Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

Archive for the category “Tourista!”

Pentwater, Michigan

One of the nicest tourist traps in Michigan, Pentwater offers much to amuse.

Even though I’m now in Columbus, Ohio visiting yet another relative and mooching all I can, I thought it appropriate to look back at the little burg of Pentwater, which has a nice, protected harbor on the shores of mighty Lake Michigan. This post is mainly just a photo essay, so let’s get at it. Read more…

Overland Expo West 2017 – Part 3

[The following video in this post weighs in at 300MB, so those on limited cellular data plans may prefer to not click on it in order to save their bandwidth for higher things.]

On the last day of the Expo, Land Rover opened up their test track to other vehicles, and three remarkable rigs showed up to take advantage of the opportunity. One was some kind of huge, ex-military truck, one was the little Pinzgauer (also ex-military), and one was an Earth Roamer XV-LT, a model no longer in production. (The XV-LTS “luxury expedition vehicle” that replaced it boasts 1,200 watts of solar, a 90-gallon freshwater tank, and a maximum range of 900 miles. It also carries a battery pack rated at about 1,000 amp hours capacity. Yow.)  This is the rig that starts at some $438,000 and change, being based on a highly modified Ford F-550 chassis. Due to its personalized license plates, I am convinced that this particular Earth Roamer is owned by the president of the company. Who was actually behind the wheel at the track, I do not know.

You’ll notice a few things about the footage. First is that each vehicle tends to stop and start, and even reverse at times. This is done as tires leave the ground, locking differentials are engaged, or for various and sundry reasons. Some parts of the video have been sped up to twice their normal pace. This stands out for Read more…

Elden Pueblo

It’s hard to believe that one can just pull off from US-89 in Flagstaff and be transported back close to 1,000 years.

Tomorrow begins the 8-day commute back to Illinois, so I resupplied one last time in Flagstaff, Arizona and found a comparatively noisy haven at a Conoco Travel Center on the far north side of the city. Literally across the street from the so-called Carter Travel Center at 7180 US-89, Flagstaff, AZ 86004, is the Elden Pueblo, a very early settlement of what have been later dubbed the Sinagua People. It seems that when Sunset Crater Volcano, 10 miles northeast, erupted in about 1,000AD, it coincided with a 20-year drought and motivated the locals to move to higher, moister elevations than before. Being Puebloan people, a few families set up camp and started construction.

I won’t get into the rather extensive details provided by a brochure at the site (which gets into a spot-by-spot description of what you’re probably looking at), but I will recite the points that I found notable. More people moved in, and by 1150AD, this site became Read more…

Overland Expo West 2017 – Part 2

It must be nice to have the means to support a Unimog 4×4, in a way. I wouldn’t want one, but I still think they’re slick.

Opps! Hit the wrong button! Oh well. Enjoy!! This post is much more pictures than text, so let’s get at it! –

This Oregon Trail’R was one of many teardrop trailer variants. This one trades artistic integrity for utility. Trail-friendly, roof rack for holding an awning, solar panels, or what have you.

Land Rover debuted their reimagined Defender from a legendary boxy fossil to a thoroughly modern SUV compromised enough to appeal to the Starbucks-slurping crowd. Despite a very sophisticated and capable 4WD drivetrain, forward progress is in the eye of the beholder. (This example is not actually tipping, it’s simply revealing its street car design priority.)

Read more…

Overland Expo West 2017 – Part 1

Lots of couples, lots of kids. The Expo was popular, to say the least.

[Caution for those having limited cellular data plans: there are many (small) photos in this post below, so you may want to stop loading this page right now before your Internet provider slides you into the $15/Gig penalty box for overage. Text usually comes through first.]

At its new venue at the Fort Tuthill County Park, the Overland Expo West went from being hopelessly jammed in camping arrangements to being merely crowded. The dispersed camping area was not suited to especially tall or long rigs, and signups for weekend camping passes were restricted to this end. The display space was sprawling and had the raw space available for more, if need be in future years. I was surprised that Crux Offroad (an aluminum bridge/traction device maker) was not there, but each vendor has to make their own decisionaside from the nice LED ceiling lights in the Grandby, as to whether displaying at the show is worth the effort and expense. Nonetheless, a wide variety of rig and accessory outfits and individuals  showed up and showed off.

My hero! Adventure TV series producer, author, videographer and all ’round nice guy Mr. Andrew St. Pierre White hung out for awhile at the BF Goodrich trailer, since they sponsor him and always display at the Expo. I asked him a practical question about signing up for one of his online video-making classes, which dwell on techniques and why, instead of being software instructions. I also suggested that he invoice the Coca-Cola company for product placement, since he’s addicted to it and it shows in his pieces. He began to respond painfully, “I afraid I don’t represent their demographic…” before he looked at his giggling 10-year-old daughter and pointed at her saying, “…but YOU do!” She seemed delighted to possibly become Daddy’s Little Income Stream, jumping up and down.

I’ll show a mass of pictures below, which are pretty much self-explanatory. Three occurrences worthy of mention are not shown.

Overlanding videos ranging from shorts to one hour ran all day, every day in the “Theater”, which was a re-purposed auditorium with folding chairs. The fare varied from Read more…

The Indianapolis Canal District

The canal includes a memorial to the USS Indianapolis and the truly massive loss of life resulting more from narcissism and incompetence within the naval administration than the Japanese sub that sunk her.

The canal includes a memorial to the USS Indianapolis and the truly massive loss of life resulting more from narcissism and incompetence within the naval administration than from the Japanese sub that sunk her.

An unusual city in many respects, Indianapolis Indiana has found a way to turn a early-1800s boondoggle into an inviting and pleasant civic space. I’m talking about the Indiana Central Canal, a tiny segment of which I walked while I had the chance weeks ago.

Near one end is a fountain in the center.

Near one end is a fountain in the center.

The ability to transfer goods and materials across states and territories was recognized as A Good Thing from the outset, especially since the United States relied on its agricultural output to generate income from other nations. When the Erie Canal was completed in 1825, it connected New York City (and the Atlantic Ocean) by 363 miles of navigable waterway to the Great Lakes. It became fabulously successful as a commercial venture, cutting Read more…

Shock and Awe – The Green Mamba Jet Car

I'm not sure, either...

I’m not sure, either…

Last weekend, my son and his family made their annual trek to Rockford Speedway in Illinois for a special event. I wasn’t there of course, but I was in spirit. I introduced this event to them when they were young’uns, and I suspect that it will become a tradition as long as a certain one of the feature events hangs in there long enough. Rockford Speedway is a quarter-mile banked oval track, and the “Miller Lite Night of Thrills” featured Doug Rose and the Green Mamba Jet Car, monster trucks, a school bus figure-8, hornets (4-cylinder shitbox oval racing), and “Spec Drags”.

Spec Drags were earlier referred to as Spectacular Drags, and before that, Spectator Drags. Anyone in the stands is eligible to run what they brung, be it a 10-year-old Honda Civic, a full-on 1978 Dodge Charger, a pickup truck complete with bed toolbox, or your grandmother’s Buick. That last one did not go well; Read more…

Days on the Monon Rail Trail

The monon Rail Trail is the Interstate of bike trails.

The Monon Rail Trail is the Interstate of bike trails.

One delight of being stuck in Indianapolis is the Monon Trail, an arrow-straight paved recreational trail running 20 miles, from downtown Indy to the northern suburb of Carmel. As was pointed out to me, that’s pronounced CAR-mel, not that snooty car-MEL, as in California. This post is a composite of three days involving the Monon and/or Carmel. See, the oppressive heat and humidity finally tempered, and I took the Evelo Aurora out for a brief 6-mile spin one day, just to gauge my butt’s condition, or lack of. One of the trailheads is just a mile from where I’m staying, and the main connector involved has a broad shoulder. Low and behold, I could feel the seat by the end of the ride.

Heading south toward the city.

Heading south toward the city.

That particular ride took me south, and there are stopping pull-offs to view the scenery. This was on Read more…

Son of Route 66

Wicker thou goest, I will go.

Wicker thou goest, I will go.

Today’s ride was a short one, just 60 miles, and half of that was on the Interstate instead of Route 66. This is the final installment of the Route 66 series, since the remainder of my pilgrimage will be on an assortment of state highways instead of my previous Interstate commutes to Illinois.

One of the things I wanted to see this day was the Route 66 Auto Museum in Santa Rosa. Five bucks to get in gets you about 30 vehicles to gawk at, plus motorcycles, bicycles and lots of memorabilia. Personally, I was Read more…

Route 66 – Part Too

Route 66 (Fourth St) in Albuquerque!

Route 66 (Fourth St) in Albuquerque!

Albuquerque is actually a pretty nice town. The picture above may look questionable, but apart from the metal bars over every window in the older sections, it’s a nice burg. Anyone else would have found a parking garage near the civic center and seen the sights as well as some kind of sidewalk fair going on, and I noticed many tourists and hangers-out.

From there, Route 66 goes up to Santa Fe, which I intentionally bypassed since I’m not up for the complex GPS combat needed to tackle 66 through it. But even my bypass didn’t work that well and I wound up Read more…

Post Navigation