ongoing letter
for July 2012

July 31, 2012

Well, a bit of news.  I got a raise at work the other day.  This is nice.  Not sure how much since it's not official yet.

Earnest, Mom's cousin, is out here from back east.  We talked a little about my caravan (went to see it, too) and a little about astronomy.  He suggested I should have a look at Sky and Telescope.  Interesting stuff.  He's got his Dodge campervan, so he sleeps in it al Wal-Mart.

As well, Al Thompson, Floyd's brother, was here for a few days.  He's the one who lost his wife a few months back.  It's the first time since then that he has visited Floyd & Mom.  They played cards together but something I don't know how to play.

I said, "Now it's Ivor's turn."  Eh?  Well, my brother Glenn came, then Floyd's brother Al, and now Mom's brother Ivor has to complete the cycle.

first new wood
I installed the first new wood into the caravan yesterday.  This marks the official beginning of the reconstruction process but not necessarily the last of the gutting of it.  Today I put in the second.  At this rate, it should be done by the year 2061.  I can hardly wait.

still no news
Still nothing from Mary ... or Marta.  It's funny how no one wants to hear the truth, even from the horse's mouth.  So be it.  As Glenn says, "No f***ing loss there."  But it's not his blood relative we're talking about.  A long time ago, Marta promised that if she ever moved or changed phone numbers she'd keep me posted so as to keep in contact.  It's funny how promises can so easily be swept aside for absolutely no reason.  Makes me sad.  Terribly sad.  No one wants to know the truth about anything.  Truth matters naught.

Three of my clients from work have gotten jobs now, including two who historically haven't really been reliable for employment.  Nine down, one to go.  But where will I be when all are employed?  I will, comically, be out of work.

full moon
It's a full moon tonight.  Pleasant.

July 15, 2012

camping trailer (caravan)
You'll never in a million years guess what I bought!  I am now the proud owner of a 1965 Alpine Sprite caravan (otherwise known here in North American as a camper trailer or travel trailer).  I bought it from Steve, a guy in Calgary, Friday evening and pulled it back home with my little car.  Have yourself a look!

But keep in mind it's a work in progress, and the progress will be slow.  I was considering, since my car was crammed full of camping gear already, to just head for the hills and use it, but it's in rough shape.  No fridge, no cupboard, no sink, no stove.  The guy loaned it to his friends who ripped it all out without any respect for this vintage piece of art.  His father bought it from somewhere in Europe (Germany, I think) and toured around there with it until being sent back to Canada on military service.  Now Steve sold it to me.  So I'm the third owner, I guess.

July 13, 2012

camping blog
My camping blog is slowly coming online.  Have a look at  Check back often!

July 10, 2012

camping coming
My camping blog will be online sometime tomorrow, I should think, once I get some pics & videos in order.  Come back soon!

In the mean time, holy crap!

You be the judge.

July 6, 2012

camping on hold
Camping has always been my thing even though I haven't done it for years.  However, although I have been looking forward to this for a week or so, I haven't gone yet.  What's stopping me?  During those past few days Floyd and I were rebuilding the flooring of the add-on room.

July 2, 2012

camping supplies
I bought a bunch of new camping supplies during the past few days.

Canadian Tire sells barbecue stuff, so I got it in my head that, rather than use disposable cylinders, I'd buy a barbecue tank and hose.  For some reason, Premium brand is cheaper than the Coleman.  (Yes, the brand that everybody knows.)  Why's that?





But for someone just starting out in the camping thing it isn't a good idea to spend that as well at $36.54 on a tank.

Canadian Tire




I haven't bought either of them yet.  Instead, I bought 3 cylinders because a) they're cheap and b) they might be refillable.

Then there're the camp stoves. Per


1-burner stove with barbecue grill



2-burner stove with barbecue grill


Coleman Perfect Flow

screws onto cylinder directly


Coleman Powerpack

1-burner stove with stand


This is the one I bought, from Zellers.

Coleman Powerpack

1-burner stove with stand


This is the one I bought, from Zellers.

I figured with only one person (that'd be me, of course) there's no point in buying a 2-burner or a grill or something in a big case.  However, those ones that the bottle is screwed on and becomes the stand, like the Coleman Perfectflow, seem a little tippy.  I can imagine a pot of soup taking a tumble.  So I opted for the Coleman Powerpack - small enough yet big enough.  Plus, unlike the Perfectflow, I can add a propane bottle on a hose to it later on if the cylinders are too dinky.

Then comes the sleeping bag, or bags.  I went to an outdoor shop close to here, a place that has stuff for camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, etc. (not for cycling much) and found the cheapest sleeping bag with the specs I was looking for, the Asolo Ceneva - $109.95 each.  Then I found two bags at Costco, also rated for -7, for $49.99 for two.  Duh.  No brainer.  Yah, I know, they'll probably not be as "good".  But what does "good" mean?  I can crawl in and sleep at night.  As well with two you can zip them together and create one large bed whereas you can't with the mummy bag.

Who knows - maybe someday I'll have a good reason to zip the two together!

Then I found something else at Costco - a plastic box for keeping out "unwanted pests" (like there are the "wanted" kind).  I thought to myself, "This would be good for keeping my food safe from ants, gophers, racoons, etc.  Those blasted racoons like to steal my eggs."  A good idea, until I saw the price. f

Imagine - paying $37.99 for plastic!  I think for now I'll just use a cardboard box.

And now for the cooler.  Floyd and I stood in Canadian Tire for a good 10 minutes waffling about which cooler to buy.  I bought the Broadstone 23.7 litre (25 quart) square cooler.

I think it was $25 or thereabouts.  Maybe $35.  It fit well into car. 

But on further inspection I noticed that I had a lot more room left over than I had foreseen.  So yesterday Mom, Floyd, and I went to Walmart and found a Coleman 12-volt electric cooler.  No ice, no watery mess, just cold.  We'll see how well it performs.

One of the main reasons for this fridge / cooler is that Floyd and I will eventually build, if all goes well, a small camper trailer.  I would be able to use it in there.  I'll eventually buy a solar panel from Canadian Tire and / or a portable 12-volt deep-cycle battery for it big enough to fit into the roof of a camper trailer but small enough to fit onto the roof of the Kia Soul.  It's about 8kg (23 pounds) shipping weight and can be turned upright like a fridge or on its back like a conventional chest cooler, so it's perfect for a lightweight trailer and for car camping.  A normal 3-way (propane / 12VDC / 120VAC) camper fridge is crazy heavy compared to this thing.  I don't want it in my camping stuff nor in my future lightweight camper trailer.  One part of the plan for the camper trailer (I'll blog this sometime soon) is to incorporate solar panels into the roof to charge the batteries.  So this cooler will be good for both scenarios.

We also saw a conventional cooler at Walmart for really cheap that includes a small sandwich cooler and a flask.

But it's more plastic that I will probably not use.

As for the bed, I tried a cot made of metal poles and canvas stretched across them.  Not bad, but there's no room to turn on one's side or stomach or back.  I also tried a new self-inflating air mattress ...

... for one night on top of the cot.  I think the air mattress by itself would be best unless it's really cold and the ground would sap all the warmth from you if you were to sleep directly on it.  But for summer camping I think just the mat would be good.  Anyway, this self-inflating deal is really cool.  You just unroll it, open the valve, and watch it inflate.  It turns from about 1cm think to about 4cm, really good enough to sleep on for a couple nights.  Can't wait to use it!

Odds and ends include waterproof fire sticks, a barbecue lighter, propane cylinders, a tarp, an egg holder, biodegradable dish soap, and a few other odds and ends.

But the most important part, and the first thing I bought, is the tent.

It's the Coleman 4-person instant tent.  Now I know serious backpacking outdoorsy people would balk at this, but I'm not that kind of person.  I don't want a tent that folds up into one's pocket and weighs less than a pack of gum and takes 3 hours and 19 circle trips around the tent to set up.  I want something easy, useful, not cramped, and actually fun to use.  After all, isn't that what it's all about?  I did a dry-run, setting up this tent behind the house.  It's pretty easy to use, for sure, but there's no ground tarp and no fly.  I bought a ground cover (see the tarp above) and will maybe get a fly as well after I try it out in real-time.  (More pictures to come when I'm actually camping.)

And so that's the whole thing so far.  It fits all into the car even with only the larger of the 60 / 40 split back seats folded down.

So who's coming camping with me?

Okay, dollar store things now.  I found a few things there - plastic plates, bowls, & cutlery (washable, reusable, cheap, lightweight, recyclable), Holiday luncheon meat (SPAM), a small LED lantern, and a 5-litre collapsible water jug.

July 1, 2012

Canada Day

This is my first Canada Day back home!  Damn good to be here!

Click here for last month.