Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Camping World Hurricane Harvey Clothing Collection Alert

Just a quick alert that all the Camping World Superstores are collecting clothes for Hurricane Harvey victims. Thousands of south Texas residents have lost everything and need your help. Click HERE to find a Camping World Superstore near you. Also, Camping World is accepting Red Cross monetary donations at each store.  Camping World will match all donations up to $2,000,000 until Labor Day.  So give now and donate those clothes for Hurricane Harvey victims.

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

National Park Water Bottle Ban Reversed

Update this weekend - The Trump Administration has reversed the Obama ban on bottled water in our National Parks to reduce plastic litter.  The bottle water industry has lobbied hard to get this over  turned.  Looks like they have succeeded.

Click HERE of a NPR article on the ban reversal. Click HERE for another article. 

I have always used refillable water bottles like AVEX water bottles.  But there have been times when I did not have my AVEX bottle with me.  When I used a purchased bottled water I always packed out the empty bottle.

Until next time be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

National Park Deferred Maintenance Tops $11 Billion

America's National Park System is one our national treasures.  Visitors from all over the world come to visit our 417 National Parks. The Parks are operated and maintained by just over 19,000 employees.  Because of the huge backlog of deferred maintenance at National parks ,the entry fees are going up as is the Senior (Over 65) lifetime pass.  The current cost of the lifetime pass is $10.00 until August 28 when the fee will be $80.00.  So if you are over 65 and you want a pass, you need to act now.  Click HERE to go to the National Park webpage where you can purchase your pass online or visit your closest National Park to purchase.  For the third year in a row, the National Park System broke attendance records with 331 million visitors.
Since the Park System started keeping records in 1904, more than 13 Billion visitors have enjoyed the American National parks.  With that many visitors, our parks are under sever stress to keep the parks safe and beautiful.  That is why funding the deferred maintenance budget is very important.  Just take Florida for example.  The deferred maintenance funding is estimated to exceed $273,000,000.  Just the other day an email was circulated notifying Floridians that the visitor fees at the Everglades were going up.  The fees are going up because of the $78,000,000 in deferred maintenance.  I did a little research and number crunching.

The Everglades National Park gets about 1,000,000 visitors a year.  The fee increases depending on category are from $4.00-$5.00 each.  Many of the fee categories remain unchanged.  See the fee changes below.  Even if all of the $30.00 fee for a Private vehicle 7-day pass went to deferred maintenance at the Everglades National Park, there is not enough money to go around.

The solution to the huge National Park deferred maintenance shortfall is for Congress to fully fund the maintenance of our amazing National Parks System.  Just take a few billion from the Department of Defenses' shown below.  Instead of adding $52.8 Billion to the base, just add $31.8 Billion and put the $11.0 Billion in National Parks Service's deferred maintenance budget and do all the backlog work.

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

2017 World Rowing Championships Come to Florida

Not often does Florida host a world championship that will bring thousands athletes from 60 countries to the Sunshine State.

Starting on September 23 through October 1 the World Rowing Championship will come to the Sarasota-Bradenton to the newly developed Nathan Benderson Park.  This park was especially design to host FISA (World Rowing Federation) international rowing competitions.  The park has a 2,000 meter course that meets all FISA criteria.  In fact the Nathan Benderson Park is first FISA-Certified course in America.

FISA has 151 National Federation members, as well as National and International Olympic Committees.  In addition to rowing events, the park can be configured to host kayaking and running events.  

The week of international rowing competitions start on September 23 with the Opening Ceremony at 5:30 PM.  The opening event ends with a great fireworks show.  The Opening Ceremony is free but you will need a ticket to attend the actual competition.  Click Here to visit the 2017 World Rowing Championship web page to purchase tickets.  

Depending where you live, it may be worth while to make hotel reservations right now.  Taking into account the long driving distances from major Florida cities, it will be a very long day for some event visitors who drive from home. Knowing how driving I-75, I-4 and I-95 can be dangerous at times, staying over night at any of Florida's west coast hotels will make one's visit to the 2017  World Rowing Championship a pleasurable event.  If you are planning to stay in the Sarasota-Bradenton area for the whole week, click Here the Visit Sarasota web page and Here for information on vacationing in Bradenton and the Gulf Isles.  With 49 days to go, you do not have much time to plan to attend the 2017  World Rowing Championship.  Hope to see you there.

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Monday, July 17, 2017

New Ice Mule Cooler Backpack at 2017 ICAST

As my anticipation for the start of ICAST nears each year, I try to imagine what new updates I will see.  This year Ice Mule exceeded my expectation because for the past two years, other than new colors and their Pro Cooler with straps, there were no, what I would call a big change.  At this year's ICAST Ice Mule rolled out a backpack cooler.  The new cooler design has thick insulation on all four side of the cooling chamber. The backpack closure is the same design as on all the other Ice Mule Coolers. This cooler has been tested extensively and will keep items cold for an extended period of time.

There are three pockets that have zippers that allow contents to be cooled.  The backpack has a padded waist strap with comfortable backpack straps.  When I tried on the empty backpack cooler it was comfortable to wear. I did have a problem with the waist strap.  I could not close it. I needed  about 6 more inches. That should not be a problem for average sized people. You can see below that the waist strap should fit perfectly. You see my pants belt is more than 6 inches longer than the waist strap on the backpack.

My bad, not a Ice Mule design issue.  I recommended that a waist belt extension be added as an accessory for people with large waste lines like me.  The new Ice Mule Backpack Cooler will be available next year.

I have been using my Ice Mule Cooler for over two years.  I take it everywhere. It works great when I take it into hotels.  It can easily be filled at the ice machine and it rolls up tightly and can fit into your luggage.

A great travel buddy. You can find Ice Mule Coolers on Amazon or other online outdoor recreation outfitters.  Get yours today.

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Soft Science Rocks at 2017 ICAST

When I can, I like to test the outdoor recreation products I blog about.  I have been lucky enough to have tested two different styles of Soft Science outdoor recreation footwear, the Fin and the Durango.  I got my Fins a month or two after the 2016 ICAST from Soft Science.  I have been comparing them to my extended collection of standard Crocs. After testing the Fin along side my Crocs I found that the Fin traction was much better than the Crocs.  I also noticed that the  Trileon sole of the Fin did not seem to wear as fast as my Crocs.  The Fin Trileon sole maintained  its sharp edges where the Crocs started to wear round fairly fast.

While covering a kayak tournament in 2015, I slipped and fell when my Crocs lost traction as I was walking along a canal shooting kayak anglers from the bank.  Now I have not been able to test the Fin in the same environment as my Crocs but next kayak season in 2018 I plan to do that.  Just two week ago, I took a trip to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park where I wore my Fins with socks all day long.  The reason I wore socks is that I have very flat feet with not much arch.  If I plan to walk long distances I need a tighter fitting shoe.  With out socks, the Fin would have been too lose.  The reason for the looseness is that Soft Science footwear are designed to fit with room around one's foot.  Click Here to read about Soft Science.  When on their website, click the Fit Guide to read about their shoe design. It explains about the roomy lose fit.

On the last day of the 2017 ICAST I met Tubby Madden.  He sent me the Fins I got last year.  This year we talked about the Fin he gave me last year and their social media sites.  He gave me a pair of Durangos to test out.  I have been wearing them all weekend.

They fit just like my pair of Fins.  Before I got these, I have been wearing a pair of Vans Slip-On shoes I got for a gift last year almost every day.  Looks like with my Durangos I will be able split the load between these slip-on shoes.

In addition to Fin 2.0 and the Durango, Soft Science came out with the Cruise Canvas pictured above.  Love this style.  If I were to get another pair of Soft Science shoes, it would be a toss up between the Fin 2.0 and the Cruise Canvas.  So the next time you are out shopping and you see Soft Science on display check them out.

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have gave a great day in the great outdoors.