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Jack and Barb
Begins: Apr 17, 2011
Date: Tue, Apr 26th, 2011
Daily Distance: 0
Trip Distance: 109.6
Entry Visits: 2,060
Journal Visits: 384,624
Guestbook Views: 167,210
Guestbook Entrys: 482
Here is a summary of some of the things we have learned so far. (entry by TK)
1) We really screwed up on the spaghetti sauce. We pulverized it then vacuum sealed the powder. DO NOT DO THIS! The compression of the vacuum sealer turned all of our spaghetti sauces into little red bricks. You can pound nails into a 2X4 with them. So I'm thinking "Ok, but perhaps they will dissolve quickly when sloshed around in a zip lock for awhile" NOT. We had one in a bag for 24 hours and, yes, it dissolved but ever so slowly. After a day, there was still a grape size chunk left, well, we guess you could cart it around for a day then dig out the residue before using it but wayyy to much hassle. We are shifting to Pasta Roni with our dehydrated hamburger. Won't need two pans now either. If you do the sauce thing, pack it in a freezer zip or a mylar bag, sealed with a heat sealer.
2) The GPS. We are bringing the Garmin. The phone (Droid X with Android 2.2, using Backcountry Navigator Pro) had a major issue for us. Correct me if I am wrong but, if your phone is turned off (say you are sleeping near Forrester Pass) and you turn it on and there is no cell coverage then you will not be able to lock up on satellites. I tried it three different times in locations where there was no cell coverage and all three times the phone got stuck in "Aquiring" mode. Maybe it takes a lot longer? If anyone has more info on this, email me. But, we just can't rely on an instrument that can't lock up in places where you will really need them. Guess you could lock on to the satellites in a place with cell coverage and never turn it off but you would need one heck of a battery pack. It sucks juice pretty fast too. Later note: We did get the BCN Pro on the Droid X to aquire positions when there is no cell coverage. IT WORKS! But, the Droid still sucks a lot of juice, so for now, we are taking both units. We ran the Garmin continuously to collect data. We used it to check the trail direction about 3 times during our slackpack in Sec. A. I'm going to give Halfmile a big hug when I see him. If you are using his data, send him 20 bucks or something! I figure 3 sets (qty 6) rechargeable AA rated at 2700 mah could power the GPS continuously for about six days. Don't plan to run it all the time though it is fun (ok, maybe we will...) Another note: We are switching to disposable Lithium AA batteries. They last a very long time and we figure one set in the unit and a spare set in the pack should do it (except in the Sierra).
3) Bring ChapStick. Cracked lower lip - Enough said
4) If you don't have an all weather camera (like Barb's Pan Lumix TS-1), be very careful when storing your camera. Dust and grime in your pant pocket can jam up the lens protector (shutter). It happened to us. Nice to be able to grab a camera and take a quick pic but store it in a place with no grime, ideally dedicated to camera storage only.
5) It can be really windy out there. Get a hat leash. (a small cord with clips on both ends). You will be thanking us for this tip.
6) Journaling - This is a biggie. It is so easy to pound out an entry with a full size keyboard but neither of us are very good with the texting thing yet. The last few days here in Encinitas we were able to have "Enhanced" journal entries but in a tent, it just won't be the same - sorry. When we upload by email, we are allowed only one image and we expect it to appear on the left side rather than the right (no big deal). To get special effects, like color or even paragraph breaks, we have to insert html code. One snippet can easily be used to force a paragraph break. and another will make the default print one size larger and call out Arial font (both of which I have called out here). But each of these snippets must be enclosed in the < and > sign. If I showed it exactly the way it is supposed to look, the code would disappear and I would get a paragraph break or larger Arial type. There are other codes if you want to get fancy. I will list an external page with some codes that may be useful if you want "enhanced" text in the field. I hope this helps someone out there as I struggled with this thing for a long time. I think I finally have it right. Oh, go to your setup page and uncheck the "advanced" box. As Scott, the mastermind of this site says "Keep it Simple". If you are on a desktop, you can go "Advanced" and edit away but in the field, KISS.
So, we expect for the next 5 months, it will be plain jane but we hope the content will continue to entertain you. Perhaps we should bring a "text sherpa" with us. The very best program for composing and uploading journal entries from the field (for Android phones) is called PCYHYOH (is free) and can be found on the Android Market. Simply enter your Postholer code (one time only), and fill in the blanks. It allows you to attach one image as well but make sure it is reduced in file size. Our Droid can reduce and resave an image that can be attached to the email program. If you use the mini flash cards with an adapter in your camera, you can switch mini flash cards to your phone and reduce larger images and upload those that were taken with your camera (sounds like a lot of work but it is not so bad - get a phone case that allows you to easily get to your battery compartment). If this doesn't make sense, let me know, I will try to explain it in a simpler way.
It is virtually impossible to upload a video with a smart phone - it takes forever. When we are in a town, we are planning to hit the local drug store and dump the contents of our flash cards to a disk (or in the absence of a Rite Aid, mail out the flash card). The disk will have some short movies and stills. Our friend Kimo is a master in video production and will upload the movies to Youtube where we can then share them with you. If you see a page with "Movie coming here soon", check back in a week or so and it should be up. We can upload still images (reduced in size) to PicassaWeb relatively easily with the phone so most of our still images will be found there. To do this, I am using a program called "Share Image" (free). You might also look at "Image Shrink" (costs a buck). We are putting a link at the bottom of every page to both our still (Picassa) and YouTube channel. To do this, you must insert html code with links in the "signature" box in your setup mode. The easiest way to do this is to go here and study the code - insert your picture link, video link and email address then cut and paste it into your signature box. I am also including some of the codes discussed above if you want to insert any "enhanced" text when you are sitting in your tent in a rain storm.
After hiking a bunch of miles, it is difficult to spend an hour or so knocking out a journal entry but we will give it a go.
Jack And Barb Take On The PCT
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