Tag Archives: dashcam

Our Eclipse Trip (Part 4)

(Continued from Part 3)

The Wanderlodge behind us.

Now full of pizza and wings, we set off to find our way out of Butchertown.  Along the way, we were followed (and passed) by a beautifully kept Wanderlodge.  These are the ‘official’ company made RVs built out of school bus bodies (from 1968-2009).

The Wanderlodge heads off to parts unknown while we turn left. We had way more windows, though …)

As the Wanderlodge headed off on it’s own adventure, we made our way back onto the highway and over to the Bulliet Distillery.  The distillery is the only one in a rather industrial area just outside the city (map here) limits of Louisville as it was secured before the area was developed because of the availability of good water (and also to avoid paying taxes).  As it was, there were plenty of trucks and parking lots for heavy vehicles along the way.

One of the newer storage buildings.

The distillery was originally the the Stitzel-Weller Distilling Company  which was founded in 1935 with the combination of the distributor W. L. Weller & Sons, and the A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery.  Known for their ‘Old Fitzgerald’, ‘W.L. Weller’, ‘Pappy Van Winkle’, and other brands through 1972, when the distillery closed though the storage buildings continued to age barrels (at the height of it’s operations, the storage buildings could house 800,000 cases worth of bourbon).

Our tour guide walking us through the distilling process on a display of the facilities.

Bulleit was started (again) in 1987, and used some of the facilities at the Sitzel-Weller plant (though production other that R&D was moved before our tour – be on the lookout for a chocolate rye to be coming out in a few years!).

In the cooperage.

One of the cool things on the tour was seeing one of the few remaining historic cooperage buildings still with gear in it.  It had the facilities to empty a leaking barrel, remove the ends and bands, and allow the staves to be splayed, replaced, or leaks packed with rushes (rushes impart no odd flavors, it turns out).

A quick lesson on repairing a leaking barrel.
Quality control is first!

The highlight of the tour was the tasting. We tasted not only the regular Bulliet, but the 10 year-old, the single barrel uncut, the Rye Whiskey, and

some of the historic blend that’s being made with some of the orphan barrels that were left over when Bulliet took the space over.

But alas, it was over all too soon.  Though we did still have a drive ahead of us, and one of the things that I never seem to be able to do is get to a campground while it’s still light.  So, off we set for Metropolis.

And wound up in a traffic jam.  There were two accidents within a mile of each other and the multiple lanes of traffic were just crawling.

Finally we were in the clear and moved easily down I-65, until we hit the interchange with the Western Kentucky Parkway, which becomes I-69 near Morton’s gap. The interchange had a 15-20 minute stop-and-go traffic jam because of the merging with the Elizabethtown exits, but before we could get to that we had to climb the hill.

And the boy got plenty of reading done …

But once we got onto the Parkway, the engine was nice and cool, and we sailed along.  The Parkway runs nearly straight west, but with lots of hills, though none big enough to slow us down to shift into fourth.

Finally, we hit the end of I-69 where it intersects with I-24, which we took toward Paducah.  We got glimpses of the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, but it was starting to get toward evening and I had high hopes of getting to Fort Massac before dark. (I seem to have a hard time ending up at our campsite before dark for some reason.)

Looking west from the I-24 bridge over the Ohio River. Metropolis is just a few miles downriver.

But there was still some light as we got through Paducah and headed back across the Ohio River again and into Illinois.

Our exit was just past the bridge, and then it was only a couple of miles to our site.  Finally, we were at our location for the eclipse, safe, sound, and kind of tired!


(Continued in Part 5)

A Day without Skydiving

So, my wife wanted to go skydiving, and when she mentioned it on Facebook, she got another of our friends who wanted to go skydiving  to jump with her, and two more who wanted to go watch.  Our son wanted to go, and of course, I was going  to be there, and as the subject of getting there & carpooling came up, I offered the bus.

All was arranged, snacks and champagne were gathered, and we set off.  The location of WNYSkydiving was at the Pine Hill Airport, basically an hour away.

Unfortunately, the winds were too strong, and the jump was aborted, though our two jumpers didn’t get the notification.  So we ended up having a nice picnic in the bus, and heading off to Batavia, NY in order to enjoy the offerings of Oliver’s Candies, both in their ice creams as well as in their candies. especially to pick up some of the thin, colorful ribbon candy that have just entered their seasonal production.

And the trip was nice.  We skirted the edges of the Upper Stafford Marsh area along the way, making it a bit more scenic.

And after Oliver’s, we headed back home along Route 33 (which doubles up on the way as we passed Corfu).  But, being a nice, sunny day it’s a nice view (even at 4x speed).

Overall, it was an uneventful trip, likely to be repeated in May when the Skydiving season restarts.





The Dashcam (Black Box G1W-C)

So, while I’ve been busy enough to keep me from doing much of anything on the bus in terms of improvements, I did get a chance to try out a new toy – the Dash Cam.

In doing some quick internet research I settled on the Black Box G1W-C Dash Cam as the best simple, cheap dash cam.  (Video reviews from CDLlife.com and US Dash Camera as examples.)  

 It has a nice 140 degree fish-eye, and a capacitor instead of a battery, making it more durable for high temperatures that can build up in a bus (or car).  It has g-sensor capabilities, so it can be set to specially record footage when there’s a fast start, stop, or swerve, as you might get with an accident.  It doesn’t record behind, but in the bus, it wouldn’t give a useful view anyhow, and the ‘Night Vision LED’ seems laughable,and I figured that if I was using it at night, I’d have the buses’ lights on anyhow.

I made some tests with my pick-up truck and a crossover.  While several reviews had indicated that a 64GB micro SDHC card, but I had no luck with it, but have had great results with a 32GB card.  With the 32GB card and the Camera on the 1080 pixel (HD) setting, I get less than 6 hours of recording time, but with the 720 pixel at 60 frames per second, I get more than that.  It has a still lower setting of 720 pixels at 30 fps, but if you try to play it at high speed, it ‘stutters’ and that’s annoying.

It can also record sound, which could be handy if I wanted to run a commentary, but as it stands for a regular trip, it would probably just be loud and boring.  And, after testing, I’ve found that the sound ‘skips’ when you speed it up, it’s not like a chipmunk voice sort of thing that could be funny.  But it doesn’t seem to save much data space recording with no sound, which seems a bit odd.

The dash cam has what could be a nice feature in that it starts up automatically upon getting power (it comes with a nice cigarette lighter/DC outlet to mini USB plug power cord that is about 12′ long), and shuts off automatically when it loses power.  I say that it ‘could be’ a nice feature, because it is horrible when you have glow plugs.  As you turn the key on, and have to wait for the glow plugs, an already plugged in G1W-C starts up upon having the ‘accessory’ power come on line. But when you turn the key to spin the starter and fire up the motor, there’s a moment where the accessory power fluctuates and the camera thinks it’s time to shut down, even despite the now constant power coming from the running motor.  As such, I had to start the engine and then plug the camera in.

I also got an additional attaching post for the camera, as the suction cup mount (which holds really well, BTW) is angled, and I was hoping to run the camera from the upper dome window where I had the ‘School Bus’ sign removed and replaced with glass.  I was able to test it in that window, angling the camera as high as the mount would allow (in the video below).  The additional post can be mounted to a flat surface (like a an overhanging board or windowframe molding) and allow the camera to be likewise flat.

So, what follows is a video, as I’ve just learned how to do the basic editing to stitch the videos together.  While I could have set the cam to record it all as one file, I’ve done enough computer work to know that data can get corrupted, and I like the security of multiple files.  The G1W-C allows for multiple settings of file length, and I chose the 5 minute one, which limits the file length to that, then starts a new one.  An interesting feature of this is that the files can’t just be stitched together, as they overlap each other by 1 second, giving a bit of extra security in case one glitches somewhat.

One downside of the cam is that I apparently left it unused for too long before this trip.  While I really like the on-screen documentation of the time/date, it resets if you don’t power it often enough, and as I was in a bit of a hurry to get going, I didn’t double-check it before we started off.  And what you’ll see behind the time-stamp is a nice hour-long trip from Buffalo’s streets to the tranquil and relaxing Sprague Brook Park, on a mostly sunny day that does a nice job working the adaptive intensity circuits .  And if you look closely, you might note my passenger, Aaron, in some of the odd reflections in the window.

So let me know what you think.  Is this too hard to watch with the center of vision pointing at the road, rather than the horizon?  If I tilted the camera up higher and the nose of the bus was out of frame, would that be too disorienting?  Should I just move the camera down to the windshield and mount the flat mount on the underside of the metal ‘shelf’? So many options.

(And if you can’t see the video in the post, it’s on youtube.)