Lifeinatravco.com (as a URL) may be gone but the blog is still alive! I've made a few design updates and will be redirecting our domain "miniroadtrips.com" over to here. A lot has happened since our last post and we'll cover all of that in time.
To get things started back up, here is a photo of a Ensatina (type of salamander) we ran into late last night:
We've run across a lot of interesting critters over the past week. Just a couple days ago, Edwige and I saw our first rattlesnake in the wild. I was a little slow in getting my camera focused on him before he slithered into thick brush but I did get a shot of his rattle before he was completely camouflaged!
We’re back in Minneapolis, MN for a little while. Our experience in Joshua Tree NP was incredible! Kurt put together a gallery of images that features the Best Of Joshua Tree, you can view the slideshow by clicking here.
It’s funny how the desert can grow on a person. In the first half of our stay if we had to leave, I would have been indifferent. My love for Joshua Tree NP came later on. I believe that the variety of photo projects we were assigned to contributed to it. We would have never discovered the park the way we did if it was not for the projects that we were documenting for the park. When I look back at the slideshow I feel like part of me is still out there. We will be back in the desert!
Since we started camp hosting, Kurt has been called on to help grow Joshua Tree National Park's library of images. It's been a great opportunity for us to visit the park in depth while on assignment and document park employees in the field.
Last week we were very fortunate to document Earthwatch. We got to spend time alongside researchers and volunteers taking inventory of the fauna and flora. Kurt documented the first of a long-term climate change project in Joshua Tree National Park!
Working as volunteers at Joshua Tree National Park, we get to spend quality time in the park. Last week, we witnessed a series of unusual sky events, here are just a few:
We had read about Slab City (or The Slabs) sometime ago and ran into it as we were visiting nearby Salton Sea and Salvation Mountain.
Slab City is not a city. It's a community of snow birders and year round squatters, living on California State land, free of charge. There is no septic, no water, no electricity and no real organization.
Kurt and I had a hard time documenting the area through photography as the residents were being a little camera shy. We felt we were being sized up as we drove through. One resident yelled a sarcastic "THANKS" as Kurt was photographing "the town", which we found ironic because it's claiming to be a community of "no rules".
There were half million dollar RVs parked next to trailers surrounded by piles of trash, some trailers had accumulated years of junk and made some kind of art out of it.
On the way out of Slab City was a sign "CAUTION REALITY AHEAD". For a minute I thought the warning applied to Slab City.
A man who gave his life to Christ during his adult life built this monument over many years to try to make the message "God is Love" accessible and visible to as many people as possible.
According to his website he passed away in February 2014 of old age but there is still a small group keeping the monument alive. It sits on public land and is made of debris and trash filled with cement and covered with thousands of gallons of paint.
When Kurt and I were there, the small mound was crawling with visitors. Salvation Mountain is listed as a National Treasure and sits at the entrance of Slab City in the Imperial Valley, California.
The nice side of traveling light is to be able to move around a lot. We regularly visit Saguaro National Park from our base camp.
The road to the park has many dips which feels like being on a roller coaster ride and the scenery is gorgeous, I love the Sonoran desert! I thought it would be barren and silent instead it's filled with plants and trees and very much alive!
I found our campsite with the help of AllStay Camp & RV App. It's a small plot of land owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). We can stay free of charge for up to 14 days and there are no facilities, water, nor electricity.
The site is practically in town so the cellular/data signal is good. At night we hear coyotes, sometimes they get close to our van and once we witnessed a couple stray dogs chasing down a yelping coyote!
During the day, there are occasional gun shots from hunters but overall it's a very nice, popular spot, only 9 miles away from Saguaro National Park which is perfect for our photography project!
Edwige and I are excited to announce that we have teamed up with the creative minds at MediaMonks to create a watch face for Android Wear™
For some time we've been thinking of a way to introduce our photography in a digital format adding to the more traditional medium of the prints, postcards and books. The digital watch face is a perfect medium to share our joy of travelling and adventures with a broader audience.
For this app I shot extra frames which MediaMonks has developed into stop motion animations. These animations will play as you wake your watch from its ambient state. The app will also feature hand drawn style icons to display the time and date.
Edwige and I specifically chose White Sands National Monument in New Mexico as the location for the scenes. The user gets to experience a day on the dunes with the changes of light while following the adventures of the miniatures through static photographs and stop motion animations.
The environment in which we photographed the scenes was at times harsh and unpredictable. But after seeing the final product produced by MediaMonks, all of the hard work has paid off!
Our app titled "MiniAdventure" is available in the Google Play store.
As you may (or may not) know we had to leave the Travco in Northern Minnesota for the winter. If our Travco is our home, then our Astro van is our cabin. A few weeks back, we had dumped all of our money in it to prepare it for the trip south. A few days before we were to leave Minnesota, it pooped out... for good! That left us in a predicament. We didn't have the money to fix it or replace it. Long story short, we were blessed to come across another Astro van with 100,000 mile less than ours. It was priced right and with a little help, we were back on schedule to drive south.
I found this campsite on www.freecampsites.net. The property belongs to Holloman Air Force Base. We spent a few nights in our van, on the edge of the lake, the night temperatures were in the twenties. There were no bathrooms, no water, no other travelers for the duration of our stay. In the mornings, the sun reflection on the lake was gorgeous and it was the only place in the white sands where we saw actual birds.
We went to the International Space Hall of Fame and it was great! To our big surprise New Mexico plays a major role in space programs and Nasa has testing facilities in White Sands Missile Range.