4 July 2011

It’s hump day in the Fourth of July week and I’m on vacation all week. We just got home yesterday afternoon after spending the weekend of the Fourth in Haines, Oregon, a little town with the slogan “Biggest Little Town where there’s whiskey in the water and gold in the streets.”

But first some sadistics…

238 miles round trip
5 days
4 nights
42 family and friends
4 big breakfasts, cowboy style on the BBQ
3 BBQ’d suppers
993 photographs
80 to 90 degree temperatures

Whew.

I honestly didn’t think I’d have as much fun as I did. Normally, family gatherings like these tend to leave me wandering off. This time, though, I had fun and enjoyed both the trip and the long weekend despite the number of people and the temperatures. There were trampoline and tree swings for the kids, horseshoes for the adults. Lots of conversation and laughter. Everyone walked into town, it was only half a mile each way, and the kids really enjoyed being able to just say, “We’re going to the Merc!” and the parents just going, “OK, see you in a bit.” No worries. Everyone had so much fun we’re already talking about going back next year and making this an annual event.

One of the really nice things this trip was that I was able to take some time one day to just sit and work on my #WIP. I fired up the laptop, glanced over what I had already written, then relaxed and started typing. Four hours non-stop on the laptop and I achieved close to 5,000 words in that one session. The words just flowed without any conscious effort, as if I were just reading what was appearing on the laptop screen. I was unaware of the time until to my surprise I found I had finished that short story, coming in at 10,500 words for the first draft. I’ll be working it over this week and hopefully sending it out to some of my Betas by this coming weekend. On top of that, I still had at least two and a half hours of battery time when I checked the battery icon. All this and I left my battery charger home. I’m telling you, I’m never not getting the expanded battery pack with any new laptops. It’s totally worth getting that extra battery capability!

I managed to do some fireworks photography, obviously, and a little astrophotography to see how that would work out. I’m not exactly happy with the fireworks, but the astrophotographs came out tolerably well. The fireworks were shot off so rapidly that it was difficult to get isolated shots, but I did manage a few. I was a bit out of practice, so I completely forgot about adjusting my ISO and left that on auto (100 – 200 ISO) from earlier during the parade. I finally remembered that setting while I was doing the astro shots afterwards. At 1600 ISO, there’s obviously a bith of grain but I did get the Milky Way from their back yard. The Milky Way shots’ noise will clean up nicely and the constellation shots at 200 ISO are nice and sharp. One even has a firework sky burst in it. Now that I know what the place is like at night, I’m looking forward to returning in the fall for more serious astrophotography.

The food and people were wonderful all weekend, and Haines is small enough that the big thing to do is go to the Merc, the only store in town. Once you’ve been to the museum, there isn’t much else to do in that town. It’s nice when you know the mayor, that ensured we had a reserved spot for the parade. With lawn chairs, even! It’s such a small town that even though the parade was reasonably sized with some people coming from surrounding towns, there was a lot of calling back and forth between the paraders and the viewers, everyone seemed to know or recognize everyone else. All of us coming in to my brother-in-law’s place for the Fourth probably upped the population temporarily by 10%. 😉

Yep. Glad to be back home in my own bed, back online, and with the rest of the week to relax in.

I’m looking forward to 4 July 2012.

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