Monday, November 30, 2009


We made it to London and actually found the hotel. The adventure began at Phoenix Airport when we were told we'd leave an hour early. Didn't happen, we left on schedule or maybe a little later than planed. The flight was in parts a little bumpy but uneventful. Except for the fact I 'lost' my passport from my shirt. Fortunately it stayed in my seat and was able to recover it. The time difference is large. My computer is showing 3pm in Phoenix and it is after 10 here in London.
Heathrow airport is giamungus. We took a bus ride of nearly twenty minutes and barely left the airport. Our hotel is right along side the airport.
We're staying in a holiday hotel. So far it has been fun. Took a few photos from the plane with my phone. Once I figure out how to get them into the computer I'll do something with them. The camera guy forgot to take out a camera for that odd shot. We were actually very happy to just get on the plane.
The only odd thing we've encountered so far is that my checked bag looks like someone went through it. Nothing was taken as far as I can tell but the zipper was in the wrong place and the book I had inside was removed from the bag. Weird.
So far so good.
We did take a little walk this evening. It is cold but right now it feels nice. The photos are of our hotel, yes it is round, and the other is the view from our room.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

laptop dies

I guess I'm going with the back up computer. Drats. I did get the email problems corrected so I can send and receive through Cox now. My personal choice of mail server because of the ability to send photos simply.
So it is going to be happening soon. I'm excited and stressed at the same time. I'll be happy to be there and doing stuff instead of sitting around and waiting.
Hope to be posting more news soon. Be well. Take care.

no internet at bacharach updated found internet cafe

There is a connection at a town close by so I'll be going there to keep in touch. I'll post when ever I get the chance.
Looks like I'll be going without the other laptop. Drats because it had the GPS map stuff on it. I can't load it on the new one because there are no updates for Windows 7. Maybe while I'm there. We'll see.
Take care. Be well. Hope to give an update soon.
update:  I did find an internet Cafe in Bacharach.  I don't know how many times I walked past.  I even stopped in and had hot chocolate and spoke with someone about having internet.  The language difficulties got in the way and I didn't understand.  The next day I saw the internet sign in the window.
I am limited by the power of my battery because I don't want to carry the converter with me when I come.  It is okay the battery charges over night and I have enough power to do what I need to do when we get home.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Everything is set to go

Spent the day getting stuff ready to go. I got my international driver's license. Sharon and I were to the mall looking for stuff to take along for gifts. Ended up getting everything at one store. That was nice. Then we had a nice lunch.
Hans now has the truck so I'm pretty much at the mercy of getting rides now.
We made arrangements to meet at the airport and go in together. Because of the holiday traffic we may need to get there early maybe 6:30 or 7:00 to get through everything. Hopefully the international flights won't be so bad but that's just barking at the wind.
I'm still hoping the the other computer gets here. I don't think it will but it would be nice if it did. There is info on that machine I need to duplicate before we leave. I think I can find it again. I need the addresses of the places we're staying. I'll get it done.
Happy turkey day everyone. Be well. Take care.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

plumber shows up

The plumber finally showed up and fixed the leak in the bathroom. It was not as bad as it could have been. We didn't have to put any holes in the walls just the floor. Every thing is back in place except for the carpet. I'm glad that drama is over.
Be well. Take care.

Bag is packed

So my bag is packed and I'm thinking I'm going to unpack it and start over again. I thought I was going to travel light. The suitcase weighed in at 40 lbs. Yes, probably because of the fact that its almost all winter clothes and cables for the chargers and converters but still that's a ton more than I want to drag around. I'm thinking small but essential changes.
I had planned to take my back pack along but I put my camera gear in a different bag so now I have to carry my computer in its own bag. I'm thinking I'm going to revisit that. I put the smaller bag inside my suitcase on the trip to San Diego and that worked out okay. I think I'm going to take out some outer shirts and use the space to put the small bag inside the suitcase again. I can put my computer inside my backpack so I'll be down to three bags, one check in and two small carry on bags. I think that would be the best. Less stuff to struggle with when we are there. Things are sort of in place now. I've just got to finalize the packing and putting of stuff so I know I'm good.
More later.
Be well. Take care.

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Computer New Problems

Working on the laptop trying to get it up to date for the trip. I've encountered problems with some of the programs. I can't load the drivers for my IgotU GPS system. That is totally bad news. The new computer has Windows 7 and my drivers don't match that system. I'll be bummed but I guess I'll get around it or over it either way.
Windows 7 also has a new Windows Mail, which is now Windows Live Mail and even thought I've put in all the correct info about my email account I now need a password to get into my mail. Apparently the password that I changed to a couple of weeks ago isn't the correct password. I guess now I've got to waste an hour on the phone to get my password reset so I can use my cox email again. I really don't like this part. New technology is ahead of the computer programs and causes more headaches than needed right now.
Stay tuned to see if I find solutions to my new issues.
Be well. Take Care.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tested Backtrack

I took the Backtrack GPS system out for a test walk and drive today. It seems to work just fine while walking just a bit different while driving. Maybe the car goes to fast for the GPS to keep up. Having said that the system did work in getting me back to my original starting place, just the distances were a bit off but only while driving.

I walked about half a mile from my point of origin and took a different route back and was able to manage to get back to the original point.

I was a bit put off by the thing turning off at times. I presume the power saver function makes it do this. It is a bit annoying waiting for the GPS to relocate the satellites. It seems also to take a bit of time after turning it on after its been sitting for a while for it to locate satellites. Admitted I was in between houses but this shouldn't have been a problem as there was enough open space to acquire good visual sighting to the sky. No obstructions. If this were in a city I don't know how long it would take to establish a signal and with the system turning off all of the time it might take a little getting used to the quirk.

I guess when all is said and done if one is lost then the little time spent waiting to find the right direction isn't much of a distraction.

Should work well. I'd recommend it to someone at this point in time. I'll find out when I'm in unfamiliar areas how well it really works. I'll keep you posted on that fact.

Here is my updated post 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

$#@%^%$# mother board

Got a call from the repair place and they tell me that the mother board on my new computer is failing and needs to be replaced. It has a two week turn around. It may not be back in time for me to take it on my trip. Lots and lots of bad words here. Don't know what I'm going to do if I don't get it back. I have a back up plan of sorts but I don't know if it will be all that great. Lots of work to swap out machines.
Heck one more little bit of stress to add to the pile.
I did however get water proof boots, gloves and a snow cap for the trip just in case. I know I'll need the boots so that's a good thing. I also located a simple GPS called a Back track that will help me find the motel / hotel or where ever I'm trying to get back to. I get to mark a point and then walk away. The Backtracker is supposed to get me back to where I started anywhere in the world. No maps needed just a position on the GPS. Hope it works.
2011-10-12: Update on Backtrack.
Not only did the Backtrack work as advertised but on two occasions I would have been hopelessly lost had it not been for it.  Can't say enough about how it performed.  I used this in the winter time in large cities with tall buildings, like London and Koblenz.  It worked in temperatures of -10 C and lower.  The batteries lasted quite well even in the cold.  Though as a precaution I did charge them after we got back to the hotel in the evening.  I didn't want to chance losing all my stored info by having the batteries die when I needed them the most.  Since my return I make sure that I pack this piece of equipment for every trip no matter where I'm going.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Scorpion Gulch photo shoot.

I had a photo shoot this morning at Scorpion Gulch near the North Entrance of South Mountain State Park. I love the old buildings and textures there.
The day was made for shooting. It was a little cool, overcast and there was a little breeze. That made changing lenses a bit of a challenge but all in all it was worth the effort. I took five lenses and used them all. I was having lots of fun with my camera. If you haven't gone to Scorpion Gulch you should try it I find it a great place to shoot photos. I find that the buildings offer a lot of great texture with the rocks and mortar construction. My plan is to sometime convert these into textures for photo overlays. Just something to do when I get much better at Photoshop.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Computer to be tweeked

I finally broke down and took my computer back to have it optimized. It has issues booting and shutting down. I figured it would be a good idea to get that resolved before I leave. It should be back soon. I hope.
I was also having problems with loading programs. I got a new PS program and it freezes the computer up and won't load at all. It would be nice to have that program on the computer. Hopefully when I get it back the bugs will be worked out of it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans Day

I became a Veteran on 10.Nov.66, just a short while ago. See a vet thank a vet. We'll be eating at Applebees today, I'll be eating for free.
I'm going to do some trip stuff today. Drop of some equipment and see about getting a pair of snow boots. I'm just a little worried about my feet getting to cold. It could be a bad thing with the Gout and all.
Be well. Thank a Vet.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Today is our Anniversary. We've been married twenty one years. Wonderful woman. It is also the Marine Corps Birthday. Huragh!! It is also the anniversary of my first day in Vietnam. That's 43 years ago.

The trip gets closer

I've been testing equipment and making decisions on what I should take and what I should leave behind. I've opted to take a smaller suitcase as opposed to the larger size. The reason for this is two fold, 1) The bag is huge and I'd tend to fill it up making it very heavy and hard to handle. 2) We may be using Taxi's a bit to get around and European cars tend to be much smaller than American. The smaller bag should simplify getting around. My trip to San Diego and manipulating the airport was a good test run. I've forgotten people tend to not know where they are going or what they are doing and like everyone else a lot stressed. Smaller, simpler seems the way to go. The experience with my camera bag also clued me into the fact the my computer system was very exposed in the outside pocket. This may be better if I'm traveling in my own car but not at the airport. I did have some one trip over my bag at the airport. That was sort of a heart stopper for me but also clued me into the fact it is better to probably go lighter and have everything closer to my body. I have a few days to figure out what gear I really 'need' to take along with me. My mind tells me what I should take but my heart says take this too! I've done this before with just one camera and lens and got perfectly fine photos. I'm going to have to over rule the I wants to get down to the gear that will serve me well.
So I've gotten some money converted, and the bank account set up. I've just got to remember to call the company to let them know I'm going to be out of the USA and not to cancel my card. I've been getting some base clothes to wear. Lots of layers to put on. My decision to take a smaller bag will necessitate careful planning on my part as to what I take along. I really don't have lots of 'winter' clothes. We don't need them here in Phoenix. I've got a couple sweaters and they seem to hang in the closet for a long time between uses. This will change once we arrive at our destination. I'll probably wish I had more than I brought. There are flea markets to check into if I need anything else.
I don't seem to be getting all the things done on my list of things to do. It seems that I find that there is something else I need to do for the trip that takes priority, so trip wins out. Duh!!! Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to get everything there at the same time.
Til the next time.
Be well.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

ANGLICO Reunion November 8 2009

We've spent our days rehashing old stories and remembering tall tales. What's the difference between a Fairy tale and a war story? One of them starts off with "Once upon a time," the other starts off with "This ain't no B S." Of course true to form you never let a lie get in the way of a good war story.
It has been a good journey. We've broke bread together, we've drank together and we've shared our common bond and made it stronger. The time has come to honor those of the new breed and those of our group that now guard the streets of heaven. We've read their names and rung the memory bell in their honor.
Some of us now return to our families and others travel home with their families all are better for the experiences shared. Semper Fi.
If this link works it should take you to the photos I took at the reunion. If it doesn't then check out my Flickr site I go by fotografsbywrh. Use the people search tab not the search pictures tab to get to my site. I have also photos of ANGLICO in Vietnam in 1967.

Friday, November 6, 2009


The new kids on the block.

We toured the current ANGLICO digs at Camp Pendelton today. Seemed like a nice group of guys. It was an interesting day. Had a good time.

Here is the hotel we are staying at during our reunion.

Chow at the NCO mess.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Heading to Oceanside

Well everything is packed along with a few 'extras' just to see how heavy the Airporter Bag is and how well I do traveling with two rolling bags. This should be interesting as I'll be doing plenty of pushing/pulling these bags a lot fairly soon. The practice packing session has confirmed the fact that I don't want to have the HUGH suitcase on the trip. I'll just have to make do with what I can put in the medium bag and camera bag. Winter clothes take up lots of room so I'm trying to see what I can get away with in the bag. Along with the winter clothes I'm also taking a 'secondary' camera bag for my walking around photography. I may think about getting a cheapish tripod or renting whichever works out best.
Planning ahead I realize that what we take on the other trip will grow as we have to do some shopping for essentials goods while we are there.

Back to ANGLICO. I'm hoping to meet with some of my fellow unit members while attending this reunion. There are now three Corpsmen belonging to the group. I suppose we were always the minority. I was the only one with them when I was attached to them.

Til the next time. Semper Fi.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

ANGLICO reunion November 2009 Oceanside, Ca.

I'm going to attend a reunion of my unit that I served with in Vietnam. 1st ANGLICO sub1 2nd ROK Marines, Chung Young, Blue Dragon Brigade. Quang Ngai Provence RVN.
The meet up will be in Oceanside. Should be interesting to see if I remember any of the guys that attend. We'll be pretty close to the water so I hope to get a couple of good pictures while I'm there. This will be a trial run for my camera gear on the airplane and in the airport. I'll get to see how my air porter bag works along with my Crumpler 6 million dollar bag. That'll be in my suitcase so I'll find out how that works. I'm still debating if I should take my large tripod or not. I'm leaning towards yes. I want to see if I can fit it in my suitcase and if I can how do I have to pack it.
Stay tuned and find out.
Semper Fi
Fair winds and following seas.