In May I spent some time camping with my brother, found my favorite campsite so far in all of my travels, and played around with the drone and video editing. I went to Sedona, the Grand Canyon, further up the Colorado River, Horseshoe Bend, and Zion National Park. Wow!
MAP OF TRAVELS
I started out the month in Las Vegas. I’d been there to meet up with friends who flew down from Portland. I had a wonderful time with them. I drove from Vegas to Sedona to meet my brother. On the way, I stopped for a night in Flagstaff. That city really has a pull on me. I like it a lot. It’s an awesome place to spend some time during the summer.
SEDONA – WITH MY BROTHER
My brother, Brandon (@thetinglytraveler ), realized he had multiple sclerosis in 2015. He was having a standard successful American life: a stable job that he was very good at and was promoted to manager, a nice house in Denver with a sweet garden, time and money for his hobbies
If I understand correctly, the biggest challenge he had (other than now M.S.) was all the stress at work. He was extremely loyal to his company, and thus ended up having a lot of responsibility and stress there.
After his diagnosis, he changed his life quickly. He Started eating healthier and running, and lost excess weight he’d been carrying for years. He found a wonderful girlfriend. He started thinking about how to reduce his stress at work.
House prices had went up a lot in Denver. Brandon sold his house in Denver and moved in with his girlfriend. Then, they sold her house. They both quit their jobs. They got a truck and a travel trailer. They’ve been traveling around the U.S. the last few months.
They expect to choose an area to buy some land and start a homestead. He’ll probably work more. I expect it will be in a technical role that he enjoys.
I’m proud of my brother, and I’m excited for them.
We crossed paths Sedona and camped together. It was nice camping with them and catching up on their travels so far, trying to give each-other things that we no longer use and don’t need (neither of us were successful at offloading much of anything), comparing ideas of places to travel to, sharing some meals, going on a hike, and so on.
Remember that drone that Dan of Big Ox Little Bird gave me a few months ago? I had a heck of a time getting a charger and batteries for it. I’d gotten the charger after about a month, and one of the batteries I ordered didn’t arrive in Phoenix until after I’d left the city. (The other never did). When my brother passed through Phoenix, he picked it up from me from my cousin before heading north to Sedona. So, I finally got to use the drone. It’s a lot of fun.
This was the first video I recorded with it. I wasn’t even checking the exposure and the sky is all blown out.
We had loose plans to travel together for a while. We weren’t sure how long it would work out, as we have our own sort of speeds of movement, and they would need to go back to Denver fairly soon. We made plans to go up to the Grand Canyon next. I got itchy feet about a day earlier than they did, and headed up there. it was useful for me to go first as I could scope out potential campsites for them. Their trailer doesn’t have a lot of ground clearance, and their dog is scared of other dogs and people. So – I could go check what the roads were like and try to find a campsite that’s a bit secluded from other campers.
The next day, after they ran errands and started heading up, they had trouble with their trailer. Something with the wheel bearings – I believe not having quite enough grease and basically burned up. So they were stuck down a bit south of Flagstaff for a few days.
I camped in the National Forest south of the Canyon. I ended up staying in 3 or 4 different spots. I’d drive over to the canyon each day, and then just go to a different spot. At the spots nearest to Tusayan, there was a lot of low flying helicopters, so I only stayed there one day.
I didn’t really like taking pictures of the canyon. It’s so huge that the other side is all hazy. When shooting with a wide lens, it’s basically all the same and just blends together and looks flat and boring. I did go shoot there during sunrise one morning. I didn’t think I got much of anything, but I did end up with one picture I really like (the first one).
After a few days, there was some cold weather approaching. I didn’t know when my brother would get the trailer fixed and head up, and I wouldn’t be of any help if I went back down there. I wasn’t crazy about the canyon, so I headed off to a really cool campsite that my brother found on Instagram
ALONG THE COLORADO RIVER
This was my favorite campsite of all my travels so far. It’s on some BLM land that goes right up near the edge of the canyon. It’s near the old site of Lee’s Ferry, and it’s quite remote. It’s only like 10 miles from Page as a bird flies, but it’s 50 miles of driving.
I stayed here for about two weeks. I ended up making 3 trips into page. One of those was an extra trip to go buy a 1.5mm hex key. A hundred miles for a $.10 tool.
Why? Well, I was flying the drone a lot, and realized it had a problem. The gimbal was shaking around a lot. With a little research online, I saw it was likely because of a certain set screw not being tight enough. I needed a 1.5mm hex key to tighten it. I have a ton of hex keys in various sizes. I had a 2mm, and I believe a 1mm. But no 1.5. I wanted to fix it while I was still camping out here because it was an awesome place to record drone footage. Tightening the set screw did fix the gimbal vibration issue. So, then I had to re-record all the clips I’d gotten so far.
I have a lot more pictures from here, and an incredible nice drone video, but I’ll save it for a specific post about the spot. Here’s a taste of it:
I was flying my drone a lot and one evening I was sorting through clips and editing them together. The way I had my van parked, the setting sun would shine in through a window and reflect on my computer screen, so I had my curtains up. Those curtains sort of blocked out my view of the sunset.
While editing, I glanced out the front windshield and noticed a bloom of color on the clouds. A brilliant pink.
I jolted out of my seat, grabbed my camera bag and tripod, and scurried over to the edge of this canyon. I only had about 5 minutes before it faded away
PAGE & HORSESHOE BEND
I shot there at 3 different times. Here’s a picture from the first time. Yep, looks just like all the other Horseshoe Bend pictures.
I wasn’t that crazy about this place. The view is nice. There’s just so many people coming in and out and taking the same pictures. It’s sort of a zoo. At one point while I was set up and shooting, an old Asian lady who couldn’t speak english thrusted her camera into my hands and gestured for me to take a lot of pictures at different zoom ranges. I think she was scared to go up to the edge. That was actually kind of nice because she had a Sony a7 and I’d been wondering what it was like to use their electronic viewfinders.
ZION NATIONAL PARK
After a couple weeks near page, I figured I should get on into Utah. I’ve never been to southern Utah, and I’ve been looking forward to it a lot.
I drove back through Page and then to Zion National Park.
I drove through the park – on that road that goes through the south end. WOW! It’s an incredible drive. It’s a continual stretch of amazing views – literally the whole way, other than while inside the two tunnels you go through. The next day I hiked up Angel’s Landing.
I’ll probably have a bunch more pictures to share from Zion. I spent a couple days walking around the canyon and shooting.
PLANS FOR JUNE:
It’s gotten hot, and I’ve left Zion. I’ll come back again at the end of the summer or in the fall. I have a loose idea of where I’ll go next – maybe something like what’s shown below. This whole stretch from Cedar City to Zion looks super remote. The towns on the way are extremely tiny. I haven’t researched actual places, so if you know the area and have any suggestions, please share them!