Marc's Public Blog


All | Aquariums | Arduino | Btrfs | Cars | Cats | Clubbing | Dining | Diving | Electronics | Exercising | Flying | Halloween | Hiking | Linux | Linuxha | Monuments | Museums | Public | Rc | Sciencemuseums | Snow | Solar | Trips




More pages: November 2020 October 2020 September 2020 August 2020 July 2020 June 2020 May 2020 April 2020 March 2020 February 2020 January 2020 December 2019 November 2019 October 2019 September 2019 August 2019 July 2019 June 2019 May 2019 April 2019 March 2019 February 2019 January 2019 December 2018 November 2018 October 2018 September 2018 August 2018 July 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 March 2018 February 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 December 2004 November 2004 October 2004 September 2004 August 2004 July 2004 June 2004 May 2004 April 2004 March 2004 February 2004 January 2004 October 2003 August 2003 July 2003 May 2003 April 2003 March 2003 January 2003 November 2002 October 2002 July 2002 May 2002 April 2002 March 2002 February 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 July 2001 June 2001 May 2001 April 2001 March 2001 February 2001 January 2001 December 2000 November 2000 October 2000 September 2000 August 2000 July 2000 June 2000 April 1999 March 1999 September 1997 August 1997 July 1996 September 1993 July 1991 December 1988 December 1985 January 1980



2020/10/30 Road trip to Dallas via Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas National Parks plus Oklahoma City
π 2020-10-30 01:01 in Trips
Arturo had planned a south trip to escape boredom at home, and nicely invited us to join him. We ended up settling on going to Oklahoma before turning around, and Jennifer and I would go to Dallas to see her parents, while Arturo would return via the south route and we'd use a similar route 5-6 days later after our Dallas visit.

Jennifer thought about using a campervan, which technically seat and sleeps 3, but realistically it's not super comfortable with 3 people in the front, and the 3rd person supposed to sleep on the top would have been a tight fit with the luggage we put there. Luckily Arturo was happy to sleep in his tent, so we used the top for storage (which we ended up needing):

color and decals are not pretty, but oh well
color and decals are not pretty, but oh well

plus side was a fridge, microwave and reasonable kitchen storage (the expresso machine was ours :) )
plus side was a fridge, microwave and reasonable kitchen storage (the expresso machine was ours :) )


luggage on top, and the 2 benches transformed into a space big enough to sleep 2
luggage on top, and the 2 benches transformed into a space big enough to sleep 2

The electrical system was interesting, it had a big solar panel that would sustain the fridge forever, but the 120V system only worked if you were plugged in 120V power. As a result, no microwave or expresso unless you were at an RV camp site. However, I requested a van where the 2nd battery was also fed by the alternator (not all are), and I used a 3000W pure sine wave inverter I conveniently had at home (you need an expensive $200+ model, as the cheaper ones do not make the pure sine wave required for a microwave, or cannot sustain 1500W as required by a microwave too).

RV Parks have these, but for other camping, you need your own power
RV Parks have these, but for other camping, you need your own power

I found a small hole to feed the power cables
I found a small hole to feed the power cables

Now, I had to feed into the panel, which I could only do with a very illegal male-male plug
Now, I had to feed into the panel, which I could only do with a very illegal male-male plug

So I made my own
So I made my own

on the fuse panel, I had to disable battery charging from 120, or that would create a loop, and disable external power as it would destroy my inverter if external power was backfed into it (van plugged into both external and inverter power)
on the fuse panel, I had to disable battery charging from 120, or that would create a loop, and disable external power as it would destroy my inverter if external power was backfed into it (van plugged into both external and inverter power)

I added my own battery monitoring to check the inverter draw (up to 130A or so)
I added my own battery monitoring to check the inverter draw (up to 130A or so)

and we were ready for the trip...

Day 00: 8H drive to Kelso Dunes

The trip started with a long drive to Kelso Dunes. We left around 09:00 and stopped at Harris Ranch for some reasonable beef (fine to stop, but not special enough to go there just for that). We ordered takeout and found outside tables:



During the drive, we noticed that Mohave spaceport had lots of planes parked, probably a good amount of 737 Max that have been grounded:


lots of trains on the way
lots of trains on the way

And finally we made it to Kelso Dunes just around sunset:





Jennifer made dinner for us, which we enjoyed in the van (dispersed camping)
Jennifer made dinner for us, which we enjoyed in the van (dispersed camping)

Interestingly, there was a small burning man gathering there:




Day 01: Kelso Dunes to Sedona

We got up with sunrise, and went to climb the dunes:


we wondered what would fit in there
we wondered what would fit in there







going down was faster :)
going down was faster :)

We then drove towards Sedona. We did the Thumb Butte Trail in Prescott. Nothing to write home about, but a nice stop. We did a sunset hike:







Day 02: Sedona: Montezuma Castle, Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park, Red Rocks, Sedona Airport Viewpoints, Secret Mountain Brins Mesa Hike, Upper Downtown Sedona

Sedona had lots to do and see, but outside of what was closed due to covid, we got to see the highlights. We started with Montezuma Castle which opened at 08:00. Natives (before the American Indians) lived there with ladders between the levels, and the current thinking is that they were wiped out by the apache american indians (although it could also have been the spanish):



lovely woodpecker
lovely woodpecker


multiple birds enjoying the berries in the trees
multiple birds enjoying the berries in the trees

Then, we went to the Red Rocks visitor center:






Nearby, the chapel of the holy cross in the rocks, is definitely unique:





Great views from there:







After that, we went to the Buddhist Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park:





The Airport Lookout had great views:





Arturo then found a hike at Secret mountain Brins Mesa:





lovely colored clouds
lovely colored clouds

We then had a bit of time in Upper Downtown Sedona and went back to the airport viewpoint for sunset:







And that was it for our day in Sedona.

Day 03: Arizona Meteor Crater Natural Landmark & Petrified Forest NP

Day #3 was a long drive to Albuquerque, so we broke it down by stopping by Meteor Crater Natural Landmark which is the best preserved crater in the US.






early scientists dug tunnels to try and find the burried meteorite, but in fact it was pulverized by the impact
early scientists dug tunnels to try and find the burried meteorite, but in fact it was pulverized by the impact


Next was Petrified Forest NP which was quite impressive:







lovely colorful lizard
lovely colorful lizard











The area also had beautiful hills and colors:




Soo nice...
Soo nice...







They even had petroglyphs:



After a few more viewpoints, we left the park a bit early to get to ABQ. Great park, we could have spent more time there:


Day 04-05: Texas Palo Duro Canyon State Park

After AZ, we drove through New Mexico quickly (which didn't want tourists because of covid), we reached Texas where we spent 2 half days in Texas Palo Duro Canyon State Park:


Cadillac Ranch on the side of route 66 was a fun stop:





Welcome to texas:


Then we finally arrived at Texas Palo Duro Canyon State Park, the local little grand canyon:





We had a bit less than 2H for a hike on lighthouse trail, so we went for it:







we then free climbed the adjacent peak:
we then free climbed the adjacent peak:

it was not a tall climb, but it was technical
it was not a tall climb, but it was technical

picture from the very top
picture from the very top

coming down wasn't that easy either
coming down wasn't that easy either

we then raced daylight back to the car
we then raced daylight back to the car




We then slept in our campervan and went for another hike the next morning (which in hindsight, was redundant with the one from the previous day):





the rocks had salt in them
the rocks had salt in them


beach box, end of the 4.2 mile hike
beach box, end of the 4.2 mile hike





With the sun coming out, snakes started getting out. First a small one that went away and let us pass. Later a rattlesnake that got pissed off and didn't leave the trail. We had to find a complicated path around it as it was guarding a bridge that crossed a small ravine:




After getting back to the parking lot, it was time to drive to Oklahoma City with a few stops along route 66:





my cross is bigger than yours!
my cross is bigger than yours!

another route 66 stop:





Day 06-07: Oklahoma City

The last stop of trip was Oklahoma City, which had some nice museums, including the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum to recount the federal building bombing that happened in 1995 and honor the dead. This is what we did on the first day:







We then had a quick drive through town to the National Cowboy Western Museum:




The National Cowboy Western Museum was quite good (see page):


Next was the OKC science museum which was better than expected (see page):


By 17:00, the day was over (all museums closed), so we drove by the infantry museum just next door and saw a few things through the fence:




And we arrived just in time at the Centennial Land Run Monument at sunset. Awesome!










The next morning we went to the Museum of Osteology (see post):


After that, it was time to drive to Texas and end our trip in Dallas. We then parted ways with Arturo who continued the trip back home, while we went to see Jennifer's parents:


2020/10/19 Mt Hermon Redwood Canopy Tour and Henry Cowell Redwoods
π 2020-10-19 01:01 in Hiking
It had been a long time since I had Mt Hermon Redwood Canopy Tour:



We got a quick tour to use the safety equipment:



Then we went for the course, taking the hardest elements:









this was the hardest if you didn't cheat with the safety cable
this was the hardest if you didn't cheat with the safety cable


ok, this one I was not able to do without help from the safety cable
ok, this one I was not able to do without help from the safety cable


zipline on the way out
zipline on the way out

After the tree course, we went to the nearby Henry Cowell Redwoods state park. The plan was to have lunch and go swim in the garden of eden, but we ended up going for a "quick hike", that took a few hours due to terrain and maps that didn't match reality:



there is a redwoods steam train, we took its bridge across the river
there is a redwoods steam train, we took its bridge across the river

we then walked down to the river for lunch
we then walked down to the river for lunch


I guess scouts go and practise in the area
I guess scouts go and practise in the area

unfortunately I followed a non track that matched the map and got us to some poison oak
unfortunately I followed a non track that matched the map and got us to some poison oak

the trail maps was incomplete and at times, just a suggestion
the trail maps was incomplete and at times, just a suggestion

We got to the river a few times, and did a dicey river crossing that was not indicated on the map:


the river had crayfish
the river had crayfish



We then had to hike up to the train tracks, which turned out to be th trail:




After way longer than planned, we finally got to garden of eden, although by then it was a bit late and cold to go in the water:



So, we hiked out and had a nice drive back through hwy9 and bear creek road, with sunset on the way:





2020/10/14 Biking Los Altos Hills
π 2020-10-14 01:01 in Exercising
Jennifer and I went for a bike ride that was a bit more involved, this time the lock we went to discover was far Los Altos Hills between the freeway and the hills. Lots of up and downs... (actually my GPS said we only did 24 miles in 7h, but we went up 3000ft)

We started by Rancho San Antonio:



a bunch of few turkeys
a bunch of few turkeys

looking for prey
looking for prey

nice colors
nice colors




The hills are hilly, lots of up biking (or walking), with views:




For reasons unknown, we found petrified trees on the side of the road:





More nice views:


did I mention uphill a lot?
did I mention uphill a lot?


Once we got to the top of Olive Tree Lane, where I thought from the map, we could connect to Chamise Trail, but no, the residents put a gate to stop people from going to a public road to a public trail. I had to find a pretty painful way around the fence, through the brush:


took 15mn to get around
took 15mn to get around

this doesn't show how filled with dirt and leaves, I got
this doesn't show how filled with dirt and leaves, I got

We then exited the park towards Los Altos Hills and a nice little private lake they don't like to share with others :)





lots of nice connecting paths between the streets in that area, very nice
lots of nice connecting paths between the streets in that area, very nice

More houses:




rich kids get their own private playground
rich kids get their own private playground

deer in your backyard (both good and bad)
deer in your backyard (both good and bad)

you can camp in your own yard
you can camp in your own yard

toy car
toy car


Another connecting path:


nice view of the private lake
nice view of the private lake


we then took another connecting path to another path along 280, and back out to civilization
we then took another connecting path to another path along 280, and back out to civilization

See more images for Biking Los Altos Hills
2020/10/11 Slope Soaring at Los Banos Creek Reservoir with Arnaud
π 2020-10-11 01:01 in Rc
Arnaud invited me to join him for RC flying at Los Banos for slope soaring. Apparently, there is nothing closer for electric RC planes (they are banned in the East Bay on Coyote Hills and the mission peak launch site). According to this page, non motorized RC is allowed in Coyote Hills Regional Park and Mission Peak Regional Preserve in Fremont, and Del Valle Regional Park in Livermore.

It was definitely interesting to try ridge lift. With the right wind, I was able to fly one of my planes without any power.

hwy 5
hwy 5




I brought a few toys, including motor gliders I got for cheap:




Arnaud had bigger toys:





next size up
next size up





Arnaud had dolly for ground takeoffs:




This was a maiden (for me) of an old wooden glider I turned into a motor glider (was difficult actually). I just slapped a camera on top to record the result. The soaring was fine, unfortunately the air brakes didn't work well and caused the plane to stall and crash on landing (the aircraft was not trimmed for its first flight, which is why the nose went up and down a lot until I got that fixed).

I finished the day with my fully decked Sky Eye FPV plane to survey the area, and fly to hwy 5 and one of the canals used to water crops along hwy 5.

This was fun, although I'd love to find a closer place. A few places to check out: - https://www.google.com/maps/@37.4134084,-121.7871644,3a,75y,210.47h,52.12t/data=!3m9!1e1!3m7!1sYevkhkfAKEaiPFvwgGI02Q!2e0!7i16384!8i8192!9m2!1b1!2i56!5m1!1e4 - https://www.google.com/maps/@37.4145538,-121.8269601,3a,15y,233.87h,82.87t/data=!3m10!1e1!3m8!1sAF1QipPpMzTnlYMksnrJHmo80mxUXCtGS2diI91MAzE1!2e10!3e11!7i11000!8i5500!9m2!1b1!2i58 - https://www.google.com/maps/@37.4138967,-121.8267591,3a,75y,304.87h,88.99t/data=!3m10!1e1!3m8!1sAF1QipPcynTa7tunedeysk8SkMg-3mSkgS31P5bNTIpg!2e10!3e11!7i11000!8i5500!9m2!1b1!2i58 - https://www.google.com/maps/@37.4135718,-121.826594,3a,75y,256.37h,90.8t/data=!3m8!1e1!3m6!1sAF1QipOVrHSbwEn-v3Dp_99t0PhuQdcqIVjsD_KoyN9l!2e10!3e11!6shttps:%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2Fp%2FAF1QipOVrHSbwEn-v3Dp_99t0PhuQdcqIVjsD_KoyN9l%3Dw203-h100-k-no-pi-2.21509-ya270.38135-ro0.111932315-fo100!7i11000!8i5500

2020/10/02 Hiking Thunder Mountain at Kirkwood
π 2020-10-02 01:01 in Hiking, Snow, Trips
To finish our trip through Utah and Nevada, we drove through Kirkwood to see it during the summer:

never seen the area outside of the snow season, pretty trees
never seen the area outside of the snow season, pretty trees


I've only ever seen caples lake when it was frozen
I've only ever seen caples lake when it was frozen

Then, we went to check out kirkwood. This must have been the lowest snow coverage day I've seen at kirkwood :)



the wall
the wall


first chair!
first chair!

which button do I push? :)
which button do I push? :)

it was fun to see the magic carpets. They can be raised as the snow level goes higher
it was fun to see the magic carpets. They can be raised as the snow level goes higher

the 'temporary' lodges
the 'temporary' lodges

still stocked
still stocked

After going around KW a bit, we went around Carson Spur:

avanlache prevention gates and avalanche triggering devices when the road needs to be cleaned
avanlache prevention gates and avalanche triggering devices when the road needs to be cleaned

After parking the car, we hiked up from Carson Spur to Thunder Mountain, and back down to Silver Lake/Kit Carson. It was a pretty easy hike up to Thunder Mountain with great views of kirkwood, Caples Lake, top of Cornice lift, and Silver Lake.

nice to see the avalanche gates from so close
nice to see the avalanche gates from so close


these trigger the slides for avalanche safety on Carson Spur
these trigger the slides for avalanche safety on Carson Spur



the smaller kirkwood lake
the smaller kirkwood lake

multiple big volcanic rocks
multiple big volcanic rocks






damn, I never hiked that far with my snowboard :)
damn, I never hiked that far with my snowboard :)

same here, that's a pretty far hike from sentinal bowl
same here, that's a pretty far hike from sentinal bowl


getting closer to sentinel bowl/cornice lift
getting closer to sentinel bowl/cornice lift




we made it to the top of thunder mountain, honestly it was an easy hike
we made it to the top of thunder mountain, honestly it was an easy hike

nice view of silver lake
nice view of silver lake


We split off with Arturo, he went back to the car, and we continued the other way towards cornice and silver lake:


looks a bit rocky, probably not a big deal that I forgot to bring my snowboard
looks a bit rocky, probably not a big deal that I forgot to bring my snowboard

a sign frozen in time, left as is on the wretched day of March 14th when they closed
a sign frozen in time, left as is on the wretched day of March 14th when they closed


path to sentinel bowl
path to sentinel bowl

woohoo, I'm a lift operator now :)
woohoo, I'm a lift operator now :)

never went down this way, but it was the way back to our path
never went down this way, but it was the way back to our path




kit carson
kit carson

silver lake
silver lake

From there, Arturo met us on the road, and we drove home to end our 11 day trip.

2020/10/01 Ely Nevada Northern Railway Museum
π 2020-10-01 01:01 in Sciencemuseums
While on US-50, the loniest road in america, we stopped at the star attraction (the remaining ones were really B or C), the Ely Nevada Northern Railway Museum. It is in no way one of the best train museums I've seen (especially after SCMAGLEV and Railway Park south of Nagoya, or the one in York), but it was still an enjoyable stop. Those trains used to go to a nearby copper mine, from steam to diesel-electric:











found a lovely little kitten
found a lovely little kitten

once a day during that time of the season, a train takes passengers to the mine
once a day during that time of the season, a train takes passengers to the mine

And that was it for Ely Nevada Northern Railway Museum, it was time to get back on the road...


More pages: November 2020 October 2020 September 2020 August 2020 July 2020 June 2020 May 2020 April 2020 March 2020 February 2020 January 2020 December 2019 November 2019 October 2019 September 2019 August 2019 July 2019 June 2019 May 2019 April 2019 March 2019 February 2019 January 2019 December 2018 November 2018 October 2018 September 2018 August 2018 July 2018 June 2018 May 2018 April 2018 March 2018 February 2018 January 2018 December 2017 November 2017 October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 May 2017 April 2017 March 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 November 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 March 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 November 2015 October 2015 September 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 September 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 December 2004 November 2004 October 2004 September 2004 August 2004 July 2004 June 2004 May 2004 April 2004 March 2004 February 2004 January 2004 October 2003 August 2003 July 2003 May 2003 April 2003 March 2003 January 2003 November 2002 October 2002 July 2002 May 2002 April 2002 March 2002 February 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 July 2001 June 2001 May 2001 April 2001 March 2001 February 2001 January 2001 December 2000 November 2000 October 2000 September 2000 August 2000 July 2000 June 2000 April 1999 March 1999 September 1997 August 1997 July 1996 September 1993 July 1991 December 1988 December 1985 January 1980

Contact Email