January 28, 2015

Free Fiction Friday: The Hunt for Beagle Part 4

Here it ’tis… part 4 of our Mars-spanning adventure The Hunt For Beagle. This puts us neigh half-way through the tale… head back here to start from Part I. If you want to check out more stories in the Solar Winds universe featuring an older Ms. Makati  — and some original tales outside of it — head over to our Amazon author page.

And it’s rather ironic that news concerning the Beagle 2 spacecraft came out just last week! Clearly, there’s more to the tale to be told…

The Hunt for Beagle

Part 4

by

David A. Dickinson

Andrea kept watch over the virtual terrain as the Sun climbed higher in the Martian sky. Already, she felt the thrill of being out in the open Martian desert, somewhere she obviously wasn’t supposed to be. If her Mom had her way, she would go off to university just like her sister, without a whimper. But she didn’t feel suited for cubicle life. She wanted adventure…. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: The Hunt for Beagle Part 3

Here’s this week’s installment of our Mars-spanning adventure set in the Solar Winds universe. Read it as a stand alone, or start back on Chapter I.  Or read The Hunt for Beagle in its entirety!

The Hunt for Beagle

Part III

by

David Dickinson

 

It wasn’t hard for her to summon up the time to approach Zeke between classes the next day. She slid coyly up to him as he munched on his sandwich.

“How’s things?” She said gamely. Zeke was taken back by her new found attention. The unspoken pattern between them was that he usually chased her, and then she chased whatever new unobtainable heart throb she currently fancied. [Read more...]

Now Reading temp post

Free Fiction Friday: The Hunt for Beagle Part 2

As promised, here’s part II of our Mars-spanning epic. Also be sure to check out last week’s Part I, and read The Hunt for Beagle in its entirety.

The Hunt for Beagle

by

David A. Dickinson

Part II

They donned light excursion suits shortly after dusk and headed outside. The night was cool and calm and Andrea could feel the bite of the oncoming Martian winter even through her thermocycle, which was working overtime. Soon, men like her father would’ve been coming in from their months on the high plains. [Read more...]

Free Fiction Friday: The Hunt for Beagle Part 1

It’s here!

As promised in 2015, we’re going to start offering excerpts from some of our free scifi novelletes, all available on Amazon for a few shekels. This week’s first story is set in our Solar Winds universe, and hey, if you’re not careful, you’ll get a lesson or two on early space exploration history before we’re done… [Read more...]

Dark Skies 2014: The End of the Road… for Now.

Life on the road…

(All photos by the author).

The time has come.

Every alpha must have an omega, and this week sees us bringing our 2014 expedition to a close. Since June 1st, we’ve hit 37 of the 50 states in the U.S., and toured the four corners of the lower 48 contiguous states in search of stories, curiosities and dark skies. [Read more...]

Week 30: Closing the Circle in Macon, Georgia

A Grinch Xmas tree!

(All photos by the author).

We’ve done it.

This week sees us close the circle in our 2014 trek through the “lower” 48 contiguous United States. The auspicious event occurred in the state of Georgia just north of Macon, which was our final press stop for the 2014 tour. Fans of this site will remember our passage through the town of Macon earlier this year. But beyond just the southern rock music scene, Macon has lots to offer, and our re-visit taught us that it’s always worth giving any destination a second look. [Read more...]

Week 29: Rolling into Memphis

45s at Stax Records…

(All photos by the author).

The circle is almost complete.

This week sees us pass a crucial milestone, as we begin month seven on the road. We’ve now been continuously traveling longer than ever before, as we surpass our former record set back in 2007 when we completed our six month backpacking journey around the world. [Read more...]

Week 28: Giving Thanks in Fort Worth, Texas

Release the cows…

(All photos by the author)

So, what did YOU do for Thanksgiving? Turkey Day is rapidly becoming our #2 favorite holiday behind Halloween. Unlike holidays such as Christmas or Easter, Thanksgiving is pretty much secular, with no rites needed as a barrier to pass before you can eat your cake, or pumpkin pie as it were… and though Halloween will always be number one due to its tie-in with science fiction-dom, we do loves us a good gorge-fest. [Read more...]

Week 27: Crossing Panhandles

Downtown Oklahoma City.

(All photos by the author).

If you’re like us, you’ve made that long drive across the state of Texas many, many times. The state is larger than many countries, and in fact was a nation long before joining the U.S of A. Anyone in the U.S. Air Force is familiar with Texas, as basic training starts off many a military career. [Read more...]

Week 26: Of Peppers, Parks and Plutonium in Santa Fe

A first: A snow-frosted Astroguyz mobile.

(all photos by the author).

Well, we headed northward in our trek across New Mexico this week, and winter weather was there to meet us.  We knew it would happen sometime, and the gloves, hats and jackets are now out in full force.

Luckily, the town of Santa Fe, New Mexico was a friendly one and easy to get around. We based our operations out of the Courtyard Marriot, a dog-friendly establishment with apartment style accommodations. And we were happy to have decent workout accommodations, as temperatures and the wind chill for running outside approached our cutoff of 0 degrees Fahrenheit! Yes, our old cutoff was -20 deg F, but we’re hardly carrying the gear to run in that now. And it’s also worth noting that our vehicle isn’t winterized for below zero operations.

The historic downtown train depot.

Our first mission of exploration was the train park in downtown Santa Fe. A dog-friendly romp, the park features filled-in tracks laid in parallel to make an interesting set of paths through the center of town.

Santa Fe also has a rockin’ restaurant scene as well, from the outstanding Thai Vegan, to the Caffe Greco and Café Fina located in the northern foothills of town… and don’t miss the alien burger at Second Street Brewery: it’s a green pepper, bacon avocado burger that’s out of this world!

Mmmmm… alien burger…

We also made a brief afternoon journey to nearby Los Alamos and the Bradbury Science Museum. IQ averages and PhDs per capita rise sharply in these parts, and my vision of Los Alamos has always been something akin to the SyFy series Eureka, and town of the same name. The Bradbury is great place to trace the history of the Manhattan Project and the birth of the Nuclear Age. And, curiously enough, we seem to be on what we would term the “Tourist Nuke Trail” of the southern U.S., as historical sites and fascinating museums from the Atomic Era abound.

A antique “U-glass” artifact seen at the Bradbury Museum.

Back in town, don’t forget to check out Georgia O’Keeffe museum for an incredible look at the Salvador Dali of our generation.

We also had a great visit with our friend Michael Zeiler of Eclipse-maps fame. We plotted world domination as we approach the T-minus one thousand day mark from the 2017 total solar eclipse this month. Check out his gear, swag and all things eclipse-related over at the GreatAmericanEclipse.com.

The lunch counter at Cafe Fino.

From Santa Fe, it was an icy crossing to Amarillo, Texas as an early snow storm blanketed the region. I know that folks up north often wonder how a few inches of the white stuff can paralyze a city down south, and here’s how: most places fail to prep for major storms down south, as they’re fairly rare. This means less sanding of roads and snowplowing. Couple all that with drivers who have never crossed icy roads, and it’s literally a perfect storm. Still, old up north driving reflexes prevailed, and we arrived (or slid) in Amarillo safe and sound and ready for adventure as we now strike out eastward.

The cathedral in downtown Santa Fe.

More to come!

 

 

Week 25: Seeking Secrets in New Mexico

Climbing the dunes at White Sands National Monument.

(All photos by the author).

New Mexico is one of the most clandestine states in America. The first atomic bomb was detonated here at Trinity Site in 1945, and most of the drama of the Manhattan Project at the end of World War II played out here. More recently, the F-117 Stealth Fighter called Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo, New Mexico home before its retirement in 2008. [Read more...]

Week 24: Yearning for Yuma

A U.S. Army launch vehicle on display at

Yuma Proving Grounds.

(All photos by author).

You just never know what you might find in your own backyard. This past week saw us transit from our Arizona adventures in Tucson to the town of Yuma. Located far in the southwestern corner of the state, Yuma sits right on the border with San Luis in Mexico to its south, and the town of Winterhaven, California to its west. [Read more...]

Week 23: Return to Tucson 2014

Eclipse!

All photos by the author.

I remember well the first time we laid eyes on Tucson and the desert southwest of Arizona way back in late 2001. As we came up over Texas Canyon from New Mexico and the expansive basin ahead stretched out before us, we were greeted by a terrain that was both alien and bizarre, as cacti replaced trees, and road runners and rattlesnakes seemed to be the dominant life form. [Read more...]

Week 22: Back on the Road and into Arizona

Astro-sculpture sighting:

Urania, the Muse of Astronomy in Salt Lake City

(All photos by the author).

They say that you can never go home again, but sometimes, you can still visit those old stomping grounds. This past week we’ve been heading in just such a direction as we crossed the border from Utah back in to Arizona.

Not that our stay in Salt Lake City wasn’t a much needed respite from the road. We actually used our week of ‘down time’ to write like the wind and catch up on those essentials, such as laundry, oil changes and bill paying. Yeah, those sorts of glamorous things tend  to follow you, even on the road. [Read more...]

Week 21: Eclipse Chasing Across the Nevada Desert

Hanging with Astro-Lab at Cathedral Gorge!

(All photos by author)

You just never know where the next saros cycle will find you.

We managed to wrap up the Nevada leg of our current journey over the past week and have since stopped briefly in Utah for a minor rest cycle. Of course, when travelling, this merely means that we’re taking the opportunity to stop long enough to catch up on chores and errands such as laundry, bills, oil changes, etc. Life doesn’t stop, even on the road. But we did manage to cram in some exciting visits in the past week: [Read more...]

Week 20: Flying High Over the Sierra Nevadas

Flight! Taking to the air with Soaring NV.

(All photos by author).

You’ve never truly flown until you’ve taken to the air in a glider.

This past week saw us cross the state of California from west to east, and depart Santa Rosa after last week’s adventures and cross over the Sierra Nevadas into the Silver State. Like most Americans, we’d “been to Vegas,” but soon found that we hadn’t truly been to Nevada. [Read more...]

Week 19: Redwoods, Red Wine and Winding Roads

Along the rocky beaches of northern California.

(All photos by the author).

You get a whole different perspective on the state of California approaching it from the north. I liken it to our experience with Italy, versus our first impressions of Egypt or Thailand. Frequently, a traveler’s first experience with a country is exiting the airport at a major city like Cairo or Bangkok. This is an assault on the senses, and one must often struggle to get at the rural heart of the country beyond. In the case of Italy, we had the chance to enjoy the rural countryside of Lago di Garda before venturing into the heavily touristed cities. [Read more...]