Archive for July, 2008

Homeless Whiskey

July 29th, 2008

During Karst-O-Rama, I finally uncorked a bottle of homemade whiskey that I was happy about. In fact, it turned out better than I’d hoped and had a very nice scotch flavor rather than bourbon. During blind taste testing, one person asked if it was Dewars and another asked if it was Glenmorangie. Considering it had been aging about four weeks and cost about eight dollars to make, I took both guesses as high praise on my bathtub booze.

Without further buildup, here’s the recipe. In a one liter bottle, add:

(using 190 proof grain alcohol)

  • 1.75 cups of grain alcohol
  • 2.25 cups of filtered/distilled water

(using 151 proof grain alcohol)

  • 2.1 cups of grain alcohol
  • 1.9 cups of water
  • Roughly 20 grams of Jack Daniels wood chips. (I found these in the home & garden section of Wal Mart near the charcoal)
  • 2 pepper corns

Allow to age for at least four weeks in a cool, dark place. Agitate every day or two for twenty to thirty seconds. Filter through a paper towel or coffee filter.

Add ice and enjoy! You’ve just made the world’s cheapest scotch.

Karst-O-Rama 2008

July 23rd, 2008

korsrs6

We made it back from Karst-O-Rama alive! We met some really amazing folks that were happy to bring along complete novices, loan equipment to complete strangers and give lots of advice. Jenn’s parents and her nephew came along in her parents’ Class A. The road getting in and out of the Great Saltpetre Preserve was… interesting… for the 35′ motor home, but we made it without any mishaps.

The general format of Karst-O-Rama is caving all day and partying all night. The electric sites are smack in the middle of the party camp, where there are no quiet hours as there are in the family camping area. It was awfully hot, hitting the 90’s every day and we were glad to be underground during the heat of the day.

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Laid up lay about

July 13th, 2008

I’m on day three of being temporarily crippled. Seems I managed to give the knee with the least amount of cartilage left a viscous twist a couple of days back. Over the course of twelve hours, it went from mildly annoying to three times the size of it’s twin. Needless to say, I’ve spent the last two and a half days laying on the bed chewing through books at the rate of about five hundred pages a day.

Day one was pretty rough as I had not yet figured out the delicacies of reaching the bathroom on one leg. Thankfully, the bed is only about ten feet from the bathroom with plenty of things to lean on along the way. The catch is that there are a couple of steps at both the bed and the bathroom to negotiate. After handling these obstacles poorly for a day, I finally got the hang of it and can now handle the gymnastics like an old pro.

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On the nature of campgrounds

July 7th, 2008

We just finished up a week long stay at a commercial campground with Jenn’s family. The entire week was a blast. There was good food, good company and plenty of kids to keep things interesting. However, after spending the prior month in the middle of the national forests, we had a bit of culture shock coming back into ‘the city’.

It started as we came into Pigeon Forge, which is about as big a tourist trap as Myrtle Beach. Six lanes of traffic, giant signs on both sides of the street and lots of useless shops and attractions. Thankfully, we got out of the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas and back into the National Park lands for the last few miles.

However, as soon as we arrived at the campground, we ran into the owner who quizzed us about pets and whether or not we were planning to ride our moped in the campground. She then pointed us at the site we were to occupy; it was, in fact, next to the creek, but the creek was very low. It was also thirty feet from the entrance to the campground and as close as you can get to the road. At least, we had three sites together, so that we only backed the truck camper in halfway, turned around the pop-up camper on one side with the class A on the other and had the creek to form the fourth ‘wall’ of the compound.

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Happy Independence Day!

July 4th, 2008

Gadsden FlagDon’t let me take you away from your 4th of July celebrations, but when you have some spare time, sit back and read the Declaration of Independence again. In fact, read as much American Revolutionary history as you like. Its fascinating stuff; full of smugglers and privateers (pirates!).

It’s not something you hear about terribly much, but for nearly half of our country’s existence, we employed privateer ships as part of our naval force. In fact, both sides of the conflict used privateers during the Civil War. Countries with a large naval power refused to recognize privateers as prisoners of war when captured and treated them as common pirates.

What’s my point in all of this? I don’t really have one except to remind you that the price for independence was paid in a large part by privateers, smugglers and first and second generation transportees. We’ve put on a lot of airs in the past two centuries, but when you get down to it, most of us are just plain folks.

Like my flag? Chris Whitten has an excellent article on the history of the Gadsden flag.

Now get outside and blow something up! If the neighbors come out to yell at you, I’m not saying you should hit em with a bottle rocket, but a warning shot across their bow might be in order.