High Mountain Doings

From 8200 feet along one side of the Upper Arkansas River Valley in central Colorado, my blog is about many things: travel including river and bicycle trips, and other experiences as well. The focus is on photography, not lots of text.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Blog Problems

There have been problems with this blog, and I'm not pleased.

First, if I just type into the blog window, the font often looks like gibberish to the viewer. More particularly, it comes across in Dingbat font. Interestingly, if the viewer copies and pastes it into some other program, readability returns! But this is not convenient.

So, I've been typing all subsequent entries in Wordpad, then copying and pasting what I've written into the blog window. This works, but is also inconvenient.

Second, several of my family and friends report that they cannot view my blog via the regular www..blogspot.com route. I've told them to go to www.blogger.com and manually type in tomrampton as the name of the blog. This succeeds, but should not be necessary.

I hope this is one of the scheduled maintenance problems that will be addressed tonight. We shall see. If not addressed, I will have to consider where I want my new blog to reside.

Weekend Away

Got back Sunday afternoon from the Baca Grande, Colorado. On Saturday, my girlfriend and I went to a program presented orally by a visual artist. The artist was soft spoken and I couldn't catch all of what she said--but her paintings that were on display were superb!

My Toyota Prius continues to run very well. But I don't understand the fuel gauge. The "E" for empty began to flash a few miles south of Villa Grove, CO, and I stopped there to refuel. It took 8.5 gallons to fill the 11.X gallon tank. It had been about 320 miles from my last fill up, and I'm thinking 300 miles is about as far as I want to go. I calculated just over 42 mpg, which is about what other people report getting on the highway.

I do a similar gasoline gauge check for any new or used car I buy. It's very instructive, and particularly so on the Prius since the fuel gauge is so non-linear. It flashed empty today while there were about 3 gallons left in the tank. I'm getting the impression that Toyota really, really doesn't want you to drive a Prius (on the battery) when there's no fuel to run the engine! In the manual, it says that severe damage will result from doing that.

I did a series of photographs for a friend who also lives in the Baca Grande. She's doing a book and needed photos of herself doing some of the exercises that she's written about. These were just a few of the ones we did about a month ago, in which there was a unfortuate expression or something like that.

All in all, a very good and relaxing weekend.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

It's Saturday now, but I'm thinking back to Friday.

Friday was a good day. I got up wanting to go cross country skiing. So, late in the morning, I drove up to the Old Monarch Pass road about a mile short of Highway 50's Monarch Pass summit. I didn't know how well the Prius would handle snow on the parking area, so I parked with some care. There would be no problem later. The Prius sure does climb mountains well!

Only skied for about 20 minutes, but it felt really great. The route through the deep snow which lies at angles against the tree trunks is very nice. I could have gone on for another mile or two, but not very many others were there and nobody knew where I was. So I made it short.

I drove about a mile down the mountain to the Monarch Ski Area, where Anrahyah was surprised to see me! Having eaten already, she had a few spoonfuls of my chili and we had a pleasant talk. She was there because her charter school goes skiing every Friday. It's a fine day when I can go skiing and also have lunch with my girlfriend!

Home again, I fit together a bunch of digital topo maps into one of three huge map files. From this, I'll extract the map files that will become map pages in Arkansas River Guide. Fitting these individual digital quadrangles together is exacting Photoshop work (the edges don't exactly match), and you end up with as many layers as you had quadrangle maps. I saved that image (which was about 2.5 GB), then flattened the layers and saved it again. Then I backed it up--not gonna have to do this work twice!

Still no snow here on the valley floor. But the Arkansas drainage is in good shape. Drive over one of the passes north of Leadville, and the snow is very impressive!Drive south or southwest from here, and it's a much different story. The San Juan Mountains in SW Colorado are really hurting and so, therefore, will be the San Juan River. I have a river trip permit application in for that river, in June.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Repost of Saturday's Entry

Many people have had trouble with my very first entry, made on Saturday evening, January 28. It comes out as Dingbats text unless it's pasted into some other program--like this Wordpad that I'm using right now. When I made that first post, I typed it directly into the window at blogger.com. Subsequent posts were composed in Wordpad, and then pasted in. I'm going to reenter that first post of mine, and I'm using Wordpad to help do it.


Saturday's post.....

A new car is a new adventure. This one in particular. I drove down out of the mountains to Colorado Springs today and picked up a 2004 Toyota Prius from AAA Autosource, which is a service that finds and buys cars for AAA members. Red with 28,000 miles, the normal accessories, and the GPS navigation system.

I'd wanted a Prius for a while, whether it saves much money or not. After the cost of purchase, it won't for a while although I have lots of driving to do this year. But the technology of the thing is fascinating and I'm not one who steps back from change. The instrumentation inside the car is stupendous! I don't yet know how to use most of it.

There's a display screen in the upper middle of the dash, where one function graphically displays real time power usage. Consider the wheels--is power going to them, or coming from them? The electric motor acts as a generator during coasting or braking, and electricity therefrom is sent right back into the "power battery." Also, the electric motor operates in concert with a smallish gasoline engine, both in accordance with second
by second instructions from an onboard computer. The power battery is shown--sometimes with a good charge but sometimes quite low depending, in this part of Colorado, on the terrain

This flow of power from one device to another is what gets displayed on the screen. Lines with arrowheads on them appear, disappear, or reform in the other direction, depending on what's happening within Toyota's "Hybrid System" at the moment. It's all very fascinating to watch.

The steering of the Prius isn't quite as smooth and light of touch as the steering on my 1998 Subaru Impreza, which I just sold to my girlfriend. This is probably because of the Prius' front wheel drive. The power seemed to surge a little, but this was probably just my inexperience with the car. All in all, Prius is a fine vehicle. I'm glad I bought one.

More another day, about the Prius' amazing GPS navigation system. And there's much else to learn and report about this groundbreaking car.

On Sunday, my girlfriend and I will be driving over to Colorado Springs to bring my truck home. Hey, this is Sunday already! I'd better go get some sleep.