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We were invited to join
our dear friends Kai and Tina at their New Year's party in the
desert. Our usual location was close to the Borrego Sink
and had plenty of trails for riding our quads, motorcycles and
The photos below are what we saw.
The week before the trip
the moon was nearly full. I had recently purchased a
used 300mm Canon lens with an obsolete mounting system
(FD). I had also found an adapter to allow use the FD lenses on my Olympus camera.
Above is the result. Not too shabby for a fully
manual lens. The photo above was shot from my side
yard on a clear night.
End of the year activities
always include family and Jessica came over to help Kathleen
with cooking. They look so cute in their chef's
and the food was good too.
Nice sunsets are a rarity in San Diego but
while the girls were cooking I happened to look outside and
noticed a nice sunset in progress.
As the sun continued to
set, the colors deepened to purples and blues.
We packed and left for
Borrego and on our first night there the moon was full.
Using the same Canon 300mm FD lens, I got the shot
above. It is interesting to note that a partial moon
usually shows more detail than the full moon due to the
uniform lighting. The detail of the craters are only
visible when they are have shadows.
Next morning our buddy
Mark shows up with his 1300L. Sadly, Mark has sold this
truck and was driving it for the last time on this
outing. This truck is a veteran of multiple
Altar Desert and Baja trips.
owner of Mark's truck intends to convert it into an expedition
We borrowed Dan's Polaris Rzr side-by-side
buggies again. These are fast and very fun.
Our buddy Jay Couch came
to join us from Denver with his U140 camper. The camper
compartment on the back is a Unimog 404 radio box. These
enclosures are robust and are the correct size.
This mog had seen duty as
a BLM brush fire rig.
The nights were cold and
we had rain that turned into snow on the high peaks
surrounding our camp. Toro Peak in the Santa Rosa
range is over 8,000 feet and got a nice dusting of snow.
Just to the north of our
camp in the sand hills is a reminder that one must be careful
when doing off-road sports.
With the exception of one
person, we had the whole area to ourselves.
Kai's son Parker rides
Jay's Rokon 2wd motorcycle. This is a very odd machine.
We brought our quads on
this trip but Kathleen did not ride because she was recovering
from a recent surgery.
Not all of the Rzr drivers
were of equal skill.
One of the guys ran this Rzr into a sand bank and de-beaded
The solution is to use the
winch on the other Rzr to tip the machine to allow a tire
Tipping with the winch
cable eliminates the need for a jack and makes for easy tire
Kai and Carl easily
changed the tire. The old tire is visible on the hill
with the kids.
When we showed up at the
campsite there was a homeless fellow camped close
by. He had his dog with him and since it was cold at
night, he attempted to get some sleep while it was warm
during the day.
He carried his stuff on
a cart and constructed a fire reflector out of discarded
Mark heads back home through the
Jay's U140 with radio
box makes a reasonable camping rig. The truck is very
capable and will easily hold 65mph on the highway.
Jay was having fuel
delivery issues so he elected to change the fuel
filter. That resolved the problem. Like Thor (my
1017A), you have to tilt the cab to access the fuel filter.
I had recently purchased
a very wide angle fish-eye lens for my little Olympus camera
and tested it for the first time with a shot of the
stars. The 30 second exposure above shows not only
stars, but I captured a shooting star as well. The
body at the bottom of the photo is my shadow from the
campfire projected on the nearby bushes.
Pointing the camera to
the north, I took a 120 second exposure and was able to see
the Milky Way. A two minute exposure shows slurring
due to the motion of the stars. This is visible in the
upper right of the photo above.
A attempted to capture
star trails but discovered after uploading the photos to my
laptop that the remote control unit was incorrectly
programmed resulting in spaces in the trails. The
bright trail at the lower right is another shooting
star. Light trails from 2 planes are also
visible. The photo above is a composite of 10 4-minute
exposures superimposed using a process called "stacking".
Once I discovered the
programming issue with the remote control unit, I changed
the program and re-setup the camera for another
exposure. But, during the exposure sequence the clouds
were starting to cover the sky and the moon had risen
providing almost-daytime lighting for this stack of 15
4-minute exposures. Note the light trail from a plane
about 1/4 of the way from the left edge.
We always enjoy our camps
at the Borrego Sink
area. We call the location "El Dumpo" because it is
close to the Borrego landfill.
But, the good news is that the landfill is far enough
away to not have a downside. This time the weather was just
OK. We had clouds and rain on several nights and
it was cold, but there was really no wind.
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