Tag Archives: The Girl Riding Shotgun

Scenes on Sunday ~ Monochromatic Utah

People can be lonely under a big Utah sky.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

pictures taken with a Lumix

click on the camera

 

 

 

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Scenes on Sunday ~ Navajo Sandstone

Zion Canyon’s steep red cliffs cut by the Virgin River.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

click on the book

 

School Bus Camper

I’d like to sit back and take in the grandeur of nature.

There’s this long-term plan for me to buy an old school bus and convert the thing into a camper / RV.  It’s a pretty vague plan right now because I have a lot of other things on my mind.  However, I’m thinking of doing the conversion in Southern California, which obviously means buying the used bus somewhere in SoCal.

I’ve looked into how much it would cost to buy a used bus in the 12 to 18 seat range from somewhere around LA, and you can trust me on this, they are practically giving the things away.  (I’ve seen one I like the look of for $2,500 plus taxes.)

There are a couple of caveats there, the look I want means an old bus, and that means lots and lots of miles, (100,000 or more), but as they are built to last with huge diesel engines, (7 litres or so), that shouldn’t matter so much.

The second caveat is that an old bus is going to need specialist rebuilding and servicing for the chassis and engine, before I start on the fun part of the conversion.  There are plenty of companies who are set up to rebuild and service the chassis / brakes / engine / gearbox / exhaust on this kind of vehicle, but I know that’s going to be hideously expensive ~ (maybe).

Still, I don’t think I need a vast budget for this kind of project.  I can work that out in detail over the next few months.

(There is also the option of buying something that actually started life as a camper van.)

The really fun part is thinking about the places I’d like to take my bus, (like Big Bear Lake) ~ and who I’d like to take along with me.  (Marmy and I need a girl riding shotgun.)

Life is a journey, enjoy the ride.

Sponsored by:  http://www.amazon.com/shops/salinevalleyenterprises

10% discount on everything if you quote code C7SYDV6B

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Scenes on Sunday ~ Wilderness

The Sun, the Winds, and the Mountains are always on the side of the truest men.

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Sponsored by:  http://www.amazon.com/shops/salinevalleyenterprises

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

pictures taken with a Lumix

by the girl riding shotgun

 

Happy Marmaduke

Discretion is the better part of valour.

I wanted to write some very destructive

things today, but posting pictures of Marmy is a better idea.

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Weird Wyoming

Wyoming; like no place on Earth.

For this well-travelled Englishman, Southern Wyoming has the weirdest landscape I have ever seen.  Not only that, one can drive for a hundred miles in total isolation, and everything looks the same for every single mile.  I love California, I liked Utah, I’m not yet certain about Wyoming.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

pictures taken with a Lumix,

by the girl riding shotgun

Long USA Road Trip

I’m beginning to recover from the 3,500 road trip I had in the USA recently.  There were some strange places on the route.  Like Beaver in Utah.

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Downtown Las Vegas.

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And Big Bear Lake.

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The girl riding shotgun did get very buzzed in Big Bear, but that’s more down to the altitude than anything else.

I would not have missed this trip for the world.

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

America is mostly empty

The clearest way into your own mind is through Wilderness

Once one gets away from the big cities, the USA is mostly wilderness.

On my recent road trip, sometimes the only thing in the wilderness was the road, a broken down fence, and a distant power line.

Sometimes there’s a road sign.  Zzyzx is actually in San Bernadino County, California, and you get there by the 4.5 mile long unpaved Zzyzx Road.  We didn’t go there, because there’s bugger-all there.  However, Zzyzx does feature in music and films, (movies).

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

pictures taken by the girl riding shotgun with a Lumix

Cars for Road Trips

Nissan Rogue SUV

I’ve been on long road trips, (Tuscany, The Loire Valley, back to Tuscany, Exploring California, and driving 3,000 miles to witness an eclipse), in all kinds of cars; Triumph TR6, Lotus 7, Ford Mustang, and lastly driving from California to witness a total eclipse of the sun in a Nissan Rogue.

Although it isn’t always completely possible, the car should completely suit the trip.

And this choice of car comes down to where you’re going, how far it is, what’s the weather going to be like, what kinds of roads are you going to be driving , and exactly who is the girl riding shotgun.

For my recent trip I knew I was going to be driving up to 600 miles in a day, on a mixture of LA freeways, long desert roads, and mountain climbs.  Also I knew that the girl riding shotgun was going to want to feel safe, be comfortable, and carry an unconscionable amount of luggage.

There also had to be room for Marmaduke.

Ergo, I chose to rent a reasonable-sized SUV, and Enterprise at LAX could offer me a Nissan Rogue, which was vastly over budget, but my friend with all the luggage was worth it.

What’s good about this car?  It’s big enough for two on a long road trip, (swallows luggage with ease), it does good mileage, (we averaged 29 mpg, and that’s US gallons), it’s quiet, comfortable, holds the road well, and the engine has a lot of low-down power.  What’s bad, well, it was very over budget, and has some annoying blind spots.

Would I recommend this car to a friend?  Yes.  In a New York Second.  With definite confidence.  (Of course, you may find your dream car on a long road trip.)

Another important thing on a long road trip:  don’t have a girl riding shotgun who thinks she can drive better than you.

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jack collier

jackcollier&@talktalk.net

some long wide roads out there

 

Marmaduke and I went to the USA to witness a total eclipse of the sun.  To Marmy and me, the USA seems to be doing pretty well right now.  We saw quite a lot of people driving Jaguars.

Nations, like stars, are entitled to eclipse.  All is well, provided the light returns and the eclipse does not become endless night…  The reappearance of the light is the same as the survival of the soul.  ~  Victor Hugo

During our trip we travelled some 16,000 miles, including driving 3,282 miles in our rented SUV.  (We needed an SUV rather than a Mustang convertible to take all the luggage the Girl Riding Shotgun brought on this long road trip.)

Marmaduke and I visited Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK, Dublin in Ireland, Amsterdam in Holland, LAX, Orange County, drove through California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and into Wyoming, (then back again to Orange County in sunny Southern California).

We also visited the Queen Mary in Long Beach for a champagne Sunday brunch, went up to Big Bear Lake, and kicked back at the Southern California beaches in Little Corona, Aliso, Laguna, and best of all Crescent Bay.  Went shopping in the local Mall and sundry thrift stores, checked out the Parks in Orange county, and generally hung out in some cool bars.

Finally flew back to the UK from LAX, via Paris and Dublin before arriving back in the UK on September 10th ~ broke, exhausted, and filled with amazing memories.

Right now, and back in the garret, Marmaduke and I have 1,111 unread emails in my inbox, 3,970 pictures on my camera, a good suntan, a little jet-lag, and a pile of laundry from our trip.

Marmaduke also wants to know why he couldn’t stay in SoCal… dude…

My advice?  Go on a very, very long road trip in the USA.  But, whenever and where ever you travel, take half the luggage you think you will need, and at least twice as much money as you think you could possibly spend.

It’s best not to stare at the sun during an eclipse. ~ Jeff Goldblum

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Pictures taken with a Panasonic Lumix

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