Saturday, August 22, 2015

No room in the Inn, or , the trouble with impromptu road trips.

My wife and I wanted to go up to a lake near the South Carolina border, and spend the night.  It's in a county that's fairly isolated. There are no four lane roads going in there , and it's a tough drive, winding and twisting through the mountains.  We used to spend a lot of weekends at this lake years ago.

So, we headed out.  It was a really hot day, and humid, but the drive is beautiful if you aren't in a hurry. Traffic was light, because people don't like going through those mountains. Lots of them get car sick with all the twists and turns.

 You can rent little cabins along the lake shore.  No frills or amenities like television or internet, but comfortable.

They are air conditioned and that's really all you need this time of year. In the fall, you need reservations to get a cabin, and in winter you can't really get in or out very easily. But this late in the summer I didn't anticipate any trouble getting a cabin.

I didn't take into account, however, that they would be having a car show up there.  Apparently the car aficionados started arriving Friday night, and are staying through Saturday, leaving on Sunday afternoon.  Not only were there a lot of people who came to display their 1916-1980 period autos, but a huge crowd came to buy, photograph, or just enjoy looking.

My wife and I couldn't find any cabin rental place that had a vacancy. We might could have stayed in the one motel in town, but that wasn't what I wanted. I was looking forward to sitting by the water, smoking my pipe, and watching the boats go by.

All of these paintings are of that particular lake, so you can have some idea of how scenic and tranquil it is.  It was disappointing that we had to come back tonight, but we both agreed that we had a fun time today.

There's a very good military surplus store just down the road from this town. The old fashioned kind that sells military equipment at reasonable prices. I enjoyed plundering around in there and found some good gear that was affordable.  They also had an excellent magazine rack in the local grocery store, and I got some great magazines I'd been looking for.  My wife got a nice necklace from a local craftsman who has a shop there in town.  We had a really good meal, at a modest cost, and all in all things went very well.

I went to a pet store and got several tubes of ferret paste at about half what I normally pay. Also found a bag of ferret food that has no grains in it, and is all comprised of meat. I dare not tell what I paid for it, because everyone would be shocked at such profligacy, but the truth is nothing is too good for my ferrets.

Here are the magazines I was able to get today. Because I haven't been going into town much, the magazines have been getting snapped up before I get in to the store. I was beginning to think I'd have to order them from the publishers as back issues ,even though some of them have only just been released. I don't know why the grocery store only orders 200 copies, they could sell many more and they don't get billed for any they don't sell.  The manager is a nice guy but he's something of a dolt, as well. The way they've been doing things is always good enough for him.

Be Ready is a Shotgun News Publication, only about a year old.  It's largely oriented towards firearms. You'd expect that though, since firearms and accessories are what Shotgun News is all about

Be Ready is more oriented towards women than most survival magazines. I suppose that makes sense because there are a huge number of women in the community now. Many of them are single moms, with kids. That puts a lot of pressure on a woman because she has no husband to help with all the things that have to be done, and sometimes it means she may not have much disposable income. But it's a big market, and since women like Survival Mom have gained such a following, Shotgun News is trying to tap into that market with Be Ready.  I enjoy reading it because some of the articles are original, about unusual subjects, and that's hard to find in survivalist magazines. Be Ready runs $8.98 plus sales tax.

 This odd magazine was on the rack so I bought a copy. I've never heard of it before, so perhaps this is the first edition or maybe it's a one off.

It has an article about the bizarre show Naked and Afraid, which almost kept me from buying it. But I have a lot of time for reading, and you never know what you'll pick up from the strangest sources.

I've thumbed through it, and on the face of things it doesn't look very good.  However, I saved a lot of money on the cabin I didn't get to rent, so I figured I'd bring it home and give it a second lookover.

It costs $8.98.

Gear Guide is put out by American Survival Guide.

It comes out quarterly, and is basically a sort of Consumers Report for Survivalists.  Much of the equipment, probably the majority of it, is designed for use in the outdoors. I know some people who buy this magazine not for any self sufficiency reasons but because they are hikers, bikers, or in one case, a rock climber.

I can't say I've ever gone out and purchased anything because I saw it in this magazine. But I enjoy looking at all the new technology, and I have seen things that gave me new ideas. Then I went out and bought military surplus gear on line that filled the same function but was much less expensive.

If I had an unlimited budget, I'd buy some of this equipment. As it is, the $8.99 for the magazine is about all I can swing.

 Off Grid is published by the editors of Recoil.

Both are excellent magazines, and if they are a bit more expensive at $9.99 a copy, I think they're both worth it.

Off Grid has a different editorial style and the photography and art work is really good .  They publish writers who are not commonly known in the vastly expanded genre of survival magazines, so it's fresh and different.

They also tend to focus on one particular threat in each magazine, and that makes Off Grid a good addition to your library at home.  Granted, it's largely oriented towards the more active 20 to 30's age group, who are more apt to be bugging out when the SHTF.  But the older, sedentary crowd who are forting up can always find something useful in it.

I know I have talked about these magazines before, but I get emails asking specifics about them so I thought I might fill in some of the gaps in my earlier post.

All things being equal, it's been a good day.  Did a lot of shopping in the kinds of places I enjoy, and on the way home we hit the Grocery Outlet and really stocked up on cheese, canned sausage, canned vegetables, meat, soup, and a host of good things.  We accomplished a lot, we got out of the area for a bit, had a good time, and I got my magazines.  I'm satisfied with that. When Fall comes we'll make reservations at the lake and stay a weekend then.

I almost forgot. Here's the latest on Hurricane Danny, may it stay away from North Georgia!


  1. Is that your little furry buddy sipping some beer?

    1. Nah, I don't take the ferrets on one night trips. I like that picture though, it seems festive and jolly. In reality, I have one ferret who likes Heineken beer, and one that wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. They're like people, very individualistic. If we go to the beach, they go.

  2. Too bad about the cabins. My lovely wife and I lucked out last spring in TN when we booked on-line at a campground. The campground had just gone to an on-line system and the locals were used to just driving up and taking a campsite. They were booked solid for a car race that we didn't know anything about. We had a prime site on a bluff overlooking a 6000 acre lake. Nice.

    I like your magazine and book reviews. They are really helpful. By the way, just started in on "The Egyptian."

    1. That has never happened to me before. We even went to Tybee Island on a 4th of July weekend once, on the spur of the moment, and got a nice place right on the beach for the whole weekend. This time, I just ran out of luck but it turned out ok.

      There used to be just American Survival Guide, then they quit publishing it. Now, you can't keep track of the survival magazines, which I guess says something about how "prepping" is catching on. Good thing too, as I suspect before long at least some people in the country will be taking care of themselves. I've never seen things this messed up. It's enough to make me start reading Revelations again.

      I think you'll like the Egyptian. The protagonist struck me as a real person, flawed, not the typical hero but believable.

  3. Hey Harry,


    I really liked the pic of the Ferret drinking beer.

    I don't like Heiniken beer. Taste like Rotella diesel engine oil. I drink Shiner Bock and old Coors beer in the gold can. I used to drink Molson but everytime I do drink Molson I get this urge to charge up a beach with an Enfield while listening to bagpipes.

    I stayed home since Thursday. I really don't want to be out dealing with people. School starts for the street urchins in Texas on Monday that means the beaches will be cleared until Labor Day weekend and then it will be a mess for three days.

    I sometimes read magazines but I find more enjoyment out of books. I can read reviews online and on youtube about gear.

    I have been looking online at RV's (recreational vehicles) of all types and trailers too.
    I think I may go that route sometime in the future. I may buy an RV and during the winter live in Southeastern Arizona (Yuma) and move to the mountains in the summer to cool down.
    One youtube channel I watch often is Nomadic Fanatic. This guy is fixing up and old RV and enjoying life much more than many other people.

    What will be killing me in future years will be paying homeowners insurance, windstorm insurance, flood insurance and property taxes on a house near the beach.
    Owning an RV may be and option in the future,

    1. CC, I know a fellow here whom I met in the shooting club. He works for a company that assembles conveyor belts all over the United States and Canada. He has a trailer on a small piece of land, but he has a really nice RV as well. On the job, he lives in the RV and saves the per diem they give him for a hotel room and eating in restaurants. When he comes home, he stays in the trailer. Looks like it works out really well to me.

      I read a lot of magazines, both paper and digital. I don't turn my nose up at good books either, but for interest specific material, I find more in magazines and each magazine has some variety. I've bought all the must have survivalist books over the years, and read them. I keep all this stuff for reference.

      I wish I got that channel that had Nomadic Fanatic. The only fix it up channels we get are about houses.

      I don't drink much beer, hardly ever, but I do keep Michelob and Heineken in the house. Jet won't drink beer. Spike will not touch Michelob but will drink as much Heineken as you put down for him in his saucer. I never give him much as I don't want him getting drunk and having a hangover, or falling down the stairs.

    2. Hey Harry,


      Nomadic Fanatic is has a channel on youtube. Just go to youtube and type in Nomadic Fanatic and his videos will come up.

      I was checking RV's out on the youtube channel for Parkway RV center in Ringo Georgia. They get some nice used RV's in.

    3. You mean Ringold , Ga?

      I'll look that Nomadic Fanatic up. That's a subject I've long been interested in.

      I see RV's for sale in town pretty often. I want one that's self propelled, I don't want a truck/trailer combination.

  4. I was going to ask about the ferrets but I see you answered it above. What do you do for multiple night stays? We don't leave often but when we do, like to visit my mom, we have my brother in law feed the cats. When we had indoor cats we could put lots of food and water out for a couple days. What happens with the ferrets?

    1. Kathy, I take the ferrets with me if I am going to be gone more than one night. They have a nice, comfortable travel carrier. They are good travelers and I can let them out to roam around in the back of the Cherokee. When we stay somewhere they are no trouble, they use their potty box and don't tear things up. They like the beach but I can only let them go down there early in the morning when no one is there, because the kids are fascinated by them and soon I have a swarm of kids wanting to hold them and pet them. I don't want them squeezed to death and they don't like crowds.

  5. Sounds like you both had a good time.

    1. Gail, we did have a fine time and it was a productive day as well. It's been a long time, more than two months, since my wife and I were able to spend any time together as she spent the summer up North with my kids. It's good to have her back.

  6. Well it sounds like you had a fun trip even though you didn't get your cabin. Reminds me of that time Paul and I took a road trip in the Midwest thinking we would camp along the way and we got to unknowingly Mount Rushmore right in the middle of Sturgis. We ended up camping in the backyard of a paramedic we met when waiting to pass through a motorcycle accident.

    1. It was really nice to go somewhere together. She's been gone for two months up at the kids.

      Sturgis. Even I have heard of the motorcycle event there. I'm sure everything is booked months in advance, so you were lucky to strike up a relationship with the paramedic so you'd have a place to stay. I had my heart set on a cabin on the lake shore though, and we weren't so far from home that we couldn't just head on back. It was still a fun trip.