Monday 25th July, up after dawn and rolled into LA. Traffic is a nightmare! Picked up the fixed camcorder by 9ish and headed over to a mcdonalds for wifi. Caught up with blog n emails. Notably I’ve now got a buddy in Hawaii who’s ready to give the global timelapse thing a go. He sounds like he really knows what he’s doing and certainly has much better kit than me. However I still needed a location to head to. I checked out the clear sky forecasts and they were excellent in the Sierra Nevada valley. Packup up and headed out, charging batteries on the way. This is always the absolute nightmare of astro-on-the-road is when you are spending so much time out of doors in the hard sunlight, your body really syncs up with the sun in a powerful way. Almost to the point where, sun goes down and you go to sleep, and yeah it’s REALLY hard to fight against that to stay up all night doing stuff. On the way out of LA I stopped by and saw Lisa, who had lent me a couch during TAM. Then the drive out to the North. Again the traffic was a nightmare. Got to Ridgecrest in late afternoon passing enroute something that looked like an observatory, but I now believe to be military radar of some sort. It looks a good site. Lots of roads leading off into the desert near the top of a mountain, purportedly for dirt bikers, but whatever, looked like my polite surburban 2wd low clearance could handle it. Picked up the largest coffee I could find, and headed out into the desert. In the end I hardly had to go that far off the road and was there for a fantastically dark sunset. However there was wind, 10-20 mph wind. Firstly thats the kiss of death if you are trying to point a telescope at a point source, and secondly there was a small amount of dust with it. Now that was great for the lasers, meant you could see them easily, however its a killer for shutter mechanisms, drives gears etc. I decided I would stand off on setting up the scope till the wind died down. The wind didn’t die down, not even a little. However the sky was superb with the milky way forming a glowing arch from horizon to horizon. Started messing around with the cameras. Even if I can’t do any astro, I’ve got some stuff to field test. Most notably the 4mm ‘180 degree lens’. Gave good piccies of the Milkyway and after a while I decided to laser my name into a mountain, just for yuks. After that, I spent a wonderfully pleasant night, with the cool desert wind blowing steadily through my car, all the time with my head poked out of the window, watching the stars slowly spin above my head. Jupiter rose fast and high, and the late cresent moon somewhat after it. The next morning I was quite happy with the results!