Friday, May 29, 2015

Arduino Uno

This week my new electronics / microcomputer learning and design kit arrived.  Looking forward to learn about the system and build some interesting projects.

This is not my first experience with this type of equipment.  Several years ago I bought the MicroChip evaluation kit.  I found it difficult to learn.

Next was the Raspberry Pi.  The "Pi" is easy to work with because I know much of the Linux syntax.  But, needs too much auxiliary parts (monitor, keyboard, mouse) to be easily carried when using at the regular computer coffees.

In addition to the starter kit I bought from Adafruit, I also purchased more parts to enhance the system.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Home Safe

Did not sleep well Sunday night.  Up before 6 to have breakfast, load the car, and drive the last section of the trip home.  Was on the road a little after 7am.

While Sunday was warm and sunny. most of Monday was cool and cloudy.  Temperature never got over 55 degrees,  As I headed East on I-80, the wind was picking up. 

Took the time to run by the post office to get my mail on the way home.  Got the computers plugged in again.  Unloaded some of the bags out of the car, then crashed into bed.  Still tired this morning, but good to be back in my own bed.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Return Drive - Day 1, Santa Fe to Colby

Did not sleep much last night.  Felt like the altitude was getting to me, though I have been at about 5000 ft for a week.  Cold morning, was 39 deg in Santa Fe when I was packing the car.  Sunny but cold.  Dressed in BDU pants.  Filled the gas tank on the car and headed North on I-25.

Was a bit tired at time, stopped at a couple rest areas to get out of the car.  At Trinidad, CO, turned NE onto two-lane roads.  By the time I was at Trinidad, the temperature was into the 70s.  Felt like overdressed for the temperature.

I have driven this route several times, so mot much new subjects to photograph.  Did snap this one of an old Union Pacific caboose on display in Sugar City, CO. 

Checked into the Quality Inn, Colby, KS.  Grabbed bags and pulled a pair of cargo shorts for the drive tomorrow.  Decided check out the Mexican Restaurant (El Dos de Oros) at the hotel.  I knew there was a problem when my food was served in under 10 minutes.  Food was just tolerably warm, not hot like I am accustomed to getting at Mexican Restaurants.

Hoping to get a good night's sleep.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

North Central New Mexico Mountains

When I got up and shower this morning, I saw the weather had not changed muck.  Cold, damp, threatening rain.  Not a good day for a bike ride.

Headed North to and past Taos and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  Took the low road from Espanola to Taos.  From there, clockwise around the Enchanted Circle to Angel Fire.  Off the beaten path to Mora.  Then West to meet up the High Taos.

Getting at Red River, it was lunch time.  Saw the "Yesterdays Diner" when I first came into town.  Looked like an interesting place for a sandwich.  Decor was a little of everything from years past.  Ordered Ham & Cheese sandwich - something different.  Alas, no ham.  Settle for a Patty Melt.  Was very tasty.

Wanted to see and photograph the ghost town of Elisabeth town.   Missed it.  Knew when I got to Eagle's nest, I had gone too far.  My guide book said about it being over 5 miles back and down a dirt/gravel road.  Maybe another time.

Spent the afternoon driving the roads of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain.  Weather was changeable. Spitting rain, trying to snow, overcast with periods of sunshine.  Any time i got out of the car, was happy I had worn my sweatshirt.

Took lots of photos of old, abandoned building and a few landscape photos.  Processed the photos when I got back to the room.  Also went out to the grocery store for some supplies on the drive home.  Packing the room this evening and early to bed.

A Little of Everything

Thursday night, I started getting cold in my room at the Quality Inn.  Tired to get some heat running. No Luck.  Found out that the hotel had turned off the HVAC system.  They could not come up with a heater to plug in the room.  Temperature was to get down in the low 40s, upper 30s the next nights. Registered my complaints, but it seemed to land on deaf ears.  After breakfast Friday, i moved to the next-door Motel 6.

Was a pain in having to move, but I did not have to load the bikes, i was able to ride them across.  Rained overnight and threatening rain off and on all day.  Not a day for a bike ride.  Grabbed my copy of Scenic Driving in New Mexico.  Drove to Pecos and up into the mountains there (Pecos River Canyon).  Nice scenery, but no much opportunity to photograph the landscape.  Was able to shoot some of the old, abandoned buildings. (upper photo).

Had tickets for the Handmade Bicycle and Craft Beer Show in the evening at the Farmer's Market.  Weather permitting, I wanted to attend.  Did not want to waste the $15 I paid the ticket for.  Weather was iffy, but decided to drive down to the Railyard.  Parking was a pain.  Eventually found a spot about 3-4 blocked from the show entrance.

Showed my ID, presented them my ticket, and received my hand stamp and wrist band. Wrist band was good for 1 free pint of beer.  Tabs were removed for each beer you had, up to the limit of 3 pints.  A bit disappointed - last year the entrance fee was $10 and included the frist pind AND a souvenir pint glass. 

Durango Bike Company has it usual selection a good looking mountain bikes (lower photo).  Visited with a local guy the does environmental studies and watching the regulators (for stuff they miss) and another that had lived in Minneapolis.. Last year, they had tables outside to sit at and visit in addition to the small tables to stand at while drinking your beer.  They had food vendors, but, again, no place to sit down to eat.  I had a second beer and visited with a guy in the area from Lubbock, TX.  He knows Copy Craft, the company that published my calendars. Had enough and headed back to the car.

Was rough walking back to the car. It was a bit chilly and spitting a little rain.  After standing for over an hour, my knee was giving my problems.  Was happy to get back to the car.  Headed back toward the hotel. 

Needed some supper.  Remembered Dr. Field Good was in the area.  They had a spot in the bar.  Had a burger and potatoes with large glasses of water.  Ready for bed once I got back to the room.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Albuquerque to Santa Fe

This morning, started loading the bags into the car.  Had breakfast with cousin Don at the Range Cafe.  Very disappointed, my breakfast was cold (very little heat in the food) when delivered to the table.  After trying to eat a bit, I gave up.  the server offered to get me another breakfast, but by then, I was not in the mood to eat.  Thankfully, they did not charge Don for my breakfast.

Back at the room, I finished loading the car.  Add all of the day to drive to Santa Fe, so decided to take the scenic route (Route 4) into the Jemez Mountains.

Stopped at the Soda Dam and shot this photo.  Stopped to take photos of the battleship rock, too.  Was planning to check out Jemez Falls.  Found the road to the falls and campground.  At the end of the spur road, there was a parking lot with restrooms.  there was a trail leading away from the parking lot.  I could not hear any falls, nor was there any indication have far I would have to walk to view the falls.

On into Santa Fe and checked into my hotel.  Grabbed bags for the 3 night stay in Santa fe.  Unloaded the bicycles and parked them into the room.  Check e-mail and facebook.  Not up for moving around for dinner.  At the hotel was Lu Lu's Chinese Restaurant.  A dinner of sweet & sour chicken was a welcomed change to burgers and brews. settled into the room for the night.

Forward Planning

I had an appointment with Real Estate friend om Albuquerque.  We discussed my financial situation and the housing markets in preparation of possible moving.  Rest of the day, read book about Chaco Culture and rested.

Wednesday was time to pull most of the bags out the car and repack for the return trip.  Sent a message to a friend of cousin Don who has a property available for short term rental.  Thinking of spending a month or more in Albuquerque next Winter.

Property owner called me about noon.  Made arrangements to view the property.  Sure would be more room and not much (if any) more than the hotel room.  Have something to think about when it gets to the Fall when I plan my Winter trip.  Photo here is of the rental property.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Native American Ruins in New Mexico

Over the several years I have been visiting New Mexico, I have been to most of the National Monuments and Parks.  New Mexico is rich in Native American history.  There are ruins of the buildings their society built.

This recent trip, I was able to visit the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in NW New Mexico.  From books I picked up at the Park, the Chaco Canyon area was inhabited in the years 850 to 1150 CE. (upper photo)  Previous to this time, most of the inhabitants of the area were nomadic tribes.

During that same trip, I visited Aztec Ruins National Monument in Aztec, NM.   The Four-Corners area of the USA has many more ruins in what is called the San Juan Basin.  It is believed that various settlements in the area where located and moved as climate conditions change.

One of the more interesting parks is Bandelier, with their multi-room masonry buildings and cliff dwellings.  All of these settlements had one common factor.  The spiritual lives and rituals were centered around the kiva.  Many of these settlements had several small kivas and one large kiva.

With the influx of the Spanish Missionaries in the 17th century, the spiritual lives of the native peoples was changed by the Missions.  Most of these seem to be in the Rio Grande valley.  Undoubtedly, the El Camino Real Historic Trail was a large influence on the creations of missions in the area.

The spiritual center of the pueblo now was the mission church.  Life centered around the church.  The lower photo is of the Quarai Pueblo Mission.  Some of these missions were built on top of the ruins of the earlier settlements.

What is interesting to me is the similarity of construction of their building from the earlier days of the 1100s to later years to the 17th century.  Visit National Parks and Monuments to learn all about the early residents of the country.

Aztec Ruins National Monument
Bandelier National  Monument
Chaco Culture National Historical Park
El Camino Real Historic Trail
El Morro National Monument
Pecos National Historical Park
Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument

There are more sites in New Mexico.  These are those that I have visited and took some photos.  Check out my web site for photos:

Bike Ride, Brew, and Burger

Took it easy Yesterday morning.  Had conversation with real estate agent friend to meet.  Want to update plans for possible moving. 

Beautiful for a bike ride.  Loaded the hybrid.  Google search showed a place for after ride brew and burger just a block from the trailhead where I was planning to ride from.  Drove over to the Montano trailhead with access to the Paseo del Bosque.

Got in a 8 mile ride from the trailhead North to Paseo del Norte and back.  At the end of the ride I felt surprisingly good.  But ready for refueling! 

Checked out Spinn's Burger and Beer at Coors and Montano.  Started with a large glass of water (got to hydrate) and a pint of Marble Brewing Amber Ale.  Food was the Original Spinn burger with chese and pepperbacon and fries.  After-ride re-fueling at Spinn's could become a tradition.

Rest of the evening, crashed and relaxed.  Processed a couple photos I took during my bicycle ride.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Cleaning the Bikes

You might recall my comments about muddy road yesterday.  I had to clean the bikes until I could bring them into the hotel room.  Last night, I left them on the car, backed hear the room door.

At dinner, Cousin Don and I arrived at a plan - I could get them washed at his place.  I wanted to visit him at his place and see more about his pipe creation and repair (smoking pipes) work.  He suggested he could make breakfast - probably better than the waffle machine breakfast I would get at the hotel.

It was not easy to get this New Mexico mud on the bikes.  The drive and sun turned the mud to adobe or hard-pan. Seemed that soaking the area with water, letting it sit of a little, and then it would be loose enough to wash off.  Otherwise, it was sticking like glue!  Got the bikes washed of and turned to thoughts of breakfast.

We feasted on blueberry pancakes, bacon, and eggs.  After breakfast he explained his pipe work.  I have to say, i would buy some of his pipes if I was still smoking.  He makes some beautiful smoke able pieces of art.

Relaxing in the room most of the day. Treated myself to a Heath Blizzard. Got the bikes into the room. Called my mom for Mother's Day.

Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Saturday was my day to move from Farmington to Albuquerque.  I have do say, I was not impressed with the town of Farmington, NM.

Under 200 mile drive scheduled for the day, so had time for some tourist activities.  Drove over to Chaco.  First, I have to admit that I was confused, thinking Chaco Culture was the same Canyon de Chelly National Monument.

With the weather conditions (threatening rain) and having 2 bicycles on a read rack, I was concerned about driving the unpaved section of the road.  A sign just after getting off US550 suggested to check road conditions by turned to the radio at 1610.  Well, there was nothing on the air at that frequency.  Road was mostly good, except for a couple sections which were very muddy.  I ended up some heavy, caked-on mud on the bikes.

After the 21 mile drive into the park, I stopped at the Visitor's Center.  Picked up my vehicle pass and a book about the area.  Drove the one-way loop road stopping along the way to take photos.  With the altitude and my knee, did not want ot walk too much.  Took time to walk up to Pueblo del Arroyo.  Most of my photos are of those ruins.

Back on US550, the next place I wanted to find was the ghost town of Cabezon. Had some snow in the air at Cuba, NM.  Found the road off US550 that I needed to take.

I passed San Luis and consulted the book, finding to get to Cabezon, I would need to drive some dirt road and could only be viewed from the mesa because of a locked gate into the town.  Passed on that, and back to San Luis.  Photographed the little church and several abandoned buildings.  Maybe will get back to Cabezon when weather conditions were more conducive.

While in this part of the state, I wanted to find the "White Mesa" mountain bike trails.  I was able to find the road off US550, just South of San Ysidro.  Did not have direction handy.  Driving on the gravel road, I thought I had driven enough and so not further signed except just off the highway.  Guess I did not drive far enough.  The web site says the bike trails are 4.4 miles from US550.  Another time.

Checked into the hotel and sent message to my cousin.  We met to Billy's Long Bar for a couple pints and a sandwich.  At the server's suggestion, I had the Roswell Ale.  Pretty good amber-colored ale brewed in Roswell (yes, the home of the aliens), NM

Friday, May 8, 2015

Angel Peak Scenic Area

Its amazing what lower altitude can do for getting a good night's sleep.  Only woke up a couple times in the night.  One of those times was because of a howling wind.  Looks like thoughts of a bike ride may go by the wayside.

Showered and dressed for breakfast and perhaps the day.  Back in the room, the body said "go back to bed".  Slept in to about 9am.  Did some work on the web site and made plans to tour the Angel Peak Scenic Area a little South from Bloomfield, NM.

Saw and photographed some awesome scenery.  When you get to the area, you are on the edge of a mini Badlands.  Drove the gravel road to its and, stopping at several turn-out to take photos.  Stopped to visit with a couple from the El Paso there camping and playing "tourist".

Back in Farmington, I wanted to find the bicycle trail.  Thought I had found it, and not interested in riding it.  Processed photos from the day.  Napped and watched.  By 4 pm, I was getting hungry.  Found my way to downtown and the 3 Rivers Brewery,

Tap room was too noisy, walked a few doors down to the restaurant.  The way things have been going on this trip, they were out of the Arroyo Amber Beer that I wanted.  The server suggested the Hop Scotch Ale.  Ordered the beer and the chicken-fried steak (on the lighter appetites menu) .  Nice change from the burger and fries.  The gravy was not the normal white, tasteless gravy.

On the way back to the hotel, I finally found the riverwalk.  Looks like it would be a nice trail to ride and photograph.  In the room for the night - repack the bags for Albuquerque.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Aztec Ruins

Loaded the car and had some food in the breakfast room.  Selected eggs and sausage (all lukewarm).  Gassed up the car and headed on the road.  The day was clear, decided to detour up to the Black Canyon - see if I could get some photos in better lighting.

Stopped at a couple vistas, one where I to walk a little to get to.  By then, I was a stop at the visitor's center and do some shopping.

Back on the way toward Farmington,I drove US 550 to Aztec NM.  I had forgotten the narrow, winding route that US 550 carves up and down the San Juan Mountains from Ouray to Durango, CO.  Encountered some snow in the air - thankfully, nothing sticking to the road. 

Made a wrong turn in Aztec, but with the help with a convenience store clerk, I fount Azrec Ruins National Monument.  Parked the car and walked up to the entrance.  Realized my camera SD card was about full.  Back to the car to get a cleared card.  The ranger gave me basic info about touring the ruins.

My body was about toast when I got back to the car.  As I got into Farmington, it took 2 different stops to find my hotel.  First  stop was at the Cottonwood Cycles.  Got the skinny on singletrack and bike path information in the area.

Checking in the room, I found me in a cracker-box room.  Not even a chair and desk/table to use my laptop.  Had to moved rooms - to a handicapped room.  By now, I was very tired and frustrated.  Took some time to move photo files onto the laptop.  Processed my files into HDR photographs.  Online, found a local brew-put for dinner.  Problem was that I was too tired to think about dinner.  Crashed into bed.

Recovery and Photography

When I got up Wednesday morning, I was hungry,  Stuck my head out of the door, it was obvious that it had rained over night.  At the breakfast room decided on having a waffle and coffee.  Back at the room, I crashed into bed again.

Worked some on the new pages for my web site. Ate my left over pizza for lunch (hit the spot).

In the afternoon, I was ready to get out the room a little.  Wanted to shoot a couple photos around Gunnison.Went to Hartman Rock to see what the place (and their trails0 looked like.  Particularly with my altitude problems, no way I was about to attempt riding singletrack (or even dirt roads).

Processed the photos and did some more work on the web site.  Pack bags for an early departute Thursday.  Altitude still giving me a problem, could not get in a good night's sleep.  Toss and turned all night.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Woke up this morning to a drizzling rain.  Went to the breakfast room.  Just not hungry (guess the big burger the night before was still keeping me sated).  Had a couple cups of coffee.

Obvious, no bike riding today.  Packed the camera and headed to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.  When I turned off US 50, it looked like the sky might clear a little.

Climbing the park road, it became clear that the rain has returned.  The park elevation of 8000 ft was a rough.  I could not walk away from the car to most of the vistas.  Was not feeling good enough to even stop by the Visitor's Center.  Did get some decent photos through the drizzle.

Felt good to be back down to the highway - where I could breathe better.  On the way back to the hotel, I stopped to take a couple photos of the canyon from the Blue Mesa Dam.

Dinner time.  I decided on a pizza at Mario's Pizza & Pasta.  Had the Mario's Combo sans mushrooms.  The Medium pizza was enough for eating 5 slices.  Washed it down with water and a pint of New Belgium Shift.  Still had 3 slices, which were boxed for lunch tomorrow.  Time to crash into bed, watching TV.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Crested Butte / Gunnison, CO

Woke up in the middle of the night last night in Manitou Springs.  Peaking through the window, I noticed that the street lights and other unessential lights are off.  Looks like they are reducing light pollution.  The other thing I noticed was the parking lot was wet with a light rain.

Ended up getting a good, long night's sleep.  Had a light breakfast.  With the pints and sandwich last night, also I need was a pastry and coffee.

Relatively uneventful drive to Crested Butte.  Saw the Visitor's Center in Crested Butte.  With the sign proclaiming "Elevation 8885", there was no way I was able to ride a bike there.  Had problems just walking in the historic district.  At least I was able to take a couple photos before I turned back and down to Gunnison.  The photo here is of Elk Street in CB.  It is between seasons in Crested Butte.  Many restaurants and stores would not open again until June.

In Gunnison, I found my hotel.  The desk clerk at the Rodeway Inn was very helpful in orienting me the downtown.  First on the agenda was finding a bike shop.  The folks at Double Shot Cyclery was very helpful.  Hartman Rocks Recreation Area is about the only place to mountain bike.  Came out with a map of the recreation area and suggestions for riding.

Grabbed my bags for this section of the trip and moved them from the car to the room.  Copied the day's photos from the camera to the hard drive.  Next it was off to food.  At the Crested Butte Visitor's Center, I was steered to Gunnisack in Gunnison.  As it happened, Monday is Burger Night!  And, if I I timed it right, could also hit happy hour.  Ended up with a 1/2 # cheeseburger, fries, and a pint of Fat Tire for $9 plus tip!

Manitou Springs. CO

I am on the road again.  Just over 600 miles yesterday from home to Manitou Springs, Colorado.

Was a stormy night at home Saturday.  That, and the normal problems sleeping before a trip, made it a long night.  There was a little rain in the air as I finished packing the car. Got on the road 3"45am CDT.  Stopped in Council Bluffs to gas the car.

The upper photo was taken along I-80 around Wood River.  The sky was getting light and the full moon was setting.  Did not get the focus quite right.

Stopped in Kearney for breakfast.  At Elm Creek, I dropped off the Interstate for the more "scenic" drive on 2-lane roads.  I have driven a couple times this route.  I just enjoyed the drive.  The weather has cleared and temperature climbed to 79 degrees.

I found some more old, abandoned buildings on the route.  These little towns of the plains have a treasure trove to photograph.  Got off the main road in Jennings, KS.  During scooping on block, I shot several good shots.

Another boring drive on I-70 from Colby, KS to Limon, CO.  I still J-76 from the Nebraska boarder to Denver is still worse.

Not much to see along US 24 from Limon to Colorado Springs. Saw several abandoned buildings like the lower photo. here.  I had to pay close attention as I neared the Springs. Route 24 takes a rather circuitous route..  It did not help there was a traffic jam near the I-25 interchange - sign indicated they were cleaning up a vehicle fire.

Found my Motel in Manitou Springs.  Had a problem with the room, I could not get a good internet connection. Interference with WI-FI from another motel.  Move from a room with a King bed to a room with 2 Queens.  The internet connection for more was more important than the size of the bed.

Headed a mile or so up the road to find beer and food.  The hotel desk clerk had suggested The Keg.  I was in heaven when a pint of Mass Transit Amber Ale was placed in from of me. The brew was crafted by Bristol Brewing in Colorado Springs.  There were a couple of problems.

First, I had not seen any parking meters.  Another customer told me where to pay parking - as the police in Manitou Springs love their parking fines.  Took care of that, but the place was only serving a limited menu because of a kitchen fire in March.  No fried food (could not have my burger).  I settle on for the french dip.  Had a second pint to wash it down,

The town of Manitou Springs looked like an interesting place to shoot photos and wander around,  but, I was just too tired and had left the D-SLR in the room.  i headed back to the room and crashed into bed.