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.