Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Month: August 2009 (Page 1 of 2)

More New Mics

Yesterday I wrote about the new vocal mics we tried out this weekend, the PR-22 and the PR-35. Today, I’ll recap the instrument mics we tried out. Again, all the mics were made by Heil Sound, and as a general rule, were very good.

pr20

PR-20

The PR-20 is billed as a replacement to the venerable SM-58. Like all Heil mics, it’s a dynamic. Like the 58, it’s cardioid. We used it on the top snare. Like legions of sound guys before me, I’ve often used an SM-57 on top snare. It works well enough, but the PR-20 is in a different league. The sound was full-bodied and rich yet still had plenty of crack. While I wouldn’t want to give up our bottom snare mic, if channel count was limited, or if my mic budget was small, this would work really well by itself.

pr-30

PR-30

I’ve used the bigger brother to the 30 (PR-40) in the past, and have always been pleased. The 30 is a large diaphragm front-address dynamic. It’s billed as the “ultimate guitar mic” on the Heil web site. Hyperbole? Perhaps. But it sounded really good. It’s super-smooth with a response peak at about 4K that provides a nice edge to an electric guitar, helping it cut through the mix, but again, with no harshness. It also (along with the PR-40) makes an excellent studio recording mic for vocals. I used the PR-40 for doing voice-overs and was amazed. Leo Laporte of This Week in Tech is a user and a big fan of the 40, by the way.

pr-48

PR-48

This mic is part of the Drum Mic kits that Heil offers. I don’t know if it’s available separately or not; it’s not listed as such on their website.  ** UPDATE: The PR-48 is available as a stand-alone product. Good news! Thanks to Greg from Heil for the clarification. **  We used the PR-40 on the kick at Upper Room and I really liked it. The 48 is a purpose-built Kick mic. It has a peak in the response around 60 and another one in the upper mid-range (I’m not sure where, I can’t find specs online). What those peaks provide are a nice, rich kick sound that’s not over-hyped at the low end, with a good amount of beater smack. We paired it with a Beta-91 inside the kick, and together they sounded great. Again, if you can use two do so. But if you only have room and budget for a single kick mic, the 48 would be a great choice.

These are just some preliminary impressions. As we get more time with the mics, I’ll keep writing.

Playing With Some New Mics

This past weekend at Coast Hills, we had a great opportunity to play around with some new mics. I admit to being somewhat addicted to microphones. I’m fascinated by how different they can sound, the designs, and finding the best mic for the application. And while I’ve played with a lot of them, my experience is certainly not exhaustive. This weekend, however, the list of mics I’ve not tried shrunk by 5. That’s a good weekend! So here’s what we played around with (they’re all made by Heil, by the way).

Heil RC-22 replacement vocal capsule. Heil RC-22 replacement vocal capsule.PR-22 and RC-22

We actually used this mic last week on a vocal. We all were quite impressed and used it again. The RC-22 is basically a PR-22 capsule that you can put on a Shure wireless transmitter. Our worship leader normally sings into a Sennheiser wireless with a Neuman KMS 105. Now, it’s hard to fault that combo, but unfortunately, it’s in the shop. Our alternative was a Shure UHF with a Beta 87. That’s not been a good set up for us. So we swapped the 87 for the RC-22. What a difference! Honestly, it sounded fantastic. Again, it was rich and smooth but best of all, had plenty of presence and clarity. We had 10 other vocalists on stage this week and a full band. Even when everyone was going full-bore, our worship leader’s voice still cut through with clear articulation. It was never harsh or shrill, but it kept him right where he should be in the mix. If you have any Shure wireless sticks with removable heads, I strongly recommend this capsule.

Heil RC-35 replacement capsule. Heil RC-35 replacement capsule.PR-35 and RC-35

Again, we used the 35 last week. Our worship leader is from New Zealand and has a rich yet soft voice. The 35 sounded great, but perhaps a little too rich. The mic had good clarity, but the proximity effect was too pronounced for his voice. So this week, we tried them on female vocals. Oh my… It was so smooth. In fact, that’s a trait that can be applied to all the Heil mics I’ve used this far–smooth. We loved the richness of the mic on both female voices. Again, it was clear without being harsh.

These are some initial impressions on the vocal mics. We also tried out several instrument mics on snare, kick and guitar; I’ll have some thoughts on them tomorrow.

Thinking Ahead

I was reading Tony Morgan’s blog the other day as he was reviewing Andy Stanley’s new book, The Principle of the Path. One phrase in particular caught my mind, and it’s stuck with me ever since. It’s good advice for life to be sure; and it has particular importance for those of us charged with maintaining the technical ministry in our churches.

“Prudent people look as far down the road as possible when making decisions.”

When it comes to the technical challenges we face with our systems, I propose that many of them are caused by someone before us not abiding by that principle–or perhaps even we are guilty.

How many times have you dug around under FOH and found an expensive piece of gear powered by a cheap extension cord because it was installed in haste and no one ever went back to fix it? Or some audio cables are strung down the wall because it was faster at the time. I’m sure all of us know of a church (or work in one) that is on it’s third PA because the first two were the wrong ones.

None of this would be a problem if the Church was sitting on an inexhaustible supply of cash. We’re not, however. The money that we spend so quickly was given in faith by the people who darken our doors each week. Often times, that giving represents a significant sacrifice for that family. We are obligated to use it wisely.

This does not mean that we always need to go with the cheapest option. Quite the contrary, in fact. Often times, the cheapest option is the most expensive in the long run. Think you can save money by putting in architectural dimmers instead of theatrical ones? Think again. Architectural dimmers aren’t designed to be used the way theatrical dimmers are and you’ll be replacing the entire system in a few years. And it will be far more expensive than if you just did it right the first time.

It’s true; sometimes the least expensive option in the long run is the most expensive up front. We’re a culture that doesn’t get that by and large, and we have to be counter-cultural in that regard. It’s important that we can advocate to church leadership the importance of doing things the right way the first time, so we don’t have to do it over (and over, and over…) again. We need to educate ourselves and become adept at convincing church leadership to spend money wisely.

Here’s a practical example. The dimming system at Coast Hills is in tough shape. It was the wrong system when it was put in, and it was installed poorly. We’ve just spec’d a new system to replace it. We’ll be going with ETC Sensor racks for dimming. Though we don’t have 96 individual fixtures right now, we’re putting in that many dimming circuits because it’s cheaper and easier to add them now rather than later.

In addition to pulling dimming circuits, we’re also having the electricians pull DMX-relay controlled 208v outlets and DMX to all dimming drop points. Why? Because we rent movers a few times a year, and it’s a lot easier to hang them if the 208 is right there. Same for the DMX. It doesn’t cost that much more right now–but it’s a lot harder in the future. We’ve tried to consider everything that we might need to do in that room in the next 10 years and put the infrastructure in place to handle it.

And, if moving lights become LED powered (Vari-Lite already has one out) and only require 110v, it’s a simple matter of swapping the socket on the drop, and changing the breaker in the box. If DMX goes away and a new protocol comes out, we have the CAT-5 pulled all over the place–change the ends and we’re good to go.

You can never perfectly predict the future. However, we owe it to the people in our congregations (and the next TD after us) to think things through. It doesn’t take that much more time, and it’s always less expensive in the long run.

Helping Other Ministry Areas with Technology Pt. 2

In our last post, we started discussing the HEARRR method of assisting other ministry areas (especially other non-technical ministry areas) with technology. As a recap, the first three steps are Hear, Educate, Advise. Today we’ll pick up on with the Rs.

Respond

This is an important and often overlooked step. I should point out that the one doing the Responding is not you, but the other ministry area leader. At this point, you’ve heard what they want to accomplish, educated them on what’s possible and practical (and possibly, affordable) and advised them on some possible solutions. Now it’s time to let them respond. This step is critical because it makes sure you’re all on the same page.

For example, if you’re taking about sound boards, they could say they need a 32 channel board with 8 mixes. You could advise them that a LS-9 would be perfect. They may respond by saying that they don’t want digital. Now you know you shouldn’t bother looking further at the LS-9. The very opposite may also happen. You may think analog and they want digital. By giving them a chance to respond to your early suggestions, you verify that you’re going after the same thing.

Research

This is also a step often skipped. Let’s be honest; as techies, we tend to be pretty loyal to gear that’s worked well for us in the past. So when we need something, we tend to go with what we know. This is not necessarily a bad thing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However, this tendency can also keep us from discovering new technology that may be a better fit for a given situation. It’s always important to take a quick tour around the internet or call your dealer (or two) and ask for suggestions. Twitter a question, read some blogs, page through a catalog or three. You may well discover something that you didn’t know about, forgot about or didn’t consider off the top of your head.

Recommend

Now it’s time to cull through your research, and pull out two, perhaps three options. I like to give people choices, but not too many. We don’t want to send them into analysis paralysis. They asked you for help in determining what they need. Giving them a catalog and telling them to choose doesn’t help. You’re the tech expert. Give them two or three good options at different price points and walk them through the pros and cons of each. It may be that the best option is the least expensive one. Or not. But make sure you can substantiate your suggestions.

And don’t recommend junk just to get to a certain price point. This will come back to haunt you later. Technology can be expensive. The worst thing you can do, however, is to buy technology two or three times because you bought the wrong stuff originally. Think ahead and make sure you steer them toward something that will not only work well now, but into the future. Recommend gear that you won’t likely have to service every month. And suggest gear that is easy for non-techies to use. Don’t suggest a 32×32 matrix routing switcher with breakaway audio when a simple 4 button push switcher is all they need, even if the former fits the budget. You’ll get far more tech support calls than you want by making it too complex.

This seems like a long process, and it can be. But if you take the time to do it well, a few things will happen. First you will build trust with other ministries and church leadership. You won’t just be, “that guy who always wants new gear.” Second, you will actually end up with better equipment in your church–better equipment means less support for you. Third, you’ll find yourself actually developing a unified technology strategy for your church. The more significant the role you play in picking out technology, the less cobbed together junk you’ll have to deal with. Sure, it’s a little more work up front, but it pays off big-time in the end.

Helping Other Ministry Areas with Technology

Ah, it feels good to be back! Having spent the better part of the last two weeks driving nearly 2,000 miles, unpacking everything we own and getting settled in a new place, I’m looking forward to diving back in to the technical arts. The break was nice, but now it’s great to be back at it again.

Somewhere between Denver and Nevada, I started thinking about this topic; how do we assist other areas of ministry in our churches with technical issues? Some of us in smaller churches are responsible for anything that has a power plug attached to it, so you get to “help out” by default. Others of us have no specifically defined responsibility for supporting other ministries, but we help out anyway because we’re all on the same team. The question is, how do we serve other ministries well–especially when they lack technical expertise?

I started thinking about the process I run people through, and an acrostic appeared. We’ll call it the HEARRR method. At first it was just HEAR, then HEARR, but the more I thought about it, we really need all those Rs. Sorry…

So this is the process; Hear, Educate, Advise, Respond, Research, Recommend. This post will get really long if we tackle all of them at once, so we’ll do 3 at a time.

Hear

The most important step in helping other ministries in our churches is probably both the easiest and the hardest–listening. We really need to listen to what they need. The trick here is to parse out the actual need and not just the jargon they may be trying to impress you with. Or they may have no idea how to technically describe what they need–they just know what needs to happen when they flip the switch. You must ask a lot of questions, and really listen to the answers. You may need to define terms to make sure everyone’s on the same page. If you’re looking at an audio board, make sure everyone knows what you mean by a “mix buss,” or a “group.” Find out what they want to do when they start using those things. Ask as many questions as you need to in order to get a clear picture of what they are expecting. Along the way, you may be able to help expand their thinking into new possibilities they’ve not yet considered. Which brings us to the next point.

Educate

You won’t be surprised to hear that most children’s pastors aren’t super-technical. What you need to do at this step is take the information you gleaned in while Hearing, and Educate them on what is possible (and what isn’t). This is a tricky step. Done correctly, you will gain some major points with other ministries and be known as a great servant. Done poorly, and you’ll come across as a jerk. A big part of our job is helping non-technical people interact (at least at some level) with technology. It’s important that we learn how to speak in terms people can understand, and in a manner and tone that doesn’t demean. Remember, you’re probably the only one at your church who gets excited when the newest issue of Live Sound arrives. Be gentle, patient and kind. Good advice for any situation, really…

The goal of this step is to help them think through some options, get a good handle on their needs and establish what can and can’t be done given the limitations of available technology, budget and user-friendliness. Remember, when it comes to ministry areas without dedicated tech support, just because you can doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

Advise

At this point, if I can I like to throw out some suggestions as to what might work. Normally I have some idea of what the needs are when I sit down with another ministry, so I have done a little homework. Or I might just have a set of tools in my toolbox that I normally reach for. Either way, it’s good to show some ideas. Again, this is a critical step. If you jump to this too early (ie. skipping the first two), you come across as arrogant. For example, if Children’s ministry says, “We need a new mixer,” and you respond right away with, “Oh, you need a 1604-VLZ,” you sound like a jerk. Not because you recommended a Mackie, but because you didn’t even listen to what they need.

It is also at this point that you may want to examine the rest of the system if that’s appropriate. In the aforementioned mixer instance, you may suggest that while a new mixer might be a good idea, the issue that they’re really having is with the speakers. A new mixer may help some, but new speakers will actually solve the problem.

This step will normally flow into the next step, Respond. And we’ll tackle that and the rest of the RRs tomorrow.

The Move: Driving Day 5–NV to CA

We’re here! We rolled into SoCal around 1 PM and I think everyone was ready to get out of the car. After some 32 hours of driving cross-country, we are just about through with long distance driving. We’re not into the house just yet–the truck will be delivered on Monday, but we’re close.

The drive out of Vegas was pretty much what I remembered. Once you leave the city, you’re pretty much in desolate wasteland. Except of course, where they decided to build a casino–in the middle of the desert. Only in Nevada…

What do you expect in the middle of the desert? A casino and theme park, of course! What do you expect in the middle of the desert?A casino and theme park, of course!One thing I will say we were disappointed with is that there was no welcome to California sign as we drove into the state. Not a one. The best we could come up with was a California “Click it or Ticket” sign. Lame.

What, no sign? What, no sign?One thing I had forgotten about is just how expansive and desolate eastern CA is. It’s really all about wide open spaces out there. There is a rugged beauty to the terrain. I’m not sure I’d want to live there, but I would love to photograph it at sunset (sunrise is just too early…).

Not a lot to distract you out here. Not a lot to distract you out here.Thankfully, it wasn’t that hot in the desert. I’ve been across there when it’s over 100, and the A/C has a hard time keeping up. In the middle of the Mohave, it was only 84, and there was nice breeze. It was quite comfortable when we stopped at a rest stop.

Finally, we made it over to where we’re staying (Lake Forest). I was thankful we were heading west on the 91, as eastbound traffic was a mess. Once we hit the 241, it was smooth (if not expensive–it’s a toll road) sailing. The costal mountains were in view and it was fantastic. This is the view I will come to really enjoy daily.

There are some big mountains right by the coast. There are some big mountains right by the coast.I stopped by the church and had a great chat with Jason, the student ministries director, and Ken, our communications director. Both are great guys who I’m looking forward to working with and getting to know. We then met at the new house to sign some paperwork and get the keys. Yes! We have a place to live. It’s a bit smaller than our place in Minneapolis, but it will work fine. We met 2 of our neighbors who seemed very nice.

In fact, that’s one thing I’m looking forward too–getting to know neighbors and seeing them more regularly. Since the complex has a pool and exercise room, I’m hoping we’ll actually see that happen. The next step is to get our furniture moved in, buy a new couch and unpack. I have most of next week off to accomplish that. Then it’s time to get to work.

Thanks for reading these little travel logs and for praying for us. There are a lot of things that could have gone wrong along the way, and none of them did. I’m most glad for that. At the end of the trip, we were all a bit saddle sore, but still speaking to each other–so we have that going for us, which is nice.

Soon I’ll be back in the thick of things and writing up all things tech. I’m glad you were part of our journey!

Stats: Day 5

Total Miles: 261 (1942 Total)

Overall Average Speed: 60.3 MPH

Moving Average Speed: 68.3 MPH

Moving Time:  3:54 (28:26 Total)

I also did some MPG calculations in Vegas. Up to that point, my ’99 Accord 4-cyl 5-speed was averaging 35.5 MPG. The ’06 CR-V was getting just over 32. Not too shabby considering we were moving at nearly 70 MPH for 28 hours with the A/C on. We beat my estimates of gas mileage by 5 MPH for both cars. Sweet!

The Move: Drive Day 4–UT to NV

Finally, a short day in the car! I had planned the trip so that the long driving days were front-loaded. I figured, get the boring stuff out of the way, then we’d have time to see some sights out west. That kinda worked. What I didn’t count on was how ready everyone would be to be out of the car. So instead of spending a few extra hours driving through Utah and seeing Bryce Canyon, we decided to head straight to Vegas and just chill at the hotel. I was kind of bummed, but the more I looked into Bryce, the more I wanted to spend a day there, not just a few hours.

We still saw some amazing scenery on the way to Vegas. Utah is still quite mountainous, and has a huge variety of mountains to look at. They range from grey, smooth mounds that look like you could scale them in a single bound, to tree-covered mountains that wouldn’t be out of place in the Adirondacks of New York to rough red buttes. It was all quite stunning.

OK, so maybe not a single bound... OK, so maybe not a single bound…
This would fit right in in Colorado near Red Rocks. This would fit right in in Colorado near Red Rocks.Even though we were bucking a really strong headwind, we made good time. It was an interesting study of aerodynamic efficiency as well. I’m driving my ’99 Honda Accord and my wife is driving the family truckster; a ’06 Honda CR-V. I used less than half a tank coming out this way, she used almost a full one. In fact, when we got to Vegas, her gas light came on (which violates the rule of never letting the tank get below 1/2 in the desert, but that’s another story).

One thing I didn’t realize is that our trip would take us through 30 or so miles of Arizona. The scenery changed suddenly, and it was apparent we were not far from the Grand Canyon. I wish I wasn’t driving, because I would have taken way more pictures than I did.

I was expecting "Welcome to Nevada." Who knew? I was expecting “Welcome to Nevada.” Who knew?
Arizona has some stunning terrain. Arizona has some stunning terrain.We climbed up a pretty good hill; actually, we had been climbing slowly since we left Richfield, UT. Suddenly, we crested a pass (I think the elevation was 7800-something feet), and we started down. And down we went! From a high of almost 8000′, we dropped to Las Vegas’ 2000′, and we did so in a hurry. It was a wild ride!

This image does not come close to doing the terrain justice. This image does not come close to doing the terrain justice.The rest of the trip was pretty remote. There are a few small cities between the NV state line and Vegas, but for the most part, it’s 130 miles of desert. Make note of that if you come through this way. Stop in Mesquite if you’re below 1/2 tank or need to use a bathroom. There’s not much after that…don’t ask me how I know.

Sadly, there was a giant RV blocking the Welcome to Nevada sign (seriously, didn’t you know people would be taking pictures as they drove by?) So we got the next best thing. A casino sign. If you see casinos in the middle of the desert, you’re in Nevada.

It's the best we could do. Welcome to gambling center, USA! It’s the best we could do. Welcome to gambling center, USA!Once we made it through some particularly nasty traffic and construction around Vegas, we arrived at our hotel. After lunch and a dip in the pool, we headed up to the strip. Now, I was here back in 2003 and really enjoyed walking up and down the strip, going into the hotels, looking at the architecture, seeing what you can build when you have a steady stream of people giving you money 24/7. We had a great time. Not so anymore.

They’ve torn down a bunch of hotels and a major section of the strip is under construction. You walk under construction barriers, stepping over garbage and trying to dodge the hundreds (literally–hundreds!) of people wearing “Girls, Girls, Girls” t-shirts handing out cards for prostitutes. Vans and posters with nearly naked women abound inviting everyone to see the latest strip show. The place is filthy; in more ways that one. I was really disappointed. And because of high winds, the roller coaster at NY, NY wasn’t running, nor were the fountains at Bellagio. So we really struck out. I liked Vegas a lot better when they were going for the “bring the whole family,” concept.

Tomorrow, we’ll finally reach our destination. It should be a short ride, only some 250 miles. Our truck of belongings is already there, so we will be unpacking on Monday. Really looking forward to getting settled in the new place!

Stats: (I’ll put them up for day 3 as well, since I forgot earlier)

Day 3: CO to UT

Miles Driven: 478 (1388 total)

Overall Average Speed: 65.6 MPH

Moving Average Speed: 68.7 MPH

Time: 8:24 ( 21:10 total)

Moving Time:  7:40 (20:42 total)

 

Day 4: UT to NV

Miles Driven: 293 (1681 total)

Overall Average Speed: 65.3 MPH

Moving Average Speed: 68.5 MPH

Time: 4:34 ( 25:44 total)

Moving Time: 4:10 (24:32 total)

The Move: Drive Day 3–CO to UT

Today we made it into Utah. The landscape is simply stunning. In fact we had great scenery all day.

Out of Denver, we climed over 5,000 feet to Vail Pass. Then we headed back down. And down. And down. In fact, we went down so much that I got 37 MPG that leg!

I have a bunch of pictures to post, but sadly a storm has knocked out Internet at the hotel and I won’t be able to upload them. Tomorrow, we’ll be in Vegas, so I suspect I’ll have Internet.

We’re also planning on driving through Bryce Canyon on the way, so look for some amazing scenery there as well.

Sorry for the brief post. I’m writing this on the iPhone and have no 3G network so I’m not even sure it will post. More tomorrow!

UPDATE: The inter-web has been restored! I won’t bore you with any more details, but here are some of the better pictures I took yesterday on the drive.

The climb up and out of Denver. We went from 5200' to over 10,000'! The climb up and out of Denver. We went from 5200′ to over 10,000′!
There was some amazing scenery right next the highway. There was some amazing scenery right next the highway.
More great views. Love the red rocks. More great views. Love the red rocks.
Apparently, they ran out of creative names for places in CO. Apparently, they ran out of creative names for places in CO.
Once we got further west, the whole landscape changed. Once we got further west, the whole landscape changed.
Gone were the pointy mountains. They were replaced with buttes. Still very cool. Gone were the pointy mountains. They were replaced with buttes. Still very cool.
Finally, we made it to Utah. Not sure who the motorcyclist is... Finally, we made it to Utah. Not sure who the motorcyclist is…
Things got pretty sparse in Utah. Things got pretty sparse in Utah.
You may have seen news reports of the big storm that went through Denver? We were skirting it all day yesterday. You may have seen news reports of the big storm that went through Denver? We were skirting it all day yesterday.
I'm always amazed at rock formations out west. I’m always amazed at rock formations out west.

The Move: Drive Day 2–NE to CO

Today we saw the Rockies. That was cool. Actually, still is; we’re staying in a hotel not far from them right now. We left Lincoln this morning with cool temperatures and the sun at our back. We drove straight west for a long, long time. Nebraska, as it turns out, is a long, long state. Still, traffic was light, and we made good time. There’s really no reason to speed when the speed limit is 75.

Nebraska is actually much more scenic than I expected it to be. Lots of rolling hills, trees and of course, corn. Lots of corn.

It's so, western scenery-looking! It’s so, western scenery-looking!Traffic was moving along very well all day, with minimal construction. Someone, however, had a very bad day. Not sure exactly what happened, but somehow, I’m pretty sure this is not how the camper looked when they pulled it off the lot…

This can't be good... This can’t be good…Since we were heading west, and I knew we were rapidly exhausting opportunities to stop at a Cabela’s, I talked the family into stopping at the original one in Kearney. Honestly, it wasn’t as cool as the new ones they’ve been building (eg. the one in Dundee, MI). Still, I found some cool Teva sandals in the bargain cave for $20, so it was totally worth it. And they have a cool sculpture out front.

Cabela's in Kearney, NE. Cabela’s in Kearney, NE.Soon we found ourselves crossing into Colorado. OK, it wasn’t soon. It was near the end of the drive. But we did learn that Colorado is the “Colorful state.” Which I will admit is a better slogan than Nebraska’s. Through the haze, we could begin to make out the Rocky mountains. They’re just big and amazing no matter what.

Welcome to Colorful Colorado! Welcome to Colorful Colorado!Colorado has one of the coolest rest stops/visitor centers I’ve seen, complete with a cool bronze sculpture of some big birds.

Taken with the iPhone 3Gs. Picture quality is quite impressive. Taken with the iPhone 3Gs. Picture quality is quite impressive.Once we made it to Denver, we spied a restaurant we haven’t eaten at in a long time; Joe’s Crab Shack. I normally avoid chains, but Joe’s is one that I don’t mind hitting. The food was good, the service great and I really enjoyed embarrassing my teenage daughters by busting a few moves in the booth to the great music. Think Albert in the movie Hitch. Oh yeah…

Oh, and we all got a laugh when Katie dropped her glass of water off the edge of the table. Our waiter custom fabricated a “spill-proof glass” for her so it wouldn’t happen again. Great job!

Katies Safety Cup Katie’s Safety CupAnd of course, there are those Rocky Mountain sunsets. Really, how do you mess this up? What a great display of God’s creation!

How beautiful is that? How beautiful is that?Tomorrow we’ll drive through those mountains and end up in a small town in Utah. Looking forward to the drive and spending some time in Bryce Canyon!

Stats for Tuesday’s Drive:

Miles driven: 487 (914 total)

Average Speed: 70 MPH (for entire trip)

Overall Average Speed: 67.2 MPH (for entire trip)

Drive Time: 7:24 (13:16 for entire trip)

The Move: Driving Day 1–MN to NE

Today we left Minnesota. We wrapped up the final details at the house, said goodbye to the neighbors and hit the road. The goal today was Lincoln, Nebraska. We made it. I could end there; really. It was pretty uneventful, which is not a bad thing when starting off on a 1900 mile road trip. We got good gas mileage, made good time and no one yelled at each other. So far, so good.

A few observations: Iowa was a lot more scenic than I expected. I was prepared for vast expanses of corn fields stretching to the horizon. In fact, it was rather hilly, and there were quite a few trees. It wasn’t bad at all. And (other states take notes…) Iowa is one of the very few states I’ve ever been in where they have free wi-fi at the state rest stops. Seriously people, Iowa!

I pictured corn in Iowa. Instead, we saw a lot of these. Not a bad thing, mind you. I pictured corn in Iowa. Instead, we saw a lot of these. Not a bad thing, mind you.As is common in most states I’ve driven through over the last few years, road construction zones are in vogue, though there is precious little actual construction taking place. Oh sure, you might see a backhoe moving dirt around once in a while, but that’s about it. Our tax dollars at rest I presume.

Otherwise, driving out west is far nicer than driving east. Traffic is much lighter and it’s generally easier to make time. Oh, and the speed limits are higher here too. Gotta love 75!

Tomorrow we’ll be in Denver if all goes as planned. Should get some better pictures after that. I’m not expecting much from Nebraska based on what I’ve seen thus far (but you never know…). So far God has made this a pretty easy process, which seems to confirm our choice to head this way. It would sure be great if that continues! Thanks for praying for us!

...the good life, huh? I'm naturally skeptical of all slogans that start with ellipsis... …the good life, huh? I’m naturally skeptical of all slogans that start with ellipsis…For the geeks among us, I will try to remember to post the daily driving stats, provided courtesy of our Garmin 320 GPS.

Stats:

Miles Driven: 424

Average Speed (Moving): 69.1 MPH

Driving Time: 6 Hours, 7 Minutes.

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