I own and operate a website called Destination4x4.com. I started the website about two years ago with the primary goal of keeping my website skill set at a cutting edge of website development. My past projects include a lot of LAMP based database driven content and custom built shopping carts. During my time doing web development it became easy to fall upon past skills, knowledge bases and technology, however the results continued to be profitable. Several years ago, my career path was changed rather dramatically.
I lost a job of 15 years which I loved, and found myself looking for work for the fist time in over a decade. Fortunately, my job search did not last long and I found myself working in the Gaming Industry here in Nevada. As new opportunities presented themselves, I was quick to prove my worth and began to flourish in my new job. However, I could tell that my old skill sets were being diminished as time went on. As much as I love my new job, it is not a creative endeavor.
To address my own personal needs I decided to start Destination4x4.com. The site combines several personal points of interest: off road and back country driving, 4x4s, camping, hiking, photography, exploration, history and website technology. The primary purpose to personal continuing education, but as an additional side effect, the problem solving and research that I already conduct for my own trips, now has an outlet and can be branded to a property that I own.
In June, 2012 my family took a family vacation to the Eastern Sierra area. This was the site of many past family vacations throughout my life and I am fortunate enough to travel in this area with my entire family again. For this trip, I am thrilled to bring my wife and son. Although Heather visited this area a few times before, she and I had never been here together and I was really looking forward to sharing my memories of the area with her and Ryan.
After a quick drive from Las Vegas to Lone Pine via Death Valley, we met my folks and brother and sister-in-law in Lone Pine, California. We took a few side trips including a drive up to Whitney Portal and the Alabama Hills. The next day of the trip north on the 395 highway found us in Lee Vining, CA and prepared ourselves for Bodie, CA.
Several months ago, I overhauled www.jamesrathbun.com. This website used to feature my photographic efforts which are important to me. The overhaul is designed to allow me to more easily write about things which are more important to me, and as a result, I created the website www.jamesrathbunphotography.com to promote my photography.
Located near Lone Pine, CA the Alabama Hills are an awesome spot to visit and explore. Large boulder formations erupt from the ground and create a maze of canyons, trails and roads. This feature in itself, is more than enough fun to justify a trip to this area, however add to the equation that the Alabama Hills has appeared in more Hollywood movies than one person can name and you have the perfect combination of terrain and nostalgic history. The Alabama Hills are featured in many “Western” movies and is the birth place of the Lone Ranger and Iron Man.
A final punctuation mark is the Alabama hills are located in the foothills of Mount Whitney (14,505 ft), the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states.
After our recent trip to the center section of the Old Mojave Road, my wife Heather was really excited to run the western section and complete the entire length of the trail. Her idea was to drive the western section on our way to our annual trip to Big Bear, CA over the Memorial Day holiday. I worried that such a trip during this time of year could be a rough trip due to high temperatures in the desert. In late April we finished the center section in Baker, CA and the air temperature was only 107 degrees. Despite my concerns, we gladly planned our trip and embraced her good idea.
As we prepared for our trip, gathered our gear, food, and checked out the mechanics of the jeep, I decide to check the local weather report. To my surprise, weather.com predicted the temps in the mid 80s with clear sky’s and light wind. The weather could not be any better. (more…)