In the game Homefront the Revolution, there is a coop survival mode called Resistance Mode. This resistance mode is like mw3 but remember, in Homefront the Revolution, you need to act like a rebel. learn how to fight and run. There is no need to kill all enemies. Sure you can try for much fun, but you only need to complete missions. In some zones, yes you need to kill all. The game will tell you what to do.
When you start the Resistance mode for first time, you make player of man or woman. When you are done making choice of man or woman and the face, you will go to new screen.
Learning how to use SKILL Points ( XP Points plus use of Skill points)
This new screen will allow you to take ONE item of skill. This is to help your player in Resistance mode. THIS VITAL. Of all items, I think 2 best. BUT it is up to you. You only take ONE of all.
“Prepper” is a person who knows how to make bombs. The game will gift you one GTK (guerrilla tool kit) of each type. So it will give free items of bombs every time you play. Items you do not use in game will go back into your inventory at end of game.
Video Game Developer is the other good choice. The game say it will lower cost to unlock next XP level by 1 point. This mean you can buy level 2, level 3 and level 4 XP skill faster.
So make decision of first XP skill point. Once you make decision of first skill point, is time for NAME of player. make sure name is good ! Use name you play in game. Look below, is area for YOUR name.
Give your player a good name you will use in the game.Since I make choice of skill “game developer”, I now have ability to buy XP item of next level cost less.
Go to the main menu it will look like this. You want to find SKILLS.
Your new player will not have much. You will have basic guns. You will need to play the Resistance mode to earn money and XP points. Each time you play Resistance mode you will earn XP points.
Let us talk of XP skill points. This is vital. You have only 20 points total. The object its to buy the least amount of skills per level. Buy only what you need to open up next level of skill.
Look at all skill trees. Take your Favorite tree, work on this first.
I say look at all skill trees. See what skill tree you like best. Look at level 4 bonus !!!! Is what you want? Buy skill of tree you want first, later, buy other !
Each level 1 skill will cost 1500 XP points costs one SKILL point. A Resistance mode game on Easy, will give you 750 XP points. if you play map x, then you buy one skill of level 1. More difficult, or more times play, more skills can buy.
Since I take first skill of Game Developer, I only need buy 1 more item of level 1 skill. Then, level 2 unlock ! I say only buy Skill item when you have 5,000 XP point. THEN you see all, go from level 1 to level 2. In photo below it say use 1 more point level 1 to open level 2. Look at the arrow.
** LOOK OF LOCKS of left. You can buy level 2, 3 ,4 – If LOCK GONE ** Remember need much XP point for level 2, 3, 4. Carry 5000 XP and buy.
For fighter tree, do not buy all. Buy only what you need. Make sure you have much XP points before you buy. Then You see all choices.
Each level 1 skill cost 1500 XP points and one SKILL point.
Each level 2 skill cost 2250 XP points and two SKILL point.
Each level 3 skill cost 3500 XP points and three SKILL point.
Each level 4 skill cost 5000 XP points and four SKILL point.
Remember you only have 20 skill points ! Take items of good.
At the minimum, this screen says you need to spend 9 points in the fighter tree to unlock the tier level 4 skill. Be wise on which skills you buy.
So if good choice, Say you go Fighter tree, you use total 13 of 20 point in Fighter skill tree. Then have 7 points left to use in other sill tree.
The Armory Store and types of Crates or boxes
You will also earn money in the game. You can use the money to buy crates or boxes. The items in the crates will be random. Each box tells you what can be inside.
Each week you will get a FREE box or crate with random items. It is best to go in and take this free item. It will go to your inventory.
Bonus Crate or box –FREE one day each week. Go each week, take free box.
Consumable Crate – Random Items. WEAPON PARTS can be used to upgrade weapons !
Vanity Crate – Items of cloth and other things. If much money, sure. But think best if buy weapons or consumables.
Recruit Gear Crate – If have much money, is up to you.
Attachment Crate – Scope for guns is good !!! Scope 7.5X good for Assault rifle. Scope 4x good for LMG.
Grunt Gear Crate – I no buy much
Weapon Crate – Random weapon. Buy weapons when you can. Best is LMG and Assault Rifle.
Veteran Gear Crate – Later when level 5 or 6 then yes, buy item. Do not buy this until level 5. Random item, some time offer good armor, or bag to carry much items. Shoes of running, some good items, much no good item too.
Flash Flood preparation – why its vital and how to prepare for it.
Hey Dad !!! Wake up we have water in the house !
It was 2012, it was early, about 6:30 am on a weekend. I step on the bedroom tile and there isn’t any water. I quickly put jeans on, shoes with no socks and a shirt. I step into the office and there is 2-3 inches of water heading towards the sump pump. My Daughter frantically starts picking up everything that has the potential to get wet.
This all happens within minutes. I stop, pause and realize we are without power. Its nearly dead quiet in the house. I stand at the bottom of the stairs and realize the rug in the office area is completely underwater. I help pick up what I could, and dash up the stairs and out the door and into cough drop size hail. OUCH !!! I open the truck, hit the garage door opener and….wait. no power.
I go to the back door of the garage and get it open, I grab the manual door cable and yank the Garage door open. I look down the street and think I can see fire, police and other vehicles. I don’t waste much time. I roll out the generator near the opening of the back door , enable the fuel line and start running electrical cables into the house, mindful to keep them out of the water in the finished basement.
I beat on my son’s door and yell, GET UP ! If you don’t move your car NOW, you won’t have one. We’re having a flash flood soon ! This isn’t over ! He throws on some pants, then opts for shoes. I tell him unless he wants the shoes soaked, he best go barefoot. He comes outside and is speechless. as water is half way up his tires and rising quickly. He backs the car on to the grass to the far side of my truck. It continues to pour harder than I have ever seen. Even in squalls out to sea, this storm must have dumped five or more inches of rain in 30 minutes or less.
My son is now up, groggy but walks out to the garage and after a dozen pulls the generator is online. I run down the stairs, and unplug the sump pump from the wall, and plug it into the live line coming from the generator. The sump pump starts draining the water, but its a slow painful process. I think the sump pump drain that sits on the floor in the corner of the room is clogged.
I go back out to the garage and grab the Shopvac vacuum cleaner and put that at the bottom of the stairs, after some quick thinking, the Shopvac ends up at the top of the landing and we are moving water outside the house quicker.
With 90% of the water gone, about 45 minutes to an hour after it all started, I am spent. I look at whats left on the wet rug and tell the kids to pick up everything of value and bring it to the garage.
A few other family members show up and ask if they can assist. I ask them to turn the fans on high throughout the house under generator power and find the sharpest knives in the house. Since the rug in the office is completely saturated, I decide to rip it all up in small manageable sizes. Under the rug is 1970 style tiled floor. That was a relief. I quickly told myself that tile would be the way to go in this finished basement for now on. The finished basement is about 1000 sq feet, and one half is already tiled. We managed to get all the rug up and to the street. Its pouring so hard, that if you stood still for 15 seconds, you were totally soaked. I run inside and grab my camera and quickly shoot photos of the front of the house area and the back. The streets are now a swift moving current with no course set other than the way of least resistance.
An old man comes out of his house to the left of mine. He peers down the street, puts his cane to the air and shouts, “In my 35 years here, I have never seen so much rain !”. A Firetruck approaches and is within sight. Its forced to back up since the water in the street is easily half the way or more up most wheels of the vehicles on the street. The photo below, with the picket fence, the bottom horizontal 2×4 is 14 inches off the ground. So that means the water in the street is easily 15+ inches deep.
The water is steadily climbing. The house across the street, the water is at their front door and at the bottom of the windows in the basement. That house just got renovated.
At the back center of the property is a water run off drain. There must be a lot of debris on the drain grate, because that drain is not draining at all. Its starting to creep towards the house. I go to the garage and grab a wooden 2×4 8 feet long and head to that drain, in an effort to clean a hole out big enough to cause a suction to clean out the debris. It takes a while, probably 30 minutes but, I finally hear the wooooshing of water down the storm drain. A police car comes by and asks if everything is OK. I politely tell him I am out clearing the storm drain since it is clogged. Everything is as best as it can be, but some of the houses around here have basements, and elderly people, lets hope they are fine.
The rain is starting to let up some. It goes from buckets a second to a mild rain. In about an hour and 15 minutes after it all began, its partly sunny. That was one heck of a wake-up call for weekend.
I go into the house and assess the damage. The family have most of the windows open and there is definitely a draft throughout. While everyone was here, I explained to them, this could have been a LOT worse. I quickly tell them how to prepare for this and what you can and cannot do. I was lucky in the fact the lawn has a slight slope upwards the closer to the house you get. All the other properties are almost flat and they are probably bad off, with feet of water in basements.
The wee hours of Sunday morning power is restored and sleep is disturbed as electronic items come back on line. I wander through the house and turn the AC on. I want to remove as much moisture as possible. I then remember in the garage, in the back some where is an ancient dehumidifier. I go get that, plug it in and turn it on max.
I have security cameras outside and I had to see what the heck was going on at 6 am in the morning. In the back of the house, are townhouses. They are set off to an angle . On the video, I see this…whirling dervish come down that path and its probably twenty to thirty feet wide. It travels down the corridor, hits my maple tree and its gone. About fifteen seconds later, the power goes out. My son had driven down the street after the water subsided and seen where the whirling dervish landed. Smack dab on a tree at the corner, knocking the tree down and the main power line for 3 large neighborhoods.
Overall I was lucky, I had enough “tools” and acted quickly enough to keep the damage down to a minimum. The saving grace was the rather loud awakening I got when the daughter noticed water getting into the basement – via the power outlet boxes within the concrete walls…….
This could easily have happened to anyone, anywhere. Preparing for something like this is a must. I am within a 100 year no flood zone, and we have now had TWO flash floods in the past six years. The flash flood in 2012, was by far the worse – so far. Worse than any hurricane I have been through, hands down.
2014 – Severe weather can come in many forms !
Take a look at this mid summer thunderstorm that quickly developed. Winds were easily in excess of 60 mph, probably higher. The video lasts only 3 minutes. THIS is why its important to make sure all loose objects are secured if thunderstorms or bad weather is incoming. This storm comes from many different wind angles. Have a look !
Potential Flash Flood scenario – again.
So, Ironically this weekend – June 2nd and 3rd, 2018 we are under a Flash Flood watch. We can potentially expect three to eight inches of rain, with the majority of it coming Saturday night into Sunday Morning.
Update:June 2nd, 2018, at 17:54 (5:54pm) in less than an hour we have 1.96 inches on the ground. Its now 22:37 (10:37pm) and so far in the past six hours we have had a total of 2.64 inches of rain. We will see what tomorrow holds.
This storm is spinning like a backwards pinwheel, so we will be getting a LOT of rain. Its 1830 on June 2nd, and Thunderstorms are dumping rain as I type.
Things you want to have ready in case bad weather comes your way:
Plastic gas cans filled with fresh gas. Personally, I own 6 to 8 five gallon plastic gas cans. I have four 5 gallon cans filled. I use those throughout the year for the landscaping equipment, and refill when 3 are empty or unstable weather is inbound. Remember, gas pumps require power, so its best to fill these days before pumps run out of gas, or lose power.
Gas Stabilizer. Use this in gas powered equipment when storing them away for the fall and winter months. It will save the gas lines from clogging and gas going bad. Mix it up appropriately to label specs and fill the tanks.
A generator. I have a 5000 watt Generac Centurion. I bought it from Lowes I think 5 years ago. I start this thing at least three times a year. If I need power away from the house I will occasionally pull the generator out and use it in the back yard, allowing to run for thirty minutes to hours at a time. It allows the generator to get some good run time in and it ensures there are no issues with the fuel lines or the electrical system.
A sump pump of sorts. A portable pump will do you wonders in a vast amount of situations. It can assist in the draining of flooded locations or can drain a pool or take lake water and help put out field fires if power is available. The model shown can fill a standard garden hose full and shoot it out a good 20 to 30 feet. So make sure the hose is secured before the hose is charged. Specs can be seen on the box.
Clear any storm drains and water run off areas. If you don’t do this, the water won’t be able to clear the streets or get off the property fast enough. Once water backs up, it is a pain to get it to drain. It can be dangerous to try to clear a clogged drain later, so do it before the storm hits. It can usually be done with an iron rake or a flat shovel.
Improvise where you need to. This water run off ALWAYS gets debris such as limbs and leaves on it which clogs the drain. My son and I rig up a few HEAVY cinder blocks and a metal grate to thwart /catch some of the debris before it gets to the drain grate. This has helped many times and it only takes a few minutes to do.
You should know your land and the slope. Water tends to travel a path of least resistance. It should flow away from your house and not be allowed to pond up. Use plastic tubing from your gutter drains so water is pushed out and away from the house.
You can take small steps to prepare for some bad weather. Do yourself a favor and make a list of how to do it. Should something really bad happen, especially at night, you have written instructions that you can read, or some one else can. This will allow others to understand what is important and who may be in the house with you, and safety things others may not be aware of. It also give you a checklist of things to look over and fine tune as lessons are learned. It is far better to be over prepare for something than to be hopelessly unprepared for the worse.
Know your NOAA weather channels and how to surf to their web sites. Simply go to google and type in NOAA weather and add your zip code. for example, NOAA weather 23602.
Keep abreast of changing weather and you should come out ahead of most situations.
I learned long ago that river rock will out last mulch in color and overall appearance. I had four over sized bushes growing in the front of the house. Although they looked great when they bloomed, it wasn’t quite the look I wanted for the house. So, I decided to remove them in the fall of 2017.
I removed the bushes one section at a time. I did the smaller area in the front of the house to the right first so I could move alot of the river rock from the bigger side of the house when I was done. On the right hand side of the house, I got the bushes out, took out the landscaping cover and replaced the landscaping cover. I then transferred all the river rock from the left hand side of house to the right hand side of the house with a shovel and some buckets. That was a pretty easy project to complete and I did it over the winter when days would allow me to be out and not freeze !
The project was about 70% complete before it got too cold. Lowes didnt have any river rock in the winter, so I decided to wait until spring 2018 to complete the job.
I will line the bottom of the mini picket fence with the long concrete bricks so I can keep the grass out, and keep the stones in. It will provide a good weed whacking surface to trim up the grass. The long bricks can be see in the photo stacked up, near the top center.
I did go to Lowes in the fall of 2017 to look for some nice larger clay pots. I was lucky, I managed to pull a 3 pot combination for more than 33% off. Three pots for 60 bucks and they are frost resistant. That’s a plus. There are 3 sizes. large, medium and small. The plan is to fill the larger pots with bulb style flowers. The medium size pots will have seasonal flowers and the smaller pots will be filled with herbs and/or spices.
The Large clay pot is pretty big, about 20 inches deep. I will see if I can get exact dimensions of all three clay pots and list them here.
Once these are placed out and full I will add a photo of how it looks from the front yard. This will be much easier to manage and the colors can make the house look amazing.
The river rock and clay pots are down in the smaller section. Time for some plants !
It appears all of a sudden once I had returned from Valencia, Spain trip I now have a lot of free time on my hands. In the Winter of 2017, my plan was to replace some picket fence line which is more than 6 years old. The property has fence line on the left and right side of the fence that measures over 120 feet long.
The back of the property line is about 75 feet wide. The front of the house has close to 50 feet of fence as well.
Mind you, I started this project March 26. 2018. I have completed about 75 feet of fencing in the front yard. The street side run of 125 feet will be completed when good weather returns. There is only 12 feet left to do. It’s now April 15th 2018. Its some pretty good progress considering time to purchase raw wood, paint it all with 2-3 coats of paint and then hang all this lumber. About 75% of the time, this was done solo. But two-thirds of the picket fence project is complete.
The back property line is completed. The only big job will be the remaining 120 foot run on the left hand side of the property.
I was sitting here contemplating if I should put up a 6 to 8 foot high privacy fence in the backyard area. I see alot of pro’s and cons to both. Most of the pro’s relate to privacy and security where as the cons are focused on sweat equity and replacing about 24 to 30 4×4 posts that are currently cut down to hold the current picket fence.
As I put up this picket fence, I am not cutting the boards down this time. The original board length will be used.
I will do the smart thing and start replacing the picket fence in the front of my house first. The original posts still look decent although they definately need a new coat of paint throughout. The posts have been whipped by the weed whackers and alot of the paint fom the grassline down is missing. No big deal, but it is one more small job associated with this project.
The gothic pickets come without any paint on them. So I decided to buy some Maximum paint/stain which will seal the picket. This paint/stain comes in 5 gallon buckets, it is heavy and it costs about $170 US dollars for 5 gallons, or about $34.00 a gallon. So far, I have painted (12) 2x4x96 horizontal boards, and rounghly 120 pickets. All that have been painted so far have 2 to 3 really thick coats of paint on them, and as far as I can tell, I have about 2.5 gallons of paint left. Eventually these will receive another coat of paint when a run of fence is completed. I don’t mind using as much paint as needed, especially if this fence will hold up well for another 10 years or so.
The first time I put up the picket fence, I aimed for a wide spread and shortened the pickets down. This time I am going to leave the pickets at their original length and lessen the gap between each picket. I have already started this project in the front of the house this week when the temperatures finally broke and we had two days over 60 degrees.
The idea is to figure that most 4×4 posts in the ground will be the same distance. I have a lot of the posts close to 8 feet apart, which is ideal. I then attach two douglas fir 2 inch by 4 inch lumber onto the posts so I can secure the pickets to them. From this 96 inch spacing, I subtract 3 inches from each end. I use this 90 inch area as my usable picket area. I try to adjust the spacing so the 90 inches of usable board length divided by the spacing comes out to a whole number, or close to it.
I want to try to keep pickets from appearing in front of the posts, just in case I decide to use some sort of fancy post cap to dress up the fence. I want to make sure they are seen, but for the people – mainly kids – looking to tweak or mess with the caps, the spacing should be just enough to give a hint that the cap exists.
For those thinking about changing up a fence line, you can either pay someone a lot of money to do it for you, or you can do it yourself. The choice is up to you.
I will attempt to show you the steps that I use which work for my situation. I will show the steps of what I have done and write up some comments at the bottom of the photos.
The first thing I do is measure the distance between the two posts. I measure dead center on each posts. Typically this is 96 inches. Since this is a fence re-fresh and not a total fence replacement, I am going to use the same basic height for the 2 inch by 4 inch by 96 inch douglas fir lumber. I asked a wood professional about the type of wood that can be used off the ground that if a coat of paint/stain was applied would last a decent length of time. He highly recommended the Douglas Fir 2x4x96 inches so that is what I went with.
Once the two horizontal 2×4’s were in place, I had to decide on the spacing between the pickets. The old spacing was a little over 5 inches wide. This would allow enough room for some one to put their foot in between the pickets and hop over the fence. Mind you, the old pickets were cut down by 6 inches or more, and that would have aided in people being able to jump the fence. I decided on a 3.5 inch spacing between the pickets.
With a higher picket, this will close up the gap just a bit and offer a bit more privacy. I already noticed this when I looked at the photo on the top of this page. I’ll attempt to show you the views in both measurements so you can see the benefits of each. The smaller picket spacing will also allow more of a sun block to some of the grass when the sun is rising and setting. That will be something positive in the harsh summer months here in Virginia.
With the horizontal 2×4’s up, I wanted the pickets off the ground. I purposely did not mow the grass, and it is a little higher than normal. This gives me a gauge on how high I want the picket off the ground. I simply lifted the picket off the ground when it was leaning against the horizontal 2×4 and when I was happy with the gap at the bottom, I took a tape measure. From the highest 2×4, at the top I marked this test picket. It was almost 16 inches. I decided to use this measurement. I measured from the top of the picket to the top of the highest 2×4 and then, took several other pickets and measured 16 inches top the top of the picket down 16 inches, and drew a line. This aids in hanging the inital pickets if your doing this solo.
I measured 3 inches in from the end of the horizontal 2×4 and drew a line. I did this on both ends. In a 96 inch run, this gives me 90 inches of picket area. It gives me an idea how many pickets I will need between each set of posts. The gothic pickets are 3.5 inches wide. The space between pickets in another 3.5 inches wide. This means from the center of each picket will be spaced 7 inches apart. With 90 inches to work with, I divided this by 7 and I came out with 12.85 pickets within this 90 inch area. That is extremely close to 13 pickets bewteen posts and I am OK with that. It will allow for a bit of error here and there.
Now that I have a line scored on the back of the picket I simply find the 3 inch mark and place the right side edge of a picket on that 3 inch mark. I raise the picket up until I see the 16 inch measurement line in the back of the picket and have it equal to the top of the highest horizontal 2×4. Holding this in place with one hand, I take a wood screw and twist in enough into the board to make it stay. Then, with a power drill, I secure the picket to the horizontal 2×4.
Now, I find a small level and make sure this inital picket is level as it can be. I then drive a second screw into the picket adjacent to the first screw. Per picket, I will have two screws in the top horizontal 2×4 and two screws in the bottom horizontal 2×4. This pattern will help the pickets stay in place, resist bowing and provide more stability to the fence line.
I secure two more pickets in the same way.
I go to the garage and I find a piece of scrap picket. I want to create a “spacer”. I use my saw to cut a piece of picket 3.5 inches wide. This will be used as a spacer tool in between each picket so the spacing is just right. It also eliminates the need to use a measuring tape to do this step on each picket. The spacer is a time saver, and can be held up with one hand.
I learned these tricks when I was doing the pickets for the first time. Another trick is bungie cord the level on top of the pickets. This eliminates the need to measure each picket to the same height. With the level on top of the pickets, it offers a stop point to push up the picket to the right height. With the spacer in place, I have the correct with and height and this can be accomplished with one hand. Once the picket is in the right place, I drive a screw into the picket securing the picket to the horizontal 2×4. I then level the picket and drive in a second screw at the same height. Depending on the length of the level, I can get 5 to 7 pickets done before I have to move the level and bungie cord. I use the bungie because the level WILL fall off the top of the pickets. With the level secured, the process of hanging pickets is a breeze.
In a 8 foot run, I only do two screws to the highest horizontal 2×4. Later on I will find the center of the bottom horizonal 2×4 and draw a line across all the pickets. This will allow for a uniform, more professional look. I know these pickets I have already painted, but I will be adding at least 1 more coat of paint/stain to the pickets when a section is finally done. I do this to make sure the pickets are totally covered, just in case some areas were missed or have chipped in the assembly process.
I looked at these taller pickets and I wonder, since I have a 16 inches from the top of the picket to the top of the highest horizontal 2×4, will I need to add a 2×4 that will be attached to only pickets with no post support? This WOULD keep pickets from curling. I will have to research this a little more and make a decision and go with it.
Here is the look at the street side of the house with 75 to 80% of it complete. It is looking sexy ! The extra grass WILL be removed from the sidewalk once it gets a little cooler. Its a bit hot this week (80+F) so I want to do the harder labor when its cooler, or just before dusk. I’ll update the photos when everything is complete.
Street side is nearly complete. the walk in gate is in need of replacement, and the last 10 feet of fence at the end of the run needs to be replaced. One 120 foot run is left to do. That’s on the left side of the house. Most of that is in shade, so it will be a more comfortable job in the morning and afternoon.
A new gate was built basically the same way. The old gate was close to 11.5 feet wide. The new gate is about 16 feet wide. My son and I added hardware to the gate that I hung, and it is now complete. Here are 2 photos. One street side and one within the property.
I am emotionally and physically recovering from the Valencia, Spain trip. When I returned, I had a few emails from friends I used to chat with in the Pogo.com game rooms. It has been a LONG time. I was distracted for almost 3.5 years and I will attempt to catch these people up on what I have been doing with my life since we last chatted.
Since I am on a roll with traveling, I just might be heading to California some time this year. I am not one for extreme heat, so it may well be in the fall. My goal will be to visit the Sacremento , California area. It will probably be for 8 days or so. I’ll have to firm up plans and look at room rates, places to see and a car rental.
If I am lucky, I’ll even spend some time with a few of these friends.
The other thing I want to do is attend a concert that is coming this way. Its the band Shine Down along with God Smack. Long ago, I seen God Smack when they toured with Metallica. That was a great show. I hope this one will be just as good. My aim is to pick a local concert in the Virginia area and attend that, unless they are available when I go out to Sacremento, California. That would be a great combo there. I might even pay for all the tickets for us to go see the concert. That would be epic.
Stand by for an update to this story as it evolves.
Valencia, Spain trip – travel tips and lessons learned
In this post I will try to help people who will be traveling to think about some of the pro’s and con’s of doing so. Although these travel tips may not work for everyone, they worked for me. Your experience may differ and it is up to you to make your own decisions.
One of the first things about my travel was I wanted to plan this WELL in advance. Some times circumstances arise where you cannot plan out really far. I decided in November of 2018 that I wanted to go on a trip overseas from 02 March 2018 to 18 March 2018. I wanted to go to a city that was not too large, and offered enough sightseeing to keep me busy for the length of my stay. let me try to bullet all the highlights to make it easier to read.
Tips about the Airlines and Flight Travel
Do research on the flights to and from your travel destination. Google and other sites usually will show flights that are prone to delays and the typical delay times. Add that into your calculations when thinking about connecting flights.
Purchase a ticket that has ALL the outbound and inbound flights on one itinerary ticket. This means the airlines will be responsible for getting you to your destination should something go wrong. if you have multiple itineraries, this means if something goes wrong, you may be responsible for the affected flight change/costs. So, in a nutshell, one itinerary for the outbound flights and one for the inbound flights.
If the tickets are purchased well in advance, expect the original flight plans to change as airlines condense flights to save money.
Try to plan your flight with the least amount of flights / hops as possible. This will reduce the chances of missing connecting flights due to airline/airport delays.
Each airlines may have their own reservation number or record locator. Make sure you call each airlines and ask for these. Carry a small note pad with this information written down. Make sure you have the phone numbers of all airlines. For example, I had the USA based phone numbers and the overseas phone numbers for the airlines, to include the record locators, and reservation numbers.
Let people know of your travel plans. Give them airline name, outbound flight as well as inbound flight information. Give them the airline phone numbers. Give your point of contact the “record locator” or reservation code that the airlines give you so your point of contact can track your flights.
Purchasing and use of “tools” that will make travel less stressful
If you are traveling overseas, make sure you understand that the use of power and types of plugs will be different. You will be the foreigner and should consider that phrase when traveling. They may speak a language that you may not know or the language may slightly differ. Below in bullet format I will try to offer as many tips as I can about travel to an overseas country.
Your cellphone coverage may NOT work overseas. I use Smart Talk monthly plan and they do not offer any connectivity overseas via mobile phone. Verizon, I think works with the overseas company called Orange, and there is a possibility that your phone may work overseas.
I purchased a Holiday Travel kit for my phone. It offered a sim chip that could be broken down to the size I needed. It was a PAIN to get the SIM in there and to operate correctly, but in the end it worked well. I used a toothpick to assist the chip and a magnifying glass to make the effort less stressful. The Holiday phone kit I bought offered 10GB of data and was good for 14 days upon first use. In 14 days, I hardly put a dent in this plan ! Provide your points of contact this new phone number and let them know your primary number may be off while you are using this new number. Here is the specifics of the Holiday kit.
Orange Holiday Europe – Prepaid SIM card – 10GB Internet Data in 4G/LTE (data tethering allowed) + 120 mn + 1000 texts in 30 countries in Europe.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XBYMX58/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 MAKE SURE the country you are visiting is on the list. Otherwise, wait until you are at your travel destination and purchase a kit there. Know the international dialing codes for calling within each country and for calling back to the USA. The overseas number I had was from France ( no big deal) so I had to know how to dial between France and Spain, as well as back to the USA.
I looked at all my electronics that I would pack for the trip. I ensured the devices I had or bought for this trip were good for 100-240 volts of power.
Each power adapter or electronic device SHOULD have the power ratings on them.
I knew I would be walking alot, and I wanted a shoe that was quite comfortable. I did some research on sneakers and this pair was the one I went with. It fit my style of walking, has a super thick pad inside and fit snugly for the size I purchased: New Balance Men’s MX608v4 Training Shoe
It could offer up to SIX full charges for my cellphone in a day. Some days I had this in my backpack and I purchased a six for phone adapter cord so I could have the power pack in the backpack and the phone in my hand or pocket and it would constantly be charging. It was one of the best purchases for this and future trips. This unit comes with two SHORT cables and three inputs on the device. The unit can charge two devices at the same time. It has 2 USB plugs and a center plug which is a standard android plug. I used the standard android plug when the unit needed charging.
I purchased a rugged backpack that would carry most of the batteries and electronic devices that are not allowed in baggage that is checked in. I used this backpack which has room for a 17-inch laptop. it also has ample pockets and well made zippers. this backpack is what I carried through the streets of Valencia, Spain with minimal items, but included 2 lenses and a Canon Rebel t3i.
Although it says “TSA” you WILL need to remove the laptop from the bag for TSA security screen checks, even though the back opens up flat.
For traveling, my checked luggage bag with all my clothing and non-electronic items went in a travel duffel bag that had sturdy wheels. The maximum size the airlines will accept as standard luggage and NOT charge you a fee for excess baggage size is 62 inches. When you purchase a bag, simply measure the HIEGHT, WIDTH and DEPTH and add these up. Make sure you do it when the bag is FULL. I went with this bag since it was an easy color to spot and I could separate the clothing from the major compartment.
High Sierra Evolution Wheeled Drop Bottom Duffel Bag, Black/Zest, 30″
Its dimensions are 30 inches by 14 inches by 14 inches, which totals 58 inches. Well under the maximum allowed 62 inches for free baggage.
One last thing I did purchase was a hand held scale. I wanted to make sure I was under the weight limit of 50 pounds for the main checked in luggage. I also used the scale to measure the weight of the other bags I was bringing as carry on bags. It worked really well.
Etekcity Digital Hanging Luggage Scale, Rubber Paint, Temperature Sensor, 110 Pounds, Silver
Android Apps that made the travel experience to Valencia, Spain a success
Google’s Maps application
This was a super useful tool when traveling the streets of Valencia, Spain for the first time solo. When combined with a working cellphone and plan for coverage, the amount of bandwidth Google maps will use is very minor. It is a GPS device in your hand. There were only a few spots where I lost signal due to a lot of metal being in the area, but each day I was in Valencia, Spain, Google maps made my day when it would serve me up directions to get to my desination, provide hours the sight was open and offer reviews as well. I could “star” each location so I could find them on Google maps with minimal effort.
Google maps is a BATTERY HOG !!! Make sure you plan accordingly.
I simply purchased a hand held power pack to have enough power so my smart phone never ran out. The battery power pack is listed above.
It can make you a master of about ANY language it supports. I loaded up Google translate and I found a feature that allowed a “conversation mode”. You set two specific geographically located languages in Google translate and go into the conversation mode. There are three buttons. One for each language and an auto detect style button. Google translate will listen to your speech – talk slowly and clearly – and it will translate that language and the phone will speak the foreign language for you. It will also show text boxes for each language as well, so the phrases can be used multiple times and multiple ways. It makes it super easy to communicate with anyone, anywhere.
Note:It is best to try to hold the conversation in a quiet area where background talk will not disrupt your conversation. Google Translate can be a bit slow to react to your speech, so be patient, and again, talk clear and slow and it will work great !
That is about all I can offer for tips and tricks of traveling overseas, and my lessons learned. Should I think of anything else, I will add it to this travel blog post. I hope these lessons learned and tips will provide you some ideas that you can use or modify to your desires. Happy travels !
This phrase is going to haunt me for a while. The usually busy phone lays silent. My sleep pattern is broken as well as parts of the body as they heal from the experience of the trip.
Although I may not make sense in what I am saying, the message is clear – if you decide to take a trip that is going to cost you much time, money and tug at your will, make sure the mind is clear before heading out.
Before went on the trip to Valencia, I knew some of the circumstances were before I departed. What did not help was the original flight to Valencia on March 02, 2018 was canceled due to extremely high winds. Let me tell you, that was one of the longest weekends of my life. All I had time for was to think about that phrase, “Morally Shattered”.
That cancellation was potentially my way out of visiting the city of Valencia, and even knowing the fate of the circumstance, I decided to take the first available flight out on Monday 05 March 2018. This trip was bought and paid for on 28 November 2017, I was not going to let a setback allow me to travel and see some sights.
I am glad I went to see the sights, sounds and experience of Valencia. Sure, I wanted more, but fate changed with a single two or three word phrase.
I regret very much that it had to be a solo adventure, but I needed some down time. If you look through this site about the Valencia Spain daily blog, you’ll see I was out and about everyday except one which turned out to be a stormy ordeal in more than one way.
Over the past year or so – it’s been a one hell of a year. The emotional roller coaster that was involved was mind shattering. I tried my best to offer myself and others as much moral support as possible. In the end, that almost superman human effort to keep the pace a positive one had emotionally drained me. Though this circumstance has almost closed the door, I refuse to quit. There is always hope that the efforts will allow this to come back 360 degrees and be a totally incredible experience. But, I am a realist, the odds are not good.
Taking the vacation to Valencia helped as a distraction. It offered some down time, at times allowing me not to think of this circumstance and allowed me to logically think through the issue. It’s not total closure. It’s not impossible. It can happen. Over the last year, its been an incredibly emotional adventure that I would not wish on my worst enemy – If I had one.
Although this not the departure of a life, It is like death. You know it is coming one day, and you can never prepare yourself for the outcome, no matter what. This circumstance is a long, long story which in the end I personally had no control over though try as I may. The outcome is what it is. Is there a chance that this circumstance will change over time? Sure, nothing is impossible, even though the odds are extremely low.
In due time, I will be healed from this trip and all that was involved.
Now that my mind is some what clear, no longer jet lagged and I can think logically again I will add a post about the pro’s, con’s and what I experienced with first time solo travels overseas to Valencia, Spain.
While I was in Valencia, Spain I decided to do some time lapse photography. Little did a realize the city was due for some gusty winds and a thunderstorms in the afternoon. In the end, I had over 1,975 photos which was over 7 hours of data. I reduced that down in size to a 18 minute video and added some music to make the time go by faster when watching this. Hope you enjoy what a side street looks like on a typical day in Valencia, Spain.
Here is the You Tube video link of the Valencia Spain Falla Daytime Fireworks event City Hall center. The crazy part to all this is the massive ground shaking explosions that can be seen about 3 minutes into this video. The fireworks were better live than what is shown here. Sunday March 11, 2018 was my first visit to see these fireworks, and that day was the best. BUT, a camera malfunction caused me to miss filming the event. So I went back a few days later and filmed this event instead.
I was on the edge whether I wanted to go out adventuring the day before I go back to the USA. I sat and looked over the city of Valencia, Spain via google maps and I noticed two places up by where the Valencia Cathedral is that may show promise.
One is a simple Plaza that holds a fountain and it is close to the Valencia Cathedral. It is called Plaza de la Virgen. The other location is Palau del Marques de Campo museum. Marques de Campo was a wealthy man back in the 17th century who maintained a huge fortress.
I headed out towards Plaza de la Virgen and the walk would take me about 0.5 miles from the hotel. When I arrived, I looked around and I heard a friendly female voice ask if I wanted something to drink. I jokingly replied, it depends if you are buying? She giggled and said no, not right now. I told her I would take lunch and a drink later after I am done photographing the Plaza courtyard and one other museum.
Part of the courtyard was blocked off due to this gigantic wooden Falla style statue. People were able to maneuver around it without issue. It was a tourist magnet for sure.
That was the extent of Plaza de la Virgen.
I looked at google maps and noticed that Palau del Marques de Campo museum was just around the corner. I decided to go there before I sat down for lunch.
Arriving at Palau del Marques de Campo within minutes, I paid my 2 Euro to enter and took some photographs of some statues in the courtyard before I wandered inside the museum. When I walked into the museum, I was pleasantly surprised. Their were stairs immediately up, and I could see a pretty vast amount of windows and rooms. At the first landing I was greeted by a lovely painting.
She looks like she is waving at me, almost invitingly. I chuckled and said, I take that invite, and pull the painting off the wall, the only invite I will receive is one to the nearest prison.
The staircases at this lower level were simply magnificent. Very much ornate, and well taken care of.
Some of these paintings would be documented and go back as far as 1500.
In the end, I would shoot 165+ photos in the Palau del Marques de Campo museum. I did not take a photo of everything, only select items that were quite interesting to me. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of items that were in this museum. This is a MUST see if your planning a visit in Valencia, Spain or simply live there and are looking for something to do for an hour or two.
Well, my travels through Valencia Spain are over. Once I am back in the USA I will summarize it all with one last post. I hope you enjoyed the photos !