Category: Camping


2022 Week 49 -The End is Near

It’s December & the year is coming to a close. I’m fortunate to work for a company that closes over the Christmas holiday, and I’m looking forward to 3 weeks of time off before I hit the ground running in 2023. I’m already counting the days until we get back to warmer weather so I can get back out and do more camping. I noticed today when looking at the calendar & there are 53 weeks in 2022 (because Jan 1, 2022, was on a Saturday), so we’ll have to do our year-end recap that week.


If you’ve left the house in the past 3 years you’ve no doubt seen and used a QR Code, most likely in a restaurant, to access a digital menu. QR Codes have been around for years, but it took a pandemic to make them mainstream (like video calls). But How do QR Codes Work? Review Geek has the details. Pro Tip, if you want to generate a QR Code to make it easier for guests to join your wireless network, check this site out.


And finally… Is real Parmigiano Reggiano actually worth the high price? Ethan Chlebowski breaks it down so you can make up your mind (TLDR, It IS!).

2022 Week 45 – Lights Out

transmission tower under gray sky

70-degrees in November? I’ll take it! We had some BIG wind gusts that came through Indiana yesterday, and about half the houses in my neighborhood ended up without power for a little over 5-hours. Luckily I work off laptops and iPads, so I had enough power to get through most of the day using my iPhone as a hotspot. As the sun started to go down, I even broke out the Jackery 500 Portable Station to run a few of my USB Camping lights.

Jackery 500 Portable Station

In September, the Washing Post ran an article titled “Customs officials have copied Americans’ phone data at massive scale.” In it, they detail the breadth of the program and how it’s raised some concerns on Capital Hill. As someone who plans on taking a couple of International trips in the next 12 months, this is a little scary, to say the least.

Contacts, call logs, messages and photos from up to 10,000 travelers’ phones are saved to a government database every year

Washington Post

Although I’m not part of the demographic they are looking at, “individuals who are of a significant law enforcement, counterterrorist, or national security concern,” the fact remains this database exists and appears to have little oversight in its use.


And finally… Ken Block is at it again, this time with a fully electric rally car on the streets of Las Vegas. The electric motor sound is not as pleasing as the turbo-charged gas engine, but the impressive abilities of his latest vehicle almost make up for it.

2022-Week 44 – The Colors!

yellow dry maple

The fall foliage has been amazing this year, and we’ve enjoyed the burst of color in the trees around the house. I took some time off to go camping in my new favorite place, Hardin Ridge (in the Hoosier National Forest). All the loops are closed except for one, and there are minimal amenities, but for only $10 a night, it’s a great deal in a beautiful part of Indiana.

As you can see there was no one around and my campsite was quite large. It dipped down to 40-degrees overnight but I brought the right equipment to keep warm and enjoy the outdoors. I hope to get another stretch of warm weatrher before December so I can make one more trip before putting all the gear away for the winter!


If you were outside on the Northside of Indy last weekend you might have seen and heard a Ford as 5-AT-B Trimotor from 1928 flying around. I didnt get a chance to snap a picture before it left town, but our friends at Shutter and Brushes saw it in Elkhart last Saturday and not only grabbed a few pictures on the tarmac they went inside to take a pic as well! This is a beautifully restored airplane that’s almost 100 years old apears to be traveling around the Midwest selling rides to anyone interested.


And finally… Owl Kitty is back with a new video. This time she joins Tom Cruise in Top Gun!

2022-Week 42 & 43 – Catching Up

leaves hang on rope

I didn’t post last weekend because I was out of town for a wedding (and I forgot due to everything going on). So this week is a catch-up post covering a few things from the past 2 weeks.

The trees are looking quite colorful this week, and I was going to try & go camping this weekend, but most of Indiana is under a Red Flag Warning. This means no fires, and I’m sorry, but my idea of camping is building a nice fire to cook on and sit next to into the evening. I also don’t want to get into a situation where someone else starts a fire and get caught up in it. So because of the burn ban, I decided to stay home and catch up on a few things…


AppleTV

Last week Apple released some updated products, one of which is a new AppleTV. The AppleTV is the hub of our entertainment system (and has been for years), but it’s one fault is a really bad remote control. It’s so bad that I use a Harmony Ultimate remote to control the AppleTV. The last version of the AppleTV had a redesigned remote, but I held off because I had a solution in place. Well, the latest iteration, utilizing USB-C charging and a major processor chip, led me to order the upgrade. I should have a delivery waiting for me in Early November & I’m looking forward to trying out the new remote and increased performance of the AppleTV Hub.


If you love watching food travel shows, you’ll love these resources that help you locate a restaurant you’ve seen on TV. This is especially helpful when you travel, and you’re looking for something different


And finally… It’s a great time to try a new burger. The Jucy Lucy is a cheese stuffed burger that is amazing. I picked up the burger press and waxed paper sheets shown in the video below (I didn’t try them smoked yet) & they turned out PERFECT! I think this is going to be my go-to burger for the forseable future.

2022 Week 35 – We’re Listening

Some of you might remember back in the early 2000’s IndyScan.com used to be a resource page for Radio Scanner enthusiasts. We started small with the Central Indiana area and eventually grew to cover the entire state. We even had a monthly newsletter and conducted regular surveys to get feedback from our visitors. That was a lot of work and before kids. The site went dormant for several years before I brought it back, creating the Blog you’re reading today.

Working from home during Covid-19 and the civil unrest in Downtown Indianapolis last year rekindled my interest in Amateur radio and police scanning.

A LOT has changed in the years since I was active. Then, there were independent radio systems for every agency, and it took a lot of effort to understand how it all worked. Now the State of Indiana has a massive statewide digital system (Called SAFE-T) that’s very impressive and well documented. In addition, Marion, Hamilton, and Madison Counties have combined their own police/fire radio system into a shared digital system that can interface with the State system.

These days all the system details are published online at a site called Radio Reference. When I got out of the hobby years ago, I remember taking my entire database of information and sending it to the guys at Radio Reference, hoping they could use it to help others in the hobby.

SDS100

That old database of frequencies is all but useless now with the implementation of the digital wide-area networks. New systems mean new requirements for listening. In order for me to get back into the hobby, I needed to purchase a Digital Scanner. After some research, I decided on the Uniden SDS100 handheld digital scanner. They also make the SDS200 desk/mobile unit, which I purchased shortly after the SDS100 (I was hooked again).

Since I have my Amateur Radio License, I can legally travel with a scanner. So I’ve taken the SDS100 on many road (and camping) trips and enjoyed the optional GPS unit that auto-tunes the local systems as you travel. Of course, you must program all of this, but that’s part of the fun! The SDS200 stays in the home office, where it can be remotely accessed using the ProScan software I have online and connected to the Web. When you connect to the SDS200, you’ll listen to the same thing I am in real-time.

It’s been great to once again follow along with the local police and fire departments and the state agencies as they do their job protecting the public. A lot has changed in the past 20 years, and the new technology is nothing short of amazing. I’m glad I got back into the hobby!


Keeping with the listening theme… Life in Indy has released three public playlists on Spotify.

These are excellent playlists with a nice mix of Central Indiana artists. Check them out, and let me know what you think!


And finally… Last week I mentioned the Tom Bihn Synic 30 backpack. Well, it was delivered last week, and I’m in the process of giving it a proper shakedown. Initial thoughts are good, very good, and I can honestly say it’s exceeded my expectations thus far. I’ll report back with a more detailed review in a few weeks. Stay tuned!

2022 Week 17 – Road Trip (Part 2)

Welcome back to part-2 of the first camping trip of 2022. Last week we continued south in search of some famous pretzels after both Disc Golf courses we planned to play were too wet…

Tell City is an interesting little river town. However, if you follow the traffic pattern (towards the Ohio River Bridge), you’ll miss the best part of the town, the downtown area. I’d estimate 95% of the traffic traveling on Indiana 66 (The Ohio River Scenic Byway) bypasses Mainstreet and misses a nice part of this little city. Many shops, restaurants, and other locally owned businesses line the 1.5-mile stretch.

I was here for the Tell City Pretzels only to find out they had moved the retail location to the back of a clothing store called “Logos/Scrub Corner.” This must have been a recent move, as Google Maps was still showing the old location (the official website is up to date, though). While cruising Main Street, I spotted a little Bakery and stopped in to check it out. Since it was later in the day, the items had been picked over, but I walked out with a Blueberry Scone and a piece of Coffee Cake with an espresso crumble on top.

Time to head up the road and set up camp. The morning started out clear, but the clouds were building as the day progressed.

Camping in the HNF

Check-in at Indian-Celina is always a smooth process. Of course, it helps to have a reservation, and I always make one to get the spots I like. Firewood is $1 cheaper ($7 a bundle) than years past, so I grabbed 3 to ensure I’d have enough for the evening. The plan was to sit around the fire, enjoy a few pints of my favorite Sun King beer (Orange Vanilla Cream Ale), set up the Short Wave radio, or watch a movie on the iPad Pro.

This trip was the first one where I got to test out the new Gazelle T4 tent. To say this is an upgrade is an understatement. While I loved my previous tent, the Gazelle offers so much more room, and it totally changes the camping experience. There are tradeoffs, though. The T4 is BIG, and it’s HEAVY, but the setup time is only a few minutes, thanks to its hub design. That extra space came in handy as I started to get alerts from Dark Sky about rain in the area. Yep, the weather had turned…

Throughout the week, the weather was showing clear and warm, with a high in the low 70s and a low of 50-degrees. That’s just about perfect camping weather if you ask me. The temps held but the sky decided to open up just in time for dinner. Luckily it was not heavy rain, but it was enough to require shelter well into the early hours. So, after setup and loading everything into the tent to keep it dry, I set off for the local family diner to grab some dinner.

Amish Style food will fill you up. It’s carb and meat-heavy and always has several sweet dessert options. The Schwartz Family Restaurant in Eckerty, IN, is no exception. I’ve passed this place on my way to the campsite several times, but this trip was my first time visiting. You have to be careful about time in this part of Indiana. The campground is in Central Time (Perry County), and the restaurant (Crawford County) is in Eastern Time. I’m glad I left when I did because the restaurant closes at 8 pm and I arrived after 7 pm. The cafeteria-style establishment is VERY clean, and you can tell it’s a favorite of the locals. It’s one of the few places to eat in the area, so they have little competition.

Friday night was Fish night, but I chose the Chicken Tender dinner (meat & 2 sides for $14.99). While they had several pieces of chicken on the steam table, the young lady behind the counter insisted I get some from the fresh batch being cooked in the back. So I chose mashed potatoes/gravy and mac-n-cheese for my two sides.

I had finished my sides before the chicken came out, but I can report it all being very good, and I would not hesitate to re-visit and try several of their other dishes. It’s nice to have this as a dinner option when I don’t feel like cooking at camp. It could be a good breakfast option since they’re open early on the weekends.

The rain didn’t let up until about 2 am, so I set up a little seating area in the Gazelle and hunkered down with a James Bond movie and some podcasts later into the evening.

As you can see, I had plenty of room in the Gazelle and kept warm and dry throughout the night. So if I’m going to be stuck inside, this is the tent to do it in. Next time I need to get my Kelty Noah tarp strung up between the trees to give me a covered area outside the tent.

As usual, the birds were up before dawn chatting with each other, but the rain had stopped, and the temperatures were mild. So I packed up camp and headed out to check on some new camping locations in the area before heading back to Indianapolis.

This was a quick overnight trip, but it was worth it to test the new tent. I wish I had ordered one of these before my Allegheny National Forest trip last year, where we saw rain daily and were pretty miserable by the week’s end. Having a larger shelter makes all the difference, and being able to stand up is a game-changer.

That’s it for this week; thanks for reading. We’ll be back to the normal format next week, but I have some travel plans soon to share.

2022 Week 16 – Road Trip! (Part 1)

The weather has finally warmed up and it’s time to hit the road for the first camping trip of the year. One of my favorite places to camp in Southern Indiana is Indian-Celina Lake, about 25 miles south of French Lick. I prefer National (federal) properties over state properties as the camp sites are spaced out and not on top of each other. I was watching the forecast all week and the weather looked like it was going to be ideal. Of course, things can change…

I-69 is really starting to come together, with only about 20-miles of construction south of 465 remaining. It was a nice drive south towards NSA Crane, through Loogootee on 231, and stopping for Lunch in Jasper. How Jasper is able to support a Sonic Drive-in is beyond me. We can’t seem to get them inside 465 or any of the northern Indianapolis suburbs. Rumor has it Westfield will be getting one soon though. I hope Noblesville (Hamilton Town Center?) or Fishers gets one too, I like the variety of food they have, and its one of the only places you can get a corn dog! The Sonic franchise advertises on TV like they are all over the Indianapolis area but we only have a few.

OK, back to lunch in Jasper. I had a German place and a Pub flagged in Google maps and I felt like some German food. The Schnitzelbank is about as German as you can get in Indiana. Lots of wood trim and wall art, servers in costume, and a pretty extensive menu featuring all the german favorites (along with enough “American” dishes to keep the locals happy).

Since it was lunch, I opted for a German Tenderloin ( breaded tenderloin topped with cheese and crisp bacon) with a side of German Fries (sliced potatoes flattop fried with onions). The tenderloin was more of a fritter but it was decent nonetheless. I don’t recall the bacon and think it might have been forgotten. The fries were outstanding but both items needed salt. The sandwich was already cut in half when it was served, nice touch as it was too big to eat whole without making a mess. For $14 it was a great lunch that I would order again when I’m in the area.

After a filling lunch, it was time to continue the journey down to Ferdinand to check out their Disc Golf Course. Unfortunately, the southern end of the state received a lot more rain than the central region and I arrived at a park with a lot of standing water so Disc Golf was not going to be much fun here. Since I was in the area I decided to grab a Blueberry Ale at the St. Benedict’s Brew Works and consult my notes for other things to do before heading to camp. I like to pin things in Google Maps to make it easier to find things to do when in an area. It comes in handy when plans change & you have some time to kill.

I noted the Ferdinand Fire Tower was just up the road so I decided to take a little drive into the hills to check it out.

After the fire Tower, I decided to check the course conditions at the Saint Meinrad Archabbey disc course down the road and travel some of the back roads in the area. I’m always amazed at what you can find when you get off the main roads. This time was no exception.

LOTS of Chicken Farms in Indiana

Indiana ranks 3rd behind Iowa & Ohio in Chicken production and you can see evidence of that when driving down country roads. Every farm I passed had a similar sign, all related to Perdue Industries.

Not far down the road, I passed another interesting building that looked like it has just finished construction.

After arriving at the Saint Meinrad Archabbey Disc course, I found it to be in a similar situation. A little too wet for me. I still had some time to kill so I proceeded further south to Tell City to purchase some of their famous Pretzels.

To Be Continued… Tune in next week for the rest of the story!

2022 Week 14 – Not All Trees Have Padding

selective focus photography of deer

As the temps start to stabilize, it’s getting closer to camping season. I’ve wanted to purchase a small camper but the logistics of licensing, storing, and towing are a little overwhelming (and expensive) right now. At the minimum, I’d have to upsize my existing vehicle for anything but the tiniest of teardrop trailers, and with the supply chain shortages, everything is very overpriced. The RV industry has had record sales these past few years, so I’m hoping to pick up a used unit for a decent price in a few years. Until then I’ll continue to “car camp” but this year is going to be a little different.

For the past several years I’ve been using an ALPS Mountaineering Phenom 3 Tent. It’s worked well and is pretty easy to set up and tear down. It also has enough room for myself and the gear I want to have handy at night. Several of the trips I’ve taken have been interrupted by rain and inclement weather and being stuck in a small tent while you wait out the rain can get a little old. Enter the Gazelle T4 Hub Tent (T4).

Gazelle T4 Hub Tent

Coming in at $350 the T4 is a reasonably priced option for an 8-foot x 8-foot x 6.5-foot tall tent. It’s supposed to sleep 4 but like all tents, you should cut that in half if you want to be comfortable. The T4 will sleep 2 comfortably with extra room for all your gear. Unfortunately, the Footprint (the piece you put under the tent to protect it from punctures) is not available in the US, but I found a shop in Toronto that sells it. They don’t ship to the US but I’m hoping to be up that way next month, so I’ll be sure to pick one up if I can. Until then I purchased a tarp to use that should get me by.

The T4 is a self-supported tent that has a setup time of approximately 90-seconds (munis Rain Fly that’s supposed to take another 30-seconds). This not only makes it convenient but could come in handy if you get to camp and need to set up in the rain. The size also gives me enough room to sit in my Yeti camp chair and wait out a rainstorm in comfort.

I’m looking forward to using the T4 with my ExPed MegaMat during an upcoming trip and will do a follow-up post about how it worked out. According to Amazon, it should be delivered today!


I’ve lived in my current house since 2005 and prior to 2021, I had maybe 2-3 (very brief) power outages in that time. Since 2021 I’ve had about 6. None have lasted longer than 2 hours, but it seems to be more of an occurrence than ever before. During the last one, I stumbled upon a site that shows power outages across the U.S. (including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico). PowerOutage.US lets you tap on the state and get details for each county. If you have family, or customers, in other areas it’s a good way to see what’s going on during storms, etc. I’m not quite ready to get a generator yet since I have a Jackery 500 that could keep the deep freezer running for a day or so, but the thought has crossed my mind.


And finally, mountain bile riding has come a LONG way since its popularity grew in the early 80s. The video below shows what it takes to win a World Wide competition these days. Watch out for the trees without safety pads, and try not to get motion sickness while viewing this. 🤮



2022 Week 11 – We Were Robbed

It’s been nice being out of the house this week after isolating for a week with Covid. There are weekends when I don’t leave the house but an entire week was tough. On the plus side I was super productive working remotely and actually enjoyed working from the house this time as opposed to when I did in 2021 because everything was closed.


Microsoft FINALLY released their award-winning Flight Simulator last week on their Cloud Gaming platform and it’s even better than I expected.

I’m a huge Flight Sim fan and used to play for hours when I was younger. The latest version takes its imagery from Bing Maps and can replicate real-time weather conditions in your current location. So it’s about as real as you can get while staying firmly planted on the couch. The Bing maps are a little out of date but it’s pretty easy to visually navigate around town and fly to various landmarks in the area.


And finally… I was robbed last night. Robbed of an hour due to Daylight Saving Time (DST). I had JUST gotten used to the sun rising at 7 am and now we’re back to 8 am for a while. I miss the days when Indiana didn’t change times twice a year. We even had a special Time Zone on computers called “Indiana (East)”. It’s still there last time I checked even though it’s not used anymore.


That’s it for this week. I have a camping & disc golf trip scheduled in a couple of weeks. It’s going to be nice playing outside again.

2021 Week 52 – Looks Like We Made It!

It’s the final Sunday of 2021 & it’s time for another Year in Review! I wanted to bring the blog back to life this year and post at least once a week. I missed a few weeks throughout the year, but overall I’m pleased with how I was able to keep things active. Along the way, I kept a list of ideas to discuss, so I should always have some content as I attempt to keep this up in 2022.

The weekly format seems to work well as it allows me to summarize the previous 7-days and add some additional content that appears relevant (or fun). As I did last year, this post will be a summary of the past year. It’s been another wild year with Covid and all the VAX/Boost discussions but we’re in the home stretch. Next Sunday will be the first post of 2022!


January 2021
I turned an old Mac into a Linux machine (and still use it)
President Biden was sworn into office
We had sushi in Fortville
I cooked Mushroom Bourguignon for the first time

February 2021
I shared our family favorite Scalloped Potato Gratin
Started visiting A2Z Cafe again for lunch (Closed on Monday)
The Bon Appetite Test Kitchen falls apart
Clancy’s opens in the garage Food Hall
We visited Indy Tacos

March 2021
Discovered a Vegan Cheeseball that fooled everyone I served it to (AmazeBall)
Dropped Lass Pass for BitWarden (and never looked back)
Hoagies and Hops opens a new location in Fletcher Place (now closing on 12/31)
Life in Indy launches
I start playing Disk Golf (Like Ball Golf only better)

April 2021
We discover J. Kenji Lopez-Alt (although I mentioned him on the Blog in 2010)
My First COVID Vaccination at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Saraga plans to open a store in Castleton (still not open)
Baseball returns and I actually watch it (Go Reds!)
I order a TidByt (it was delivered the day before Christmas, review coming soon)
I finally ate at Loughmiller’s Pub & Eatery (free cookie Monday)
More Disk Golf (I’m hooked)

May 2021
I visit the Gus Grissom Monument In Mitchel, Indiana
Hiking at  Hemlock Cliffs
More Disk Golf at a Monastery in Southern Indiana
I finally try Chris’s Ice Cream And fall in love with their Chorizo Burrito
First camping trip of the year at Indian-Celina Lake Campground

June 2021
Bought a WOOL T-Shirt (and LOVE it)
Who could forget the 17-Year Cicada Brood
Built a Pi Weather Station (use this daily)
More Disk Golf
Travel to Cincy and visit the War Birds Museum, and Jungle Jims, for fathers Day

July 2021
Road Trip to the Allegheny National Forest (So much rain)
Found a proper Beef on Weck at the Bar-Bill Tavern (I have dreams about this sando)
Visited Niagara Falls (nicer than I remember)
Visited the Zippo/Case Museum
FINALLY saw Rock City (only to find out it’s not the one I saw signs for growing up)
Walked the Kinzua Bridge State Park in Kane, PA

August 2021
Reviewed the Termacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller  (this thing works)
Started the Keto diet
Downloaded the Grammarly app (I needed it)
Updated the Blog Theme

October 2021
Reviewed Upland Brewing (Jalapeno Blue Cheese Sauce)
Bought an iPad Pro (FINALLY)
Reviewed Grammarly
Reviewed the 99% Invisible Podcast

September 2021
MORE Disk Golf
Looked at the WP Recipe Maker plugin (too much work)
20 years since 9/11
677,737 American deaths attributed to COVID so far
Visited San Diego

November 2021
Bought a new Apple Watch
Updated my Kindle Paperwhite
Watched the Donut King Documentary
Visited Findlay Market
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden (READ this)
No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald (then READ THIS)

December 2021
We made it up to Condado Tacos at Hamilton Town Center
Checked out the Guggman Haus brewery
Purchased Grammarly (worth the $)
Reviewed the new Kindle paperwhite
The Union Jack Pub MOVED!

So that’s it for 2021. We covered a lot of ground this year and started some new things. The Keto “diet” has turned into more of a “watch those carbs” lifestyle and I’m happy to report I’ve had some moderate success. Disk Golf was something new this year and I really enjoyed playing various courses around the area. San Diego was a nice escape, even though I was there for work, and the Allegheny National Forest was one of the nicest camping trips I’ve had in a while, despite all the rain.

Here’s to another year, and thanks for reading!

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