Tag: Gear

On the Road with Jucy Lucy – Our Experiment with Low Cost RV Rental

I’ve always wanted to rent an RV but every time I looked into the deets I found them crazy expensive to rent. Well, the ones I looked into a required a huge ($2500) deposit. Granted there are better deals if you take some time to look into the best rates for rv rentals, but I stopped looking.

Enter Jucy Campers. You don’t go looking for Jucy, Jucy comes looking for you. By that I mean the lime-green-and-purple paint job is so loud you can hear it two blocks away. The good news is that Jucy RV rates are about what you’d pay for any mini-van, and quite a bit less than most hotels.

Because I’m lazy (hey, my vacation starts NOW) I’ll let Travel Fashion Girl provide the full review. Let’s just say that aside from the relative hassle of picking up an RV from Lawndale, my initial experience with Jucy has been great. The Jucy website recommends taking the Hostel Hopper from LAX, which I sorta did. NOTE: Jucy has a bad link to Hostel Hopper so you’ll need to follow the link above (or google Hostel Hopper). The nice people at the Hopper had know idea that Jucy was referring them, but my lift was prompt, pleasant and cheaper than a taxi.

Getting the Jucy van home and packed was a snap and we’re getting ready to roll out of here. So far the only downside is terrible racket made by the Jucy-provided kitchen gear. I stuffed towels around all the pots and pans and crockery and hopeful it will be a little better than a 5.0 earthquake in a china shop.

You Will Be a Newbie Forever – Mastering Technology

I’ve reached a place in my life where I don’t want to learn one more stoopidly designed interface. Take the Shoretel phone system…please. (Although it’s a big improvement over Rolm phones).

Former Wired editor and technology guru Kevin Kelly explains that the technology we need most is not necessarily the technology that’s available today. Instead, we need to become expert at adapting to the speed and revolution of new technologies as they arise.

The life skill you need most is not the mastery of specific technologies, but mastery of the technium as a whole — how technology in general works. I like to think of this ability to deal with any type of new technology as techno-literacy. To be at ease with the flux of technology in modern-day life you’ll need to speak the language of the technium.

Kelly’s insight yields some surprising fruit. For instance, today’s technology is already obsolete, so don’t buy a gadget until you absolutely need it. Limit your options to avoid overload. Get by with the least amount of technology that works for you.

The Technium – Techno Life Skills

Vibram Five Fingers KSO Trek Review: Running in My “Bear” Feet

Vibram Five Fingers KSO Trek

I’ve been running in Vibram Five Fingers off and on for three years now and they are not the miracle shoes that some would have you believe. For one thing, you won’t win any fashion awards. My college-age daughter won’t be seen with my in public when I’m wearing my Five Fingers. And for another thing, they may not cure everything that ails you. When I finish running I still feel like I’ve been run over by a bulldozer. My knees still hurt – just not as much or for as long as when I’m wearing regular running shoes.

The bottom line is that after three years of use my Classics are starting to wear out and I liked them well enough to cash in my REI dividend and upgrade to a pair of KSO Treks. Here are my first impressions.

Fit and Sizing

I followed Vibram’s sizing recommendations and got size 45 – the same size as my Classics, which are a little too snug. To be clear about this, the KSOs run a little large and a 45 in Treks are like a 46 in Classics.

Because the footbed of Five Fingers cup the heel and toes, these shoes won’t “give” with use. For hiking and running it’s probably better to opt for a little loose rather than a little tight if you’re between sizes.

First Run: On the Dusty Road

The KSOs have a thicker sole and this makes a huge difference on the gravelly trails where I do most of my running. There’s still a chunk of ouch! when you step the wrong way on a stone, but it’s far sight better than the thin soles of the Classics.

Keeping Stuff Out

On their “maiden” run the KSOs lived up to their name – the high cut, firm closure and kangaroo leather uppers really did Keep Stuff Out. The Classics, with their “ballet style” cut and stretchy fabric always ingested a certain amount of dirt. Running in the sand was a good way to grind holes in your feet in a hurry.

Support

I have flat feet and at times tape my arches. The way the KSOs strap up they seem to give a decent amount of arch support.

This is a first impression. So far I’ve put the KSOs through a few miles of trail and a game of Night Ultimate Frisbee, and so far so good. These lightweight runners give you the “barefoot” experience without the pain and suffering of actually going barefoot. The quality and workmanship are excellent.

Order them online from REI:

Apparently I Stink at Blogging

Six months ago I signed up for the Agion “Stink at Nothing” challenge – getting a free t-shirt in the mail that I was supposed to put through a series of rigorous BO experiments.

I’ve worn the shirt repeatedly during exercise and expeditions but I’ve failed to put it to anything I’d call a test – despite repeated nudging from the Agion folks.

For one thing I’m olfactorily-challenged and can’t perform the tests myself. My family is averse to putting their collective nose to anything I shove in their faces.

But I like to honor my commitments so here goes. I promise to stink less at blogging (and more at everything else).

How to Keep a Firm Footing in Icy Weather

yaktrax

There’s nothing worse than going for a morning stroll only to find yourself with the “rubber side up” as they say. Black ice, slippery sidewalks and refrozen snow can be a game-changer for people (like myself) in a certain demographic. I don’t make it to the snow very often, and when I do I’m usually at a conference grounds…which means plenty of opportunity to slip up and fall hard.

Here are some great ways to keep your footing in slippery situations:

Yaktrax (pictured above): These things are great on refrozen snow and slippery pavement. I’ve worn the same pair for four seasons now. Two caveats: take them off indoors, they are very slippery on tile floors. They tend to slip off your feet when walking through drifted snow, but a shoelace “leash” is a low-cost remedy.

Yaktrax Pro

Yaktrax Pro: Mostly the same as regular Yaktrax but with a heavy duty instep strap to keep them on your feet.

stabilicers

Stabilicers: These nonslip soles attach to your boots (see thumbnail above) and come recommended to me by a meter-reader who wore these through a number of seasons and praised them for their traction and durability. Rugged construction with replaceable spikes.

Kathoola MICROspikes

Kathoola MICROspikes: One step below full crampons, Katahoola MICROspikes are the hands-down choice of hikers and trail-runners. The chunky spikes hold well on the trail, but might pose a hazard on smooth concrete. They will also take a bite out of wood steps and decks.

Torture Test: Eddie Bauer® Virtually Unbreakable Water Bottle

Eddie Bauer© Virutally Unbreakable Water Bottle

I love my 32 oz. Eddie Bauer water bottle that I picked up at Target for under seven bucks. Except for the fact that I’m now growing man-boobs, I haven’t had a single probem. No leaks. No breaks. Barely a scratch after a year’s hard use.

But the words “virtually unbreakable” printed on the bottle–that’s like a glove in the face. So, a torture test is in order.

My hypothesis was that filling the bottle with water and dropping it on a rock from 6 ft. would cause the plastic to crack.

1. Drop Test:  We conducted this test unscientifically with a dozen teenagers at the American River. The test consisted of filling the bottle 2/3 of the way with water and dropping it on various rocks and hard surfaces. Result: The Eddie Bauer Nalgene-analog survived without a scratch.

2. High Impact Test:  This test consisted of the Eddie Bauer Lexan bottle, still 2/3 full, hurled with great force at a slab of concrete. We chose Brad to do the hurling because, as Trish noted, “Brad has guns.” Result: the damn bottle fights back! Brad gave the bottle a good 40 mph wallop to the earth. The bottle bounced right back and hit him in the eye. At this point the lid (of the bottle) shattered but the bottle was unharmed.

Crushing an Eddie Bauer Lexan water bottle

3. Jeep Test: This test involved running over the Eddie Bauer hiking bottle with a Jeep Wrangler.  Result: The bottle flattened but was unbroken. You could theoritically hammer it back in shape and be good to guzzle.
Verdict:  Yes, the Eddie Bauer Virtually Unbreakable Water Bottle is virtually unbreakable. The lid, on the other hand, breaks easily on impact probably wouldn’t survive a 30 ft drop.

Flattened Eddie Bauer water bottle