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sanmich
01-23-2010, 12:51
Hi all

In about two weeks, we will move all we have with us in the US from Michigan to Texas. A 2000 km ride, four days on the road, and I have butterflies in my belly (like we use to say) thinking that I will be transporting not only the familly, but the really important stuff too :angel::

cameras and lenses (too many of them)
a Nikon scanner.
all my negatives.

I plan to dispatch evrything well packed, surrounded by clothes in suitcases, in the bottom of my trunk, to make it harder to reach someone "unauthorized" during our stops (we plan a few museum visits and sightseing stops and obviously everything will have to be left in the trunk)

But is it a good idea? what about vibrations?
how to pack the sensitive stuff to make sure I don't need to send everythiing to repair or tuning at the end of the trip?

Thanks!!

Roger Hicks
01-23-2010, 13:18
If there's a lock on the scanner, use it.

Cameras & lenses: bubble wrap. Excellent insulation against vibration. Same for the scanner.

Consider an extra lock (or even two) on the trunk. Makes it much harder to pop the lid open. You might get tips on that from your local police department.

Ask yourself too if you're really going to enjoy those museum trips and sightseeing stops if you're permanently worrying about the stuff in the car.

The stuff you use/value most should go in a camera bag and stay with you.

Drum bun! (Romanian for Bon Voyage! -- or in German, Gute Fahrt!)

Cheers,

R.

sanmich
01-23-2010, 15:44
If there's a lock on the scanner, use it.

Cameras & lenses: bubble wrap. Excellent insulation against vibration. Same for the scanner.

Consider an extra lock (or even two) on the trunk. Makes it much harder to pop the lid open. You might get tips on that from your local police department.

Ask yourself too if you're really going to enjoy those museum trips and sightseeing stops if you're permanently worrying about the stuff in the car.

The stuff you use/value most should go in a camera bag and stay with you.

Drum bun! (Romanian for Bon Voyage! -- or in German, Gute Fahrt!)

Cheers,

R.

Thanks Roger!
I don't really know how can I add a lock to a regular trunk, but I'll have a look.
The museums are for the kids. The trip is gona be hard on them, and I think they deserve some break.
The most important thing: frankly, my negs. the rest is just money, even if a lot of it...
But I hardly see myself going around with 300 negs. It weights a ton. I'll give it another thought though....

we are going to do only pretty standard stops: the USAF museum in Dayton, a glance on the Mississippi at St Louis, and the Diamond crater in Arkansas...
There is no reason for something to go wrong, still, if the car is stolen, it could be a real nightmare...
I think what I need is a relaxing medication :o...

xxloverxx
01-23-2010, 16:35
I have a suggestion for your negatives - not where & how to secure it, but something else:
Put them in a huge plastic bag, just incase any liquid gets near them. Also, in an emergency, it'll make it a lot easier to grab and run (as you say, the rest is just money)

To avoid having to send all your cameras to be re-adjusted after the trip, keep all the rangefinders with you and pack the SLRs - it's much easier to knock an RF out of alignment. Just keep them on your lap in a big bag or something, but not in the trunk!

One thing I know some pro photogs do is to get Pelican cases for the cameras, then immediately take a knife to it and make it look like it's been thrown around with no mercy for decades. In your case it might just do to put it in a scruffy garbage bag and make it look like it's a temporary bin or something (I suggest wrapping valuables in bags before doing this just incase anyone thinks to spit in it or something…)

Personally, I'd never pack my most valuable cameras, so my advice to you is: pick 1-4 cameras that you couldn't bear to lose, put some strong straps on them and do not let them out of your sight.

300 negatives…I'm assuming 35mm though? I don't even have 300 negatives but I'm sure you could fit them all into a mini-suitcase and bring it around with you into the museums if you're really worried about them. It wouldn't be too heavy; depending on the suitcase you get it might be a bit bulky. Certainly get one with a hard shell so you won't accidentally fold them. And again, in bags.

Maybe it's just years of going out in the rain, camping and other outdoor activities that've taught me to appreciate the "value" and usefulness of plastic bags.

Frank Petronio
01-23-2010, 16:39
Your negs are no more likely to be lost or damaged in the car than in an empty home. And if you get in the situation where the car will be lost, I hope you're grabbing the kids first!

tedwhite
01-23-2010, 16:46
When I was traveling in Central America, I took my shiny new Halliburton aluminum case (all cameras cradled in foam inside), banged it here and there with a ballpeen hammer, sprayed it flat black, scratched it, and tied a couple of local colored straps around it. Ended up looking just like another peasant's smallish suitcase.

But then, you're only going to Texas.

Zonan
01-23-2010, 16:49
I think the "lock" on the scanner Roger is referring to is something you would set either thru software or with something like a screw, not a safekeeping lock. You don't want the optics and other delicate parts bouncing around. There should be something in your Manual about this- look under topics like transporting, locking, etc.

Trius
01-23-2010, 16:53
The Mississippi in St. Louis is good to see, but for the kids, go to City Museum (http://www.citymuseum.org/home.asp). Trust me on this one ... adults love it, makes you feel like a kid again.

Beemermark
01-23-2010, 16:59
I've hauled all my cameras all over the US on my motorcyle - Leica to 4x5, I wouldn't worry too much about vibration. Generally crowded parking lots in the day time are fairly safe, keep the stuff out of site. If thieves do hit a car it is usually hit and run, stuff in the open or easily grabbed. If the stuff is buried in suitcases I doubt if they will rummage thru them. Beware of parking lots after dark, espically on interstate highways, etc. Even a fast food restaurant's parking lot is dark when the sun goes down. At motels take everything inside. The scanner is the only real sensitive item, find the owner's manual, it usually tells how to pack for shipping. Put the negatives in tupperware containers. Water, humidity, soda proof.

Plus Texas is a heck of a lot nicer this time of year than Michigan.

sanmich
01-23-2010, 18:11
A lot of good advices here!
Thanks a bunch!

So: about what to grab in an emergency situation, after much thinking, I think the kids still come before the negs :D (How lucky am I that my wife doesn't read this...)

I think the car is not likely to be simply stolen in the middle of the day in a parking. I mean...It's a beaten honda minivan from 2001....
Also, I can make it even harder by installing these anti theft bars on the wheel.
Next issue: grab and run style. Well, if the gear is locked in the trunk in large suitcases, and I lock the suitcases together, and maybe to the car, I guess I'm safe.
Only serious danger left: small car accident, my car back is kaputt, and my gear is a technician assembly puzzle....
I guess I'll have to live with that.:o

Trius, thanks for the tip. I'll defenitely have a look at that.
we hesitated between St Louis and Mamooth cave. Any idea what the kids will prefer ?

Thanks again to all!
keep them coming!

Beemermark
01-23-2010, 18:16
The kids will love Mamooth cave. Plus I would avoid St Louis. No offense to locals, but the traffic is terrible and so is the crime.

ItsReallyDarren
01-23-2010, 18:23
If you have no need for some items such as extra lenses or the scanner consider shipping them to your new address. Something along the lines of Ground Transport will take plenty of time to reach its end destination.

If you were to ship your negatives there is also the option to break them up into smaller boxes. Extra insurance in the event that one does not show up.

It'll free up some space in your trunk, one less item to worry about.

amateriat
01-23-2010, 19:17
I'm with Darren on this point. But I have yet another thought:

If you decide to keep the negatives on your person (or even if you decide to ship them ahead), and decide to pack them in a water-tight container of some sort, throw a few packs of silica gel in the container as well. This will help prevent excess moisture/humidity on account of sudden temperature changes, which could potentially hard those negs, even though the storage situation here is relatively short-term. Better safe than sorry.

Good luck with your trip to your new home (and home state)!


- Barrett

Roger Hicks
01-24-2010, 00:17
Sorry, I didn't mean to carry your negs with you. Don't pack them with the cameras or they might be stolen as collateral damage in the event (God forbid!) anything is stolen.

I REALLY counsel against the idea of banging up Halliburtons, Pelicans, etc. as this says to me "Ah, this has been heavily used, probably by a professional, and therefore probably has valuable gear inside it." Assuming, of course, a petty thief thinks at all about such things. I actually do have such cases and they have acquired their scars, stckers, etc., the usual way. The poor don't have banged-up expensive cases: they have softsides or cheap cardboard.

A thought on the latter: lots of bubble-wrap, Wal-Mart soft-sides. The car is the hardside; the bubble-wrap is just vibration insulation.

Cheers,

R.

Trius
01-24-2010, 12:36
Trius, thanks for the tip. I'll defenitely have a look at that.
we hesitated between St Louis and Mamooth cave. Any idea what the kids will prefer ?

Hmmm ... Mammoth cave is great for hot, muggy Missouri days as it is a constant 55F or so (great wine cellar!) ... depending on the age of your children, it's hard to tell. I'd say the City Museum would have more variety so they would not get as easily bored, especially if they are younger. But if they are into science, natural wonders, etc., Mammoth would be good.


Earl