– Posted from my iPhone
. . . At Crow’s Nest Pass resort, where we are giving a conservation communication workshop. It has been snowing and socked in pretty thick so we have not seen the area, which is a pretty dramatic part of the Rockies. The workshop is going well so far.
– Posted from my iPhone
– Posted from my iPhone
Sometimes a messenger bag can be just the ticket when you want to travel with something quick and simple. Unlike a backpack, there is only one strap to contend with and usually one or two simple fasteners to open and close the bag. Taller and thinner than a duffle and easily swung from side to back, a messenger lends grace to a walk down an overcrowded bus or airline aisle, or a quick hop onto two-wheeled transport.
Kelty has a line of such bags, and earlier this summer I took oneÂ along on a two-week hosteling trip through western Ireland. Called the Saunter, the bag blended into the trip marvelously, and along with a sheepâ€™s-wool sweater, I didnâ€™t feel like such an obvious tourist. Well, at least not until I opened my mouth to order a pint.Â
While the Saunter wasnâ€™t my only bag for the trip, it served well as a carry-on for the flights and an overnight bag for the hostels. One thousand cubic inches of capacity and two main pockets carried a change of clothes and a sweater, toiletries, and a few other miscellaneous items. Two smaller front pockets (covered with the the flap closed) easily held business cards, pens, and small electronics.
The bag material is made of sixty percent recycled polyester fabric with a TPE coating and looks and feels remarkably like cotton canvas. The sewn-on flap straps, small pocket edges, and wear-patches on the bottom corners are all made of vegetable-tanned leather. The retro-metal hardware is solid aluminum and the shoulder strap webbing is recycled polyester. There is also a nifty little tote bag (also recycled polyester) that stuffs into itself and hangs from a small clip inside the Saunter. Easily carried in the palm of my hand when compressed, I unclipped and deployed it often on sorties to local markets for picnic supplies.
The bag held up well to rough handling on the trip, and all summer for that matter. The appearance of the bag is no worse for the wear after hanging from fenceposts and being tossed about, from Irish pastures to all manner of floors, sidewalks, seats, car trunks, bar stools, and the like. One detail Iâ€™m not so crazy about is the use of Velcro for the buckle straps and main flap. No fault of the bag really, Iâ€™m just not fond of Velcro. I might reconsider if it could do its job silently, be impervious to grime and water, and not stick to non-Velcro fibers. Despite the TPE coating and tidy, strong stitching, the bag isnâ€™t waterproof. It held up fine to minor splashes and spits of rain, but some seepage occurred when I purposely tested it by pooling water on the threads. After using and abusing it all summer I can report itâ€™s a very sturdy bag andÂ considering theÂ classic appearance, youâ€™d never guess itâ€™s made with recycled plastics; a nice bonus. kelty.com 800-423-2320
Crossed the beautiful Missouri River at Cascade, MT, and headed into the backcountry to visit a private ranch and logging camp at the invitation of friend and Overland Journal subscriber Doug M. As you can see we hit an early winter storm. Even the Montanans were griping! Set a new record low for the date — even the trees had no time for fall colors. We enjoyed Doug’s hospitality, including lamb tacos (fresh from the ranch) and chocolate and bourbon to keep us warm. This morning the rear doors on the Jeep are frozen shut. The Jeep is performing very well in ice, snow, and mud — and temperatures in the teens.
– Posted from my iPhone
After featuring Brian DeArmon’s BMW F650GS build in a few issues of the journal, we had a high volume of requests from subscribers that we offer the same decal for purchase that he used on the tank.Â So we’re glad to announce that we now have these decals available on our online store.Â These are transparent decals with black lettering, and would be perfect for a window or on a light-colored vehicle (such as white or silver).Â The cost is $4 for one, or $7 for two (plus S&H).
In addition, we have lowered the price on our small oval decals to $4 or $7 for one or two, respectively.
Jonathan and I left this morning for Crowsnest, where we are teaching a conservation communications workshop for the Alberta Conservation Alliance. En route through central Arizona we met up with Graham Jackson of Overland Training. Here is Jonathan and Graham in front of the 2 Overland Journal Jeeps, on loan from Chrysler. Graham’s “Overland Edition” debuted at Overland Expo.2009. Our version is the magazine’s longterm test to showcase an “out of the showroom ready to overland” model. We will return via Wyoming for some backroads exploration, putting the Jeep through its paces as part of the test.
– Posted from my iPhone
Coincidence is an over-used term, and in my opinion, is made a lot more common than we tend to believe. When something is forefront in our minds we will gravitate to finding relationships between it and other things we see around us as we go about our daily routine. I was actually thinking about coincidence last month as I strolled the streets of Dubai in the UAE on a sultry first day of Ramadan. What were the chances that I would find myself in the Middle East on Ramadan when earlier this year I had been contemplating a comment that Jonathan Hanson made regarding Ramadan in the Overland Training Cultures course? Jonathanâ€™s measured and thoughtful comment about Ramadan is not the subject of this blog entry though, rather coincidence is.
The week previous to my stroll in Dubai I had submitted a lengthly technical article for the next issue of Overland Journal on water treatment systems. It is an article that takes a dozen systems, and measures them against each other using not just opinion, but real performance evaluations in lab tests. This is probably a first for any magazine, and certainly a large undertaking for Overland Journal.
‘I should write a blog entry on the water systems,’ I had told myself on the flight in. So this stroll in Dubai, on my last day in the Middle East, was as much for assuaging my curiosity about the town as searching for inspiration for this blog entry. I had considered the first day of Ramadan, but was short on ideas for how that relates to water treatment systems. A large poster proclaiming ‘Get a trophy life,’ didnâ€™t seem to fit either. The heat was certainly in a more productive vein hanging in the region of 115Â°F with a humidity high enough to soak my coolmax t-shirt in very short order, but the link just wasnâ€™t there. Yet.
Walking along the water-front after popping in on a luxury hotelâ€™s beach, I came to a break in the shield wall facing the street and found a drinking fountain. Could I call that coincidence given my thirst? Well I could. I could also tag coincidence on the drinking fountain manufacturer: Helton who also makes the water heater I use in my Defender.
But as I moved towards getting a drink from the fountain, I saw a round structure on the incoming line. Normally I would have made a mental note of â€˜filterâ€™ and then taken a drink, but given my mission, I took a closer look at the filter first. Inspection removed my desire for a drink, and also gave me the perfect picture for this blog entry. Take a close look at the filter; if you have a filter in your overland vehicle that looks like that, I suggest you renew it with a new unit. Promptly. For more on water treatment systems take a look at the upcoming issue of Overland Journal. Sometimes coincidence works quite nicely.
I woke up this morning and realized that just a few days ago I had bought my first motorcycle, a well cared for 1988 Honda NX650!
About two weeks ago I received a phone call from a friend who knew exactly the type of bike I had been looking for. This was one of those friend of a friend of a friend deals and before the bike was ever formally advertised for sale I was lucky enough to meet the seller in person. He even threw in two nice Arai helmets.
The NX650 was only sold in the United States for two years, 1988 and 1989. Probably the most significant change from â€™88 to â€™89 was the addition of a rear disc brake to replace the drum but the bike has maintained a consistent design to this day as it is known as the Dominator all around the world except the U.S.
It has a reputation for being simple and dependable in design with an air-cooled, single cylinder, four-stroke, 644cc engine. You just have to love an engine that only uses one spark plug! It should make for a versatile dual sport, perfect for a first bike.
At 22 years old it is completely stock with no modifications that I know of. I plan to keep it this way except for a top box and eventually some panniers, hand guards and perhaps some armor. I would rather spend time riding than modifying so Iâ€™ll let my use of the bike determine what modifications are needed if any.
Hereâ€™s a little treat.Â In 1989 there was an event called the Camel Trophy Peru. The Camel Trophy with Honda NX650s instead of Land Rovers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWxDbjj7dFo
Next on the list:
- Lessons (this week)
- Licence (this week)
- Riding Gear (hopefully this week)
- Wondrous Adventures!
Because Overland Journal has decided to not distribute on newstands (due to the high amount of waste), we wanted to offer a low-cost alternative for customers to sample a copy of the journal.Â Periodically we will change which issue is being offered at the promotional price.
This $10 promotion is only available for addresses within the United States.Â Shipping, handling, and tax included.Â We are starting out by offering the Summer 2009 issue at this reduced rate, but in the future it will be a selection from our recent issues based on supply.