"I click. Therefore, I am."

A short clip from my QAV500 in Mexican Hat Utah. Gusty winds for the last few weeks made flying in this part of the country difficult. You can see several times the image shift as the aircraft is buffeted by the wind. The gimbal stabilization did an impressive job of smoothing the bumps, making the gusts look like little more than yaw errors.

Shortly after passing over the rock, I lost video from the aircraft and all LOS contact. These formations are much larger and much further away than they appear from the ground. I really thought the aircraft was a goner when I flipped into failsafe mode as a last ditch effort to recover. I had all but given up and was thinking of packing up and leaving when I heard the familiar buzz overhead. Naza flight controller to the rescue, the aircraft was descending directly over the launch site. I flipped out of failsafe and guided the aircraft to a nice soft landing next to my car.

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Taking the long way…

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With the National Parks closed I’ve decided to make lemonade. I knew I was going to take the drive to Bryce Canyon even though the park was closed. Too much country to see regardless and it’s moving me west again anyway. Without the obvious to tour, I’ve been talking with bartenders, shopkeepers, and other tourists about where to go and what to see. Just outside of Moab is the Loop Road which circles up through the mountains around Moab and back around to Hiway 128 along the Colorado River. I climbed to about 9900 feet with breathtaking views of the red cliffs of the Colorado, groves of Aspens and Pines, and fantastic fall color contrasting against the white and red rock at lower elevations. I also saw lots of cows grazing the mountainside and even a wild turkey or two.

I’m in Bryce Canyon tonight, but will probably forego two nights here as planned and work my way west tomorrow and see what the road brings. Maybe I’l just stop in Vegas and see if I can pay for this whole mess at the blackjack table.

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Under the Milky Way Tonight…

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With the gubment shutdown Valley of the Gods is not the peaceful, desolate place it was last year. Nonetheless I spent the night taking pictures of the sky.

More to come….

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Welcome to Monument Valley

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Another early morning. I arrived at Monument Valley as soon as it opened, 6am. Monument Valley is a National Navajo Tribal Park and is essentially private. At sunrise there was only one other car I encountered in the park, but by 9am, the rough, rocky dirt road was a train of rental cars, trying to make their way through the terrain. I was happy to have the Subaru as some of the rutted inclined were nothing but piles of silty red earth. Suby did fine, but still sort of felt like it was floating. As I left the park around 10am, I saw at least one Mustang and two sub-compact Chevy Sparks (must be a popular low end rental) enter the 17-mile unpaved trail. I wonder how far they made it…

I spent the rest of the day on a wild goose chase thanks to Apple maps. I wanted to head to Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado near Page, AZ. I knew part of the 89 was closed, but damn Apple maps didn’t have the correct names on the detour route and I found myself driving two hours only to find myself 10 miles from the Bend on the wrong side of the river and the only alternative was an hour and a half back and then another hour to the Bend. I picked up a sandwich and went back to the hotel to watch Breaking Bad finale. Apple drastically needs to get over themselves and go back to doing what they do best and let Google do the rest.

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Off the grid.

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No phone, no lights, no motorcar…

Ok, it’s not that bad, but I’m definitely staying in the middle of nowhere. The town of Mexican Hat Utah consists of three hotels and two restaurants and a gas station. That’s about it. If anyone is trying to reach me, there’s no cell service and little chunks of satellite internet every now and then. I may post if I can, but otherwise…see you in a few days.

Oh, and that guy up there made me an awesome steak by grilling it on a swinging grill that passed the meat through the wood flame creating the most delectable crust.

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Off to Utah…

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So enjoy this wolf while I’m gone…

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Evening at Yavapai Point

Even the best laid plans…

Here’s a quick little time lapse as the sun sets taken from Yavapi Point. It’s about 2 hours compressed into a minute. I wish I would have panned the other way as the light show was even more spectacular in the east. Ah well. It was still pretty incredible.

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