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Moored in a Brown Fog
Moored in a Brown Fog

“Moored in a Brown Fog”
Photo of the Week #16, selected in August, 2019

I took hundreds of photos during our tour of the Maine coast a few years ago. The fishing boats in this shot were moored in Seal Harbor, on the southern shore of eastern Mount Desert Island, near Acadia National Park.

We experienced rain and fog nearly every day during our autumn visit, which is normal for this region of New England, but the cold marine climate did make for some interesting shots. I love that the faded Cerulean-blue boat tells you that this isn’t a sepia or black-and-white photo.

Here’s my photo on Imagekind:
https://www.imagekind.com/-moored-in-a-brown-fog-dsc_art?IMID=2c195267-d82f-4d7a-95d2-12f34afa0e13


View all of my Photos of the Week here on Imagekind:
http://huberjack.imagekind.com/store/Images.aspx/385a532b-9a90-4b4f-8c67-b25c1afa1c07/PhotosoftheWeek


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Many of who who have followed us since we began full-timing will remember my rear bumper project, upon which I installed a generator and cabinet, power cord winder and a few other things. Unfortunately, the D’Hanis/Hondo (Texas) tornadoes and hailstorm of April, 2021, destroyed our fifth wheel, leaving me nowhere on our new rig to conveniently carry and use our generator.

We love our new fifth wheel. It’s new, bigger and has a lot of newer technology than the old Cruiser. I could have purchased a storage tray to fit the rear hitch receiver for the generator, but at 120 lbs. (including gas), a tray sturdy enough to hold the weight while on the highway or country back road is difficult to find and expensive. I tried placing the generator in the pickup bed, but it’s too tall for the overhang, no matter where I set it.

I decided the basement was the only possible location for it, but the inconvenience of loading and unloading it for use would be undesirable, to say the least. I looked into a new-fangled metal slide-out drawer made for such equipment, but the $1,000-$2,000 price tag was far more than I wanted to pay.

I went searching for other solutions and came across rails similar to those used by the slide-out drawers and found them to be much more affordable. After measuring the generator, I decided that 24″ long rails that slide open to 57″ made by Yenuo would be a perfect fit, and only cost $98 for the pair. They will hold up to 260 lbs., more than sufficient for my project, so I ordered them in.

Next was my planning and prep. I decided that the rails should be installed on 2″x4″ boards in order to lift the shelf over the lip of the basement doors, and a 3/4″ plywood plank could be cut to fit. Cross planks attached below the rail supports would give me more room to secure the shelf unit to the basement floor, and I decided that a few L-brackets would help in the rear of the unit, where the most stress would be when the generator was rolled out.

The following photos show how the pieces went together:

Then it was time to install the sliding shelf unit in the basement.

Everything looked great until I actually placed the generator on the shelf. I had enough clearance in the cabinet door frame to roll it all in, but the second aluminum ceiling joist was about an inch lower than the top of the door, preventing the generator from moving past it.

The solution was to remove the 3/4″ plywood cross planks from the bottom, turn the 2″x4″ rail supports sideways and replace the cross planks with other 2″x4″ pieces. With a slightly smaller motor frame, it wouldn’t have been necessary…

I put the pieces all back together and voilà! I do have a couple of things left to design: a pin or other method of securing the shelf closed while traveling, and another to keep the shelf extended while the generator is in use.

Another comment (or two):

I found it a little tricky to align the rails on both the supports and the shelf so it would slide smoothly. A little off and the rails don’t line up completely. After a couple of attempts I was able to arrange them fine. It was also a bit of a puzzle to figure out securing them without opening and closing them to access each screw hole.

In this particular model of generator, the exhaust points one direction and the pull handle points the opposite way. This meant that if I placed it on the shelf with easy access to the starting pull cord, the generator would send the exhaust right into the basement. My solution was to buy and install 3′ of heater hose to gently direct the exhaust to the open side of the basement.

The total cost of this project, including wood, rails and hardware, was under $200. This worked so well that I plan to order in a pair of 60″ rails to install to the left side of the generator for a long supply shelf. No longer will I have to pull half of everything out to get to something in the middle of the basement space…

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Winter Sunset with Stump
Winter Sunset with Stump

“Winter Sunset with Stump”
Photo of the Week #15, selected in August, 2019

Another one of my favorite photos from Kansas, this pic was taken in winter at Cheney Reservoir in the central part of the state, the lake frozen over and a tree stump making a shadow in the sunset. Well played, Kansas. Well played.

Kansas will eventually frustrate local photographers, since there are only so many scenes of waving wheat and grassy plains one can shoot. However, with patience, opportunities like this are often presented if one is open and ready for them. In the few years I lived there, I went on several photo outings with the hope of coming across something interesting, even in the middle of winter. One this day, my optimism was rewarded.

Here’s my photo on Imagekind:
https://www.imagekind.com/-winter-sunset-with-stumpp_art?IMID=28947ff9-778f-45c9-993a-3cfdf723adda


View all of my Photos of the Week here on Imagekind:
http://huberjack.imagekind.com/store/Images.aspx/385a532b-9a90-4b4f-8c67-b25c1afa1c07/PhotosoftheWeek

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Wildflowers Loving Life
Wildflowers Loving Life

“Wildflowers Loving Life”
Photo of the Week #14, selected in August, 2019

Those who know me can assure you that I love birds and wildflowers, so much so that I have taken thousands of photos of both all over the country. These lupine flowers just seemed to be overjoyed to be alive and thriving in the California desert, despite their hardship, and this shot is a favorite among my wildflower photos. Lupines are relatives of the famous Texas bluebonnets.

I took this shot while hiking near our boondocking spot just outside of Joshua Tree National Park. It was surprising to see such color in the hot desert, adding to the feeling of delight when I came across the seemingly elated blossoms.

As always, please click on the link to view the clear, full-color image:
https://www.imagekind.com/-wildflowers-loving-lifedsc_art?IMID=a96bc9b6-866c-4c29-ae5a-c6dda41440e3


View this photo as artwork:
http://huberjack.imagekind.com/store/imagedetail.aspx/faa4640a-97bc-4bb8-8a14-bc5407ab37d6/Oil_Wildflowers_Loving_Life_DSC03683


View all of my Photos of the Week here on Imagekind:
http://huberjack.imagekind.com/store/Images.aspx/385a532b-9a90-4b4f-8c67-b25c1afa1c07/PhotosoftheWeek

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Bird's Shadow and Metropolitan
Bird’s Shadow and Metropolitan

“Bird’s Shadow and Metropolitan”
Photo of the Week #13, selected in August, 2019

The decrepit building in the nearly-abandoned town of Miami, Arizona, caught my attention when I saw the trailered Metro parked in front. My dad used to drive a baby-blue-and-white Nash Metropolitan when I was growing up, so there’s some nostalgia there, at least for me.

I love coming across interesting old relics or structures and imagining what they were like when they were first built and actively inhabited. This particular edifice looked like it once possessed real personality. I was pleased to have successfully captured a bird’s shadow on the faded blue wall.

Miami is a classic Western copper boomtown, though the copper mines are largely dormant now. There is a renovation underway, slowly, and the town is beginning to attract new residents to its low-cost housing.

As always, please click on the link to view the clear, full-color image:

https://www.imagekind.com/-birds-shadow-and-metropolitandsc_art?IMID=89cbdbbb-163b-462a-8606-07f6a34fffbe


View all of my Photos of the Week here on Imagekind:

http://huberjack.imagekind.com/store/Images.aspx/385a532b-9a90-4b4f-8c67-b25c1afa1c07/PhotosoftheWeek

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Snack Time for a Chipmunk
Snack Time for a Chipmunk

“Snack Time for a Chipmunk”
Photo of the Week #12, selected in August, 2019

Not far from the popular Bear Lake in the Rocky Mountain National Park is another, smaller pool, the beautiful Sprague Lake, where I have taken many photos. One such pic was this chipmunk, seemingly impervious to my presence. Evidently nothing stands between a chipmunk and his snack…

As always, please click on the link to view the clear, full-color image:

https://www.imagekind.com/-snack-time-for-a-chipmunkdsc_art?IMID=9da5c243-4454-4d1a-9492-b9bb700e7eeb


View all of my Photos of the Week here on Imagekind:

http://huberjack.imagekind.com/store/Images.aspx/385a532b-9a90-4b4f-8c67-b25c1afa1c07/PhotosoftheWeek

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Alaskan Eagle Taking Flight
Alaskan Eagle Taking Flight

“Alaskan Eagle Taking Flight”
Photo of the Week #11, selected in July, 2019

During our Alaska cruise a couple of years ago, it was difficult to get as many striking photos as I’d hoped, the region having been inundated with smoke from vast forest fires burning in Northern Canada. I was able to take a few excellent shots, however, and this bald eagle was the star of our glacier stop. This wondrous living symbol of America, which had been sitting on a chunk of ice floating in Glacier Bay, posed for several minutes as we approached, then took flight, fortunately while I was targeting it with my telephoto lens. The water in the bay was a dull blue due to the silt deposited by the glaciers.

Glacier Bay is the product of the Little Ice Age, a geologically recent glacial advance in northern regions. The Little Ice Age reached its maximum extent around 1750. Since then, the massive glacier that filled the bay has retreated 65 miles to the heads of its inlets. With global climate change, the retreat has accelerated and it is perhaps in the process of disappearing completely, at least until the next Ice Age.

As always, please click on the link to view the clear, full-color image:

https://www.imagekind.com/-alaskan-eagle-taking-flightdsca_art?IMID=276db322-45b5-4011-a2d5-982f4f4268fa


View this photo as artwork:

http://huberjack.imagekind.com/store/imagedetail.aspx/7f220dbd-65f9-4aca-811c-f463306b4f40/Oil_Alaskan_Eagle_Taking_Flight_DSC06444a


View all of my Photos of the Week here on Imagekind:

http://huberjack.imagekind.com/store/Images.aspx/385a532b-9a90-4b4f-8c67-b25c1afa1c07/PhotosoftheWeek

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Pacific Coast Garden
Pacific Coast Garden

“Pacific Coast Garden”
Photo of the Week #10, selected in July, 2019

We had the good fortune to drive up the Pacific Coast and explore its fabulous scenery that extends over a thousand miles. In the Monterrey coastal area of California, many of the cliffs that overlook the ocean are covered with flowers and succulents. This is one of my favorite photos from one beautiful day of shooting.

Unfortunately, this widespread Northern California groundcover, called highway ice plant (also pigface, sour fig and clawberry), is an invasive species from South Africa. Any part or shoot of the species can grow into a full new plant, so you should take great pains not to transport them, and, like any invasive species, it should never be planted in a garden.

As always, please click on the link to view the clear, full-color image:

https://www.imagekind.com/-pacific-coast-gardendsc_art?IMID=02dcebf0-f5b2-46bc-953f-19526e322833


View all of my Photos of the Week here on Imagekind:

http://huberjack.imagekind.com/store/Images.aspx/385a532b-9a90-4b4f-8c67-b25c1afa1c07/PhotosoftheWeek

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Weather aside, the quick answer to this ponderance is two-fold – midweek/midday and if you have a stroller or wheelchair.  I’ll explain.

The San Antonio River Walk is a city park in San Antonio, Texas, winding along sections of the San Antonio River, below street level, in and around the downtown area of the city. The River Walk curves and loops under downtown bridges with sidewalks on both sides of the river, much of it lined with restaurants and shops, while connecting the various tourist attractions in the center of the city.  You can reach the River Walk from street level entrances along the sidewalks of dozens of city blocks, as well as from San Antonio’s five Spanish historical missions and from some of the popular museums and galleries in the area.

San Antonio’s River Walk, created as part of a floodwater control plan after a disastrous flood in 1921, is open 24/7/365 and has inspired projects like it in other cities, such as the Little Sugar Creek Greenway in Charlotte, Denver’s Cherry Creek Greenway, Oklahoma City’s Bricktown Canal, which we have visited, and Santa Lucía Riverwalk in Monterrey, Mexico.

We first descended upon the City Walk in the first months of the pandemic, but San Antonio’s downtown was mostly locked down and tourist stops weren’t open.  We were very much looking forward to returning post-pandemic to enjoy the many food and beverage venues along the Walk, especially the brewpubs that have popped up recently.  With the pandemic waning at the beginning of winter and restrictions being relaxed, plus the fact we are both fully vaccinated with boosters, we decided to visit downtown when we had a free Wednesday.  We brought our two small dogs with us, along with their doggie stroller.

So, tip number one is that midweek is not a great time for a visit, especially in the winter.  Most of the bars and restaurants don’t open until late afternoon or evening, and some aren’t open midweek at all.  It’s still a pretty stroll along the river’s sidewalks, but food and shops just aren’t an option.

So, tip number one is that midweek is not a great time for a visit, especially in the winter.  Most of the bars and restaurants don’t open until late afternoon or evening, and some aren’t open midweek at all.  It’s still a pretty stroll along the river’s sidewalks, but food and shops just aren’t an option.

Tip number two is that if you plan to use a stroller or wheelchair, you’ll need to scope out the available ramps or elevators to enter or exit from the city street, even to enjoy a just few blocks of the river.  Like I mentioned, we had the doggie stroller and had to carry it up and down stairs several times over the mile-and-a-half we walked the river’s sidewalks. 

At one point, there were so many steps up and down over a river arch that we had to take the dogs out and walk them across the bridge.  This wasn’t a big deal for us, but it begged the question, what if one of us had been confined to a wheelchair?

During our walk we found a QR code on a sign that directed our phone browsers to an ADA-supported map of the River Walk, but those maps were very difficult to follow, and it highlighted even further that the Walk doesn’t seem to be very handicapped-friendly.

Now, I don’t want you to get the impression that we dislike the River Walk.  On the contrary, the tourist walk along the river is usually beautiful, clean and an enjoyable experience for able-bodied pedestrians.  The next time, however, we’ll leave the dogs at home and make sure we time the visit for a weekend evening.

Here’s a nice guide for planning your trip there:

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I was discussing the three-day drive across Texas we’ve taken in the past and wondered how that stretch compares to other states.  I decided to let Google Maps be my guide as I looked throughout the country for similar treks for the nine longest in-state drives.

I created a few ground rules, such as any route candidate for my list being calculated as the shortest drive between two cities or towns. This means that there may be longer routes to or from unincorporated towns not showing on Google Maps.  I can’t do much about that.  I only utilized routes that stayed within the state being researched.  A few shorter routes may have existed through neighboring states.  Also, traffic, season and weather don’t affect distance, so I kept to miles instead of hours.

One last point – I didn’t research all 50 states.  Obviously, states like Hawaii, Rhode Island and Delaware won’t be on any longest drive list.  But as I calculated the most extensive drives in states like Pennsylvania, Maine, Virginia and North Carolina, it became clear that most candidates were less than 400 miles.  With the 9th largest stretching 629 miles, I could visually rule out dozens of states.

Here’s the list, ranked shortest to longest:

9.  Oklahoma-  Kenton to Tom- 629 miles

Many of the states on this list are of medium size compared to the rest of the country but have irregular shapes that provide longer routes.  This is true of Oklahoma, where we start at the edge of the panhandle and drive cattycorner to the bottom of the pan, covering over 600 miles.  The route only utilizes a few dozen miles on an interstate (I-40) and flows through Oklahoma City smack dab in the middle of the Sooner State.

8.  Michigan-  Copper Harbor to Erie Township- 631 miles

Situated at the northern tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, or U.P., is Copper Harbor on Lake Superior, and it’s now on my bucket list to visit.  On the other end of the drive is a small town near Ohio on Lake Erie.  In between, the Mitten State will provide a variety of sights and views of three of the Great Lakes.

7.  Nevada-  Laughlin to Denio- 698 miles

It was surprising to see Nevada on this list.  Laughlin is found near the state junction points of Nevada, California and Arizona in the far south of the Silver State. Almost 700 miles north is Denio, a small town at the Oregon border.  Along the way, you’ll see some of the state’s desert and scablands, Las Vegas and other gambling meccas, and many miles of secluded highway. 

6.  Montana-  Troy to Ridge- 721 miles

I did expect to see the Big Sky Country in the Top 9, but the surprise was that it wasn’t longer than a few others on the list.  Troy is in the northeast corner near the Idaho border, sitting in the middle of the Kootenai National Forest.  Over 700 miles southeast is Ridge in the opposite corner.  The two towns show a stark contrast in environments, with Troy in the midst of fabulous forested mountains and Ridge reminding more of the barren hills of the Dakotas. 

5.  Idaho-  Good Grief to Fish Haven- 827 miles

Another panhandle, another long drive.  At the far northern edge of the Gem State is the best city name on this list, Good Grief.  Because the most direct route takes you through Montana, we had to calculate traveling through Boise to stay in Idaho to reach the southeast corner of the state at Fish Haven.  This takes you along several mountain ranges and forests until you reach the capital city, then the scenery becomes more scrub-like. 

4.  Florida-  Muscogee to Key West- 840 miles

Let’s face it, panhandles give states an edge to get on this list, and the Sunshine State is no exception.  Like Oklahoma, we begin on the far eastern edge of the panhandle in the town of Muscogee, then head west to the body of Florida before driving south, all the way to the Keys.  The distance between the two is so far that Google shows the direct flying time to be almost four hours.  The inland drive will repeat the same scenery for much of the trip, except for the time you are near the ocean.  On this jaunt, south is best, as it includes West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, the Everglades and Key West, many of which are on most people’s bucket lists.

3.  Texas-  El Paso to Orange- 858 miles

Now we see the state that started it all, Texas, and its 3-day straight shot east from El Paso, all on I-10.  The Lone Star State is vast and mostly barren, though green by comparison to much of the southwest.  Hundreds of miles after leaving El Paso, you’ll finally reach San Antonio, the 7th largest city in the country, and about 3 hours later, Houston, the 4th largest.  Orange is just across the state line from Lake Charles, LA, and is hurricane susceptible.

2.  California.- Smith River to Winterhaven- 1008 miles

Not far from the Oregon coast is Smith River, California, a continuation of the fabulous northwest coastline.  This path takes you south along the coast until you reach San Francisco, then it heads inland through wine country and the Big Valley, before hitting the Los Angeles metropolitan area.  From there you travel east, then south towards Mexico, ending up in Winterhaven, next to Yuma, AZ.  You’ll see a wide range of panoramic views of ocean, coastline, vineyards, agriculture, historic cities, theme parks, and southwestern deserts.  It’s never a bad time to take in a thousand miles of the Golden State.

1.  Alaska-  Homer to Prudhoe Bay- 1074 miles

As we all expected, the Last Frontier takes the top spot for providing the longest in-state drive.  Interestingly, the longest route I could locate included just the main body of the state, since so much of Alaska is inaccessible by car, even in the summer.  Speaking of summer, that’s the only season most of this route is safe.  But, the views!  Prudhoe Bay is on the Arctic Ocean and was built atop the tundra.  This route is almost 1,100 miles in length and just about every mile has dramatic views.  Like many awe-inspiring landscapes, photographs along this byway simply can’t do them justice. 

Honorable Mention-  Missouri- Watson to Cottonwood Point- 560 miles

At nearly 600 miles long, the Show-Me State was just out of the Top 9, but the odd-shaped state still deserves a mention.   In the far northwest corner, Watson is more like Nebraska than Missouri.  The lack of a direct route to the southeastern notch forces the route to take a bit of a zig zag, traveling south along the Nebraska and Kansas state lines, hanging a left in Kansas City and a right at St. Louis, then south along the Illinois line and the mighty Mississippi River.  This would definitely be an interesting drive.

Now, then, these are the longest drives in the country that don’t cross state lines.  Many of these are now on my future to-do list, if not my bucket list.  I trust you have the same interest.

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