Monday, July 24, 2017

Trip Report: St Edwards Park

Day Hiking St Edwards Park

On June 1st Jack hit me up to do some local day hiking. It's been such a long time since we adventured together, I jumped at the chance.


Background

Info: St. Edwards Park offers 6 trails with two considered the main trails. The park is considered a wilderness gem inside the city and is spread over 80 acres with a creek, pools, small waterfalls. If you want to bring a pet, they are allowed as well.
Address: 7301 Spicewood Springs Rd., Austin 78759
Admission Cost: free
Difficulty: easy to intermediate


The Adventure

We made it out to the trailhead with no issues and took a look at the area map to decide which trails to explore. After deciding we would do a sampling of green and brown trails we headed out.


As we started off, we quickly met a group just socializing in the middle of a trail intersection with multiple little and unleashed dogs. Thankfully, the girls remained calm and we moved past without incident. Not much further, we quickly realized what a hot day it was and it felt like we were hiking in a sauna with all the humidity. As we headed down towards Bull Creek, the trail was muddy in more than a few spots.


We ended up at a small dam, where I walked across to take a few pictures and BeeGee did some wading. Angela hating water wanted no part of it and hung back with Jack. After that, we paralleled the creek for a bit before he intersected the road and used that to cross over the creek. Then it was all uphill on a rocky trail similar to the type of trail I've come to expect in central Texas.


We reached what appeared to be the highest point of the trail after a handful of minutes, which led us to a 4x4 track. Not sure if this was still the Brown trail or access road, we decided to start back down; however, we spotted a side route and took that instead. This turned out to be an amazing decision. After walking a few steep ups and downs, we found ourselves on a ridge trail with a fabulous and picturesque view of the surrounding area.


For me, the view made my entire trip and after soaking it in we started our hike up and back towards the trailhead. There were a few more steep inclines and declines on the way out and at least 1 or 2 guesses on which of the spider web like trails was the way out. We just kept searching for the creek in the lowlands and before we knew it, we were back at the trailhead. This is an area I intend to further explore with BeeGee and Angela, but it will have to wait for cooler weather so can see the entire park in a single go.


Let us know your experience hiking in St Edwards Park and any recommendation on which route to take. Also, if you like the blog follow us on Facebook to keep up to date. 

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Trip Report: Trip to London Part 2



London: Part Deux

This is part 2 of our holiday trip to the UK and London in December 2016 and January 2017. Make sure to check out our London trip part 1 and here is a little background info as a reminder:

Travel Agency: Go-Today
Flight: Delta Airlines
Destination Route: Austin to Atlanta to London
Return Route: London to New York to Austin
Hotel: London House Hotel

Day 3 (Continued)

So last I wrote, Jarrett and I had returned from Bath and Stonehenge.  It had been a long day, and we were EXHAUSTED. Yeah, that’s right.  I’m a millennial and I capitalized a word, because I cannot put enough emphasis into how exhausted we were, particularly me. After a nice dinner at a tiny Moroccan place near the hotel, Jarrett and I headed back to the hotel for a “nap.” It was too late for us to try to get any tickets to view the celebrations by the Thames; the city limits the amount of people that can attend those celebrations with the fancy fireworks, and you have to get them months in advance.  However, we planned on going to Primrose Hill with a bottle of champagne to welcome 2017.

London Eye Fireworks for New Years. From traveljee.com
London Eye Fireworks for New Years. From traveljee.com

Day 4: New Year’s Day

Unfortunately, my nap ended up lasting several hours because next thing I know, I wake up to find that my phone says it’s 1:00 a.m. I elbowed Jarrett to tell him we missed the New Year celebrations, and he replied with a very tired, “I know. I tried waking you up several times, and you kept telling me ‘no’ and falling back asleep.” So, we both then got up, had some leftovers and champagne, and called it a night again.

So there you have it. Yours truly ruined our New Year’s celebration in London.  I don’t think we’ll ever get over that.

Westminster Abbey

When we arrived at Westminster, we saw a long line ahead of us.  Fortunately, the staff at Westminster are very efficient, and we were in the Abbey within 20 minutes.  Knowing there was so much history in this building, Jarrett and I made sure to purchase tickets for a guided tour at the front desk.

from  a stroll by the abbey a few nights before
Westminster Abbey at Night

We are glad we purchased the tickets because our tour guide, a verger, was phenomenal.  He guided us into various chapels where many famous monarchs are interred, including Edward the Confessor and Henry the III.  My favorite chapel though was the one where Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Mary I are located, side by side and across from their great-grandmother, Margaret Beaufort.  However, the big crowds do not allow you to enjoy them peacefully for long.  Fortunately, there are pictures to remember that visit by.  Towards the end of the tour, we saw the tombs of notables such Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.  After the tour ended, Jarrett and I went down to see the most ancient sites within the Abbey. We were hoping for something like the tombs underneath the churches in Italy. Unfortunately, there were not very many for us to see. Nevertheless, the place is magical and I am so glad we got to go inside of it and walk around it several times.

A quick and sneaky photo from inside Westminster Abbey
A quick and sneaky photo from inside Westminster Abbey

Hampton Court Palace

Address: Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU, UK

On the same morning, Jarrett and I boarded the train and headed to Hampton Court Palace.  I am a big Tudor history geek, so it was on my “must” list. The palace is gorgeous and huge; it covers both the Tudor and the George II era.  I regret that we got there in the early afternoon because we needed more time than we had to properly explore the palace.

Inner Courtyard at Hampton Court Palace
Inner Courtyard at Hampton Court Palace

The staff at Hampton Court is spectacular.  During the Christmas season, they have guided tours where the tour guide acts as one of Queen Catherine Parr’s ladies in waiting. At the time, Queen Catherine is at another palace, anxious over King Henry VIII’s declining health.  The tourists follow along as other “noble staff.”  Through the tour, our tour guide tells the staff about the brief history of the palace at the time, all the rumors and intrigues that plagued the court, and all the nugget of historic gems hidden within the palace.

The Great Hall in Hampton Court Palace
The Great Hall in Hampton Court Palace

We toured the Georgian section of the palace individually.  I love art and had to appreciate all the treasures in there, while Jarrett was more interested in the history.  Somehow, we both still managed to finish touring the area.  Unfortunately though, we did not get enough of the palace. By the way, if you go during the winter season, Hampton Court Palace also has an ice rink. Plan accordingly for a great day and night at the palace.

William's State Chamber in the Georgian Apartments
William's State Chamber in the Georgian Appartments

After the palace closed, we headed to town to find a place to eat.  We found Poyntz Arms - Shepherd Neame, a nice and cozy place with excellent food and drinks.  It even has a nice big dog walking around, so for us, it was just perfect. 

Day 5: Warwick Castle

Address: Warwick CV34 4QU, UK
Opened: 1068
Architectural Style: Medieval architecture

Somewhat late in the morning, we boarded the train for Warwick.  I am not as knowledgeable when it comes to The Wars of the Roses, but ever since I watched The White Queen, I also wanted to appreciate the history from that period.  It is also a castle in great condition and I knew Jarrett would love to tour it to see its military prowess. 

Heading into Warwick Castle
Heading into Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle is currently owned by Merlin Entertainments, the company that owns Madam Tussauds. Even before that, the Castle had been sold to Madam Tussauds itself.  It is officially a theme park, and it does an excellent job of showing historical artifacts while at the same time interacting with the tourists. It covers different eras ranging from the 1100s to the 1900s, from William the Conqueror to The Wars of the Roses to the Edwardian Era.  They have guided tours, interactive buttons, screen shows, games, and gardens. 

The town of Warwick below the castle
The town of Warwick below the castle

The Castle exposes you to architecture from across the centuries as well. What stands out to me was the Red Room, which was a formal waiting room; the dining room with its furniture from various exotic places; the main hall, which was actually rebuilt in the 1800s, yet appears medieval; and the motte, believed to be there since the Norman period. It is like traveling in time in one place.

The Motte at Warwick Castle
The Motte at Warwick Castle

The Castle is filled with wax figures from Madame Tussauds, including figures King Henry VIII and his six wives (though that is just because the company had nowhere else to put them).  I think if more museums had the budgets to become theme parks like Warwick Castle, more people would visit them.  Even though it was rainy the entire time we were there, we had a wonderful time.

Wax King Henry VIII and his 6 wives
Wax King Henry VIII and his 6 wives

In the evening, following the Castle’s closure, we headed out to find some food.  It being so early in the year, it was dark pretty early and the town felt eerily desolate.  Jarrett and I managed to find a nice place to eat at though:

The Roebuck Inn


Ancient 1470 hostelry with black beams and white walls serving hand-pulled ales and hearty cooking.
Address: 57 Smith St, Warwick CV34 4HU, UK

I enjoyed the fish and chips; we cannot recall what Jarrett had but it was scrumptious.  We both also discovered Strongbow Dark Fruit, which is flavorsome. We cannot wait for Dark Fruit to make it to the United States.  So, if you find yourself in Warwick, make sure to check out the Roebuck Inn.

The Roebuck Inn in Warwick
The Roebuck Inn in Warwick

Day 6: Magic of London with Afternoon Tea

I am not sure whether I recall the order of the events of this day properly.  However, I will do my best to recall the experience.

Tower of London

Address: St Katharine's & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB, UK
Hours
Monday        10AM–5:30PM
Tuesday        9AM–5:30PM
Wednesday   9AM–5:30PM
Thursday      9AM–5:30PM
Friday           9AM–5:30PM
Saturday      9AM–5:30PM
Sunday        10AM–5:30PM
Built: White Tower: 1078; Inner Ward: 1190s; Re-built: 1285; Wharf expansion: 1377–1399

On our final day, we took our final Premium Tour, Magic of London with Afternoon Tea.  We started the day bright and early with a tour of the Tower of London.  There is so much to see there and such little time!  After a summary tour of the place, including the sites of execution of historical figures such as Anne Boleyn, we joined the line for the Crown Jewels.  You have to get in line as early as you can to see the Crown Jewels because otherwise, you will end up waiting for hours.  The items are magnificent to see, and many had me wondering how in the world monarchs ever wear them. As a history buff, though, I was sad to hear that most original crown jewels were destroyed after the abolition of the monarchy in 1649. So, most of the exhibited jewels only date back to the period after the Restoration of the English monarchy.

The Royal Throne in the Tower of London
The Royal Throne in the Tower of London
After the crown jewels, I headed over to the towers where the Princes in the Tower are said to have been held.  The rest of the tour is now a blur to me. I still regret I did not have time to actually go into The White Tower or into the rooms where Anne Boleyn spent the time leading up to her coronation. 

The Bloody Tower. The murder site of 2 princes in the tower
The Bloody Tower. The murder site of 2 princes in the tower

Walk through the Palaces

Since there was no Changing of the Guard that day, we took a walking tour of London.  We walked by St. James’s Palace and Buckingham Palace.   I will say that having recently watched The Crown, I was able to recognize some places very easily, including Clarence House. 

A glimpse of Clarence House
A glimpse of Clarence House

Cruise along the Thames

Following the walking tour, we took a one-hour cruise along the Thames River. The boat was a modern catamaran with indoor cabins, so it was a nice relief from the cold and wet weather, which our tour guide swore was not London’s typical weather nowadays. I am not sure I can believe him because it was cold and wet the entire time Jarrett and I were there though.  Anyway, it was nice to be indoors, warm and cozy, as we watched the historic city of London. From it, you can see, as the website quotes, “The Houses of Parliament, The London Eye, Shakespeare’s Globe, St. Paul’s, The Shard and The Tower of London and Tower Bridge.”

London from the River Thames
London from the River Thames

Tour of St. Paul’s Cathedral

The tour at St. Paul’s was a little faster than the one at Westminster. It has plenty of gold and marble, and an amazing dome at the very top.  It is such a sight to behold. I am sorry to say though that at this time, I do not recall much of our visit. Probably because it was too short.  Such a shame, considering the rich history of the building.

The Dome inside St Paul's Cathedral
The Dome inside St Paul's Cathedral

Afternoon Tea

Once our tours were done for the day, we went to a restaurant within a hotel for our evening tea.   They served us traditional tea with a great variety of sandwiches, as well as champagne.  It was a great way to end an entire day of tours.

A stop for afternoon tea
The view from Park Plaza Westminster Bridge 

Overall, London and the towns around it offer plenty to see.  So much, that six days was simply not enough.  I definitely recommend it for a vacation.  Just keep in mind that you might need a vacation after that vacation. While you're at it, let us know about your previous experiences or your dream trip to the UK. Also, if you like the blog follow us on Facebook to keep up to date.
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Trip Report: Zip Lost Pines (Video)

Ziping at Zip Lost Pines

A group of us headed to Zip Lost Pines near Bastrop, Texas on May 6, 2017. Zip Lost Pines is an interesting use of the available land and an exciting adventure. Make sure you check out the video below to get an idea of the fun. If you are curious about our previous experience Zipling, check out a previous trip to Zipline Lake Travis Adventure.


Zip Lost Pines Background

Location: 1760 State Highway 71 W, Cedar Creek, TX 78612
Price: $115 per person (frequent Groupons so be on the lookout)
Weather:  Sunny, 85 F
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Website:  https://www.ziplostpines.com

Big Lizard just hanging out
Big Lizard just hanging out

Zip Lost Pines is located near Bastrop, TX (in the Austin area). The tour includes 6 ziplines and every line is a double, so you can race a friend every time. Thankfully, all the zip
line platforms are close together so there isn’t too much hiking required. Zip Lost Pines is new to the scene and open at the end of 2016 and is located on McKinney Roughs, which is a 1,100-acre park owned by LCRA. The park itself covers multiple ecosystems and has some of the central Texas’ only pine trees. Plus, the Colorado River runs through the park.

Main office at Zip Lost Pines
Main office at Zip Lost Pines

The Zips

Our zip tour was at 2:00 pm, and we ended up being around 30 minutes early to account for Austin traffic. Being this early, Linda and I ended up being the first ones there, which gave us plenty of time to sign in, sign waivers, and explore. The facility is new, clean, and climate controlled so you can experience a few more minutes of cool air before heading out on your 3-hour tour. In addition, they are stocked with water, drinks, and snacks if you need something before or after your trip. Finally, everyone showed up, and we ended up on a full tour. Everyone put on their gear, did a short round of standard ziplining training, and we were off to the first zipline.


The interactive map for Zip Lost Pines
The interactive map for Zip Lost Pines

If you have ever zipped before the first line, named Piney Plunge, is a little on the boring side; however, this line is a good for those who are new to ziplining. It is short and slow so you can get a feel for the process. The platform itself isn't too big and the tour good hooks 2 zippers up at once, which adds a decent amount of time to the process. Once the zip is complete, you must hang there a moment while you wait for the guide to use a ladder to get you and your partner down.

The Platform for the first zip
The Platform for the first zip

The second zip, Cactus Corridor, has the tallest platform and a massive spiral staircase. Linda ended up dizzy and feeling horrible after the climb up and unfortunately, her tour ended here. This line is a little longer and a good bit faster, but unlike the name says, I don’t think I spotted any cactus below. Once lowered on the other side, you get the opportunity to walk across 2 rope bridges. There are no gaps in the floor and it’s pretty stable, which made the walk across easy.  It’s also a good time to look out at the surrounding area.

The largest platform at Zip Lost Pines and the start of the second zip
The largest platform at Zip Lost Pines and the start of the second zip

Valley Vista is the third line at 773 feet, the tour finally gets interesting. This line takes you over one of the area’s deepest valleys, which isn’t very deep. The view down is nice and there is a small creek that runs through it and I think I got a quick glance as I flew by.


Looking out to the rope bridges and the Valley Vista platform
Looking out to the rope bridges and the Valley Vista platform

The fourth line is Loblolly Landing, named after the type of pines in the area, at 1074 feet. This line is another spiral staircase and platform, but the view is one the best on the course. There is luscious greenery and you can glimpse the Colorado River. While I was on the platform, eagles were flying overhead and buzzards were just hanging out in nearby trees.


Looking up to the  platform of the 4th zip
Looking up to the  platform of the 4th zip

Horseshoe Highway is second to last a good bit shorter at 535 feet. This line is interesting because you walk through a large horseshoe for luck and then up a fairly steep rope bridge. No shame in using your hands for help with the walk up; I know I did.

Looking through the Horseshoe!
Looking through the Horseshoe!

And last is River Run 1,316 feet and the longest line at Zip Lost Pines. This line has some of the best views and you end up within walking distance of the Colorado River; however, I was unable to see it from our end point.

Looking out and over the final and longest zip
Looking out and over the final and longest zip

Overall, it turned out to be a hot but fun day. I definitely recommend trying Zip Lost Pines out at least once, especially if you live in the area. If you watch their Facebook they frequently have themed events. I know I will be back out there as soon as they start night ziplining.

Let us know your experience with ziplining and your favorite place to go ziplining. Also, if you like the blog follow us on Facebook to keep up to date.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Trip Report: Zombie Apocalypse Live

Zombie Survival at House of Torment

Normally going to a haunted house wouldn’t be the best use of my time, but throw in some zombies and I’m all about it. It turned out to be a fun and amazing trip with my friend David. If you have any interest in a Zombie Apocalypse Live check out their tour dates here.

destroyed car at Austin at House of Torment
Zombie Apocalypse Live Logo

Normally going to a haunted house wouldn’t be the best use of my time, but throw in some zombies and I’m all about it. It turned out to be a fun and amazing trip with my friend David I wasn’t sure what to expect from a zombie haunted house that used CO2 powered laser guns and figured it would be fairly easy with a few cheap scares. But it turned out to be the right amount of intense with a few white-knuckle moments. Unfortunately, they don’t allow photography or videos once you enter the building.

destroyed car at Austin at House of Torment
Crushed VW Bug outside to set the ambiance 

Our time slot was at 7:30 and we arrived 10 minutes before, and staff shuffled us into a line to sign waivers and receive wristbands. There were 3 types of wristbands available: recruit, special, and elite that provide various mission lengths and the amount of ammo. We chose elite, so received ammo reloads at each station and continued our mission into the special ops area.

Zombie running around as we wait for our turn
Zombie running around as we wait for our turn

It wasn’t too much longer before it was our turn to enter the building, just 3 rooms until the excitement began. The rules were explained to us, we picked up our CO2 powered M4s, and we took a man date photo before charging into the unknown.

I snuck a picture in the brightest location. It's a creepy doll under a lamp.
I snuck a picture in the brightest location. It's a creepy doll under a lamp.

David took point and led us into the darkness. Now if you have ever been into a haunted house you can imagine the narrow hallways, small rooms with horror movie settings, strobe lights, darkness, fog, and limited visibility. That is exactly what we experienced except zombies were jumping out and you had to shoot them to make them stop attacking. Each zombie was wearing a headband that would activate and vibrate when they were shot.

David and I pose for a picture right before we head off on our mission.
David and I pose for a picture right before we head off on our mission.

We slowly flowed through rooms and each had a zombie or two that needed to be dispatched quickly, while some zombies seemed even harder to kill and required both of us to take it down. Once you cleared a room, you still weren’t safe as zombies would reanimate and chase you out of their room.

David enjoying a Zombie after we successfully completed our mission.
David enjoying a Zombie after we successfully completed our mission.

At the end of the day, our adventure took us through 2 separate zombie houses, 4 reload points, and ended at a gift shop. It ended up being the perfect length, so that become overwhelmed and stop jumping. If Zombie Apocalypse Live returns next year I will definitely give it another try.

Let me know your experiences with zombie houses. Also, if you like the blog follow us on Facebook to keep up to date.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Trip Review: An After Work Get Away

A Quick Trip to Goodwater Loop


We have been trying to move to a new home over the last few months and for one reason or another, we just haven't been able to make this happen. Our close and move in date just kept getting pushed and this ended up interfering and postponing multiple trips. With Good Friday off, BeeGee and I just couldn’t handle this any more so we headed out Thursday evening.

BeeGee and I take an awkward selfie at the Cedar Breaks Trailhead for Goodwater Loop.
BeeGee and I take an awkward selfie at the Cedar Breaks Trailhead for Goodwater Loop.

Goodwater Loop Day 1

As we arrived at Cedar Breaks Park the sky was already twilight and the park was mostly empty. At the trailhead of Goodwater Loop, we find two fellow backpackers gearing up and they started a little before us. We took just enough time for a trailhead selfie and started on our way. We quickly caught up to the pair of backpackers and they seemed a little weirded out by us following them, so BeeGee and I took a short break and let them get some distance.

The night sky as we started our adventure
The night sky as we started our adventure

Once we were back on the trail, the sun had set and it was very dark out without the moon in the sky yet. We hiked on and gained a new perspective of Goodwater Loop as we had never hiked this much of the trail in the dark. What felt like just a short jaunt, we were at the first creek crossing. Unlike the last time we were here, the water levels looked normal (high water trip). We took a second for BeeGee to splash around and then we were off again.

BeeGee cooling off at a creek crossing
BeeGee cooling off at a creek crossing

As we neared Crockett Garden and Falls, a large creature came charging out of the darkness towards us. It was shocking at first, but instinct kicked in and quickly prepared myself for whatever may lie ahead. I quickly realized it was a cow and moved towards it while clapping and telling it to "get out of here". That mostly worked, but the longhorn had it out for BeeGee while keeping its gaze leveled at her and occasionally stepping towards her. We quickly left that area and made it to Crockett Gardens.

This longhorn wanted to forcibly remove BeeGee from the area, but we were able to slide on by.
This longhorn wanted to forcibly remove BeeGee from the area, but we were able to slide on by.

By this time, it was more than dark enough for me to try out my new headlamp as we neared Cedar Hollow Camps. My Black Diamond Storm Headlamp and its red light was more than enough to navigate with, but I went dark when I heard voices in the woods. It turns out the backpackers BeeGee and I saw earlier were already set up and hanging out.

Crockett Garden at night
Crockett Garden at night

As the time and miles flew by, BeeGee successfully evaded any critters and went un-skunked. We arrived Sawyer Hollow Camp around 23:00 (11 pm) and began setting up. The moon was large and bright, perfect for camp chores and lounging around and relaxing after a long walk.

Yellow flowers along Goodwater Loop
Yellow flowers along Goodwater Loop

After an hour or so of enjoying the outdoors, lake, and moon we jumped inside the tent and went to sleep. Except BeeGee didn’t really sleep the entire night. I left the rain fly open because it was a little warm out and BeeGee spent the entire night just staring out. The few times I woke to check on her, she really seemed to be enjoying herself.

The bright moon was rising above the lake. As seen from our campsite.
The bright moon was rising above the lake. As seen from our campsite.

Goodwater Loop Day 2

Morning came and we broke camp, had a quick breakfast, and prepared for our 8-mile hike out. Before leaving, I noticed the building around the pit toilets collapsed on top of the pit toilets, so cat holes it is from now on. I was also a bad friend and forgot BeeGee’s leash hanging on the tree next to our tent. Thankfully, there weren’t many hikers out and when we found some I’d call BeeGee over and we would step off the trail to let others pass.

A caterpillar was just hanging out on our tent the next morning.
A caterpillar was just hanging out on our tent the next morning. 

The walk out was enjoyable but uneventful and warm. We made it back to the car by noon and headed home. While being a night owl didn’t affect BeeGee on the hike, as soon as we were home she passed out. I was also sleepy and tired but felt so relaxed. This short trip was just what I needed.

Tongues out by Lake Georgetown while we took a little break
Tongues out by Lake Georgetown while we took a little break 

Make sure to leave a comment below telling me about your much-needed trip. Also, if you like the blog follow us on Facebook to keep up to date.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Look Back at Cairn Box Subscription (Videos)

Interested in Cairn Subscription Box?

If you are interested in a Cairn Box subscription, then take a few minutes to watch the videos below before you make your decision. This is a look back at the past 6 months as Jack unboxes his Cairn boxes so you can see "What's in the box?!" If you like what you see, head on over to Carin to try a subscription or just a single box (this is an affiliate link that will earn a commission). If you are interested in Prepper Gear Box check out our 6-month mash up post.


Cairn June 2016


This month’s goodies include: Morakniv Companion knife, Fire Swedish FireSteel 2.0 Scout Firestarter, Epiphany Outdoor Gear Baddest Bee Fire Fuses, and a Chapul Chaco Bar (cricket powder included).

Cairn July 2016


This month’s goodies include: Power Practical lithium 4400 battery pack, Surface Sunscreen SPF 45 Face Stick, and a Picky Bar.

Cairn August 2016


This month’s goodies include: Toaks TiTongs set, Light My Fire Salt & Pepper Plus, Ground 2 Table spice 3 pack, and another Picky Bar.

Cairn September 2016


This month’s goodies include: BS daily tube (a super scarf), Roam App membership, Nite Ize Better Band, All Good SPF 15 lip balm, and a Phive Bar.

Cairn October 2016


This month’s goodies include: Power Practical Luminoodle Light Rope (one of Jarrett’s personal favorite), EasyKlip (pack attachment clip), Loksak (waterproof electronics bag), and a JimmyBar.

Cairn November 2016


This month’s goodies include: Mission Vaporactive boxer briefs (2 pack), Cabin Fever Bandana (it has games on it, i.e. chess board), and a Salazon Chocolate 2-Pack

Cairn Boxes can be pretty hit or miss, but so far there have been a bunch of cool items. Let us know your thoughts on Cairn or another subscription box you like. If you are interested in more videos, then check the Adventures With BeeGee YouTube Channel.


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Monday, March 6, 2017

Food Review: XMRE Blue Line

Yay! Breakfast for Dinner

On our recent trip to Big Bend National Park, I lugged a XMRE Blue Line meal with me until the 2nd night of the backpacking trip. I probably should have eaten it the night before because of its huge size. I was silly and did not check what the meal was and ended up with oatmeal, which is what I had eaten for breakfast at least 3 days prior and was eating it again in the morning.

Jack eating his XMRE on before setting up camp
Jack eating his XMRE on before setting up camp

The Background

These are a civilian line of Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) and the Blue Line is made specifically for government, medical, and educational institutions.

Price: $119.99 per case of 12
Calories: 1,000 to 1,200 a meal
Key Attributes: Extended shelf life, individually bagged, no water needed, self-heating, and provides all utensils

A quick note on the website: at first it seems like a well-designed site, but I’ve found a few issues. If you want to know exactly what meal comes in a case, almost all that information is lost to broken links. In addition, they have a neat feature where you can design your own meals, but the window just closes after 5 seconds, so I was never able to fully try it.

XMRE Blue Line and its bag
XMRE Blue Line


Performance

This is what my Blue Line XMRE contained: plain, but slightly sweetened oatmeal, a bag of dried fruit, a pilot cracker, a packet of grape jelly, and a mocha coffee drink. Just so you know everything comes in a metal lined bag/package.

With this XMRE meal, you add water to the oatmeal, and then you have to heat it up with the provided water-activated heater. I sampled it cold and it was not the best, so I would always recommend heating it up if you have the times. The dried fruit is the same as any old dried fruit in look and taste., so nothing special here. However, for flavor’s sake, I would recommend adding it to the oatmeal. The cracker is extremely dry and hard, but it turned out to be good with the jelly. I definitely wouldn’t recommend eating the cracker without any toppings. The mocha drink was a nice change from just water. It had a good flavor when mixed thoroughly, but it is hard to pour to pour water into the pouch and equally hard to drink out of.

XMRE Case of 12
XMRE Case of 12

Final Thoughts

If you want a civilian MRE clone then this meets the description, but it is on the pricey side so it might be worth shopping around.  Plus, XMREs fill a role for long term food storage and prepping. I would highly discourage anyone from lugging these around while hiking and backpacking.


Giveaway

There was no winner for our last giveaway, so Team Adventures with BeeGee is giving away 12 Steps to a Lighter Pack (linked to our book report) and a GoBites Duo set. Use this book to gain a little knowledge and lighten your load and the GoBites kit is a handy fork/spoon combo

GoBites Duo


Let us know if you enjoy MREs or they are just a necessity and how you plan to use your MREs. Also, if you like the blog follow us on Facebook to keep up to date.
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