Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A good Christmas

It was a good Christmas. I didn't know what to expect with everything that's been happening in my life. Not knowing and no sense of security isn't a good feeling this time of year.

We exchanged gifts, had traditional food and spent time with each other.

I couldn't be any happier with the way things played out.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The New Second Job

So I'm moving up in the world. At least I think so. I've landed a new second job. My old and almost over second job as cooking for the local Perkin's restaurant. It was a decent job but the flux of new people and the amount of work that is and ISN'T done there gets to be a heavy burden. I figured a few weeks ago it couldn't hurt to put some applications in with the local motels. Try to get a evening shift working the front desk.

Well it worked. The local Motel 6 was looking for someone just like me who needed a few hours and could cover some different shifts also if they needed me too.

So I've been working there a couple days now. Wow what a different side of things. Once again to see a job like that from the other side of the desk, is eye opening. The tricks, and rules about giving a person a room are very interesting.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Xbox 360 here I come..

I had said it a long time ago. That the only thing that would get me to buy a new video game console would be Halo 3. Well it's here and I'm pulling together nickles and dimes to get one. Halo 3 drops on Monday morning at 12:01. So I'll be there getting my copy. If they were looking for increasing sales of the 360 I think there going too.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Review : Palm TX

Well I was skeptical when I was looking at PDA's. Would I really use one? Is it worth it? How will the wifi work? Will it be any help with backpacking and photography? Well here's what I found out. Like any new tech gadget it get's used a ton when you first get it. When it finally works in to you is when you truly see if you need it. I find myself pulling it out of my bag from time to time. Putting in dates and notes that I might want to keep for a long time. So truth is yea..I'm using it. The calender function is nice. It's all ready saved me from messing up a work schedule and missing a shift. The to-do list is nice and annoying enough that you want to get things done. The microsoft app's are awesome. To do a spread sheet while sitting in the car, waiting for kids to get out of a movie is awesome. I started a MSdoc while out camping with the kids in the mountains. So it's nice. I like using it. The wifi is pretty short ranged and the browser is well...odd unless your looking at a mobile version of a website. Still it does work in a pinch. I can pull emails from my Gmail account with no problems. Only problem is it pulls...every email I have in my account. Small problem I haven't found a way around.

So...if your tech friendly, need a little organization, take a look at one.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Do you think your Gear is art?

I've been thinking about making some custom racks to hold my backpacking stuff. Not just a rack for the closet but one that would be welcome and add something to the room. Well that got me thinking about how I consider my hobbies and gear as art. I've always saw my Mtn.Bikes as art. There is a wood stand that holds two mountain bikes, I've always liked the idea of my bikes in the front room. My paintball markers, I've always wanted wall mounts for. Now I want to frame my backpacking gear in specially made pods of different themes. First theme for my backpack "pod" will be a viking theme with viking dragon's on the top and bottom. I also want to do a sleeping bag decompressor(IE hanging rack) out of a Torii. As of late a friend of mine and I have been dump diving. What I mean by dump diving is we go to the local dump and search around in the Construction and development landfill. You wouldn't believe the good wood people throw away. Another good source for getting some hard woods are pallets. There a pain to get apart but, you can find elm, and oak all over.

Review : Mountain House Spaghetti

I was very skeptical when I bought this freeze dried meal. I bough it mainly for my daughter cause I knew it was something she'd eat. We had just sat down after a hard day of hiking. The kids had done really well. They were both very hungry and tired. This meal literally disappeared when I put it in front of my daughter. It looked alot like Spaghetti in a can, BUT it didn't taste anything like that. I can see why they sell this in a large can. We could have eaten a few more servings. It's not that the servings were small, we were just that hungry. Three thumbs up for the Mountain House Spaghetti!

Review : XPG Ridgelight XST

Well where to start. I had heard a few things about this tent. I had heard that it had a tendency to sweat and leak a little water thru the vestibule. For this review I took it backpacking with two of my children. I figured it would fit us all and it's only a pound plus a little heavier then my single person ultralight. It's a little more bulky, but thats to be expected when stepping up from a single person to a three person. Set up was more then easy. My daughter could set up this tent by herself in less then five minutes. Lay out the tent, extend and attach pole structure, set stakes and your done. I was very impressed on how quickly this went up. I could see that in heavy wind or bad weather it would be much easier then a multi-pole design. With the joined pole design it made set up very fast because there was no threading of poles thru the tent. Set the pole exo-skeleton over the limp tent and attach. I'm not sure of the long term durability of the design but it stood up very well in the wind we had both nights we used it. There's a lot of adjustment for taking up slack in tie downs. Which I did in the middle of the second night. The wind was whipping the tent a bit so I tightened it up to lesson that some. It worked. For myself and two kids we were able to fit all three of us and our packs inside. With three adults that would have been very tight, but doable. We set up the tent both nights so that the doors faced the direction of the wind. I'm not sure if this was a good thing or not. The tent's large door vents kept everything very well ventilated. If I could do it again I'd set the tent up so that a end faced the wind so we didn't get as much thru draft in the night. While it would have been welcome if it was warmer it wasn't that warm at night so the draft wasn't needed or appreciated. The zippers all worked well and the layout was very good. I am pretty impressed with this little tent. I'm not sure who this tent is made for. It's not really a four season backpacking tent. Too much ventilation and with no way to shut down the draft thru the tent it wouldn't be a winter tent at all. It did stand up very well in the wind. I'm not sure if it worked any better then a ultralight three person tent would have. Still I like the tent so far and am looking forward to more outings with it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Grand Adventure

Well It was time for a little outting with the kids. So the kids and I decided to spend the night in the pasture. We grabbed sleeping bags and pillows and ran out the door. We stopped at Grandma and Grandpa's and picked up a tent. Wait I ment THE TENT. I think we should pause here a moment and discuss this tent to set up further events. Grandpa had recieved a tent from Cabela's for his hard work in the camping department. That was many years ago and he's never used it. It hasn't been set. Never been tested. Might have been our first mistake. We loaded it up. Traded Grandma some monster cookies for some brownies and got on our way. It was getting dark fast as we looked for the prime spot. The first spot is where I hand camped sometime earlier. The grass was as high as the hood on the jeep. So we looked for a better spot. The next spot looked very nice. Smooth ground, not to high, not too low. However it was thick with these nasty little weeds that had speck sized thorn burrs. My daughter quickly filled her shoes with them, as did the rest of us. So we left that spot too. We bounced around in the jeep a bit more looking for a spot. I think the way the night made the ground look like it was gonna drop off concerned everyone. At this point everyone was ready to go back to the farm. However we found a nice spot that wasn't too close to the prairie dogs, yet not too far from the hills. It was flat, free of stickers and any fresh cow pies. We grabed THE TENT and started to work. The tent had been in it's bag for a long time. We layed down the ground cloth and then lined up the tent on top. We sprung out the poles and lined them up. For the life of me I couldn't figure out how the poles connected to the tent. My yougest and I worked and worked at it. The bugs were swarming around the headlights of the jeep. They were really bothering my daughter. My middle son was picking up June bugs and teasing everyone with them. We still couldn't figure out the tent. I was about to give up, throw in the tent stakes and leave. My youngest was the one that convinced me to stay. He really wanted to camp out to night. So I figured I'd give it one more shot. I took a look at the vestibule. There was the problem. The tent was backwards. You had to set up the vestibule, and then hang the tent from that. In no time Joab and I had the tent set up and ready to sleep in. We moved our stuff in and then went out and looked at the stars for a bit. Everyone was pretty tired and had no problem falling asleep. The only visitors we had during this camp out were cows. We woke in the morning. Finished off the monster cookies and brownies. Middle son too a few random shots at the prairie dogs that were close. We returned home safe. It was a good adventure.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Recipe for a Fun Day

Recipe for a Fun day :


2 good friends
1 ME
1 Med to Large Prairie Dog Town
3-5 Firearms of Longrifle variety
1 Jeep
Large amount of good weather
Suntan lotion to taste
3 1liter bottles of Mt.Dew

Preparation and cooking :

Mix Friends, ME, Mt.Dew and Firearms. Stuff mix in Jeep.
Sun dry Friends and Firearms with Prairie Dog Town.
Slowly add good weather and watch fun ensue.

End result...

Click any of these to enlarge them.

A good time was had by all I think. I know that Keith is ready to go back. So am I.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Cabela's Ultralight XPG One man Tent

Well what can I say. This is one fine little tent. It's a one man tent and it means it. There was no extra room at all. So far all I have to say is tough, light, and easy to set up. I may end up trading it for the two person version. The kids have expressed a want to go backpacking so I'm thinking ahead just a little. I'd also like the extra room sort of.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Just getting it out...

If you get done reading this and are concerned please don't be. This is my way of expressing what I'm feeling. That means I'm not holding it in.

It use to be hard for the tears to come.
Now they always seem right at hand.

Happiness and Comfort are long lost friends.
Regret and Loneliness are now the company I keep.

A heavy heart weights down my soul.
Something inside me is amiss.

At times I wonder what's become of me and
my ripped and tattered soul.

At times I wonder what will become of me.
Will I ever again be whole?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A new love...

Well I'm hooked. I've been pulled in. I finally gave into the hype and tried a few of the new "quick dry" shirts. I bought three brands: Cabela's, NorthFace and Columbia. All three brands work very well. The main difference I can tell is that the NorthFace and Columbia are slightly easier to wear. The cut and feel of the NorthFace is great. It almost feels like a cotten t-shirt. I look forward to trying them in a more active setting. For now my tests have been to subject them to my children and squirt guns. They dry almost instantly. I was very impressed by the NorthFace t-shirt like qualities. My only dislike is I feel like they may snag more. A cotton shirt feels heavier, more rugged. These shirts at there core are light and fast drying. I'll write more on them after I get a longer hike to test them on.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

In with the New out with the Old

Well I have returned both Eureka sleeping bags that I'd bought in the past. This past outing just goes to show me that for somethings there is no substitute for quality. I had remembered seeing a Wiggy's sleeping bag in the bargin cave. I was looking for bags, backpacks, stoves and tents. I passed it over cause it was bland(all black) and pretty nondescript. After freezing by glutamus maximus off this last weekend, I started looking at options to replace the now large hole in my backpacking equipment. I mean with out a sleeping bag your pretty much stuck at home. I've never liked down. The idea of freezing to death inside of goose feathers has never appealed to me. I looked thru the catalog a bit, t I started reading about the wiggy's bag system. They have a system that they developed for the Marines and Navy Seals. It's a two part system. The first part is a bag that's rated for zero degree temps. The next is a outer bag that's rated at 30 degree temps. Both together are rated at -40. It uses a insulation called lamilite. I didn't know much about them However the price was right and so was the weight. So I picked it up.

I just got done looking at Wiggy's web site . There "about" page is awesome. I then clicked over to there Newsletter. Ohhh my, I am one proud owner. I mean I haven't even spent a night in the sleeping bag yet and I love this sleeping bag. I think the newsletter alone added 10 degree's of warmth to the sleeping bag.
I encourage everyone to check out there news letter if not for the info on the product then do it for the info on our sometimes backwards government. I'll even make it really easy...Newsletter
Don't think just click and read. I can't say how much I'm looking forward to trying this bag out.

More to come soon!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Test Outing

Well I decide to take a little hike and test out some of the new gear. It was a simple plan. Pack up the stuff. Take a little hike down to the pasture and camp out. I gathered up the last few remaining things. Then headed out. I haven't seen the pastures like this in years. Most of the pasture had at least 12" growth on it. It made for a very green trip. I took a ton of pictures of wildflowers and some scenic shots. All these photo's can be seen here...
Test outing
It was odd hiking down in the pasture that I'd known so well as a kid. There were alot of familiar points, lots of memories. The pack for the trip was the XPG ultralight. Read the review further down or click on the link on the side. I'll also be writing some reviews on the food, tent, sleeping pad and more.

I finally found a some what level place to set up. The sun had gone down but it was still pretty light. I set up the tent, blew up the airmattress and pulled out the sleeping bag in hopes it woudl gain a bit of loft. The tent was smaller then I expected. I guess I really didn't know what to expect. My old Timberlite had room enough for my pack and me. I guess I was hoping this one would be that big also. The XPG ultralight tent was a breeze to set up. Two poles..boom done. I cooked some Kung Puo Chicken for supper. I remember the freeze dried food being better. Maybe it's just what I picked out. I hope so. I wasn't impressed with the Kung puo. I had forgotten my silver wear at home so I had to think of something else. I grabed my knife and hacked off a huge thick stem of a yuca plant. I made a sort of flat spot on the end and used it as my stir stick and spoon. It didn't work half bad.

I had forgotten that freeze dried food came in 2 servings per pouch. There was more then enough for me and easily another person. After dinner I decided to try one of the power bars. Yea I know I didn't need it but I wanted to try it. It's been years since i've had one. They never use to agree with me. This one was what they call a Triple Threat. It was good. Still had the protein bar taste a bit, but over all it was good. I could eat them again. I headed to bed around 9pm. I was rudely awoken about 10:30pm. I must have been near a den or in the prime hunting grounds or I just smelled different, any how I totally upset this coyote. He bugged me for better then 2hours. I got out and shined my head lamp on him or her. I could see two little red eyes in the distance. I yelled at it, threw rocks but none of that really had any impact on it wanting to leave. So I finally just gave up and figured it would have to come thru my tent to get to me. So I fell asleep only to get up again at 2am. I just ignored it then. I had a heck of a time staying warm. The Eureka bag I was in was suppose to be a +30 bag. Well it must have meant 10+30 cause it wasn't doing a good job of getting me warm at all. The bag was cramped, I think that was part of the problem. I still had on socks, pants and two shirts. Needless to say that bag is headed back to the store. The next morning I got up, made coffee, and eggs. The egg mix had a bit too much chili powder in them for me.
Still I cooked eggs on a backpack stove. That is a first for me. I packed back up and headed home. Got home took a nap and headed to work to make up some hours for my little bro's wedding that's coming up soon. It was a good time.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

MSR Pocket Rocket Stove

First impressions : Well it's small. Like most "screw on top" of stoves it's darn small and light. The arms of the stove seem well made and will be stable with a larger pot on them. It comes in a nifty plastic container so it won't get lost in your pack.(yes it's that small)

Well when I was fitting the Backpack yesterday I figured I might as a well see how the stove works in the wind. The wind wasn't terrible. I'd say probably between 10-15 mph. Setting these little stoves up is super easy. My one worry is how much fuel will be used boiling water? I know it depends on altitude and a lot of other variables. I screwed the fuel source on to the bottom of the stove and fired it right up with a match. I shut it off and moved the stove so it was directly in the wind no shelter from my body at all and again no problem lighting. I also tried lighting with my small butane lighter. Again no problem. We'll see how she boils water soon enough.

Update: June 3rd 2007

Took the little stove out for a overnighter. I boiled water twice and made some scrabled eggs in the morning. It worked great for both. From the weight of my fuel can it didn't use a lot of fuel either. I was able to turn it down and gently cook the eggs. I was impressed.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Why do I keep going back? It's been a few months since I've been to one. I had pretty much given up on them. This mornings encounter is why.

I had a hankering for a breakfast bagel. So I decided o wait in line with the rest of the cattle, making there way around the big red roof. I got my bagel, hash browns and diet coke. I sat down at work and proceeded to eat it all gone.(as my mother use to say) Almost immediately my stomach started turning.

WHY!?!? It tasted good...what the heck is wrong with there stuff? I guess my body is just reminding me why I've avoided them for the past few months. I think every one else should do the same.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

XPG Ultralight Pack :

My first impressions: I picked up this pack this weekend . I was going to get a Kelty but I went with this because well, I work for Cabela's so I should give our product a try. I got my stuff home and started to pack things in it. Just to fill it a bit and see how the zippers hold. I've heard that some Cabela packs don't handle being packed tight well. The bottom compartment held my sleeping pad and bag just fine. The zipper lay out was interesting. I'm not sure if I like it or not yet. I'll know more after my first hike. Everything fit and I was happy with that. Pack feels pretty heavy, but I'm sure it's actually pretty light compared to what I use to carry.

Update : May 30th 2007

Walked around the hills on the soccer field with a full load today to see if I couldn't get the straps adjusted. After a little fiddling I think I have i to where I'd like it. The adjustment to raise and lower the hip belt was very easy. There were also some load adjustment straps that pulled the pack closer to me which I felt was or might have been a problem. I'm very happy with all the adjustments on this pack. I also wanted to see how it would be getting things out mid hike. Just like I was going to stop and have lunch. So I stopped and pulled out the stove, pots and pans, and fuel. I don't like the fact that a pair of compression straps run over the zipper. I also didn't like the fact that they attach together behind a set of pouches that hang on the sides. Also the pockets are apposed. So if your getting something out of the small back pocket it's odd reaching in to the other larger pocket cause your spilling out what wouldn't spill out if the zippers were on the same side. Make sense? Over all I'm still happy with it. No ripping seams or bursting zippers yet.

Update : June 3rd 2007

Took a little test hike with the pack. My load is about what I'd carry for a two day outting. It's even got a few extra things. Even with these extra's it's still not full. I also removed the outer pockets. This even didn't fill the pack. I'm starting to think that a 5000ci pack is a bit too much. It carries very well. My problem with the pack is how the top fasten's. It's limp. It wont tighten up. The pocket system is also odd. After my little outing this pack is going back. The pack just isn't for me. For one it's too large. Second the limp top really bothers me. Other then that it is a great pack. It's just not for me. In time I may try the smaller pack and see if it would meet my needs.

Limp top

Monday, May 28, 2007

Up and Coming Reviews ...

Well I have a full Kit now. I need to put some butane in a lighter but other then that I'm thinking I'm ready to go backpacking. I have purchaced a bunch of different products that I'm excited about doing write up's on. I'm going to take some pictures of the products and try to write a before, during and after review.

Driving home

It's odd how one's mind can totally take over sometimes. I've made the trip to my parents house more times then I can remember. Tonight driving home I had a lot on my mind. Things I need to do, things I need to get, lots of things. All of the sudden on the way home tonight I noticed I had missed a large portion of the drive home. Not miss as a wrong turn, but miss as in I don't remember driving it. My mind had taken the wheel and let my brain wonder around in my thoughts. I wasn't tired, It just happened.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Getting started

I've thought about starting a Blog for a long time. How ever I'm not oonne to just go with the flow and make a blog for no reason. My purpose for this Blog will be to write some reviews of products I'm trying and hopefully pass some of what I've experienced with these products on tho others. I also want to try and keep a record of feelings and thoughts. There's a lot going on in my head now days and sometimes you just need a place to put it all. It will be a odd mix of things, but again it's more for me then any one else.