Author Topic: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...  (Read 286 times)

gairiloocon

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Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2018, 04:53:48 AM »
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I would definitely put one of the really big star parties on the agenda for one trip, like Texas or Okie-Tex, both a two day drive for you. I you had the hauling
capacity that would also be agreat way to sell your surplus gear, with a nice captive audience for a week or more.

I don't mind a 2-day drive at all. But 2 13-14 hour days behind the wheel is my limit. Beyond that and driving time cuts too much into vacation activity time. The swap meet angle is interesting too. But generally I abhor large public star parties, at least for observing. I find I never get anything done and end up jawing with neighbors all night.

I also really like Texas - at least the parts I've spent time in (Austin and San Antonio). I'm also a dyed-in-the-wool Robert E. Howard fan, and he was very much a product of his Texas upbringing in a certain era. I'm sure there are ancient cultural and/or paleontological sites in the state. I just have no idea where they are.

Regards,

Jim

Gary Allen

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Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2018, 08:23:37 AM »
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I don't remember if you have ever been to the Southern Hemisphere. If not, I second Alex's recommendation of going there, despite the problems of bringing equipment. Exploring a whole new third of the sky -- arguably the best third! -- is like being a kid in a candy shop. You would find far more to do in Chile with a 4-inch refractor than anywhere in the U.S. with a 20-inch scope.

I have indeed. I've observed from both Tasmania and the Australian Outback. I second the notion. Their showcases are bigger and brighter on the underside of the world. I had only binoculars personally though mooched telescope time off of locals. The binoculars bested anything I'd see from my backyard at home with my then biggest telescope (a 12-incher).

But I'm sticking with driving-only options at this stage, no more than two 13-14 hour days behind the wheel going and coming from teh San Fran Bay Area. That rules out Belize as well as the Southern Hemisphere. I do prefer going south to going north, though, so Mexico and the southwest seem like ripe regions for observing and the kinds of daytime activities I prefer.

Here's a little more color on the trips. On the "solo" trip, it probably won't be solo. My hiking and trekking buddy, Jeff Cooke, will likely be my traveling companion. Jeff was the only person stupid...er...um...inspired enough to walk across a big swath of rural England with me a couple of summers ago. Not even my family would consider it. That's a true friend.

But Jeff has a 15" Dob. Dobs eat up a a lot fo cargo space in the vehicle and we'll need to carry a lot of non-astronomy things (food, water and spare fuel for the truck) that also tend to consume cargo space. I'd like to have at least one overnight out and back backpacking session during the trip. So what I am thinking is this. Jeff has long wanted to get into Milky Way scaping but lacks a driven mount. I would like to update my Nextsar SE mount to an Evolution mount, and using an L-bracket mounting arm, a GOTO alt-az mount works pretty well for wide angle Milky way imaging. What I am thinking of doing is purchasing two identical 8" Nexstar Evolution scopes and mounts for the trip. They don't take up much space, 8" is a lot of aperture under the best skies, Jeff could pursue his imaging aspirations, and I'd get my GOTO alt-az catadioptric mount refreshed. Jeff could sell his C8 OTA after the trip (he likes aperture) and use the proceeds to further his imaging interests using the mount. I would likely swap the stock tripod for the beefier CPC tripod so that I could adapt my C9.25 Edge HD to the mount (by swapping the D-series rail for a V-series rail.

So for one of the trips at least, figure 8" of aperture, two adevnturers, and a willingness to stray far away from services (prepared food, water sources, groceries, fuel stops, etc.). The other trip would be more of an organized, multi-attendee affair. The OFLI folk are hardy, but not quite crazy in a good way like Jeff and I are. They're merely "Imbalanced". So suggestions for off the beaten path destinations for a big group are also welcome.

Regards,

Jim

Nick Ellis

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Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2018, 09:42:13 PM »
Okay one other idea. For the bigger group trip, I would like to have a classical "symposium". In Hellenic culture a symposium was really a wine party with a structured agenda for discussion. The wine, however, was cut with water. The chief of ceremonies would decide what concenrtation and type of wine was most fitting for a given topic of discourse. Instead of sitting around jawing about train of consciousness things over beers, it might be fun to do something out of the ordinary.

The ancients were serious about their symposium drinking, balncing sobriety and induced loquaciousness - note that you couldn't put the cup down until it was empty, by design:



Regards,

Jim

Mike Partoza

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Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2018, 03:53:05 AM »
There is this interesting place for San Pedro Martir ... http://www.discoverb...dark-skies-inn/

And yes, La Sierra de San Francisco are the mountains in El Vizcaíno Biosphere Reserve. Thanks, couldn't remember the name.

rioclamabik

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Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2018, 05:41:42 PM »
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I would recommend heading to Northern AZ.

My wife and I went on a Mission trip to the Navajo Reservation. The stars were amazing on the reservation. A couple different location destinations i'd suggest are the Little Painted Desert and Canyon DeChellyhttps://www.nps.gov/cach/index.htm
Canyon DeChelly also has cliff dwellings as well as wall paintings to explore

There's a lot of open land there. There's also the Little Painted Desert just outside Winslow https://www.tripadvi...ow_Arizona.html

For the Little Painted Desert I do not recall any parking lot lights and it looked like a perfect place to set up a telescope in the parking lot

Yes Canyon de Chelly looks awesome, if a little "controlled" (I prefer being trusted to being accompanied on my archeological explorations), I have also been eyeing Navajo National Monument. They have a single day, permit only, 17-hour round trip slog to the best preserved cliff dwelling, Keet Seel, that has on my bucket list for a very long time.

I wonder also if the gas extraction and fracking operations in the region have changed the sky quality in the Painted Desert area?

Regards,

Jim

asexdalo

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Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2018, 03:17:32 PM »
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Quote

I would recommend heading to Northern AZ.

My wife and I went on a Mission trip to the Navajo Reservation. The stars were amazing on the reservation. A couple different location destinations i'd suggest are the Little Painted Desert and Canyon DeChellyhttps://www.nps.gov/cach/index.htm
Canyon DeChelly also has cliff dwellings as well as wall paintings to explore

There's a lot of open land there. There's also the Little Painted Desert just outside Winslow https://www.tripadvi...ow_Arizona.html

For the Little Painted Desert I do not recall any parking lot lights and it looked like a perfect place to set up a telescope in the parking lot


There is not much camping on the Navajo reservation. My favorite place to camp is the Canyon View Campground at the Navajo National Monument. It's free, it's at about 7300 feet and there is very little light pollution.
I think though that Jim is looking for something more exotic...

Jon
Navajo National Monument is plenty exotic for me, if I can manage the Keet Seel hike.

One of the "parks" in that general region also has a famous two-lion sculpture (a volcanic tuffa shaped by ancestral people into two, facing, reclined mountain lions. It must be on Navajo Nation land, as it is a Hopi rite of passage pilgrimage site and I know there have been frictions between the Navajo and Hopi over the site. I also read that at some point in the past gringos damaged the site by shooting the sculptures with small caliber firearms. We brought a special breed of stupid with us in the great westward Manifest Destiny expansion from the colonies.

Regards,

Jim

bardeperdi

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Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2018, 10:02:33 PM »
We got archeology at Okie-Tex as well:

http://onter.net/bib...lehrburger3.pdf

Most years there are guided daytime tours here.

Cesar Taylor

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Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #22 on: January 30, 2018, 06:48:18 AM »
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We got archeology at Okie-Tex as well:

http://onter.net/bib...lehrburger3.pdf

Most years there are guided daytime tours here.


I think it's that 17 mile hike to Keet Seel that also interests Jim.  This is the Canyon..

Jon


scolposnimbworr

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Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2018, 07:19:33 AM »
That looks like the Flintstone's drive in theater....nice view.

piesilila

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Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2018, 01:54:34 PM »
Thanks folks.

Here's a possible itinerary:

Petaluma-Moab-Canyonlands-Natural Bridges-Hovenweep-Mesa Verde-Chimney Rock-Bandelier-El Malpais-Navajo National Monument-Winslow-Petaluma.

Some destinations would be day or half-day trips (Chimney Rock, Bandelier, Natural Bridges). The rest would be 1-2 day stay-overs.

The trip would start and end with 1 night motel stays, and the rest would be camping. 1 night in Canyonlands, 2 nights in Hovenweep (for the New Moon), 1 night in Mesa Verde, 1 night in El Malpais, 1 night in Navajo Nat'l Monument.

I figure finishing the adventure with the 17-miler to Keet Seel and back would be the cherry on top. That and a fine meal at the Turquoise Room in Winslow.

- Jim

Clyde Duke

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Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2018, 01:55:16 PM »
Hey Jim,

I love traveling to the States but the desert southwest is probably my favourite destination. I've travelled there several times, including twice by car, which from my home takes 3 - 12 hour days, and there were 2 passengers and an 18 inch truss DOB tucked away too. Watching the Rockies rise out of the heat haze is worth every mile. Even the roads themselves are beautiful, made of crushed granite, like strips of bubble gum. At home, when I see a town on the road ahead, it means I'm already there; in the desert, it means there's time to listen to another Waylon Jennings CD.

Tropic and Bluff UT are terrific little towns - small but with the added bonus of harbouring a decent cup of coffee. Moab is big and bright and Arches can be very busy but both are very much worth visiting. When possible, I visit the National Parks early, arriving before daybreak, not just because the light is fantastic, but because the trails and parking lots are almost deserted, and there is so much wildlife and birds active and all around. The desert is so noisy! Zion is aptly named and there are so many ways to see it; Bryce is higher and colder and never fails to impress upon me the vicissitudes of mountain weather. Some incredible hikes there. And endless skies at night.

Years ago, I purchased topographic maps from the USGS for several western states, (scale 1:500,000). I took roads with lots of contours, and almost always I was guaranteed interesting terrain - if terrain is interesting to you. These maps also show the location of rock paintings along the road - some I found, others I did not. It's the little serendipitous finds that so often make the day a memorable one. There are so few roads that I think every road in each state is mapped. When I drove through the Garden of the Gods near Bluff a couple of years ago, the road was passable, but not as good as in 1994. Not a soul on the entire 21 miles - just massive rock formations that resembled women in petticoats under that sheltering sky.

Natural Bridges is fantastic and appeals to the fluvial geomorphologist in me, as the terrain is a product of river erosion. The drive out to see the Gooseneck meander on the San Juan River was remarkable as well, where the power of water and time are laid out quite plainly.

Anyway, a few thoughts...

James Przystup

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Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2018, 02:13:34 PM »
Jim:

I was going to recommend the restaurant at inn at Tsegi Canyon, it's between Kayenta and the turn off to the Navajo National Monument at Black Mesa.. A good place to get Fry Bread.. But I was Googled it and found it that it had burned down last November. 

Probably the best Fry Bread is at turn off to Gouldings off the 163. There's a wide spot in the road where people setup and sell stuff. There's a guy with a truck and towing a trailer, they BBQ stuff and make Fry Bread. Only there two or three days a week. The Pulled Pork with Fry Bread is amazing.

Jon

latorika

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Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2018, 09:11:40 PM »
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Jim:

I was going to recommend the restaurant at inn at Tsegi Canyon, it's between Kayenta and the turn off to the Navajo National Monument at Black Mesa.. A good place to get Fry Bread.. But I was Googled it and found it that it had burned down last November. 

Probably the best Fry Bread is at turn off to Gouldings off the 163. There's a wide spot in the road where people setup and sell stuff. There's a guy with a truck and towing a trailer, they BBQ stuff and make Fry Bread. Only there two or three days a week. The Pulled Pork with Fry Bread is amazing.

Jon

Ahéhee' Tʼáá íiyisíí ahéheeʼ, Jon!
- Jim

witchcycsuti

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Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2018, 03:35:01 AM »
Yes, Chile! But since you can't drive there... AZ, NM, CO & UT. I've camped there several times -- very dark skies & lots of daytime activities within 250 mile radius of the 4 corners... TexOkie Star Party, Big Bend Star Party, Arches Nat'l Park star party. Enjoy the Dark!

alnepensa

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Re: Next year (anytime after April 2018) I'll have 6-weeks off...
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2018, 10:55:09 AM »
if not the Southern Hemisphere,
I would suggest touring the National Parks for 5 weeks,
maybe throwing in a star party or two
then home and rest for the last week.

edj