City Lights

I thought it would be interesting to go up onto South Mountain and take some night pictures of the city. This first Pic was taken with a 30 second exposure, and processed into an HDR pic.
This is also a 30 second exposure, enhanced with Photoshop.
This one is a 30 second exposure and I set off the flash in the middle of it to bring out the nearby objects.
The final picture was a 30 second exposure with the flash set to rear synch, and triggered with my wireless remote.
While up there we noticed the smell of something burning.


Pinetop Lakeside (In HDR)

Recently Kathi and I wanted to take our trailer and go camping. We wanted to camp at Woods Canyon Lake, but they are booked till August. After some searching I found a campsite in Lakeside that had openings. Last Friday we went up to Lakeside and stayed at the Lakeside campground. I have no pictures of it as it was pretty boring, plus all the camp sites were crammed very close together. If we had brought a tent we would have had no place to set it up, as the space available was taken up by the picnic table, fire pit, and trees. We left town around 13:30 and arrived at around 17:30 18:00.

When planning the trip I found there were 2 routes to get to Lakeside, one went through Payson and the other went through the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. My Mapping software insisted that going through the Fort Apache Indian Reservation was the faster route, but once I told it not to use any dirt roads It gave the distance as 184.7 miles. I then had it run the route through Payson and I got a distance of 184.7 miles?! So... given the choice we went through Payson.

The trip was very hot, and climbing the 6% grades with a trailer had the engine running quite warm, however once at the top of the rim it was smooth sailing to Lakeside. As we went through Payson the temperature was 102.

This time we left with time to spare and took our time setting up camp. Because of the fire danger in Payson being Extreme I stopped at the Payosn Walmart and picked up a portable propane BBQ. I had to assemble it, and we made hamburgers for dinner. We went to sleep shortly after the sun went down. We did not light a fire as it was very warm.

The next morning we were up with the sun I made breakfast and after a quick shower in our camper we headed out to rainbow lake as I wanted to do some fishing and maybe catch Crayfish.
However Public access to the lake is mostly restricted to the north side. There was very little space to fish from and most of it was in use or the water was shallow or choked with weeds.
I looked for crayfish but only saw dead or the remains of dead crayfish. Kathi looked into renting a boat but they were not renting because of the weed problem.

So instead we went for a drive to Show Low lake, I do not have a picture of the lake but the lake is designed as reservoir and it had steep sides lined with boulders, once again access to shore fishing was very limited. So we went to see if we could find Kathi's friend Suzie's mothers cabin as it is for sale. The cabin is located in a nice little wooded neighborhood in Lakeside, I did not take a picture of it, the cabin consists of an old single wide trailer with an add on on the front. A neighbor reported that it was in need of a lot of repair.

We drove around and found this
It's the "Pinetop Fire Department live Fire Trainer". Right next to
The Pinetop Fire station.

We had lunch at a restaurant whose name escapes me. It was starting to get warm and also looked like rain, so we went back to camp closed up the flaps on the trailer, then went in to town to see "Kung Fu Panda" (funny movie you should go see it). Afterwards we went back to camp and took a nap. Later on we went back to the lake where I tried to fish, but due to very high winds I only got about 45 minutes of fishing before I had to give up. We drove around some more and I took this picture:
We went back to camp I made dinner (Ribeye steaks), and we went to bed shortly after sundown.

The next morning once again up with the sun and we started packing. We had breakfast at a small restaurant called "Darbie's cafe". Where they serve breakfast big enough to choke a horse. We went back to camp finished packing, checked out and headed home. On our way through Heber we saw this:
I didn't take many pictures since when you have seen one pine tree you've seen them all, as illustrated by this picture I took at the Mogollon rim overlook just before you head down from the rim.The trip home was uneventful.


Flagstaff and Route 66

This last weekend I had to go to Flagstaff on Friday June 6th for non recreational purposes. I finished setting up the kiosk at the Flagstaff mall at about 1pm, and Kathi and I had lunch at a Mexican restaurant (the name escapes me). We visited the Flagstaff train depo and did some train watching.

I estimate that in the town of Flagstaff a train goes by on average every 10 to 15 minutes. We then had a light dinner at the Village inn next to the Super 8 motel we stayed at. Here is the view of from our second story window.
The picture is fuzzy because it was taken through a screen I couldn't remove. The trains go by at night so often you have to sign a waver saying you won't ask for your money back if the trains keep you awake (I never heard them while I was sleeping). The next day we decided to drive Route 66 from Flagstaff to Kingman. Okay... we didn't decide to go to Kingman we just ended up there. When I started my car I got a check engine light, I got the diagnostic code P0455 and called my boss, The code was that my gas cap was not on or I had a severe vacuum leak. I checked the gas cap and found that it was just sitting there. I put it back on and the light didn't go out. I think someone tried to siphon my gas. I decided to get a locking gas cap when we got back into Flagstaff. On our way out of town we passed through Williams, Ash Fork, Seligman, Peach Springs (inspiration for Radiator Springs in the movie Cars), Truxton, Crozier, Valentine, and Hackberry. Except for the fact that the towns we passed through were mostly boring, and there was not much scenery, There was one nice thing about this section of route 66 there was practically no traffic. Here see for yourself:
Generally if I am driving on any highway, at least one yutz will come up behind me and ride my tail. Not only did that not happen but I never saw anyone driving behind me for the entire trip. I only saw a few people in front of me but they were locals and they got off the highway before I got anywhere near them. Until I got to Hackberry I didn't see more than 4 or 5 cars going East. So if your ever on I40 and you get to Seligman, Make sure you have a full tank of gas and take route 66. The speed limit is 65 mph, and I didn't see even one cop car the entire time. You will see several of these:
Yup that's right... Burma Shave signs.
We got to Kingman (and it was boring). We did find this small park with a Locomotive in it.

Next to the park was an old electric generating plant, now a museum. We stopped in to use their bathroom, but did not go into the museum, of course there was a train running nearby.
The ride back to Flagstaff was long and boring and we took I40 this time. We got back into Flagstaff and I got a locking gas cap. I reset the check engine light and it hasn't come on since. We had Dinner at Buster's (Kathi had Salmon and I had Prime Rib), later that night Kathi wanted to sit outside somewhere. So we went down to the train depot and sat out to watch the trains. An Amtrak train was schedule to arrive at 8:51pm, but did not arrive till about 10pm. I decided that this would be good time to get some night shots of light trails as the trains went by. I took alot of pictures but most of them looked alike. Here are the better ones:

Kathi took some video as well.

The next day we checked out and headed for Sedona We stopped at a scenic overlook, I took a picture of us and an HDR picture of the Scenery.
We passed through Oak Creek Canyon, and stopped in Sedona for about 45 minutes. We didn't stay very long. I was extremely tired and I didn't even take any pictures. The rest of the ride home was the usual heavy Sunday traffic.


Unsolved Mysteries of Seattle I

Part one of a three part series of "Unsolved Mysteries of Seattle".


Blast from the Past

A long time ago.... Way back when I was going to Monte Vista Baptist Church (25 years?), Eric, Alan, and I got a hold of some video equipment and decided we would make a music video. The song we chose was "It's a Personal Thing" by Steve Taylor and some band. From their album On the Fritz. We only sort of completed two verses from the song. For reasons I no longer remember we never finished the video. So for your enjoyment (and Eric's embarrassment) Here are the only 2 good takes:

You may need to turn up the sound for the second clip.

Things to note:
The Podium was borrowed from the Church.
The Microphones are just an old light fixture.
The background flag is an old 48 star flag I still have.
I still have the foreground flag.
Alan is out of frame handing props to Eric etc.
Eric's "Mother" is a cutout from an album by "Michelle Pilar" (I think).
Lighting is provided by an old slide projector.

Seems appropriate for this election year... I'd vote for him.


La Palmas Hot Sauce Recipe

Back in December 2005 (after I broke my leg). My favorite Mexican food restaurant (La Palmas) closed. The owner sold the property and now there is a Walgreen's at the location. Supposedly he was going to re-open somewhere else. La Palmas used to sell their hot sauce mix for $5.00 a package. You just mixed it with tomato sauce and Voila! Well my personal stash of this mix is now gone. So after some experimenting I came up with my own recipe. My recipe differs slightly in that it is uses much less Oregano and slightly less Garlic. The original dry mix had so much Oregano... it was green. So until and or if La Palmas ever re-opens here is my version of the recipe:

1 Tbs + 1 1/2 tsp plain Garlic powder (no green stuff)
1 Tbs + 1 1/2 tsp Onion powder
1/4 cup fine ground Mexican Oregano
1/4 cup ground Hot New Mexico (Hatch) Chili's (adds heat and makes it red)
1 Tbs ground Cayenne Pepper (wusses can leave this out)
2 Tbs crushed red pepper (the stuff you put on pizza)
2 Tbs Paprika (makes it redder)
2 Tbs Black pepper (superfine grind is best)
2 tsp Kosher or table salt (leave out for those with high blood pressure)

Combine all DRY ingredients in a container or jar with a lid. Close lid shake vigorously to mix. When ready to use, add 1 Tbs of the mixed DRY ingredients to 1 - 8 oz. can of tomato sauce, and 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs of water in a jar. Close lid and shake thoroughly to mix. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours (overnight would be better). When ready to use shake vigorously and serve.


Fishing with a Drop Shot

For a while now we have been fishing (and having good luck) using a drop shot. There are several types of drop shot out there, The Carolina rig, The Texas rig, and the Wacky rig to name a few. We use our own rig that I will call "the Guildig rig". Using this rig we have caught Bass, Carp, Trout, and Catfish.

You start with a swivel hook.
Tie this to the end of your fishing line on your fishing pole with a clinch knot. This way you can change out from a drop shot to a lure quickly if you need to.

Next take a length of fishing line 18 to 24 inches (anything from 6 to 12 pound test), and using the clinch knot tie a Swivel
to one end, thread an egg or bullet slip weight
of about 1/4 to 1/2 ounce on the line (pointy end toward the swivel) and on the other end attach a swivel hook. It should look like this:
If you want it more Carolinaish put a bead on after the bullet weight. To use this, attach a slip bobber on the end of you pole above the swivel hook (the bobber should allow the line to pass through it freely). Attach your newly made drop shot to the swivel hook, attach a fish hook to the swivel hook at the end of the drop shot.

The purpose of the drop shot is to fish on the bottom. The purpose of the slip bobber is to show were your line is, and to give a visual signal if the line has a bite. The slip weight helps in casting, holds the line on the bottom but does not offer resistance when the fish bites.

Once your drop shot is ready, bait it. For Carp use corn or dough baits, for Trout use corn (if using corn for trout or carp completely cover the hook) or live worms, for Bass use live or fake worms, for Catfish use anything edible.

For Carp, Trout, and Catfish, cast where the fish are (usually in the water), let the line sink to the bottom, if your slip bobber is attached correctly it will slowly walk up the line and stop at the surface. now wait, and watch the bobber. When it disappears under water set your hook and reel in your fish.

For Bass remove the slip bobber if using a finesse technique, or leave it on if using live bait.

Drop shots work best in lakes and ponds with relatively smooth bottoms. Here in Phoenix we have used this rig at many of the local urban lakes, and the Tempe town lake. If fishing with corn, It works much better if you chum the waters around where your hook is on the bottom with extra corn. Chumming is legal in Arizona as long as you don't over do it.


New Personal Fishing Record

What is it: Carp (Cyprinus carpio)
Where was it: Vista Del Camino Park (McKellips Lake Park).
When: 04-19-2007 08:23.
Weight 11 pounds.
Bait: Corn
Status: Released.
Chris and I were bored and since the lake was refilled, and Mike said he saw a lot of carp in it, we went fishing this morning. Chris caught 2 carp and I caught 1. I caught him on my smallest rod with 6 pound test, and 3 pounds of drag. He put up a fight for about 5 to 10 minutes. I almost caught a 1 pound bass. Some other guy caught a 6 pound catfish.


Make Traffic Lights do your Bidding

Have you ever noticed? when you pull up to a light at an intersection, in the left hand turn lane that there is what looks like a rectangle with a line down the middle, that looks like someone cut into the pavement and then filled it in with a sealant. They look something like this:
There are usually 2 sets of these separated by a car length. They are designed so that if there are 3 or more cars at the intersection they will get the green arrow. At some intersections there are only one and are used to let the traffic light control computer know that a car is present at a low traffic intersection. However at the intersections with 2 you can control the leading left arrow. Here is a real world intersection at 24th st. and Thomas.
The sensors are marked in white in their approximate locations for southbound traffic. Note that at this intersection the sensors are close enough that a sufficiently long vehicle can demand the left arrow all alone (I can do this in my truck). So.... How does this work, well it goes something like this. 1 vehicle must stop on each sensor at or before a preset time before the east/west traffic gets a red light. My experience is, that this is about 1 minute. Now you say "how can I control the green arrow?" Simple, If you are the first to arrive at the intersection stop far enough back so that any other vehicle that comes up behind you is forced to stop on the second sensor, like this:
You are the red car. You stop far enough back so the the silver car has to stop on the second sensor. If you both trip the sensors before the east/west traffic gets a red light you will get the green arrow. Now suppose you pull up to the intersection and there is already a car at the intersection. Since it is very likely that the person doesn't even know about the sensors he will stop all the way forward. If you were the average clueless driver you would pull up directly behind him and not get the green arrow. This is what you should do:
Once again you are the red car. The silver car is all the way on the front sensor, if you were to pull up right behind him there would not be enough metal over the second sensor to trigger it. Once again if you get there soon enough you get the arrow. These sensors can be triggered by motorcycles, and I have read that bicycles will also if they are large enough and are made from steel. Motorcycles and Bicycles must stop on the center of the sensor to have any chance of a trigger. These intersections are all over town. I have used this technique successfully for years. Now go forth and control the traffic lights, don't let them control you.

Thus endeth the lesson.


Betty and Russ

Some in my family may not be aware that they have an aunt and uncle still living in Mesa, AZ, Betty and Russell Roberts. Betty is the older sister of my father. They currently live in a retirement community near Falcon field. They have a son named Mark. They also have a small cabin in Heber, AZ. The picture above was taken in 1972 in Heber. Betty is extremely nice and Mark has a great sense of humor. I don't know why my mother never liked them. Here is a picture of Betty and Bob taken in 1951.
Ah... the good old days, when men wore hats and women wore gloves. Here is a picture from 1961 of Betty, Russ, and Mark.
The most recent digital pic I have is from 2002, quality is not so good.


The Desert in Bloom

This year with all the extra rain the desert has started blooming like mad. Everything is green. Mike and Chris wanted to go out in the desert and make "bang bang" while we were out there we took quite a few pictures of the flowers, in the area north of Florence and near Canyon lake. Enjoy.