Throwing fire

April 11th, 2010

fire_juggling_front

Well, I threatened to make torches and knives once I got a cascade down with clubs. So far, I haven’t made any knives because I’m still too busy working on torches. I’ve now made 3 sets of torches. The first set was based on the green club construction and worked out pretty well. Eventually though, they started coming apart as the handle detached from the torch. Not good!

The next set I made wooden handles with the intention of swapping club/knife/torch heads out and using the same handles. There were a lot of issues with this version wanting to fall apart. On top of that, they were a pain in the butt to make, took some specialized tools and hardware to do correctly, a little painful to catch, and were just too darn heavy.

  Make Your Own Fire Poi

Yesterday, I salvaged the handle wraps from my first torch set and made some fairly light weight torches. I skipped the aluminum tubing that protected the dowel rod in the previous design and just wrapped it in tinfoil tape. The handles are a little different as they widen up considerably more than the green club handles towards the top.

fire_juggling_profile

I did finally find a source for furniture tips, but they are just too light to counterbalance the torch heads even in this ultra light model. So… I’m still using drilled out golf balls for knobs. Will I ever find a better solution?!

I also made a few rings to juggle from clear vinyl tubing. It flexes a bit too much to juggle in the heat of the day without putting a layer of tape around the rings. However, if you wait for the evening and stick a handful of glowsticks from the dollar store inside, they don’t look half bad. The biggest problem with the glow rings as props is convincing the kids to let me have enough to juggle.

They’re pretty nifty little night time toys that are incredibly fast to make for very little cost. Kids love ’em and I don’t have to keep refueling every 2-3 minutes if I want to juggle at night!

If you make a set of rings, I suggest getting a dowel rod with a diameter close to the inside diameter of your tubing and using a one inch sized piece to connect the tubing together. A couple of inches of electrical tape will secure it enough to stand up to a fair bit of abuse without coming apart.

Left For Dead In Joshua Tree NP

April 22nd, 2009

I got my taxes squared away. Unfortunately, Johnny was still doing his and seemed like he would be for hours. I wasn’t in any mood to lounge around the camper and decided it was time for some fun. So, I talked Johnny into unhooking the scooter for me and proceeded into Joshua Tree National Park. I wasn’t sure if we were going to drive in there before we left our boondocking area just outside of the park, and I wanted to see a damn Joshua Tree.

White Tank Campground - Joshua Tree NP

After working the scooter through the loose sand, I hit Cottonwood road and headed into the park. It was a pleasant ride, albeit slow. The first part was all up hill and the scooter was moving between 10 and 15mph. It was during this part of the trip that I realized I didn’t bring a jug of water. Not good. Once I made it up to the visitors center it sped up to about 30mph. From then on, it was smooth sailing. I stopped at all of the various markers and checked out some Ocotillo trees in bloom. I was lucky enough to see a rare purple aster that supposedly only grows in this area. The only wildlife I saw were a few lizards and a rabbit. No sheep for me… sigh. After a long ride in the Colorado desert, I finally made it in to the Mojave. I looked at my fuel gauge, but it hadn’t moved. I decided to go all of the way to White Tank Campground.

When I arrived there I was overcome by the scenery. The giant boulders surrounded by Joshua Trees were an awesome sight. I was so entranced I almost didn’t notice the time or my fuel gauge. I didn’t have a clock, but the sun was pretty low in the sky. The gauge read 3/4 tank. I thought, “Plenty of time and fuel, but I should head back.” I got to see a Joshua Tree! Too bad it took 30 miles.

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Life in the back of a truck (part 4)

April 9th, 2009

This is part of an ongoing series on what it’s like to live in a truck camper fulltime. You may read other articles here:

  1. Part One – The fulltime lifestyle
  2. Part Two – Why a truck camper?
  3. Part Three – Weights & Dealing with them
  4. Part Four – Boondocking resource conservation

Gordon recently posed a question over at the Truck Camper Magazine blog that seemed like a great idea for the next part of our Life in the back of a truck series. He’s curious just how long his readers can boondock and what tricks they use to manage it. I got a bit long winded, but here’s my response.

The resources we have to work with are:

  • 46 gallons of fresh water
  • ~300 amp hours of battery in 2 Trojan T-1275 12V batteries
  • 60 pounds of propane in 2 30# tanks
  • A Honda eu2000i generator
  • ~4.5 gallons of gasoline plus whatever is in the scooter and generator (up to around 2 gallons if both are full)

Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Still, we manage to do fairly well when we find a place we want to stay for a while. It takes a little effort to conserve resources, but we manage to live quite comfortably for up to a two week stretch without running out of anything or breaking out a military desert survival handbook. Just how do we make these resources last and what sacrifices does it take, you ask? Well, read on to get a taste of the Hitek Homeless lifestyle!

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