Monday, March 28, 2011

Vulture Mine, Wickenburg Arizona

Vulture mine is an interesting place to visit for a day walk. I’ve been there several times and each time I find something that I didn’t notice before. I’ve heard that the mine head has fallen now.

As a photo enthusiast I tend to get to the mine area early in the morning and wait for the gate to open.

There are lots of old buildings to visit. Most people just visit the mine but there are some other buildings like the school house that are on the road just where you turn into the main mine area. Be sure to check these buildings out also. Most of the mine you have to walk to and it is pretty spread out. The road is dirt and there are some hills but there are paths to walk along. Wear a hat and bring lots of water. I typically take two liters of water along with me.

I tend to go to Vulture mine in the autumn or spring mostly because of the heat. I tend to carry quite a bit of camera gear when I visit. I still shoot film so I have a 4x5 field camera that I take along with my digital camera. I sometimes take Speedlites and light stands along also. Some of those buildings can be rather dark. I also take a folding reflector which works well if there is someone with you to manage it for you.

If you drive past the mine entrance about a mile or so you’ll find the cemetery. It is also an interesting visit just because it is there. Many of the graves are outlined but not marked.

These are old buildings and it is a mine so there is some inherent danger but if you pay attention to where you are there really isn’t a problem. This is also a desert area so there are some critters around if you wander off of the main path. My favorite places to visit are the Assay Office, the Bunkhouse Kitchen and the Power plant. There is a blacksmith shop under the mine head but since the mine head has fallen I don’t know if you are able to go up there anymore.

Friday, March 25, 2011

New Technologies changing travel methods

This is me making a few remarks about what I see will be happening in the next few months or years as technology advances make our lives theoretically easier. I'm a technology guy. I like it and when I can't get connected I feel like I'm a bit lost even though I know I'm not.

Today's technology is changing how we will travel in the future. Back in the old days of non Smart phone technology travel was a bit different. It usually meant that we standard equipment for traveling included travelers cheques, pocket dictionary or phrase book and maps.

Much of that is now available on our Smart phone or pad. Soon it will be possible to do almost anything with Smart Phones. It is an emerging technology and is having some teething problems but it is growing.

Several years ago I had a cell phone that I left in my lunch box all the time. I used it to make calls only when I needed to make a call. Today I have a Smart Phone and an iPod Slide and between the two I don't know how got along without them before. I know several free hot spots where I can go and get internet access. I get a little irritated when I have a hotel with no free internet access in my room.

Think technology doesn't influence changes in different industries? You realize it is now possible to use Skype on most smart phones. That free long distance calling with a live view of the person you are talking to is great. The phone company was smart enough to know that people were waiting to use their computer to 'talk' on the internet so why pay that international fee when you can get it for free?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

ANGLICO Sub Unit One

To those of you that have been searching for ANGLICO info I've decided to post this link to my photos of 1st ANGLICO Sub Unit One. I took these photos from May to October 1967 while serving with Brigade HQ Sub Unit One, 2nd ROK Marines, Blue Dragon Brigade, Quang Ngai Provence RVN.
Hopefully the link will take you to those photos I have posted.  I removed the photos on flickr due to some personal reasons.  I attended also a reunion of ANGLICO in Oceanside Cal in 2008 and I took photos at that reunion. I have photos of pretty much everyone that attended. I have also photos of the then 1st ANGLICO members the day before they deployed in 2008. Those photos are in a different set in my photostream. If you are familiar with flickr I have photos posted under the name of fotografsbywrh.
If you have any info about who is in each photo then that info would be much appreciated.

My Camera Kit

Here is my walk around camera kit. I've developed this kit over a couple of years and past experiences. The kit consists of a belt pouch with two compartments. In one compartment I have my camera and the other I have a small table top tripod and a cheap make up mirror.

In my travels I have found the need for a tripod in those low light situations. I'm fond of churches and old buildings. I put the camera on the tripod and then place the tripod over the back of a church bench and using the two second delay timer I take the photo.

I carry the small makeup mirror because there are times I put the camera in a position where I can't see the screen to compose my shot so I use the makeup mirror to 'see' what I'm focusing on.

Typically I carry the Lumix DMC-ZS7 as it is equipped with a GPS that I find useful when I'm out looking around. If I find something interesting I take a photo of it and then I know where I took the photo. This is really helpful when I want to bring my d-SLR and do a more extensive series of photos. I have two pieces of information that I will help me return to the scene of the photo. I sometimes need help remembering why I want to go back to a place the photo helps me remember and the GPS coordinates help me get back using my car's GPS.

I use the Canon when I know where I'm going and have an idea of what I am going to be taking photos of. I'm a Canon user and I've had the Canon for several years. It travels well and it is smaller than the Lumix so it fits in my pocket.

Both cameras have the capability to shoot video and I'm a big fan of sound bites as I travel. I figure that the 4 gig card in my P&S can stand several minutes of getting the sound of where I've been.

Camera Gear Selection

Here is a little hind sight tip I have to share.

I'm a photo enthusiast and sometimes I over think how I want to capture photos while on vacation. I know that there are some of you that don't have the gear I do so it isn't a matter of choice, but before you go out and buy that really expensive lens to get your vacation photos think about what you will do with that lens after your vacation. Is it going to just sit around and not be used? If you don't take lots of photos then you probably don't need expensive glass. You will need good glass yes but don't break your trip budget by buying that $1800 lens.

My thoughts now are that I had a really good lens and I debated about taking it with me or leaving it home. In the end I left it at home in favor of a more pro glass. I also 'limited' myself to three lenses. I forgot that I wasn't on location and I probably more than likely won't do anything with the photos I took. I think I got to wrapped up in good glass and better glass. The lens I left at home was a perfectly good lens and it would have worked wonderfully in most situations I found myself in.

So if you are planning that once in a lifetime trip and want to bring back good photos and only have a kit lens for your DSLR then by all means upgrade to something more versatile. I have an 18-250 lens, this is the one I left at home.

I carried a backpack full of heavy camera gear and my laptop. So when we 'moved' from place to place I had to make sure that my backpack was someplace very close to me. I didn't take the backpack everywhere I went so that meant I left my camera gear in the hotel room from time to time and worried about it the whole time I was away.

If you have a good point and shoot camera then if you are with your family than this will do a good job for preserving your vacation memories.

If you think you need that 'great' lens for your vacation because all you have is the kit lens that came with the camera just remember in the past people took wonderful photos on vacation with brownie cameras. That expensive 35mm camera probably only had a 50mm lens on it and everybody was happy with the results.

If you want to upgrade then by all means you should. Good glass is heavy so be prepared to carry more weight.

Just remember the worst photo ever is the one not taken.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Photos from the London Eye

My sister and I had a few hours in London and I wanted to visit the London Eye and take some photos. Not knowing what to expect when we got there I packed most of my camera gear into my pack and we headed out.

This is a prime example of what I call “You get what you get.” There are some things that probably come only once in your life and your time there is what it is. I ended up with some very good conditions for me. We paid to get to the front of the line at the Eye and when we got on the car there were only my sister and I and a family of four in the whole car. I’m pretty sure that had there been twenty or more people in the car I wouldn’t have been able to get the photos I did. At the time I was taking the pictures I didn’t think the conditions were all that great but I ended up taking a couple photos that were in the top list of what I liked during our vacation.

I was able to move around the car and change lenses frequently without worrying much about contamination. The views are incredible. I was very happy to have been able to have had the experience.

I don't know what this building is but I thought it interesting.

Views from a tour bus London

Thanks to my travel agent had a layover in London. I figured I may as well try to make the best of it as I don’t know if or when I may get back to London.

We took a Big Bus Tour bus from Piccadilly Circus tube station. The bus tour starts near the Ritz Hotel across the street from the station. As it was my intention to go to the London Eye and this tour stops there it was a good fit for me. This was one of those times when we were short of time and local knowledge so the bus fit our needs which were to get us to the London Eye and back to Piccadilly Circus Tube Station.

I will say that we weren’t aware of the time and distance so that added to our shortage of time. Our hotel was just outside of Heathrow Airport and the airport itself is quite large. We rode the bus for nearly half hour straight before leaving the airport proper and our hotel was just across the street from it.

We asked at the hotel how to get to London and were advised that we could take a free bus back to the airport and then pick up the tube to London. So there was nearly an hour of time wasted waiting for the bus and then riding back to the airport. Here’s the weird thing though we had to buy a bus ticket back to the hotel when we came back. Just an aside we didn’t plan on. So we rode the bus to the airport and then rode the tube to Piccadilly Circus Tube Station where we went out and located the tour bus stand. You purchase your tickets from people outside on the sidewalk. The tickets are good for 48 hours.

The tour Busses leave on a regular schedule so we had a bit of a wait until the bus was ready to depart. The bus tour has several tour buses going at one time and they are differentiated by colours, just make sure that you get on the same colour bus that you were on so you can continue on the same tour. If you change colour bus then it will be going a different direction that the other colour. You may get on and off the bus as often as you wish. There is a little catch in the afternoon in that after a certain time period you can get off the bus but you can’t get back on. This little bit of info sort of put us in a bad place time wise.

I’d say that the tour bus guide was pretty knowledgeable about the sights on the tour but between looking up and down streets for buildings and passing other tall vehicles it was difficult to actually see more than just micro glimpses of some of the sights. I have never been in London or Great Britain before it really didn’t matter all that much to me. Just being there and seeing some of the ‘famous’ historic sites was incredible enough.

I learned, from the tour guide, that circus is derived from the Latin word meaning circle so that was my you learn something every day goal.

The tour was interesting like I said. However the fact that I was totally disoriented and in a strange place trying to be a tourist and take photos from a moving bus is sort of challenging, to say the least. Would I do the bus tour again? The answer is a simple yes. I think this is the best way to pick out places that you are interested in seeing and if you have time then go back to them at your leisure.

Big Bus Tour’s web site for London

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Gästehaus Prien Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Gästehaus Prien Klingenschütt 6 91541 Rothenburg
Tel. (0 98 61) 49 48
<-Street level view of house with Garage on the right and the well.
Here is a view of the house from the wall ->

<-this is the layout of the apartment. Kitchen and bed room on the right. The bathroom in the center and a living room and second bedroom on the left.

The photo right is the kitchen area bed room. There is a balcony on the left and the kitchen is on the right a slight step up from the bedroom floor.

<-This is the living room with the bed room through the arched door. Here is also the T.V.  There is a beautiful view of Klingenturm from the window of this apartment.

The photo on the right is of the entry hall with the garden door on the right. There is a laundry room under the stairs.

The land lords are very nice people. They offered us many things to do and see in the area. They also offered to pick us up from the train station and we took them up when they offered to take us to the station. The Eggler's live outside of old town but can be at the apartment in about ten or fifteen minutes.
My sister and I had a wonderful time during our stay here. The house isn't far from any of the attractions in town. There are some very nice bakeries close by. The house is about 100 meters from Klingentor and is between St. Jakob's church and Wolfgangs church. You can see St. Jakob's church from the kitchen bed room window.
If you get the opportunity this is a good place to stay for a week or two. If you are driving there is also a garage that comes with the apartment with an additional fee.

London Eye over the Thames

Here is a little sound bite I took when I had the opportunity to ride on the London Eye. We were there the end of November 2009 and while there was a bit of a line there we chose to pay the 'extra' fee and get ahead of the line. Our time was limited and the extra money wasn't a big deal. We managed to walk up and just got on a car right away. We shared the car with a family of four so it was a nice ride as we seemed to be in sync with what we wanted to see and managed to be out of each others way.

Should everyone pay the extra fee? I think that would be up to you. The trade off for me was that we had more time to check out the area. We picked up a Big Bus Tour which took us on a well informed tour. We picked up our bus just outside of Piccadilly Circus train station so it was an easy off and easy on for us also.

When you travel you may or may not return to where you are visiting. This is a prime example of you get what you get. I spent quite a bit of time with my cameras and lenses taking lots of photos while on the ride. I'm pretty sure this was my only visit to the Eye and I wanted to make the most of it. I was thinking that the weather conditions were miserable and yet I did manage to get one of my better photos of our three month trip while on this ride.

Reichsstadtmuseum Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg is one of the most visited towns in Germany along the romantic road. Many people visit for a couple hours on bus tours. It is possible to get a sense of the town in a couple hours. It is small and it is possible to cover most of the points of interest in a few minutes. Many people get off the tour bus and head straight for the gift shops. Rothenburg is a town that lives on the tourist trade and there seems to be a mix of everything you could want to be found along the main drag to the town square. You can find food, clothes, wood carvings, art work, wines and just about anything you can imagine. And within that mix are many hotels so you can stay a few days if you choose.

I stayed three weeks in Rothenburg and spent many pleasant days, even in the worst winter in decades, walking around the town. The old town holds five churches and five museums.

The Reichsstadtmuseum just a couple of blocks away from the town square has a lot of very interesting history artifacts about the town of Rothenburg and surrounding area. The museum is not on the main drag but if you have the time it is a place that should be visited. To get there from the market square, with the Court House, Rathaus on your left side facing the clock there is an opening between the buildings that you walk through bear a little left then through the parking lot. St Jakobs church will be right in front of you. When you get to the street turn left and follow that street to the end of the church and then turn right. You’ll walk under the church as it forms an arch over the roadway. Walk two blocks and then turn again left past the houses and you’ll find yourself in a large parking lot on the right is the museum and the main entrance.

The museum at one time was a convent there are some well preserved rooms to indicate how the nuns lived at that time.

This is a self guided tour and you can go at your own pace. If you are time limited use the self guide to go directly to what interests you most. The museum houses a wide variety of different themes from weapons, suits of armor, furniture and couple of rooms that are pretty much the same as when the nuns used them. The most popular of these rooms is the kitchen.

Be sure to look out the windows as you walk around inside some of the views of the town are rather nice.

I visited the museum in the winter and had to keep my jacket on while I toured. This seems to be the common practices as far as museums go. I’m pretty sure the cost of heating these large buildings can really dig into the operating expenses so just be forewarned.

If you wish to take photos you will be charged extra for the privilege and asked to sign a form that states you won’t use your photos commercially. You will be given a small camera like patch to wear as you walk around. There are several people walking around making sure that you have permission to photograph inside as well as several video cameras to observe many of the rooms.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Stachus, Karlsplatz

In central München there is a pedestrian zone that goes between Stachus and Marienplatz the distance between both is perhaps less than half a kilometer. Between the two are all kinds of shops and kiosks that will provide you with any kind of souvenir that you may wish. In the past several years the shops are changing along this pedestrian zone. This is a stop for the S-Bahn and Marienplatz is the next stop along the train route.
If you were to be here then to the extreme right of this arch is one of the nicest toy stores in München certainly one of the largest. Coming left from the toy store is Hugendubel book store. If you are interested in any kind of books in many different languages then you should check out this book store. There is another Hugendubel store in Marienplatz also.
There is a game stop in the left side of the arch, but the leather shop was having a going out of business sale in Feb 2010.
You will find many young people hanging out here all year long as this is the place of a McDonald's shop. So you can order your Groß Mac, mit pommes und Kase und ein Pils.

This pedestrian zone has also several museums and churches. St. Michaels which is perhaps four hundred meters down on the left is the burial place of Ludwig II the builder of Neuschwanstein castle. There are also several famous fountains along this walkway.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Swansea, Arizona

The Mining Town of Swansea in La Paz County Arizona can be reached by car. Just be aware once you get off of the main highway you’ll find the roads are maintained gravel roads for several miles before you reach the Swansea. Parker and Bouse Arizona are good starting places. Parker has more overnight facilities if you plan to visit the area for a couple days. Just keep in mind that Parker is on the Colorado River and during the summer this is a getaway destination point for people in the desert to cool off. You don’t need a 4 wheel drive or high clearance vehicle to get to Swansea anymore. One of the things that helped in the preservation of Swansea was that access to the remains required a 4 wheel drive vehicle.

The last time I was there the buildings in Swansea were being partially restored. I think in some places this was more of a brace to keep what is left of the structure up than actually repairing it.

Located within the park area are several signs and maps that will direct you to the major areas of the town. When we visited we stayed pretty much on the main trails because of the danger of falling into a mine shaft.

The area is pretty remote and it is wise to bring of water and snacks with you as you look around. Be aware in the summer there are critters out there so be on the lookout for them as well.

We spent a day just cruising around different parts of Swansea. The remains of Swansea are pretty spread out. While it is possible to walk from one area to another it does take a bit of walking to reach the different areas. In the summer I’d recommend using your car to travel between sights.

The town of Parker is close by and because of the Colorado River in the summer time there are a lot of people that visit the area for recreation. Alamo Lake is also in proximity.

Patton trained his army troops in the area so there is a small area with a memorial dedicated to the troops with static vehicle displays along the highway near Bouse.,_Arizona

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Alternative Trip Planing

I’ve traveled some in my life. I’ve developed how I travel through my experiences while traveling. I am an avid amateur photographer so I tend to look at things a bit differently when traveling. While my family is sleeping I’m out taking photos and exploring where we are. I’ve come to find that I find little gems of places that I can share with my family later when they get up.

I tend to now travel then same when I’m by myself. I get to a place and head out to take photos. If I see something along the way I stop and check it out. I could be walking or driving it doesn’t matter. When I see something I stop and check it out.

This is my travel method now. I sort of plan things and then let my curiosity guide where I end up during the day. I’ve met some wonderful people and I’ve collected some great memories and photographs by traveling this way.

I’ve had some very good success with this method of travel. I’ve also had some not so good success with this method but the good thing about traveling this way is that if I don’t like where I am I can leave any time I choose.

In previous posts I’ve advised you make tons of plans about your trip and this may seem like a contradiction. I’ve also advised against any undue stress and slowing down to enjoy where you are. Remember that you are on vacation to have fun and relax. If you’ve planned your trip and know what things are in the area you don’t need to schedule a time and date to get there aside from it being within the time frame that you are there.

In Germany you can take bus tours that will pick you up from your hotel and bring you back to your hotel. Are the trips expensive? It sort of depends on how you look at the whole trip. Usually when you are on a bus tour then there is a tour guide that will tell you what you are traveling past. This probably is something you didn’t know before so it is good. Plus you don’t have to worry about driving, parking or worrying about getting lost. All you have to do is get on and off the bus.

I like mixing up walking and bus tours while on vacation. Some bus tours can be a little fast paced but overall they tend to take you to a couple of places in one day that you may not have visited if you were on your own.

I think if you plan to visit a place and want to experience that place then you have to spend some time in that place. Meaning you just can’t drive through it. If you are traveling with your family then quality time is far better than quantity time.

If you are traveling with your family then remember kids get bored easily. There are some very wonderful toy stores in München. There is also a toy museum.

So take the time. If you see something that interests you then take the time to check it out. You never know you may discover that some of your priceless memories may come from taking a little side venture.

Think of your plans as sort of a guideline but be prepared to do a modification to them. You can always make another plan to return.

Glockenspiel Marienplatz, München, Bayern

If you've never been to München and seen the Glockenspiel then here is a little sound bite of it. This plays every day at eleven and in the summer it plays twice for the tourists. The figures are life sized and the music plays for several minutes as it depicts a play. The dancers dance and the knights joust, Bayern Knight wins naturally. This was destroyed during the war and rebuilt.
This is in the New Court House, the white building to your right is the old court house and has a toy museum. If you wish to go to the Hofbrauhaus then walk past that building and turn left go one block then turn right then one block turn left again the Hofbrauhaus is one block away on the right and the Hard Rock Cafe is on the left. If you follow this route you will realize that I've taken you through the gift shop alley as I call it. You can find almost any souvenir you wish in this alley especially if you like soccer. Both the major teams have shops in this stretch of road.
I find that using Marienplatz is a good starting point for seeing the sights in München. If you are again facing the Glockenspiel then looking to your right again you'll see that the pedestrian zone ends. You'll see the Deutsche Bank across the street on the corner. If you walk to that corner and turn right you'll see Alte Peter on your left just across the street. You can climb the tower for a small fee and have a very good view of the München skyline. The church itself is beautiful inside. Walking towards Alte Peter from Marienplatz you can use the alley on either side of the church and you'll end up in the Victuallen Market. If you have an interest in food and trying out just about anything food wise this is the place to visit.
The one thing about using Marienplatz to start your walking tour is that the S-Bahn stops here so it is an ideal place to start and finish your daily walking tour.

Friday, March 11, 2011

St. Jakob's Church Woodcarvings

This post is about the woodcarvings in St. Jakob's Church in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. They are the work of Tilman Reimenschneider or his students. Most of the carvings were done in the late 1490 through the early 1500's.

This is the Twelve Apostle Altar. The figures on this alter are life size and carved out of Linden wood. The back side of the altar has paintings depicting the life of Christ and the Apostles. There is a painting of the Old Court house done in 1598 before it was burned down. It is the only know painting of Rothenburg from that time frame.

Altar of St Louis of Toulouse

The sculpture is a work by Tilman Reimenschneider.

St. Louis of Toulouse 1274-1297 was

a Franciscan monk and archbishop of Toulouse.

He died at 23 years of age. He was canonized in 1317. The carving shows him as an old man. Louis did much good in his life and it was thought that people wouldn’t believe that such a young man could not have possibly done so much good so he is portrayed as an old man. He was a crown prince but decided he wanted to be a priest instead. His father intervened on his behalf and he was made an archbishop.

This is the Holy Blood alter. It was begun in 1498 and finished in 1502. The central figure is Judas. He can be removed and then the wings of the altar can be closed. The crucifix at the top is believed to contain the blood of Christ. This is not the main alter of the church. This chapel was built to house this carving. To accomplish this the addition was built over the existing road. This is the only church in Germany with a street running though it.

This altar is called the Mary Altar and it portrays the death of Mary. I t is believed that one of Tilman's students carved this altar. The figures in this altar are not life sized. The altar ser ves as the Votive Kapella in this church.

This is called the Christmas Boat and is carved out of Ebony wood. This church is connected with Tanzania and this carving was made to show appreciation of what has been done for the people there.

Superior, Arizona

Superior Arizona was a copper mining town. The trip from Phoenix is about 74 miles and about a two hour drive.
Superior is a town that is refusing to give up. It was once a prosperous town and now that the mine is closed large parts of the town are basically in ruin. That being said it is an older town and some of the buildings have some great architectural work on them. The mine itself is fenced off and is difficult to get any good details from it.
This is a good place to go and take photos of once magnificent buildings. The town and surrounding area has some great textures. There is a museum on US-60 the main road through town. There is also a public park with a mining theme. Take AZ-177 exit then turn left onto N. Ray Rd then on to N. Magma Ave to get to the center of town. The past grandness of town can be observed with a little imagination. The once grand Magma Hotel collapsed and was in the process of being torn down when I visited.
This is not a place to race through. In my theme of slowing down you should take your time and look in windows and check out the buildings. There is still evidence of the old method of advertizing by painting on the sides of some of the buildings.
The drive to Superior and just beyond is really interesting. The road is cut in the rock formation so sometimes you are driving in high rock valleys. This area is also dotted with smaller abandoned towns of the couple buildings and a gas station variety. For me and my imagination it is both exciting and sad to visit places like Superior that were once thriving communities.
I would say that if you have the time then a visit for a couple hours is well worth the visit.
If you are a photography buff as am I then time your visit to get there either at sunrise or sunset. I was there during a winter storm and there was rain and flooding. Remember if you are a tourist and you are going to visit Superior, Arizona only once then if you are taking photos you get what you get. Don’t be discouraged if you didn’t make that sellable photo. You have collected memories that are yours alone others may be similar but they are not yours.
This trip and any trip you plan in Arizona make sure that you bring plenty of water. It would be wise on your part to also include sun screen and lip balm in a travel kit. I sometimes forget to bring water. Arizona is a desert and while it offers many beautiful scenes and landscapes it can be inhospitable particularly in the summer. Also the weather here can be a bit extreme. It isn’t uncommon to use both the heater and the air conditioner in the same day.

Arizona Travel Kit

Arizona is a desert and while it offers many beautiful scenes and landscapes it can be inhospitable particularly in the summer months.  Remember too that even in November it can reach temperatures in the high 90's F so while not technically summer the temperatures can be summer like for other places of the world.

We would like you to enjoy your trip to Arizona and be able to return again. Any trip you plan for Arizona make sure that you bring plenty of water. I'm not talking bringing one of those half liter bottles for an entire family. What you'll need here is gallons of water. You'll need to stay hydrated. You don't want to get thirsty because then you are already dehydrated. If you are not use to this type of climate then be aware that in the summer you can sweat lots of water out.

I recommend that if you plan a visit to Arizona even if you just plan on driving you make up a kit, a being prepared kit.
A very basic kit should include:
a large floppy hat and sun glasses
1 liter of water per person minimum more is much better. Keep some additional water in your car
sun screen
lip balm 
a compass or some kind of GPS device
emergency blanket one of those Mylar reflective types. They are cheap and offer protection against the sun and rain if needed.
whistle it is easier to blow on a whistle then yell all day long.  A whistle is easier to hear.

I prefer to keep my water cool. Some people like to freeze water in the bottle then carry it and that can be helpful. Just be careful when you get hot and drink really cold water as this can lead to severe stomach cramps. The cramps won't last very long but they are uncomfortable.

Remember too that caffeine products, coffee and soda won't rehydrate you as well as water so try to refrain from drinking them before or while hiking.

Be aware of your surroundings. Before you leave your vehicle look for easy to find landmarks. Try and be safe so you can come back again and again.

Don't expect your smart phone to work everywhere especially if you start getting off the beaten track.
Be well take care

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Email and Phone remain in contact hints

I'm the kind of person that feels lost when I don't have an internet or phone connection to my people at home. I travel with a computer always even if I'm gone for a weekend. I could probably not bring it but I like being able to do my photography stuff when I travel and having the computer just makes it easy. The first time I tried to email home when I was on the road I got error messages about my outgoing mail. It seems that my outgoing mail couldn't find the server so I got error messages. Lucky for me I had an already established gmail account so I was able to cut and paste my letters into that account and continue with my 'regular' email contact. There was some frustration with the getting contact addresses between accounts but those that I contacted on a regular basis were simple enough to email.
So before you leave on your vacation check to see that you have established an email account that can send and receive mail from anywhere in the world. When I was in Europe for several months I used Skype to phone home. You'll have to be aware of the time differences. For me that was nine hours difference. I could call before my wife left for work and I was getting ready to go to bed.
I also used my phone to send text messages from time to time when I didn't have internet access. You should check with your phone provider to see if you have coverage where you are traveling if you are traveling internationally. It is also a good idea to turn off your phone when you travel even if you are only going a few miles away. Your phone will constantly search for the nearest server so it will wear your battery down rather quickly. Turn your phone on when you need to use it then turn it back off.
Since I've returned I've gotten an iPod slide and now all of my contact info is on there so I don't really have to switch back and forth between contact info. I've also gotten a smart phone and that also has all my contact info in it as well.
I think as the new wireless pads become more popular then there will be more of their use for staying in touch with family and friends while on vacation or whenever you are away. Then again those 4G pads still require a phone connection so if your phone provider doesn't have service where you are traveling then you'll still be out of touch.
Hope this helps.
Take care and take time to enjoy your traveling.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Travel Pace

Here’s a short travel tip. I’m into trying to get people to change their mind about how they travel. I sometimes forget myself to slow down and enjoy where I am.

I think most of the time after we’ve visited some tourist place we look back and say “I wish I would have had more time to spend there.” That is the deal as a tourist we are supposed to be having fun. Somehow in all the wanting to see everything we manage to lose sight of that simple fact. We get back to the motel and we’re exhausted from all the running around and for a little while we dread the next day. Let your curiosity be your guide. If you feel you want to explore more then do it. If you don’t make it to all the places on your list this time put those places you missed on a new list for next time. The reward will be that you won’t have that little nagging voice in the back of your mind that little “What if?”

The thing is we’ve made time to go on vacation. We typically don’t make time while we are on vacation to enjoy it. I’ve caught myself going on a photography trip I’ve planned and I get so fixated on where I plan to take pictures I forget that there are places in between where I can take pictures too. If I have limited time then yes I’ll force myself to pass up some opportunities along the way. I try to plan several extra days travel if I can. This will give me the time to stop when I see something interesting instead of passing it by. I do have a camera with a built in GPS now so if I know I don’t have time I can take a photo of what I saw was interesting and I will have the grid coordinates to come back on a different planned trip.

The sooner I get myself into photographer mode, as I call it, then the better my trip turns out and when I get to my main photo site then I’m well into the photographer mode and my photos are better.

Try to do those things that you know you enjoy. Learn to take the time to go look at something that caught your eye. There is a big difference between glancing at something interesting and looking at the same thing.

Learn to take time to make time.