Sunday, November 28, 2010

CABO LOG 11:28:10:8:00 – The Road Cam!

Good Morning Everybody,

It was really a long haul yesterday - Springfield, MO all the way to Albuquerque, NM. - about 830 miles and 12 1/2 hours later we called it a day. Our plan was to do the longer run yesterday so we would have a more leisurely 9 hour drive today - leisurely????


Hey, all kidding aside, today's travels take us through some really pretty country so we are looking forward to hitting the road.

I never got around to doing an interim "road post" yesterday. Why, because there just wasn't anything to blog about. That's not to say yesterday's drive was anything less than spectacular - but is was for a large part of the day.

Anyway, I’ll hit a few highlights, and some nice images along the way so why not give them a read below.

Off And Running Again

Wide Angle WonderfulnessIMG_3050We enjoyed a nice, hot breakfast on the Doubletree Hotel, grabbed a few more of those famous Doubletree chocolate chip cookies for the road, filled the fuel tank to the top, and were off by 7:41 a.m. in the morning.

The weather was still a brisk 30+ degrees outside but once in the Jeep cab, we were good to go. We jumped onto I-44 out if Springfield, MO and pointed our Jeep west towards Tulsa, OK - about 120 miles away.

Wide Angle WonderfulnessDSCF0048Tulsa, like a lot of the USA, was under road construction. My gosh, I think half the country is under construction these days ;~) We navigated the barrels, barriers, and blockades without much problem and the fact that it was Saturday meant very little traffic to contend with. We even spent a little time on the famous Route 66. Next stop, Oklahoma City, OK.

Most of this part of the drive was without much drama. The scenery this time of year, even though there was not a leaf on the trees, was still a pleasant view in all directions. Most would think of Oklahoma to be really flat, but it's not.

Wide Angle WonderfulnessDSCF0049The hills "roll" just enough to keep the driving from being a hypnotic experience.

Our Gas Issues May Be Easing

No GasOh, some good news - our gas mileage has increased to about 14.5 MPG. That means that we can cover about 280 miles on one tank of gas - wow, that's like half way to the moon, right ;~)

Our hopes are rising about making it across that long, lonely, gasless stretch of the Baja. That gas barren stretch begins at the last gas station in El Rosasio and ends, as we found yesterday after checking Kent's official Baja atlas, about 240 miles away in the town of Guerrero Negro.

Most of the Baja journey is up and down and around the twists and turns of Mexico's Hwy 1 - average speed, about 35 mph. That's going to affect our MPG too so were putting the final touches on our travel plans through Mexico. More tomorrow.

Testing the "Road Cam"

road tripIMG_3079So what do you do when you're kind of bored, you've run out of scintillating conversation with your road mate after 20 hours on the road - just kidding Kent, and you still have miles to go? The answer is simple, you pull out the "road cam"!

OK, what in the world is the "road cam" you ask? For this trip Kent and I planned to shoot some video, especially through the Baja run. But I wanted the video to have a unique perspective for many of the shots - hence, the "road cam" was born.

Now, I can't tell you the entire story about the "road cam" - I save that for next week after we arrive in Cabo, but I will show you a "proof of concept" in the video below. Just hit the PLAY button below and check out what two strange geeky guys do at 70mph along I-44 just to kill a little time;~)

It worked great didn't it? It gave you goose bumps as you watched it, didn't it? I knew it would. More testing today and then on to the Cecil B. DeMille production on Monday!

Finally, We Make It To "Whataburger Land"

After an exciting morning of "road cam" testing, you can really work up an appetite. It was about noon and we were just getting to Oklahoma City. It was a time for lunch. I did a quick Google Maps on one of the iPads we had in the cab, and there it was, a listing of all the Whataburgers in the city!

Wide Angle WonderfulnessIMG_3098If you have never had a Whataburger, you have never had a hamburger. Whataburgers are about the best road warrior food you can get! It's not really fast food, it's kind of semi- fast food. You have to order it, then wait door it to be prepared.

WhataburgerYou take your number and soon your meal, fries and a 6 inch diameter burger covered with 1 inch of lettuce, tomato, onion, and mustard is delivered shortly afterwards piping hot and looking delicious. The server even shows a tray a condiments any of which you can choose to enhance your already 5 star dining experience.

Ladawn and I discovered Whataburgers on our DWUC and CBTL tour travels. I loved the retro look of the A-frame building and the personal touch by all the employees that worked there. Hey, TripAdvisor gives them 4 1/2 out of 5 stars - although still one of my road favorites, I don't think Kent was much impressed. You know, it's just that it takes a road rat connoisseur to to appreciate the best ;~)

We Fought The Sun And We Won!

I was driving and the sun was about to do it's thing just like it had the day before - it was getting ready to settle on the horizon and burn our eyes out again. Luckily for me, it was Kent's turn to drive.

Wide Angle WonderfulnessIMG_3139Turns out things did not get that bad because the rolling hills did a good job blocking the sun's searing rays as it dropped below the horizon.

Wide Angle WonderfulnessIMG_3150The really cool thing about sunsets in this part of the country that I've noticed is how the sun doesn't just disappear below the horizon. It leaves a lasting ball of orange brightness right at the point of the horizon where it disappeared - kind of cool looking.

Wide Angle WonderfulnessIMG_3152As Kent was driving, I tried to work that ball of bright orange into several shots over the next several minutes. I think I got some keepers. Here are a few to enjoy.

Wide Angle WonderfulnessIMG_3171Anyway, the sunset was quite beautiful and a joy to watch as we continued to head west.

The Milky Way Test

And head west we did. The goal was to make it to Albuquerque so our drive today would be a bit easier. Kent had driven a few hours and I was still feeling great and we agreed I would take us the rest of the way.

Wide Angle WonderfulnessIMG_3221But not before we tried another roadside experiment. In this part of the country devoid of any big cities for miles, the night sky is ablaze with stars. It is so easy to look up and see the Milky Way, all the constellations, and about a gazillion stars - it is a breathtaking site for sure.

I'm thinking, "How about my Canon 7D fitted with a wide angle lens wide open, 30 second exposure at ISO 6400 - could I get a night sky shot?" Well, the testing was less than conclusive but I still think there possibilities there. Maybe well give it a try again in Cabo.

Finally, Albuquerque

We could see them in the distance, the city lights - we had made the long haul, 12 1/2 hours, 830 miles, one Whataburger stop, "road cam" testing, and Milky Way shooting and arrived safe and sound in the capital of the Land Of Enchantment.

Wide Angle WonderfulnessIMG_3215We quickly checked in and planned to grab a great end of day meal at the hotel's restaurant. What a plan - we walked in to the completely empty restaurant, said HI to the server, who promptly seated us. I asked if we were the last customers of the evening? He quickly replied that we were not only the last, WE WERE THE FIRST OF THE DAY TOO!

Oh, oh...... You guessed it - dinner was not that good. Thank goodness for Whataburger earlier in the day ;~). Anyway, we wrapped the evening with an adult beverage in the hotel lounge and finally hit the sack about midnight. What a day.

Heading Out Leisurely Today

Today we make the final push to San Diego. The drive should be beautiful through the Southwest and we are looking forward to it. We head towards Flagstaff, then down to Phoenix, and then over to the West Coast. Hopefully we arrive around 6 p.m. this evening, get settled in, prepare for the first half of our big Baja run tomorrow.

So gang, that's it for me today. See ya' bright and early tomorrow.

Have a great one.  David


  1. I tried some astrophotography with my star tracker in Cabo last time I was there, and the clouds made the results less than satisfying. That was September though - you should have better weather this time of year! :)

  2. You should pick up two ten gallon gas tanks and maybe a water tank to be safe on your 300 mile trek down Baja.

  3. Mount the road cam a little lower and I think you will really have something

  4. David I hope I'm not being picky here, but your astro-photography experiment is waaaay out of focus. You need to use manual focus, and focus to infinity for that sort of shot (I'm sure you know that and it was just the long drive...)

  5. Try the Taquito next time when you visit a Whataburger. It is a flour tortilla with scrambled eggs and bacon/potato/sausage. Also, if you are looking for fried chicken, try the Chicken Express which is a big local chain here. Yum!

  6. That's a pretty bad star photo. Very blurry. Mr. de Groot is right. We know you can do better.