Jalama Beach and SpaceX launch

We’ve been following SpaceX from home, watching their launches and landing attempts live whenever possible on the computer. They’re normally launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida, so when we heard that the launch of the Jason-3, a NASA / NOAA satellite, would take place from Vandenberg Air Force Base here in California we decided to go check it out. Read More

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Freezing Thanksgiving in the Desert

We joined a convoy of Vanagons and Westys (80’s VW buses) the day after Thanksgiving and headed out to the desert. It was a really cold night, dropping to 27 degrees F. But, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with all the fixins!

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Airplane Attitude Indicator for the Car

When you’re off-road it’s a good idea not to flip your car over. Apparently it’s a commonly held rule-of-thumb that when the car is more than 30 degrees tilted around the ‘roll’ axis, a rollover is imminent (or has already happened).  Read More

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Anza Borrego Abandoned Railway Station

We headed out for another quick camping trip with our off-road buds. Back to the desert, this time to the ruins of an old railway station somewhere near Ocitillo. Read More


Weather Radio for the Car

In the USA, there’s a service provided by NOAA called Weather Radio. It is a continuous, automated voice reading weather conditions and forecasts. It sounds like this: Weather Radio Sample (from Wikipedia). In the event of weather alerts or emergencies, a special data signal is sent out which can be used to trigger alarms or other functions. Read More

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Anza-Borrego Desert – Wilson Peak and Yaqui Well

When the Land Cruiser first arrived home it wouldn’t switch in and out of 4WD, and it had failed its smog check due to a high idle and non-spec catalytic converter. We changed the 4WD vacuum solenoid valve with a random part from a 2WD pickup (cut to fit) and that problem was solved. Thanks to the ih8mud.com forum for the suggestion to use the alternate part, which saved us around $200. We had the cat replaced by Warner’s Muffler who did a great job. Read More


1988 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ62

On my John Muir Trail trip we were treated to some off-roading in a cool mid 80’s Toyota Land Cruiser. It was all rickety and falling to pieces, and a notable experience of the hike. Read More

John Muir Trail

John Muir Trail

Eric picked me up dark and early in a rented yellow Kia Soul and we headed off on our journey to Yosemite to hike the John Muir Trail, roughly 210 miles from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney with ultralight gear (see my gear list here). Anticipation and excitement were thick in the air, even though I was finding it difficult to unplug from work at first. We drove to Fresno airport, returned the car and jumped on the YARTS bus from Fresno to Yosemite national park.

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Lightweight Down Quilt

Since Eric and I are planning on hitting the John Muir Trail later in the season, I need to be prepared for colder weather. What better than a down quilt? Even though down is high-maintenance (i.e. must be kept dry), it just can’t be beat for warmth to weight ratio.  Read More

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Kennedy Meadows to Kern River – PCT

I’ve been following along with the s/v Rebel Heart family and their adventures, reading their blog for a couple of years now, so when Eric put out a request for hiking buddies for a Fathers’ Day backpacking hike, I jumped at the opportunity. Read More


First PCT Overnighter Without the Baby Carrier

Gabriel finished his first year of pre-school and as a celebration we all went on an overnight trip along the PCT – without the baby carrier for the first time. In fact, he carried his own backpack containing his favorite ‘sons’: Bun-Bun the rabbit, Baby Sea Ott the baby sea otter, and Parrot the parrot.

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Lake Morena to Scissors Crossing – PCT

I had been planning a little hike along the PCT from where we left off on our last trip (Lake Morena at PCT mile 20), to the 78 freeway at Scissors Crossing, roughly PCT mile 77. This would be a nice continuation of our journey from the border and would neatly coincide with the way the PCT map pages are laid out – it would complete the first page of the map. My friend Brian said he’d be interested in coming, so we set a date and planned the trip and away we went. Read More