Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Full House

I really enjoy building unique geocaches but I'm always looking for new ideas. We decided to host a cache building workshop in the hopes that we would pick up some new techniques, or ideas. It was a bit tough clearing space in the garage, but we figured we could handle about 30 people teaming up in a cache building contest.

The event didn't turn out quite the way I'd expected. While there was lots of cache building materials available, no caches were built. Everyone stood around drinking coffee and chatting.

Some were looking at caches that others brought with a few light bulbs going off as people figured how they could adapt concepts to their own builds.

As much as I tried to get people to get hands-on, chatting was the order of the day. For many, this event drew a different crowd of geocachers, resulting in lots of first time meetings. Conversation flowed easily and folks commented how much fun they had even though the event that happened wasn't the one I'd conceived.

One of the conversations mentioned 'jail' which got my mind going a whole different direction. This one isn't a cache, but rather it will serve as the first way-point for a multi-cache. Cachers will need to figure out their next coordinates from careful reading of the cache description and examination of this structure.

The next one may be a more complex jail themed structure.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


I must say, I've been enjoying this very lazy approach to blogging. I thought about stopping entirely, but I use the blog to mark other blogs I regularly read, and I couldn't stand seeing my content sitting there static. It won't be updated as often as it was the first few years, but it will continue to primarily reflect travel, Scamp mods, and geocaching.

For the first time in years, we ended up with all the siblings in one place. My sister and I both headed to Nashville early in the week which gave us time to wander around town and to teach her about geocaching.

We found a series of public art pieces along the river that made for an interesting view of downtown Nashville and the Batman (AT&T) building.

I couldn't go to Nashville and not visit the Antique Archaeology store. I love the History Channel's American Pickers TV show and wanted to see their store. I recognized some pieces that had been featured on the show, but was very surprised by the small space. Loved seeing the creative re-use of the old Marathon auto factory.

The Tennessee branch of the family took us out to Millers Grocery in Christiana for lunch. Of course, I had to check out their home delivery vehicle.

You can't go to Tennessee and not check out Tennessee Walking Horses, especially not when the family is breeding them.

But the real reason I went to Tennessee was to celebrate my youngest niece's wedding.

Got a picture of some of the West Coast family with some of the Tennessee sisters. Great fun with family.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The New Tug

It's been over six weeks since I last updated the blog. There's been a lot of water under the bridge since then. The Tacoma, which served us well for 15 years and 280,000 miles has a new home.

It was tough choosing a replacement, with the primary consideration being how it will fit with the Scamp. In the end, I chose a Ram 1500. Payload is fairly similar, but the torque is twice as much and towing range will be nearly double. To get it optioned the way I wanted it, we ended up ordering it from the factory.

I ordered the Westin side steps and the Draw-Tite front receiver from eTrailer. Could have ordered steps from Ram, but I'm a cheap skate. In both cases, they bolted on with little extra effort.

The side steps leveraged existing frame holes and bolted in place very quickly. The front hitch receiver (that we'll use for supporting the canoe when we haul the canoe and the trailer at the same time) was a bit more effort since it required drilling a couple holes in the frame.

The nice carpet floor mats were removed and replaced with a full set of Husky Weatherbeater mats.

I also got mud flaps for all four corners from Husky. These were a very quick install with just a couple small holes to be drilled.

Perhaps the most important reason for selecting the Ram was that there were aftermarket springs available that would lower the back end about 1.5 inches, improving the clearance between the top of the pickup bed and the loft on the trailer.

The TufTruck TTC1210L spring kit included the shorter (but thicker) springs and slightly shorter KYB shocks. I was concerned with this project, but it turns out the toughest thing was accessing the upper shock retaining bolts. I'm real pleased with the change in stance while retaining a good ride.

The project I was avoiding was the installation of the hitch for the Scamp. I leveraged the tracks and base of a used Reese 15K hitch. I knew I wanted to install it in a 'non-standard' position so that there would be clearance for the tailgate.

Turns out I was able to leverage some of the pickup bed frame attach points so the project was easier than I anticipated. Now the hitch can be removed simply by pulling four pins, leaving just the tracks in place.

I fitted a Yakima Outdoorsman rack at the front of the pickup bed, and matched it up with one Yakima cross-bar that clamps on above the front doors for hauling boats.

The last step was to install clear paint protection film on the forward 18" of the hood and fenders as well as the headlights.

One of these days soon, we'll drag the Scamp out and see if all the measurements were correct!

For those that want the details: 2017 RAM 1500 Tradesman 4X4, 5.7L Hemi V8 with 8HP70 8 Speed Automatic Transmission. 3.92 Anti-spin rear axle, Popular Equipment Group, Chrome Appearance Group, Trailer Tow Mirrors & Brake Controller Group, LT Tires, 32 Gallon tank, Uconnect 5.0