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Archive for May, 2011

Hola and heidy-ho, my friends.  Welcome back.  I’m glad you stopped by.  At present, I’m like a gushing teenage girl who just saw her BFF’s boyfriend making out with a cheerleader.  I’ve just got to tell someone or I’ll burst!

A very productive weekend, this one.  Currently, I am in a gooey, gelatinous form, (not unlike most New Year’s Eve’s), striving to re-hydrate after a day under a welding hood on an over 100 degree day.  Mom always said I wasn’t her brightest child.  However, this weekend, rain or shine, heat or freezing temperatures, I was motivated by the fact that I should have been making new friends, stealing TTT ideas and swapping stories around the campfire with the great folks from the local Tear Jerker’s chapter but, alas, such was not my lot.  After getting a submariner’s view of the underside of Das Nook on Friday, I realized that my decision to bow out of this weekend’s festivities, however heartbreaking, was a good one.  Had I chanced pulling Das Nook up that steep mountain, last week’s blog might have been my epitaph.  By now, it should be pretty obvious that I’m not one to go out with so few words.  Chalk one up for me.  The damage to the tongue supports was considerably worse than I first thought.

Let me start by admitting, (and this is no excuse), that I have not had a welder in my hand in fifteen years.  I was quite the man with the stick welder back in another life.  However, life and career changes have negated my need to do much welding lo these many years.  To top that off, my new welder is of the MIG variety.  Not an alligator I’ve ever tried to make a suitcase out of  before, but convenience guided my hand in selecting my new toy.  The thought of my having to add a 50 amp, 220VAC circuit/receptacle to an, already overburdened, breaker panel, not to mention the additional expense of some 6-3 SO cable and plug ends to make an extension cord to get from said receptacle to the aforementioned stick welder put the icing on the cake.  The MIG runs on plain old 120VAC /20amp.  I did trip the breaker a couple of times, but I know from experience that the length of extension cord I was using played a part in that.    After a day of familiarizing myself with my new Lincoln Weld Pak 125 HD MIG welder, I can foresee a long and happy relationship together.  It got the 1/4″ thick steel on the original tongue flowing like tears at a wedding.

My point is that the welds I created to form the new tongue frame are a lot like the girl I took to the Happy Acres Cotillion:  butt ugly, but functional as hell: stout and solid.

Since they got her meds right, she never writes?

In my defense, after some selective grinding, (two grinding wheels worth). and much restarting, re-doing and retouching, (once I got the hang of, and fine tuned, Das MIG),  not to mention copious amounts of primer, they look downright snazzy.  Add to that the fact that the box will cover the debauchery and I’m Mr. Wizard!  That’s my story and I sticking to it.

Friday morning:  Finally dragged my night-shift-working, sorry butt out of bed and fit a length of steel under the points where it needed to fit, marked the angles and, after a lot of cussing and pinched fingers, moved the length of 2x3x1/8th to the saw horses and cut them with a steel cutting blade fitted to an old circular saw.  A steel cutting miter saw would have been a Godsend here but, if I were rich, I’d probably lose all of my boyish charm and desire for backyard projects and buy a fifth-wheel camper and a new Dodge Ram truck.  Nah, I’ll never lose my boyish charm and, if I were rich, I’d just have a lot nicer collection of toys to build my dreams with…….Not to mention a garage!  As the majority of you ladies endlessly gripe:  “Men are just full sized little boys.”  To which most men answer, “Neener, neener, neener.  I prefer, “So’s your mama!.”  I grew up in a tough neighborhood.

I managed to get the pieces cut and ground down to fit precisely, then took the rest of the night, and Saturday, off to contemplate the meaning of life.  I’m a very deep thinker so that took until this morning.  Still no answers.  I’ll get back to you when I have my epiphany.

The submariner's view.Sunday Morning:  I finally dragged my, didn’t-work-night-shift-last- night, sorry butt out of bed and walked outside into an oven at nine AM.  Hence this week’s title:  Memoirs from the fifth level of h-e-double hockey sticks.  I ground down all the areas on the original tongue and frame where welds were supposed to go.  I say supposed to go because I’d forgotten how dark the world becomes under a #10 welding hood.  Reminds me of fumbling to find bra strap hooks in the back seat of my 1968 Rambler Ambassador at the drive in………..well, you get the picture.   *brief pause for a moment of retrospective bliss*

I welded the original tongue to the frame brackets so the bolts, originally the only thing holding the tongue to the trailer, are now just an added precaution.  The main tongue is completely welded, top, sides and bottom, to the frame brackets.

Everything tacked into place.

I got everything finagled into place, again amid a chorus of words that would have had my mother washing my mouth out with soap, all while my buddy Manny sat there laughing at me, drawing deeply from a bottle of beer which I had, up til that point, avoided. I usually make it a point not to mix power tools, flames and large amounts of electrical current with intoxicating beverages, regardless of how desert hot it is.  Having Manny around is like having a comedian on retainer.  No matter how disgruntled a situation can get me, one look at his goofy mug and I start laughing.  Thanks for all the laughs, Manny.  And this time he even brought his own beer!  *looking around for the four horsemen*

First coat of primer.

And after a whole lot of sweating, numerous first and second degree burns from flying weld spatter and grinder “renderings,” not to mention a tan three or four shades deeper than my natural, Italian heartthrob, complexion, I give you some tongue.  Get your mind out of the gutter.  That’s Das Tongue.  Let’s keep this blog within the PG rating, please.

This pictorial coming out party is with a first coat of primer on all the bare steel.  I’ll be adding a second coat before the evening’s over and, if it cools off a little, possibly a first coat of the Rustoleum glossy black that is the patina du jour for the entire undercarriage.

Next weekend, that being Memorial Day Weekend, will be spent mounting the box directly onto the new tongue frame:  not to the front of the camper.  There should now be minimal flex in the tongue, but I’m not taking any further chances.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned over my many, many, many………..years as a student of all things in the manly art of tools and the things we cobble together with them, it’s that you learn from your mistakes and do your level best to never make them again.

And, as if to represent the creamy head on the tastiest beer I’ve had in a long time, since the addition of the new framework, getting Das Nook to sit down on her front wheel is as easy as a fat kid bringing down his end of the seesaw with Nerdy Melvin on the other end.  Once I add the box, the weight distribution and tongue weight should be back to where it should be, eliminating the need for that 80 lb. bag of concrete and, consequentially, my shame.  Another wrong righted by that goofy thing we all call kismet.  I’ll take luck over skill any day.

Well my dear friends, it is at this time that I must bid you adieu, but only for now.  I just heard a beer popping in the kitchen which can only mean one thing:  It’s Sunday night and the gang’s all here.  I must admit that my chest is swelling, just a bit, mind you, over the premise of showing off this weekend’s handy work to these Bohemians I’m proud to call my friends.  Now if I could just get them trained to show up when the work is actually in progress, bring their own beer, and lift the seat when they dispose of my beer in my guest bathroom, (that is, when they’re not using the big pine tree behind the Big Top), I’d be selling that story to every woman’s magazine out there as the miracle of the twenty-first century.  While somewhat refined, (trained, if you will), I’m still a guy so, should I manage that miracle, I’d have to take that secret with me to my grave.  It’s a guy thing.

May this week be the best week you’ve ever had, may something truly wonderful come your way and may you never have reason to frown for all the rest of your days.

Until next week, I wish you all the best life has to offer.

Adio,

Brian

All new for 2011!

And, should you be so inclined, The Tenderfoot’s Guide to Family Camping has been completely revised for 2011 and is now available as an ebook!  Every ebook dealer from Sony’s iPhone store to Amazon and Barnes and Noble are carrying it.  However, we’re offering a 20% discount for all the loyal readers of Brian’s blog through Smashwords.com.   Just add the coupon code CM84R at checkout and you’ll receive the discount.  Picture this:  Wilderness 2011.  You just bought a new tent and figured it’d be a cinch to set up.  You got out of work late and arrived at the campground after dark.  Ominous dark clouds are looming over your campsite.  You unpack your tent only to realize that you haven’t got a clue about how it goes together.  What do you do?  Well, if you had a copy of this informative book on your phone, you could simply thumb through a few chapters and be roasting marshmallows within the hour.  Don’t have a copy?  Well, there’s a lot to be said for sleeping in the car.  Oh, you have bucket seats?   The kids will be voicing their displeasure over sleeping in the back seat…..all night long?   Save yourself the headache.  Order your copy today.

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Important information

Buono Pomeriggio! (Good Afternoon), my friends.  I hope you’ve all had as wonderful a weekend as I’ve had.

Believe it or not, this sign was posted on the road leading to the boat ramp at Watsadler, on beautiful Lake Hartwell in Hartwell, GA, where I de-stressed this weekend.  Considering that the road leads to a boat ramp that is amply marked as such, this sign would seem redundant.  Apparently not, or they wouldn’t have wasted the money on such expensive signage; especially considering the dire financial situation all state and national parks are in these days.  Doesn’t say much for our local driving populace, does it?

The latest evidence of the recreational area’s financial hardship to come to my attention was that the individual trash cans that were once a staple at all the campsites have been removed.  It is now the responsibility of the camper to tote their trash to the dumpsters at the dump station by the exit.  Apparently, a cut in head count and the need to further cut costs at all costs, (trash pick-up, trash can maintenance and replacement, etc.), has further affected the amenities at recreation areas throughout the country.  Not that I’m complaining about having to haul trash.  That’s a minor inconvenience.  It’s the deeper ramifications behind those cuts that bother me.

The campground was, as always, in stellar shape.  The grass was manicured, the restrooms were clean, (although not cleaned as often as they used to be), and the sites were clean, roomy and beautiful.   I just fear for the fate of our state and national parks as I see the small amenities going by the wayside.  Camping has always been an affordable and truly special and worthwhile pursuit for families wanting to spend time together in the outdoors; far away from the boob tube and the Xbox.  I’m afraid that, given the current budget cut trends, what few state parks manage to survive those budget cuts will have to charge as much per night as a night in a luxury hotel just to stay afloat and will become inaccessible to the very people who benefit most from them.  The current rate for most of the state parks in my area is around $22 per night, (tax included), with water and electricity.  That’s $44 per weekend.  That rate has more than doubled since my children were younger and we were camping, at least, two weekends a month.  Now $44 for a weekend doesn’t seem at all bad considering that you have to buy groceries whether you’re home or camping, (and once you have all your gear), so, while your grocery bill might be just a wee bit more, (adding marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey bars for the requisite smores), the added expenses are minimal and $44 is still, pretty much, do-able for most of us.  But what if that doubles again, to $88 for a weekend, within the next few years because funding for these parks is cut further?  Will it still be a viable, affordable way for the average, working class family to spend a weekend together enjoying our natural resources?  What’s going to happen when the budget is cut so deeply that state and national parks start closing their gates completely?  Surprise, surprise:  it’s happening daily and at an alarming rate.  Will our grandchildren still be able to take their children camping for a weekend, or will they have to read about it in the history books?  Everyone’s politics are their own business, but please consider this when you decide on your candidates at the polls in the next election.  When free senate haircuts and the myriad of other freebies and perks for our elected officials remain in play, yet our state and national treasures suffer and may even become inaccessible to “We the People,” it’s time for a change.  Elected officials do still work for us, don’t they?

*stepping off the soap box* Sorry about the influx of politics, but this situation rocks me to my very core.  I’ll be writing a few letters to my representatives in Washington and if I don’t get the answers I’m looking for, I’ll do my part as a registered voter to insure their ride on my tax dollar funded gravy train is over.

Better than Prozac!

Anyway, this picture pretty much sums up my weekend.  The weather was about as nice as you could ask for; high 70’s with the occasional passing cloud during the day and low 50’s at night.  No heat or AC were needed this weekend.  Sleeping with the windows and roof vent open, smelling the pines on the lake breeze and the occasional whiff of frying bacon in the morning  just added additional fluff to an already perfect weekend.  Throw in the sesame-ginger marinated London Broil, roasted over the coals, and the baked potato Friday night, and the grilled Italian sausage, onion and pepper hoagies with Provolone cheese and potato salad Saturday night, (and a few malty beverages), and I reiterate this weekend’s title, “Ahhhhhhhh!”

I did have one technical difficulty this weekend but I’m hoping that’ll be easily corrected next weekend.  Sometime during the trip to the campground, (probably after I momentarily lost sight of the Das Nook in the rearview as it plummeted into one of the many, ever-present, man-eating potholes that have become an epidemic around here), a crack started along one of the box mounts between the front of the camper and the tongue storage box.  I’m presently rethinking the addition of the brackets from the tongue to the box that I bolted on last weekend, but the problem would still persist whether the brackets are there or not.  The tongue itself is mounted to the trailer frame by one huge bolt through a bracket under the camper.  This allows some flex and presents a bit of a pivot point.  The minor flex experienced along a normal road is of no significance, but hitting pot holes and bouncing down a lot of the rugged, rutty, back roads leading to some campgrounds will allow the tongue to pivot and flex enough to overpower the added strength the brackets added and flex the box as well.  I’m either going to have to permanently weld the tongue to that bracket, or drill and tap a couple of additional holes through the tongue and bracket and add some graded bolts to take all the pivot out of the tongue.  I’m hashing the situation out as I write this and I’m pretty sure I’ll have the answer before next weekend.  If not, I may have to skip the four hour drive to Jefferson, NC for the Tear Jerker’s camping trip on the 20th.  I certainly don’t want to miss that, but I don’t want to find myself four hours from home, on the semi-deserted Skyline Parkway, with something broken that can’t be fixed on the road.  I have some great friends, but asking one of them to make a four hour drive, one way, to rescue my stupid, stranded butt would probably be pushing the envelope a little.

Das Ambiance. Mamba, anyone?

The Coleman canopy was definitely a worthwhile buy.  I read and re-read numerous reviews on the pros and cons of the various easy-up canopies on the market these days, then checked out quite a few before I decided on the Coleman.  One thing that really caught my eye was the fact that the fly is UV protected.  If you’ve ever seen a sun-rotted tarp, (the Big Top, home to Das Nook in my back yard is a great example), you’d agree.  As has always been my experience with anything Coleman, this canopy is a winner; and the fact that I found it on clearance over the winter just makes it that much sweeter.  The entire mechanism is really stout and it almost sets itself up.  You basically take the frame out of the wheeled, heavy duty, zippered storage case it came in, pull the frame open, drape the fly over the frame and extend the legs.  I’m the village idiot and I had no problems whatsoever getting it up in about five minutes.  If I can do it, anyone can.  Once you have it up, there are stout, Velcro-lined, tabs to secure the fly along the frame and there is even Velcro at the top on all four corner posts that mate with Velcro patches sewn into the fly itself.  For added wind protection, each corner has a tie-down rope extending from the flap on the fly.  For true anchoring, there are stake holes in each, heavy gauge, metal foot.  What made it even more versatile this weekend was when I attached a tarp across the frame with bungee cords to act as a shower/privacy curtain behind the galley doors and had a nice warm shower to test the efficacy of Das Shower.  I must admit that it felt a little strange, (yet somewhat exhilarating),  standing there naked with campers on either side of me, but there were no screams of horror, ladies fainting or villagers showing up with pitchforks to slay the monster so, apparently, the test was a complete success.  I’m still working on some of the intricacies to fine-tune the shower process but, for all intents and purposes, it was a worthwhile addition which, I’m certain, will get a lot of use in the years to come.

Das Schnaps lights

They don’t make beer bottle string lights……..at least not that I’ve found……..yet.  Martini glasses just kind of give the impression that we’re high brow nose-wavers; not the message I care to send, but these were the only lights ABC Distributing had on their clearance page so this is what I’ll have to light my area with until I can find some Beck’s or Newscastle lights.  Of course, one glimpse of me in my aviator’s helmet and goggles would dispel any thought of my being snooty or upper crust: and there’s always Lulu!  She just reeks of middle class: especially in the Walmart bikini bottom she was wearing this weekend.   You can take the mannequin out of Walmart, (Lulu literally was an underwear mannequin, or so I was told, in Walmart before they retired her), but you can’t take Walmart out of the mannequin.  Such is life.

Well, my friends, I have coolers to clean and smoke-scented laundry to wash, so that’s all for this week.

As a parting thought, I’d just like to mention again that there is no better stress reliever than a weekend in the woods.  With downsizing and fewer people to do even more work than before for, at least, forty hours per week; not to mention bills and the myriad of problems that everyone faces in their day to day existence, stress is like a visit from your mother-in-law:  It’s coming whether you want it to or not and it ain’t going to be pretty.  If you don’t find a way to alleviate that stress, it’ll eat away at your very core.  Borrow a tent from Uncle Claud.  Rent a camper for a weekend.  Whatever it takes, jump off life’s expressway for a weekend and find out how relaxing a weekend in the mountains or by the beach can be.  You won’t regret it.

Until next weekend, I wish you peace, good luck and every happiness.

Per la buona vita! (To the good life).

Brian

All new for 2011!

And, should you be so inclined, The Tenderfoot’s Guide to Family Camping has been completely revised for 2011 and is now available as an ebook!  Every ebook dealer from Sony’s iPhone store to Amazon and Barnes and Noble are carrying it.  However, we’re offering a 20% discount for all the loyal readers of Brian’s blog through Smashwords.com.   Just add the coupon code CM84R at checkout and you’ll receive the discount.  Picture this:  Wilderness 2011.  You just bought a new tent and figured it’d be a cinch to set up.  You got out of work late and arrived at the campground after dark.  Ominous dark clouds are looming over your campsite.  You unpack your tent only to realize that you haven’t got a clue about how it goes together.  What do you do?  Well, if you had a copy of this informative book on your phone, you could simply thumb through a few chapters and be roasting marshmallows within the hour.  Don’t have a copy?  Well, there’s a lot to be said for sleeping in the car.  Oh, you have bucket seats?   The kids will be voicing their displeasure over sleeping in the back seat…..all night long?   Save yourself the headache.  Order your copy today.

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Das Pollen-mobile

Heidy-ho, friends and neighbors!  Welcome back.

No, that fine yellow coating isn’t an artistic touch.  The pollen is unrelenting here in the south.  Those of you with pollen allergies have my deepest sympathies.  I’m leaving Das Nook out in the yard this week in hopes of making her first bath a little easier on me later this week after the predicted Tuesday and Wednesday rains pass through.

Once again I must apologize for the late post, but yesterday was a glorious day in SC and I took full advantage of the fine weather.  It was so nice outside that I continued tweaking and playing until almost 11PM.  When I realized what time it was, (after looking at my watch during a pass with the circular saw), I figured I had better quit before one of my kind and patient neighbors decided to call the local constabulary to complain about the noise.  Thankfully, no one did.  Of course, a couple of them were standing there chewing the fat with me so, in reality, I could have probably continued for a while longer, but I didn’t want to press my luck.  Besides, if there’s one thing I’ve realized during this build, I’m not 25 any more.  I’m sure I’ll suffer some this week for the acts of contortion and the weird positions I usually find myself in, but it’ll all be worth it.  Bring on the Tylenol!

Once again, all that was accomplished this weekend is not visible, but necessary.  I managed to run a new 3/4″ gray plastic conduit underneath for a separate, 20 amp, receptacle for the hot water heater.  That’ll also leave one plug-in for the audio power amp that now rests under the shelf in the galley.

Das Greasers

And not everything I finished this weekend is “sexy,” but serves a  purpose.  I installed a set of bearing protectors to, I hope, help prevent any bearing failures on the road.  Bearing protectors are, basically, a round plate with a grease fitting sticking out of it within a tube, and a strong spring behind the plate.  You pump the protector full of high-speed bearing grease and the spring keeps a constant pressure on the plate, constantly forcing grease into the bearings.  Now if I can just remember to keep them packed with grease, and pack the bearings once a year, I should be able to get a few good years out of the wheel bearings.   Being anal retentive does, sometimes, have its’ benefits.   Things like packing bearings rarely evade this steel trap of a mind of mine.  Remembering to put on pants before I leave for work every day is a bit of a crap shoot, though.

Das Shower.

The shower plumbing offered up a bit of a surprise this weekend.  When I first pressurized the system last weekend, there were no issues.  Everything seemed fine and the taps and shower nozzle worked without a hitch.  This weekend, however, while pressurizing the system to test the longevity of a tank full of hot water, my groin was assaulted with a fine spray of hot water from a crack in an elbow joint in one of the cpvc fittings.  I was sitting behind it on an overturned 5 gallon bucket, (my preferred method of slacking while I’m working at lower levels), when I began to think that the third flying-monkey-rider of the menopausal apocalypse had come for a visit and I was becoming incontinent.  That’s a scary feeling, believe me.  I’ve already lost my mind and my hair.  A loss of bladder control would be just too much for my age addled gray matter to handle.  Thankfully, it was just a cracked pipe and no one was around when it happened so, once I shut off the water and replaced the fitting, (and that spot on my shorts dried), there was no evidence to offer my friends further fodder to ride me about. I’m still working out the finer details for the shower curtain and floor but, as of yesterday,  the shower is fully functional and, in a pinch, (and at the risk of being arrested for indecent exposure), it can be used.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day to finish all the things I go into the weekend with racing through my mind.

Das galley

We’re still lacking the cabinet doors, but Das Galley is now sporting a new, 3/4″ shelf for the vessels that create those mouth-watering meals that can only be cooked outdoors.  My original plans held up throughout all the changes and tweaks I’ve done over the course of the build and I can slide my six-quart cast iron dutch oven, 12″ cast iron skillet, (both Lodge, of course), and Coleman collapsible oven  in the bottom, leaving the top shelf for utensils and all the other goodies.  I haven’t hung the spice rack or the mirror yet, but those will come in the weeks ahead.  I bought one of those mirrors on an arm that folds into the wall when not in use, then extends for those days when company’s coming and you need to get those pesky nose and ear hairs that become a blight on those of us over the age of 40.  The back side of the mirror is a 5X magnifying mirror.  I don’t think I’ll be using that side.  I have to sneak up on a regular mirror as it is.  Seeing this mug magnified 5 times might be more than my heart, (and stomach), can take.  Especially on those mornings after a few too many toddies were consumed around the campfire the night before.  Yeeesh!

I was paid the ultimate compliment last night.  In keeping with my Italian roots, I always cook dinner on Sunday.  It serves two purposes:  One, that I get a nice meal at least once a week and, two, I’ve got left overs so I don’t have to cook on Monday and Tuesday.  Have I mentioned that I have become a little lazy since taking up the bachelor’s life?  Anyway, last night, after finishing work on Das Nook, I realized that it was definitely too late to prepare that fantastic rigatoni and meatball dinner I’d planned to fix.  My need for my bi-weekly tomato sauce fix needed to be quenched, however, so……………..you guessed it:  “Hello, Dominos?!  When the delivery guy arrived, he was in awe over Das Nook.  We stood there talking long enough for the pizza to cool.  Thankfully, I like cold pizza.  He’d never seen one of the little guys and wanted the chef’s tour.  I gave it gladly.  One of the reasons I built Das Nook was to give people something to talk about and stop them from asking me which circus I escaped from.  “I am not an animal!” (Unless you ask one of my ex’s, that is. *laughing*)

Next weekend will be the latest shakedown cruise for Das Nook.  I’ve got reservations at a local campground so I can set everything up and make sure we’re ready for the four hour drive to Raccoon Holler for the Spring Fling at the Holler 2011 in Jefferson, NC May 20-22.  I’ve been looking forward to this trip since I started collecting all the pieces that now make up Das Nook.  This will be the first gathering of the teardrops and tiny travel trailers I’ve been able to attend and the first of the camping season for them.  I’m really looking forward to meeting some of these great folks whose work and assistance have both inspired and helped me throughout the build.  Chatting with them on the forums has been a true pleasure and it’s really going to be nice to put faces to, and shake hands with, all of them.

Das Nook is now, as far as I can tell, completely road-ready.  There will be numerous additions, changes, etc, to come, but that’s the nature of the beast.  After a weekend surrounded by TTT’s, I’m sure I’m going to come home with a myriad of new projects that’ll keep me out there in the back yard making sawdust for years to come.  I am, however, thinking toward the future and about a next project.  Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; or so they say.  I’ve considered building another TTT from the ground up, (my own trailer design welded and fabricated in my own back yard), incorporating all the things I’ve learned during this build, (and none of the Oops! I’ve come across building Das Nook).  I’m also considering building a houseboat.  I have a perfectly good camper and, because of this build, no longer fear working with fiberglass.  Why not a houseboat?  Time will tell.  Stay tuned.

That’s about it for this week, my friends.  Next weekend’s blog will probably be brought to you from the deep woods where I will be, hopefully, kicked back in my new lounger, watching life pass by slowly.  That’s what weekends were created for.

Have a wonderful week.

As always, I wish you peace, happiness and prosperity all the days of your life.

Happy trails,

Brian

All new for 2011!

And, should you be so inclined, The Tenderfoot’s Guide to Family Camping has been completely revised for 2011 and is now available as an ebook!  Every ebook dealer from Sony’s iPhone store to Amazon and Barnes and Noble are carrying it.  However, we’re offering a 20% discount for all the loyal readers of Brian’s blog through Smashwords.com.   Just add the coupon code CM84R at checkout and you’ll receive the discount.  Picture this:  Wilderness 2011.  You just bought a new tent and figured it’d be a cinch to set up.  You got out of work late and arrived at the campground after dark.  Ominous dark clouds are looming over your campsite.  You unpack your tent only to realize that you haven’t got a clue about how it goes together.  What do you do?  Well, if you had a copy of this informative book on your phone, you could simply thumb through a few chapters and be roasting marshmallows within the hour.  Don’t have a copy?  Well, there’s a lot to be said for sleeping in the car.  Oh, you have bucket seats?   The kids will be voicing their displeasure over sleeping in the back seat…..all night long?   Save yourself the headache.  Order your copy today.

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