Backcountry

The Joy Farmer - Christo Johnson

The Joy Farmer - Christo Johnson

As promised, Nomad Ramblings Episode 51 is up - another great nomad conversation.

The intro captures most of my thoughts, but I particularly enjoyed these elements of our talk:

  • Remembering Russell Kelly - Darien, CT native and Telluride adventurer. Russ was an original OG backcountry nomad who passed way too young.

  • Christo’s search for his “tribe”. I think this search is a common thread for nomads - those who roam, either physically or spiritually.

  • Christo’s pursuit of the present moment. For him, the main pathway is paragliding, but I sense it’s a shared goal of many who lead this lifestyle.

So enjoy the conversation and, as always, please feel free to engage the discussion however you see fit.

Nomad Ramblings Episode #50 is up!

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Last year around this time, Brian Galyon (of Colorado Backcountry Adventures) and I started the podcast "Nomad Ramblings: Conversations from the Road." It's a deep dive into our experience roaming the country, living nomadically. We focus on all elements of the journey - physical, emotional, spiritual - talking about how we do it, why we do it, where we do it, and off-the-beaten trail topics.

Along the way, we got voted best podcast of 2019 by the Denver publication, WestWord.

So if podcasts are your thing, if you want to pursue an unconventional life, if you like to party, subscribe and join the conversation!

Here's a list of some of my favorite episodes so far:

  • #12 Redemption from the depths of despair - it's never too late to claim control of your life

  • #18 Mental health and mountains - how they relate to men

  • #23 Influencer Mia Voss talks about how she turned her passion for being a brand ambassador into a career

  • #30 Nicole Jaquis - India Nomad

  • #31 Talking psychedelic therapy - peyote, ayahuasca, and psilocybin

  • #38 Talking loneliness in the backcountry on Valentine's Day

  • #42 Bears Ears campfire conversation

  • #43 Craig talks about how his winter survival experience pushed him past the breaking point

You can find the podcast on most podcast platforms and we've got a dedicated FB group called Nomad Ramblers to foster the podcast community. Make sure you join it if you enjoy the podcast!

PS - As a teaser for my Darien, CT friends - episode #51 will be an interview with paragliding phenomenon, Christo Johnson. We spend a good chunk of time talking about Telluride nomad legend, #RussellKelly. I'm editing that one now. It's gonna be good.

Blind Dog Roux Hikes Off-Leash to Bug Lake

Christmas of 2018 my dog, Roux, went suddenly blind. I was devastated and worried my life on the road would have to change. Encouraged by Brian Galyon of Colorado Backcountry Adventures, I'm committed to documenting my new adventures with Roux. Here's a little video about our recent hike out to Bug Lake in the Adirondacks.

Product Review: the weBoost Home Complete cell phone booster

Product Review: the weBoost Home Complete cell phone booster

The Home Complete specifications are:

  • 4G LTE/3G cell phone signals

  • For areas up to 7,500 square feet

  • For multiple users and multiple carriers

So if you need a cell phone booster for your home or vehicle, I can’t recommend weBoost products enough. It’s not an exaggeration to say that weBoost products kept me alive for this past year.

Video: How to Use the App Libby to Access Library Audio and Kindle Books

Video: How to Use the App Libby to Access Library Audio and Kindle Books

Carry less stuff, but consume more books!

As a perpetual road dawg, I’m always looking for ways to carry less stuff. But I love gettin’ me some book knowledge. What’s Craigy Cakes to do?!

I use the app, Libby!

In this tutorial, I show you how to set up the app with your library, search for audio and ebooks, and send the books to your Kindle or play the audiobook.

I’m never without a stock of great audio or Kindle books to keep my brain occupied. Nor should you be!

Video: Craig versus the driveway

Video: Craig versus the driveway

Slip slidin’ away

I’ve shared in various forms about the challenging driveway here at the off-the-grid ranch, especially now that snow is starting to pile up. Thought I’d give y’all a better look at what I’m dealing with. On my way into town I got surprised with quite a beautiful sight. Check out the video to see what I’m talking about!

Video: Drain Down Procedure at the Off-The-Grid Ranch

Video: Drain Down Procedure at the Off-The-Grid Ranch

How to prevent pipes from bursting if the off-the-grid ranch is left during the winter

One of my tasks as ranch hand is to watch over the place while the owner is gone. Given the ranch is situated far beyond maintained roads, at 9,000 feet, in Gunnison, CO (AKA the icebox of Colorado), it’s reasonable to assume a situation could arise when it would be prudent to jump ship from the ranch:

  • The approach of a monster blizzard that would trap me for a week plus

  • An all-expense paid invitation to tour with the “shorter than 5’7” tall Swedish Bikini Team”

  • A chance to go ski for a week in fluffy pow pow

Review of the weBoost 4G Connect Cell Phone Booster product

Review of the weBoost 4G Connect Cell Phone Booster product

Here I provide a testimonial of how the weBoost 4G Connect cell phone booster dramatically helped improve communications at the off-the-grid ranch, at 9,000 feet in Gunnison, CO. We went from an inconsistent, trace signal in a small location of the deck, to a consistent 2-4 bars of LTE throughout the cabin. Brian Galyon of www.coloradobackcountryadventures.com provided me with the system, but I was under no obligation to promote this product. It's a life-saving product for those off-the-grid.

Video intro to the off-the-grid ranch, the power systems, and my howling dog

Video intro to the off-the-grid ranch, the power systems, and my howling dog

A brief overview of the off-the-grid ranch I'm working at - 103 acres, 5,000 square foot structure, half 3-bay garage, half cabin at 9,000 feet outside of Gunnison, Colorado. I give a little look/see of the power system - 50volt battery system, inverters, a diesel generator. You also get to see my howling dog.

Namaste, bitches.

Pro-tips for the Google Maps App from a power-user

Pro-tips for the Google Maps App from a power-user

In a recent episode of the podcast Nomad Ramblings, #15: TECHNOLOGY AND APPS WE USE, AND PODCASTS WE LISTEN TO, I described some of the deep, very useful features of the Google Maps, namely:

  1. Route Options - how to avoid highways and tollways

  2. Search Along Route - find cheap gas or any other stops along the way

  3. Use GPS coordinates and learn how Google Maps can direct you even when you have no cell signal!!

How I Installed a Deep Cycle Battery in my 2nd Gen Tacoma Engine Compartment

How I Installed a Deep Cycle Battery in my 2nd Gen Tacoma Engine Compartment

It’s hard to overstate the utility of power on the road. As someone who spends a large percentage of his time either in the backcountry or getting from point A to B, charging or powering my gizmos is critical.

  • I charge my computer, phone, and renewable batteries for my headlamp;

  • I power a small fan to stay cool on hot, humid nights;

  • I power lights for my campsite;

  • I charge my friends stuff;

  • I power and charge tools;

  • I’ve even powered a strobe light/disco ball for an impromptu backcountry party.

All while at camp, without having to run my vehicle.

How do I do this? By having installed a deep-cycle battery, which is charged by the alternator, into my engine compartment. I ran wires from that battery into my truck bed, which houses an inverter to grant me access to AC power. It’s a total game changer and this post describes how I did it.

A Quick Glance at an Off-The-Grid Power System at 9,000 Feet

A Quick Glance at an Off-The-Grid Power System at 9,000 Feet

Learning to live with off-the-grid power systems

The OTG ranch presents some unique considerations not required in a grid-tied-in home when doing laundry.

  • Do I have enough solar power?

  • Is last night’s snowfall (about two inches) covering the panels preventing current and near-term battery bank charging?

  • What’s the voltage of the battery bank?

  • If I need more voltage and power, does my need to do laundry justify powering up the diesel generator?

  • If I am getting enough solar charging, what’s the optimum part of the day to incur such a large power demand such as a washer and a drier cycle?

Nomad Ramblings Reporting From The Kansas Cornfields...

Nomad Ramblings Reporting From The Kansas Cornfields...

My bromance from afar with Brian Galyon of Colorado Backcountry Adventures continues. Today I listened to his solo podcast coming from the epic adventure landscape of backcountry…Kansas. (Wut?) From his reporting, I guess it’s true. Check out Episode #14 of Nomad Ramblings in which Brian relays his insider knowledge of how to enjoy the bountiful Kansas wilderness. How? You’ll have to listen to find out.