Sunday, October 07, 2012

Hewitt Canyon Road, and a couple of changes

The last time I drove my truck up to the Roger's Trough trailhead, I barely made it. There were parts of the road where I just didn't have enough traction. I was moving at a snail's pace and in the places that I had to lock the axle, the rear end kept sliding towards the cliff at the edge of the road. It was frustrating. I've had several similar experiences lately, in which I was concerned that I might be stranded in the middle of the desert for hours. Because of that and a couple of other reasons I decided it was time to get a 4 wheel drive truck.

Four wheel drive Tacoma.

The new truck easily climbed the road to the trailhead. I drove up in 4H. I put it in 4L and downshifted to 3, 2, or L for much of the descent. The truck has lots of buttons and switches that I haven't tried out yet. One that I did try yesterday is the downhill assist control (DAC). It's great for steep, rocky downhill sections where you might have a very jerky ride otherwise because the bumps make your foot press the brakes too hard. It makes a lot of noise but the owner's manual says it supposed to do that.

Video of the DAC in action.

I made 3 versions of that video. You're seeing the least annoying. The others demonstrate a feature of my new camera but I'll just have to talk about it. I got a Canon T4i. I got it for a couple of reasons. I've taken over 40,000 pictures with the T1i, so it might be close to wearing out, and it's always bugged me that the camera wouldn't re-focus while shooting a video. Well, it will, but it takes a long time and looks really bad. The T4i stays in focus while shooting a video. I got the kit that comes with the 18-135mm zoom lens. That's less zoom range that the lens I used with the T1i, but so far I like the pictures with the 18-135 better. That may have something to do with the much higher quality polarizing filter I put on it, too. It's easier to shoot bracketed photos for HDRIs with the T4i (and at least 2 seconds faster). It has some other cool features that I haven't experimented with yet.

My 2004 Tacoma had one small annoyance. The view of the clock was blocked by the windshield wiper switch. The new Tacoma has what might be a slightly more annoying drawback. The front mudflaps are too long. They dragged on the road / rocks several times yesterday, and Hewitt Canyon Road is not what I would call rough. I'm afraid I'll rip the mudflaps off the first time I have to back up on a rough road.

Click below for all of the pictures. There aren't many. I put a panorama I shot on my Panoramio page (link to the right).


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