Crunch Time / by Dave Hileman

We are under a week for our scheduled trip and now things accelerate. Also time to pack the camera bags - plus a hurricane is probable. How does that change things?

So, in preparation for the trip we did a short run  a month ago and found out most of what we did worked well with a couple of minor tweaks but the fresh water had some “sludge” in it which meant a clean out was needed, actually overdue. So we did the purge however, yesterday we found out it did not work completely, almost, so - and I hope when you read this it is done, another round. This consists of half filling fresh, adding some cleaner designed for this purpose, driving around, filling balance and then emptying after 30 minutes. Refilling with clean water. 

Sunday I am installing our new monitoring system for the LPG tanks. Already set up outside of the trailer tank holder and both are working well. This is a real relief as we were always guessing how much propane was left in the tank. When it gets to 35 degrees one night in Bar Harbor we do not want to run out of gas! Already tried camping in cold weather with no heat, twice was enough. If they work over the whole trip I will add them to the “Things that Actually Work.” I also have to replace a hook and a towel bar that the 3-M tape did not hold. Command Strips are up next. 

The potential hurricane is a challenge. We are planning to leave on Saturday for Frederick MD. I have an appointment at a church plus the first anniversary service at Collective, a new church is Sunday. So I guess we will pack early and be done mostly by Wednesday night - at least to avoid packing some of the stuff in the driving rain and make a decision then. We can, if we get to Frederick ahead of the storm on Thursday work remotely on Friday but that is not ideal. We would rather stay here, make sure everything is fine at home and leave Saturday with most of the storm ahead of us. Or that is the current plan. 

I also will finish Sunday preparing my camera equipment. I take everything from my main bag, clean it out and repack. Counterintuitively, then I take each lens, filter and some other things out one at a time and clean them. Then do the same with the camera. Next, take each SD card and reformat all of them along with fully charging each of my four batteries. I then check out the tripod and make sure I have the allen wrench and correct plates and everything works. One non-Fuji battery I have goes in a charger in the truck so I have an emergency battery if needed. I can also put regular batteries in that charger. The 110 volt charger is then put into the trailer. I also check to make sure my insurance is correct and that I have instruction books on hand (iPad is great fits a library). I actually go over the guide at home before and always learn something new. I will go over settings in the camera before we arrive in PA for Steamtown National Historic Park. 

I have a second small bag, recommendation from Dennis Mook of The Wandering Lensman, that I will use in many of the places especially if I know I will not use my long lens or if it is a short walk to the truck. For example in Steamtown I will pack camera, cleaner, second lens, extra battery and extra SD card for walking around the train displays. The key is to return the lens and camera to the main bag when I am finished at a site. The other stuff stays in the bag.

Monday I will also plan alternative routes based on the storm potential. 

Tomorrow the first “Things that Actually Work” post.