21 December 2013

If The Plan "B" Goes Bad There's ineversolo.com

This is a follow-up post from my Sherando Lake Fathers Day Adventure. In that post I said I had used ineversolo.com as my "Plan B". I guess I should have posted that was my Plan C.

I am one that believes that planning a trip is just as much fun as the adventure its self. I love pouring over paper maps, guide books, trip reports, on-line mapping and GPS files. Most of the trips that I plan, I will be solo on. Sometimes this is by choice, but most of the time its because my schedule.

Anytime that you are going off on a ride, backpacking, bikepacking, touring or any other outdoor adventure you need to let somebody know where you are going and when you will be back. That's just being smart.

If you are one that just takes off on your adventures or your are new to this or just don't know where to start I would like to suggest the Boy Scout Fieldbookas a great place to start.

I always have a plan "A" and a plan "B". Plan "A" is my main plan and if everything works like it should or as I planned it, everything is great. My plan "B" is a fallback to my plan "A". During my planning I figured I could hike/ride so far by such and such time. Or I am getting water or food at this point. If I fall short of my distance or can not make it to my camp I will then adjust to my plan "B" and I know what that is going to be. Most people have a plan A and B and a lot of times plan "B" is on the fly.

Well what happens when your plan "A and B" go south? Then there is plan "C". Plan "C" is the rescue plan. You either need someone to pick you up or make the call for SAR. This is where telling someone where I am going and when I will be back will help you out or save your ass.

You can do a couple of things here. The person that you are telling where you are going and when you will back, you could just leave them your trip plan or all those maps and guide books. Or you could have GPS tracker that you paid anywhere from $99- $150 for the tracker and then that much for the service for a year. Or you could use something like ineversolo.com

First generation of ineversolo.com

You can register here for a free account. The picture above is what the Create New Plan looked like back in June. If you look at the left side of the picture you will see the word Waypoints. I had a bit of an issue with this term and it just made things confusing. So I sent in a feedback email which was responded to in about 10 minutes by Jed the CEO and Founder of iNeverSolo.

The Waypoint page: The term waypoint was confusing me. Waypoint makes me think of a LAT/Long or GPS location. Not the start of a trail head or feature. Well I guess it could be one of those points but I would reference it by LAT/LONG not by description.

Jed emailed me back a couple of times over the week and said that they were in the midst of several website changes. A couple of months after my trip and the Create New Plan page has changed. Seemed to have simplified things a bit.

I like the second generation of the website much better. It's all on one page instead of being under different tabs. It is a much cleaner too. You cannot see it in my picture, but at the bottom of the page is where you can add files such a GPX files. You can manage your contacts from the plan page. This is who you are going to send you plan to when you start. Here's a tip about starting your plan. In my case I would start my plan from my house with travel time built into the plan. You can activate the plan from an icon from your smartphone, but that plan can fall apart if there is no cell service at the trail head. How do I know.... So either start from the house or the last place that you stop at before you hit the trail that you know that has service.

Now, let's say that your epic trip is taking you longer than the end time that you set for yourself. If you have cell service you can update the end time. If you do not and you cannot update the plan then the site is going to send a massage to your contacts that you are over due. I set my notification delay for 45 mins after my trip end time. You can make this notification between 10-120 mins. I did feel pushed because of this feature. I know now just to give myself more time.

Remember to always let someone know where you are going, how many will be in your group, and when you will be back.iNeverSolo will be a tool that I use on all of my backcountry adventures.

Bikewright approved!

22 November 2013

USA Made Cycling Gear- The Mega List

Over the last couple of years I posted about 7 Made In America posts. One of the things I wanted to do is make a list. But that takes a lot of time. Some websites might tell you that their products are made in the USA and others you know they did at one time but could be off-shore now.

Today I found a blog that the blogger has taken the time to make such a list. Here at Pedaling in Place. So go over and check it out. While your there check out his site!

08 November 2013

The Story is Still Alive- INTO THE WILD

Spending countless hours reading blogs, websites, and other social media sites, I kept seeing remarks about Into The Wild. One afternoon I was in the boy's room cleaning up the bookcase and happen to find a book titled Into The Wild. I figured one of the boy's had the book as a reading assignment in school and this book was what folks were referring to.

Into The Wild is written by Jon Krakauer the same author that wrote Into Thin Air which was a personal account of the Mt. Everest Disaster.

In a nutshell Into The Wild is about Christopher Johnson McCandless, a young man that had just graduated collage and gave away $25,000 of his savings to charity and abandoned most of his possessions. He changed his name and dropped out of sight and cutoff contact with his family. He took on a transcendent lifestyle with the quest of living off the land in the Alaskan wilderness. McCandless did live in the Alaskan wilderness for sixteen weeks until a couple of mistakes took a turn for the worst. Four months later his remains were found by hunters.

Into The Wild is a must read for any modern day adventurer. The only part of the book that I did not like and the author was up front about was the authors "fragments of narrative drawn from my own youth". I was put off by this and only wanted to get back to the McCanless story.

There are two camps of thought on the McCandless story. One of his courage to take on the Alaskan wilderness and his transcendent lifestyle. The others think he was arrogant, idiot and a wacko. I am with the second camp.

One interesting thing that happen before I finished the book was I found some new post about McCandless. Which still makes this story still alive. The first place I found a updated story was on a link here Hiking In Finland. Second I found another post here woodtrekker.

I believe most of us at one point or another dream about going off and doing our own things that we would love to do on our own terms. I guess it is living carefree and living the adventure. So I will give it to McCandless for taking the big step and living that dream. But thinking you can take on the Alaskan wilderness with no more than whats on your back was delusional.

20 October 2013

You Don't have to Go Camping to Have Apple Cobbler

Today was just a great fall day with clear blue skies and a bit of coolness in the air. You don't have to go on a fall camping trip to enjoy apple cobbler cooked in a dutch oven.

Start off with a good seasoned dutch oven. I do line mine with foil to ease with clean-up.

While you are putting everything together start up the charcoal to get some good hot coals.

Next add apples. You can do this a bunch of different ways. But I am just using four cans of fried apples. Two plain and two with cinnamon.

Next I add some sugar.

Next add your favorite yellow cake batter.

The cooking process. I find that the normal cook time is between 30-40 minutes. But I am going to make the first check in 15 minutes.

Almost done, just need to brown the top.

This is good!

It is just amazing what you can cook in a dutch oven. It just seems that the food is just better! Any of the cobblers are easy to fix. There are many ways to mix and cook a cobbler in the dutch oven. They is just a method that I use.

Now let me get another bowl!

06 October 2013

GORUCK Challenge Class 800

Not to long after I made this post "Blog Post Dump I was so anti mud run and was looking to do an event that had more meaning to it than trash my clothes and drink beer and have a party.

I soon found what I was looking for, a GORUCK Challenge. You ask what is a GORUCK Challenge. Well its just best that you go here because that is where I started. You can search the web to find out what others have posted and you still might not get a good picture of what it is all about. That's a good thing because part of the not knowing is part of the challenge. A GORUCK Challenge is both mental and physical and the metal is going to get you to the end. Well as they call it on the GORUCK website its "Good Living".

My plan was to do the event with my stepson since he just got out of the Marines and GORUCK was having a Challenge on his birthday. I know most people would not want such a gift! Well that did not workout and I had to make plans to do one on my own.


Lets talk about gear. I did not go out and purchase one of the GORUCK model of packs. Instead I use my pack from work which was a Kelty Strike. I also used a Source Reservoir. I had an older model Petzl Tikka. I also packed a Adventure Medical UL/WT .3. Some food, ID and $20, a runners belt, gloves, a pair of socks and a glow stick. Oh, I almost forgot the most important piece of gear of all 6 bricks. If you are under 150lbs you carry 4 bricks. I did not weigh my pack because it didn't matter I had to carry 6 bricks plus water and everything else that I listed. I guess the pack was around 45-47 lbs.

The only item that I did not use was the socks because they where wet....Learn from my mistake.

The challenge is not a race but a team event. Everyone needs to work together as a team to get everyone to the end which might be 8 to 10 hours later. If you are doing the challenge with a buddy then you will walk away with a strong bond and stronger friendship. If you were doing the event by yourself then you a have a team of friends for life. I came away with something different. One of the places that we stopped at was the Virgina War Memorial. We took about 10 minutes or so to look at the names of all the Heroes on the wall. I had a friend that was one of those Heroes Staff Sergeant Darryl Booker. This was a very hard thing for me and I had to leave the Memorial to regain composure.

After starting with 17 individuals class 800 finished as a team 9 hours and 26 minutes later.

On the steps of the Virginia State Capitol

I can now take my place as a GORUCK Challenge Alumni and I will wear my GORUCK patch proud!

19 September 2013

Browning 12 Gauge Restoration- A True Heirloom

This has been a very special project for me.

Here's the background. Pictured above is a Belgian made Browning A-5 12 gauge shotgun, auto-5 light twelve with 29 1/2" full choke barrel. This was my Dad's shotgun and I believed it was purchased sometime in the mid 1960's. My Dad started bird hunting which this shotgun was made for. But he did do some deer hunting with it. My Dad passed away before he could pass the American Tradition of hunting to me.

Sometime in my late high school years (I believe I was 17) I found five shotgun shells in the garage and took the gun out to shoot. I shot those five shells and cleaned the gun and put it back in the case. That was 27 years ago. If you asked me why I never used it since then I could not give you an answer.

This past spring break we were at the Homestead and they have a gun club and I found out that you could use your own shotgun on the range. That is when I got the idea that if I came back to the Resort I would like to shoot my Dad's Browning.

I was hit with disappointment when I went to see the gun at my mom's and that it had rust on the gun from stored in the case. I was on a quest at that point to get the gun restored if I could.

I found out that a fellow co-worker was a gunsmith and I asked if he could do the job for me. I have know B. Pritchard for many years but I have never seen his work. But I had a gut feeling that he would do a great job.

Today I went and picked-up the Browning from Pritchard and all I can say is that I am very pleased with the finish product.

Not showroom new but still shows character! I plan on using it to shoot some sporting clays. This to me is a true family heirloom that I hope to get a life time of use.

If you have a project like this and need a gunsmith post or send me an email and I will put you in contact with Pritchard.

15 September 2013

Overlanding and other Cool Vehicles

After selling my 1990 Ranger Rover and a 1998 Discovery I still find myself checking out the expedition and overlanding sites. It just seems that the more different or weird things are the more I like them. I guess the more different and weird would be that we as American's just do not see these vehicles everyday.

I think a lot of times we wish we could be like the people that we see on these sites. Saved up the money or working on the road to enjoy the lifestyle of travel and adventure. I wish I could do that... Hold on just a minute. I have traveled and I do adventurous stuff.

So I share with you some of those fun and cool vehicles. I hope they spark the spirit of adventure with you.

Land Rover-Defender: Background WWII Monument, Dushanbe Tajikistan

Mercedes Benz 930: Hotel parking lot waiting for repairs and visa paperwork. A Germany couple drove this truck from Afghanistan to Tajikistan and were waiting on a visa to enter Uzbekistan. There is no way in hell you would ever catch me overlanding in a combat zone!

Decal on the side of the door.

Russian Urals with sidecar. I don't know what the trucks are in the background. I guess with the gloss paint these were for show. They did not have the gas to use them.

Russian Jeep, UAZ 469:

Swiss Army Pinzgauer: Northern Virginia , yes that is a different place than the rest of Virginia...

I want one of these!

Okay I saved the classic for last. I believe this guy nailed it. I think he did a real good job keeping the spirit of the classic Ford Bronco but upgrading some features.

That's it for now..

13 September 2013

Keep the Light Burning- Century Primus Lantern Rebuild

Well it's not bikes, but I am having fun bring back to life some old camping items. I still have my old Coleman lantern from when I was a Scout back in the mid 80's. There is something cool about the old stoves and lanterns and I figured working on one and bringing it back to life would be fun.

I hit the jackpot with an old Scoutmaster of mine. He survived me and my two boys and is still active in Scouting today. I was able to get a few stoves and a lantern off of him.

The lantern I got was a single mantle that goes on a bottle of fuel. I wish I had taken a before picture but the lantern was in dirty and the top had rust on 90% of it.

I did a bit of on-line researching and could not find a picture of the lantern that I had. But I believe it is a Century Primus lantern.

After a hour of clean-up and sanding and painting. This is what I ended up with.

The original paint was a almond. I used HR paint and only could find it in cream. I don't like the color! Since taking the picture I have painted it blue and I am having issues with the paint.

I will update the post when I fix the issue.

Enjoy the video on these guys have fun with there retro trucks and camping gear.

I have a couple of other projects that I will be sharing soon. Now if I could just get back to my MB-1!

02 September 2013

The Blue Bike is Back

Well folks if you remember this picture (back in April) I am happy to post that the bike has made a full recovery.

It took a couple of months but with a new power coat it is like having a new bike again.

Now I got to start making up for the miles I lost...

Little Adventure on Labor Day Weekend

We did not let a little rain at the start of our Labor Day weekend stop us from having some fun on the water.

Our first outing on the water was at Pocahontas State Park. We rented the canoe for an hour which was the right amount of time for my first time paddler.

Swift Creek Lake is a great lake to take your kid out on for a little adventure! We both enjoyed the time together and the calm of the lake.

24 June 2013

Boy Scout Hatchet- Bringing it Back to Life

If you have visited my blog a few time you might have read a post of something,that I been messing with to get a few more years of life out of.Such as my Military gas can restoration or working on a set of roller cam brakes.

But now I have the interest to work on some camp and outdoor tools. What better project to start off with than my Boy Scout hatchet from the mid 80's.

C-clamp to the work bench.

For being being 27 years old or so, the hatchet is in good overall shape. The blade did have a bad ding that I wanted to workout. I don't know if I ever had a good edge on this hatchet but after reading different post I felt like I could bring the life back to my hatchet, a camp tool from my childhood.

Getting all the right tools to do the job was the hardest part of the process. Just forget about going to a big box store to find the items that you will need. Find a little family owned hardware store in a little country town will be your best bet.

My goal here was to put a good sharp edge on the hatchet and get it cleaned up. I did not want to repaint the head. After an hour or so I feel like I made my goal and learned a few things along the way.

Finished product

I am sure I will be able to get another 27 years of service from it and I hope that I will be able to pass it on to one of my kids. Not sure which one... I look forward to some camping this fall in the mountains. Can't you smell the campfire?

20 June 2013

Wingnut Enduro-Bag Dump!

Sherando Lake was my first multiple hour ride wearing my Wingnut Enduro pack. I was very pleased how well it carried. What I love about the pack is that you do not have to take it off to get to items in the wing pockets. With the pack sitting low on your back it really helps keeping your center of balance even riding downhill on rocky and washed out trails.

Here list the list of items in the picture

Adventure Medical Kit
Tool Kit
Source Bladder
MSR in-line filter
TP Kit
Fire building Kit
SOL Emergency Bivvy
Petzl Tikka
Esbit (type stove) and 4 Esbit fuel box
Army Pocket Knife

The only items that I used during the ride was the Source Bladder and food. But you have to pack just like your out on a day hike.

18 June 2013

Sherando Lake- A Father's Day Adventure

On Father's Day I like to get out for a few hours of adventure and then come back to the house to have the Father's Day dinner with family. This year it was time for a mini epic and I figured Sherando Lake in the George Washington Forest was a good place to make it happen.

January 1999 was the last time I rode the trails a Sherando Lake. That time, I was with another rider and we had the worst crash that I have had on a bike. But that's another story..

My Plan was to start my ride from Fire Road 42 or Coal Road. This gravel road is just a few miles down the road from the main entrance of the recreation area. About 1 mile up FR42 you will find a small packing area and a gate to the left. I could not remember if I kept up FR 42 or started at the gate. After a mile up FR42 I figured it was the gate.

I had downloaded two gpx files from gpstrailsource.com and had some issue on figuring out which gpx file to use. This was operator error on my part. Lesson learn- zoom into the track file..

Once I got to the first ford I knew I was on the right trail.

Or did I miss the trail and ford. Yes I did..

Knowing that I was going to cross the creek a few times I had packed a spare pair of sock to change into. Somehow they did not make the transfer into my Wingnut pack. Great! Wet feet for the rest of the day!

I ford the creek about five times.

The Mountain Laurel is still out and the higher I went the more of it. You could see the Mountain Laurel on the next mountain which was cool.

I love Mountain Laurel and so do the bees

The switchbacks kick my ass! But I made it. About the same time as 6 backpackers.

But the reward is the view

After a couple of miles riding down the Blue Ridge Parkway I picked the trail back-up at The Slacks Overlook.

Just a few hundred yards down the trail I ran into a group with their dogs on a Father's Day hike. They let me pass and I guess I got 50 yards in front of them I saw a black bear in the middle of the trail. By the time I turned around to tell the hikers to get their dogs that there was a bear in the trail, the bear had ran off. Anytime you see a bear it just makes your trip a little more adventurous.

Virginia is full of history.

It's just sad to see it falling apart. 14 years ago it did not look like this.


You can also download GPX files for your GPS from gpstrailsource.com or get a firsthand look at the trail terrain360.com


Ride what you bring! I did this trip on my Bontrager. A full rigid set-up. If that did not make it epic, then I don't know what does!

This was also the first time I got to use my Wingnut pack other than on the local trail. Post to follow with pictures of a bag dump.


I used a on-line tool for my "PLAN B" called ineversolo.com I will do a follow-up post on just this tool.


I had to make a stop in Wanyesboro VA to get a quick bite to eat. Wanyesboro is a small town and this would have been the last place that I figured I would find a small classic Porsche dealer . I also stopped at Rockfish Gap Outfitters. Just down the mountain from that AT. I made the stop there just to see the Helle knives and Gransfor Bruk axes

09 June 2013

Repairing A Meiser Presta Valve Gauge

Everything I read today on blogs and other sites that talk about tire set-up is, "How much tire pressure" someone is running for the type of wheel/tire set-up they have. As you know wheels and tires play a huge role in your ride. If you are like me and are still riding a retro bike (aka 26er pre 1998) then the tire pressure makes the difference between a sweet ride and one that beats you up!

I had purchase a Meiser presta value gauge sometime ago and I cracked the gauge lens and it stop working like it should. But for some reason I did not throw it away. Fast forward to the present,the replacement gauge that I purchased to replace the Meiser just stop working the other day.I guess it might be time to purchase a new one!

So I dug out the old Meiser gauge and figured I would see if I could get it to work again.. Now for the sexy pictures of repairing a Meiser presta valve gauge.

The Gauge: Since the "chuck" part is made from brass I figured it could be taken apart and serviced.

Using a shop rag I put the gauge in a vise to hold the brass chuck in-place while I unscrewed the gauge from the chuck.

Gauge removed from chuck. There was some trash in the chuck when I removed the gauge. This must be the issue??

Next I shot a little bit of Ballistol to lube the pushbutton release valve. If you are an outdoor guy you should have a can of Ballistol on your workbench. Click here to to learn more about Ballistol

Add a little piece of pipe tape

Yep! I thought it was one piece but it breaks down again

After cleaning with Never Dull. Just like new other than the cracked lens..

Well there you have it. The first and only step-by-step of repairing of a Meiser value gauge.