Our Slog (Ships Log) with a Satelite View
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Eric & Sherrell
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Posted on Tuesday Jun 12, 2012
While on the boat we see a lot of documentaries which helps keep us informed on the bigger issues going on in the world and the US. We've seen some good PBS programs as well and they are all viewable on-line. So I thought I would post a "collage of controversies" that contain the most thought provoking material out of the many hours we've seen. They run the full spectrum of all things you don't talk about at dinner parties: politics, taxes, religion, and now health care.
Wiki Leaks Decrypted Video (April 2010) In 2007 when a Reuter's photographer's camera is mistaken for an RPG, the military responded in a cold video game like fashion killing 11 people (including 2 journalists). If the initial attack wasn't bad enough, a family on their way to school saw an injured man and tried to help him into the car to take him to the hospital when the helicopters opened fire on them as well injuring 2 young girls in the car. This video is hard to watch for multiple reasons and frustrating because of all the cover-up lies told by the military prior to this video being leaked to the public in 2010 that showed how the event really unfolded. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rXPrfnU3G0
As a side video, Frontline's 2011 episode, Kill/Capture http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/kill-capture/ explores America's duality of winning them over vs killing and capturing. Warning: The cultural barriers in this video are stomach turning.
The Warning (Oct. 20, 2009) Long before the crisis of 2008, one woman in the CFTC fought to warn and stop the secret over-the-counter derivatives practices that broke our economy. Her efforts ruined her career and the CFTC was legally barred from regulating derivatives by the millionaires & billionaires pulling the strings. Her story and the players involved are fascinating (follow up this documentary with the movie Inside Job). http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warning/view/
Sick Around America (March 31, 2009) The number one cause of bankruptcy in the US is from medical costs and over 50% of those filing for bankruptcy were insured. This program looks at health care issues around the US. As people who are disqualified from insurance in the US due to pre-existing conditions we get it, but many people who have never had to deal with the cracks in the system this might help you understand: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundamerica/view/
Sick Around the World (April 15, 2008) Lean about the health care systems of England, Germany, Japan and Tawian in comparison to the US Health Care systems. A must watch for those who don't like the latest attempts at health care reform. Some of the earlier ideas in the health plan were taken from these countries (like the proposed National Health Card ala Tawain). http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/view/
The Mormons (April 30, 2007) With Mitt Romney in the spotlight there's no time like the present to learn about one of the richest and fastest growing religions in the world. With 14 million takers, they equal the number of Jews in the world and are establishing them as the 4th Abrahamic Religion and are referred to in religious scholarly circles as the “American Religion”. http://www.pbs.org/mormons/view/
Private Warriors (2005) America is moving more and more towards hired guns. Spending well over $11 billion (2002-2005) on private companies who don't have to follow the rules of war or lawful oversight. This growing industry of outsourced killing with little or no accountability is a disturbing trend. But learn about the situation and decide for yourself from the people involved: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/warriors/view/
Is WalMart Good for America? (Nov. 16, 2004) Job loss or job creation? Small business destroyer or improving quality of life for poor? An in depth look at the largest employer in the world might give you some food for thought. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/walmart/view/
The Secret History of the Credit Card (Nov. 13, 2004) Thought you knew all you needed to know about the plastic in your pocket? Think again. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/credit/view/
Posted on Wednesday May 30, 2012
Take a ride with Jordan Kitty leading the way through the Appalachians on our latest compilation. We picked about 1-3 pictures from all the places we travelled to on our way through Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. (The second take version has a sound track that isn't blocked in the US.)
Posted on Monday May 21, 2012
It took longer than I expected to get the first part of our trip put together. I think it gives you a good view of our hiking and biking in Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. The weather was cold for March and April. Many of the camp grounds were closed, some roads were still completely blocked with snow and most the of the trees had not bloomed. Despite the nights at 20 degrees F (-6C) we had a great time! Jordan especially enjoyed getting down and dirty (see bonus material at the end).
Posted on Monday May 14, 2012
I got a great deal on them in Peru because no one wanted boots for feet like flippers. For cheap boots they did well. I've probably put 400 miles or more on them and had to shoe goo and restitch both of them. When the soles gave out again on our very last hike, it was time to let them go without a fight.
Posted on Monday May 14, 2012
Posted on Wednesday May 9, 2012
The Appalachians have not disappointed! We hiked & biked over 100 miles in and around the mountains including a hike up to the 3rd highest point in the East Coast. And we also hiked some ridges along the famous Appalachian Trail.
We drove some of the Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway before we ran into tire trouble again. Now we've managed to replace all the old tires on the RV.
We had a great visit with my Aunt and Uncle here in North Carolina. It has been 11 years since we saw them last. And we had the opportunity to visit my Grandmother who is 93 and still healthy. Her short term memory is going, but she was having a good day and was funny and sharp-witted as ever.
Our next destination is the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia for a few more days of hiking the Appalachians before heading to Maryland. Someday soon we'll post some photos...!
In the meantime here's a short translation guide for West Coast hikers coming to the East Coast:
Posted on Sunday Apr 22, 2012
Oauchita mountains (really only hills) were beautiful! Everything was blooming and spring was in full force. Unfortunately the camp sites were "closed until spring." Since no one was around we camped at the mountain visits and hiked several of the trails. Lower down along the rivers there were some free camp sites, but the nearby farms sounds made it sound like it was feeding time at the zoo. Hounds, geese, cows, pigs were going nuts. Quite a weird scene to be camped by the river in the woods yet feel like you're in a farm-insane-asylum. I guess after being feed they all seemed to quite down because eventually the forest returned to normal.
The bonus was we road some of the BEST single track mountain bike trials right from our camp site!!
We also stopped at Hot Springs, Arkansas. Home of Bill Clinton and National Hot Springs Park. Excited to soak in some hot water with our sore biking muscles we strapped on our boots and hiked about 5 miles from the park's campground to the hot springs center.
Nice museum and everything, but no public hot springs?! They brag everywhere in the park about preserving the springs for everyone, not just the elite few and how this is one of the oldest protected areas in the USA from the 1800's. And for irony the campground doesn't even have hot showers! Something's wrong here. And all the private spring bath houses are expensive. So we got caught in a freezing rain storm, trudged all the way back to the campground and huddled in the RV with the heater going. Great. Some hot springs park. At least the hiking trails were nice.
Now we are in MISSISSIPPI looking for our next campground/trail/adventure!
Posted on Monday Apr 16, 2012
Starting the day with a bang can suck. Especially if the bang is your hard-to-find 8-ply tire and you're in the middle of nowhere. We were heading down out of the Wichita mountains in Oklahoma when one of our dually tires exploded. (Dually tires are two tires side by side.) Fortunately only one of the two blew out, so we were able to slooowly drive on the shoulder to a truck stop, oddly named "Love's."
Finding the replacement means ordering it, because it is an odd tire. So here we sit at "Love's Travel Stop and Country Store" of Medicine Park, OK waiting for the tire to arrive tomorrow. In the meantime we have been busy listening to dozens of trucks running their engines all night (Sherrell's resorted to plugging her ears with tissue). Quite a change from the pleasant wilderness we were camping in only 20 miles back.
All the free camping we have been doing has just been wiped out by having to special order the tire and having someone come do a roadside repair for us. In a WTM-style moment we thought about just cutting away the blown tire (a la hacksaw because the lugs are on so tight we can't turn them with our tire iron) and driving another 11 miles on the shoulder of the freeway to a tire store and save about $50, but here in the US the cops wouldn't look lightly on us pulling that stunt on the freeway and unlike Mexico where the drivers are more prepared to handle unusually slow moving things on the freeway, I fear someone might plow into us as we creep across on and off ramps. In both cases the risks are too high. So like good citizens we are staying put and paying for someone to fix it for us.
Now if we can only get some of these semis to shut down their engines during the night....
Posted on Wednesday Apr 11, 2012
Six days in the Gila wilderness wasn't enough. The temps at night were in 25F (-4C) range and it snowed on us once, but there are over 400 miles of hiking trails and lots of hot springs. The camping was free and hardly anyone was in the park -- probably because of the cold.
We stopped at White Sands National Monument which blew our minds, literally.
Now we are in Roswell checking out the crashed aliens and looking for the truth.
After today we are off to Bottomless Lakes park and then onward to the Wichita Wilderness in Oklahoma. Assuming we don't stop for an abduction.
We will have some great videos and photos to post when we have a decent internet connection in Maryland.
Posted on Friday Mar 30, 2012
We left Tuscon and headed to the mountains last week. We mountain biked at Catalina State Park then went by Biosphere 2 to check it out. They wanted $20 per person to tour it, so we just looked from a distance and left.
The drive through Salt River Canyon was breath taking. And then we worked our way to the forests near Show Low and Pinetop where the night time temperatures were in the low 40's (probably colder on the mountains where we camped). They had a blizzard the week prior which left snow patches and mud in many places. Most of the AZ state camp grounds where closed so we had to get creative in finding legal but nice overnight camp sites.
After about 4-5 days of hiking/biking we are now on our way through Alpine and towards the Gila National Forest in New Mexico. Since many of the upper roads were closed due to snow we had to skip some of the more impressive camping areas in the 9000+ elevation area. We were really disappointed, but we had to leave Mexico because our Visas were up which forced us to be here a little too early in the season.
At least the weather has been very nice. In the 60's during the day and 35-45 at night (brrrr!) with a bright sunny sky.
Ok, we've borrowed this WIFI connection long enough...got to hit the road!