Saturday, June 9, 2012

The great bug adventure of 2012 " the beginning"

Driving from Texas to Alaska either sounds amazing to you or like horrible torture. It has always been a dream of John and I to drive to Alaska. I also thought it would be great to show our two Texas Huskies where their relatives live (ours would never make it up there)! Well, we signed a contract to redo the Peterson Field guide to the Insects of North America which gave us the excuse to fulfill this dream. We purchased a small 20 foot RV as our sleeping quarters and to serve as our photo studio (it will also save us money on hotels).

As two very responsible people, before our departure on June 6th for the big adventure, we took the travel trailer on a few Texas trips. Our first trip was to Pedernales Falls State Park over Christmas where we learned we have these amazing heated mattresses that work VERY well. It was a chilly upper 30's F night and by 2AM we were all (mom was with us) soooo hot that we were sweating buckets and wanted to turn all the heat off in the trailer. We decided this would certainly work for Alaska.

Our next trip was to the east Texas Piney Woods where we stayed at a KOA that was apparently the only RV park in the area that new how to work that "Internet thingy." We learned a LOT about RVing on this trip. First of all, 3 people can fill up a black water tank and consume all the potable water storage in one night. The trailer is very water proof even after 4 days of solid hard rain, and most importantly, the black water tank does not follow that so called universal law of gravity. Apparently, if you hook your RV up to the sewage system and leave it open, "stuff" does not go down and just accumulates near the top! I still don't understand why, but we now know to leave the black water release valve closed until we have a full tank or we will end up with "stuff" where we do not want it!

The third trip was to the hill country.....the "true hill county" where there are LARGE hills that are absolutely amazing. My new favorite Texas road is Hwy 337 through the hill country. That is where I realized our trailer sways going down hill over 60 (FYI, west Texas speed limit is 80). When I got back from this trip, a week before our great adventure, we had a sway bar put on the trailer.

So we have our bases covered, we think..... We will see over the next two months of photographing and collecting insects! We will post some of our photos along the way as well as our mini adventures that you may find amusing. We look forward to hearing from you and staying in touch with our friends and family along the way.

Here is day 1 "the rig" she needs a good name! Any suggestions? The brand of our travel trailer is a Shamrock, so an Irish name may be fitting! Let's just say she is already one tough chick to put up with the two of us!

Kendra and John Abbott

- posted from ipad during the international bug expedition 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

My photo
John is Curator of Entomology at the University of Texas at Austin. Kendra is a Professor at St. Edwards University in Austin. John has focused on dragonflies and damselflies in his career. He has two books Dragonflies and Damselflies of Texas and the South-central United States and The Damselflies of Texas. He is currently working on the Dragonflies of Texas. John and Kendra are also currently both working on revising the Peterson Field Guide to Insects of North America. We have had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Latin America, Africa and other parts of the world where we enjoy taking photos of pretty much anything that will allow us to capture its image. We are lucky enough to be able to teach students about the amazing biodiversity we see and to travel and photograph together.