Hey, good to see you! Glad you could make it. Before you join us on this summer's trip, though, there are probably a few things you should know about these pages. Brian has again made up some questions and answered them ahead of time. If you have questions or just want to say "howdy", e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: So, and again, what on earth are you guys doing?
A: We are, again, taking advantage of both being teachers and having the summer off. We are taking a road trip around the lower 48, with tentative plans to visit Yosemite, Zion, Bryce, Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone National Parks. To make it a road trip we may also make a detour to the Adirondacks in upstate New York. On the way home we are taking the Alaska Marine Highway (the ferry) from Prince Rupert to Skagway and hiking the Chilkoot Trail with our friends Todd and Cori.
We are not visiting relatives and friends in Oregon or Washington. Yes, this makes us bad relatives and friends, but should also give us an extra couple of weeks to backpack and poke around pretty places. We are not avoiding interstates, but we don't care for them. Brian is still very interested in large fiberglass representations of animals, people and things. Theresa remains interested in local art and cows.
We will update our web site with daily entries and lots of pictures (we are guessing particularly of pretty places). We can't promise interesting or even regular content, and we know uploads will happen erratically. These websites are really more for us and, while hopefully entertaining for all, provide us with a little scrapbooks of our trips when we are done.
Q: What are you driving?
A: (To paraphrase from the 2000 and 2004 road trip) The beast you see in the pictures is the pillar of German engineering that is the 1977 Volkswagen Van (also known as a Campmobile, Type II, and Transporter). We call it "the bus". It has a powerful 2.0 liter engine and forgoes needless frills like power steering or power much of anything else. It has a top speed of around 70mph, a nice cruising speed of 60mph, and is very susceptible to wind sheer. The bus has 215,000 miles on it, with 55,000 on a new engine. It has a roof rack for hauling stuff, a fold out bed, an ice box, a built in closet, and a 110 electrical hookup. We have really streamlined our operation in the few hundred nights we have spent in the bus and it is our fun little home on the road.
Q: Hey guys, this is great but what's with all of the pictures? It took five minutes to download one page.
A: Oh, it did not. We try to post no more than 20 pictures a day in thumbnails, and added both enlargements and a quirky slide show feature in 2004 friends with broader bandwidth. We can only imagine how slow this might be on a dial up modem. I say we can only imagine, because we actually have no have no internet access at all. If you think this is a lot of pictures, you should see how many we are keeping to ourselves. According to iPhoto, we have taken 503 pictures in the last five days.
We don't think this will be too slow on cable modem, at work, or burned on a CD later. Our apologies for those of you trying to tag along on a 56k modem, but isn't it really time to upgrade anyway?
Q: Are you bothering to look out the window or are you just writing web pages?
A: We really do kind of have this down anymore. Brian wrote a little web application in 2004 that lets us fill in a form for each day and then builds all of the pages. We export photos from iPhoto and use a little script to resize them for the site. Brian's job is to add didactic text and smart aleck comments after. It is a 15-20 minute end of the day project. The mileage and gas stats are something Brian has always tracked anyway and we are using a spreadsheet to do the math magic, so it's pretty quick.
Q: What are you doing this with?
A: We are using our 13" Apple MacBook, Panasonic and Olympus digital cameras and more adapters, chargers, and converters than you can shake a stick at. We are counting on ubiquitous wireless connectivity for uploading content.
Q: ...and the software?
A: On a daily basis we are using Brian's little web application for page authoring, iPhoto for managing the incoming photo deluge, Photoshop Elements for the road trip visual aid, and Mac OS 10.5 to make it all work. Theresa used an old school version of GifBuilder and Photoshop to make the little cruising bus in 1999. We had to slow the original cruising bus down for accuracy.
Q: Who is Ken?
A: Before the original road trip, it became apparent to Theresa that Brian was ruining a fair bit of clothing working on the bus. Somewhere, she came across a second hand pair of overalls that bore the name "Ken". Brian has worn them since in bus related repairs and views Ken as an alter ego and guardian angel. Ken can be seen in full regalia on day eight of the first road trip.
Q: Who is Hula Gal?
A: Hula Gal joined us on day fourtythree of the first road trip, as we were leaving Key West. Hula Gal is an effervescent fountain of joy on the dashboard.
Q: What is that next to Hula Gal?
A: At the moment we've nicknamed him "G". "G" as in "Yo G", or "G to the P to the S", or "Garmin". We've never driven with a GPS before and the little thing is magical. It always seems to know where we are and because we have our tentative route in "G", he gets all cranky at us when we start going off on our own. He tells us how far it is to our next stop and about how long it will take to get there. Technology is crazy.
Q: Yesterday's entry said you stayed in an RV park. An RV park? Really, have you seen what you're driving?
A: RV parks mean three things; showers, laundry, and electricity. Besides, there is a certain joy pulling your 14 foot bus up next to a 50 foot RV. When we do RV it, we tend to lean toward KOAs (Kampgrounds Of America) because they are predictable and plentiful. We also think it is very cute the way they substitute the letter "k" for the letter "c" in everything. We do truly prefer a good state or national campground and will always take them when we can.
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