The Case Of The Smithville Beaver

While walking the various trails at Smithville State Park we noticed some flooding that just did not make sense just off a bend of the Rancocas River. Our thought was “Wonder if a beaver is hanging about?”. Sure enough as we round a bend what should our little eye spy? Something made of sticks? Yep, a brand new beaver house. Charlene talks about our furry little friend on this short video and I wonder if he has bigger plans.

Take a quick watch and please subscribe so you can join us on our Awesome Adventure.

Thanks!!!!

Don and Char

 

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Review of Bass River State Forest “Yellow Trail” as TIBS takes another test hike.

Bass River State Forest/Lake Absegami Yellow “Poppy Allen” Trail

Pros: flat

Carpeted in leaves

Wildlife

Quiet in fall/winter

Free parking off season

Cons: can be very wet in places

Mosquitos and Ticks in spring/summer

Weekends are packed with people in summer

People not policing after their dogs

This almost four (4) mile “easy” walk is just off Stagecoach Rd outside of Tuckerton, New Jersey and has plenty of parking off season, prepare for a whole different circumstance in the summer when campers, daily visitors, and beach goers (nice size lake with facilities at the park). The trail, one of many in the park, is extremely well marked and maintained by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife with bathrooms available mid hike as well as the start. Park is open dawn to dust however I have been here for moon-light hikes without any issues. There are also overnight camping, lean too’s, and cabins available with reservations. The trail can be found in the All-Trails app and gets a 4.3 rating from users.

Bottom line: Absolutely a beautiful trail in the New Jersey Pinelands and for many locals a go to location. This short hike gets two thumbs up from TIBS and has become her go to as well to strengthen her foot after five months of healing.

Enlightened Equipment Torrid Apex Jacket Review

Pros: Lightweight

Packable

Comfort

Customizable

Price

Cons: Hard to put on in wet

Doesn’t store in own pocket

Concerns about durability

Elastic at waist

Not reversible

In 2018 I was just days away from leaving for the AT and I did not have a synthetic jacket in my repertoire. Last minute I saw the Enlightened Equipment Torrid Apex Jacket and made a call. They had a size large, only one, left in stock and it was Virginia Tech colors… purple with and orange interior. Not my first choice but doable and they offered me a “military discount” since I did retire from the US Air Force so I pulled the trigger. They overnighted to me and with no time to test the jacket, in my pack it went. On the trail I noticed some good and not so good features about this jacket. It kept me warm, seemed durable enough, but I do baby it, however if I was damp it was a bear to get my arm in the sleeve. Also the elastic waist would be much more versatile if it had draw strings. For the extra half ounce or so of weight this would make the jacket an A in my book. And, while the jacket packs really small I wish it would stuff into its own pocket like my Ghost Whisperer does. While I’m wishing I wish it was a reservable jacket to take advantage of the customizable colors available.

Overall I give this jacket a B+ and it will be in my pack for our 2019 AT continuation hike.

Thanks for joining our Awesome Adventure. Check out the video above and please subscribe.

TIBS takes her foot for a test drive

As many of you know at the end of June my darling wife Charlene, heretofore known as TIBS, ended her Appalachian Trail through hike attempt by walking over 5 miles with a severe limp. At the time she thought it was a simple bruised foot, however the Orthopedic Doctor and the Radiologist disagreed. Seems the daily trudging had taken its toll and TIBS was diagnosed with a fractured Cuboid bone in her right foot and traded in her Altra Lone Peak for an air-cast. Fast forward four months and TIBS was given some great news, she could put her Altra back on (she changed from the Lone Peak 3.5 to the Timp 1.5 – TIBS will do a review shortly) and head to Physical Therapy. Weekly visits and copays have almost finished and TIBS and I took at short hike to check out the foot. We headed over to Bass River State Forest and hit the yellow “Poppy Allen” trail. The trail is flat, well cushioned, as long as you miss the tree roots and pine cones, and well traveled. This day the weather was cool with little or no wind and partly sunny, simply put a nice day for a walk. About four miles and just over an hour later we finished the loop and jumped back in the truck for the ride home. TIBS’s foot is a little sore but this is more from lack of use than anything else. A couple more weeks of PT, a few more test hikes, and TIBS will be ready to start prepping for the AT “part deux”. Be on the look out for TIBS on the trail and keep an eye out for her next rant, um er I mean vlog.

Thanks for joining us on our awesome adventure and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode.

Wishing You A Very Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year

As 2018 draws to a close Charlene and I wanted to recap 2018 a little. Let’s see…. we started the year enjoying some snow on the Mississippi coast, visited museums in Tallahassee, Mardi Gras parades where Charlene racked in the beads, visited my Aunt Jeannie and family in North Carolina (twice… what can we say, she’s a great cook), hiked 450 miles of the Appalachian Trail, traded in our big Airstream for the small Basecamp, went to Maine, changed our BBQ for a Firedisc and visited West Point as well as Annapolis. Whew, just typing that made me tired. It’s been a whirlwind for sure. What does 2019 hold for us? Back on the Appalachian Trail, taking sailing lessons (we want to say the Caribbean Islands and more in the coming years) experimenting with new recipes, camping, exploring, and more changes to the Airstream and a review of the gear we will be hiking with are good possibilities. Maybe we’ll have to buy an older sailboat and have you all help us fix it up and record the prevoyage fun. But most of all we want to wish everyone a fun, family filled holiday season and hope all your dreams become realities. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, and have a great Festivus. See you next year,

Charlene “TIBS” and Don “Capt Obvious”

 

Laundry Sucks………or is that soaks?

I hate public laundromats. I really do, they suck.  Even some of the campgrounds have lousy laundromats. Sadly, it is what it is when you go camping/RVing, but………..

 I found a product called Soak.  At first, I thought this is another gimmick product out there.  I purchased a small sample size container to see how if it would work for me.  Wow, just wow.  You just put your items in a sink, add a squeeze, toss everything a bit and let it all soak. I would let mine soak overnight most times.  I would rinse mine, but you do not have to and hang to dry.  I have to admit that I only used Soak on my intimates (no public laundromat for those important and expensive items) and some tops once in a while. 

 I cannot describe the joy in finding something that works and works well for you.  The bottle is small, but very little is needed and it lasts a long time.  My intimates are happy, I am happy and my wallet is happy.  Honestly, who would have thought a small bottle could bring such joy, and actually does not suck or is that soak, at what it does?!?

Now, go buy some soak (use our link on the “crap we just like” page https://escapingnewjersey.com/crap-we-just-like/ and get that laundry done (okay its a shameless plug that helps us make a couple pennies off Amazon, but I did tell you about the stuff -lol)

Charlene (aka TIBS)

Hooking Up – How we hook up our Airstream Basecamp

Hooking up your Airstream (or trailer) is simply following a routine process and herein lies the danger. Routine is dangerous because we “ASSUME” we haven’t missed a step and note I emphasized the word assume. We do it the same was every time, but do we really? The simple answer and is no… and I make mistakes. My video shows you how we hook up our Basecamp and doesn’t show Charlene (TIBS) reminding me I forgot to check the lights. When we started our Adventure we used a checklist and when I forget to grab it, heck this is just a routine operation, mistakes happen. Feel free to critique and make your comments, especially if you have a better way, I am always looking to learn. Thanks for joining our Awesome Adventure, and thanks to TIBS for keeping me straight. Oh, and please subscribe to our YouTube channel 🙂

 

TIBS Takes A Hobby To The Next Level

It all started with six little words “you know I used to loom”. Trust me when I say “if I’d had only known…. (lol)”. In the couple months since those six fateful words were uttered my life has changed. And now that the first craft show is over I have to say it has changed for the better. Charlene started her new looming career by making me a hat for work that she must have spent over a week looking for just the right yarn. She loves me.

Let’s fast forward through multiple visits to Walmart, Target, Michaels, and AC Moore, not to mention yarn shops in every state we have visited from New Jersey to Maine until we get to Craft Show minus 10 days. I said she loves me right? Every time I would walk in the room, turned on the TV, said Hi, heck maybe even breathed (lol) I was in the way. Charlene was learning new stitches, having to count, train her fingers and hands to do new tricks. Needless to say EVERYTHING was my fault. I had no idea that a video game on a different side of the house and on a lower floor could cause a person to miss a stitch so earphones it was.

https://youtu.be/uYSMJsT-X9w

The video shows that day of the show and how it all turned out. As far as I’m concerned it was a win, or at least the hug, kiss, and thank you made it a win for me.

Next show in a week then she takes over the world. Lol.

Adding A Dyson Vacuum To Our Airstream Basecamp – We Made Another Change

What do camping, hiking, biking, and an Airstream all have in common?  Dirt!!! Who knew that whenever you walk into your trailer you track in dirt. You could just leave your shoes in the vestibule, sure if you put the side tent up. But dirt still comes in. Maybe the dirt elves bring it in while we are asleep? Who knows… it just keeps coming in. So, we dust, and we mop, and we vacuum… hmmmm vacuum… We have a vacuum at home but what about inside of an Airstream? 

Charlene likes her Dyson V6 (or whatever it’s called nowadays) and had it mounted inside the closet in the Serenity (she vacuums daily) and just had to have it the Basecamp but there is no closet and less than half the square footage. After some brainstorming she had a plan. Check out the video to see where she put it.

We Made Some Changes To Our Basecamp – Part 2 (You Have To Have A TV, Right?)

The quiet sunset, cool dry weather, a campfire, beverage of choice and a good book. Wow, this looks great on paper and even better in the travel blogs. And this is why we bought the Basecamp. To get outdoors and commune with nature. But what do you do when nature is a little more … different? Reality Check – Wind, Rain, Hot and Muggy or cold and clammy. And everyone’s favorites; mosquitoes, black flies, green heads, and the ever popular bone-heads (lol). Sometimes communing with nature forces you inside and a good book is not always what we want, and sometimes the game just can’t wait.

No problem “I have my smart phone, tablet, or laptop”. After a few years full timing in an Airstream I began to realize why they put TVs in them. But not the Basecamp… we owners never ever feel the need to stay connected. Ahahahahahaha … oh sorry let me wipe my eyes. Charlene and I said we needed one in this rig too, and with the expert help of our past experiences and the team at Colonial (not a paid endorsement-guess I really need to say that, sigh) a plan was devised and put into place.

The TV chosen was a LG 24”, same as we put in the Serenity last year. Good size and good looks combined with good stats (see link for geek stuff). The mount was chosen by John at Colonial and the install was to look as factory as possible. And it came out GREAT!!! We have had people ask us if it came that way and that’s a great pat on the back. We decided not to add the HD antenna since we use our mifi or the cable at a campground. I also have it set up to hard wire to my phone. I can also connect to a laptop or an Xbox if I wanted to carry one (Charlene might draw the line here – did that in the Serenity). Check out the video and please give us your comments.

Thanks for joining us on our Awesome Adventure.

Charlene “TIBS” and Don “Capt O”

Having Fun With Leftover Halloween Tortilla Chips

Charlene asks “what do you want for dinner” my response of let’s have spaghetti was answered by “these pork chops need to be cooked before they go bad”. Okay, decision made, pork chops it is. I love screwing around with dinner and trying something new but my darling wife says I go overboard and try to make a big mess. Well I don’t try to make a mess… I just manage (lol).

Back to the pork chops. I was thinking mashed potatoes however potato wedges with olive oil and our favorite five spice pepper blend was put together and we decided I would do them on the Firedisc. Since I’m using the disc let’s play with the chops. Hmmmm let’s look around… ahhhh Halloween corn chips I have an idea… chicken fried pork chops made with the chips. I’ve never made that, sounds fun!!! Let’s put it together and see what happens, especially since it’s getting cold outside and the wind is about 20+ and gusty. Game on….

Too Windy To Cook Outside?

Have you ever wanted to get outside and throw something on your Firedisc (or grill – btw, time to upgrade) only to have the wind stop you? Maybe the answer is the “Wind Helmet” . The short video below shows the difference with and without the Wind Helmet. And it only takes a second to install. A link to the product is on the Outdoor Cooking page to help you find it (shameless plug, we make a couple pennies if you use the link ;-} ). When we first got our Firedisc the wind played hell with our cooking. Last night I was using the Firedisc & Wind Helmet in 20+ mph winds and still able to get the job done. Consider this an endorsement (not a paid one)… nice add-on Firedisc.

Thanks for joining our Awesome Adventure.

Charlene “TIBS” and Don “Capt O”

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