Tag Archives: camping

Day Seven….Heading in to Olympia

Day Seven….hard to believe we have been on the road for a week. Having the ability to sleep in on Lopez Island and use it as a base was a good option. The island is very friendly and a far cry from the hustle and bustle of San Juan Island. It was also great to let my guard down and not worry about bears for a change on this trip. Instead there is an infestation of rabbits.

I really want to understand more about how this place has become a safe haven for the bunny population. Its seems there are no natural predators, never saw a single sign of coyote, fox, or even feral cat. Hawks and eagles were spotted, but not in enough numbers to diminish the population.

We did venture to San Juan island for a few hours. To ferry the Jeep over it cost about $24 for a round trip ticket. Once on the ground we decided to find sea food. With limited parking, dogs in tow, and a tight budget, finding a spot was difficult. We eventually wound up at a grill on the main drag. We picked up an order of crab sliders, beef sliders, and some sweet potato frys. The tab still came in around $40, but it made the wife happy….so I was happy.

We cruised around to the state park area to do whale watching. We had to buy a discovery pass, which is required for all Washington parks. A trip to the gift shop and $30 later we had a pass for the year, we will never use again. Glad I could chip in….

We saw a few porpoises but no whales. Still a good trip. We headed back to the docks, parked the rig in line, then used the two hours to walk around with my wife.

In our early dating life, we often hung out in harbor and inlet towns. Often she would tag-along when I was doing a class or working a wreck. After long hours of working a dive, I would decompress with her walking allot of the shops in places like Barnagate, Strathmere, and Long Beach Island. It was good to shop with her again. I even got real seafood. While she watched a glass artist, I scored BBQ clams. I slurped down two baseball-sized crustaceans while she looked on in horror.

Today it was on to Olympia to see Melissa’s cousin. This put us on the only interstate we have done on this trip (except 95….but its a two-lane road anyway). Going through Seattle was a nightmare. I was pretty shaken by the time we checked into a cheap motel for showers and down time.

At Kelly’s the pups had an opportunity to run free. Kelly has three young women who rent rooms, all highly intellectual and very conversational. We talked travel, lifestyle, education, environmental issues, and raising meat rabbits, etc.

More later….time to crash…..
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Our Trailer Build in Pictures

Last year a buddy of mine and I built my expedition trailer. While I still need to do a full blog article, I thought I should at least share the pictures of the build…based on what I could find on my hard drive…so here you go– more details to follow.

Not in any order–random pics I found

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Little Red Camp Fire – Product Review

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We picked up the Little Red Camp Fire specifically for our trip to Reno in early December. We knew temps were going to be in the mid-teens and wanted a way to keep warm in an area we couldn’t have a wood fire.

I had been looking to test one of these for several months. This last year, fire ravaged our beautiful Idaho back country and burn bans were rightly in place to protect us from all the morons who don’t know how to properly control a camp fire in dry conditions. I love hanging with the family around a camp fire, good conversations often result around open flame.

My immediate expectations were not met with this unit. Pre-trip testing showed that you had to stand practically on top of the unit to stay warm in 38 degree temps with 50% humidity. I decided to supplement the unit with lava rock to help retain and radiate heat.

In operational temps ranging from 9 to 22 degrees and 20% humidity, the unit was useless. Even with the lava rock, there was little or no useful heat from the unit.

I also found the unit to be indecisive on ignition and adjustment. The regulator and controls are poorly constructed. I had to fiddle with the control knob to get a steady flame and trying to just get the thing lit was a complex operation due to the cheap regulator.

I had read several reviews from other campers enjoying their unit in spite of the loud hissing noise. To me it is a non-concern. Yes it is loud, but really no worse than lanterns hanging around a camp site.

It comes with what I think are ceramic logs and ceramic ash. Used for the dual purpose of radiating heat and esthetics, they attempt to make the fire a bit more realistic. I found they are also cheaply made. When we unpacked it on our trip, the logs had cracked in half. At this point, I have not found a replacement.

Housing for the unit keeps it compact and protected, well except for the fake logs, I found the clamps that keep it secure to be difficult to manipulate when closing. Getting two on was no issue, but that third one was a pain. It was even more painful when closing the unit in 20 degree temps when your fingers are numb.

I would recommend the unit for summer campers who are in a burn ban and just need to knock the chill out of the air or who want a nice camp fire to chat around. Packing a single gas cylinder from my BBQ pit was nice and I didn’t have to factor in the variance that packing wood causes. For more serious back country camping in the late fall or winter, I cannot recommend this unit. At this point if you are just looking for warmth, there are other propane option I would look into. For what I spent on this unit, I will stick with my Volcano, and just add lava rock to the propane unit of it.

This was really disappointing and I hope to get better use of it this summer when the burn bans hit. Until then, I will keep it packed away,

Post Scooter’s Camp Check In

What an amazing camp we had this year. So thankful to be a part of it!

Months of planning and prep work – coming to the beginning of the end for us Friday morning as we re-packed the trailer, I practiced my presentations- and then headed out for set up in Emmett. We made it back to the house around 10 pm– in time to make a few modifications, in bed at midnight and after unrestful night we headed back to Emmett at 5 am. On our feet, answering questions, running seminars, breaking down the camp, late meal with friends, and back to Meridian and unloading the rigs and in bed around midnight again….yes I slept all day Sunday!

I brought in a new face to my seminar, Travis Rosenbury. Travis understands the philosophy of AIQ and is part of my advisory group. I have a whole bag of experts I could bring in for this from the survival standpoint- Travis has the people skills I needed to compliment the demonstrations. He was a great addition.

255 kids- and lots of questions from parents- in fact- enough that we did a parent’s seminar during lunch!

I have lots of updates to make in the next few weeks– we are going to go through each question we had and make an individual video for it– plus a special video on what goes into a kids pack.

New stuff this year:

We introduced fire puck- specifically to parents. Huge hit- I probably could have sold 30-50 of them!

Signal mirrors this year we had our participants using it on an appropriate target — Jeff our knife guy. (Jeff and I have a seven-year banter going on– makes it fun for the kids)

Increased the interaction of participants on water purification.

A move away from the magnesium block to more modern fire strikers.

Up next– I have to get sponsors on board– Fire Puck was a great start for us–they donated demo material and I already have reports this morning of residual sales at Home Depot.  Now if I can get SPOT locator, Light My Fire, and either MSR or Katadyn on board with their product– we will have a healthy start.

We have also decided that this year we are going to do something different with our survival classes. I have never accepted a dime for providing training. We still have a few private sessions open this year. From this point forward we are requesting a donation to Hunt of a Lifetime to do our survival course. This is a great cause to support. I am not the guy to take a kid on a hunt, but still want to bring awareness and raise money for this organization. If you already booked- I won’t hold you to it, but would appreciate something if you feel lead to do so.

Again- a great camp and I was impressed with how nice the kids were this year and how involved the parents were. This was also a great year for me as I really got to know the other volunteers around me– what an awesome group Scott as brought together!