Sunday, April 29, 2012

RonnieAdventure #0002 - Gateway Loop, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Clark Co., Nevada

Perusing around the internet I found a hike (Gateway Canyon Loop) that seemed interesting and the article listed Waypoints for various locations on the hike. This seemed like a great place to test my new knowledge about the GPS unit.

Gateway Canyon Loop Trail
Arriving at the trailhead I demonstrated my technical knowledge by entering a Waypoint and then checking the coordinates from my unit against the Waypoint data that I printed from the internet. We were somewhat close; but this was a big parking lot, so I would expect some deviation. The trail was easy to follow and when we reached the saddle I set a Waypoint, checked my data against the internet information, and found that I was right on for location and only about 30 feet different for altitude. Close enough! Chalk the altitude difference off to changes in the barometric pressure.

Trail in the bottom of wash

After descending into a dry wash we found that there was no established trail, so we did a lot of boulder hopping with a number of Class 3 climbs before exiting the canyon and finding our way back to the car. We were definitely glad that we did this loop hike in a clockwise direction, as it would have been difficult to find the trail going up the canyon. Arriving home I checked the data from my unit and found a lot of strange lines. Back to REI!

 Finding my favorite Sales Associate I explained the problem and he asked to see my unit. The first question he asked was, “Why did you start your hike in Colorado?” I responded that we didn’t start in Colorado and I hadn’t been to Colorado in several months. He then showed me the map on the GPS screen and sure enough, the trail line started in Colorado. The Sales Associate then exclaimed, “Waite a minute! Your first Tracks Way Point is the Garmin headquarters in Colorado! Didn’t you clear your Trip Computer and the existing Garmin Headquarters’ Tracks before starting the hike?” Trip Computer! I have a Trip Computer? “Look!” the Sales Associate said, “If you are going to make a Route out of your Tracks, you have to clear the Trip Computer and get rid of the Garmin Headquarters Tracks’ Waypoint. Great! Now he tells me. Okay, before the next RonnieAdventure I’ll clear the Trip Computer and get rid of the Garmin Headquarters Tracks’ Waypoint. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask him how to get clear the trip computer and get rid of the Garmin Headquarters Tracks’ Waypoint, but I think I can figure it out. 

This kind of reminds me of a story that Elmer told me about the time when he thought that he might purchase a computer for his office. As I understand it, Elmer went down to the local computer store and the conversation went something like this:

Clerk: “Hi! Can I help you?”

Elmer: “Oh I hope so! I want to purchase a computer that I can use in my office.”

Clerk: “Mac?”

Elmer: “No! My name is Elmer.”

Clerk: “I mean your computer!”

Elmer: “I don’t own a computer. I want to buy one.”

Clerk: “Mac?”

Elmer: “No! I told you my name is Elmer.”

Clerk: “What about Windows?”

Elmer: “Why? When I have a computer in my office will it get stuffy?”

Clerk: “No! I mean do you want a computer with Windows?”

Elmer: “I don’t know! What will I see with Windows?”

Clerk: “Wallpaper!”

Elmer: “Never mind the Wallpaper! I just need a computer!”

Clerk: “Do you want software?”

Elmer: “Software for what?”

Clerk: “Software for Windows.”

Elmer: “No! I just need to write letters. What do you have?”

Clerk: “Office.”

Elmer: “Yes! For my office! Can you recommend anything?”

Clerk: “I just did!”

Elmer: “You just did what?”

Clerk: “Recommend something.”

Elmer: “You recommended something?”

Clerk: “Yes!”

Elmer: “For my office?”

Clerk: “Yes!”

Elmer: “What did you recommend?”

Clerk: “Office!”

Elmer: “Yes! For my office!”

Clerk: “I recommended Office for Windows.”

Elmer:” I already have an office with windows.”

Clerk: “Tell me again what you are going to use your computer for.”

Elmer: “To write letters. What do I need to write letters?”

Clerk: “Word.”

Elmer: “What word?”

Clerk: “Word in Office.”

Elmer: “The only word in office is office.”

Clerk: “No! The Word in Office for Windows!”

Elmer: “Which word in office for windows?”

Clerk: “The Word you get when you click the blue `W.’”

Elmer: “Forget the blue `W.’ Do you have anything I can use to track my money?”

Clerk: “Money.”

Elmer: “That’s right! Money! I don’t have much, but I would like to tack it. What do you have?”

Clerk: ”Money.”

Elmer: “I need money to track my money?”
Clerk: “It will come bundled with your computer.”

Elmer: “What’s bundled with my computer?”

Clerk: “Money.”

Elmer: “Money comes with my computer?”

Clerk: “Yes! At no extra charge!”

Elmer: “I get money with my computer? How much?”

Clerk: “One copy.”

Elmer: “Isn’t it illegal to copy money?”

Clerk: “Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.”

Elmer: “They can give you a license to copy money?”

Clerk: “Why not? They own it!”

Elmer: “Tell me, once I get my computer running, how do I stop it?”

Clerk: “Click on the `Start’ button.”

Elmer left the building.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

RonnieAdventure #0001 -Northshore Peak, Lake Mead Natiioan Recreation Area, Clark County, Nevada

Time to try out the new GPS equipment! I found a hike on the internet called Northshore Peak that sounded interesting and it even gave some GPS coordinates on how to find the trailhead. The only problem was that I didn’t know how to enter the GPS coordinates into my unit and the instruction manual that came with the unit was written in a combination of technical jargon and broken English, neither of which were comprehensible. After a lot of trial and error, I was finally able to enter the coordinates; so we were off on our Ronnie Adventure.

After traveling about 19 miles, I watched the distances count down on the GPS screen -- 500 meters, 100 meters, 5 meters, and then the unit started buzzing as the distance read zero. The only problem was that we were in the middle of a two lane highway with no parking lot and no Northshore Peak. Just my luck, I would get a defective GPS unit. We journey up the road a little farther until we found a parking lot and we assumed that this must be the place.

The internet directions for the hike indicated that there was no established trail leading to the peak and the scramble to the top could be made from either the east or the west sides of the mountain. However, the article highly recommended approaching from the east side because the western route was too steep and too dangerous and should only be attempted by hikers with substantial experience. While standing in the parking lot, the western route didn’t look too steep or too dangerous and I’ve found that you can’t believe everything that you read on the internet, so we decided to ascend the peak by the western route. The first half-mile of hiking was fairly easy and uneventful with some ups and downs, but nothing too challenging. Then the scramble became a little more difficult as the angle of the slope increased and the ground became covered with loose sand and broken rock. Finally, we arrived at a steep ravine that wasn’t visible from the parking lot and it became obvious that this was going to require some hand-over-hand third class climbing. The only problem was that water rushing down the ravine over the years had eroded away the harder surface materials and all that was left for handholds was a lot of very soft gypsum that broke every time you tried to get a good handhold or foot step. So, while ascending the ravine it seemed like every time you would go up two feet, you would slide back down one foot. Finally, arriving at the saddle, the rest of the hike to the peak was uneventful. Views from the peak were stunning and the hike down the east side was a piece of cake.

View Northwest Toward Bowl of Fire and Las Vegas
Arriving back in town, I stopped by the REI store to complain about the inaccuracy of the GPS unit and the 18-year-old Sales Associate suggested that before I return the unit I sign up for their remedial GPS course. He then added that if I could pass the remedial course, I should sign up for “GPS for Dummies,” which was more difficult. I told him that I could probably figure it out for myself, so I went home to decipher the instruction manual.

After spending several nights trying to read my technical jargon broken English instruction manual, I decided to return to REI and ask for some explanations. It must have been my lucky day because I found a Sales Associate that actually owned and had used a GPS unit. He looked at my GPS unit, punched a few buttons, and informed me that the unit should now work better with Base Camp. Base Camp? I don’t remember reading anything about Base Camp in my instruction manual. He said that everyone knows that you need Base Camp to manage all of your Tracks, Routes, and Way Points. Tracks, Routes, and Waypoints? I must have looked confused because he said, “Here! Let me write this down for you.” He proceeded to take out a blank piece of paper and listed all of the steps I needed to take to download Base Camp onto my computer. He then said, “And, don’t forget to download the USB Drivers and Web Updater.” I told him that maybe he should write that down also. I must have look a little bewildered, because he said: “Let me draw you a picture of what your data tree should look like under My Collection.” Data tree? I didn’t want to tell him that I wasn’t an arborist, but I think we have a couple of Ash trees in our yard because I’ve been told that the trees have some type of disease and are dying. But, I definitely don’t know much about trees. As a matter of fact, I think I’m allergic to trees. Especially Olive Trees! Anyway, I left for home to determine if I could follow his instructions.

As it turns out, the Sales Associate gave excellent directions and I was able to download Base Camp, USB Drivers, Web Updater, and I built a data tree that looked just like the one that he had sketched for me. Now for some field testing! Stay tuned for Adventure #2.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Welcome to RonnieAdventures!

As I get older I find that I can’t remember where I’ve been, let alone where I’m going; so my New Year’s resolution for 2012 is to write things down so that I don’t go on the same adventure twice in the same year. It kind of reminds me of a story that my good friend Elmer told me about what happened to him one night when he was watching TV with his wife Martha. He said that he felt hungry and decided to go get something to eat. As he got out of his chair Martha asked him where he was going and he said that he was going to the kitchen to get some ice cream. Martha said that sounded good to her and asked him to bring her a dish of ice cream also. Then, she added, “Don’t forget to write that down. You know how you always forget things.” Elmer said that he didn’t need to write it down because he wouldn’t forget. Elmer hadn’t taken more than a few steps when Martha said, “And add some chocolate syrup to mine. Now write that down because you know how you always forget things.” Elmer responded that he didn’t need to write it down because he wouldn’t forget. Just as Elmer reached the kitchen door, Martha shouted that she also wanted whip cream and nuts on her ice cream. Then, she added again, “Now write that down – you know how you always forget things.” Elmer disgustingly responded that he didn’t need to write it down because he wouldn’t forget that she wanted ice cream with chocolate syrup, whip cream and nuts. About 25 minutes later Elmer reappeared from the kitchen carrying two plates full of bacon and eggs and gave one plate to Martha. Martha looked puzzled and asked Elmer “What is this?” Elmer responded, “It’s the bacon and eggs that you wanted!” Martha glared at Elmer and said, “You idiot! I told you to write it down! I knew that you would forget the toast.”

To help make the journey into the 21st century (I know, I’m only 11 years late) I decided to get rid of my dos based computer equipment and take advantage of all the new equipment currently on the market, which includes this new computer that I’m trying to figure out how to use, along with all of my other high-tech equipment – digital camera, GPS, iPad, smart phone, etc. (I must have really been good in 2011 because Santa was really good to me. I just hope that he pays for everything.) Now, my next step is to educate myself on how to use all of the equipment and then start “blogging.” I hope that you come along for some RonnieAdventures!