2021 Week 24 – What’s That Noise?

That’s what I said when the 17-Year Cicada Brood hatched last week in the tree line next to my house. It’s louder than I remember but luckily goes quiet at night so we can still sleep with the windows open. On the other hand it’s becoming impossible to keep the car clean!

As I prepare for a couple of big road trips this summer I broke out the Garmin InReach Mini so I could get it updated and re-activated. This little thing is amazing and offers some piece of mind when your travels take you to areas with little, or no, cell coverage. The InReach Mini fits in the palm of your hand and offers Two-Way Messaging, Interactive SOS Alerts, & Location Sharing using the GEOS Satellite network. You can also track your routes and mark positions such as Points of Interest, and campsites/trail heads.

The companion Garmin Earthmate app uses your phone as a GPS display and messaging tool. It connects to the InReach Mini via Bluetooth and allows you to use the keyboard and screen of the mobile phone to send/receive/read messages. Monthly cost is around $35 and you can enable/disable it at will so you’re not paying for it when you don’t need it. I highly recommend something like this for peace of mind for both yourself and those that want to make sure you’re OK on your adventures.

And finally, as a HUGE fan of Top Gear (the original one, not the spinoffs) and the Grand Tour, I was happy to see Jeremy Clarkson hosting a new show on Amazon Prime Video. But this one has a twist. He’s now a farmer! He purchased a 1000 acre plot of land a while ago (probably with thoughts of retiring there) and he’s been put in a position where he’s going to try & farm it himself. Well if you know anything about the Top Gear guys, you have an idea where this might be headed…

2021 Week 23 – Wool T-Shirts?

Like him or not Guy Fiedi’s Diners Drive-ins and Drives has done a lot to help mom and pop shops all over the country. I try & keep track of the interesting ones I see when I watch the show but after 30+ seasons it’s impossible. An upcoming trip made me search for it and I was happy I found a Map of all the restaurants covered in the show. There are other lists out there. In fact Food Network has one but its not nearly as organized as the one above.

I’m a gear head when it comes to the outdoors and a fan of Marino Wool socks that keep my feet dry and comfortable. A recent gear guide (I forget which one) was promoting Marino Wool T-Shirts and I decided to get one and try it out. Made from a lightweight merino wool blend that wicks sweat and dries quickly the Icebreaker T-Shirt is super comfortable and works as advertised. I plan on adding a few more to my closet this year.

And finally, this YouTube couple got an amazing behind the scenes tour of the Indy 500, it’s a great watch!

2021 Week 22 – Camping Do Over

May last camping trip was a wash out so I decided to try it again last weekend. This time there was no rain but the temps were a lot higher. I decided to take a different route, bypassing the I-69 construction, and wound my way south through Jasper and Ferdinand, Indiana

Ferdinand has a monastery similar to the one down the road in St Meinrad. But this one has a brewery and food! I stopped in for a late lunch of Pizza and Beer. While not they best pizza I’ve ever had it hit the spot, especially with the Sister Betty Blonde Ale I washed it down with.

After lunch I decided to finish out my last 9-holes of Disc Golf at St Meinrad. I expected to see a lot more people on the course being a Saturday but was pleasantly supersized the crowd was more like a week day. There was no need to rush and I was able to enjoy a nice round.

The Indian-Celina Lake Campground I like to test equipment at is just inside the Central time zone. In fact it’s so close my electronic devices (and car) will constantly switch back and fourth between time zones. I’ve started wearing an analog watch (Citizen ProMaster Diver with EcoDrive) to make sure I know the actual time. The Citizen is a great watch that uses the sun to keep itself charged. It also keeps amazingly accurate time. I think I’ve only corrected it twice the entire time I’ve owned it. This thing is built like a tank and it’s a nice change from the Apple Watch I wear during the week.

Another item I tested out last weekend was an Exped MegaMat sleeping pad. I bought the MegaMat last October but had yet to take it out to try it in the real world. It’s been great to lounge around on in the house over the winter but it really shines outside in a tent. The MegaMat comes in several sizes and I opted for the XL (extra long) version since I like to stretch out.

One really nice feature about the MegaMat is it self inflates. After you unroll and open the main valve it takes about 15-20 minutes to get to about 95% of where I like it. I can then take the manual pump that’s included to top it off and make it perfect.

This sleeping pad is thick and a little bulky so it’s only really good for car camping or a very short hike to the campsite. It feels like a memory foam bed when you’re laying on it and if you’re a side sleeper you’ll be happy to know it’s supportive enough to keep your hip from digging into the ground. It was worth every penny and I would not hesitate to purchase it again.

I have another camping trip planned in a couple of weeks and I’m gearing up for a trip to the Allegheny National Forrest this summer. So look forward to more trip reports and gear reviews throughout the year.

2021 Week 18 – Outdoor Activities

It’s getting close to camping season! The parks are starting to open back up and reservations are becoming available. I’m hoping to hit my southern Indiana favorite Indian Celina North Face Campground soon to shake down some new gear. It’s not a fancy campground but it’s clean and usually really quiet. I also discovered a Disc Golf course at the Saint Meinrad Archabbey 25-minutes away from camp so that’s going to be a must-visit.

Also this week I give you the “Porks & Rec” Tenderloin sandwich at Big Lug Canteen in Nora. Recommended by my good friend Rick from The Tenderloin Guy. Dressed with all my favorites, Lettuce, Onion, Tomato, Mayo & Mustard. Served with a side of herbed mayo that was excellent on the waffle fries I ordered as my side.

Keeping this post a little short because it’s already past due to be published. Look for more pics and reviews in the coming weeks!

2021 Week 17 – Snow Day!

We just had 2-3” of snow hit the Indianapolis region last Tuesday evening.  Snow, in Indy, in April, is not that uncommon.  In fact according to weather.com we have a 10-20% chance for snow in April.  The average date for the last snowfall is March 19 and the latest snowfall ever recorded was May 9, 1923

I finally ate at Loughmiller’s Pub & Eatery on West Washington in Indianapolis last week. I was out for a lunchtime walk and decided to stop in. They had a decent lunch crowd with a lot of people (at least around me) from out of town. The menu had a nice variety and the service was very good. I enjoyed the Skillet Burger which is an open faced sandwich on Texas Toast covered in house made chili and cheddar-jack cheese. Crinkle fries were included and were cooked and seasoned perfectly. The gentleman next to me ordered the Fish & Chips and they looked amazing (he really liked them too). That’s a reason to go back!

Finally, we had some amazing weather yesterday so I took advantage and drove up to Morse Beach in Noblesville to check out their Disc Golf course. It’s a 9-basket course but they have 2 Tee Pads for each hole for a total of 18 holes. You basically make 2 rounds. It was more challenging than I was expecting and is considered a “beginner” course. Either way it was a great way to spend a few hours outside getting some much needed exercise.