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Saturday, April 28, 2018

“They’re Like Bears Without Claws” - Assateague Island National Seashore

I’ve wanted to go to the Assateague Island National Seashore for some time.  Here was my chance while visiting my son and family in Maryland.

The barrier island’s attraction are the wild horses.

When I checked in at the ranger station for my overnight camping visit,  I noticed this signboard about the proper way of dealing with the wild horses.

When I went inside and spoke with the ranger she made it clear about the risk of being around wild horses and said; “They’re like bears without claws.”

Of course that is not an exact truism, but here is what she meant.  They will maime you by biting, craving you down, and kick you.  They eat grass and your food.  They will break into your cooler and eat what they want. They will rip into your tent for food.

The rangers will confiscate your cooler if left outside.  This is how serious they are about protecting the safety of people and the wild horses.

Here I am at my reserved camping spot for one night.

I decided to go on a hike down this trail. 

The trail turned into old asphalt with a bit of history.  This Old Road segment was part of the current road that ends at the trailhead.  It was built in the 1950 and in 1962 a storm destroyed the road and it was abandoned.  The sign said it is still used by seagulls to drop shellfish on to crack them open for their meal.

I was told there are 83 bears without claws (wild horses) on the island and here are the only 3 I got to see. (2 foreground 1 background)

Above, this person didn’t heed the warnings posted everywhere to keep a bus length distance from the wild horse..

It didn’t take long to find social media posts on wild horse attacks.

Above on Facebook a horse bite.  Ouch!

Trip Advisor post advising they kick and bite!

Then again YouTube video about a lifeguard getting kicked in the head.

Yea, I kept my distance.

While exploring I found this dear. No warning on kicking and biting but kept my distance.

My morning at the campground.  

It was a nice visit and I had AT&T LTE and 32 TV stations, but I’m not a beach person.  There are no views of the ocean from the campground.  I found the area limited on hiking, and hiking on sand for miles with one view is not that fun.   

Rain was on the way too so I headed back to my son’s house as there is never a dull moment with my two granddaughters.

Assateague Island is a nice place to visit and I was happy to see some wild horses.  Weekends at the National Seashore campgrounds are generally booked as soon as they are open for reserving.  Plan ahead if you wish to stay.


Thursday, April 26, 2018

How To Search Brent’s Travels

I’m often asked; “How do I find what I’m looking for on your blog?”

The question comes up because I randomly post about places and how to things one after another.  Therefore, there is no Prius section with a list of tops on my build.

I actually had the same problem initially, but then I thought, gust google it!

There is a benefit to do this too as some topics such as curtains may be under other titles.

So, as shown in the picture of a google search above, you type Brent’s Travels followed by the topic, in this case, curtains and you will get search results in my blog where ever I mention curtains.  Then just click the link and you are there.

Happy searching.



Wednesday, April 25, 2018

If You Pick It Up - Then Put It Back - Did You Litter?

Here is a topic I have fun with that is actually serious.  I think of my friend Roxy “A Nomad For Nature” when I think of our environment and how we interact with it.  She often blogs on how people trash areas where she lookscto camp. 

Above, I am walking the dunes at Assateague Mational Seashore in Maryland and there is a crushed aluminum can that it appears others had left and yet others passed by.

I was hiking with a friend a few years ago and I fostered a debate about seeing something and if you pick it up and look at it and then put it back would that be littering?

It brings up some interesting questions about beliefs.  I guess when we walk by what is obvious trash, we are complacent. If we touch it, kick it, or otherwise move it do we take on greater responsibility to do something about it.

I only bring up this issue because I hike a lot and play disc golf a lot too.  I run across discarded items all the time.  A recent hike with a friend in Utah we came across a 1950’s car hood.  Certainly not something I’m going to carry out of the wash and deal with.

There is usually room in my backpack and as such I pick up trash when I can.  Since I don’t trash the environment all I can do is leave my hike or round of disc golf cleaner than the way I found it.

You have the same choice too.  Will you be part of the solution and pick up a few things when your out in nature like I and my friends do?

Go ahead and touch it, and once you do, putting it down will having you think of this blog and carry it back and put it in the trash.

I know we didn’t create the trash, but we can be part of the solution. Carry a trash bag with you.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Harpers Ferry National Park

On my way north on I81 I decided to get off the interstate and take US 340 through the upper Shenandoah Valley through small towns and eventually north and east to visit my son in MD.

I got to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia and saw the Sign for the National Park and decided to visit.  

Above is a relief sculpture of the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers with Harpers Ferry in the fork.

The National Park entrance is up to the left, just off the Map.

This location is also where the Appalachian Trail meets two other National Trails. 

The National Park offers a view of history with a historic downtown area with some building preserved by the Federal Government, and also Civil War battlefields.

The park service runs, a free for entrants, shuttle bus every 20 minutes down to the town because of the limited parking and to keep the image of the area in the 1800’s.

The preserved buildings maintained by the Park service are on the main road at the point where the two rivers meet.

Just off the street with park buildings, and up the hill is thectown with the town and shops.

I didn’t take a long time downtown, as I wanted to get to my son’s house early afternoon.  Harpers Ferry is a great place to enjoy a bit of our history.

There are many places that pass by to get to my destination each day, and I look forward to seeing them in future travels.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Let’s Discuss Disposing Of Wastewater

Four Wheel Campers like mine that have factory sinks drain to a garden hose fitting on the side of the camper.  There is no provision for waste water collection and later disposal in their design.

When I built out my camper shell (no sink or drain) I decided to address this issue of wastewater.  I park in parking lots, paved campgrounds, gravel and dirt.  

My decision was to be able to drain to the ground or collect my wastewater.  Above is my salad bowl sink I made that comes down to a garden hose wye with shut offs.

The wye feeds 1/2” tubing with one tube through the void space between the camper and interior truckbed wall.  The tube goes down through an original hole in the Tacoma poly bed.  I let waste water go down this hose when disposal on the ground is appropriate. 

The other tubing goes to the 4 gallon waste water tank that I can remove and dispose of later.  This works well for stays in parking lots and paved campgrounds.

I use a quick garden hose disconnect on the tubing going to the tank.  Above is my collapsing pail with the tubing to the tank collecting waste water in the pail.  I show this as doing this puts the pail in the way of the sink front and makes it easy to knock over.  I could place the pail under the truck beneath the hose that drainscto the ground but a plastic pail is light and the wind can and will blow it around.

It is possible to use a basin to wash dishes and then to carry the basin to toss out the waste water.  

They key is to respect the environment and leave no trace.  I have switched to Camp Suds to make my waste water more environmentally friendly.  

The key to your waste water is be restful where you stay. Even when I was in my Prius I had a wastewater tank that I would dump.  The ability to select to store or send to the ground simplifies how I dispose of my wastewater.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Cloud Canyon Hike

After playing Disc Golf here at Cloud Canyon State Park in Georgia, I was up for a hike down into Cloud Canyon, with my Disc Golf vandweller friend who came with me.

It was a wonderful weather day for views, with mild but not too warm temperatures, was great for a hike down into the canyon 1.5 miles and 535 ft elevation.

From the rim you can see this nice multi level waterfall.  The abundance spring rain we have had while in Alabama, made the waterfalls beautiful.

Down near the bottom of the canyon is a wonderful small waterfall.

The waterfall creates a nice flowing river.

A few wonderful flowers grace the trail to the canyon bottom.

It was a great day for exercise with the 18 baskets of Disc Golf, followed by a great cardio workout with nearly all the 535 ft incline completed in 1.5 miles up.  

I find I enjoy hikes in the 1 to 2 mile range with 500 to 900 ft elevation.  It’s a great way to maintain your vertical hiking skills.


Saturday, April 21, 2018

“Why Would Anyone Buy A Gold Prius?”

It was sometime ago that I was asked “Why would anyone buy a gold Prius?”

The comment was made to me by a 20 something and it wasn’t made as a compliment.

In my normal literal manner, I responded; “Because it was only $16,000 and had 8K original miles”.  It was a practical decision and the color blended in.

I had been traveling in my Prius, living in it for 2 two travel years four months each and it was doing exactly what I wanted.  It was cost efficient, great to drive, and I had outfitted it perfictly to live in, was environmentally controlled, and produced all the power I needed.

The question did get me to think about car purchases and color.

Here is what I found:


LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Yellow and gold are the colors of joy and happiness. So if this is your car’s color, you definitely live by the mantra, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

You are imaginative, wise, have a good sense of humor, and a great mind for business.

You may also be young — or young at heart. “Kids in their 20s like brighter colors and welcome trends and color,” says Marcie Cooperman. They like small, bolder shapes and vivid hues. “Bright color doesn’t feel like a risk to them.”

I also found:

Gold: Warm, intelligent, glamorous

Gold is considered the most precious of all materials. “There is an implied warmth,” Eiseman explains. “But there’s also a certain kind of intelligence attached. And those who fancy gold also love comfort and will pay for it. It’s an attention getter, but a very glamorous one.”

Yea, I would like to think all that about my decision to buy my gold Prius but it was the right deal at the right time and nothing more.

It did work out that my Gold Prius set me apart at the RTR, as Suanne had white, David with green, and John had red.  We each approached Vandwelling in our Prius differently and we could be known by our separate colors.

Don’t pass up a great deal because of color.  Well, unless it makes you stand out and your trying to stealth.


Friday, April 20, 2018

“Can You Buy Me Gas?”

(Picture above is from Google search)

I bought a 2 gallon plastic gas can like the one above in a remote gas station in Utah, just in case something happens and I get low on fuel in my truck.  

Through my month-long UT adventures I didn’t need to use any of the gas.  Yes, a bit of over planning, but I had room and it was worth the total of $30+ that it cost to buy the container and fill it.

In leaving Utah I made the decision that the first person that asks me to buy them gas I would give them the container with the 2 gallons of 85 octane Utah gas.

Well, I stopped at a shell gas station next to a McDonalds I visited on I81 headed north in Virginia and was approached by a guy asking for me to buy him gas.  This is the second time I’ve been asked to help with getting people gas.

The first time was in California on the way to “The Slabs”.  In this case I asked where he and his family was going and gave them enough money to get them the 40 miles.  He was appreciative, but as the wife pulled to the pumps now that he waved them over the mini van siding door was open and trash fell out as the kids stood in the doorway.  No one bothered to pick up the trash and toss it in the rubbish Next yo the pump. 

Today’s request was different.  As I have the guy, who was by himself, didn’t say thank you.  As I pumped my gas into my Tacoma, I looked over at the guy and he had taken the pouring stem out of the tank and rotated it to pour in his tank and didn’t tighten the ring to hold the stem on and lost gas down the side of the car.  

I was finished pumping and he still was fussing with the 2 gallons, and I just drove away. Following my self proclaimed promise to give the tank with gas away to someone in need, I hope the guy I gave it to in his small car got where he was going.  Although he didn’t show appreciation, I don’t use that as a criteria for helping others on the road.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Unclaimed Baggage - My Yearly Visit

Each year I visit the Unclaimed Baggage store in Scottsboro, AL to see if I can find some bargains.  I also usually go each of the two weeks in the area.

Above are lithium battery packs to charge USB devices that I got on my first visit.  One that is 75000 Ah was under $5.00 and the other lower one is 10000 Ah was under $9.00

The Goal Zero one above has a cord attached for charging or to charge, that’s a nice feature.

I also got an eyeglass case for my reading glasses, eyeglass case and sun glasses, a micro USB rubber charging cord, and a package of two very short charging cords.

I bring in a simular battery pack and charging cord to test the chargers are working before I buy.

As I often do I bring others on my store visits as others are interested in browsing.

If you are roaming through northeast Alabama, it’s worth a stop to see what happens to what is left behind in air travel.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Cloud Canyon Disc Golf

While at a southeast vandweller gathering in Alabama I have gotten to play disc golf twice at Cloud Canyon State Park in northwest Georgia.

This year is the first time I have played disc golf here, and I wasn’t disappointed.  It is a well established course that is mostly open with some nice drives from hills.  The later holes, 15th and on are mostly wooded to add some variety.  

Since it’s a state park there is a $5.00 car fee to get in.

This course is straight forward with only a few surprises.  It is not hard for a seasoned player to make par on a number of holes and even edge out a birdie.

There are a few places where your less used left and right turns can help, but since most fairways are open it’s easy to be off a bit and correctbon next throw.

The state park offers views and hiking.  On my second visit to play disc golf, I took the time to check out the views and take a short hike, that I will cover in a separate blog post.

While here in the southeast the weather cooperated with sunny mild days to get some games in.

The Cloud Canyon course is worth my returning in the future, even with the fee.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Etowa Disc Golf Course

While at a gathering in Albama each April, I head over to Georgia to visit my cousin.  This year I arrived early enough to plsy the Etowa Disc Golf Course.

As indicated by the sign above, the course is hosted by the Army Corps of Engineers.

This 18 Hole Disc Golf Course is laud our very well and takes advantage of the varied terrain.

They offer loaner laminated maps of the course too.  Although, each basket does point to the next tee.

Tee boxes are well maintained and carpeted.  Each tee box has a bench seat ready to welcome the next players.

This is a First for me.  They have ground markers on some fairways showing distance from tee.

The first few baskets are wooded, but too wooded.

The first holes were wet though.  Baskets 1 & 2 are in a hollow and their has been rain before I got here.  There are some wooden pathways over the most moist areas.  This does not prevent you getting your feet or disk muddy, retrieving the disk.  

This Hole is at the mouth of a small cave.  The drive is across the hollow and up hill.

Later on in the hole count you work your way gradually up a hill and then climb the hill to land the basket.

As seen above,  Toy then throw from hilltop to hilltop through more trees.

While following the course down hill as the basket numbers increased, I went big to throw a forehand shot to turn left getting lots of air and not hitting the trees.  I lost sight of it and the chopping of wood.

I threw a second disc backhand and it landed perfectly within putting distance.

I set out to search for my disc having mentally adding a throw for the first Disc.  A par in these trees is still good for my game.

I have been replacing my discs with bright orange to have an easier job finding my wayward discs. This saves so much time.

Down from the wooded hill, the drive is down this road with the basket just up off the road on the left.

No one told my disc and it decided to go right.  Ya, right into the brook.  The right side of the road is out of bounds.

They have done a great job remediating poison ivy on the course.  There are some places where it has come back but, I was thankful for not having to deal with 

One hole is thrown across the brook and this elaborate bridge that was installedget you to the basket.  A nice two throws in the basket.

Their are a few holes after this that are mostly open without trees and hazards.

Even with some mud and trees, the Etowa Disc Golf Course is an excellent course to play and will want to play again.