Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Go To Gear; installment 1: the Backpack

What to do on a day like this, the rain is making a delightful noise, the wind is breathing fresh breath into the apartment and I feel like doing something...

But what.

That is it! I will start a list, a list of, GO TO GEAR!

What does that mean you ask?

Well it is the new name of the Gear Section of RSOC!

Like totally kewl! Lol?

I realized that I meant to start this section this summer, I even promised that it would be up and running once or twice, but as life goes things got in the way, you know, new cat, apt, work, travels, and the like. Not this time, this is the start of the ongoing list that will contain things for everyone; the outdoor enthusiast who is starting out, the seasoned hiker/ bushcrafter and anyone anywhere in between.

Not only will the go to gear section feature outdoor gear, it will also showcase lifestyle items; electronics, magazines, websites, stories, sales, and other randomly important things!

So here it goes; The first installment of Go To Gear

The Backpack

You have read about them before on RSOC and you probably own a few yourself, however I would like to showcase a few bags that I find to be essential for me to do what I do on a daily basis.

On average I think that it is essential to have at least three backpacks. Three you say, are you mad, why would anyone need that many bags? My answer is simple, each bag has its own specific use and having bags with specific uses makes life easier.

Bag One: the media bag
most commonly known as a school bag. I choose the Power Pack by Outdoor Products:

The perfect media bag has a padded spot for laptops, various small compartments that hold electronics and other special tools/gear intact. This bag does just that, it even has a file-folder system in the main compartment to separate things as you wish. While many bags have laptop compatible sleeves it is best to buy a bag with a dedicated area for laptops specifically. The Power Pack even comes with a customizable pad that form fits to your laptop, giving it the utmost protection from banging around.


I recently took this bag to Maine and it protected my breakables from impacts, rain and a few minor coffee spills. 


Bottom line: everyone needs a go to bag to take care of their electronics, make sure that yours allows you to customize to your configurations and fulfills all of your standards. Do not jump to buying a bag, take your time and get the right one.


Bag Two: The Technical Day Bag.
The technical day bag is that one bag that you possibly spend a little too much money on, so you need to get one that is tough, proven, ergonomically designed fit and has all of the pockets and straps that one would ever want!

My Choice: the REI: Traverse 30 liter:

As you can see this day bag has enough straps to accommodate a host of different configurations for hanging anything you want of the back. It also has two cinch straps on each side to compress the bag to make it less bulky and to help make you gear stay where you put it. The ultimate day bag a pouch to hold a water bladder, sternum strap, waist strap, side pockets for bottles and a few smaller pockets to hold specialty items. On this bag I especially like the small pocket on the waist belt, it holds a knife, Cliffbar, or energy shots.

Bottom line: the day bag needs to fulfill all of your needs while being comfortable enough to carry decent sized loads, like picnic lunches, "hey boo boo bear." Also make sure that the day bag has everything that you want in the places that you want it, nothing is more frustrating than having to take off your bag every time you want a sip of water.

Bag Three: The bomber
The bomber is the bag that you use for everyday; the gym, the library, the store, getting beer, keeping your back warm... etc. It may be a media bag or a day bag, or even a shoulder bag...

My bomber is the smallest of the First Ascent Line: The Little Tahoma 30 liter:

The perfect bomber has a large main compartment, side pouches and a few small specialized compartments. This is the bag that you need to carry out your daily routine. I use mine to take stuff to work, hold clothes for the gym and to take groceries to the car. The bomber is also a great bag to take for multipurpose trips, such as the trip home.

Scenario: you are heading to a friend's for the weekend. You will be hiking and possible strolling downtown. Space is limited and you do not want to impose, so you bring the bomber. Load it up with clothes and unpack them when you get there. Voila! The bomber becomes a technical day bag!

Bottom line: Pick your bomber wisely, it will need to be a chameleon among bags, doing everything and anything to fulfill its purpose(s).

I hope that you enjoyed Go To Gear Section 1.

If you have any questions do not be ashamed to ask them right here.

Go out and find that perfect bag right now! Heck, go get two, you will feel even better!

-J

Facebook!

Gooooooo morning!

The skies are gray and it is set to be a beautifully dreary fall day, complete with a great thunderstorm. We are talking 65+ mph winds! The gales of November have surely come early this year, yes they have.

This storm means a few things:
1. I will most likely only work until 11 today.
2. this will give me a great deal of time to exercise.
3. it will also give me a great deal of time to test out the Front Point
4. I may also get a chance to check out further weatherproofing on my Stylus Tough, I know, it is about time.

I will also be working on the RSOC Facebook page; http://www.facebook.com/pages/Random-Stream-Of-Consciousness/144779595538271 for some extra spice, you know, gonna upload some pics and the such. 

"look at all that nothingness... AWESOME!" -j
(photo= courtesy C. Bromley, click on the blue linkey thing, you will be rewarded!)

Well, that is the news for now. I would really like to get outside and hike, or, snowshoe, or kayak, or something outside, hmmmmm better put the thinking cap on. 

Cross your fingers for me not having a tree blown on me today!

-J

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It gets dark early in the shadow of giants: The summary you have been waiting for!

Faithful readers/ followers/ family and friends,

I am terribly sorry that I have not posted this thing yet, I am in agreement with you that it is far overdue. The following is a mid-length recap of my trip to the East Coast.

In early September, I was approached by Tim with an interesting opportunity, to redo a trip that he took at my age. It sounded awesome; New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and finally Maine. We agreed on a few small details; date, vehicle, tents, bikes and such.

We left the first saturday in October around 9 in the a.m. with little to no destination in mind for that day. The journey through Ohio and the small portion of Pennsylvania was very vanilla as it was expected. However upon arriving in New York state we were treated to a rolling landscape that is very much like that of Northern Michigan, more specifically the wine country, TC and Leelanau. Once we got into NY we decided on our first stop; Niagra.

The trip there was slow and at times tedious due to the roads and the state's love of the 45 MPH speed limit.

Upon arrival I felt like I was in the intro to a national lampoon film with all of the tourist trap signs one could handle! Despite the blatant commercialism, on both sides of the falls, it was a wonder to see; the sound, the mist, the volume and the height--> spectacular!

The lighting was not optimal so my shot does not really do it justice, but you get the gist.

The first night we left the falls at dusk and were faced with the challenge of finding a campsite rather quickly. We settled on Fourmile State Park, a clean, open park on the Southern shore of Lake Ontario. The gales of the night just about flattened the two man Eureka tent to the ground! 

In the morning we quickly packed up our gear and started off again. This day however, we had a moderate destination; the Adirondacks. Again the trip was long and slow, but at least now the terrain was becoming very interesting as the roadsides were lined with straight faced boulders, cliffs and ravines.

Our plan was to spend the night in the heart of the Adirondacks, but on the way we got sidetracked by a small roadside sign signaling a mountaintop lookout, complete with a fire tower. I was not going to pass this opportunity up at all. We parked the truck and started the hike.


The trip to the top was moderately quick and painless and offered many awesome views of the beautiful landscape:



Once at the top we waited, anxiously, as a family descended the rickety steps of the fire tower. Climbing to the top of the fire tower was a very cool experience, I would love to have had a job like that:
I would sit up here all day with a sweet view, warm coffee, mountaintop breeze and a good book.

After descending from the tower we traveled a short way to our sleeping spot for the night: Lake Durant State Park.

Lake Durant was unlike any other place on the trip, it was very serene. The lake itself was so flat and clear that it was almost to the point of being eerie. Our site was right on the lake which gave us the ability to launch the kayak.

Flat and clean, such is Lake Durant.

Blue Mountain, bummer we did not get to climb that bad boy.

What best accompanies a trip 'round a NY lake? How 'bout some NY state beer!

We ate like kings that night with all of the comforts of a five star establishment and I slept like one too, well that is if a king enjoyed sleeping on the ground, but like a king nonetheless.

Our plan for the next day was to explore all that Vermont had to offer, sadly we were not too impressed with its offerings so we kept on trucking East!

We settled in New Hampshire, at the foot of Sugarloaf Mountain. The view of the giant from our site was obscured intermittently by branches so pictures were not worth a dime. I could not fully enjoy the view anyway due to the constant reminders of bears:
Well this looks safe.... right, haha

I ate little, cleaned up the juices like a fiend and oddly enough slept like a log! My dreams were wretched, but I slept so well that it did not really matter.

In the morning before packing up Tim and I took a hike down the ravine behind our site to an awesome mountain river complete with boulders and small waterfalls. If we were going to see a bear, this would have been the most awesome place for it to happen!


Packing up this camp site was pure bliss fore this afternoon we hoped to be on Mount Desert Island, virtually bear free and eating some fresh Maine Lobster!

Snapped a quick pic of this awesome sky!

Spent the day on the road battling NH drivers and their I will get there when I get there mindset, but the trip was worth it!

Snagged some lobsta fresh from the dock, we even bought some clams from a real salty dog.

After getting the grub we found a cool little campground near Bass Harbor. We set up camp like seasoned pros and began foraging for fuel for the fire; twigs, sticks, bark, logs, anything really. It was in this search that I stumbled upon this little guy;
This is Tim's best friend from the trip.

The first night on Mount Desert Island (MDI) was filled with snacks, drink and seafood:
Boil 'em and smash 'em with a rock, eat it up!

Day two on MDI began with a quick bike ride to the Bass Harbor Lighthouse:
This quaint beacon guides fishermen into Bass Harbor, a real life fishing town!

The area surrounding the lighthouse offers a quiet area that is perfect to take in the scenery, rest and ponder:

.... and as always: a place to play:

After moving camp to Blackwoods Federal Park on the East side of MDI Tim and I set off to see what Bar Harbor had to offer, but as was the case for most of the trip, we got sidetracked by climbing a mountain!

Mount Dorr stands 1,270 ft tall at the summit and offers an awesome view of a large portion of MDI:
We ascended the Ladder trail which features, you guess it; ladders on the very difficult sections. The hike up took 45 minutes or so, time really does not matter when you are on vacation I learned, however long it took it was most definitely worth it!

A guy could really do some thinking up here.

The top did not disappoint either:



After coming down we headed into Bar Harbor, a quaint tourist town with few of the usual traps!


As you can see it rained, a light rain at first and then pounding sheets fell to the ground, however the trip to town was a great success as I found the Puffin that I was set on finding! GREAT SUCCESS!!! 

When we got to our campsite there was enough light left for a rain hike to the coast, glad I did too 'cause I snapped these super cool shots!




On the hike I was also able to get a further understanding of how well the First Ascent Front Point works!

I left Tim to wander the coast and start one of his famous "night hikes" while I headed to the campground bathhouse to charge the electronics and jot some memories down on the ole blogster!

The rain did not let up and we had a mini feast in the tent thanks to jet-boil and campbell's soup!
Determined to continue the feast Tim fired up the jet-boil!

Again I slept well as the pelting rain and winds played a melody so perfect that only nature could have made it.

The rest of a trip was a real blur, we headed west to the mitten with blazing speed. We camped on Monadnock mountain in New Hampshire where we were the only people in the campground, we were also prowled upon by a late night visit from ranger rick, and nearly killed by raccoons in our sleep!

The last day of the trip we racked up over 700 miles from New Hampshire to Michigan. What a haul that was!

I did learn one very important thing about camping in the mountains: it gets dark early in the shadow of giants.

The trip was awesome. I had a lot of fun and cannot wait to do something like that again in the future!

Until then it will be reviews, athlete profiles, event promotions and day hikes in this AWESOME state! MI all the way.

hope you all enjoyed this, don't stop following now; I have only just begun!

-J

ps: have you heard that the Pure Michigan campaign has been reinstated? Freakin WooHoo!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

RSOC Featured Athlete Profile: Chris Vallier

1+5=6
Chris, chillin' as always, in the hotel after his team's finish!



Hey Chris first off, Happy Birthday from Random Stream! 21, now that is a major accomplishment worth celebrating, please do so safely.

Awesome to hear about your sixth place team finish! That is quite the accomplishment. I hope that you are ready for this slew of questions! Ok 21 questions, do 'em up!

A. What is the official name of the Urbanathlon?
-Men's Health Urbanathlon

B. Please explain, in your words, what this thing is made of:

-It is a nine mile race with six different obstacles throughout the course.http://www.menshealthurbanathlon.com/

[ok so those first two did not really count. :) ]

1. How large was your team?
-Our team was three people for three different legs of the race. 1st leg - Jesse Robbins. 2nd leg - Chris Vallier. 3rd leg - Carlvin Dorvilier.

1.a. How many teams were there?
- Their were 744 teams and around 12,000 - 15,000 total people.

2. How was the team divided? Was it by event?
-1st leg = 3.75 miles and 2 obstacles. Jesse Robbins. 2nd leg = 3.00 miles and 2 obstacle. Chris Vallier. 3rd leg = 2.25 miles and 2 obstacles. Carlvin Dorvilier. 

3. If so, what was your event?
- I ran the second leg which was 3 miles and my first obstacle was I had to jump/climb over four rows of cars and then climb over Navy barriers which were about 5 and a half foot tall. My second obstacle was army crawling under a net for about 15 yards, completing 12 monkey bars and then army crawling under a net for another 15 yards. Then I switched off to Carlvin.

4. What made you want to do this?
-I was reading Men's Health magazine one day and came over an advertisement for the event. I thought it looked pretty fun and it might be something I would be interested in doing. Then I told Carlvin about it, and he is the one who really pushed me to find someone else and sign up. So that's what I did. 


5. Did you listen to any music during the event/ what kind?
- Ipods and mp3 players were not allowed during the race. You would of been disqualified if you used one.

6. What was your training regiment in preparation?
-Mondays - I would work out at the rec, and usually work my arms. then go for a hard three mile run. Tuesdays, Wed, and TR - I would go downtown Big Rapids to a gym called "Liberty fitness" -http://www.libertyfitrx.com/Store/Default.aspx - They specialize in cross-fit training. I would work with a trainer. They would have me do kettlebells, sandbags, slosh tubes, bridges, sprints, etc.. Then I would go to my MMA class from 7-9. Fridays I would go to Liberty's and then do a hard three mile run. 
Sat - I would do the "ab ripper X" workout then a hard three mile run. Sundays - Rest, maybe a real light one or two mile run.

7. Race day attire/ equipment?
- I wore a pair of "Nike air" running shoes. Athletic shorts and a shirt that says "I boobs" for breast cancer awareness month. 

8. Favorite number today?
- My favorite number is 16.

9. How was Chicago?
-Chicago was awesome, we stayed in a suburb called Orland Park. We went downtown to check out the "night life" on saturday, but I wasn't 21 at the time so we couldn't go into any clubs or anything. We had some delicious Giardanos pizza though... mmm!

10. How do you balance training for something like this with a full time university job and classes?
-Time management is very key! I'd wake up at 8am everyday. Eat 6 small meals a day. go to classes. Do homework while I was at work (some people have the advantage of this). workout in the afternoon (after 5pm everyday). then hit the sack by midnight. 

11. What are some of your hobbies?
- I love to longboard! I longboard all over campus! I skimboard in the summertime when the weather is nice. I love playing Ukulele, it keeps me sane. Same with working out. I love to run, I do it for fun! I like to travel as well. I've been to Barcelona, Amsterdam, Jamaica, The Caymen Islands, Mexico City, Rio Nexpa... and many more. 

12. What should the ladies know about Chris?
-The ladies should know that I am single for now.... That's it. If they want to know more, they can ask!


13. Paperback or hardcover?
-Hardcover

14. How is the Uke playing coming along?
-I actually got a new microphone for my birthday (which is today) from my brother so hopefully my recordings will sound better! I've written a couple new songs that I'll probably be posting soon.

15. Got any upcoming plans or competitions?
- I plan on fighting again next semester... Maybe this semester if a promoter comes to Big Rapids.

16. If you had to be an animal, domestic or wild, what would you be?
-A hawk, because I could fly anywhere I wanted and I would rule the skies! 

17. Favorite book?
- My favorite book is the new Drew Brees book. "Coming Back Stronger." Highly recommend it!

18. What is your inspiration for all that you do?
- To make people happy! When I make others happy, it makes me happy! 

19. How did you hear about the Urbanathalon?
-Men's Health Magazine

20. Do you take any supplements?
- I take Whey protein before my lifting workouts and Liberty's and then I take Jack3d before running and MMA workouts.

21. Any words of wisdom for someone thinking/ training for an event like this one?
- Don't give up! When you start to hurt, Focus on the pain and plow right through it! When you push yourself beyond what you think you are capable of, that is when you become a stronger person... mentally and physically! 
Congrats again on this major accomplishment, hopefully it is the first of many wins and medals!

Take care,

-J


Thanks John boy! I miss having you around man! You my brotha! Talk to you soon

RSOC Featured Athlete Profile: Chris Vallier

1+5=6
Chris, chillin' as always, in the hotel after his team's finish!


Hey Chris first off, Happy Birthday from Random Stream! 21, now that is a major accomplishment worth celebrating, please do so safely.

Awesome to hear about your sixth place team finish! That is quite the accomplishment. I hope that you are ready for this slew of questions! Ok 21 questions, do 'em up!

A. What is the official name of the Urbanathlon?
-Men's Health Urbanathlon

B. Please explain, in your words, what this thing is made of:
-It is a nine mile race with six different obstacles throughout the course.http://www.menshealthurbanathlon.com/

[ok so those first two did not really count. :) ]




1. How large was your team?
-Our team was three people for three different legs of the race. 1st leg - Jesse Robbins. 2nd leg - Chris Vallier. 3rd leg - Carlvin Dorvilier.
1.a. How many teams were there?
- Their were 744 teams and around 12,000 - 15,000 total people.

2. How was the team divided? Was it by event?

-1st leg = 3.75 miles and 2 obstacles. Jesse Robbins. 2nd leg = 3.00 miles and 2 obstacle. Chris Vallier. 3rd leg = 2.25 miles and 2 obstacles. Carlvin Dorvilier. 

3. If so, what was your event?
- I ran the second leg which was 3 miles and my first obstacle was I had to jump/climb over four rows of cars and then climb over Navy barriers which were about 5 and a half foot tall. My second obstacle was army crawling under a net for about 15 yards, completing 12 monkey bars and then army crawling under a net for another 15 yards. Then I switched off to Carlvin.

4. What made you want to do this?
-I was reading Men's Health magazine one day and came over an advertisement for the event. I thought it looked pretty fun and it might be something I would be interested in doing. Then I told Carlvin about it, and he is the one who really pushed me to find someone else and sign up. So that's what I did. 


5. Did you listen to any music during the event/ what kind?
- Ipods and mp3 players were not allowed during the race. You would of been disqualified if you used one.

6. What was your training regiment in preparation?
-Mondays - I would work out at the rec, and usually work my arms. then go for a hard three mile run. Tuesdays, Wed, and TR - I would go downtown Big Rapids to a gym called "Liberty fitness" -http://www.libertyfitrx.com/Store/Default.aspx - They specialize in cross-fit training. I would work with a trainer. They would have me do kettlebells, sandbags, slosh tubes, bridges, sprints, etc.. Then I would go to my MMA class from 7-9. Fridays I would go to Liberty's and then do a hard three mile run. 
Sat - I would do the "ab ripper X" workout then a hard three mile run. Sundays - Rest, maybe a real light one or two mile run.

7. Race day attire/ equipment?
- I wore a pair of "Nike air" running shoes. Athletic shorts and a shirt that says "I boobs" for breast cancer awareness month. 

8. Favorite number today?
- My favorite number is 16.

9. How was Chicago?
-Chicago was awesome, we stayed in a suburb called Orland Park. We went downtown to check out the "night life" on saturday, but I wasn't 21 at the time so we couldn't go into any clubs or anything. We had some delicious Giardanos pizza though... mmm!

10. How do you balance training for something like this with a full time university job and classes?
-Time management is very key! I'd wake up at 8am everyday. Eat 6 small meals a day. go to classes. Do homework while I was at work (some people have the advantage of this). workout in the afternoon (after 5pm everyday). then hit the sack by midnight. 

11. What are some of your hobbies?
- I love to longboard! I longboard all over campus! I skimboard in the summertime when the weather is nice. I love playing Ukulele, it keeps me sane. Same with working out. I love to run, I do it for fun! I like to travel as well. I've been to Barcelona, Amsterdam, Jamaica, The Caymen Islands, Mexico City, Rio Nexpa... and many more. 

12. What should the ladies know about Chris?
-The ladies should know that I am single for now.... That's it. If they want to know more, they can ask!


13. Paperback or hardcover?
-Hardcover

14. How is the Uke playing coming along?
-I actually got a new microphone for my birthday (which is today) from my brother so hopefully my recordings will sound better! I've written a couple new songs that I'll probably be posting soon.

15. Got any upcoming plans or competitions?
- I plan on fighting again next semester... Maybe this semester if a promoter comes to Big Rapids.

16. If you had to be an animal, domestic or wild, what would you be?
-A hawk, because I could fly anywhere I wanted and I would rule the skies! 

17. Favorite book?
- My favorite book is the new Drew Brees book. "Coming Back Stronger." Highly recommend it!

18. What is your inspiration for all that you do?
- To make people happy! When I make others happy, it makes me happy! 

19. How did you hear about the Urbanathalon?
-Men's Health Magazine

20. Do you take any supplements?
- I take Whey protein before my lifting workouts and Liberty's and then I take Jack3d before running and MMA workouts.

21. Any words of wisdom for someone thinking/ training for an event like this one?
- Don't give up! When you start to hurt, Focus on the pain and plow right through it! When you push yourself beyond what you think you are capable of, that is when you become a stronger person... mentally and physically! 

Congrats again on this major accomplishment, hopefully it is the first of many wins and medals!

Take care,

-J


Thanks John boy! I miss having you around man! You my brotha! Talk to you soon

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 7: The long haul

Last night was interesting to say the least!

We ended up at the Monadnock State Campground and quickly set up camp:

We found Monadnock, perched atop a small mountain, to be a very serene camping spot. In the morning we realized why it seemed so serene; we were literally the only people in the park, the host had even abandoned their site.

The park offered great facilities including super hot showers and laundry. They were coin op which was a bummer, but at least they were nice.

Nightfall came quickly as we found it has a tendency to do in the mountains. Again I was treated to a feast by Sir Timmy. Steak, turkey gravy, toasted bread, and all of the trimmings that one has grown to expect at a meal with this guy.

The wind was very turbulent when we decided to lay down for the night, so we were a little leery of leaving the fire burning, however since the area had been doused with rain an hour or so before we decided to sleep with the door open to watch over the fire. It was not long before a super creepy ranger rick showed and told us we had to put the fire out. So we did...

It was very odd to sleep at the top of this small mountain because the weather pattern was so violently different; 40 mph wind, followed by dead silence, then 5 minutes later, more powerful wind and then another calm. This pattern was repeated all night and made for some pretty good sleep.


I awoke from a deep sleep to hear a camper's nightmare sounds; the things in the bed of the truck were being moved about, violently. Fearing the worst I woke Tim from his dreams of monsters and prowlers to join me in getting to the bottom of the noises. We donned our headlamps and put our shoes on so we were ready to run like scared little kids. As we exited the tent a few small somethings scuttled away from the truck and we had saved the day!

Pretty sure it was a small group of coons.

We packed and showered this morning with great efficiency, as we have been doing this a while now.

Breakfast was at the cutest little 1950's style diner:

The pancakes were very good, but be warned, in Vermont, if you are given the choice for real maple syrup, you will be charged extra for it! haha classic, they caught me.

Our plan for the day is to travel about 750 miles to Ann Arbor. I think it is most definitely doable!

It will be long, but also long awaited.

So we set out, two guys looking for adventure now returning:


Catch you on the flip side,

-J

PS the wrap up is coming tonight, time for work now!

Day 6: the trip home begins

Well, it has been a great trip, but it had to come to an end sometime.

Last night the driving rain kept us from enjoying large steaks over a booming blaze, but never fear. Thanks to Jet-Boil we ate hash and veggie beef soup in the tent:

Take that mother nature! We came prepared.

The pounding rain on the tent was refreshing to listen to, however, as the cadence of rain has the tendency to it quickly knocked me out. Luckily I woke up a few times during the night and was still able to hear it. Sleeping in a tent, with rain, a stone's throw from the ocean = pretty cool!

-This morning was soggy, and the sky still showed signs of sprinkles. We packed our sopping gear haphazardly into the bed of the truck and headed toward mini laundromat across from the campground.

It was a combo pay as you go shower/ laundromat and it was our savior! For a few quarters we had dry shoes, pants, sleeping bags and clothing. It is so funny how comforting the simplest of things can be when you are without them.


We took the park loop before leaving Mount Desert Island. It was pretty cool. Next time I go here I will definitely be taking the ole two-wheeler around the carriage roads as I have heard many cool things about them!

We began our trip home in the direction of Portland where there was supposed to be an L.L. Bean. Unfortunately when we got there it was nonexistent, so we trekked on.

Go west my son, the west of Michigan now that's where it is at. We took that advice and put the pedal to the floor, well not really to the floor as much of New England has a ridiculous speed limit of 55 mph, even on the freeways. Regardless we were going west, at a slow steady pace.

Our trip took us as far West as Jaffrey New Hampshire Today. We shall see how the camping scene is around here!

Wish us luck,

-J

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I would really like one of these things

Like the outdoors?

check this out:

http://www.brandchannel.com/home/post/2010/10/11/Airstream-Eddie-Bauer.aspx

Maybe they will make an RV soon.

-J

Competition time!

So Random Stream is branching out, out in the direction of lifestyle, as in we will be starting a second blog that will deal with things for the outdoor enthusiast that go beyond the trail/tent/kayak/bike/traveling/beer drinking/coffee addiction.



You know?

However, we have a huge challenge, and that is where you come in, the name, for the life of me I cannot come to a suitable name for this venture. The perfect name will combine outdoors and lifestyles, without manure, hmm I have been mulling this over in my head, which is apparently empty at the moment,  and I thought, what better way to give the people what they want than to let them pick it!

So here we go, the first RSOC contest: name the next blog!

No bears please! (ok bears are welcome, it was just a formality, makes the campers feel better you know?)


Question; what do you get for your hard work?

Answer: if you are the winner you will receive a super sweet outdoor sticker from the grab bag! Stick in on your waterbottle, car, board, neighbor's window, it doesn't matter, what matters is that it will show that you were the winner!

So comment your ideas, or email them to yonkerj3@gmail.com with the subject supercoolnameyo!

tell your friends, or take their ideas for your own!

a thousand thanks!

-J

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Test 2: Front Point by First Ascent

As you may know I spent the last week checking out New England; New York through Maine, Mount Desert Island to be exact.

It was while on Mount Desert Island that I got another chance to test my new shell the Front Point.


After climbing Dorr Mountain and a trip through Bar Harbor it began to pour. Luckily I had the Front Point packed.

Upon slipping it on I was instantly sheltered from the storm and in the nick of time too. Minutes after climbing into the shell the winds off the Atlantic kicked up and started to hurl the rain in sheets.

Never fear though, the Front Point held its own as I hiked the coast for an hour or so.

The main focus of this jacket is to provide protection from the elements while allowing the wearer full mobility while allowing access to its pockets around obstructions such as backpack straps. I found that the shell allows full mobility while keeping the wearer sheltered and dry.

Front Point is made of two different materials; the shoulders, a raincoat like material, and the stomach and back, a stretchable, more pliable material to accommodate a pack and aided mobility. It is a true miracle that the softer stomach and back portion of the jacket do not allow any water through.

As far as waterproofing is concerned, the Front Point earns and A+.

Like I said the winds of the ocean were also a force to be reckoned with that day as well. The shell did not disappoint in this area either. While the cool winds were driving at me I was more than warm in the shell, as it did not let any bit through.

Surprisingly enough, even with the airtight seams the shell did not turn into a tent. My body was able to breath well in the Front Point and I did not sweat or become uncomfortable at all.


As you can see the weather was unfavorable, but behind the lens of this shot, I was very comfortable in my First Ascent Front Point.

{BTW} =both shots in this blog were taken with my new Olympus Stylus Tough 8010, and a secondary, more in-depth review will be coming soon.=

Back to the bizz-ness at hand; the Front Point proved that it had what it takes to take on a North East fall storm with shining colors, now to test it in the midwest, the Mitten to be sure, to see how it handles the winds from Lake Michigan, soggy lake effect snow and icy blasts of arctic air this fall/ winter.

As it is super light and packable, this thing is worth more than its weight in gold!

Another review will be coming once more testing has been done.

Do you have a product for me to test? Well let me know already! I am more than willing to put things through the tests, and give honest reviews in order to keep you, the outdoor enthusiast informed.

Leave me a comment and tell me!

-J

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day 5: Acadia

Today was our day at Acadia.

It started off with a bike ride from our campsite at Bass Harbor to the Bass Harbor Lighthouse:



This picturesque spot afforded us multiple opportunities to climb rocky cliffs that hung over the Atlantic below:


We were under the watchful eye of a harbor seal that kept eluding my camera! His head was the size of a person, it was very cool.

This lobster trap is the handiwork of last week’s terrible storm:



You can see how far the waves had to be coming to put this up here, nature; incredible.

After picking up camp we set out to find Blackwoods State Park on the Eastern shore of Mount Desert Island.

We set up camp and headed out to see the sights. On our way to Bar Harbor we saw a group of cars pulled to the side of the road at the base of a mountain. I got out of the car and thought that we would be able to snap a few quick shots of the mountain from its base. Boy was I wrong. We stood at the foot of Mount Dorr. 1,270 ft of rock:



The trail said that the summit was only 1 mile away so we thought we would make short work of it. This proved to be much more than we thought it would be:



The views were great along the way, which made up for the tall steps:




And the summit was way worth the hike.




To the south you see Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the Island, due to what appeared to be approaching poor weather we decided to head back down.

After the summit we went downtown Bar Harbor. A quaint little tourist shop filled with all of the knickknack, t-shirts, Harley, shot glass and Main wear that one would ever want. It reminded me of Mackinac Island to be true. A little over touristy, but a cool little place nonetheless.



I found Chelsea her special present so she should be most excited.

On the way back to the campground it began to pour so we took a detour to fill up some water bottles with ocean water, I lucked out and found a few little shells to stick in mine so it looks like a miniature aquarium.

Finished the day off with a rain-soaked from our campsite to the coast, I think that it was worth it for sure:




Hope the rain lets up enough for us to make a little dinner or else we are going to bed, wet and hungry!
Tomorrow starts the journey home, it has been a good time.

-J