Thursday, July 18, 2019

ONE CAMPER'S INGENUITY


I admit, I have a few faults... probably more than a few... but who's counting!? Some of them (not in any particular order):

1.) I get bored easily
2.) I think I can make things better, faster, stronger (or just more functional)
3.) I frequent the $1.04 clearance wood at HD. 

Known affectionately by my friends as "Ms. MacGyver", I've pretty much perfected the whole "making something outta nothing" thing. Challenge accepted! Some ideas work out better than others, and I've headed back to the drawing board more times than people have questioned Mona Lisa's smile. But when the creative juices get to workin' and the end result is pure genius (even if just to me), it's just so freaking satisfying!

I've always said that campers, as a whole, are the most ingenious, creative, resourceful and clever group of people on the planet. Adapting to changing surroundings whilst subjecting yourself to the wrath of mother nature (and other campers) is a challenge onto itself. Before long, the words "what if we try this?", "do you think this would work?", "I wish there was a solution to that.", "ya know what would work?", "when we get home..." cross every camper's lips. Of course, doing a web search on a product that might aid in the problem at hand would work, if you could come up with the correct keys words to punch in. Unfortunately, its already too late, the monster has been poked.


Problem:
I want to be able to go camping by myself, without a lot of effort, in a moments notice. I want to feel safe, be portable, be comfortable, and be functional (even better, multi-functional). I want to utilize things I already have, and oh yeah, I don't want to spend any money creating it. TA-DA!


Up for MacGyvering is my PT Cruiser. Standard 4-Door hatchback with folding/removable seats. I bought it used and never noticed those molded plastic things sticking out in the hatch. Seats fold down and also flip forward for cargo space. 


Turns out when purchasing new, there was an option for a plastic hatch cover that fit there. I cut a pieces of 3/4" plywood for shelves. I notched the bottom layer and followed the curve of the hatch when its closed. The bottom layer sits about 7" off the cargo bottom and is the perfect spot for air mattresses, lawn chairs, small tent bags, jumper cables, camp stoves etc. 


By notching the plywood, it also allows the larger shelf to be moved to top and offset to extend outside the hatch to be used for prepping area or daily activity use. Large shelf in lower position is same level height as seats folded down.


Positioning seats forward and using the top shelf across headrest and center console, provides a level space to fit my air mattress. Inflator plugs into my cigarette lighter, so mattress can be blown up while in place. Cooler & backpack fit into front seats for easy access. Battery operated lights can be hung from clothes carrier hooks/handles. Back up to the campfire.


When the fire dies down and its time for bed, I simply pull the hatch down and lock myself in. I bought these neat screens for my windows so I can leave them partially open for air circulation. The shelves are purr-fect when organizing camping supplies when its more than just me who wants to go on an adventure!




I've also done some modifications on our small cargo work trailer. Hotel bills add up when traveling/staying at distant job sites for extended periods. By adding a platform bed area, and removable back flap, we are able to utilize area campgrounds while still using underneath space for storage and tools. Adding a table onto the front hitch frame makes for the perfect cooking/eating/card playing area. A canopy/screen room easily fits around this area too doubling your camping space. It also can be setup on job sites to use as tool/work space. Breaks down and sets up in under a minute, and is plenty sturdy.  
I've done plenty of other modifications to the cargo trailer, but never think to photograph the progress or the before/after. Another nice add was a laptop shelf/tray attached to a swivel and extendable TV wall mount arm. Attached to the right hand wall, it allows using/watching from both outside and inside locations.  Its great for movie watching while in bed. If you have an idea for a modification or a creation, I might suggest to other campers to photograph the steps as they move along.  Post your projects on social media and help out your fellow campers. 



Lots of great creative ideas can be found on our Pinterest Boards.  Follow one or all!

            






Tuesday, February 6, 2018

I'M NOT CHEAP, I'M THRIFTY.

This post...some might call it a rant, is focused on the high prices most RV stores charge on their inventory. C’mon people (that means store/dealership owners), haven’t you heard that campers are a damn savvy group of people, with many of us borderline obsessed with frugal living (both on and off their campsite).  So, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but gone are the days that we are willing to pay the high prices listed on the inventory on your shelves, within your showrooms, and in your catalogs. Most campers and full time RVers have heard of, and are now utilizing something called the "internet". SSSHHH....not too loud, it might catch on! With free shipping and competitive pricing, it's doubtful I will be stopping in for a $50 camp chair any time soon.  And, kudos to Walmart, for stepping up to the plate and filling a local void by stocking reasonably priced camping/RV supplies.

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We now have greater options on more than just parts and supplies too. Facebook Marketplace, and outlets such as Craigslist have become a haven for seasoned hobbyist to find terrific deals. Additionally, social media outlets like YouTube has made it easy to view a potential purchase without leaving your house. Watching thousands of actual camper's review videos and how-to maintenance videos are just a click away.

I’m not discounting that  RV dealerships have trained sales staff on their showroom floors or at local shows. It seems their job is to perform a robotic walk thru, convince you they can secure financing, and then provide you with all the shiny documentation you can haul home.... but when it comes to buying a gently used (or new) RV, I gotta doubt that any salesperson you deal with, has spent no more than 1/2 hour total (and no actual camp time) in the vehicle they are trying to sell you on. Honestly, if part of my money is going towards paying for anyone's knowledge of the vehicle, I’d rather deal directly with the previous owner who's been there, done that ( and is willing to tell you all about it).

I am also not saying that any dealership's mechanics don’t know how to do their job. I suspect 90+ percent of them do. However, for the price you get charged, it’s probably cheaper to pay the tuition to send yourself (or an offspring) to a two-year tech school and learn how to do it.  It seemed that the time frame for my rig to be ready (and fixed correctly) was about the same.



RVers, and campers in general, are crafty folk. Whether miles from nowhere, or just too stubborn (and thrifty) to pay RV superstore prices, we are the kings and queens of DIYs. Spend five minutes browsing camping boards on Pinterest (hint, hint : Bound4Burlingame's boards can be found here) and your eyes will be opened to a whole new world of tips and ideas on frugal camping.


Of course, these are just my views, and it is your choice to agree or disagree with some, or all of it.  Due to your own experiences, chances are you see enough truth in the words to nod your head once or twice. I’m all about campers helping campers....and I’m happy to save a dime, whether it be yours or mine. Sharing knowledge is just as important as sharing in the adventure.



At Bound4Burlingame, we are always looking for quality content to share on our social media pages and website. If you have created something, or know of a product that is worth it’s weight in gold, feel free to reach out...but by all means, save the stamp money, and just email us at bound4burlingame@gmail.com.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

WHITTLE A LITTLE

I'm not sure if my mom and dad actually knew that us girls had our own jackknifes. I can't even remember where we got them. I can only assume that we inherited these "dangerous" weapons from a male cousin, and suspect it was the same cousin that once whittled an arrow so sleek and fast that like lightening, it shot across the town sand pit and struck me smack in the corner of my eye. I inexplicably survived, but his homemade bow did not. He smashed it over his knee mere minutes after the misguided missile hit it's unintended target. Inevitably, the same would have resulted after we six scared cousins (one with a sharpened stick extending off their face) trekked their way back to the house and had a close encounter with my father's anger.

What's funny though... I never ever remember any of us whittling anything else besides arrows. No whistles, no animal shapes, not even one small carving fit to be displayed on a shelf. The satisfaction and gratification of taking a hand picked rough stick and transforming it into a smooth piece of natures art was good enough for us. I imagine we could have outfitted every student at Hogwarts with a mystical wand. The true skill mastered however, was the art of conversation. Brilliant insights, teasing banter, and boastful achievements flowed effortlessly between us...and we laughed. Its as if the sticks were performing magic of their own.

Image result for whittle around the campfire
When you whittle, your guard is let down. At first, your concentration is on that which is in front of you, but your hands quickly master the repetitive dance across the stick...and then your mind relaxes... and then the words of wisdom start to spill forth from your mouth. OK, often not wisdom. And more often than not, you'll talk about stuff that you won't want to remember past the next day (especially if there's adult beverages around). Another great thing about whittling...when you have a knife in one hand, and a stick in the other, there's no room for a cell phone. Unless your whittling yourself a selfie stick. We can definitely make an exception for that. So, let's cover a few basic tips for beginners:

1. Get a pocket knife.  You aren't aiming to create a masterpiece yet, so a basic multi-blade pocket knife is all you need.  Keep the blades sharp and you'll be just fine. You can find a "How to sharpen a knife" video here. There's no need to spend a lot of money on this...Keep an eye out at local tag sales.

2. Find a branch/twig.  You want soft wood, like pine. Later, you can try Balsa or Basswood. Start simple, make an arrow or a drumstick. Once you've mastered that, select thicker branches and carve a utensil set, or at least a knife to impress your friends.

3. Whittle.  Start with the basic sweeping straight rough cut to give your piece a general shape. Keep with the grain. Then progress to the pull and push strokes to detail the piece.  These cuts give you the best control over the knife.  Other types of cuts may come into play and you can learn how to master four basic cuts in this video.


Its that simple.  And, something I wish I would've remembered when my kids stopped being happy to see me volunteering at their school each day, and became secretive and moody prepubescent teens.  Instead of primordial groans with a fair mix of "none of your business" comments mixed in, I could have saved myself a whole lot of time and effort...and more then a few gray hairs and sleepless nights contemplating the meaning of motherhood.  My now adult kids (and I use that term lightly because I absolutely believe being legal voting and legal drinking age means nothing) are lucky I didn't have the thought of whittling up a big ol' paddle stick!  Hindsight is 20/20...and for some inexplicable reason, I can chuckle at those memories.  Or is it that I suspect some day soon enough, they will have offspring of their own?  I'm torn between stockpiling jackknives/twigs or letting them learn parenting on their own... "cue evil laugh".



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