Departure Dates

Coming up with a departure date is always challenging for me. I am the kind of person that backs out of parking spaces without knowing which way I am going to turn. I am an easy victim of the little brown signs on the freeway. “Point of Interest.” There goes a day. I now know more about the California Water Project than I ever intended. And Ronald Reagan.

A departure date is important. I need to book a flight or train and they are not as flexible as I am. It can be nice to have a deadline to get the last little bits done. And it serves as a deadline for others. “OK. As long as it is done before I leave.”

What is it based on? Bank balance? Weather? Events? When I left in the motorhome, I had been “ready” for a while. I just needed some fuel. One Saturday I sold a couple things I had laying around on craigslist. Filled up the tank and left. Didn’t come back for six months. Probably the main reason I want to leave is the weather. It seriously rains for nine months in Seattle. Starting sometime in September and not ending until July 4th. So September is departure prime time for me. My snowbird pals seem to gravitate towards October and some even wait until November. Sailors leave in August, which is the end of motoring season. Motoring season starts in June. There is no wind in Seattle from June to August and September. Plus that is when the Pacific Ocean is nice to boats. The Baja Ha Ha and Coho Ho Ho leave in August.

What to do with the stuff the TSA doesn’t like. Without going into what a scam airport “security” is, I own and can not live without a lot of stuff the little bullies in the TSA uniforms see as an opportunity to assert their egocentric creativity. The obvious stuff is fairly easy. I do not try to board a plane with a large fixed blade knife on my belt. But some stuff is less obvious. If I am carrying a gold plated bone handled double edged safety razor, where are the blades? And my German hand held  burr coffee grinder looks like a ten inch metal cylinder full of pellets with a mechanism on one end if seen in an x-ray monitor. When they see something like that, they don’t open the bag and check. They evacuate the facility.

What I do is pack it all up in a USPS Flat Rate box and send it to one of my brothers from a different mother. They can forward it to me when I get there. And I buy a cheap razor and knife and lighter on the ground first thing.

At the beginning of a journey or passage, leave a day to “pack.” I know I live out of two bags and am always “ready” to go but there is some kind of emotional/spiritual thing about leaving/going that requires some time. Don’t overlook this. If I do not give myself a day before, somehow, something always gets overlooked. Shit I didn’t even think existed. Or I just don’t feel right in some way. Rushed. The whole point is to not feel rushed! Take time the day before departure to settle in to going. Once I am going I just clean up the room or campsite and call an uber or start walking. After all, I live out of two bags and am always ready to go.

Mentioned in this post:

 

Coho Ho Ho
Gold plated Joris razor and Fendrihan

 

Taking the Leap

I call myself a vagabond. Websters:

Definition of vagabond

  1. : moving from place to place without a fixed home :  wandering

  2. a :  of, relating to, or characteristic of a wanderer

    b :  leading an unsettled, irresponsible, or disreputable life

-vagabondish\ˈva-gə-ˌbän-dish\ adjective

I’m not even offended by irresponsible and disreputable really, much. While reading this:

A Practical Guide to Vagabonding and Long Term Travel (Part 1): Taking the Leap

I need to answer some questions.

First, why do I travel?

Why do I breathe? Why do I drink water? I never ask myself those questions. Why must I answer this one? It seems so obvious. Why isn’t everyone doing it?

Where do I want to go?

Back to Encinitas for a while. I really like Encinitas. That’s where Yogananda wrote Autobiography of a Yogi. The weather is perfect, the town is fun, and the people are awesome. Oh, and really nice food.

Then I would like to get to the Caribbean, maybe via Mexico or maybe start in Maine and do the ICW in a downeaster. This is a downeaster:

Image result for downeast boat wallpaper

The ICW, Intracoastal Waterway, is a passage of relatively safe water from Boston to the Keys. Then it’s a short hop to the Bahamas, BVI, and beyond.

http://www.icwplanningguide.com/Marinas/Maine-New-Hampshire.aspx

Then maybe the Mediterranean.

What will I do?

Walk. A lot of walking. And eat. Eat all the good food. And ride the rides. When I was young, we went a lot of places. Always moving from college class to college job. But we never could afford the rides. The trams and boats. The wheels and carousels. I like to ride the rides. But mostly eat nice food and walk.

How long?

The proverbial foreseeable future. “Forever.” I am a member of the class of 2007 in the Escapees RV Club. I lived on a sailboat for 6 years. I have been living out of two bags for over a year now. This week I think I am down to one bag, and a light one at that.

 

 

Kit

I spent the last four days obsessing on kit. And geared up.

I have always kept a ready backpack somewhere. Growing up a hippie and moving around a lot inspired a streak of survivalist/adventurer.

I have had several setups over time. My mom made my first backpack out of leftover upholstery material so I could go on a boy scout hike. That did not work so well. With the down bag from the Korean War I don’t think I would have noticed the added weight of an iron skillet.

In secondary school, junior high school in the states, I was placed in “High Adventure.” A pilot program which eventually became Outward Bound. For the first few of those hikes I carried my gear in two opposing shoulder bags like Grasshopper. Picked up a frame pack eventually. No idea where that ended up.

In college, I made a simple canvas backpack by hand. No velcro or snaps or zippers. I also picked up a bunch of scrap polyfill at the Seattle squeaky floor REI and sewed up a sleeping bag seven feet long inside. That bag would serve me for decades until it was stolen from the back of a pick up truck. I also made a cookset out of Revere Ware by cutting off the handles and nesting a frying pan in a pot. Complete with a copper bottom measuring cup. Tied up a knotted bag to hold it all. I have made several of these sets since.

Somewhere in here I pick up a classic Camp Trails frame pack. This is the pack the sleeping bag was in when it was stolen. Complete kit gone. Time to gear up again.

I was blown away by how gear had evolved since my last trip to REI. Among other things, the fabrics amazed me so much I am still trying to get a clothing company going using those modern fabrics in classic style clothes. The MSR Whisperlight had not changed much but the bags and packs and what the hell is this thermarest thing? WOW!

I loaded up a Gregory Palisade with an REI sleeping bag, a therm-a-rest, another RevereWare cook set, a Coleman singe burner, and a Half Dome. Really nice setup served me until this year. It all went as part of the thinning down, simplifying process. I actually justified leaving my sleeping bag, pad, and tent at Goodwill by realizing the new gear I would some day replace it all with would be awesome.

Wow, was I right!

So I have re kitted. I did minimum research and trusted my friends at Second Ascent in Ballard and ended up with a new Therm-a-rest Neoair Xtherm Max, a Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL1, and a Mont Bell Spiral Down Hugger 800 #3. All of this weighs in at about five (5!) pounds and fits in my Jansport day pack. Any singe piece of my old kit did not fit in this bag. All three of these do with room for the rest of what I need. Laptop, iPad, toilet kit, backup clothes and warms, chargers, headlamp, and field glasses. Even a pair of lightweight shoes.  I feel like a Buddhist monk. If I forgo the coffee kit, more shoes, and an extra suit, I am ready to go with just the Jansport if I am fully clothed.

Seriously?

 

Update 2017-08-27

I added an MSR Windburner. I have made coffee in it a couple times. As others have said, it took longer to grind the beans than boil the water. I will write about attempting to cook on it soon.

 

 

New elonn Product Steampunk/Art Deco Headlamp

I have decided to make a steampunk headlamp. This product will be offered by http://elonn.com.

I made this decision while I was driving back from San Diego determined to realize my next step before I reached Seattle. I allowed my self the entire trip to figure it out. Around just before Grants Pass I hit upon the idea of a steampunk headlamp.

It will echo the classic Art Deco Sunburst. The lamp will have one very bright center single or cluster led and six across the top. The bright one can be dimmed, shut off, or turned red.

While I was carving and drawing the six leds I realized they could/should be controlled by an app.

The six across the top are totally programable. They will come with some cool built in profile like rainbow and Cylon.

At this time, the vision is for 3D printing on a belt, printing around the electronics. Assemble the electronics, place  in a jig/mold on a belt and feed to a 3D printer. Rotate, and feed to another 3D printer.

You will be able to adjust each of the six leds individually on a timeline. Set the time line duration/speed, adjust each leds color and brightness over the timeline.

My plan is to launch a kickstarter maybe in September.  I need a team for this one. Someone that can handle the printing stuff. Someone to write the app. I can handle the logistics and financials. Maybe one of us could take charge of the marketing. All the media stuff should probably be shared so the content has several individual styles. “She came up with this idea, I like this, we want to do this…” That sort of thing.

Anyone want to play?