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Author: Zachary Rackovan

I am a 33 year old father of two amazing daughters! I am lucky to be married to the most amazing wife in the world. I am a retired Detective and currently pursuing my dream of living on the road with my family, while working as a professional photographer. My work can be found at www.abi-photo.com/art
Oh the people you’ll meet….

Oh the people you’ll meet….

I have been blessed in my life with a gift, the gift of gab. It is odd considering I am told that I was a late bloomer in the speech department when I was a baby. Well I guess I have been making up for it ever since.  I was speaking with a new friend of mine the other day and we were exchanging ideas about blog articles. It came to me then, oh the people that I have met. I have always made friends, most just casual, some more so. Most of these have been related to what ever hobby I had at the time. You see most of you that know me personally know that I have a hobby of collecting hobbies. I blame it on the a.d.d. :), but I always had a thirst to acquire more knowledge. The best source for that knowledge has always been other people that have more experience in the given hobby. So, I make friends and absorb all of the education that I can, and along the way have created some truly lasting friendships. Ashley loves to make fun of me about meeting people on the internet. One of the best examples is my flying buddy Jay. I met Jay when I was getting into flying RC planes and he had a radio for sale on Craigslist. He told me to meet him at the local flying field so I could take a look at the radio. That day I met a truly great guy and I am happy to say a great friend. We talk on a regular basis to this day.

But this article is about the people that I have met along the road.

The first person I must thank is Brian Boone, I met Brian when I hired him to install our solar panels. He spent two days in the June heat in Indiana making sure our system was top notch. We reconnected in Quartzsite and now I work for him installing panels and solar systems on RVs. It gives me something to do and puts a little jingle in my pocket. That’s one great dude.

Even though I am on the road I still crave information and interaction. Since we have been in Quartzsite I have had a chance to meet some amazing people. Take for instance Bill and Porter, an amazing couple that is traveling fulltime and seeing the southwest. Bill was hosting a photography class and I asked if I could help out and he was more than gracious, that led to a 5 hour conversation with him and his wife Porter. It was an amazing experience, one that I am sure will happen again, when our paths cross again. One thing that I have found about being fulltime rvers is that meeting people just seems easier. People seem so eager to share and talk. Maybe we are bored, maybe we feel just kindred in spirt.

One of my latest hobbies is HAM radio. I had a friend that I met through a group that I belonged to on the net about traveling full time, Aaron. Aaron has been trying to get me to obtain my “tech” class license for almost a year. Well since being in Quartzsite, I not only obtained my tech, I upgraded the same day and obtained my general license.  I even talked him into upgrading to general. I was excited to find out that Quartzsite is home to Quartzfest, the largest gathering of mobile HAMs in the world. Qf was an amazing experience, I learned a ton of great info and from the beginning they make you feel at home, like you belong. That brings me to Floyd. Floyd is something else. To give him justice I should start at the beginning.

A few weeks before the fest I bought an old ham radio from 1982. It was a beast. Too big for my RV and too power hungry, but it was a start. I knew that I got a great deal on it so I set out to flip it and turn it into something better. Then I found a radio in Phoenix, a mere two-hour drive that turned into an all-day affair with rain and traffic. But I had a newer radio that would fit on my desk.

So now I had two radios and still didn’t have the first clue how to work them.  Ashley was getting more than a little perturbed at the pile up of electronics on my small already crowded desk. I found out that Qf had a swap meet and I set out to unload the boat anchor (term hams use for older heavy equipment). I decided I might as well take the other radio too, who knows maybe I can sell both and upgrade again! To my amazement I was right. Both radios sold quickly and I turned a handsome profit. I was walking around after completing my sale and saw a small group gathering around an older guy’s fifth wheel rv and wandered over. He was late to the party for the swap meet. He was placing items on a small card table, I asked if he had any radios. Most of the other guys were either picked over or had already left. He responded with yes, a Kenwood Ts-590S. A radio that I knew was nice, and probably out of my price range. Floyd managed to make me a pretty sweet deal on it and after I talked him into taking a check from me the deal was done. Here I was a new ham, and I was going to be rocking one of the nicer radios on the market. You would think that would be the highlight of the story, scoring a sweet deal and upgrading for almost free, but no. Floyd and I stood around and talked for almost an hour. He shared with me that his wife was recently taken by cancer, she has been passed almost two years I believe. I couldn’t help but feel a connection growing with him. After the swap meet Floyd and I said our goodbyes and he headed west to the Salton Sea. I headed home both excited and terrified. Excited because I had a new toy, terrified because I had to tell Ashley what I had done….

I got the radio home and all setup fired it up…fail. The power supply that Floyd sold me was no good. I called him on the phone and explained the situation to him, he was mortified. He promptly offered me my money back, but instead purchased one brand new and had it shipped to me. That’s when it was confirmed, this was one of the good ones. Since then we have talked every day, sometimes for an hour or better on the phone, Floyd doesn’t computer. I feel that I have made a true friend and it was all because I have a hobby of collecting hobbies. Now we talk about all kinds of things most having nothing to do with Ham radio. He has shared advice on life and marriage. When he talks about his wife I can hear the tears in his eyes, I can feel his loss. But I take away the advice from him to treat Ashley like every day could be my last with her. He is truly an amazing man, a person that I am proud to call a friend.

So I digress, maybe after all these years I have not been collecting hobbies. Maybe I have been collecting friends. Using different things to allow God put these people in my life. Photography, RC Planes, Motorcycles, Racing, Ham Radio, Rving, and all the others have served one purpose for me. The expanse of my knowledge of life and meeting people that I still call friends. Some are causal, some are more, some are Floyd.

My Grandfather told me before he passed that I should learn all I can, because once I do, they can never take it away from me. I guess I took that more to heart than I knew. I was young when he passed, but I have never forgot that lesson. I have been blessed to have many amazing people in my life. I have an amazing wife, beautiful children, wonderful parents and grandparents. Not to mention all the family that I have supporting us. Today was one of those days where I needed to sit and write, to take stock, to realize the riches that I have amassed. I am rich in love, spirt, faith, and bountiful in friends and family. I am blessed.

 

Zachary

6 months on the road, what a ride so far….

6 months on the road, what a ride so far….

Well as the title says we have been a full time rving family for just over 6 months. It has been an amazing experience so far, and continues to surprise us. For right now we are setup in Quartzsite, AZ. But the road to get here has been paved with amazing memories and opportunities to grow as a family. The Journey started in June of 2016. This article will be less wordy then normal and more photo oriented, heck we are photographers after all!

We traveled that day to Putnam Park Road Course, one of our many home away from homes. We then spent the next few months bouncing from track to track. Our travels while covering our event circuit took us as far west as Oklahoma and as far east as Virginia. It was amazing to be able to travel from track to track without having to rush. We were able to spend time in the cities that we visited. We found new adventures in every place that we visited. But the most amazing thing is the relationships that we were able to make with the people that we met along our adventure. People like Dale from 1010ths Motorsports in Indiana, who took his own time to arrange a change for our girls to ride in a combine. It was an amazing experience for them and something that they still talk about.

 

Matt from NCM Motorsports park made our family feel welcome, the staff there opened their hearts to us and made Bowling Green feel like home. The members of Midwest Cafe Racing Assoc. embraced this new lifestyle and have become some of our biggest supporters. Our countless customers that have given us an overwhelming feeling of success by supporting our business and our adventure. It is hard to think everyone that has had an impact on this trip so far but the above is just a small portion of the list. Most of all we have to thank our family and friends that continue to embrace what we are doing and offer much needed words of support.

But the fun was just getting started. After, the season ended for our photography company the real fruits of our labor were revealed, the ability to travel and visit with family and friends. It was the first time in a long time that I was able to have Thanksgiving dinner with my family without having to rush back to work an overnight shift.

 

After spending some much needed time with family we set sail on our grand adventure out west to see what this amazing country had to offer. We set off a few days after Thanksgiving and travel west to Arizona. Our first stop would be a big one, the Grand Canyon! It was simply amazing, the girls were awestruck by the sights of the canyon.

 

The next stop was filled with amazing sites and new friends. We spent a few weeks in Page, AZ. Where we visited Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and Lone Rock Beach. We met some really awesome friends that were featured in http://8feet12paws.com/i-am-glad-i-had-a-shovel The images that we got to see and capture in Page were amazing.

We moved from Page to Zion National Park, a pretty amazing place. If I had to be honest I would say it was my highlight of the trip as far as seeing the sights. It was an experience that I will never forget.

We left Zion and made our way to Southern CA. It was a chance to spend Christmas with family that we have not seen in years. The girls got to reconnect with their cousins and meet some of their family for the first time. It was two weeks filled with great times and our first Christmas on the road! It wasn’t the biggest Christmas that Santa has brought but I think it will be the most memorable. The best part is that we were together as family. I was able to spend the day with my brother and Ashley was able to see her family as well. It was a great time and one that I will not soon forget.

That brings us to today, relaxing in the sun and warmth of Quartzsite, AZ. We have a few months here and I have taken a job helping install solar panels to help pass the time and fill the coffers a little bit. We have big plans for the future and hope that you will all be a part of it. We plan to launch our Youtube channel and post videos along with the blog. We have also started to plan our travel for the next year  and will be sharing that in a future article. I plan to write several detailed articles about the changes and upgrades that we have made to our home in order to make this trip possible. You will be hearing a lot more from us, I hope that is ok!

 

So for know I can say this…. it has all been worth it. I won’t lie, I have not always been sure of that answer, but I am certain of it now. It has been an amazing ride, an amazing trip, and I have an amazing family. Thank you for all the support, for the well wishes, and most of all for embracing this journey that we are on.  So long for now, I have to find my shorts, it’s going to be 70 here all this week 🙂

 

Zachary

New Amazon Link!

New Amazon Link!

The support that our readers have shown to us has been amazing! I can’t thank everyone enough for the comments and shares on the material and articles that I write. I really enjoy interacting with you all and knowing that people read what I write is a huge reward. I now have a favor to ask. We all buy stuff from Amazon.com, sometimes to much… 🙂 So if you look in the upper right had corner of our site you will see a link that says Shop Amazon!. When you click that it links you to the amazon home page. When you make a purchase we make a small percentage in the form of an Amazon gift card. We appreciate the support and continued interaction. Stay tuned for our 6 months on the road in review, I should be getting it on the site soon!

Zachary

Here in Sunny/Rainy Southern Cali

Here in Sunny/Rainy Southern Cali

Well I figured it was time for a little update. I do not have any photos to share as we are hold up right now waiting for Christmas. My brother and sister-in-law were nice enough to allow us to do a little moochdocking in their driveway. We arrived last Wednesday after Valley of Fire State Park in NV near Las Vegas. I would like to tell you that we explored all over the park and show you some amazing photos, but sadly that did not happen. Ashley and I needed a break, so we were super lazy and spent the day in the camper with the kids doing school and watching Netflix, 🙁 . In the end we needed the break and we awoke charged up and excited for the 4 hour drive southwest to San Jacinto, CA where my brother’s family lives.

It was great to see them as we have not been able to see my brother in several years. He is a nurse and has almost the same terrible schedule that I used to at the police department. But that is the point of making this life change to see family and reconnect with friends. So we made it a point to spend time with him and my two nieces. The kids are having a blast playing together and enjoying their long lost cousins. They Skype on a regular basis but that cannot replace face to face interaction!

The accommodations are pretty swanky! Josh has an amazing home with a hot tub and pool which the kids have made endless use of almost every day!

Ashley and I managed to complete Santa’s shopping list for the girls, so that is a relief. I wish we could have done more for them but it is what it is, despite our best intentions this trip has been expensive and will have to serve as part of their Christmas. We managed to get them some nice and unique gifts. One I am really excited about is a “real” chess set for Zoey. I was able to find tournament weighted pieces for a board that my brother gave me. It is going to be an amazing Christmas! But not because of the chess set :). You see Ashley and I have been married for Going on 13 years, I know amazing right, we have beat the original odds! But in all seriousness we have shared an amazing life so far but it has not been without sacrifice and strife. One of the greatest sacrifices was made by Ashley, her family. You see 12 years ago we made the choice to move back to where I grew up, St. Louis, MO. We envisioned it being a better place to raise our children then southern CA. Where we right, who knows? But that cost Ashley the chance to spend time with her family as much as she would have liked. We have had a few visits for weddings and sadly the funerals of both of her parents. But we have never come back to celebrate Christmas, mostly because of two things money, and my job. But this year we are free from both of those shackles. We are free to celebrate Christmas with her family, loving people that she has not seen for a long time and that makes me happy. Every time this lifestyle opens a new opportunity I am reaffirmed about the choices that we have made. It has been a pretty amazing trip so far, with a ton of fun yet to go!  So here is to X-mas Cali style, warm and sunny. By the way even tho I have lived in Cal before I have never gotten used to a warm Christmas, I kinda miss the cold and the snow on just that day, but not really.

Another development, I got a job! I will be assisting a friend with installing solar panels while we are hanging out in AZ, just for a little extra spending money. I was hoping to use the landscape photographs to avoid this but that has not worked out the way I had planned. But I will continue to shoot when I can and post those images to www.abi-photo.com/art for sale.

 

Until then,

Zachary

 

 

Some minor changes to the blog.

Some minor changes to the blog.

This is a quick post from the heart of Zion National Park. I just wanted to show case the newest addition to the blog. If you look to your right you will see a google map plug-in that will show where we are currently at in the great nation of ours. Below that you will find a feed of our latest Instagram images. Also, please follow us on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/8feet12paws/

I hesitated to add this portion to the blog but here goes. As you all know we are motorsports photographers and this time of year we have no work. That is the reason we travel. I really enjoy landscape photography and have created a page on our company website offering it for sale. Thank you to those that have supported this trip by purchasing our work. You can find that collection at www.abi-photo.com/art

A blog post and photos will follow shortly about Zion!

 

Zachary

 

 

Well the sun has set on our time in Page, AZ

Well the sun has set on our time in Page, AZ

Well we are really in Utah just a mile from the Arizona Border, but hey who’s counting. We have had an amazing time here in Page, AZ. It is a really nice little city built to serve those wanting to see it’s amazing sights. With in a few minutes of Page you can feast your eyes on some of the most beautiful sights that the desert southwest has to offer. We did the hike to the famed Horseshoe Bend, a place where the Colorado river seems to defy logic and physics. The river takes a 270 degree turn on itself and presents the viewer with an absolutely jaw dropping and mind altering view.  Few words can describe the feeling that I had when my eyes peered over the thousand foot drop and saw what was laid before me. I could not help but get excited like a school boy as I readied my tripod and camera. I took several hundred photos to ensure the chance of getting the one, the shot that would make my year.

When I retuned home, I knew I had it. I immediately opened Lightroom and loaded the images. I was in awe of what mother nature had provided me, a picturesque landscape that was more of a work of art than a geological marvel. She was amazing in all of her glory and I feel truly grateful that she allowed me to capture her in her best light, sunset.

 

But the Arizona desert was not done, she still had tricks up her sleeve, she still aimed to amaze. The next morning I woke up with a nervous anticipation, a knot was in my stomach. Because I would have a great personal and well as artistic struggle laid before me this morning. I was going to attempt to capture an image at Lower Antelope Canyon. This posed to issues for me. One, as some of you may know I am pretty claustrophobic. Now I am okay in things like elevators and small rooms but I do not far well with tunnels and small places that make it difficult to move my body. I knew that this slot canyon would produce fears and anxiety, but I calmed myself with the mantra that dead people are bad for tourism, so it must be safe.

The other challenge is capturing the unique landscape in a way that does it justice.  The canyon provides a bevy of difficulty capturing the perfect image from low light to mixed exposure to random tourist walking in front of your 30 sec shot. I decided that I would pay the extra few dollars and go on a Navajo led “photography” tour. The main difference is that on the photo tour you are allowed to bring a tripod, a huge asset in these low light situations. My guide was a younger guy named Braiden, he was knowledgeable about the canyon and boosted about his own abilities as a photographer, sharing amazing images from his phone while we walked to the canyon entrance.

As I peered down the steel staircase that descended into the canyon below I saw the walls getting closer and closer. There was that nervousness again…. “dead people are bad for business….” I repeated that as I took step after fearful step. Once on the floor, the beauty of the canyon melted away my anxiety and calmed my fears. I was in awe, almost speechless. As we twisted and turned our way through the slot stopping often to setup for the next amazing shot, with one view more amazing that the last, I was astonished by the shear power of mother nature. She carved this canyon with water like a chef carves butter with a hot knife. Twisting and turning this raw but amazing beautiful landscape that from the air seems like nothing more than a laceration in the crust of the earth. From inside you can see her true majesty, the ribbons of flowing colors cascaded along the walls begging for photo after photo. Before I knew it we had transversed the 400m canyon and approached the exit. I was sad but at the same time excited to see the images that I captured.

As I powered up the Macbook Pro and loaded Lightroom I was once again like a school boy waiting for Christmas morning. I was amazed by the colors the camera was able to capture, even more impressive than what I witnessed with my own eyes. This canyon did not disappoint, that is for sure.

It was not possible to select just one image, but the ones above moved me in a way that provoked thought and deep examination of this worlds landscape and made me grateful for this experience that my family is on.

Last but not least was our front yard, yep Lone Rock Beach was more than a “campground” it was a landscape waiting to be captured. The sky lit up like the forth of July after the sun went to bed and the stars were endless. Zoey and I setup on the first chilly night with my camera and captured some really neat star scenes.

 

I finally was able to capture this place with a camera that way that I wanted to see it. But it was from a whole other type of tripod.  A “skypod” pardon the pun but I was able to capture this lonely rock from the air with my Phantom 3 Pro. I have never really used the Phantom to make still images, I have always been consumed by it’s amazing video. But I knew it was more than capable. I was able to take 1.6 second shots from the air, in the wind. They turned out really well, but they also showcase something that cannot be seen from the ground and that is what is truly amazing. These images were taken just after sunset, when the light was long and soft.

 

Well that wraps up what has been an amazing photographical experience here in Page, AZ  and Big Water, UT. But more than the images that were captured is the memories made. We met new friends, had new experiences, I over came personal fears, and we grew closer as a family. It was also our first real long term boondocking test, one that I must say the coach and family passed with flying colors. Worry not, for the best is yet to come, today we head to Zion a place that is sure to impress, and render me speechless once again.

P.S. I have to thank Tim Clark, a photographer that I met during my stay in Fenton, MO. Page was not even on our radar, he opened our eyes to it. Thank you Tim because without your advice, this would have been lost to us.

Till then,

Zachary

I am glad I had a shovel….

I am glad I had a shovel….

Ok, this post will start off a little odd. You see I bought a shovel. Why did I buy a shovel, because it will look cool. Ok, let me explain. Ashley and I wanted a tow vehicle that was 4wd capable and needed to be in our budget of next to free. We ended up trading our 1990 Miata for a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It has been a welcome addition to the family, but not without it’s issues. We have whipped it into shape and really enjoy having it. But what would a Jeep be without a few off roading accessories. But this is where Ashley and I had a difference of opinion about our fun little Jeep. You see she refers to it as a “princess” Jeep, one that is made to go from this baseball practice to that dance recital and so on. Basically Ashley views it as a 4×4 minivan. I on the other hand see it for what it is, not a lifted Wrangler, but as a fairly capable off-road vehicle with limitations. So I decided to purchase a basket for the top of the roof to carry a second spare tire in. As you can see below.

The next step in true off road awesomeness would have to be a shovel and an axe strapped to the side of the basket. So off to Lowe’s I went to acquire the “required” equipment. The plan was simple I was going to instantly take my Jeep from soccer-mom to badass mobile in just a few short minutes. Needless to say Ashley made fun of me, asking “when the heck are you ever going to need a shovel and an axe.” She even offered to buy me a plastic one as it would be more appropriate. But despite her ribbing I kept the shovel and the axe and threw them into the rear cargo area to be installed at a later date.

Fast forward to just a few days ago here are an amazing location in Lone Rock Beach, UT I needed that shovel!

Lone Rock is an amazing place located just north of Page, AZ near Big Water, UT. The only issue with Lone Rock is that the roads are very sandy, except for one main hard packed gravel road that runs down the center. Being a chicken I stayed to the main drag and found a place close to the road to setup camp without incident.

A few days into our stay I received a startling knock at the door. I opened the door to find a guy asking if I had of all things…… a shovel. I looked back at Ashley and then back at who I would later meet as Blake, and said as a matter of fact I do!

Blake explained that he and his wife Brittany had become ensnared in a sand trap on the road over from us. So I hopped in the Jeep and met him at his entrenched rig. It was a small RV, what he referred to as a B+, not quite a van camper, but not a full blown Class C either. It is a really neat option for a couple like Blake and Brittany. I met Brittany and their two pups Huckleberry and Teddy when I arrived with my trusty shovel. To make a long story short, after a few hours of shoveling, two broken tie-down straps, a bunch of laughs two things happened. One we met two really nice people that we are happy to call friends, and two we realized that we suck at removing a RV that is stuck in the sand and gave up and called AAA, which by the way had Blake out in about 3 mins. The driver looked and us and asked, isn’t it a little cold to be at the lake? I turned to Brittany and said, “that is his way of telling us that we are stupid.” So what is the moral of the story, the dang shovel. Without it we would have never had a chance to get to know Blake and Brittany, the girls would not have had a chance to ride on a stand up paddle board on Lake Powell in December, and we would not had a chance to meet such great people.

You can meet Blake and Brittany and hear about their big adventure living full time on the road in their Class B+ at http://campsomewhere.blogspot.com/

It all ends with this, sometimes it is good to have a shovel.

Zachary

The night sky beckoned.

The night sky beckoned.

Well as you read we are at the Grand Canyon National Park. I was excited to shoot images of the park and really got into it. But I knew I was missing something. I need darkness in my life, I needed dramatic color, I needed 30sec exposures. So after the day with the family we headed home, and the research began. Where was the best view of the winter setting sun? That was a simple google search away, Hopi Point. This time of year I would be able to drive my trusty Jeep, right to the spot. Normally you have to take a tour bus to access this section of the park, but after Dec. 1st they stop the line and allow private vehicles! So I took my dedicated and astute photography assistant Zoey and we loaded up the car. I packed every type of gear I could possibly think of needing, Zoey planned for the important stuff, snacks and blankets.  We headed out early to get a prime spot on the rim, away from the pesky railings. I do have to confess I have zero fear of heights, heck I think they are awesome. However, add your beloved 10 year old daughter to the mix and they be come slightly terrifying. I made her sit on a small perch above where I was shooting. My tripod settled in just inches from the edge of the canyon, this would be my place, my haunt, my easel from where I would create my master piece. This was the plan, then came the others…  People started crawling all over the landscape, what was once isolated was now looking like Wal-Mart on black Friday. One guy even sat right in front of my tripod holding his selfy stick trying to get an image of himself. I waited for him to move, but he settled in. I would move my lens and he would move with me, it was like photo chicken, but I had the advantage, I had a cliff. He could only move so far, I ended up liking the composition better anyway. So we waited, then I captured what will be one of my favorite images of the trip.

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It was a candid image of Zoey, really melting into her photography. She was engaged, committed, and devoted. It was 31 degrees and getting colder. She did not wavier, nor complain. This was one of the most heart warming moments of this trip so far. My daughter taking a true and deep interest in something that has brought my family and I so much, photography. The way she was peppering off questions about images and settings reminded me of myself, when I would sneak down to Ms. Grey’s office in high school and pummel her with photography questions. She lit a spark in me that has forever changed my life. It is funny how God places people in your life that alter your path, change your perspective, and help define who you are. Ms. Grey did that with photography, encouraging me to explore my abilities and strive to learn and grow in my art. I hope that I can do this for Zoey, keep here engaged, and nurture her artistic spirt.

Back to the edge of the world, the sun was setting and it was go time. I took my shot and knew instantly that I was on target. I looked at the image as it appeared on the viewfinder and knew that I had done it, I had made my image.

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As I looked out into the Canyon with Zoey by my side I became a little emotional. Zoey asked me what was wrong, and I said “nothing, dad is just having a moment.” It was a moment when all the sacrifice, all of the doubt, and of the stress had become worth it. We were doing it, living in the moment. My daughter was seeing and doing things that she could only have dreamed of last year. She now truly was engaged, and it was all worth it. It brought a tear to my eye and a calmness to my heart, Ashley and I did the right thing, we made the right choice, the payoff is coming.

It was cold, and getting colder, but we came here for stars. So we headed to the car to warm up and share about our experiences. As night descended on the canyon we exited our warm safe haven back in the what was now a brutal wind and chilling night. We setup in the same spot as before, which was now 100x more sketchy in the dark, but worth it. It was really neat seeing the small flecks of lights on the canyon floor, I assume it was camp fires of those camping near the river. But I was here for light in the sky and the canyon did not disappoint. The Milky Way was visible with the naked eye despite the moon shining down on us. We endured the cold to capture what we came for, the night at the canyon.

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Till the next time,

Zachary

Our first big adventure.

Our first big adventure.

Well we headed west. We are currently sitting in Trailer Village about 7200 feet up in the Grand Canyon National Park. It was pretty cool seeing the girls faces as we twisted and turned our way into the park. Ashley looked out the passenger side window and saw a small gorge for the Little Colorado River and asked if that was the Grand Canyon, I said, “kinda.”

We then crept into the ranger station and paid our fees, $30.00 bucks, kinda steep but then again this is one of the seven wonders of the world. I was excited to get to the entrance as I thought the driving was almost complete. I had been driving all day as we left from Albuquerque, NM and headed into Page, AZ. On that note Page was our intended destination for the day. But that is one of the amazing byproducts of this lifestyle. While in route we said, “hey, lets go see the Grand Canyon.” So we did, we turned left when the plan was to go straight. Back to the entrance, I asked the Ranger what our “boondocking” options where like and received a less than stellar response, “zero”. My goal was to avoid paying camping fees whenever possible, hence the solar and other upgrades to the RV. He then laid on me what at the time seemed devastating, we still had 22 miles of twisty, ice patched, and slow driving to go.

As we made our way past the entrance we saw a sign that said “first look at the Grand Canyon 500ft. ahead.” I called to the girls to look out of the right side of the coach, thus fulfilling my dream of saying “this is your captain speaking, if you look out of the right side of the plane…..”

The sound of the gasp and glee was pure delight for me. The thought of the $30.00 and the next 22 miles faded instantly and I was struck into silence at the shear sight of my daughters eyes as she looked out of the huge RV windshield at what was sure to be one of the most amazing things her young eyes have laid upon.

While the experience was amazing for three of us, one was struggling. You see Ashley, while brave like a lioness and fierce as a grizzly protecting her cubs, is a wee bit afraid of heights. When I say afraid I mean grappling with the seatbelt, making it as tight as possible, all the while refusing to look to her right and see this amazing vista. When I was able to coax her into a sneak peak it would be followed by tightly closed eyes and rhythmic slow breathing in an attempt to quell her fears. So as any good husband would do, I tried to get her to look as much as possible. 🙂

So we arrived at our destination Trailer Village RV park, the only thing open and able to accommodate the size rig we have. I looked at the sign and my heart sunk, $44.00 per night! The checkin station was closed so we found an open site and settled in for the night. The park was tight, everyone was stacked on top of one another, I was surprised to see so many RVs here.  It was a balmy 27 degrees when we parked and the site was snow and ice covered. The water spigot was frozen and the sewer dump snow covered, but hey we were on top of the world.

The next morning I slipped out trying not to wake the girls and headed over to the check in station and paid the fees for the next two days of camping. I wanted to try and escape with only paying for one night, but then I remembered the time and gas that it took to get here and I didn’t want to sell that short by cheaping out on some camping.

I headed back to the “house” (we are trying to use that term as opposed to camper, it makes it feel more like home) to find the girls bustling around and begging to go see the sights. After a bit of breakfest we headed to the vistor’s center, that led us to our first glimpse of the canyon, Mather Point. It was just as amazing this time as it was almost 20 years ago when I was a freshman at Pattonville Sr. High School on a trip to compete in the National Speech and Debate Tournament. Our government teacher insisted that we see the Canyon, a gift that I will forever be grateful to Mr. Schulte for.

The girls where awestruck, they were taken aback by the sight before them, mean while Ashley was standing just close enough to see, but not to close. 🙂

I was able to photograph the canyon and really enjoyed the day with the girls. So all in all it was an amazing day, but the best was yet to come…

 

To be continued.

 

Zachary

Sorry for the delay, we are almost done with the season!

Sorry for the delay, we are almost done with the season!

We are sitting here parking lot docking in a church parking lot near Putnam Park Road Course. We are getting ready for the final event of the season, 10/10ths Motorsports. What a great way to cap off this season, with one of our favorite car clubs. It has been a really amazing season, we have done so much. Being full time on the road has allowed us to meet so many people and really get to know people that we already knew. We normally did not get to spend time with people at the tracks because come sunday we had to high tail it home to continue on with our normal “non-photography” life. Being able to stay in the area allowed up to spend time with friends and explore new areas.  It is sad to see the season end, but exciting too! Because now we head west, to adventures unknown. Well I have to run, Zoey is waiting to play chess. She has really taken to the game, I fear she will soon be able to beat me… I will pick this up in a bit.

 

Zachary