Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Departure day

I have almost everything done (kow) and ready to go. I got a lot of stuff done yesterday.  My car is packed, AND it has fresh synthetic oil in it's belly.  I picked up my DCI from the post office, although I know the original plan was to install it before leaving, The combination of wanting to get a good nights sleep, and thinking about how interesting and memorable it would be to install it somewhere in the midst of my road trip, if an opportunity should arise.

In a previous post, I mentioned that in order to try and get a cool time lapse photo of the launch, and that I had contacted the author of a great on line guide, Stan Jirman, about doing just that.  Stan has been incredibly helpful.  Check out Stan Jirman's travelogue of his trip to watch STS-93, back in 1999, and see his great time lapse photo of the launch.  THAT, is what I want. I won't get as nice of an arc though, because I'll be at the press site which views the launch from a different angle.  At first my hopes of getting a cool image, Like Stan's, of the launch were almost dashed when I found I didn't have some of the proper equipment.  Apparently I needed a Neutral Density filter (whatever that is), and a remote bulb release.  Of course, I didn't have either, and this was just yesterday, I was leaving in a day.  Luckily after a phone call to Madison's downtown (on the square) "The Camera Company" , and pleasant conversation with the knowledgeable guy there, Jim, It turned out that things were going my way. He had everything that I needed. 

So after work, and before returning the BMW 328 convertible that my dealership had given me as a loaner while they serviced my baby (that I dropped off on my lunch break), I went and picked up the needed camera accessories at The Camera Co.  So, I should be good to go. Jim, even was nice enough to go over the camera settings with me, as I don't really know what I'm doing. 

I have to say, that although I like the rag top on my one series, watching the retractable hard top operate is like watching kinetic art. It is an amazing bit of engineering. It's really pleasant to watch that top go up and down. Of course, the power, compared to mine, was minuscule. Knowing that the 3 series loaner was no shabby car, yet it still felt (relatively) like a dog, put a big smile on my face.

After informing my shuttle photography guru that I'd gotten the filter and cable release, He showered me with more advice and tips. I really think that I have a good chance to get a good image. Wish me luck, and watch for it.

I also emailed myself a packing list.  Here it is (don't laugh)

Packing list:

iPhone !
iPhone !!
iPhone charger
STS-130 documents folder
Radar detector (investigate legality along route)
Camera #1 kit (Kara's old EOS)
Camera #2 kit (Kara's new EOS)
Camera #3 (My point & shoot digital)
Camera #4 (My NY Sony video) if I can get it working
Weighting method for big tripod
ND filter and remote bulb release.
Proper transfer cables and charging gizmos for all cameras
Laptop, it's power cord, and case.
USB Memory.
Power strip
Typewriter :)
Typing paper
Road music.
Tent and various camping supplies.
Credit cards.
List of emergency contacts
Emergency air compressor thing
Car cleaning gear (selected Zaino, tire brush, towels)
Winning personality and charm
Hair ties
Picnic gear
Portable radio
Portable scanner
Bug spray
Alarm clock
Electrical tape
Blue tape
Laundry bag
Garbage bags
Zip lock bags
Little tool kit (install DCI at NASA?)
Zoom audio recorder from WORT
Pens, highlighters, Sharpie
Sleeping clothes: warm and cool
Star chart
Juggling clubs
Juggling balls
Cord or string
Camp chair

I can't think of ever using a packing list before, but I'll tell you, I see it's value. I (even now) am thinking of things to add to it just from reading over it again. Pretty handy.  Of course I give all the credit to my iPhone. My ability to access my G mail  and my G calendar from it, have lowered the discomfort of being organized to levels that are finally acceptable to my internal laziness. Hooray for the iPhone, it's  made this whole trip doable.

I also downloaded and installed the latest version of Garmin's map source software. I created my routes  (downward only, I still don't know how I'll be coming home) and loaded them into my Zumo 450.  The one I really wanted to get right, is the one going through the Tail of the Dragon, and a lot of the Great Smokey mountain national park.  I'm starting to get a little concerned about driving though there with summer tires on the car. I've been trying to get a human on the telephone to ask them about the specific route I have planned, and if I can expect ANY snow or ice on Thursday, the day I plan to drive through.  I suppose I should look at a route that doesn't go that way. I'm hoping for the best, but I don't want to get stupid and drive where I shouldn't, without the proper tires.

I still have a few things on the "to do before leaving" list (this ones in my head, for the next few seconds until I write it down here). They are:
  1. Pick up the emergency air compressor thingy , and the tire pressure gage, that I left behind at Terry's, when I picked up the car the other day.
  2. Pick up a package from RAM mount, that should have the stuff to suction cup my GPS to my windshield, and also a suction cup iPhone holder, at FedEx.  Hold on, let me check the status...... .....OK it's being held for pickup, just like I asked. Alright.
  3. Get all the suction cups working.
  4. Do something that  I can't think of now, but I'm sure I'll remember about 500 miles outside of Madison.
OK, I guess that's it until I hole up somewhere in the south.  Maybe I'll make a quick post from the road, but otherwise, I hope to make it to Louisville, KY, or maybe even Knoxville, TN sometime pretty late tonight.  But if I get too tired, anywhere is fine, it is a LONG drive.


At February 3, 2010 at 1:37 PM , Anonymous dragonlms said...

Juggling clubs? Juggling balls? I had no idea..
The Tail of the Dragon sounds cool (and not just because it has dragon in it's name). Are you going to count the curves as you go along? ;-)

Looking forward to your first on the road post!

At February 3, 2010 at 6:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck, Rich! I'm looking forward to hearing about your adventures, and now I don't have to wait until you get back to WORT. -kate


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