Kevin Hellriegel's Blog of Worthless Advice

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Tag Archives: drone

 President’s Day/Mid-Winter Break in Chelan

In the greater Puget Sound area, a fair number of the private and public schools have the President’s Day week off. No one knows for sure why we take a whole week off (considering we just had two weeks off around Christmas and New Year’s Day).   I use to hate having another week off so soon after Christmas, but I have grown to love it over the years.  The hustle and bustle of Christmas is over, which makes this week a good break for vacation trips.  Airfare prices arent too bad and it seems only our local schools do the “Mid-Winter” Break.

The past few years, we have gone to Hawaii (Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island), California.  This year, my daughter is doing club volleyball and my son is doing a college program during his senior year so a family trip wasn’t going to happen. My son still has classes this week, while my daughter doesn’t.  So no out of town, flyaway trips for us.

This year, we did manage to get away to Lake Chelan.  We traded overcast, rainy skies for snow and gray skies.  The drive over was decent; roads and highways were wet and snow free.


As you can see from the photos, the lake appeared, disappeared, and then reappeared.

Then on a drive up to look at a piece of property, the clouds rolled in and went from blue skies to thick clouds (or fog) conditions.

Uh, the road is somewhere out there.


During the winter, the towns of Chelan and Manson slow down. Some of the businesses are mostly the summer type, catering to the tourist families from the west side of the Cascade mountains and stay open during summer months only.  In the winter, the local wineries and their tasting rooms switch to the Friday-Saturday-Sunday limited hours schedule due to the slowdown in suburban mom traffic.  As an example, a few weeks back when my wife and I came to Chelan, we were the only ones at the Benson Vibeyard/Winery’s tasting room.  A nice quiet afternoon to enjoy the view and a bottle of red wine.

Overall, Chelan and Manson are both great getaway locations.  Lots of wineries, a bowling alley, a few pizza and burger joints await the hardy visitor.  Snowshoe or cross country ski in the morning, do a few wine tastings in the afternoon, head out to dinner, and cap it all off with a night of bowling.  What could be more fun?

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The Cold Freeze is Over! (And I’m not talking about my blogging vacation either!)

For the past couple of weeks here in the Seattle area, we have enjoyed a nice frosty cold spell.  It was so cold, we had numerous days of the temperature dropping in the 20’s (F) and even into the teens.  That is pretty unusual for us.  It cause my little fish pond to freeze over. Don’t worry; the goldfish are still going strong under the ice.

It also cause Lake Josephine on Anderson Island to mostly completely freeze over.  The other sister lake, Lake Florence, also was frozen over from this recent cold spell.  Again, pretty amazing stuff for our mild martime Puget Sound climate area.

We broke up some of the ice by the dock.

Winter is coming….

Bella on the ice!

Now, when I took these photos, the ice was 2-4 inches thick and clear.  That will support my dog’s weight of 37 lbs with no problem.  It could support me…but why take that chance? My son and I happily stayed on the float section of our dock.  I didn’t want to fall through the ice, die, and leave you (my dear blog readers) sad and depressed, right? In this case, instead of my usual “Safety 3rd” motto, I bumped it up to #1. Heck, safety is no accident.

(Here is a link to some ice information.  It isn’t for Washington State. Click HERE to Ice Safety information).

My dog Bella enjoyed the ice and chasing the ball for hours.  My son flew one of our Phantom 3 drones over the frozen Lake Josephine as well, hopefully we will have some drone video to post in the next week or so. 

Now, the weather has warmed up into the 40’s (F) and the ice is disappearing.  Until next year….I bid you a fond farewell my frozen lake friends….

Thanks for reading, please comment below on my amazing blog post about ice safety in Washington State, Anderson Island, or just how darn funny and good looking I am.

Drone Video: Lincoln Rock State Park

Enjoy this video of Lincoln Rock State Park!

Lincoln Rock State Park is located about 4 miles north of Wenatchee, Washington on the east side of the Columbia River.

Summer Camp for Adults? Cash on In!

FullSizeRenderSummer is here and a few years back I read about Adult Summer Camps.  I didn’t pay much attention to the Adult Summer Camp craze because I was too busy being, you know, a parent.  Besides, I’ve done my fair share of camping, backpacking, and attending summer camps as a young Boy Scout and also as a Boy Scout troop leader.  Oh, and don’t forget my trips to various Girl Scout camps with my daughter as well.  So you can imagine, I’m not too interested in sleeping a musty old cabin eating bad food at the dining hall as an adult because we now have an Adult Summer Camp opportunities abound.

So, you see, the idea of Adult Summer Camp doesn’t really appeal to me.  However, I can see that it is a great idea because it already exists and someone is making some money.  However, I believed these “summer camps” are called business conventionsand trade shows and held in places like hotels.  Usually  you have to attend because your job requires you to.  Or you could go for pleasure and attend something like Comicon.  You know, a place where you can dress up in a costume just like you do on Halloween.  There is nothing wrong with that.  It is a hobby and hobbies are something you enjoy doing and I strongly encourage you to attend a convention if you want to.  I just don’t understand why someone wants to head out to the woods and go back to summer camp.  I’d much rather head to a hotel and enjoy the pool and spa services.

Of course, I’m a fool for not cashing in on the Adult Summer Camp craze.  I know a number of experts (aka friends) that could assist me in creating a new summer camp.  If someone wants to pay me to attend a summer camp, who am I to stop them?

What courses would I offer?  The list is endless!

  • Lawn Mowing and Lawn Care
  • Complaining & Whining
  • Photography
  • House Painting
  • Blogging
  • Cheap Vacations
  • Car Maintenance
  • How to Fail
  • Drone Flying (and Crashing!)
  • Home Beer Brewing (and its sister course Beer Drinking)
  • How to Be Depressed in Your Life without Mental Illness
  • Boating and Floating
  • Camping Basics
  • Candle Making
  • Wine Drinking
  • Scotch and Whisky Drinking

Pretty much whatever you can imagine, we could offer it as a course.  I could rent some old summer camp, set up some old army tents, get some retired school cook for my mess hall, and we would have our summer camp up and running in no time.  Daily Field trips to the local pub for inspiration would be a must.  Hands on experience (like painting my house) with a touch of reality (see my highly regarded course “How to Fail”).

I know you are dying to sign up.  For only $1499 per week, this summer camp experience can be yours.  You can send me cash anytime.  I promise to save your spot for you.

Have a great idea for a course?  Want to be a part of a winning team (or you need a job for the summer)?  Let me know!  Frankly, I need all the help I can get.

 

 

 

 

Long Beach, Washington – Father’s Day 2016

On Sunday, my son, his friend, and I made a quick trip to Long Beach, Washington to create some drone video footage and take some drone photos.  The last time I was in Long Beach was with the family for a short lunch stop so I was pleased to have the opportunity to visit again and stay a bit longer.

The weather was perfect for enjoying Long Beach.  Clear blue skies and a bright sun for us however, it was very windy.  Long Beach is know for its excellent kite flying conditions.  Plenty of wind on Sunday and Monday if you like kite flying, seagulls, and assorted windy day activities.

We stayed in Jazzy’s Crab Shack Link to Jazzy’s Crab Shack and it was great for the three of us.  Two bedrooms and a queen hide away bed in the living room area, two bathrooms, dining room area, plus a well stocked kitchen with a breakfast nook.  The vacation cottage was very clean and looked like it is well maintained by the owners.

Monday’s weather was a bit more cloudy but the wind was about the same.  After driving around the area a bit, you realize that the beach is pretty far away.  It is wide and (of course) it is long (hence the name “Long Beach”).  In Washington State, you can drive on the beach (in certain areas).

The visit was short but still fun.  Hopefully, when you get the chance to visit Long Beach, the weather will be warm and sunny for your visit.

 

 

 

 

Phantom 3 Professional vs. Phantom 3 Advanced

A few issues we are having with our new Phantom 3 Professional Drone.

My son and I purchased the Phantom 3 Professional drone with a 4K camera.  We had one with a 2.7K camera but I crashed it a few times.  He rebuilt it and we need to purchase a new camera for it.  We thought the Professional 4K would be an upgrade but there are TWO different types of Phantom 3 Professional drones with a 4K camera on them.  One has a wifi interface (cost: $800) and the other one has the wired connection (cost: $1000).  We got the $800 one and that was a mistake.  We don’t really like it.

Cons/Problems/Issues:

The range on this Professional (with wifi) sucks compared to our old Phantom 3 Advanced model with 2.7K camera.

The wifi is always (and I mean always) having some kind of wifi interference.  It’s ridiculous how many “notices” pop up when you are flying.  It drives us nuts.  We have done some flying under bridges drone videos and it is a bit annoying to have the video feed disappear.

This video was done with the 2.7K camera.

There is a lag time when you are viewing the video feed and the response time on the drone control.  In the Mercer Island drone video, my son was trying to follow the jet skis but the lagging of the video made it impossible.  Our old Advanced model could have done this without any problem.

This one was made last weekend with the 4K camera.

We will purchase a new camera for the old Phantom 3 Rebuild drone.

Tip: Purchase the insurance offered on the Amazon website.  A small price to pay.  When I crashed the drone the second time, the camera was totally covered.  I learned my lesson the hard way.

Crash of the Drone

So….

I’ve been practicing my drone flying skills and decided to fly the drone around Lake Union a bit today. I got some nice footage of some boats, saw a sea plane landing, and then managed to crash my drone.  Actually, the drone belongs to my son and myself. As you can imagine, it was hard to tell my business partner I crashed the drone this morning.

I was flying an old ferry boat and got too close to the barge that is docked next to it. I realized that I was too close and attempted to go up which is where I got into trouble.

Once the crash occurred, I pretty much thought my son was going to kill me when he found out. Why bother trying to find it? I was a dead man.

Nevertheless, I threw the controller and the drone backpack into the back of the car and raced to the crash site.  I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to find it or be able to get to it. This is a “working” lake (meaning there are barges, fishing boats, sea planes landing and taking off) in Seattle and the drone was probably at the bottom of the lake.

I did find the drone laying on a barge and was able to recover it.  Below are some photos and the actual drone video crash footage of the damage.

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