Archive for the ‘Gear’ Category

Hontoon Island State Park

IMG_0049

Rain, rain, and more rain. We spent our first few days here hunkering down in the big Kodiak Canvas tent, we were on an island on an island. The tent withstood the rain even though we had about 2 inches of water under our feet. I’m glad it was dry the day we arrived so I could at erect the tent.

Then the sun came out. Exploring the island with the dogs has been fun, keeping the dogs on the path and out of the way of venomous snakes, not so easy. The difference between venomous and poisonous is with venomous they have to bite you, with poisonous you have to bite them. There are pygmy rattlers here and they are good hiders, last thing I need is a dog snuffling under some branches and coming up with a rattler on its nose. Trying to get a picture of them is not so easy either so….

IMG_0053

We encountered an armadillo along the way, and two barred owls that visit the camp. There are black vultures, hawks, egrets, and lots of cranes. Mosquitos are the dominant animal on the island, the tent is secure and I’ve only had to murder a few of the bloodsuckers. I wouldn’t want to be here in summer

 

The rangers are super nice and you can ride back and forth on the little ferry as much as needed, service stops at 4:30, so after that your here until morning. When you arrive they lend you as many wheel barrows as you need for your gear and take you in the van to your campsite, picking you and your gear up your last day. The rest of the time you walk the short quarter mile path from the ferry to the campsites. They have a lending library, I’ve read 3 books already, and donated 2 that I read. There is a small store where you can get an ice cream, and ice is available. The tent site has no electric so the Camp Host, Tom, allows me to hook up my extra battery packs to his camper, thanks Tom.

The Island has this cool replica totem. There is a nice playground for kids, and lots of fishing is done from the banks. You can’t go in the water because of gators.

 

I don’t think it will be too difficult to spend another week at this beautiful park. Hoping to get more photos of the wildlife, having the dogs makes it a little tough, Stanley has quite a bark and he has decided I need protected from, well, everything.

GHXS1425

Cathy, and Edgar, and Stan the Man.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

The RV

Continue reading

Equipment Update

I thought I would take a few paragraphs and let you know how some camping and travel equipment fared.

Water storage – don’t bother.  I bought two different 5 gallon collapsables from Texsport and Coleman – they both were unweildy, leaky messes that turned green with algae after just a few uses.  Better to buy those handy 2.5 gallon jugs with spouts from the grocery store, refill them a couple times and then recycle them and buy new ones.

Sleeping mattress – this surprised the heck out of me.  I bought a really nice air mattress that was extra thick and also my Exped synmat which I use for backpacking.  The backpacking mattress won by a long shot.  Easier to blow up, took much, much less room and was way more comfortable to boot.  My back ached after a few days on the thick air mattress and cleared up after a few days on the smaller synmat. 

Fishing gear – each state charges a license fee and they can be pricey.   I left my rod and tackle box with my sister in San Francisco along with the air mattress.  This was disappointing, there should be a national license for travelers.  

Texsport stove – this was an A+ buy – look for a stove with a flexible hose for the gas canister.

Yeti Cooler – the best cooler ever.   I left two beers, yogurt and jam in the cooler for two weeks in the heat in Pittsburgh, when I opened it I expected it to be super stinky – to my surprise,  the water was still cool and I salvaged the beer and jam.    I love this cooler!

Towels – I have no idea where they go, but they must decide they like it where they are and stay without even saying goodbye. 

Cathy

 

Tires and an Oil Change

I got a flat outside of Albuquerque and was glad for flat fix.   The curb I hit in San Francisco made the tires catywampus so add another $350.00 for alignment and some kind of shim thingys – I check it out on-line – totally legitimate charges.

The car is now riding on 4 new, aligned, Firestones.

The southwest desert is a big lonesome in the middle of nowhere.  Cell phone service is sketchy and towns are far and few between.   I would hate to be on the side of the road without water or shelter from the sun.

Since we are prepared it was just a hiccup on our road to everywhere.

Cathy

The Stars go all the way to the ground

The best part of primitive camping is no lights.  The stars go all the way to the ground.

Do you remember when you were a kid there seemed to be more stars.  They are still there, our view blocked by ever growing urban lights.

The worst part is no water.  If you are primitive camping make sure you carry enough for drinking, washing, tooth brushing and cleaning.

Even though the temperature dropped to below 40, I had the rainfly off my tent, the stars shining above me and fond memories of childhood keeping me warm.

Cathy

Liberty, life aboard a docked sail boat.

Talking with my friend Geri today about living aboard a boat.  Geri suggested I write a blog about it, so…here ya go.

Liberty is a 37′ sloop, which is a sailboat with one mast.  There is power from shore and a great wi-fi connection from the harbor.

Water – go get the hose and fill the two on-board water tanks.  One tank feeds the kitchen, foot pumped, and the other the bathroom sink.  There is a marine toilet, so no solid waste, but if you have to pee at night it is a lifesaver.  Just saying.   Hot water,  put a kettle on.

Galley – that’s the kitchen for you landlubbers.  A small gas stove and sink, there is a cooler, but I prefer to use my Yeti.  I have been making most of my meals here and have become very efficient at washing dishes in a tiny sink, there is no garbage disposal and you have to be careful of what you put in there because it drains out to the bay.  I am using an enviro washing soap.

Berth – the bed is luxurious.  A custom made mattress, very comfy.  No heat, but a small electric heater, I get it all warm and toasty before we turn in.

Main shower and bathroom are on land, about a 3 minute walk.   First you take off the 3 boards which are the main cabin door, then up over the side of the boat and jump down to the dock, up the main ramp to the main dock, down the main dock to the beach and over to the building which houses the showers.  There is a super fancy french restaurant in the building called Le Garage, I stopped in once and $$$$$$$ oooo la la.

There is a nice “Captain’s” seating area which would normally have maps and charts but now houses my computer and reference materials.  I can stream shows to my mini and that is how I watch tv or movies.

There are a lot of boats anchored off the docks.  I counted over 100.  The guys who live on them are called “anchor outs”, a scruffy group of gentlemen who have been nothing but kind to me and Edgar.  They come into shore in an array of different skiffs and park them on the dock next to mine.  A neighborhood of sorts, I like it.

Edgar is having a hard time adjusting to the rock and sway of the boat and fell off the steps more than once.  I tried to get him to jump off the boat to the dock and he did it twice, but, I think it is just too far for the little guy.  I lift him on and off.

So, we are snug as two bugs in a rug.

The boat is being dry-docked for a few days on the 23rd of this month.  I would like to go gold panning while I am off the boat.   Has anyone done it?  Where is the best place in N. California?

Cathy

Sleeping Under the Stars

The possibilities are endless, tents, sleeping bags and air mattresses.

I went with the REI Taj 3 Tent with footprint for home base.  When we abandon the car and go backpacking deeper into the woods I have a lightweight REI quarterdome T1 tent that I love.

After reading tons of reviews I decided on the Aero All Terrain mattress and will keep you updated how it holds up after a few months of wear and tear.  I already had an Exped Synmat that fits perfectly in the smaller tent.

I find it an interesting exercise in stretching and correct movement to successfully hoist this 54 year old body from laying on a mattress 8″ off the ground to a standing position.  I’m thinking of starting a yoga movement based on just this discipline.

My portable bedroom for the next year consists of a tent, mattress, Lafuma down sleeping bag, along with silk and fleece bag liners.  I am bringing a full size pillow and a couple really warm, wool army blankets from WWII.

Cold weather hint:  hand warmers stuffed in a sock at the bottom of your sleeping bag keep the toes warm for 8 hours and cost 50 cents.

Cathy