A great visit with friends in La Pine Oregon

 I guess it’s time to make up for sitting around for a month and get the travels going again!!!

Diane decided to give me a hand washing the rig while getting ready to leave Grants Pass

Diane decided to give me a hand washing the rig while getting ready to leave Grants Pass

 Thursday (June 1st) rolled around and with it a travel day. We were all packed up and hooked up by 8:45 and was on the road at 9 headed towards La Pine Oregon.

 We drove I-5 a few miles and jumped off at Gold Hill then drove HWY 224 to HWY 62/230 then had a very pretty drive through Shady Cove and Union Creek until we reached HWY 97. Once we hooked up to 97 it was a short 40 miles more until we reached our friends Bob & Karen’s place at noon. All in all a very nice 160 mile travel day through some very pretty country. SEE YA NEXT YEAR GRANTS PASS!!

There was some snow still along the road on the way. We were starting to think we would need to get out our big boy & girl pants.

There was some snow still along the road on the way. We were starting to think we would need to get out our big boy & girl pants.

 Even though we keep in contact with Bob & Karen through social media we have not seen them in a year so of course it was great getting together again in person, we always have a great time together.

Now that's a long straight stretch of road.

Now that’s a long straight stretch of road.

 And they have a RV site on their property that make it easy to mooch dock, (mooch docking is what we RVer’s call staying on someone’s land for free LOL!! Well we try to do littles things like pitch in on food or buy a meal to at least offset the electricity we use and show our gratitude even though we know it’s not expected).

 

 On this particular stay Bob & Karen’s son (Casey) and his new girlfriend (Kourtney) happened to drive over from the coast for a 2 day stay as well which was fun because even though we have heard a lot about Casey we had never met him before. It was nice putting a face to all the stories.

Another rip roaring game of Chicken Foot.

Another rip roaring game of Chicken Foot.

 During our stay we made two day trips out to Twin Lakes which is just 12 miles from Bob & Karen’s property. One day was just mainly on a driving tour and another we actually packed up Bob & Karen’s kayaks and inter-tube and Casey brought his kayak with him as well and spent a good chunk of an afternoon enjoying the lake.

Bob, Karen and me (Dave) at Twin Lakes.

Bob, Karen and me (Dave) at Twin Lakes.

Twin Lakes

Twin Lakes

Bob & Karen at Twin Lakes

Bob & Karen at Twin Lakes

Diane & Karen

Diane & Karen

Diane and Karen

Diane and Karen

 On another day we drove to Lava Lands and found a short hiking trail along the Deschutes River before finding ourselves at Sun River for lunch before Casey & Kourtney started their trek towards home.

Everyone was jockeying around to take a picture of Casey an Kourtney but I think I out jockeyed all of them.

Everyone was jockeying around to take a picture of Casey an Kourtney but I think I out jockeyed all of them.

 Of course we ALWAYS head out for a great bike ride (or two) while visiting so instead of leaving on Monday as we thought we might we hung around for another day so we could ride one of our favorite trails.

 We loaded the bikes and headed to Lava Lands where we park and unload and rode to Sun River and had lunch and then back to Lava Lands.

 We didn’t ride as many miles as normal when we do this ride but it was the first real ride Diane and I have done since leaving Arizona and the first real ride of the season or Karen and Bob so there was a certain area on our bodies that wasn’t quite seasoned and ready for much more than the roughly 25 miles we rode LOL!

Bob, Karen, Diane and me on the bridge during our bike ride.

Bob, Karen, Diane and me on the bridge during our bike ride.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0097.JPG

 And we eat well!! On our first evening here Bob did a Pork Loin on his new Webber BBQ that turned out great.

Bob tending to the Pork Loin

Bob tending to the Pork Loin

 And on our second night after Casey and Kourtney arrived Bob did a nice Tri-Tip and corn on the cob on the BBQ.

Bob and Diane

Bob and Diane

Bob tending to the Tri-Tip and corn

Bob tending to the Tri-Tip and corn

 On another night Karen made spaghetti which was followed up the next morning by a waffle breakfast with fresh strawberries we picked up at the fruit stand the day before. (no pictures I’m afraid) but they were delicious!!

Diane and Karen catching some morning sun.

Diane and Karen catching some morning sun.

We can’t go without mentioning that we taught Bob & Karen how to play Chicken foot.

A evening of Chicken Foot

A evening of Chicken Foot

And they liked it so much that we just had to teach Casey & Kourtney how to play when they arrived LOL!!

 By now my comment at the beginning of this update about how we always have a great time with Bob & Karen is making sense I’m sure.

A stretch of the Little Deschutes River that runs inside of Bob & Karen's sub-division.

A stretch of the Little Deschutes River that runs inside of Bob & Karen’s sub-division.

Little Deschutes River

Little Deschutes River

 But after a great and fast 5 day stay it was time for us to lift our jacks and get on the road once again. Tuesday morning after saying “see ya down the road” we lifted our jacks and started our move east. With a little luck we will see Bob & Karen down south this winter if they don’t stick around La Pine to long like they did last winter and get snowed in LOL!!!   

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The Mavic update I promised

 A few weeks ago in one of our updates I mentioned getting a DJI Mavic Pro (toy) Drone and that I would do an update just about it for anyone interested so here it is.

 Keep in mind that I have only had the Mavic for just a couple weeks and have not been able to fly it a bunch yet due to adverse weather and a busy schedule but I will share my thoughts so far and share a few pictures and a video or two.  

#1, I love the compact size. The difference between it and the Phantom is just amazing. I can see grabbing the Mavic much more often when we take off touring or go out for a hike or bike ride. I could pack roughly 7 Mavic’s all stowed away in their carry bags inside the 1 backpack it takes to stow the Phantom. And if we carried a scale I’m sure you would be impressed with the total weight difference. 

#2, I love the fact that I can leave the folding props on while stored and just fold the arms in towards the body. Just that much faster to get out to grab a quick shot and to put it away.

#3, I love love LOVE not having to do the DJI dance (location calibration) every time I move to a new location to fly. The Mavic locks into its “home” location by GPS and takes an internal picture of the exact spot it takes off from upon takeoff all on its own. A huge time saver for those time’s you want to get in the air fast. I bet it takes 1/3 of the time to get airborne with the Mavic compared to the Phantom.

** (I can stop after the first 3 items and justify in my mind switching to the Mavic but I’ll continue) **

#4, it seems every bit as stable in the air as the Phantom but I have not flown it in anything other than a slightly stiff breeze so far. It’s (weighing it at roughly 1.64lbs flying weight) lighter than the Phantom (weighing in at 2.82lbs flying weight) so I would have to think it would be more effected by the wind but it’s also less mass height wise so that may offset things a little as well and I would have to think that being 3 years newer the GPS and stabilization system would have to be more refined. Time will tell.

Unfortunately I’m not a camera buff so changing things like the ISO, shutter speeds and other camera settings are something I have to think about when doing them. But for those that know about that stuff you would love the flexibility of changing things on the fly. Of course the camera can be set to “auto” like almost any other camera but I have been trying to learn the other way.  I do wish the camera was detachable in case there is ever an issue with it but it is not.  

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n04joFZIksc&t=134s

  #6, I like being able to set things like ceiling height and even distance away it can fly. Even though they say it will fly 4 miles away I set my distance to 1 mile and will probably not even fly that far, but I can change that while it’s in the air if I want to. And I set the max height to 375ft, just 25’ shy of the legal limit. But again I never really fly that high. You can also set the “return to home” height to what YOU want. In this area I have it set to 300’ but while in Arizona camped in the desert I will probably change it to 100’ (no trees to worry about). The “return to home” feature is for those times that for some reason you lose communication between the transmitter and Mavic and the Mavic takes control and returns to its takeoff point automatically.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20KNSnRBdns

 #7, I didn’t think I would like how small the transmitter is but after the first time out I changed my mind. Plus it shows airspeed, elevation, how far away from home base it is, your camera settings like ISO, shutter speed, the direction the bird is traveling, a hologram so you can check exposure before taking a picture and other things that I can’t think of right now on the screen. And it stows away so nice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6wLOYHv8Wo&t=9s

 #8, it has 2 modes to fly in speed wise, a regular mode and a sport mode. I’m sure I will use the regular mode most of the time but if you want to follow a faster moving object like a car, boat or motorcycle the sport mode would be the way to go because it allows the Mavic to reach a speed of just over 40mph, it really gets going.

And I do like being able to change how reactive the joy sticks are on things like the gimbal and Yaw, it will make for making smooth video’s much easier in time.

 

 

 The jury is still out on battery life on the controller but I have a car charger just in case (and have already had to use it) but the Mavic batteries seem to last pretty good. Over 20 minutes of flight time from what I can tell so far but they are new batteries.

 I have not really tested the avoidance sensors other than trying to run into myself (on purpose) but do have them activated. I guess they will be a nice thing but to be honest, I flew the Phantom all these years and haven’t had issues and if you fly with common sense shouldn’t really need them. However if they save my bacon just once I would be singing a different tune. Time will tell.

 I have not played with the auto take off and land features, again I fly the bird and don’t really care about those but maybe I will change my mind after trying the auto land while the bird is a ways away and I need to take a leak real quick LOL!!!

 I find it harder to see in the ski so far with it being a dark color especially when I have trees in the background but I guess my eyes will get used to that with time OR I will really on the screen more. They sell skins that you can change the look of the Mavic and if seeing it in the ski really bothers me I might just find a bright color and go that route.

 All in all I’m very happy with the Mavic Pro so far and am really looking forward to getting some great shots with it. And now that we have switched to the un-limited data plan on Verizon I won’t have to worry so much about uploading videos.

 Now let me touch on something I’m not so crazy about with the Mavic. Owning a DJI Mavic in one way is like having a computer than runs on Windows. What I mean by that is I’ve never liked the fact that Microsoft can control what operating system you run and stop giving support to older versions any time they want and DJI has the same control over the Mavic (and other DJI drones as well).

Rogue River just outside of Gold Hill

Rogue River just outside of Gold Hill

 For example they program NFZ (no fly zones) right into the software which can restrict where you can actually fly. I’m all for safety and it’s because of the stupid shits that do ignorant stuff with their toys that make this necessary but some of the NFZ areas they have programmed in are actually abandoned fields that need to be taken off.

Applegate Lake taken with the new toy.

Applegate Lake taken with the new toy.

Applegate Lake taken with the new toy.

Applegate Lake taken with the new toy.

 They can also control anything else they want to like max altitude and distance the Mavic will fly if you don’t update to the most current firmware. Heck they can even render the camera useless if they so choose. To me once I buy a product that product in mine to do with as I please and don’t like the idea that some dork sitting behind a desk someplace can control what I do with something I own.

Applegate Lake taken with the new toy.

Applegate Lake taken with the new toy.

 There are ways to avoid them from having such control by taking away Wifi before starting up the Mavic so it has no way of knowing that an update is needed but by doing this it also takes away the mapping feature available while flying which does not really bother me but might others.

 Even with the nagging feeling that “Big Brother” is watching and has control (and NO I’m not a doomsday monger) I think the Mavic is one of the best drones on the market right now and I’m very happy with.     

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