All, Travel

Phoenix Arizona

Posted on 26 January 2015

Photo credit Iona Miller http://ionamiller.weebly.com/sedona-vortex.html

Photo credit Iona Miller http://ionamiller.weebly.com/sedona-vortex.html

Nothing like traveling someplace nice and warm during January. I actually had to turn on the AC in the rental car during the day. Phoenix is a beautiful city this time of year. Phoenix gets to feel like Spring for 9 months before summer when it turns into a furnace for 3 months. People always talk about how hot it gets in Phoenix but in reality it is incredibly pleasant for most of the year which doesn’t apply to a lot of places. My brother in law who consequently lives there said that when it is hot in Phoenix he wouldn’t know because he lives in 70 degree AC during that period. I would say that is pretty standard for most people who live in areas that get this hot but their good fortune is that it is only that hot for a short time and then the weather is amazing the rest of the year.

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All, Travel

Ogden Utah

Posted on 19 January 2015

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My peeps in Utah are going to think Utah is a regular stop for me. At this point it could be but generally the television broadcast industry doesn’t have a strong presence in the state. Thus far out 3 of 4 trips since being hired as a full time Field Engineer have been to Utah. Normally this isn’t the case. Had to do a set up for a Military installation in the general area. It was a great trip that included gourmet hot dogs, driving in a small but intense snowstorm (It has been about 3 years since my last snow driving experience), and a fairly intense security screening process to access my work site. It was a very quick but successful trip.

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All, Life, Travel

Avenue of the Giants and Redwood National Park, CA

Posted on 30 December 2014

 

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We finally made it. Our bucket list has included the Redwoods since its inception and our trip didn’t disappoint. The scale of things in this magical place makes it very easy to feel insignificant and small. I was blown away by the energy in this place. Everything here feels ancient and wise. We picked a pretty good time of year to visit as typically this is the rainy season and the tourists stay away. Be warned that a few of the trees are inaccessible during the off season due to seasonal bridges being removed but overall a great time to visit. Our only complaint was how early it got dark so we had to be on our toes to see what we wanted when we could. We enjoyed good weather and a very private viewing of most of the forest. There isn’t a moment that I can call a favorite as they all will hold a special place in my soul for a long time to come. 

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All, Travel

Salt Lake City

Posted on 19 December 2014

NightSkyline

Ironically Salt Lake City happened to be my first trip out since getting hired in my new position as a Field Engineer. I am from SL,UT originally so it didn’t feel much like a trip but more like a jaunt down memory lane as I drove the streets without a GPS knowing full well each and every turn I needed to make to reach my destinations before venturing out. I like how comfortable I feel back at home in SLC but revel a bit in the changes that have been made since I lived there. Fun to see new buildings and reconfigured intersections. Most of all fun to see familiar faces of people that I love. This was a short trip with really only 2 nights with just a couple of hours to spend doing anything unrelated to business so sorry if I didn’t catch you on this trip around. I was very busy with an installation for work at a prominent local broadcaster. Salt Lake City isn’t my first trip out with Telestream but this was the first trip since getting hired into a traveling position. I will be out on the road full time soon enough. Currently I have nothing further planned until I finish training my replacement for my old job The only official trip I know we will make is the trip out to Denver to find a place to make base camp for me and the Fam. The girls are overly excited to fly and Sadie and I are excited to start exploring the possibilities of where to lay down roots in the Rocky Mountain State.

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All, Life, Travel

New Job

Posted on 05 December 2014

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Heading off into the blue sky. I took a new travel position with my company. I will be moving to the Denver area as a base within the next couple of months and begin working from an airline seat. My company needs to find a suitable replacement for me here before I can truly begin but soon we will be moving. As many of you know I work in the Broadcast video industry. My current job is technical support of large scale enterprise video encoding systems for all the major networks. I am a tier 3 support tech and have loved my role working for Telestream. Most video that you see either on TV, as an ad, from a cable provider, on Netflix or on the web at some point touches our software in its many iterations as it travels from content creator to your device of choice for consumption. We don’t hit it all but pretty close to everything. My company Telestream is a major player. The tiny towns we live in currently (Grass Valley/Nevada City) is the silicon valley of Video. We are quietly nestled in the Sierras above Sacramento amongst the trees. This tiny little area is incredibly influential to the video industry. Companies such as AJA, Grass Valley Group, Miranda, NVision, Telestream and more are responsible for bringing you your daily dose of reality TV or your favorite sporting event. These companies set the standards for how content is processed and presented to the end user (You). Telestream is mostly software based and our products conform the files for all the major news networks to edit, help companies organize and deliver their bread and butter (advertisements), bring you the latest camera angle on sport of choice, and encode the movies and syndicated content to fit each broadcasters servers. We add captions, and volume level things so the commercials don’t blow out your ears. We provide the outputs for your in flight transportation, your favorite Olympic highlights and your in room entertainment in your hotel. There is a lot that happens behind the scenes that you may or may not take for granted when you sit on your couch each night to watch your favorite shows. It is bitter sweet for us to leave the beautiful Sierra and Nevada County California. We have made so many great friends and have truly loved living here but this opportunity was too good to pass up. My love of travel and the additional skills it will bring to me will give my career a nice boost and Denver is an awesome city the entire family is excited to explore. I will be out enough for regular adventure but home enough that my family won’t forget what I look like. I will be mostly servicing the Midwest but we are world wide company and I could end up just about anywhere. I will work with our customers in person (hope the tattoos and giant beard don’t intimidate too much). I am eager to explore some of these new places I will visit. You might notice a new little widget on my blog. It should integrate with my travel apps and give you some insight on where I am and how far I have gone so keep an eye out for it. Hope to start blogging a bit more along the way. Harder than you think to keep up.

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All, Outside, Travel

Great list of popular Hikes in Utah

Posted on 25 September 2014

Angels Landing, Zion National Park

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Obviously there are thousands of excellent hikes but this is a good list showing some of the bigger more well known hikes. I have been on all but two and I must say they are unforgettable.

http://www.newscastic.com/news/10-life-changing-utah-hiking-trails-2247121/

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All, Life

I Love the Tiny House Movement but Want a Super Sized Shop to Park My Tiny House Inside.

Posted on 03 September 2014

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First off this is not my garage but rather a photo I found that represents my dream workshop. Not to big but a nice selection of space and well organized tools to make pretty much anything I could want. When it comes to stuff what type of collector are you? My mom was always a saver. Borderline or maybe just over the border of obsessive, like maybe needing a bit of counseling type saver. When we moved her out of her home later in life and into my home, we really had to narrow down the possessions she owned. She had some very beautiful things and some things that should have been thrown out long ago. To her they were all very valuable and she had spent her entire life collecting these possessions that she cherished. She came from a very poor impoverished childhood. She never spoke much of the things she didn’t have but as I became an adult hearing her stories I realized she didn’t have much and what they did have was more or less community property amongst the entire family and it was hard to have much you called just yours. I think that is one of the reasons she hung onto her stuff so hard. As a child my parents ensured that I had as much of what I wanted as they could provide. They didn’t have a lot of money but tried their best to always make sure I had things that made my life better and easier.

Fast forward to my teen years. I always wanted a big house full of stuff. I would dream about every gadget and gizmo I wanted in my possession but as time went on I realized that most of what I wanted was really just weighing me down. My wife and I began to really clean house and narrowed down our possessions to about a third of what they were before that and to be honest it was a very freeing feeling. It has now been several years and baring a small handful of items I got rid of, it is actually hard for me to remember what I had previously, unless I think about it for a while. Whenever I go to purchase something big I think about the next time I will be moving and how badly I still want to own that item. So here is my ultimate dilemma. I love the minimalist approach where you only really keep items that really mean something to you, serve a immediate useful purpose, or a small number of things that are just aesthetically pleasing and make me happy. The end of this minimalist approach happens when I enter my workshop.

I don’t have a lot of clutter in the garage. I only have a couple of small boxes that store things I am keeping just to keep them. I do however love my tools. I have been amassing quite the stockpile of power tools and some of them take up quite the space. Various equipment like a band saw and table saw, I have my metal chop saw, drill press, bench grinder, and 10 different types and sizes of hammer. I have a tool box that takes 2 strong people to lift and a rather large collection of raw steel to use in various projects yet to be dreamed up. So where is the balance? I love the tiny house movement but want a super sized shop to park my tiny house inside. I love the freedom of not being tied to a bunch of stuff but which stuff is most important to keep? I guess the answer is keep what is valuable to you and ditch the rest. If there is something that is valuable but doesn’t hold a purpose in your life get rid of it to someone who will appreciate it. Sell it and make a few bucks. Give it to family or just throw it out. Just because it is valuable doesn’t mean it has value to you. I have been thinking a lot of what items have value to me. What items I really need vs. what I already have vs. what I still want and how much value each item holds for me. I encourage you to do the same. Don’t live for your stuff but surround yourself with things that give you enjoyment and purpose. and above all remember that life isn’t about anything other than the people you love and the experiences you have. You may take a better photograph with a more expensive camera but in the end the content of the picture is more important that the quality of the picture. In the end your stuff is just stuff but your memories will last forever. I am working on heeding my own words here. I am not perfect but I find the less is more approach to be awfully satisfying…. except for tools….when it comes to tools I follow the he who dies with the most tools maybe one day in the afterlife, get a chance to use said specialized, only one function, tool to build some really cool shit. I joked today about a guy who owned a trailer house with a broken furnace but had a huge shop with a heated floor. Not too far off my point here. I really want a huge shop with a heated floor and might be willing to give up my bedroom for it.

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Transportation

4wd

Posted on 28 July 2014

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Subaru XV CrossTrek

Posted on 29 May 2014

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Bring on the Subaru…. No, I didn’t get rid of my truck. A man needs his 4×4. We did however replace my wife’s POS VW passat with something a bit more….our style. When we first bought the Passat I felt like I had purchased my first grown up car. It had so many wonderful features and was refined and comfortable. What I learned is that all those little features cause big headaches and expensive repairs, not just down the road but constantly. I also learned that I really value the utility of a car not necessarily the refinement. I don’t really need a burl-wood dash. The climate control drove me crazy as I heard it constantly switching modes as I drove down the road trying to keep my non-existent passenger as comfortable as I. The electric 6 way adjustable seats were nice but not needed. How hard is it to pull the lever up and scoot? How often do people adjust their seat after the first time anyway? The buttons fell off the radio randomly and were never to be found again and cost like 20 bucks to replace and we had put a lot of money into repairs in the short time we had the car. Lastly the need for premium fuel and the 6.5 quart oil changes just pushed me too far. My truck doesn’t even take as much oil as that car. Every fluid is special from the dealer and even oil filters weren’t available except through the dealer or the internet. VW feels like a quality product but in reality it was just a big money pit that we started to find rather untrustworthy. I hate to say it but I think my German car days are over. I once had someone tell me my yard looked like a German redneck lived there based on all the VW Van projects I had going.

I don’t mean to make people mad but in my humble opinion, Japanese cars are just built better. I have owned my share of German cars, American cars, and Japanese cars over the years and the Japanese cars just run. You change the oil, the tires, the brakes, and maybe a battery and they just keep running. We decided the XV CrossTrek from Subaru fit our needs perfectly. Capable enough to handle the rough roads we occasionally drive with awesome gas mileage (33 MPG) Highway and an excellent safety rating to boot. I also like that the car has enough refinement to be comfortable yet not all the unnecessary gadgets that always brake. And lets face it Subaru caters to active people who need their cars to do more that just drive on the freeway. I drove a rental car for work the other day (American Muscle with a slight Italian accent) that had rear heated seats, a heated steering wheel, and a button you could push (through a menu of course in the console) that made all the head rests in the rear sets fold flat. Is that really needed? I did enjoy not needing to insert the key to make the car run but really is that really more than a gimmick? The modern day 4×4 is pretty much a dying breed here in the US. Replaced by Cross Over SUV vehicles that have zero capability offroad and 27 cup holders in just the back seat alone. The cross part leans more toward the mini van market than a 4×4. What this country needs in my opinion is to bring some of the Diesel utility 4×4 vehicles available everywhere else except the US and revive the dying market. Something like the 70 series land-cruisers would be awesome. How come everyone else gets the fun toys. It really can’t be that there aren’t enough people who want this type of vehicle.

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All, Transportation, Travel

Glamping

Posted on 08 March 2014

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Next time you go camping think about the costs associated with all the gear you bring along with you. What kind of experience are you looking to have in your travels. Which photo above appeals more to you I guess? You don’t have to answer me obviously and if you like the parking lot I won’t hold it against you. but I wanted to share my perspective.

I have been watching the videos at www.xoverland.com over the last couple of months. The crew at X Overland have taken a couple of trucks and a military grade trailer and built them up for long distance travel. They wanted to have a mix of on and off highway roads and to bring a few comforts along the way to make the trip more enjoyable. In addition they happen to bring a film crew and needed a bit of additional space for all the equipment needed for professional quality video production. The did a great job of capturing the essence of “Overlanding” along the way. The episodes that have posted on YouTube and their own site have been fun to watch and motivating for those of us stuck at home that can’t get out and take the road to Prudhoe Bay from Seattle… at least yet. I won’t lie it is on my bucket list near the very top.

Watching their videos got me thinking about the different types of campers that I know. There are the Hard Core ultra light backpackers all the way to the we need to bring everything we own with us including a garage space to hold all the toys RVers. Obviously there is a wide range in-between as well. I myself like the vehicle based travel. There is something to be said for a comfy bed, some shelter when it is stormy, and a semblance of a rough kitchen. I don’t mind a tent but prefer a bit fancier bed such as a roof top tent or a converted van but I like being flexible enough to drive some moderately rough roads and the solitude of an unofficial camp spot. There are trade offs and limitations as to where you can go once you decide to bring a bigger rig. Camp grounds can be fun at times but mostly are full of people sitting inside their RV running the AC (and generator) all day watching movies. RV parks are akin to Dante’s vision of the afterlife for me. I am not sure I understand the allure of traveling long distance to stop in a parking lots watching TV which you could do at home. There are times when long distance travel is fun in an RV but mostly the places I want to go don’t include pavement the entire way and the bigger the rig you have the more work travel is and the less flexibility you can have along the way. Even stopping for gas becomes an enormous chore. With that said I guess you need to understand that all the stuff with you ends up determining what experience you have. If you want to be close to nature the best way is the Ultra Light Backpack and your feet. The more stuff you bring the less “fun” experience you get and the more time it seems to me that you spend your free time organizing and dealing with your gear. RV’s are nice but do you really need hardwood floors, Granite counter tops, and glass chandeliers? So often I see the giant RV pulling a jeep down the road as a toy that is the vehicle you really want to do when you get there anyway. Think of all the money you spent on the RV and how many trips you could have taken in the jeep without it. I have even spotted jeeps with jeep trailers being taken on another trailer pulled by the motor home. It just doesn’t make to much sense to me. A small camper or trailer is one thing but big screen TV’s and washer/Dryer combos seem to be beyond what I would consider traveling. If you live in it full time that is one thing. Even then I don’t see a need for all the space unless you are taking your family with you. Taking it out on the weekend is extreme no matter how you look at it and just shows how much excess we live in here in the US. Just my Rant. In my experience the most seasoned travelers in the group most often have the least amount of truck to bring along with them.

rv with hummer

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