Camping, Off-Roading, Fishing

The Beast Gets Some Upgrades

Hunter S. Thompson had a line in his book Generation of Swine that went “the days dragged by like dead animals.” I can’t think of a better way to describe these last few weeks. I’m not a fan of December to begin with, and this one has been clipped by the curveball that is COVID-19 to make it even more wretched than usual. The Beast has been having mechanical issues and I’ve been too low on funds to do anything about it on top of everything else.

It hasn’t been all bad however. One of the reasons I’m broke is that I spent all of my money on a badly needed propane heating solution for my camper. I did my reasearch and found that a Camco Olympian Wave 3 catalytic heater was exactly what I needed. They aren’t cheap at a couple hundred bucks apiece, but these heaters are the most economical way to heat a small space like my camper shell. The problem was finding one when I finally had the money to purchase it. They were sold out everywhere, and prices were over 300 dollars for the ones that were available on Amazon and Ebay.

I finally located one from an RV company in Tennessee and placed my order. Of course, I had to throw down on a hose and connecting equiptment, leg stands for portable use, a heater cover (the catalytic pad is sensitive to dust so you have to keep it covered when not in use) and a carbon monoxide detector. My friend Cole hooked me up with a 20 lb tank so that saved me some bucks. All in all it cost me around 350 dollars, but it was a great investment. Now I have the ability to cold camp anywhere I wish and stay warm. I’m going on almost 3 weeks using it an average of 5 hours a night and I’ve still got plenty of gas. I’m loving this little heater!

My heater emits passive radiant heat, so I have to put it right next to me to stay warm. It only warms what’s right in front of it. Since the only place to put it was right next to my cot, I repurposed my portable aluminum table to act as a buffer between the heat and flammable materials behind it. I also got a new weather station to replace the one I lost in the fire. I just love to know what the temperature and humidity is at all times, so getting a replacement weather station really makes me feel like my life is stabilizing somewhat.

This a different model of LaCrosse weather station than the one I had before. This one is more of an alarm clock than a weather station. One huge thing that really stood out to me was that this model comes with a nice Bluetooth speaker, so now I don’t have to watch movies and shows with just the sound from my phone’s internal speaker. This is only a small thing, but it has really made a world of difference in how I enjoy my entertainment.

Another thing I got for my camping rig was another string of remote control lights. I already had one strand up, but it was only long enough to stretch across half of the space I needed it to. It was also in only one color, I wanted to have a whole bunch of different colored lights if I was in the mood for that. Having good lighting is a huge part of making my space comfortable, so it is important that I get it the way that I want it. The lights were only 20 bucks, and I got 100 on a 33 foot string which wrapped all the way around easily.

They also have really crazy strobe light modes as well. If I’m feeling like getting wild I can just sync up both strings and let ‘er rip! It’s nice to be able to have fun with free power from my solar array.

As the year draws down to a close, the seas have become less favorable for fishing due to the predominant swell from the northwest. The fish stocks are pretty depleted by this time of the year as well. Despite this, I decided to go out and fish with my good buddy Beartits a couple of weeks ago. Beartits works as a fishing guide in Alaska in the summers, and inspired me to get a job in the same field. We’ve been friends for a while but I’ve never gone fishing with him.

It’s a mystery why he calls himself Beartits (his real name is Barrett) but one time he punched a bear that stole a fish from him. Maybe that’s where the name originates, I don’t know. Anyways, we went out on a sunny but cold morning. The fish weren’t really biting, but he got a nice ling cod and I caught my personal best canary rock cod. Canaries were illegal to keep until recently, so it’s nice to be able to keep these beauties. I think they are by far the most beautiful and tasty of the rock cod family. It was really large for these local waters, this fish was more the size of the ones you catch down in Big Sur.

We had these plus a handful of small rock cod. More than enough for some fish tacos!

I hope everyone reading this had the best Christmas possible in these trying times. Let’s hope the next year brings a return to normalcy so we can all get on with our lives. Summer seems such a long time away, I sure hope that this virus can get squashed so I can get on up to Alaska. Stay safe out there ya’ll!


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