Bulldog Carries a Lot of Gear While Cruising the Camping Trail

Bulldog Carries a Lot of Gear While Cruising the Camping Trail

If you’ve taken a look around here on my blog, you know I love to camp. Some folks are into backpacking and carry everything they need on the camping trail on their backs. I’m going to try that one day.

Some folks are into RV’s. Good option for campers with deep pockets but to me it’s like taking a small apartment with you on your outdoor adventure.

My preferred camping style is somewhere in the middle. The term “car camping” is heard a lot on sites and blogs that cover “camping stuff” and that’s the way this puppy rolls! (By the way, the term does not refer to sleeping in the car.)

You’d be amazed at how much gear I can fit into my 2006 PT Cruiser. I added a car-top carrier about ten months ago and I tote around a lot of gear with my rear seats folded down. (PT Cruisers have a rear hatch.) In fact, I carry way more than I need.

I’m big on my tent, the Coleman Picton II. And, yes, you can see it in the Featured Photo for this post. My camping domicile measures 10’×10′ 6″ and is very comfy for one or two happy campers. (Shown here from the back side with the rear vent deployed.) They say it could sleep up to eight, but that would be sardine-style! It’s designed to keep you warm and dry in winds up to 45 mph, believe it or not. If rain is not in the forecast, I like to keep the rain fly off. Makes for comfy, breezy nights. More about that in a minute…

The tent is just over 5′ high and that’s just right for me to change clothes in. I’m not very tall so that works out fine. I don’t like sleeping bags or cots, though I have a good cot. I’m into sleeping in hammocks or recliners. I have a camping recliner that works very well; it’s the camping equivalent of a Lazy Boy (but can be carried by 1 person) and has the added bonus of eliminating the worry of acid reflux being a big deal and spoiling my camping fun. The docs tell me to never sleep laying completely horizontal anyway; so a camping recliner is a great way to go!

One other bonus of sleeping in a recliner: if I didn’t need to use the rain fly, in a recliner I can see the stars through the tent ceiling! It’s a great thing, one of the reasons I camp so much! Seeing the boughs of trees above–same awesome pay-off!

I have two different one-burner stoves, one propane, the other uses the “shorty” composite propane/butane tank. That one is so tiny when folded for travel. Most cooking, though, is with my Texsport 2-burner; you could think of this as a “store brand” Coleman 2 burner stove. Just a bit cheaper. It’s been a champ. It’s easy to clean and when folded is really easy to carry around. It uses the 1 lb propane tanks you can buy anywhere; if you have the adapter, you could use your big 4.5 lb propane tank.

I carry three tables with me, one three-footer that uses the screw-in table legs that store under the table itself when not set up. The other two are the type that fold/unfold easily and snap together; those are 18″x18″ and 24″x24″ and are handy in or out of the tent. The three footer is the main thing in the tent but is not bad for cooking with my two-burner stove at sites where that standard over-sized picnic table is not provided.

I could easily put together another post about all the lanterns, flashlights, torches and miscellaneous small gear and tools I take along. It’s a lot of stuff. I’m not going to walk down that blogging path right now, but the main take-away is that if you decide to try the car camping method, you’ll probably be amazed at how much gear you can take along! A 30 ft RV is NOT required to have fun camping!

And besides, camping is way too cool to leave to the RV crowd! I’m not downing those folks at all. But campgrounds are mostly designed with RV’s in mind. In fact, there are destinations that have “campground” in their name don’t accommodate tent campers at all! They’re NOT campgrounds, they’re RV Parks! That’s a pet peeve of mine and I really like sites that don’t treat car campers, aka tent campers, as second-class citizens!

As I type this, I have a reservation to camp later this month at Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake. I really love their tent sites even though it’s straight-up primitive camping. But regardless of where you prefer to pitch your tent, there’s nothing like camping for those of us who love to get outdoors. I do a lot of it, but not nearly enough! Get out of the house and out into nature, people! You’ll be glad you did!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

Bulldog’s Journey Towards Rustic, Sustainable Living

Bulldog’s Journey Towards Rustic, Sustainable Living

Bulldog’s deep, dark secret: I have a huge interest in greener, simpler living and have wanted to live in a rustic setting for many years. Would go off grid tomorrow if I had all my preps made.

For some reason I haven’t had too much to say about that here on my blog. I’ve done something in the last 24 hours that will help me escape my typical suburban life and get closer to bringing to reality this long-held dream. I’ve launched a new twitter account focused like a laser on the stuff I think about a hundred times a day but rarely ever talk about: sustainability, rustic or off grid living, homesteading, micro farming and the like! Throw in home brewing, raising chickens, and on and on!

I could go on about why I’ve mostly kept all of this locked up in my over-worked brain but that truly would be fodder for another post. The important thing is that the foot-dragging is over and I’m on my way to making this thing real.

Now as far as how a new twitter account is an important first step, it’s true I’ve been on Twitter for a very long time. But my main focus there is political stuff. And I’m thinking that the folks I’ve linked up with on twitter about politics and so on may or may not be into my love for going green and living in a 340 sq ft shack in the woods! So it seemed like a new and separate account in the Twitterverse was the way to go. (Not kosher with Twitter’s TOS, but we’ll ignore that for the moment!)

If you’re on twitter and you’d like to “hook up” over green stuff and rustic/small living, would love to see you on that platform. Click on this next link and you’ll land on my teensie-tiny little home in the vast wilderness of twitter! Or anytime you’re on twitter, just search @sustainable4me and you’ll also find me. Would love to see you over there!

I will have a lot more to say about these very cool–and very trendy–subjects here on my blog in the near future. Because of my limited financial means I’ve been acting as though I’d never actually be able to make any of those hopes and dreams real. And I’m going to stop letting such baleful thoughts “drive the bus!” Whether I get my life arranged the way I’d like or not remains to be seen. But I damn sure would never get it done if I waited until I could concoct some perfect effin plan in my head! I know it doesn’t work like that so I’m off on that journey!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Photo description: that’s the Florida Cracker Cabin found at the Barberville Pioneer Settlement in Barberville, Florida. B’ville is about 25 mins north of Deland.

 

 

Fave Fotos: Awed by Mr Tree’s Weighty Presence

Fave Fotos: Awed by Mr Tree’s Weighty Presence

Here’s a shot I like that has not lived off my hard drive until now. It’s from Silver Springs State Park, I site I really love.

I’ll be back in nature again soon. Last reservation was changed on account of some pretty damn rainy conditions in my neck of the woods. But it won’t be much longer.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Fave Fotos: a Bird on the Shore of Lake Griffin from Mid-April

Fave Fotos: a Bird on the Shore of Lake Griffin from Mid-April

I got several good shots on this outing to Trimble Park earlier this year. Back on the 17th of April, to be precise. I’ve used a couple of them on this blog before, but this gem has not lived anywhere besides my hard drive until now.

I am about to be released into the wild again! Haven’t been camping for about three months or so. It’s just so ungodly hot here in Florida during the summer months! But I’ll be at one of my fave camping spots within a few days. Not Trimble Park, but a good one.

There are so many stunningly beautiful spots all over Florida; I’d love to get to all of them, but will settle for maybe a hundred or so! Can just barely scratch the surface, as that old saying goes… But it’s a lot of fun to get to the ones you can! And I do. Sure gives my life meaning and purpose!

I hope you’re able to take advantage of some good opportunities to enjoy Mother Nature’s embrace. As any outdoor enthusiast knows, my neck of the woods is not the only spot on the planet that begs for exploration and adventure! Make plans to get out and enjoy some of those places!

 

 

Getting ready for my next foray into the woods, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Bulldog’s Fave Florida State Park Just Reopened!

Bulldog’s Fave Florida State Park Just Reopened!

As many of you may know, many of our state parks here in Florida were closed after Hurricane Irma passed through. The state has been reopening them a few at a time and I’m on the list of state park lovers to be notified about such things.

I was mostly watching to see if Wekiwa Springs State Park was on the “good list” but it wasn’t until today that the word went out that she’s ready for more visitors. I’m not sure if they’ve green-lighted camping again, I’m going to check on that today.

If you’d like to see the list of which parks are up-and-running again or get any kind of info relating to our truly amazing parks here in the Sunshine State, follow this link to the official site for parks on our peninsula!

I’m going to celebrate the reopening of our lovely parks with a trip to one of my faves before October arrives. Wekiwa Springs is at the very top of the list. So many great ones from which to choose!

That featured photo at the top is one I especially like from a trip about a year ago.

 

Planning a new camping adventure, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

Camping World Did Just What They Said They’d Do for This Good Sam!

Camping World Did Just What They Said They’d Do for This Good Sam!

I purchased a good reclining camping chair from Camping World about a year and a half ago. There was a warranty available for it. The clerk told me that if I took the warranty that if I ever had any problem with the product they’d replace it immediately with a brand-new model at no cost. He further said that he’d seen the company already do exactly that in a couple of cases, even though the customer’s issues with the chair were not especially serious.

Well, I was sold. I ponied up the money and made a mental note of what the salesperson had said.

Fast forward to this afternoon. I loaded my faithful chair into the car, tied it down and headed for the Camping World location here in Winter Garden. That’s the location where I bought it. The chair looked a bit worn, but worked alright. The one problem was that it no longer held its reclining position all through the night as it did for well over a year.

I usually use that well-loved chair all through the night, whether I’m in a tent or at home two feet from the bed! Hard, hard use, I know, but a warranty is a warranty!

And before you snicker, yes my weight is within the chair’s stated capacity! With almost 20 lbs to spare!

At any rate, the crew member who listened to me explain the issue found the transaction through my Good Sam Club sales history in her register even though I could not find the actual sales receipt. And within five or six minutes, she brought out a brand-new chair, looking exactly like the one that had accompanied me to dozens of Florida’s best outdoor destinations for over a year. Same arty logo that made it look as good as it worked! In other words, the company stood by that warranty with a smile. They did exactly what the original sales person told me they would do!

One might say that it’s a sad commentary on the kind of service retail customers usually receive that a thoroughly GREAT experience like mine today seems almost miraculous. I’m not going to be cynical and say or imply anything like that. I’m a very satisfied customer of this well-known retail giant whose name is on Orlando’s storied stadium. You might say that Bulldog’s a happy camper! 

Bet you didn’t even see that coming, did you?

 

 

Satisfied customer “Bulldog Ben” writing from Orlando!

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

The Cost of a Lifetime Senior Pass to Our National Parks is Going Way Up!

The Cost of a Lifetime Senior Pass to Our National Parks is Going Way Up!

I should have made sure to get this post up before today as there’s barely enough time for any of you who didn’t know this but would like to have the pass at minimal cost to get ‘er done.

The cost of the America The Beautiful lifetime senior pass for the National Park system has been $10 for about 23 years. That all changes this Monday, the 28th of August.

The new price will be $80. Yeah, quite a jump, isn’t it?

I just got my paperwork mailed off two days ago. There’s no additional fee if you get one in person at any National Park. But because of the approaching deadline, it’s damn near impossible to get one that way; there’s a huge run on these gems, and they’re usually all gone within a few hours. I was told that by a Park Ranger in a phone convo on Monday.

So printing the hard copy app and filling out credit/debit card info may be your only option. They’ll hit your card for twenty bucks, ten for the actual fee and ten more for processing, at the time they print it, lick it and stick it! (Cards only, checks won’t work.)

If you think you might be able to make it to a park in person in your neck of the woods before they’re all gone, here’s a link to the site to see all the possible parks and facilities where they’re available but you must call before you go! Then you’re good with just ten bucks! For a lifetime pass!

Can’t wait for mine to get here!

Enjoy Mother Nature’s bounty, folks. Hope to see you out there!

 

 

Keepin’ one eye on the mailbox, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit National Park Service