average temperatures. Average is meaningless. You have to be prepared for the worst reasonable case.

On a less dire note, I like to have an alarm or timer with me. Many rest stops allow parking for only 4 hours. So I sleep for 4, travel to the next one, and sleep some more. This is more necessary when traveling with the dog and dog friendly hotels are less common.

tgtaylor
20-Nov-2014, 20:41
The best time for extended road trips (30+days) in the west (e., the Colorado Plateau) for me have been during the period from Christmas to the end of January. The days are short but the light is always good, the sky has character, the crowds are gone, the campgrounds empty and the motels cheap.

Thomas

Leszek Vogt
20-Nov-2014, 22:41
Marty, it's difficult to judge how much time you may need in Mon Valley or around. I had a different agenda. After camping at Goosenecks I had to deal with a "laundry day" and afterwards I ripped up the road to Goblin Valley. I've done the Mon Valley several times before. But, most likely I had a bfast at the very motel where you intend to stay - the only place in town that would serve it. That said, & Thomas alluded to, many places/services are severely curtailed during the off-season. In fact, the restaurant in Escalante, UT was to close their doors for the season...few days after I was to leave the town. Anyway, the thing to do is to figure out how much time you need and add some depending on the totem-pole of importance...keeping things flexible. SW is vast and it's not just mileage...there are just too many wonderful visual distractions (and I'm guilty as well).

Not sure how you prep in regard to cash thing. I called my credit union and told them where I'd be (in general)....making sure there was no conflict of my debit card being charged elsewhere.

Les

Kirk Gittings
21-Nov-2014, 11:35
When going on my solo trips I make sure I have with me a few things (besides the photo stuff-once I forgot my tripod......). Lots of water, 5 quart jug of engine oil, a wad of clay (used it once to plug a hole in my oil pan :) ), brake fluid etc., a full gas can, basic tools, that goop you spray into a flat, an extra debit card, car charger for my cell phone, durable foods (like nuts, hard cheeses, vacuum sealed tuna fish, crackers), books on tape and a good regular book and a sleeping bag. Never needed half that stuff but play it safe.

And oh yeah I used to always carry (and sometimes still do-depends on my mood and where I am going) a 12 gauge pump shotgun with a short barrel (legal) and a pistol grip. I keep it loaded but not with a round chambered. The first shell is bird shot and the rest are 00 buck shot.........

Kirk Gittings
21-Nov-2014, 11:45
When going on my solo trips I make sure I have with me a few things (besides the photo stuff-once I forgot my tripod......). Lots of water, 5 quart jug of engine oil, a wad of clay (used it once to plug a hole in my oil pan :) ), brake fluid etc., a full gas can, basic tools, that goop you spray into a flat, an extra debit card, car charger for my cell phone, durable foods (like nuts, hard cheeses, vacuum sealed tuna fish, crackers), books on tape and a good regular book and a sleeping bag. Never needed half that stuff but play it safe.

And oh yeah I used to always carry (and sometimes still do-depends on my mood and where I am going) a 12 gauge pump shotgun with a short barrel (legal) and a pistol grip. I keep it loaded but not with a round chambered. The first shell is bird shot and the rest are 00 buck shot.........

Greg Miller
21-Nov-2014, 14:05
For serious photography I only do solo trips. I find that if I am out shooting with anyone else, then conversation always happens, and if I am talking/listening I am not seeing.

I always have a personal locator beacon in my camera pack. Always. I use a FindMeSpot messenger. The battery lasts a full year, and I can always summon help as long as there is satellite reception - regardless of remote backcountry or broken down on the interstate in a rainstorm with no cell reception.

Kirk Gittings
21-Nov-2014, 14:36
This FindMeSpot messenger thing is new to me Greg. Thanks

Drew Wiley
21-Nov-2014, 15:02
One thing I'd add to Kirk's excellent list is a spare set of car keys tethered to your belt or pack in some manner that they simply can't come loose without quite a
bit of effort. A couple years ago a pal of mine was laughing at this custom of mine. We drove to the trailhead separately, and met there. He didn't want to carry
any keys into the backcountry, so put them in one of those little Hide-A-Key magnetic holders behind his truck bumper. When we got back to the trail parking area a couple weeks later, it seems that some squirrel or chipmunk had scurried around inside that same bumper. After about three hours of frustration his key box finally was discovered. But at least if there had been an emergency, we had still had one car, and were only a couple miles from a paved road. It could be a lot different situation out in the desert on some remote 4WD path. And in those cases, it might we wise to also have traction devices for below tires, though I have discovered sagebrush is fairly good for that. Fallen logs or boulders are another matter. I always keep a crowbar, axe, and small shovel in the back of the truck. .... But I've popped an oil pan in the middle of nowhere, busted tires, been snowed in several days at a time.. you name it. During winter I might even pack a pair of snowshoes for emergency use. Might sound like overkill, but a number of people here in the West have died trying to walk roads when some Forest Service idiot locked a gate for the winter, before driving the road himself to make sure it was clear first. Then there's a Coleman stove and can of soup
and stew etc, so I can actually live in style if I do get stuck somewhere, and half hot coffee every morning.

John Kasaian
21-Nov-2014, 15:07
Done lots of solo trips.
My suggestions:
Stay flexible (schedule & destinations---things change)
If North is flooding, head South. If West is burning, head East.
If you learn that the next town is going to have a "running of the wiener dogs" through the streets, don't rush off to shoot the Statue of Liberty or Grand Canyon instead.
They will be still there. The wiener dogs won't. You get the idea.

Always have a clean shirt and a joke to tell.

Camp whenever possible.

Eat and drink the local specialties. Ask the locals where to get a bite (this is where the clean shirt and joke come in handy)
Note: Lute fish is an exception to this rule.


Get up early, like the Pilgrims in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

Don't drive when you're tired. Or when the weather is really bad.

Don't be afraid to fight for your life, if required. Think about this because you won't have that luxury if something bad goes down.

And have fun!

Jac@stafford.net
21-Nov-2014, 15:18
[...]Carrying a firearm is a personal decision, but if you do, you really need to know how to use it and know the laws wherever you will be. I prefer bear spray; but even that is subject to laws in various states.

I used to carry when in the wild, sometimes in certain urban areas but something inside me broke, changed or something and now even thinking of it is disturbing. For those who would carry, please read this book (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0936279001/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=32546314231&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=8859219713157153981&hvpone=8.74&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_169gbjj0mb_b).


There was a reference somewhere in the thread about average temperatures. Average is meaningless. You have to be prepared for the worst reasonable case.

Yes. The average temperature of the moon is warmer than Northern Minnesota.

Thanks for mentioning the dog. I traveled with my Great Pyrenees.

richardman
21-Nov-2014, 15:39
I am definitely only do "urban" road trips and day hikes only :-)

Jac@stafford.net
21-Nov-2014, 17:10
I am definitely only do "urban" road trips and day hikes only :-)

And you do it well.
.

Jac@stafford.net
21-Nov-2014, 17:53
Oh, my traveling companion back then, a Holga snapshot of the BigDog with me darlin.

125400

Greg Miller
21-Nov-2014, 18:12
Oh, my traveling companion back then, a Holga snapshot of the BigDog with me darlin.

125400

It isn't safe to get that close to a polar bear ;)

Jmarmck
21-Nov-2014, 18:49
I have two medium sized dogs that are particularly antisocial. Take after their master. I have taken them on 1 day drive road trips. They travel very well. It is just that first 10 to 15 minutes when I am not sure if there will be a mess or not. Lately, they have been very good. I don't know about taking them. If it were just one, then maybe but two...........who do not like the leash.........might be trials and tribulations.

I like the idea of Mexican Hat as the first goal and leave the rest open. I could reach DV in days run. Perhaps take US 60 back to Amarillo or turn south and pickup I-20 to I-10 to get me back home. That might be stretching it a bit. I don't want to spend the whole time driving.

Kirk Gittings
21-Nov-2014, 18:50
One thing I'd add to Kirk's excellent list is a spare set of car keys tethered to your belt or pack in some manner that they simply can't come loose without quite a
bit of effort. A couple years ago a pal of mine was laughing at this custom of mine. We drove to the trailhead separately, and met there. He didn't want to carry
any keys into the backcountry, so put them in one of those little Hide-A-Key magnetic holders behind his truck bumper. When we got back to the trail parking area a couple weeks later, it seems that some squirrel or chipmunk had scurried around inside that same bumper. After about three hours of frustration his key box finally was discovered. But at least if there had been an emergency, we had still had one car, and were only a couple miles from a paved road. It could be a lot different situation out in the desert on some remote 4WD path. And in those cases, it might we wise to also have traction devices for below tires, though I have discovered sagebrush is fairly good for that. Fallen logs or boulders are another matter. I always keep a crowbar, axe, and small shovel in the back of the truck. .... But I've popped an oil pan in the middle of nowhere, busted tires, been snowed in several days at a time.. you name it. During winter I might even pack a pair of snowshoes for emergency use. Might sound like overkill, but a number of people here in the West have died trying to walk roads when some Forest Service idiot locked a gate for the winter, before driving the road himself to make sure it was clear first. Then there's a Coleman stove and can of soup
and stew etc, so I can actually live in style if I do get stuck somewhere, and half hot coffee every morning.

Yes I forgot, I do the extra car keys too-have made that mistake rafting as a kid. Left my car at end point, left my street clothes and keys at start point. Had to hitch hike in wet bathing suite and no shoes 30 miles back to get the keys...........one set I carry-one I stash in a bush a bit down and off the trail.

John Olsen
21-Nov-2014, 18:56
Yes I forgot, I do the extra car keys too-have made that mistake rafting as a kid. Left my car at end point, left my street clothes and keys at start point. Had to hitch hike in wet bathing suite and no shoes 30 miles back to get the keys...........one set I carry-one I stash in a bush a bit down and off the trail.

It's amazing how we learned our wisdom. Most guys just claim they always knew the right way to do things and never admit to a learning experience like yours. Thanks for sharing.

Bill Burk
21-Nov-2014, 23:28
I'd second the idea of picking up one of the satellite messenger devices, and an automobile club membership comes in handy for the times you lock the keys in the car.

After reading the story about the German family lost in Death Valley, it sounds like you can't afford to be on a dirt road in a desert alone in a car without some way of radio'ing for help. You can drive farther away from civilization than you can walk back alive from. And it's always the backwoods where there's no cell service.

Kirk Gittings
22-Nov-2014, 13:20
Yes I have had AAA for decades. I've never had to call them when I was on some remote dirt road, but they have always been great when I have called them for gas, a jump (or a new battery-there's are reasonably priced and installed well) or a tow.

Jmarmck
22-Nov-2014, 15:32
I just bought a Gen3 device from Spot. It requires a subscription service ($150/yr). They also provide a web page to plot your trip. Not that I will do that or at least only to family. It has assist SOS, assist, OK, and a custom message buttons which are setup with the web account you must have when the unit is activated.

Merg Ross
22-Nov-2014, 16:25
My first long solo road trip was at eighteen and just out of high school. The plan was to photograph and meet other photographers along the way ( some of them well known to members of this forum. There are several paragraphs in my website bio with details). In short, 26,000 miles, 46 states, 3 provinces, 8 months, August to March originating in Berkeley, CA. The year was 1959 with gas around 30 cents a gallon most places. Different times for sure, all done with a detailed Rand McNally road atlas! A few photographs from that trip still have a place in my portfolio and the memories are priceless.

If you contemplate traveling with a companion, be very careful in the selection! Better going solo than not having a patient and understanding person along --- photography can be a somewhat selfish activity and best accomplished without distraction or being rushed. At least so for me. I have been very fortunate in my choices on subsequent cross-country road trips.

A few things that I have found handy are: tow cable, tire pump, jumper cables, small shovel. Kirk may have mentioned these on his list.

Hope you have a great trip and report back!

ross
25-Nov-2014, 15:20
Go alone, do it. I travel thousands and thousands of miles throughout the western U.S. every year, always alone. It's invigorating.

"Travel is at its best a solitary enterprise: to see, to examine, to assess, you have to be alone and unencumbered." - Paul Theroux

"One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude." - Carl Sandburg

Kirk Gittings
25-Nov-2014, 15:41
If you contemplate traveling with a companion, be very careful in the selection! Better going solo than not having a patient and understanding person along --- photography can be a somewhat selfish activity and best accomplished without distraction or being rushed.

Damn man you said it all!

Jmarmck
25-Nov-2014, 18:57
It appears that solo is the plan, except for the two dogs.
I told one of them. She just sat there staring at me, panting with her tongue hanging out.
The other is like a 4 year old on a sugar rush. I didn't even try.
Right now I am looking for camper shells or bed covers.

John Kasaian
26-Nov-2014, 09:32
One of the best solo trips I took landed me in Santa Fe New Mexico on Christmas Eve. The celebrations at the Pueblos are really enchanting.
Another memorable solo trip found me in Ouray Colorado shooting the frozen waterfall climbers at the ice park, then across the Four Corners to the South rim of the Grand Canyon.

Jmarmck
26-Nov-2014, 10:28
I love Ouray but it will not be on the agenda for this trip. Durango is not bad either.
Camper shells are not as cheap as they used to be. :(

joselsgil
28-Nov-2014, 02:18
One thing to consider when traveling with a dog, is that some of the National Parks, do not permit dogs especially in the back country. Not sure how well the Rangers will enforce this policy. The no dog policy varies from one park to the next. Some National Parks require the dog to be on a six foot leash, at all times.

For cheap camper shells, check your local craigslist. I sold my camper shells by listing them on craigslist. One I sold for $40. I sold my heavy duty utility shell for just over $200. That shell I was hoping to make into an expedition type camper. Also, check out these truck tents, http://www.sportsmansguide.com/productlist?k=truck+tent+

One item you may consider installing in your vehicle, if you think that you will driving on remote dirt roads, is a CB radio. They are inexpensive and can get you out of a jam, should you be in an area where there isn't any cell phone reception, (Bodie Ghost Town, & Alabama Hills in the Eastern Sierras come to mind).
The CB radio is a must with many off road clubs, for this very reason.

Best of luck with your travel plans,

Jose

Kevin J. Kolosky
28-Nov-2014, 12:25
The only problem with going alone is that you then have nobody to carry your gear for you while you are viewing the scene and looking for photographs to make.

Jac@stafford.net
29-Nov-2014, 14:05
The only problem with going alone is that you then have nobody to carry your gear for you while you are viewing the scene and looking for photographs to make.

Worse is that my donkey would nag me with comments like, "I hauled your stuff for nine miles so you could find the worst light?"

Kirk Gittings
29-Nov-2014, 17:31
The only problem with going alone is that you then have nobody to carry your gear for you while you are viewing the scene and looking for photographs to make.

I have a personal theory about that. If its a paying job I will pay someone to assist me and carry gear. If its a personal project and I can't carry it then I am SOL whether someone is with me or not.....

jwaddison
30-Nov-2014, 01:20
I think I'd take one of these on a solo trip:

http://www.gizmag.com/delorme-inreach-explorer-gps-navigation/31789/

lenser
30-Nov-2014, 17:33
Kirk, I like the new profile photo. Anyone yet mention how much you resemble Clive Cussler?

Kirk Gittings
30-Nov-2014, 17:43
Kirk, I like the new profile photo. Anyone yet mention how much you resemble Clive Cussler?

First time I have heard that one. When I was in high school it was Kier Dullea. In my early 50's it was Billy Bob Thornton and now Clive Cussler.....:)

HMG
30-Nov-2014, 19:30
It appears that solo is the plan, except for the two dogs.
I told one of them. She just sat there staring at me, panting with her tongue hanging out.
The other is like a 4 year old on a sugar rush. I didn't even try.
Right now I am looking for camper shells or bed covers.

I think it's a good idea if they're microchipped. A collar can always slip off or even taken off. Plus, of course, a tag with your cell phone. And copies of their vaccination records. I also use a LED collar if I'm letting my dog out unleashed at night.

And look into dog packs. They shouldn't have a totally free ride.

You might find this site to be of some value: www.bringfido.com

Jerry Bodine
30-Nov-2014, 20:41
This dog subject has reminded me of a very unpleasant experience from many years ago. A friend asked to accompany me on a day hike in a Natl Recreation Area where dogs were allowed and wanted to bring his 100+ pound male Alaskan Malamute that wore a "saddle bag" for his luggage. He had assured me that the dog minded well. He turned the dog loose on a trail, and it ran up ahead then came back - repeatedly. But then he didn't come back, so we hustled on and found the dog running in leaps and bounds through dense brush until he had cornered a goat (complete with horns) and was in a standoff. He'd already had his face damaged and was looking for revenge. My friend was able to grab him by the tail in an attempt to collar him, but the dog lunged at the goat while the owner held on tightly - this didn't do the tail any good. With the dog collared and the goat allowed to escape, we headed back. On the way the dog developed a case of diarrhea on the trail that of course had be cleaned up. Arriving at my Land Rover, we put the dog in the back floor. Soon after we were underway and hoping that the diarrhea had ended, the dog sat on his tail and yelped VERY LOUDLY in pain right in my ear - not the sort of thing I like to have happen while carefully going downhill on a very winding rough dirt road. The dog eventually healed OK, but ever since that experience I've not agreed to having a dog along on a photo trip. I love dogs beyond words but not when photographing. That trip was a disaster for photography. I've since chosen to be alone, or have another similarly motivated photographer along with me, when focused on photography.

Greg Miller
1-Dec-2014, 05:37
I think I'd take one of these on a solo trip:

http://www.gizmag.com/delorme-inreach-explorer-gps-navigation/31789/

That device is tempting, but I was put off by the short battery life. I would forever have to be remembering to recharge/replace the battery. And Murphy would ensure that the one time I really needed it I would not be able to use it. With he FindMeSpot, I just change the battery once per year. The device is always in my camera pack and, god forbid, if I ever really need it in a life threatening situation I don't have to worry about the battery being dead.

Stoogley
1-Dec-2014, 10:43
... a 12 gauge pump shotgun with a short barrel (legal) and a pistol grip. I keep it loaded but not with a round chambered. The first shell is bird shot and the rest are 00 buck shot.........

I hear ya; I've had to fight off a few tenacious LFers at times too :)

Jmarmck
1-Dec-2014, 14:05
I have a Judge with the extended barrel. Holds 5 shots of either .45 cal or 2 1/2 .410. Just the sound alone is enough scare anyone off. A blind man couldn't miss at close range with the .410 shot which is not lethal. Now the .45 cal that follows is lethal.

HtheD
1-Dec-2014, 15:02
If anyone is a member of AARP, they have a road assistance program that is, in my experience, quite a bit better than AAA and a whole lot less expensive. I wonder if AAA has an inordinate number of highly paid executives. But I've never had to call either in remote locations.

graywolf
3-Jan-2015, 19:26
My only problem has been, you get some place out in the middle of nowhere, and find out it is a tourist trap.

John Kasaian
3-Jan-2015, 21:01
My only problem has been, you get some place out in the middle of nowhere, and find out it is a tourist trap.
Tourist traps can be anywhere, but there are ways around that.
Take the Spanish Missions in California for example----most are huge tourist traps. But get there early in the morning before the tour busses arrive and you'll have the place to yourself and the light will be at it's best. It's the same with many tourist traps. Honolulu is a tourist trap but prowling around in the early morning with a Speed Graphic revealed many photo ops. Another strategy is to visit off season----Yosemite Valley, Big Sur, & Lake Tahoe are nicer when the crowds aren't clogging things up. Little towns like Ouray are obviously tourist oriented but in mid winter most all the tee shirt shops are boarded up for the season and the only crowd, if you can call it that, will be hanging at the coffee bar on cold mornings.
You can always ask for access to places outside their posted hours of operation. On my last trip to Railtown (the old Sierra railroad yard in Jackson) I asked a maintenance worker if I could shoot with my big camera before posted park hours and he told me to "have at it."
In National Parks there are lots of neat locations to shoot star trails that are off limits for overnight camping---I've seldom had a problem if I told the rangers what I planned and as long as I didn't pitch a tent and camp and they knew I was out there they'd be leave me to my hobby. Some places they understandably won't allow it for the protection of archeological sites.
I guess what I'm meaning to say is, there are often ways and finding those ways out is part of the challenge and fun.

bloodhoundbob
3-Jan-2015, 23:05
I have a Judge with the extended barrel. Holds 5 shots of either .45 cal or 2 1/2 .410. Just the sound alone is enough scare anyone off. A blind man couldn't miss at close range with the .410 shot which is not lethal. Now the .45 cal that follows is lethal.

Marty: As a former owner of a Judge, I would like to note that Hornady, and other manufacturers of ammunition, make a self-defense round in .410 that is definitely lethal. I recommend a Judge to folks who might have trouble using a 12 gauge for home defense, or are otherwise not expert shots. I kinda wish I still had mine, but I just had too dang many guns!....Bob

John Kasaian
4-Jan-2015, 09:32
Make certain that your vehicle is 100% before you leave. In rough terrain an extra mounted tire or two isn't being overly cautious (especially if you're four wheeling)

Jim Jones
4-Jan-2015, 15:36
As a one-time rural mail carrier, I know too well that an extra mounted tire isn't overly cautious, even on good roads through populated areas. On one occasion, two mounted spares weren't enough. Of course one might call for help, but it's better to provide for yourself.

FrankS
5-Jan-2015, 09:04
Last July, I celebrated my retirement by going on a 30 day solo motorcycle tour around the US. Combined age of motorcycle and rider was 96, and we covered 9,000 miles and 25 states. 35mm and medium format cameras, all with b+w film, were in the tank bag. An iPhone took the colour pics. No LF cameras though due to space considerations.

I wrote about it here: http://frankfoto.jimdo.com/trip-week-1/

Absolutely, go for it!

Zndrson
5-Jan-2015, 10:40
I'll submit a third recommendation for the Judge for those interested. I have a Public Defender with three .410 Buckshot and two .45 hollow points loaded. Hope I never need to use it, but nice to have in the car on long trips.

Flashlights and First Aid Kits are all no brainers. I went too long before buying a First Aid Kit. Not much weight but does a lot for piece of mind.

As far as Dogs go, I do bring mine occasionally. I'll let him off leash until I find what I'm looking for then tie him up. He has a saddle bag so he carries his own food, water, bowl, etc + anything else I don't want in my own backpack. Only good for some situations, and only when I'm familiar with the territory.

Kodachrome25
5-Jan-2015, 10:40
I read "On the Road" while on the road. I met all kinds of fun ladies while flying solo on the road. Until one day I met a special lady while on the road. We have been married 4 years now and she loves going with me on the road. We bring our cat on the road, the cat, my wife and I love being on the road.

Randy Moe
5-Jan-2015, 11:21
As a one-time rural mail carrier, I know too well that an extra mounted tire isn't overly cautious, even on good roads through populated areas. On one occasion, two mounted spares weren't enough. Of course one might call for help, but it's better to provide for yourself.

I carry tire plug kits in car or motorcycle. A pump is always good. I eyeball my tires every time I get on.

I teach people to not stop for a flat tire if there is any danger. Often if the flat tire is still on the bead, it will work fine at 40 mph with centrifugal force. But be gentle.

Or if trapped in a dangerous place drive on the rim until safe. 2 or more flats can be a problem. It's why I always carry a pump, after some joker let all the air out of 4 tires. :(

danno@cnwl.igs
6-Jan-2015, 14:54
"...I am comfortable with a Colt 45 automatic...."

"...And oh yeah I used to always carry (and sometimes still do-depends on my mood and where I am going) a 12 gauge pump shotgun with a short barrel (legal) and a pistol grip...."


Very "American".

Daniel Stone
6-Jan-2015, 15:02
"...I am comfortable with a Colt 45 automatic...."

Very "American".

But as that famous Colt advertising slogan went:

"God made man, but Samuel Colt made them equal." ;)

John Kasaian
6-Jan-2015, 15:15
A fellow I know who sells veterinary supplies to ranches carries cordless drill with a #2 Philips bit, a pair of water pump pliers and deck screws. Often he'll get slow leaks from nail punctures---his "fix" is to pull the nail out with the pliers and quckly shoot a deck screw in with the cordless drill. Good enough to get him home.

Randy Moe
6-Jan-2015, 15:25
A fellow I know who sells veterinary supplies to ranches carries cordless drill with a #2 Philips bit, a pair of water pump pliers and deck screws. Often he'll get slow leaks from nail punctures---his "fix" is to pull the nail out with the pliers and quckly shoot a deck screw in with the cordless drill. Good enough to get him home.

Putting a plug in takes exactly the same amount of time.

I have put in 3 plugs side by side for a knife gash hole. Held fine.

Third world fix is to stuff the tire with anything, like stiff grass, mulch, cloth, what have you.

Ari
6-Jan-2015, 18:50
Last July, I celebrated my retirement by going on a 30 day solo motorcycle tour around the US. Combined age of motorcycle and rider was 96, and we covered 9,000 miles and 25 states. 35mm and medium format cameras, all with b+w film, were in the tank bag. An iPhone took the colour pics. No LF cameras though due to space considerations.

I wrote about it here: http://frankfoto.jimdo.com/trip-week-1/

Absolutely, go for it!

Frank, a fun read and certainly a great trip; my first bike was a '77 CB750 and I rode the crap out of it, from Rimouski to Thunder Bay and all parts in between.

FrankS
6-Jan-2015, 18:54
Frank, a fun read and certainly a great trip; my first bike was a '77 CB750 and I rode the crap out of it, from Rimouski to Thunder Bay and all parts in between.

Thanks! It was awesome. :)

Ron Stowell
6-Jan-2015, 20:16
I have been thinking about this thread all day.
I have a brother that does solo road trips every year.
When I was in high school my favorite book was Travels with Charlie, I think everybody should read this book and then hit the road.

Jac@stafford.net
6-Jan-2015, 20:19
I have been thinking about this thread all day.
I have a brother that does solo road trips every year.
When I was in high school my favorite book was Travels with Charlie, I think everybody should read this book and then hit the road.

Excellent! I would add to that, Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon.
.

Ari
6-Jan-2015, 20:23
When I was in high school my favorite book was Travels with Charlie, I think everybody should read this book and then hit the road.

I always thought it was Steinbeck's best work; a great travelogue.

FrankS
6-Jan-2015, 20:27
Jack Kerouac: On the Road

I watched the film adaptation the night before leaving on my trip.

dsphotog
6-Jan-2015, 20:33
Can't buy a judge in California..... Well ,not the firearm anyway.

Jody_S
6-Jan-2015, 20:35
"...I am comfortable with a Colt 45 automatic...."

"...And oh yeah I used to always carry (and sometimes still do-depends on my mood and where I am going) a 12 gauge pump shotgun with a short barrel (legal) and a pistol grip...."


Very "American".

It's the main reason I have never taken a road trip through the American Southwest, and have no plans to ever do so.

I don't think Americans realize how odd the gun thing is. For the record, in my part of Canada, hunting is practically a religion. In my circle of family and friends, every family has at least one avid hunter. But I have never seen a gun rack in a pick-up truck, and it's almost unheard of for the cops to find someone carrying a handgun in a car or anywhere else.

John Kasaian
6-Jan-2015, 22:24
Steinbeck and Least-Heat Moon were... ummm... creative to say the least. Kerouac, Thompson and Brautigan were operating mostly on herbal vapors.The best travelogue is going to be the one you author. IMHO, anyway.
The open road will reveal in direct proportion to how well you see.

Zndrson
6-Jan-2015, 22:29
It's the main reason I have never taken a road trip through the American Southwest, and have no plans to ever do so.

I don't think Americans realize how odd the gun thing is. For the record, in my part of Canada, hunting is practically a religion. In my circle of family and friends, every family has at least one avid hunter. But I have never seen a gun rack in a pick-up truck, and it's almost unheard of for the cops to find someone carrying a handgun in a car or anywhere else.

Seems a shame you choose to forgo a beautiful part of the planet simply because its inhabitants sometimes carry a means of self defense. Unless you plan on holding anyone up I think you'd be fine.

I come from the deep south. Guns are everywhere and hunters are everywhere. Every person I know that owns a weapon holds an immense amount of respect for its capability. I knew some rambunctious/questionable people in Georgia, but if they let you look at their gun to check it out, you better keep your finger off the trigger or else you'll be scolded fiercely.

Are you very familiar with what Police in your area find in stopped vehicles? Maybe you are. I don't know. Maybe violent crime is low in your part of the world. I went to school in Savannah, Georgia. Its a beautiful city with shockingly violent underbelly. Since I majored in photography I would sometimes go to some remote areas to shoot, often alone. I felt much safer and confident when I had a means of self defense within reach, and I would argue it would be foolish to go without in those areas.

The last thing I want to do is to highjack the thread and turn it into a gun rights debate. Please, God no. I simply want to explain that, especially with solo road tripping, its important to be prepared. Things can get weird when you're out in the middle of nowhere. Photographers carry equipment that people understand to be expensive and are sometimes robbed. People have been killed by wild animals in the wilderness. In an extreme survival situation, a pistol could be a means to render a life saving meal.

The "Gun Thing" can certainly be taken to extremes, but having a just-in-case sitting in a glove box isn't hurting anyone.

I respect the decision of those who choose not to carry a firearm, but there are certainly a few good reasons to bring one along for those who do.

"Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." - Teddy Roosevelt.

Drew Wiley
7-Jan-2015, 13:30
I've never had a worry traveling in the Southwest. A couple of traffic tickets by rogue highway patrolmen, which is a risk anywhere; and I've been briefly detained a few times by polygamist cops in the vicinity of their cult hamlets, but otherwise, it's just common sense - don't spend the night at a roadside rest; don't walk into seedy bars with guys wearing motorcyle jackets with winged skull logos, stay clear of anyone with their eyes glazed over, like dopers anywhere. Watch out for drunk drivers and cows wandering across the road. Don't fall asleep on the road. Don't set up your tripod in front of a shack that might have a meth lab in it, or that has threatening signs on the gate. Don't walk out in the dark to relieve yourself without a headlamp and step on a rattlesnake. Everytime I take a long road trip in the West, 99% of the danger is in the first hour, just trying to get past city freeway traffic. It's a thousand times safer than being in the city. Don't travel in Texas without a respirator, or you'll die from nicotine inhalation.

Jody_S
7-Jan-2015, 13:56
I did not intend to threadjack this discussion with a comment on guns. I'm sorry if it came across that way.

But the obsession with guns, especially handguns, is a peculiar American thing. The rest of the world just doesn't get it, unless you take into account those parts of the world obsessed with Kalashnikovs. I would no more think of bringing a handgun on a road trip than I would think of bringing a SAM (just in case I were attacked by rogue supersonic jets armed with Hellfire missiles). Obviously, there are parts of the world where that might seem like a sensible precaution. Canada is not one of those places. Except possibly in polar bear country.

Montreal: greater area population -> 2m. Homicides in 2014: 28 (bad year!)

Jody_S
7-Jan-2015, 14:12
I've never had a worry traveling in the Southwest. 1 A couple of traffic tickets by rogue highway patrolmen, which is a risk anywhere; and 2 I've been briefly detained a few times by polygamist cops in the vicinity of their cult hamlets, but otherwise, it's just common sense - 3 don't spend the night at a roadside rest; 4 don't walk into seedy bars with guys wearing motorcyle jackets with winged skull logos, 5 stay clear of anyone with their eyes glazed over, like dopers anywhere. 6 Watch out for drunk drivers and 7 cows wandering across the road. 8 Don't fall asleep on the road. 9 Don't set up your tripod in front of a shack that might have a meth lab in it, 10 or that has threatening signs on the gate. 11 Don't walk out in the dark to relieve yourself without a headlamp and step on a rattlesnake. Everytime I take a long road trip in the West, 99% of the danger is in the first hour, just trying to get past city freeway traffic. It's a thousand times safer than being in the city. Don't travel in Texas without a respirator, or you'll die from nicotine inhalation.

Around here, I worry about #s: 5, 6, 7. And #12: watch out for moose in mating season, and beavers always. The idea that someone might fire a weapon at me for 'trespassing' on their property while photographing an abandoned house is preposterous. I've had a couple of farmers stop in their pickup trucks and ask me: "WTF are you doing?", and after hearing my reply, most have said: "Carry on."

Drew Wiley
7-Jan-2015, 14:20
Here's the flip side of guns. On of my favorite times in the Southwest is in Fall, which in places coincides with deer or elk season. There's a popular custom
for city dwellers to get outdoors once a year and use hunting season as an opportunity to stay roaring drunk with their buddies. They shoot at random, even across roads. You can do a little web research to see when deer hunting season is open in given locations. Another thing I do before settling in to a promising photo location in fall color is to briefly cruise around and see if any hunters are nearby. In National Parks hunting is prohibited, but there are numerous Natl Forests where it's good to be cautious. I wouldn't let that fact discourage anyone from taking a trip; but it's just one more common sense thing to be aware of. People like quail hunters can also be risky, but shotgun scatter doesn't travel as far. Rednecky plinkers are risky any time of year. Booze and bullets don't mix well. But bullets can be heard from quite a distance, so it's not difficult to discern if an area is under fire.

Drew Wiley
7-Jan-2015, 14:34
Oh.... I missed your last post. No Trespassing means No Trespassing. An angry rancher can be a helluva lot more dangerous than any bear or bull. Ohhh, the stories I could tell (I grew up around cantankerous ranchers). Car to have your hat shot off and then get lassoed and tied to a tree for three days? Meth labs are about a thousand times more dangerous than that. And don't believe those stereotypes about pot growers being mellow. They murdered a friend of mine who happened to be in the wrong part of the woods. Fortunately, lots of the Southwest is desert, so not ideal for hiding either pot plantations or meth labs close to the road. Carry extra food and water, and a good sleeping bag. Elevations change and nites can get very cold. Weirdos look the same in the Southwest as anywhere else. And the low population density outside major cities means less weirdos overall. In Texas, everyone is weird; but that's not part of the United States anyway.

FrankS
7-Jan-2015, 15:34
I wish the gun discussion could have its own dedicated thread.

FrankS
7-Jan-2015, 15:40
Was running very low on gas in New Mexico while on my bike trip, and stopped at a gas pump/convenience store/tiny bar, that I would never choose to stop at normally. The owner and a local patron were friendly enough and interested in hearing about where i was coming from and where i was going on my old bike, and we chatted a bit about our crazy train mayor of Toronto. I was about to fetch my rolleiflex to duplicate this iphone pic, but just then another local arrived who was obviously angry and talking to himself. I made out a few words/phrases, two of which were "kill" and "body bag". I avoided his eyes and left quickly without flashing any expensive looking photo gear.

Jac@stafford.net
7-Jan-2015, 15:49
Steinbeck and Least-Heat Moon were... ummm... creative to say the least. Kerouac, Thompson and Brautigan were operating mostly on herbal vapors.

What do you mean about Least Heat-Moon? His nickname is Willie. He doesn't even drink beer, and is in all ways I can tell, a non-user of anything bad. He does seem to live in a separate space, always observing, curious, quiet and creative.

I've had breakfast once with Thompson. It was a quiet, reasonable experience. Maybe he was hung-over.

Brautigan was a dark alcoholic. Very saddening. So was Kerouac. I wonder how they could work at all, but they clearly did.


The open road will reveal in direct proportion to how well you see.

Indeed true
.

Leszek Vogt
7-Jan-2015, 15:52
Around here, I worry about #s: 5, 6, 7. And #12: watch out for moose in mating season, and beavers always. The idea that someone might fire a weapon at me for 'trespassing' on their property while photographing an abandoned house is preposterous. I've had a couple of farmers stop in their pickup trucks and ask me: "WTF are you doing?", and after hearing my reply, most have said: "Carry on."

Jody, if I paid attention to what Drew says, I'd have never went to the SW (last Fall) for 70 days. There seem to be a rumor out there that Drew started a kickstarter for a special force to protect him during SW travels. I was going to include a photo, but the mods would (surely) react to it :o.

Les

Drew Wiley
7-Jan-2015, 16:12
I used to travel to the SW once a year, and yeah... I have had near misses with stray drunken hunter bullets, but mostly here in Calif. Wasn't exaggerating about
the ranchers. Miners can be worse. I could tell quite a few eyewitness stories; so could anyone else that grew up in parts of the rural West. But it was all way way
safer than driving down a main street here in the city a bit too far "across the tracks". A murder once a decade, not every other day. So let's keep this in proportion. My mantra is common sense. If a situation looks dangerous, keep your distance. If a desert looks dry, it's because it is dry, so carry lots of water.
But if you head further east into Texas, just follow the same rules as in any other third world country: don't drink the water, don't breathe the air....

djdister
7-Jan-2015, 16:23
Driving around solo in Oregon I've never felt threatened. In order to feel threatened, first there would have to be other people around...

Randy Moe
7-Jan-2015, 16:48
I travel solo as often as possible, usually by motorcycle, for nearly 50 years. California was the the most dangerous. More people, more crazies. Shot at twice in the Mojave by druggies, shooting wildly. They put a 45 caliber right through my new 1977 pickup truck. I moved farther into the desert.

Not a believer in gun owning disclosure.

Drew Wiley
7-Jan-2015, 17:27
Stay away from Chaco Canyon. There are rumors of cannibalism there.

Randy Moe
7-Jan-2015, 17:30
Stay away from Chaco Canyon. There are rumors of cannibalism there.

Dinner!

Jody_S
7-Jan-2015, 17:34
Jody, if I paid attention to what Drew says, I'd have never went to the SW (last Fall) for 70 days. There seem to be a rumor out there that Drew started a kickstarter for a special force to protect him during SW travels. I was going to include a photo, but the mods would (surely) react to it :o.

Les

I do get the feeling he is trying to discourage the rest of us from visiting the Southwest... :p
That being said, I am of the opinion that there are millions of photo opportunities within minutes of my house, and I would much rather spend money on film than on gasoline.

FrankS
7-Jan-2015, 17:38
From my trip around the US, it is the SW by far, that I most want to visit again.

djdister
7-Jan-2015, 18:05
Stay away from Chaco Canyon. There are rumors of cannibalism there.

Odd, I've heard rumors of subliminalism there...

Ari
7-Jan-2015, 19:29
Dear gun discussion people (fer it or agin it):
Please don't derail good threads, talk about guns in the safety of your own thread: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?119202-The-Gun-Thread-But-Will-It-Catch-On&p=1204814#post1204814

Kirk Gittings
7-Jan-2015, 19:30
Stay away from Chaco Canyon. There are rumors of cannibalism there.

Its more than a rumor!

David Lobato
7-Jan-2015, 19:33
Here's the flip side of guns. On of my favorite times in the Southwest is in Fall, which in places coincides with deer or elk season.

One late September I was in the San Juan Mountains of SW Colorado with my 4x5 (not .45 btw). I did hunt way back when I was a kid and still do a stealthy walk in the woods. I was circling around a very large Spruce tree, slowly looking for deer or other wildlife. Being quiet I walked quietly, each step carefully made. After glancing behind me, I turned around to instantly be face to face with a bow hunter in full camo and face paint. He was doing the same stalking from the opposite side of the tree. We made eye contact, both yelled and jumped high, Yahhh. We were both too embarrassed to say much. It still makes me laugh to think about it.

Another time I was out on my late grandparents' farm. There was a mother mountain lion with cubs in the area. So I took a quiet walk into the trees and thick brush to maybe get a peek at her. I walked down a trail, every 10 yards stopping and looking 360 degrees, saw nothing move anywhere. After a mile or so I turned back. Wow, fresh lion prints right on top of my own footprints, only minutes old. She surely communicated that she was watching me. It didn't scare me, too much, and I was completely unarmed, as I normally am. But it did cause me to think how lucky I was. That episode wasn't enough to make me want a firearm. Somewhere in storage I have a few color slides of the footprints.

FrankS
7-Jan-2015, 19:36
One late September I was in the San Juan Mountains of SW Colorado with my 4x5 (not .45 btw). I did hunt way back when I was a kid and still do a stealthy walk in the woods. I was circling around a very large Spruce tree, slowly looking for deer or other wildlife. Being quiet I walked quietly, each step carefully made. After glancing behind me, I turned around to instantly be face to face with a bow hunter in full camo and face paint. He was doing the same stalking from the opposite side of the tree. We made eye contact, both yelled and jumped high, Yahhh. We were both too embarrassed to say much. It still makes me laugh to think about it.

Another time I was out on my late grandparents' farm. There was a mother mountain lion with cubs in the area. So I took a quiet walk into the trees and thick brush to maybe get a peek at her. I walked down a trail, every 10 yards stopping and looking 360 degrees, saw nothing move anywhere. After a mile or so I turned back. Wow, fresh lion prints right on top of my own footprints, only minutes old. She surely communicated that she was watching me. It didn't scare me, too much, and I was completely unarmed, as I normally am. But it did cause me to think how lucky I was. That episode wasn't enough to make me want a firearm. There are other possible situations and places though where being armed would be wise. Somewhere in storage I have a few color slides of the footprints.

Title and topic of this thread is "solo road trips".

Kirk Gittings
7-Jan-2015, 19:39
Here's the flip side of guns. On of my favorite times in the Southwest is in Fall, which in places coincides with deer or elk season. There's a popular custom
for city dwellers to get outdoors once a year and use hunting season as an opportunity to stay roaring drunk with their buddies. They shoot at random, even across roads. You can do a little web research to see when deer hunting season is open in given locations. Another thing I do before settling in to a promising photo location in fall color is to briefly cruise around and see if any hunters are nearby. In National Parks hunting is prohibited, but there are numerous Natl Forests where it's good to be cautious. I wouldn't let that fact discourage anyone from taking a trip; but it's just one more common sense thing to be aware of. People like quail hunters can also be risky, but shotgun scatter doesn't travel as far. Rednecky plinkers are risky any time of year. Booze and bullets don't mix well. But bullets can be heard from quite a distance, so it's not difficult to discern if an area is under fire.

A good reason to stick to the desert as I do.

Randy Moe
7-Jan-2015, 20:07
A good reason to stick to the desert as I do.

Yep, you can see 'em coming a long way off, that's why this North woods guy, loves the desert.

So interesting. However, I see a lot more dangerous snakes in Southern Illinois.

Glad I got to places in Mohave that are now closed.

Drew Wiley
8-Jan-2015, 09:49
David - that's an amazing story. Leopards are said to do that too. When I was maybe fourteen I had a mentor who had already landed a wildlife research career,
and we'd go out lion-watching together. The trick was be get their curiosity piqued. So I'd have a bright handkerchief dangling from my back pocket as I'd slowly
mosey old logging roads in lion habitat. We'd get them to stalk us out of curiosity, then take turns ducking behind trees as they walked by close up. Of course,
we were always armed, but fortunately never had to shoot one. That would have been heartbreaking. The most remarkable instance was when a huge huge tom
kept tracking us back and forth for miles, putting his footprints in ours every step. I've never seen another lion that hue - true jet black descant, with all the other colors reversed - white paws (instead of black), white "moustache" instead of black; white tip of the tail. I didn't own a camera yet. That particular cat had been spotted before, so we were deliberating trying to entire him. Up in those particular woods the toms get absolutely huge due to the deer being so big too. Here on the coast the deer and cats are much smaller, because the chaparral cover itself is relatively low.

John Kasaian
8-Jan-2015, 14:35
Don't anyone make me tell you about "The Dancing Dogs of North Dakota."
But if your travels do take you to North Dakota, at least wear long pants.

Jac@stafford.net
8-Jan-2015, 14:52
So interesting. However, I see a lot more dangerous snakes in Southern Illinois.

I never saw a snake in the High Plains desert. Tarantulas everywhere, but they were a good thing.

Drew Wiley
8-Jan-2015, 16:20
Gosh. Huge rattlers even on the front door mat where I grew up. And the swimmin' hole up the creek, holy cow! John - my nephew and a his lunatic local climbing partner were with another local kid up Sycamore Creek, way up from Pine Flat. The latter kid wanted to impress them that he too was some kind of macho outdoorsman, so made the offhand remark, that if you quickly pick up a rattler by the tail, it can't bite, which took them a little off guard. Well it sure as heck can. And he wouldn't actually uh,er, try to pick that thing up? Stupid is as stupid does. So they walk him down to the creek to keep his arm soaking in the cold water. Meanwhile, between hiking out to the truck, finding a phone, and getting an ambulance up from the Valley was a six-hour ordeal. They saved his hand; but for about two weeks it was about as big as a baseball glove. It was a lot worse whenever anyone would hop out of a boat down at Pine Flat in swimwear and bewalking around the shore where the snakes hang out waiting for rodents to come to water. They'd get bitten, panic, and run. That was sometimes fatal. I once breaded and fried one of those big Pine Flat rattlers, then put it in a Grange Hall potluck casserole. Got some real interesting reactions,
to say the least.

FrankS
8-Jan-2015, 20:34
I was really hoping for a good thread on solo road trips. I shared mine; does anyone have a story about their solo road trip?

John Kasaian
8-Jan-2015, 21:05
Gosh. Huge rattlers even on the front door mat where I grew up. And the swimmin' hole up the creek, holy cow! John - my nephew and a his lunatic local climbing partner were with another local kid up Sycamore Creek, way up from Pine Flat. The latter kid wanted to impress them that he too was some kind of macho outdoorsman, so made the offhand remark, that if you quickly pick up a rattler by the tail, it can't bite, which took them a little off guard. Well it sure as heck can. And he wouldn't actually uh,er, try to pick that thing up? Stupid is as stupid does. So they walk him down to the creek to keep his arm soaking in the cold water. Meanwhile, between hiking out to the truck, finding a phone, and getting an ambulance up from the Valley was a six-hour ordeal. They saved his hand; but for about two weeks it was about as big as a baseball glove. It was a lot worse whenever anyone would hop out of a boat down at Pine Flat in swimwear and bewalking around the shore where the snakes hang out waiting for rodents to come to water. They'd get bitten, panic, and run. That was sometimes fatal. I once breaded and fried one of those big Pine Flat rattlers, then put it in a Grange Hall potluck casserole. Got some real interesting reactions,
to say the least.
I knew a gal who lived near Humphrey's Station who used to rustle up some rattle snake for the annual Easter bash she'd throw. One of the forks of the San Joaquin above Squaw's Leap, IIRC, used to be called Rattlesnake Canyon. Maybe it still is.
Once I was driving in the foothills in a convertible sorts car with the top down and I surprised an eagle in the middle of the road. The eagle took off with a big ol' buzzworm in it's talons. That snake was striking all over the place. The eagle and it's serpentine lunch cleared the convertible by about 8'---my greatest fear at the time was that the eagle would have had enough of the snake's conniption fits and bombs away---into my lap.
In the rear view mirror I could see the eagle still had a hold of it's lunch. Just like on the Mexican flag.

John Kasaian
8-Jan-2015, 21:19
I was really hoping for a good thread on solo road trips. I shared mine; does anyone have a story about their solo road trip?
Well, in my experience, on really good trips nothing much happens. Your car or truck runs reliably. You meet friendly locals, eat delicious local fare, get up early and watch the sun rise over a new landscape. Maybe there is a small town fair, rodeo or some festival going on---I try to catch those. You're making memories as well as taking photographs.
One solo trip I remember I was in Lee Vining at night. There was a huge full moon reflecting in Mono Lake and it was a balmy night. I walked x-c from the airstrip into town, heady with the fragrance of the desert air.
Now that I think about I'm fortunate I didn't step on a big rattler!

Randy Moe
8-Jan-2015, 23:18
I was on my first out of town trip with my 1964 Airstream. I had used it for art projects, but after my MFA graduation earlier that summer, I wanted woods, peace and quiet. It was also a test trip to see how I liked a few weeks by myself. The trailer was old, I replaced the wheels and tires, propane tanks, but really just cleaned it up. My white Pickup truck had lettering that read TIN CAN COLLEGE on both doors, my plates read TIN CAN. A play on words for the old travelers which used the term, Tin Can Tourists in the depression, which a tin can as a sign on their radiator cap. Look it up. My destination was at least Thunder Bay, as I had been there before on a solo motorcycle ride. Not a long journey from Chicago, but I never drive more than 200 miles a day when on vacation. I like to stop often, get lost, find an old hotel by a river, then ask for the closest Supper Club, which are still the real thing in Wisconsin. I camped for a week heading up Lake Michigan then across to Duluth. I soon found the Minnesota campgrounds were nicer than Wisconsin. Found a great one, that was almost empty,Tettegouche State Park. I backed into a real nice spot without neighbors. Went hiking, saw waterfalls, cooked steaks, shot 35mm film. Figured I would stay the park limit and unhook the trailer.

I still wanted to get to Thunder Bay, so I figured an overnight run was due. 3 hour drive, I'll leave the trailer in the campsite, cross the border for 24 hours and have a little city fun. At the border I got some flak about my TIN CAN COLLEGE lettering and I had to promise the Canadian authorities is was a just a joke name and I was not doing any funny business in Canada. One hour delay.

Found a wonderful old hotel, http://www.princearthurwaterfront.com/. A real gem, huge rooms, high ceilings, nice bar and restaurant right on the water. Had a great dinner and decided the hotel bar was a dud. Crossed the street and found a cool local, that had an interesting mix of people. I kept to myself and had a few, pretty soon, some young people called me to their table and bought me a beer. I reciprocated and we got on fine until closing. At closing they invited me back to their place, 4 of them lived together, 2 men, 2 women. We were having a grand time.

They drove a couple miles and it was a second floor apartment, nothing fancy, but comfortable. All was good, I was half drunk, but fine. I walked in and sat on the couch. I looked at my new friends and they were giving me very strange looks. Something was definitely wrong. The vibe was bad, very bad. I thought a bit, checked my internal trouble meter and asked them what was wrong. What was happening? Did I do something wrong? After a long pause, one of the women said, 'You didn't take off your shoes.' Whoa, I looked and sure enough they had all taken off their shoes and there I sat, boots on. I apologized, immediately removed my boots and put them by the door. Then I explained, in Chicago, people very rarely remove their shoes when entering any home. They didn't believe me, but soon they warmed back up and we once were again best friends. We drank beer for hours and smoked some weed. Perhaps 4 am, they drove me back to my hotel and said goodnight. Great people and all was forgiven. A wonderful experience.

At 9 am I woke up with a terrible hangover. I flipped on the TV. I saw the second Tower fall in NYC. the date was September 11, 2001. I threw on clothes, ran down to the lobby, told the guy to open the bar, turn on the TV and start serving breakfast. He was taken aback. I told him, he would be very busy in 15 minutes and he was. The bar filled. At first the locals were laughing, NYC was falling down. Big joke. Then they and I sombered. We all realized the horrible reality.

I watched with them for about 90 minutes and then the TV said the borders were closing, in fact the Canadian and USA borders were shutting down. I checked out, got my truck and drove carefully to the border, as I got close, the radio said all Canadian borders were closed. I got in a 3 car line, and was admitted to USA with a quiet wave.

I drove back to my Airstream and soon realized that I had deliberately not brought a TV with me. No news! All I had was the truck radio and reception was poor, news spotty. For several days I stayed there trying to decide what to do. I was fully prepared and equipped to camp indefinitely. Was it safe to go back to Chicago? Should I just stay in the woods? Why go back to danger?

I went back, but not in a hurry as gas scalpers were gouging drivers all over and I tried to find gas at pre 9/11 prices.

I went back to work.

I now wish I never had.

FrankS
9-Jan-2015, 08:40
Great story, thank you!

Drew Wiley
9-Jan-2015, 09:35
John - I've seen redtail hawks and golden eagles take live rattlers, but never bald eagles. No, there were no side canyons in the lower reaches of the SJ named for snakes. Other than two road crossings, all the bends in the canyon were almost never visited by anyone, except me a few pals. Hope they never do put up another dam and destroy it all - but there is still that damn dam lobby. Way up canyon at Miller's crossing, where the trail drops down from the Granite Cr road, then over toward the backside of Balloon Dome, the a kinda mini-Yosemite that was nicknamed Rattlesnake Canyon. I think it got popularized by one of my dad's employees who wrote some epic life-and-death personal ordeal about the place and sold the story to Field and Stream. It was complete BS; but it wasn't the first time he cashed in on that particular skill. ... That Sierra Scenic Byway that loops above the canyon makes a wonderful road trip opportunity (trying to salvage my post for this thread). Lots of quiet camping opportunities, panoramas of the higher Sierra, and many trailheads into the backcountry. Also the world's biggest
tree (according to FS measuring rules, versus NP rules), lots of photogenic domes, wildflower meadows, all the amenities, including mosquitoes in mid-summer.

nede
9-Jan-2015, 11:38
What a pleasure to hear your stories , guys !
When you speak about any places you went to I see movies's landscape "into the wild" and other places like in the geographic books... It's a dream to come visit you :)

John Kasaian
9-Jan-2015, 11:56
John - I've seen redtail hawks and golden eagles take live rattlers, but never bald eagles. No, there were no side canyons in the lower reaches of the SJ named for snakes. Other than two road crossings, all the bends in the canyon were almost never visited by anyone, except me a few pals. Hope they never do put up another dam and destroy it all - but there is still that damn dam lobby. Way up canyon at Miller's crossing, where the trail drops down from the Granite Cr road, then over toward the backside of Balloon Dome, the a kinda mini-Yosemite that was nicknamed Rattlesnake Canyon. I think it got popularized by one of my dad's employees who wrote some epic life-and-death personal ordeal about the place and sold the story to Field and Stream. It was complete BS; but it wasn't the first time he cashed in on that particular skill. ... That Sierra Scenic Byway that loops above the canyon makes a wonderful road trip opportunity (trying to salvage my post for this thread). Lots of quiet camping opportunities, panoramas of the higher Sierra, and many trailheads into the backcountry. Also the world's biggest
tree (according to FS measuring rules, versus NP rules), lots of photogenic domes, wildflower meadows, all the amenities, including mosquitoes in mid-summer.Drew I spent a lot of time in that area with the Madera SAR. Up through The Niche and Sadler is sure a beautiful area as well.
I wonder if the Mule Lady still makes it to the High Country? She is a retired school bus driver in Chowchilla (or was it Kerman?) IIRC and on the Fresno Rockets (an all girl baseball league during the 1940s-50s. She'd spend her summers in the mountains alone with her two mules (my bride and I ran into her once. Over a camp fire she shared the box wine she kept in one of her mule's panniers. On more than one occasion the SAR would be called out and we'd find the Mule Lady bringing the lost hiker or child or fisherman back down the trail and she'd greet us with "This the one you lookin' fer?"

Drew Wiley
9-Jan-2015, 12:19
Sorry, but I've never run into her, John. Most of my numerous excursions into the Clark Range from the south involved a lot of cross-country walking, so the
people got left behind once I left the trail itself. Last time I was up there I had a miserable cold and the June snow was awful deep, so I stopped at Lady Lake.
An adolescent marmot was trying to make friend with me, but y' know... can't ever trust those guys, so I chased him off once he decided to trying gnawing into
my pack. The time before I arbitrarily decided to amble up Madera Peak, which has an utterly incredible view from up there. But then I wanted to shortcut the
chute down the face to Lady Lake... made one big mistake. Left my ice axe in the truck, and the whole thing was glazed over with water ice. Three climbers had
just come up that thing, poked their head over the edge and were whooping and hollering about having gotten up that thing (nothing incredible, but a climb at least), then they fell dead silent when they spotted me a few yards away with a view camera set up. They sat down on a rock and stared as I packed up my big
pack and headed down the same chute they just came up. Just a matter of taking my time and liberally using a short length of rope to lower the pack at key
spots. I'm sure they hiked clear down the back and down to the trail junction to Jackass Lakes, the exact detour I was avoiding. There's another really cool shortcut over the top from Sadler into the SE corner of Yos Park. I want to do a big loop in that area one of these days, but via the upper reaches of the North
Fork of the SJ. Haven't been up there in a long time. It's a lot more rugged than the Mammoth side of the Ritter Range. But you already know that. Basically my
back yard as I was growing up. ... But I did once try to trace the old stock trail that ran from Mono Hot Springs back down over Miller's Crossing, before the
Kaiser Pass Road existed. There's still some evidence of it.

Jmarmck
9-Jan-2015, 14:57
Well I have finished my solo road trip. In short, it was a real treat. I have learned a few things about myself. but I won't bore you with that.

I left Georgia on the Dec 21. I found myself at Shiprock, NM where the wind claimed the Zone VI. I will have to contact Mr. Ritter.
I did pack an extra Horseman 45 camera so any hiking was out of the question.
Arrived in Kayenta, AZ and Monument Valley on the 23rd where I spent three days wandering the relatively few back roads.
Made it to Bryce Canyon for another few days. Did the standard tourist stops as the weather kept me off the trails. Also visited Kodachrome Valley.
Weather ran me out of Bryce. Lovely drive over a state highway to a place called Duck Creek. Beautiful! I could live there.
Made it to Bishop, CA where I wandered the old haunts for a few days, then on to DV for three days. Lack of 4WD kept me off some roads.

So despite a few bumps and bruises, a broken camera, and a truck that needs new shocks and the brakes looked at again, it was a grand trip.
No problems really.

I did find my next adventure. I want to rent a house boat and cruise Lake Powel for a week. But maybe during a warmer part of the year.

Thanks to all of you who offered advice.
It was cold everywhere I went, even when I got back home.

FrankS
9-Jan-2015, 15:50
Ooooommmmm.

Serenity now.

Jmarmck
9-Jan-2015, 15:54
Ooooommmmm.

Serenity now.
Yes, I am always looking for a spiritual adventure.

FrankS
9-Jan-2015, 16:10
Thanks for sharing your solo road trip story, Marty! Got any pics to share?


I was responding to other posts.

Your Responsibilities
By accessing this site, you agree:
-to keep your posts on-topic

Randy Moe
9-Jan-2015, 16:16
As for inspirational travel books, I buy 'Siddhartha' by Hermann Hesse while on the road solo. Read it again and again over the years. Then I give the copy away. I have bought at least 25 paperback versions of this timeless work.

It is available for free download.

Jmarmck
9-Jan-2015, 16:35
Thanks for sharing your solo road trip story, Marty! Got any pics to share?


I developed a few LF shots in hotel rooms. Surprising how many rooms do not have a light tight area. Also surprising how tired I was at the end of the day.
I spent today doing catch up on stuff. I might start scanning tomorrow and mixing up the developers.

FrankS
9-Jan-2015, 17:00
I developed a few LF shots in hotel rooms. Surprising how many rooms do not have a light tight area. Also surprising how tired I was at the end of the day.
I spent today doing catch up on stuff. I might start scanning tomorrow and mixing up the developers.

Great, looking forward to seeing results.
On my trip, I spent most of the evenings posting pics (digital) and text to my blog.

Randy Moe
9-Jan-2015, 17:35
I forgot to add, for years I have used only back roads when travelling. I prefer empty and forgotten roads. Gotta watch out for farmers and tractors. Takes forever to get anywhere, but as I have said, I prefer to get lost. Then I ask directions. I seldom carry a GPS, only when I have a city destination.

Smaller the town the better, buy gas from the tiniest gas station, eat at whatever restaurant has the most local cars. Stay out of bars after dark. Be friendly, be slow, be careful not to say I'm from Chicago. LOL. I am from Minnesota and that works better. Then they see my Illinois plates...I'm a liar already... For years I had South Dakota plates, as I was a permanent traveler. I just say I'm born midwest and don't bring up Chicago.

Everybody hates Chicago.

I don't.


But saying you are from Chicago gets instant careful treatment from EU Taxi's! That's another story!

Jac@stafford.net
9-Jan-2015, 18:47
Smaller the town the better, buy gas from the tiniest gas station, eat at whatever restaurant has the most local cars.

Two widely traveled men I know, a documentary photographer and a writer of place have noted that the more local calendars on the diner wall, the better the food, and always avoid any place that advertises Home Cooking.
.

John Kasaian
9-Jan-2015, 19:09
Drew did you every trace the French Trail all the way across to the mines in Mammoth? I've been on portions but not the entire length. they were supposed to open a section linking the Valley with the upper foothills but I didn't hear if they ever did. There was a lot of opposition from land owners and a big concern about the fire hazard. At one of the planning meetings, an old cowboy, Mert Greenman exclaimed, IIRC, "... that part ain't gonna burn, most of it is in drip irrigation!"

John Kasaian
9-Jan-2015, 19:14
Two widely traveled men I know, a documentary photographer and a writer of place have noted that the more local calendars on the diner wall, the better the food, and always avoid any place that advertises Home Cooking.
.

Wise men. But I take exception to the Home Cooking corollary if pies are involved. I've had great pie in little paces that post signs for home cooked pie.

Richard Wasserman
10-Jan-2015, 06:59
Ever since I read Blue Highways when it first came out I've been paying attention to the number of calendars in restaurants and must say that there is something to it. Unfortunately it's not foolproof—I've had some repulsive meals in places that according to theory should have been better. Lately too I've been noticing that calendars may not be as popular as they once were. If they go away, like so many other touchstones have, how will we know where to eat?



Two widely traveled men I know, a documentary photographer and a writer of place have noted that the more local calendars on the diner wall, the better the food, and always avoid any place that advertises Home Cooking.
.

Kirk Gittings
10-Jan-2015, 09:43
After BH came out and I read it I found myself moving to Calgary for Graduate school so I followed in Moon's tracks part of the way and visited the same haunts........I found his rating system to make for a good story but lacking in reality. Having said that it was a hoot following in his journey.

John Kasaian
10-Jan-2015, 10:27
Nebraska, IMHO is a terrible place for highway food.
Perhaps someone here has some recommendations specific to good highway food Nebraska?

Jac@stafford.net
10-Jan-2015, 11:36
Nebraska, IMHO is a terrible place for highway food.
Perhaps someone here has some recommendations specific to good highway food Nebraska?

I can only give a generalization because I don't remember the details, but my mate and I finally discovered the better of Nebraska going West when we left Highway 80 at Rt 2 in Grand Island. It will definitely slow your trip West, however we discovered, among other things, the best doggone, genuine little Mexican food there. Inexpensive and heaped high on the plate. With a beer, of course. There are very many Mexican communities and every one is excellent. Try it. Stay hungry.

Take in the Sandhills. No telling how long until some of the area is gravely injured if the Canadian pipe line is approved.
.

Leszek Vogt
10-Jan-2015, 14:13
Nebraska, IMHO is a terrible place for highway food.
Perhaps someone here has some recommendations specific to good highway food Nebraska?

John, that pretty much goes for any state. Back when I was awaiting for the contract to be updated, I was delivering brand new Gillig buses throughout US (from outside of Oakland) and I'd leave the main road (few miles away) and find a small/er town and talk to people about excellent eateries. Anyway, while I was chowing down v. well, my compadres in the convoy (2-3 to 5 buses) chose to hit the truck stop or the fast food near the road. I'm not knocking truck stops, since they can sometimes have decent food too.


Les

FrankS
10-Jan-2015, 14:36
The idea of eating at popular local eateries/diners is very romantic. On my 30 day road trip, economy was paramount, as was wifi access. I hate to admit it, but mcdonalds worked well for me. For breakfast, I'd have coffee and eat the cereal or bagel that might be offered by my motel, or nothing if that was the case. Around lunch I'd find a McDonald's for a washroom break, a couple of value sandwiches, and cup of coffee. Less than $4. I could refill the coffee cup with pop at the fountain, and if it was a hot day, when the coffee was half empty, I'd add ice to make it an iced coffee, before refilling with pop. Wifi and air conditioning when riding on a hot day is much welcomed. Often for dinner, after finding a motel in the early evening, I'd just buy a 6 pack of beer and a bag or 2 of peanuts at a gas station convenience store. When I got back from my trip, I had lost 15 pounds. (All found again) My cost per day of traveling (food, motel, gas) averaged less than $100/day. The only way I could afford this trip was to go frugal. I did hit a few diners.

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y351/franksbmwathotmail/5c3d373567e9467f1d7b6fb69fce60ea.jpg

Randy Moe
10-Jan-2015, 15:08
Yes, the dollar menu is cheap. I often cook for myself while traveling, even on a motorcycle. $100 a day is fairly easy to do these days, if one finds the cheapest mom and pop motel and eats at small town diners. Steak and beans is never expensive over a campfire or gasoline fired hiking stove. I use gas from the bike or van, most of my vehicles have had a DIY tap for just that purpose.

Heck gasoline is now so cheap in USA, everybody should take a long road trip immediately.

These are the good old days...

I also park next to a McDonalds and use their WIFI for phone calls on an IPod, no purchase necessary.

Jmarmck
10-Jan-2015, 15:49
I admit that McDonalds was an option a couple times. But, most of the time I would go to a store and buy those bags of lettuce and some toppings. Stuff them in a cooler for the evening meal.

BTW DV is a terribly expensive place if camping is not an option. The cheapest place was Stove Pipe Wells at around $140 a night, minimum. The accommodations are not that grand either. Smelled. The water was foul. Noisy. Toilet leaked. Heating unit was noisy too. Gas was $3.16 but twenty miles down the road at Furnace Creek gas was $3.70. Less than $100 a day is impossible in DV. Everywhere else it was possible to keep it under $100. Oddly enough, on the return trip, I stayed a night at the Hampton in Albuquerque for $100. It was a luxury suite and $40 bucks less that stove pipe wells.

Randy Moe
10-Jan-2015, 15:52
I cheat and average my costs.

Greg Miller
10-Jan-2015, 17:11
Nebraska, IMHO is a terrible place for highway food.
Perhaps someone here has some recommendations specific to good highway food Nebraska?

Ole's Big Game Bar in Paxton, Ne. Actually the food is just OK (the hot dogs are great), but its a unique place out in the middle of nowhere. Disclaimer: I haven't been there for a while and the web site says they have expanded so I'm fearful that they ruined the atmosphere of the place.

Another option is Runza Drive-in. They're scattered all over the state and it's pretty much a Nebraska tradition.

FrankS
10-Jan-2015, 17:47
I'm re-watching Breaking Bad and its cool to see the landscape backgrounds and know that I passed through that neck of the woods on my trip.

Here's a motel room dinner in Spanish River, Ontario.

http://i1029.photobucket.com/albums/y351/franksbmwathotmail/7e9f604ddaa2382554b55d3d0f78e7dd.jpg

Jac@stafford.net
10-Jan-2015, 17:48
[...] Lately too I've been noticing that calendars may not be as popular as they once were. If they go away, like so many other touchstones have, how will we know where to eat?

We invent a new hobo sign? :)
127881
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Richard Wasserman
10-Jan-2015, 18:04
I like it!


We invent a new hobo sign? :)
127881
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Sirius Glass
10-Jan-2015, 18:11
I am getting really itchy feet. I was thinking of packing the gear up and hit the back roads bearing west. I want to eventually end up in 4 corners area and wander for a week or so. How far west? I do not know, but Mammoth Lakes would be nice. It might be too much of a haul from S. Georgia. Obviously, photography is the objective of this trip so photo gear will be included. I have no intentions of wandering from the vehicle, not much anyway. Camping is probably out of the question this time of year except maybe in Death Valley or Saline Valley.

Here is the deal. I cannot find any traveling companions. I have been on many road trips but the only times I was alone across country was either going home or in route to another populated place. Never an open ended trip with no real destination other than an area that is known for isolation and its unforgiving nature. I am not a f%&kup. I have excellent common sense (so I've been told) but sometimes things just happen.

How many of you are willing to strike out on your own? Have you actually done it? What challenges did you find on the road as a solo traveler? Are there any special items needed that one would not normally consider? What are situations to avoid? AND by all means what are the advantages to being alone?

What do you think? Would you set out without a destination or even a path to follow................alone?

Yes, I have done that. So have my friends that are into photography.

Jim Becia
11-Jan-2015, 06:53
This past fall I spent 31 days in southern Utah. I am not a fan of hotels as a rule, so I camp out. In my case that means sleeping in the back of my Honda Element. I have it rigged up so I can easily fit my 6 foot frame in the back on my platform bed. I would camp sometimes in national parks and other times on BLM land. Being "old" has its advantage with the senior park pass- free entry and half price camping. I splurged on several nice meals, but mostly cooked my own food. Showers were taken at places that offered them, although one time after five days, I felt like "Pigpen" in the Peanuts cartoon. Like some of those here, occasionally I would stop at a McDonalds and buy a cheap breakfast sandwich and also take advantage of their wi-fi. I think all told I might have spent about $400 plus gas which I think ended up being about $600 which comes out to about $33 per day. I do tend to carry a fair amount of supplies with me in terms of food and most importantly some good stout and porter beers and some good (to me) coffee. Now all that being said, I did spend a small fortune on 8x10 film and processing, but that is where I prefer to spend my money. Not sure this type of travel would work in more populated areas, but for those areas I frequent, it works out fine. In the 31 days, I did not get one hotel room and that was ok with me.

FrankS
11-Jan-2015, 08:26
Being able to sleep in your vehicle is a definite advantage over motorcycle travel!

On a bike, packing to camp, can easily double the load. Considering that, and my old stiff body, my camping days are behind me, unfortunately.

Have you any photos to share from southern Utah? Northern Utah was not my favourite location.

Randy Moe
11-Jan-2015, 08:32
This past fall I spent 31 days in southern Utah. I am not a fan of hotels as a rule, so I camp out. In my case that means sleeping in the back of my Honda Element. I have it rigged up so I can easily fit my 6 foot frame in the back on my platform bed. I would camp sometimes in national parks and other times on BLM land. Being "old" has its advantage with the senior park pass- free entry and half price camping. I splurged on several nice meals, but mostly cooked my own food. Showers were taken at places that offered them, although one time after five days, I felt like "Pigpen" in the Peanuts cartoon. Like some of those here, occasionally I would stop at a McDonalds and buy a cheap breakfast sandwich and also take advantage of their wi-fi. I think all told I might have spent about $400 plus gas which I think ended up being about $600 which comes out to about $33 per day. I do tend to carry a fair amount of supplies with me in terms of food and most importantly some good stout and porter beers and some good (to me) coffee. Now all that being said, I did spend a small fortune on 8x10 film and processing, but that is where I prefer to spend my money. Not sure this type of travel would work in more populated areas, but for those areas I frequent, it works out fine. In the 31 days, I did not get one hotel room and that was ok with me.

Jim, Thanks for the senior Pass info. Never knew of it. Every bit helps.

Jac@stafford.net
11-Jan-2015, 08:46
Being able to sleep in your vehicle is a definite advantage over motorcycle travel!

I carried a North Face Backpacker Bivy on my '81 R100rs. I keep a light duty bivy in the truck now.
.

FrankS
11-Jan-2015, 08:53
I carried a North Face Backpacker Bivy on my '81 R100rs. I keep a light duty bivy in the truck now.
.

I also have a '81 R100 but a naked one, under the Hannigan.

For purely emotional and non-logical reasons, I chose the '75 honda cb750 for my trip.

Randy Moe
11-Jan-2015, 08:58
I carried a North Face Backpacker Bivy on my '81 R100rs. I keep a light duty bivy in the truck now.
.

I always use fancy camping gear on my bike, still using North Face down Gore Tex 2 lb sleeping bag I bought 34 years ago. However I threw out my expensive Gore Tex tiny tent as I found it did not 'breathe' at all in heavy rain and I had to cut myself out of it when barely alive.

John Kasaian
11-Jan-2015, 09:16
We invent a new hobo sign? :)
127881
.
l think this could be sticky material. Yes, definitely sticky material. Mods?

John Kasaian
11-Jan-2015, 09:25
One location that has always intrigued me in (or around DV---I haven't been able to pin down the exact location)is a wild celery canyon created when a flash flood destroyed the cabin and garden of an old miner back in the oughts. The last reference I've been able to find was in early 1940 when a tourist went looking for it and found it (and a snake with big sharp teeth, too according to the article I read)

tgtaylor
11-Jan-2015, 09:55
I did several multiple day/week road trips on my 1998 Schwinn LeTour road bike [eg., Madrid to Rome (30 days) and SeaTac to Anacortes, through the San Juan’s, across the Strait to Sidney and down to Victoria and then across the Strait to Port of Angeles and south around the peninsula to catch the Southworth to Fauntleroy ferry to the Seattle side and back to SeaTac (7 days)].

For each of these trips I went prepared to tent camp and carried a tent, sleeping bag, 3/4th length 1.5” air mattress, cookware, stove and fuel bottle in a very light Coleman bag strapped to the rear carrier and everything else in two panniers on the back tire. A 35mm film camera, wallet, reading and clear distance glasses, keys, etc rode in the handle bar bag. Spandex cycling clothes is impractical for touring and I wore cargo shorts which have several pockets to hold the coins, wallet, etc when you’re off the bike and touring by foot. And, of course, bicycle underwear. With the exception of my tour of Crete and the SeaTac trip mentioned above I stayed exclusively in campgrounds which abound in Europe. In Crete and SeaTac and a time or two in Greece I stayed in motels/hotels. In either case I always had access to a daily shower and a washing machine so I didn’t have to carry more than a couple of changes.


Thomas

tgtaylor
11-Jan-2015, 10:04
Forgot to add: For large format my series 0 Gitzo and Harrison pup tent fits nicely in the bag on top of the rear carrier and the Toyo 45cf with normal attached fits in one of the rear panniers along with the compact 90mm f8 Nikkor and the 300mm Nikkor-M and a couple of holders.

Jac@stafford.net
11-Jan-2015, 10:44
I also have a '81 R100 but a naked one, under the Hannigan.

For purely emotional and non-logical reasons, I chose the '75 honda cb750 for my trip.

One way to travel solo on a bike is to have one seat.
This is the last Harley I built from the ground-up
in the time before blister-packed custom parts.

My 1946-56-66 FLH.

127903

FrankS
11-Jan-2015, 11:35
One way to travel solo on a bike is to have one seat.
This is the last Harley I built from the ground-up
in the time before blister-packed custom parts.
My 1946-56-66 FLH.
127903

Very cool.

The other way to travel solo is to have a wife who won't get on your bike. :)
That's just fine with me. I feel sorry for the guy with the wife on the back, talking to him through helmet headsets.
For me, motorcycling is a solitary activity and that's the way I like it.

Randy Moe
11-Jan-2015, 11:51
One way to travel solo on a bike is to have one seat.
This is the last Harley I built from the ground-up
in the time before blister-packed custom parts.

My 1946-56-66 FLH.

127903

Nice bike Jac! What kind of Harley has brakes and mufflers? Rhetorical question! This days I am perfectly happy with '97 EVO Sporty with an OEM 2 into one quiet pipe, mag wheels with tubeless tires and '82 Buckhorns. Here's my first restoration with Bonnie, she was alright also. 1967 Matchless G15 I painted Imron white with custom seat. All stock with rear sets and reverse RS shifter. I wailed on most Harleys with this very quick bike. I traded a Kawasaki H1 for it. The year is 1972. As long as we get 4 pics. My favorite Bus, my '73 /5 in 1978 and my recently sold '67 BSA.

127905127906127907127908

Sirius Glass
11-Jan-2015, 11:58
Jim, Thanks for the senior Pass info. Never knew of it. Every bit helps.

See Senior Passes and Access Passes
http://www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm

Definitely worth the costs.

Randy Moe
11-Jan-2015, 11:59
See Senior Passes and Access Passes
http://www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm

Definitely worth the costs.

Thanks! I am on it.

HMG
11-Jan-2015, 16:30
My last solo trip was pretty tame. Flew into Las Vegas with an expiring SW flight voucher, rented a car, and drove to DV for a long weekend. Camped from the car; 2 nights in DV (Emigrant campgound I think) and 1 on BLM land near Tecopa. The "mud baths" near Tecopa substituted for a shower (if you enter where the spring bubbles up, it's not really that muddy).

Solo backpacking is good practice; you learn to keep things light and compact. I keep a "grasshopper" style stove around for car camping or traveling by air; it uses standard propane canisters which are cheap and can found anywhere.

Leszek Vogt
11-Jan-2015, 17:14
Yes, I can vouch for the nps pass. On my last trip to SW (last Fall) there were several BLM campgrounds....and the one by Kanab, UT broke all the records :) and it was priced $5.00/night, and I paid 1/2 of that because of the pass. What's really funny, that I had to get a shower in RV park in town and it ended up costing twice as much as my camping.

Les

stradibarrius
26-Feb-2015, 06:27
This is one of the best threads I have read in awhile. Maybe because I have thinking about doing this myself. I have traveled, for business, alone for years and being able to sit as long as I choose and move when I'm ready is the idea. My wife and I have traveled all over the world but she has no patience to sit and wait for the sun to set or rise, the crowd to leave or what ever. Since I started shooting LF a few years ago I have wanted to load the truck up and go.

Jmarmck
26-Feb-2015, 08:33
That is the reason I took that trip, to do what I wanted when I wanted......within reason. Motel reservations did get in the way a couple times. But that is fairly easily solved in the winter except for Christmas time. BTW EVERYTHING in Mexican Hat is closed during Christmas......not that there is much there to open. But keep in mind that many of the hotels in that region close for winter.

Things I found I needed that I did not take, accidently,
Camera and light meter batteries-one battery I could not find, even in Las Vegas
More film (color)
Changing tent
A better way to prevent dust-I put a bed cover on my truck but still got so much dust inside that I would not consider storing any photo gear in there.
A younger body to carry the gear.
I bought a second cooler on the road.
I also bought better road atlases.

Things I could (should) have left at home-These were things I just had to move every time I arrived/left a motel.
All that 135mm gear (In three weeks I did not even open the case)
All those CDs I never listened to
Less clothing
That guitar

As I said earlier. I had a rolling bed cover installed on my truck. It keep everything dry but dust was a problem. It did cause a problem with my cooler. The cooler was too tall to fit in under the cover. I have this insane looking bungee web contraption that is great for keeping containers secure in the truck bed. It latches at all four bed corners and stretches over whatever containers are in the bed. Highly recommended. I also use those large Tupperware containers for clothing/utensils/dry goods/photog chemicals. All the camera gear was in the cab. I had the back seats removed.

Randy Moe
26-Feb-2015, 12:00
Ah! Back seat removed. When I went to Burning Man 2000 alone, I removed the back seats and passenger seat in my Honda VX in order to pack more. At BM you must bring everything, including water that you will need for a week. That's a lot of water. I brought 20 gallons and had some left over.

I was glad I was shooting 35mm film and a cheap video camera, the alkaline dust was miserable, especially in a dust storm white out.

I was also hauling heavy desert proof interactive sculptures. Of course my car had rally car markings that read NOT ART. :) The art were human sized turntables that allowed dancing in the wind. The video is better, not much better...

You can almost see the inside of the car in Pic 3, big cooler in passenger area.

No way would I have used LF under the extreme conditions. Possibly during the few still hours we had that year.

The best part was, although I traveled solo, I met with an ad hoc group of 50 other solo Burners. We all met on the Internet in 1999 and formed our camp called 'The Solos'. Each solo brought something to share, like a keg of iced craft beer that wasn't opened until the night before the Burn.

I find I really like travelling solo. I meet way more people.

129936129937129938

Drew Wiley
26-Feb-2015, 12:30
I'm getting new tires put on the truck today. Still need to replace the AC pump; it's working at only about 50% efficiency. I have zero interest in anything like
"Burning Man". It's gotten enough attention by now that there is a scandal over ticket scalping. Not my idea of a road trip destination.

Randy Moe
26-Feb-2015, 12:43
I would never go again. But once was great and it seemed very honest in 2000. Now it's way done.

My most fun was the 100 mile dirt road backdoor drive, where my new tires were really needed. A very intense drive, that I did not attempt on the way out.

Drew, you don't like naked lady fire dancers? Perhaps Tesla Coil Man is better. It was a spectacular unannounced event. The guy had a semi truck with flatbed towing a giant generator with 2 Tesla coils sparking. He stood in the middle and caught lightning. This video in no way shows how unbelievable this performance was. He did it while moving to keep the crowd at bay.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4a3Wlo7kgU8

Kirk Gittings
26-Feb-2015, 14:13
I'm getting new tires put on the truck today. Still need to replace the AC pump; it's working at only about 50% efficiency. I have zero interest in anything like
"Burning Man". It's gotten enough attention by now that there is a scandal over ticket scalping. Not my idea of a road trip destination.

Me too. One of my best friends, photographer Karen Kuehn, has done 5 books on BM (http://www.karenkuehn.com/Burning-Man-Projects/My-Eyes-Are-Burning/1/caption). She is a hardcore burner and invites me year after year but it just doesn't look like my can of worms. My photo trips are a chance to get away from people.......

Randy Moe
26-Feb-2015, 14:21
Me too. One of my best friends, photographer Karen Kuehn, has done 5 books on BM (http://www.karenkuehn.com/Burning-Man-Projects/My-Eyes-Are-Burning/1/caption). She is a hardcore burner and invites me year after year but it just doesn't look like my can of worms. My photo trips are a chance to get away from people.......

They used to try to keep media, TV and pro photographers out and required a permit and oversight.

When I was there, very few cameras were present and I can't remember if cell phones had cameras then. but cell phones really didn't work there, no network. Ham radio.

Now they allow fully catered million dollar camper buses.

Everybody sells out.

Jmarmck
26-Feb-2015, 14:31
When I lived in Mammoth Lakes I drove a 1980 Honda Civic for the first couple years. Quite a challenge at times when the snow was really flying but the little brute would go anywhere there was clearance. I took it down to Saline Valley a few times. I even have pics to prove it.

I also removed the rear seats from that car. I put in a fascia type board cut to match the floor of the car. I then added a carpet covered piece of custom cut plywood with hinges. Made for a great place to store things like chains, tow strap, small military shovel, water bag, med kit, and other survival gear. I could haul quite a bit of gear in it. Traded it for a '82 Datsun 4wd pickup. I wish I still had the Datsun.

Like BM Saline Valley was different back then.

Drew Wiley
26-Feb-2015, 15:14
Why would I want to go to some noisy rave combined with filth? If I'm going to get grubby out somewhere, I want to hear crickets and coyotes at night, not neo
hippies acting like the everyday schizos under the overpass behind this building! Now Saline Valley... what memories. ... broken down on a back road into there
when I was sixteen, stuffing a broken oil pan with sticks and sagebrush, and trying to figure out how to get out alive. Encountered a Navy Seal exercise where
some of them were searching for fellow members who had parachuted into the hills there, with the point of the exercise being to locate those paratroopers - and one they never did! That wasn't very reassuring. But at least they had some spare cans of oil. Got to the hot springs. Had some venison steaks frying on the Coleman stove on the tailgate, but a coyote sneaked up and stole one right off the hot burner. Then almost got trampled to death that night by a herd of wild burros while I was sleeping on the ground. Hiked around quite a bit, then broke down again after hitting pavement, having passed up the only two tow truck then operating in Inyo County, themselves both broken down! Some lost bikers came thru. Some more free oil. Finally made it to Bishop and some tubes of epoxy. That lasted the next 200,000 miles. But when I finally got home my dad sure wasn't very amused. The engine to that new station wagon (yeah, NOT 4WD) was
covered with clay, and the shocks were ruined. Back in Saline Valley the Seals were simply staring at us kids and asking how the hell we ever got down that
path in the first place in that Chevy!

Randy Moe
26-Feb-2015, 15:53
No problem Drew, nobody is suggesting you do anything you don't want to do.

i like exploring many people, places and things.

I have camped alone in Mohave, mountains, swamp and North woods. Been to almost every state. Traveled EU alone. Nothing better than coyote yip and howl. Great to find a place no human is. I walk up to deer, watch bear, move by bird sign, look at wolf, rabbit and spider.

We only walk the Earth once, I marvel at it all and I have never met a person that could not teach or show me something. A homeless bum, a burn out hippie, a banker, all teachers.

Sometimes I steal their souls with a photograph. I feel guilt.

Drew Wiley
26-Feb-2015, 16:08
Sorry to be less than cheerful today. The potheads (literally) next door leave drywall screws all around the parking spaces when they illegally use them for fabricating shipping crates, and one of my tires picked one up. Then some drifter cleaned out his hippie-mobile and left heroin needles all over the place. Another flat tire opportunity. Burnt out hippies get a bit boring around here. But taking pictures of them at night is how Misrach got started, even though that first book and his first exhibition were basically bellyflops. In one of our cabinet shops across the st there's a mid-80's tenant who has a huge black and white print in there of him and his ladies taken on Telegraph Ave back in the 60's, up above his table saw and giant jointer etc. Let's just say he has only has about 2% of all his hair in that picture still left!

Domingo A. Siliceo
13-Oct-2015, 13:20
I'm planning for the next spring (maybe in the third or the fourth week in April) my first solo trip - three days walking about 90 km (60 miles approx.) divided in three stages. I'll also need a first day to arrive to the starting point and a fifth day to return home. My main idea is to do landscaping photography and, maybe, who knows, some portraits of the people I'll found in the road (but I'm not very optimistic about this).

I'll use my 4x5 Linhof carrying a 50 sheets Fomapan 100 box, plus an empty box to store the exposed sheets and four film holders (eight sheets every day). My budget is not well defined yet, but I'm thinking about a spend of 300 EUR for the whole trip (train, hostels, meal...).

Although this is Spain and not America (I can't take a gun, for example), your advice about what to take with me will be welcome.

tgtaylor
13-Oct-2015, 13:44
Walking 20 miles a day and doing LF/MF photography is too far - especially if there is climbing to do. In my experience 8 to 10 miles a day is reasonable if you are in good shape.

Thomas

Jac@stafford.net
13-Oct-2015, 15:13
As a kid, then in military service, 20 miles a day was too much to be particularly useful let alone creative. Maybe I am a wimp.

Randy Moe
13-Oct-2015, 15:19
Pack a smile in your heart and everything else is secondary.

John Kasaian
13-Oct-2015, 16:00
Pack a smile in your heart and everything else is secondary.
Yes.
Make friends. Most people will be fascinated by your camera and you'll become an ambassador for LF!
When the locals open up, all sorts of good stuff follows.
Exercising caution (common sense really) is a good practice where ever you travel---don't flash your money, let people know where you are headed and avoid dangerous districts.

Jac@stafford.net
13-Oct-2015, 16:34
I dearly love traveling alone with no person to accommodate. It has been my mode since childhood traveling the North East wilderness in the fifties, but things have changed: humans are everywhere I can motor near. All that is left is to parachute into remote locations, but extraction is so expensive.

My backyard probably has more mysteries.
.

HMG
13-Oct-2015, 16:58
I'm planning for the next spring (maybe in the third or the fourth week in April) my first solo trip - three days walking about 90 km (60 miles approx.) divided in three stages. I'll also need a first day to arrive to the starting point and a fifth day to return home. My main idea is to do landscaping photography and, maybe, who knows, some portraits of the people I'll found in the road (but I'm not very optimistic about this).

I'll use my 4x5 Linhof carrying a 50 sheets Fomapan 100 box, plus an empty box to store the exposed sheets and four film holders (eight sheets every day). My budget is not well defined yet, but I'm thinking about a spend of 300 EUR for the whole trip (train, hostels, meal...).

Although this is Spain and not America (I can't take a gun, for example), your advice about what to take with me will be welcome.


First, despite what you may hear, we're not all carrying guns here.

I agree with the others that 60 miles in 3 days is pretty aggressive if you want any time to shoot at all. And if you're camping, you'll have quite a load.

Domingo A. Siliceo
13-Oct-2015, 21:49
Walking 20 miles a day and doing LF/MF photography is too far - especially if there is climbing to do. In my experience 8 to 10 miles a day is reasonable if you are in good shape.

Thomas

thanks. Maybe I'm very optimistic... I'll reduce the daily distance.



Pack a smile in your heart and everything else is secondary.

delightful advice. Thanks Randy.

DrTang
14-Oct-2015, 07:31
the alkaline dust was miserable, especially in a dust storm white out.


.. and this is why I have never been

in theory - it was/is the perfect place for the kinds of stuff I like to shoot..however..stories of that dust and the thought of it in my gear has always kept me away

Randy Moe
14-Oct-2015, 08:06
.. and this is why I have never been

in theory - it was/is the perfect place for the kinds of stuff I like to shoot..however..stories of that dust and the thought of it in my gear has always kept me away

My CoolPix 990. Sony Camcorder and lungs are still working, and we were in the nasty of nasty in 2000.

My regret is not taking better stills and video. https://youtu.be/NccvExL3vmM Those are my Lazy Susans...which evolved from this human weather vane.

141003

RSalles
14-Oct-2015, 14:06
Domingo,

Grap a wood stick to help you walk when you're tired or use it to help you climb - it's better to have something at hand when you face some nervous dogs on the road also, what occasionally happens (very often around here),
What is told about millage above it's just true, I used to carry a large backpack in the army when young and 30 km's with a 10 mn each hour for rest was more then enough,

Cheers,

Renato

dsphotog
15-Oct-2015, 12:51
I'd want to take more film!

Harley Goldman
15-Oct-2015, 14:53
This past fall I spent 31 days in southern Utah. I am not a fan of hotels as a rule, so I camp out. In my case that means sleeping in the back of my Honda Element. I have it rigged up so I can easily fit my 6 foot frame in the back on my platform bed. I would camp sometimes in national parks and other times on BLM land. Being "old" has its advantage with the senior park pass- free entry and half price camping. I splurged on several nice meals, but mostly cooked my own food. Showers were taken at places that offered them, although one time after five days, I felt like "Pigpen" in the Peanuts cartoon. Like some of those here, occasionally I would stop at a McDonalds and buy a cheap breakfast sandwich and also take advantage of their wi-fi. I think all told I might have spent about $400 plus gas which I think ended up being about $600 which comes out to about $33 per day. I do tend to carry a fair amount of supplies with me in terms of food and most importantly some good stout and porter beers and some good (to me) coffee. Now all that being said, I did spend a small fortune on 8x10 film and processing, but that is where I prefer to spend my money. Not sure this type of travel would work in more populated areas, but for those areas I frequent, it works out fine. In the 31 days, I did not get one hotel room and that was ok with me.

Jim, you forgot to mention some of the dirt bags you met up with on your trip. Like me. :)

tgtaylor
15-Oct-2015, 15:33
Showers were taken at places that offered them, although one time after five days, I felt like "Pigpen" in the Peanuts cartoon.

Up to your early twenties you can go a week without bathing and never give it a second thought. But the older you get the more self-conscious you get until you simply have to take one every day whether you need one or not. On multi-day backpacks I carry a 1-gallon collapsible water container and at the end of the day fill it with stream water and, if the water is cold, place it on a rock in the sun to heat up while I set-up camp and then "take a shower." In areas where I have to carry a bear can I leave the collapsible container at home and use the bear can. The "shower" makes you feel "brand new."

Thomas

Domingo A. Siliceo
17-Oct-2015, 04:35
[...]
Grap a wood stick to help you walk when you're tired or use it to help you climb - it's better to have something at hand when you face some nervous dogs on the road also
[...]


good point. No need to climb because the route is along a plateau and terrain is almost plain, but dogs could always be a nuisance or a danger.

Muito obrigado, Renato.

HMG
17-Oct-2015, 06:47
good point. No need to climb because the route is along a plateau and terrain is almost plain, but dogs could always be a nuisance or a danger.

Muito obrigado, Renato.

Actually trekking poles (2, not one) help transfer pack weight off your knees. Handy at a certain age. A single pole is handy for stability and some have 1/4-20 tripod screw on top for use as a monopod (obviously for smaller cameras).

JerryP
13-Nov-2015, 15:19
Up to your early twenties you can go a week without bathing and never give it a second thought. But the older you get the more self-conscious you get until you simply have to take one every day whether you need one or not. On multi-day backpacks I carry a 1-gallon collapsible water container and at the end of the day fill it with stream water and, if the water is cold, place it on a rock in the sun to heat up while I set-up camp and then "take a shower." In areas where I have to carry a bear can I leave the collapsible container at home and use the bear can. The "shower" makes you feel "brand new."

Thomas

Seems the older I get the less I'm concerned with what the world thinks about me and how I smell. Maybe that's the "old man smell" I hear about. After a week camping in the Sierras, I'm more concerned about finding a comfortable bed. Rod Stewart said it, "My body stunk, but I kept my funk."

Richard Raymond
17-Nov-2015, 07:01
Domingo,
You have not said where you will be walking. Perhaps some section of the Camino de Santiago. When walking an area you are going to want to look around. Stop and enjoy the views. Chat with folks. Assuming walking for 50 minutes and resting for 10 minutes every hour you can expect that 4km per hour on the plateau is about the best. If you decide to take a picture how long does it require for you to decide on a picture, set up to take the picture, take the picture and then repack your gear? How many hours do you want to be on the trail each day? Thinking about these things may help you decide how far you can reasonably travel and still enjoy your holiday. People who are doing photography generally travel less than through hikers. In any case, enjoy your trip.
Let us know what you see.
Regards,
Ric

Sirius Glass
17-Nov-2015, 09:45
I have found that when I go to a small town or out of the way place, that when I ask people about special secret photographic places in their area that I have found some real photographic gems.

Domingo A. Siliceo
21-Nov-2015, 09:28
Domingo,
You have not said where you will be walking. Perhaps some section of the Camino de Santiago.
[...]


hi Richard. No, it will not be any part of the Camino de Santiago: my route will be surrounding the Tablas de Daimiel national park, 180 km south Madrid. In April, the weather there should be mild and have very good light.

Jmarmck
21-Nov-2015, 13:03
On my first morning at Monument Valley I stopped to shoot Sentinel Mesa from the parking lot of The View Hotel. While setting up for the first "Landscape" a local came over from some hut in the parking lot and said that for $100 he would take me to areas where only the local Navaho had access. From what I gathered it was the areas just to the east of the valley where there is a remarkable hogback in the distance. Being the paranoid fool that I am I declined. If I had had a companion with me I may have taken him up. But I have since learned that there is a public dirt track that runs through this area.

BTW I was certainly glad I took the GEM3 locator with me. I did not have need to press the help or panic buttons but it served well to track my movements and photo locations (when I remembered to push the button). It was also great to send short daily messages to those in my list.

Richard Raymond
22-Nov-2015, 12:37
hi Richard. No, it will not be any part of the Camino de Santiago: my route will be surrounding the Tablas de Daimiel national park, 180 km south Madrid. In April, the weather there should be mild and have very good light.

Domingo,
Ah, La Mancha. The Tablas de Daimiel is great for birds. Try to travel light. If you are arriving and departing from the same train station - Maybe Daimiel - you might want to pack a second bag with your clothes for the last evening and the trip home and leave it in a locker at the train station so that you can keep your walking load a little lighter. If you have a list of specific locations you would like to see and photograph try to lay them out so you can see 2 per day. Use the other time for your portraits and "chatting up" the locals and tourists that you meet along the way. And for the unexpected shots. I don't know what you have in your kit but a polarizing filter will be useful around the wetlands there.
Best of luck with your planning and with your trip.
Regards,
Richard