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Monday, January 23, 2017

Taking a break



I'm taking a break from blogging for a bit. There aren't any problems or anything like that. It's just that other things require my creative energies right now.

Take care everyone. See you all later.

-Sixbears

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Lessons for the Bug out Bag



Everyone who's a prepper has some idea what the proper contents of a Bug out Bag are. The idea is to have the essentials for an emergency. The contents of a BOB vary considerably, partly due to the fact that individual needs vary.

Are you looking for a bag that will get you a mile down the road? Are you in a rural area? City? Do you plan on a hike that might be hundreds of miles long? It certainly makes a difference. One BOB might work with a good pair of walking shoes, a water bottle, flashlight and a Swiss Army knife. That's plenty for bugging out of your office job in the city to your place a few miles out. What about the long distance guy?

Fortunately, there are people who've figured out what's essential to bring on a long trek: The Appalachian Trail hikers. People who think nothing of hiking 2000 miles have their gear sorted out. A lot of those people have Youtube channels where they share their experiences, demonstrate their gear, and show how and what they pack.

Most of the serious hikers now go with super light weight gear. One huge advantage is that they can travel a lot faster than someone with a massive pack. Going light also makes sense if you are not Special Forces fit. A super light pack is a lot less wear and tear on your body.

Their gear may be minimal and light, but it provides food, shelter, and water -the basics of life. They can also sustain hauling that gear around day in, day out. Some of it can be expensive, but remember, the gear is not only light weight, but built to last thousands of miles. There are some seriously low budget hikers out there and they are worth seeking out. A $400 lightweight tent is great, but a cheap tarp will keep the rain off you too.

There is some discussion about personal safety among the AT hikers. Most do not carry a firearm, but a few do. It's problematic on the AT as it goes through so many states with different laws. Out west in big bear country, carrying a firearm while hiking is more common.

Now a lot of these guys (and gals) look like dirty hippies. Months on the trail will do that do you. That doesn't mean they don't know their stuff. They have some good information, often learned the hard way, to share.

-Sixbears

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Winter dreaming



My fancy sailing magazine came in the mail the other day. It's a good thing that the subscription was heavily discounted. Even so, I don't think it's going to be renewed. Too many of the articles are about throwing money at sailing problems. Also, things like boat reviews of half million dollar boats aren't very useful to me either.

I do watch a lot of Youtube videos about sailing, so I'm always on the lookout for new vlogs. There are certain things I look for. If someone is doing something like rebuilding a 27 foot boat, that's pretty useful. Someone else has a new DIY design for a composting head, that's cool. People going on major journeys on small boats, bring it on.

Then I came across a new vlog about a couple looking into buying a boat. Those can be interesting. However, I got suspicious when they were looking at boats large enough for a full sized washer and dryer. Then they got around to how they were going to finance their trip. Sell the business, that sounds Okay. Sell the RV, the helicopter, the Harley . . . a whole bunch of really big ticket items. All righty then, not the sort of video experience that's going to have a lot of take away information for me.

That's not to say I can't learn from people on expensive boats. If they are going to places that interest me, I'll watch to see what things are like there. Often there is very useful information about where to get boat parts or places to resupply. Better yet are trips to nice remote beaches and places of natural wonder. It doesn't matter if you get there on a 3 million dollar boat or a 3 thousand dollar boat, the natural beauty is the same.

Judging from my current budget, I'll be doing in the short term is dreaming. This definitely is a rebuilding year for us. Maybe I'd better focus on people doing everything with nothing. Heck, maybe I should become that person and vlog about it myself.

-Sixbears

Friday, January 20, 2017

Welp, this is the day



Welp, this is the day Trump is sworn in as President.

Now a lot of his political opponents are hoping for him to fail. While I'm not a fan of the man, I do want his presidency to succeed. I want America to succeed. I'll support every program of his that is good for this country.

That being said, I'm going to fight against anything that he proposes that I think is bad for the country. In that way he's no more special than every other President.

I am not a Republican nor am I a Democrat. Frankly, both parties have some pretty dumb ideas as core beliefs. As an Independent voter I pride myself in voting for the best person for the job, regardless of affiliation. We are a pretty big percentage of NH voters. Part of the reason is that during primary elections we can declare for either party, vote, then undeclare and resume Independent status. Works for me.

I'm hoping things go without a hitch. The last thing we need is violence during the “peaceful” transition of power.

-Sixbears

Thursday, January 19, 2017

August road trip to look at darkness?



This August there's going to be a total eclipse of the sun that will be visible in the United States.



As you can see from the map, it looks like the best viewing will be around the area of western Kentucky. You will also notice that the track of the eclipse goes nowhere near my home in New Hampshire.

However, a very good friend of mine, lives in western Kentucky. He's invited a bunch of friends and family to join him for the viewing. It's very tempting to take him up on the offer. He has a first come first served offer. The first ones there can snag the bed in the guest room. After that it's tents in the yard. Actually, my lovely wife and I might just prefer the tent. That's how we roll.

At least we've time to think about it. I'm going to keep my schedule open just in case we decide to go on a road trip.

-Sixbears

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Let the health care games begin!



It's no secret that I've never been a fan of Trump. However, I wasn't a fan of having another Clinton in the White House either. Still with me?

There was some thought that the Republican leadership were going to handle the day to day business of government. Trump was expected to be some sort of figurehead who rubber stamped what the leadership wanted.

It doesn't look like that's going to happen. The big issue that caught my attention was health care. Republicans have been trying to shut down the ACA for years. It appeared that their plan was to shut it down and figure out some sort of replacement later . . . maybe.

Then Trump comes around and promises health care for everybody, no preconditions, kids can stay on their parent's plan, and it's going to be cheaper for everyone. Plus, the unpopular mandate will be done away with. Turns out that Trump has a plan of his own. The Republican leadership is quietly have fits.

The big question is how is that going to be paid for? Trump is talking about cracking down on the drug companies. Okay, that should help, but it won't pay for the whole plan. I am very interested to see how this will turn out. There are ways to make it work. The most practical is a single payer plan, like the rest of the civilized world has. That is ideologically forbidden, so I'm curious to see what happens next.

I used to think that competition could lower prices, but we haven't seen that happen. Drug companies have raised essential medications to ridiculously high prices, because they can. Many drugs are controlled by just one company so competition isn't going to help; there isn't any.

The medical field is not like other industries. I've got one hospital within reasonable driving distance from my house. It's not like hospitals compete on a dollar to dollar basis with each other. The pricing is totally opaque so we don't' know what a procedure really costs. We can't shop around. Besides, this not like like buying a new smart phone. Our lives are on the line here so the pressures are different.

As for myself, I'm looking at heath insurance from the outside. Before Obama care my insurance, while fairly decent, was completely unaffordable. After the ACA appeared I could afford a minimal plan with a crazy high deductible. After two years even that got too expensive. Now my plan consists of going to the emergency room and stiffing them for the bill. That's not a great plan, but it's the one forced onto me.

To sum up, as much as I'm not a fan of Trump, I'm glad he made the promises that he did. Let's see if they can pull a rabbit out a hat.

-Sixbears

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fresh food



Stored food is great. In an emergency situation it can make the difference between being hungry and having the calories that you need.

That's all well and good, but I sure do miss the fresh stuff after a while. My lovely wife and I recently went on a road trip just to go to a store with a decent produce section. The problem with being at the end of the supply line is that “fresh” food, isn't. Too often the produce doesn't last more than a day or two.

There's something about really fresh food that our bodies crave.

When I used to do a lot of backpacking it wasn't a problem. Sure, my backpack didn't have anything fresh at all. Everything was chosen because it could go the distance without refrigeration. However, while hiking I always munched on enough wild foods to keep me happy.

Normally I'm not the sort of guy to get excited by a salad. However, there was a time when we were sailing that we went an extra long time between resupply runs. We got stuck waiting out bad weather at very remote place. By the time we got back to civilization I was dreaming about eating salad. I was able to pick up a huge bag of salad greens at a store. That night I ate half of it and had the other half for breakfast. My diet of emergency stored foods must have been missing something my body craved.

Most of us are pretty spoiled because we are used to getting fresh food from all over the world. I do remember the tales of the old days when people grew and stored most of what they ate. Forget salads and fresh citrus. They lived on a lot of stored potatoes, squash, turnips, carrots plus picked and canned veggies. It got them through the winter. Getting an orange in your Christmas stocking was a big deal.

While I know how to survive using the old skills, I'd sure miss the fresh stuff.

-Sixbears