Ever have one of "those" months? That's how March was for me and I'm happy that it is finally over.
I just realized that I haven't posted all month and I really want to get something posted before the month is over...three hours and counting as of right now so here goes:
March started with torrential downpours the first weekend of the month. Of course that's when I had to cover the 52nd Tierra del Sol Desert Safari and as I drove through flooded roads and saw a half dozen overturned vehicles I thought I must be out of my mind. But the weather was better in Ocotillo Wells...at least there was no rain. The wind was brutal and with all of the vehicles out there the dust storms had the area in white out conditions at times. Not my favorite conditions for shooting! And once again I lost my ride through the mud hills when I got out to shoot (note to self: if I ever shoot at the mudhills again bring a flag for the Jeep or at least remember to grab the handheld radio and a couple bottles of water before jumping out to shoot) and I ended up hiking at least a mile up hill down hill up hill down hill before I hitched a ride with a very nice man in a sweet no-doors 2DR through some wicked stuff (thank you soooo much!!) and made contact with my husband via radio to arrange a meeting spot. All in all the trip went fine and the sun even managed to show up for a while during the trail run.
Almost white out conditions at the Truckhaven 4x4 training facility in Ocotillo Wells during the 52 Tierra del Sol Desert Safari
But I did some damage on the trail. A few months ago I had a problem with a rear spring failing on the trail and had to replace that. Everything seemed fine on my last few trips but this time we got into some super off-camber sections and my rear track bar bracket started smashing into my left rear shock and crunched it. That put an end to any serious wheeling. I had several people look at it and no one was able to figure out what caused the problem. The only suspension component I've changed in the past six-seven years has been the rear springs. So I had to rearrange my schedule a bit and get the Jeep in to Rebel. They said my rear track bar is too short and my axle isn't centered properly. I still don't completely understand why that hasn't been a problem in the past with all the wheeling I've done, but now I'm waiting for a new track bar and new rear shocks to come in. I'd rather spend $1000 on upgrades to my Jeep than on repairs to my rear suspension(or put toward photography gear) but it is what it is. One by one I'll just keep replacing the original lift kit parts. If I sound a little cranky it's because there's more to the story and I've had my fill of it.
While dealing with all of that it seems that I was one of the accounts compromised in the recent Yahoo security breach. I was on-line when I got hit and immediately shut down, then started taking all security precautions but it was too late. Yahoo claims that a third party database containing user names and passwords was hit with a coordinated attack. They refuse to tell me why a third party was in possession of database containing user names and passwords, and they have refused to tell me who the third party is. I have reasons to believe it is Facebook and that's why they are being so quiet about the incident. I think the damage was limited to the hacker obtaining all of the contacts in my address book, and they are now spoofing my e-mail address to send spam to everyone, including many .mil addresses. I am extremely cautious about internet security so this whole thing really makes me mad.
I was running multiple virus scans using multiple products to make sure my machine was clean and I kept having problems. My anti-virus software would suddenly shut down, quick scans were clean but deep scans would stop running at a certain point. I couldn't run a root kit scan. I had to seek expert advice and we spent days working on it, and along the way my hard drive decided to give up! I had just run a chkdsk on my hard drive the week before because it was almost full so I did some clean up andran through some standard maintenance and it was fine, so of course it would die at the worst possible time for me. I keep multiple backups of everything so that wasn't a concern, but reinstalling an OS, all of my software, digging up license keys, and then remembering all of my user preferences was not something I was in the mood to deal with at this point. It took fifteen hours and I was holding my breath the whole time, but fortunately I was able to clone the drive onto my new drive. Then back to virus scanning to make sure I didn't clone a virus onto my new drive. I lost two weeks of productivity dealing with all of the associated problems.
So now my machine is clean, I didn't lose anything, my yahoo account is still spamming thousands of people on a regular basis, the parts to fix my Jeep will be in Wednesday, and I am really looking forward to April.
This is how it looked when we started the trail, and yes I was shooting through the windshield!
My husband thought it was funny that the trail officials had the most beat up Jeeps. That's because they are well used! I want a trail guide with experience, not a clean shiny Jeep.
I just love checking out all of the different Jeeps and the way people customize them. It's a great way to get ideas.
There were lots of trucks on the trail run but many had a hard time because the long wheel base wasn't well suited for the trail conditions.
My coverage of Tierra del Sol Desert Safari is on DrivingLine and there are even more photos in my gallery.