Thursday, August 16, 2012

Road Trippin' Tutorial

While this tutorial is primarily to "educate" the more than 30 adventurers joining us for the first time on a road trip, it can serve as an optional review for our "seasoned" victims as well.

We'll be on the road in about two weeks from now and are really excited. Packing has begun as well as taking care of all those things in preparing. We're thankful for John's cousin, Jerry, who has agreed to house-sit once again, with one condition. He has to bring Sammy, who is now at the latter stages of puppy-hood. Earlier followers will recall Sammy's "destruction" of a towel during our last road trip.

There are really four of us on the road for these adventures... John, Linda, Fannie Mae and Wilma. The John and Linda (the Two Old Buzzards) part is simple enough(as sometimes are John and Linda). Fannie Mae is our two-year-old road trippin' black & white miniature Schnauzer. She is our "CWF" (child with fur). She is happy to travel in the passenger seat with Linda, or in her crate (also known as her "special place". Here is the origin of her name: Mini Schnauzers have little stubby tails. When they are happy and wag their tail, their whole rear end moves. Thus, her face may not tell you she is happy, but her "fanny may". Oh yes, that leaves Wilma. Wilma is the name we have given to our 2006 Honda Odyssey. She was named after a favorite restaurant of ours in Sonora, CA, Wilma's Flying Pig Cafe & Saloon. Sadly, the restaurant is now defunct. And, that is the four of us.

Two cardinal rules are in effect when the Two Old Buzzards and their entourage hit the road. First rule: no electronic audio in the vehicle. Simply stated, the radio is always off. Second rule: no television turned on in the motel room. On our many previous road trips, we have found these two rules lead to more conversing between John, Linda and Fannie Mae.

Our new adventurers won't know anything about raw bits (twang, twang). RBTT is a regular favorite breakfast way-of-life for Linda. RBTT is made up of soy protein granules, ground flaxseed, powdered milk, yogurt(if available), shredded coconut and dried fruit (fresh fruit is added if available). The origin of Raw Bits (twang twang), but not the recipe, is from a commercial on A Prairie Home Companion (Buzzard #1's favorite radio show). The "twang twang" part comes from a sound effect used on the commercial. Many years ago John and the kids started calling Linda's cereal concoction Raw Bits Twang Twang.

Daily photo galleries are a favorite on our road trips. Due to limited storage on our web site, we had to take down the galleries from the previous road trips to make room for the upcoming Yellowstone trip. However, you can get an idea of how the galleries work by clicking here to view a gallery of 18 photos of Fannie Mae at 13 weeks of age before and after her first trip to the groomer.

We will sometimes put a link to a spot we like that has a presence on the web. On our Utah Road Trip we made a stop at the north rim of the Grand Canyon and stayed at the Jacob Lake Inn. It was an interesting place so we included a link to their web site which you can visit by (for example) clicking here.

Before our road trip, John wanted to practice using our new point-of-view camera as well as nail down photo and video processing. So, we made a short (43-second) "movie" trailer for the upcoming trip. It's embedded from YouTube.

There, now the "newbies" are educated. We're starting to pack and get things organized. You have been sent the information and rules of the Mileage Madness game, and we hope many of you will play. Remember, you will gain information you need to win by reading our posts. And, we'll have very nice first, second and third place prizes this time around.

In addition, we've added the “Weight, Weight Do Tell Me” game and have also sent the information and rules as an email attachment. Maybe you'll win the pound of See's Chocolates.

While we're on this trip, please feel free to comment on any of our daily postings and photo galleries. We appreciate getting your feedback.

If you are not a geek, we recommend you read no further.

Geek Speak.....Technical info for John's fellow geeks: We primarily shoot photos in camera raw (Canon Powershot G10 and G11), then import, catalog and "process" them in Adobe Lightroom. The daily photo galleries are also created in Lightroom, then uploaded to our web site storage and a link placed in our blog for the appropriate day. Main titles are created in layers in Adobe Photoshop. Video is primarily shot in 1080p HD (Canon Vixia and GoPro Hero2). Video footage is edited in Adobe Premiere, then exported as mpeg2 (for later use in creating a DVD) and converted to Flash video which is uploaded to YouTube. The YouTube videos are embedded into the blog post for your enjoyment (we hope).

Pay attention to this if you are a Verizon smart phone subscriber. We travel with two laptops, a wi-fi only tablet, one smartphone (Droid2 on Verizon) and one not-so-smart phone. John has a 3rd party wi-fi hotspot app on the smartphone that lets us tether one or more wi-fi devices (laptop or tablet) to his phone, giving us 3G data capability and internet access anywhere we can get it on his phone. Verizon was blocking subscribers from using this capability without subscribing to the their "hot spot" service for an extra $20 per month. Recently, Verizon was fined $1.25 million by the FCC and is now prevented from blocking subscribers with data plans from using 3rd party apps which work as wi-fi hotspots. This is from the "For What It is Worth" department and Verizon deserves it!

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