Often when I drive down what once was major highways – US41, 64 etc. I look for the old alignments to try and get an idea of what the driving landscape looked like 20, 50 or 75 years ago. If at all possible and if time permits, I will get off the “new” version of the road and travel the old one. Continue reading
My camera died. Well, it hasn’t really died yet, but it is definitely on it’s death bed. I bought my Canon S90 on the suggestion of a professional photographer friend of mine when I was in New York City attending a wedding several years ago. Other than the lack of a view finder, I loved the camera. Then, about a month ago, it quit focusing when the zoom was extended. It still works great if you don’t zoom in, but that kind of defeats the purpose of a compact zoom camera. Though the power of Google, I learned that this is a common failure of this particular model and the general consensus was that it is not worth the money to get it fixed and since digital camera features advance almost as fast as cell phone technology, there had to have been many advances in camera quality in the intervening years since I bought the S90. I decided it was time for an upgrade. Continue reading
Went up to Knoxville last weekend to see an old friend. I have take almost all permutations of the route between my hometown and Knoxville, sometimes doubling the time it takes to get there just to avoid the inevitable boredom that occurs with repetitive tasks. Although I still prefer to take the back roads when I can, sometimes I just don’t feel like it. I wasn’t feeling too adventurous this trip, so I stuck to the Interstate all the way. Over the years, I have driven this road countless times and spend far too much time thinking about things other than driving along the way. Continue reading
I love to drive. As I have said before, I will drive 50 miles out of my way just for the fun of it. But, as I learned this past weekend, I do have my limits. I just can’t drive like I used too.
It is college tour season (second round); My daughter was accepted into the Honors College at George Mason in Fairfax, Virginia and subsequently invited to a reception/open house/information session. So it was decided we would go, and, after looking at several options for getting there and back, I decided I would make the drive. The drive up was fine; 9+ hours of drive time turned into almost 12 hours by the time we stopped to eat, fuel up, and stop at rest areas, but we had a nice hotel room and a fine dinner when we finally made it.
I received a gift card from my father-in-law for Christmas, so I bought something I wanted instead of something I needed (isn’t that what most gifts are about?). I enjoy driving and taking photos, so what better way of combining those two activities than a dashcam? I was looking at a GoPro camera but the cost was prohibitive. While searching for lower-cost alternatives, I ran across the Mobius ActionCam for around $80. Further research revealed that this camera is very popular with the radio controlled aircraft crowd because of its small size, light weight, and good picture quality. I watched a couple of video comparisons (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wmIyD1fM4M is a good one), and while the GoPro was definitely more feature rich and easier to use, the Mobius is actually smaller than the GoPro and the video quality is comparable (at least on my computer). On to Amazon I went and a couple of days later my camera arrived!
I tried it out on a recent trip to Chattanooga and the results were impressive! Now I am going to have to buy another hard drive just to store the footage.
I used the camera for a while before I set it aside. I pick it up now and again if I want to shoot hands free video of something. It still works great, is light and unobtrusive, but is not always in my pocket like my cell phone. I picked up a handlebar mount for it, so I will take it for a bike ride to see what that looks like!
Every year for the last seven years, I have made the trek to Gatlinburg to attend our utility association conference. I always learn something at the conference that makes the trip worth while and I get to see friends and colleagues that I don’t see often enough, so I keep coming back. I usually take Highway 11 from Chattanooga up to Lenoir City and then Hwy 321 across to Pigeon Forge and on into Gatlinburg. US 11 is one of the old grand highways that was THE highway before Interstate 75 came along. It passes through some beautiful countryside and towns that you will miss if you travel via the Interstate. In total, the trip takes a little over three hours, which, in and of itself is no big deal. But is the last 30 miles that I really dread. That is the home stretch from Pigeon Forge into Gatlinburg.
I am a gadget freak. I like all things electronica, except music (with the possible exception of “Warm Leatherette” by The Normal and a few songs by Heaven 17), so it is even better when I can combine my love of gadgets with the joy of driving. My faithful Garmin Nuvi 255 finally gave up the ghost after almost 5 years of service, which is a full life for a small electronic device. In my quest for a replacement, I was leaning toward Garmin, but did not rule any available model out. At a minimum, any new unit would at least have to have to all the features I liked on the 255, plus the ability to import a custom route via computer and some kind of warning about which lane to get into for an upcoming exit.