Monday, October 20, 2014

Trip Report: River Walk Round 1

Walking the River Round 1

On the other end of the hiking spectrum from the previously reported Goodwater Loop is the Museum Reach of the San Antonio River Walk in San Antonio, Texas. The San Antonio River Walk offers over fifteen miles of continuous paved trails stretching from the Witte Museum in the North to Mission Espada in the South. Given the length of the trail I have decide to break it down into several sections; today's trek was just under 3.75 miles round trip. This trip will focus on the walk from the Pearl Complex to Navarro Street. This trip I was solo, since my wife jenny has to work on weekdays.

The Background:

Location: San Antonio, Texas
Admission: Free
Elevation: 620 to 675ft
Weather: Sunny and lovely, 80 to 85F
Difficulty: Easy

As I touched on earlier, I have decided to break the River Walk into four easily walkable segments. Today we’ll walk the South Museum Reach. This time of year, late October, is fantastic for this walk because all of the flowers are in bloom and the beautiful days are made even better by the occasional wafting aromas. 

Blooms beckoning bees and butterflies
Blooms beckoning bees and butterflies

There are quite a few butterflies and bees enjoying the shrubbery as well, so if you have an allergy an epipen should be part of your gear.


Gear-wise this trip is simple to plan for: Adventure clothes are preferred (but I have made the walk in a suit mid-summer without too much trouble [wife says this is because I'm a crazy person and she recommends cool, breathable clothing]), a reusable water bottle, and sun protection.
Parking can be an issue in San Antonio, with most on-street parking being metered and the city owned garages all being paid, so I like to use the Koehler Garage. The Koehler is free to the public and is in the center of the Pearl Complex with easy access to the River Walk as well as several fantastic restaurants.

The Walk:

Upon walking down to the river you are usually greeted by a cadre of water fowl there just to welcome visitors to the fabulous Museum Reach.

Fowl welcoming party
Fowl welcoming party

The fowl greeting party enjoy gathering at the waterfall below La Gloria, a tapas restaurant at the Pearl, to display their grooming and hunting practices to the curious public.

The lovely waterfall
The lovely waterfall

River taxis run from 9 AM to 9 PM for a fee, if that’s how you would prefer to experience the river, but I really like to walk. The first taxi stop is about two hundred feet down river from the waterfall.
The Pearl and the Museum Reach as a whole are undergoing a lot of development.

Construction work downriver of the Pearl
Construction work downriver of the Pearl

This is not surprising considering that it was just finished in 2009. It can make for a noisy adventure if all of the crews are building on the day you decide to walk, but the construction noise disappears about a third of a mile into the trip just before you come to The Grotto.

Carlos Cortés' Grotto
Carlos Cortés' Grotto

Designed by Carlos Cortés, The Grotto is a unique installation that provides a shaded resting spot for when the sun and heat get to be a little too much. Across from The Grotto is the first example of one of the city’s many faux bois features, a bench. Shortly after that you come across another of the many art installations along this section of the river. F.I.S.H, under the Interstate 35 Bridge, a Donald Lipski creation is best viewed at night when the fish light up.

F.I.S.H. under the Interstate 35 bridge
F.I.S.H. under the Interstate 35 bridge

The next point of interest, one of my favorites, is The Luxury. An outdoor bar and restaurant by Andrew Weissman, The Luxury is put together with shipping containers and gumption with more beers available than I care to count and enough varieties of pork sandwich to sate the most ravenous of adventurer. Security is run by a mating pair of Mallard Ducks who spend much of their time protecting their turf.
Across the river is the San Antonio Museum of Art. SAMA, as it’s called, boasts an array of collections from Contemporary to Ancient Mediterranean, and a few points in between. And just down river from The Luxury is the Jones Street Bridge hosting Sonic Passage, by Bill Fontana. Sonic Passage is an audio installation featuring the sounds of native Texas river wildlife. A short walk after Sonic Passage is VFW Post 76, the oldest post in Texas.

situated nicely on the River Walk
VFW Post 76

At one and a third mile you come across what could be considered the most out-of-place feature of the River Walk: a lock system. The locks allow the river taxis to traverse the elevation change without the worry of downtown flooding with every good downpour.

controlling the flow of water on the River Walk
Locks and dam

Once you cross the lock and carry on downriver an eerie silence falls over the River Walk and for a few hundred feet it’s possible to forget you’re in the seventh most populous city in the union. With the sound of falling water on your back and the smell of wild crape myrtle blooms filling the air, this is my favorite section of the walk and I always think it ends a little too soon.

The Tobin Center For the Performing Arts
The Tobin Center For the Performing Arts

It becomes blatantly apparent you are still in a major metropolitan area as soon as the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts sneaks up from the East. You walk under another example of faux bois to get to the façade of the Tobin Center.

Faux Bois beauty
Faux Bois beauty

From there it’s a quick stroll to the Navarro Street Bridge, which is where I like to walk up to the street and visit one of the best bars in San Antonio, Ocho at Hotel Havana.

The Ocho at Hotel Havana
Ocho at Hotel Havana

After fortifying myself for the trip back to the car I set out on my way. It is possible to carry on down the River Walk to explore Downtown and beyond that to the Missions Reach, but I’ll report on that another day.

Final Thoughts:

The South Museum Reach is a phenomenal way to start training for more involved and demanding adventures or to kill an afternoon. The trail is incredibly easy to walk and is completely handicap accessible. Pets are welcome provided they are on a short leash and their owners pick up any waste deposited. I look forward to chronicling the rest of the River Walk for y’all, hopefully with the rest of the BeeGee crew.

Do you have any favorite River Walk stops?

Dustin Hay

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Training to Hit the Trail

How  to Train for Hiking

There are many reasons why people want to hike and backpack: enjoying nature, staying healthy, aspiring photographer, or fun family event.  Whatever your reason for getting outside, you need to be fit enough to accomplish your objective.  If not, hiking will quickly turn into a military style ruck march where you are miserable, head down, and only worrying about one foot in front of the other.  That is not how the outdoors was meant to be explored.
Start training now to get prepared. Courtesy of Wikimedia
Its time to get in shape to fully enjoy hiking trips. Courtesy of Wikimedia

What Type of Exercise is Hiking?

Hiking and backpacking are primarily aerobic activities (think running and walking), but there are aspects of anaerobic activities as well (think sprinting or weight lifting).  Hiking is an aerobic activity because it is pretty much just walking with a pack on over uneven terrain.  The reason hiking is anaerobic is usually the need for leg power.  You need that leg power to jump across a stream or step up a large rock.

Taking it one-step further, hiking uses almost all of your muscles to a varying degree, but your lower body will have to work the hardest.  Your lower body (quads, hamstrings, glutes, etc.) are the muscles that are going to keep you moving, provide bursts of power, support the weight of your pack, keep you stable, and absorb some impact.  The next set of muscles helping you out is your core (abs and back muscles).  This group of muscles is essential to keeping you up right, stopping you from tumbling over, and helping to support your pack.  The final group and least used is your upper body (arms, chest, upper back, and shoulders).  Your shoulders and upper back will be used the most out of this group by supporting some of the weight of your pack; however, upper body strength is important for things like lifting your pack and other skills required to hike and backpack.


To start with, I will cover the best method for getting in hiking and backpacking shape, which is sport specific training.  Sport specific training is performing the activity to get better at the activity.  This would be putting on a weighted pack and walking over uneven terrain aka going on hikes.  This can be difficult to do with a busy life, living in the city, or if you are just starting to train.  However, I do recommend doing a short hike with a light pack during the weekend as part of your training plan.


For the rest of us who only have a limited amount of time, if any time extra time, is to walk or run daily.  Walking and running are similar to hiking and will increase your base aerobic fitness level, which will carry over to hiking.  If you already running, then keep on running and add short hikes on the weekends. In addition, runners should slowly transition runs to trail running.  This will focus on support and stabilizer muscles as you run over uneven terrain, which will be similar to hiking.  If you are just starting out, start by walking and increasing your mileage slowly.  When you feel healthy enough and capable, start adding a run to your workout routine and increasing the amount of runs gradually.  Plus, you want to do short, easy hikes on your weekends as well.    
Trail running is one of the best exercises besides hiking to get you hiking ready.  Courtesy of Wikimedia
Trail running is one of the best exercises besides hiking to get you hiking ready.  Courtesy of Wikimedia


While working on your cardio is probably the most important, adding some core exercises and resistance training couldn’t hurt.  For the lower body, try weighted lunges and weighted squats.  These two exercises will increase the power of almost every muscle in your lower body.  For the core, try planks, side planks, crunches, and scissor kicks.  Finally, for upper body do tried and true push-ups and pull-ups.  These exercises should be a nice start and mix to get you started and require only limited amount of equipment.  
Squats are one of my favorite lower body exercises and I use them in all my training routines.  Courtesy of Wikimedia
Squats are one of my favorite lower body exercises and I use them in all my training routines.  Courtesy of Wikimedia


Flexibility is a huge issue for hikers and backpackers and as most of us try to create a stable platform while hiking with little movement.  This is because moving too far out of the normal range of motion with a pack on can cause injuries.  In addition, stiff muscles after a long day’s hike are less fun than loose muscles.  Moreover, flexible muscles are better able to handle jerks and weird movements without becoming injured. 

To increase flexibility it is important to get a good warm up and stretch before you start hiking.  Also, you need a nice cool down and stretch at the end of the day when you are done hiking.  It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to add a few stretches in on your hiking breaks.   My final recommendation would be yoga; do yoga once a week at your house or sign up for a class.  Either way it will be a huge benefit to your flexibility and overall comfort level out on the trails. 

Final Thoughts

While I am no expert and you should always check with your doctor before starting new physical activities, this article should get you started in the right direction as far as training.  The key is, it’s not exactly what you do it’s that you are active and having fun.  If you are active and enjoying yourself, it will all eventually come together to create great hiking trips.

What are you doing to train for your upcoming hiking or backpacking trips?  Also, if you like the blog, please follow us on Facebook.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Recipe: Salami and Cheese Tacos

Quick Lunch Recipe: Salami and Cheese Tacos

Today we have another quick recipe and one of my favorites, salami and cheese tacos.  I never make hot meals for lunch and try to spend my entire lunchtime break just relaxing or napping.  BeeGee agrees with that sentiment and will instantly nap after she has her lunch snack.  This is why I lean to cold, quick lunch recipes. 
courtesy of Olympic Provisions
This is my go to classic Italian salami courtesy of Olympic Provisions

Salami and other cured meats make great hiking foods because they can be carried a long time without going bad.  It is how meat was preserved before refrigeration, so it has been product tested for at least a few hundred years.  The same is true most hard cheeses.  The “harder” the cheese, the less water the cheese contains; therefore, hard cheeses can be carried just as long as cured meats without needing refrigeration.  However, once you cut into your salami or cheese, they will usually go bad much quicker.  This is because bacteria and other germs have been introduced into the food.  I personally keep my cut salami and cheese for about 2 extra days (if it last that long!), but remember I don’t necessarily know what is best for you.  So keep meats and cheeses as long as you feel it’s safe.
by Cabot
A solid extra sharp cheddar cheese by Cabot


2 oz. salami
2 oz. hard cheese (I like extra sharp cheddar)
1 tortilla
Optional: your choice of condiment (I like a spicy mustard)


Salami:  salami has around 100 calories per ounce.  In addition, there are no carbohydrates, 7ish grams of fat, and 6ish grams of protein.  Fat and protein are going to provide long-term fuel and the materials to keep muscles going.

Cheese:  Using extra sharp cheddar as an example, cheese has around 110 calories per ounce.  Also, there are no carbohydrates, 9ish grams of fat and 7ish grams of protein.  Just like with salami, fat and protein are going to provide long-term fuel and the materials to keep muscles going.

Tortilla:  There are a lot of options for tortillas, but 1 tortilla will have about 100 calories.  Plus, there are 14ish grams carbohydrates, 0 grams fat, and 5ish grams proteins.  Most of our short-term energy is going to come from carbohydrates, but complex carbs can also supply longer-term fuel.    

At Home

There is nothing to do at home except make sure your salami, cheese, tortillas, and condiments make it into your pack.

On the Trail

The first step is to get all your lunch materials laid out.  Second, you want to slice about 2 oz. of salami, but this will vary depending on the size of your tortillas.  Next, either slice or cube your cheese.  Now add your cheese and salami to your tortilla.  Then, if you are using a condiment, go ahead and add it to the mix.  Last, eat that bad boy and enjoy.

Final Thoughts

Salami and cheese tacos are a great lunchtime meal with the added benefit of being quick, easy, and not messy.  Moreover, it has a good amount of calories for how much it weighs.  Furthermore, it is extremely customizable.  There are so many types of salamis, cheeses, and tortillas, which make endless combinations.

If you’ve ever had a salami and cheese taco, what is your preferred variation?  Also, if you like the blog, please follow us on Facebook.
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Trip Report: Mach Picchu, Peru

Our Honeymoon Trip to Peru and Machu Picchu

Well, to everybody out there, I’m Linda, Jarrett’s wife, and BeeGee’s other special person (maybe).  I’ll explain why you hardly hear from me (other than this is BeeGee’s & Jarrett’s blog) towards the end of the post. Today we are posting about our trip to Machu Picchu, an Incan city more than 500 years old in the mountains of Peru.  Jarrett and I went there for our honey moon back in January of 2013.   Unfortunately, traveling to South America with BeeGee would have been difficult, so she stayed with a friend while we went on this trip.  These are the Machu Picchu’s quick stats:

                        Country: Peru
Documents Needed: For U.S. citizens traveling through the country for 90 days or less, a U.S. passport (
Method of Access: Unless you do the 10 day or 3 day Inca trails, then you have to take a train ride, followed by a bus ride.
Recommended Articles for the Journey: Plenty of drinking water to last you for at least four hours, comfortable shoes, sunglasses with good UV protection, and adventure clothes (which is our fancy term for comfortable clothes)
Elevation: 7,972 feet (2,430 m)
First, why did we go there?  Well, I’m very sensitive to cold weather.  Maybe it’s because I grew up spoiled by South Texas and South Padre Island, or maybe I’m a wimp, but in either case, I hate the cold.  So, when we decided to have a late December wedding, we thought a trip to South America would be the best for our enjoyment.  After all, during North America’s winter, South America is enjoying its summer. 

Also, Jarrett and I LOVE archaeological finds. We also took a class on Latin American history back in college, where our Peruvian professor constantly reminisced about his home country.  Therefore, Peru seemed like the obvious choice for our honeymoon. 

Anyway, I know this is an outdoors and sports blog, so let me explain to you what our tour guide told us when we arrived at Aguas Calientes:  “No one climbs from Aguas Calientes to both the top of Machu Picchu and to the ancient bridge on the same day.” This statement is false.  I’ll tell you what shape you need to be in to climb from Aguas Calientes (town of principal access to the site): You need to be able to walk for a couple of miles, and probably be acclimated to the high altitude.  With this minimal amount of endurance, you can make it to both the top of the mountain and to the Inca bridge. That’s it.
Waiting for a bus
The base of Machu Picchu

How am I sure that minimal shape is required?  I hadn’t run or walked in about two months prior to us climbing. I had never been an athlete, but I constantly tried to prepare to do 5Ks, only I kept getting injuring my legs when I came close to the 5Ks.  I would have to stop running for a few months before I could start back up again. Back in October of 2012, I had one of these injuries, so I was not sure I could make it to the top of Machu Picchu, much less to the top and to the Inca bridge.

Jarrett, being the constant coach and cheerleader that he is, said we could climb and just see how far we could get, and if I needed to stop, we would stop climbing.  Keeping this in mind, we began walking up the narrow paths.  First we walked through the official entrance:

Heading through a stone archway
Heading through a stone archway

As we continued climbing up, our tour guide was kind enough to take pictures of us with great views behind us:
Jarrett and I with a full view of the Incan City behind us
Jarrett and I with a full view of the Incan City behind us

We encountered marvelous vegetation:
on Machu Picchu
Local Vegetation 

Jarrett made a few friends:
with llamas
Making new friends with llamas
on Machu Picchu
A possible place of worship

The image above shows what could’ve been a place of worship.  The hallowed squares might have held sculptures of Incan deities.  Our tour guide, as you can see, was very dedicated to preserving Peru’s heritage.  He constantly called out people who were standing on delicate archaeological stones.

on Machu Picchu
Terraces used for farming

This image shows the farming system used by the Incans.  They grew their crops in those narrow green areas which appear to be huge stairways.  This was their way of making the most use out of their environment.
on Macgu Picchu
Great view and terraces running down the mountain

When I mentioned you need to be acclimated to the heights before going up Machu Picchu, I meant it.  Even though Jarrett and I had just spent our last few days in Cuzco, a city with a higher elevation than Machu Picchu, the climb became difficult for me at one point.  I felt tired, looked at the mountains behind us in this picture, and asked Jarrett “Is it just me, or did that mountain just move?”  Apparently, I had experienced my first case of vertigo.  We rested for a few moments after that, before continuing our journey to the summit.

This was probably a place of animal sacrifice:  

Possible site of animal sacrifice

Finally, we made it to the summit:
at Machu Picchu
On Top of the Sun Gate

After a short break at the top, we decided we could still make it to the Inca bridge before the site closed.  As we began walking there, we saw a rainbow:
at Machu Picchu
Mountain Rainbow at Machu Picchu

I think we only encountered one tourist coming from the bridge as we went to it.  It’s not a busy path at all, but you do need to be careful to watch your step, because this is what you’re traveling through:

at Machu Picchu
An original Incan Bridge

Finally, we made it as close as you can make it to the actual bridge.  It is so fragile now that no one can go through it.  Can you see it in the background, as Jarrett looks at it?
Jarrett looking at the bridge

As we prepared to leave, a park ranger came to check for any lingering tourists.  We were very glad to have been able to see the whole site before having to leave.  I don’t think we’ll ever forget it.

a shot of the mountains in the distance
Full view of the Incan City of Machu Picchu

Finally, I wasn’t going to get into this, but after Jarrett suggested I write this post, I ran across a reminder that today is World Arthritis Day.  Remember that constant injury I kept getting as I prepared for 5Ks I mentioned earlier?  Well, in 2013, a few months after our honeymoon, I went to an orthopedist.  He quickly realized my leg and foot issues were not bone issues and ran some tests.  Following an argument with my Primary Care Provider, who unfortunately was not as educated about autoimmune disorders, so that she would run more tests (as you know, the U.S. healthcare system is a mess), I was referred to a rheumatologist.  By July 2013, at 26 years old, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. 

I’m still learning to adapt to this condition.  There’s no point in letting it defeat me.  It is progressive, but fortunately mine was caught relatively early, so my overall prognosis looks good.  However, this disease involves constant pain and requires some modifications.  I cannot run anymore, and every time I’ve tried to get back to just walking, my feet and legs start giving me issues again. 

Jarrett, however, does not let me give up.  He encourages me by taking me and BeeGee and another special somebody out to walk.  Hopefully, slowly but surely, I can return to having adventures with him and BeeGee in the future. My goal is to one day be able to do the 10-day Machu Picchu trail.

What are your thoughts on Peru and Machu Picchu? Also, if you like the blog, please follow us on Facebook.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Gear List: Emergency Repair Kit

What's in my Emergency Repair Kit

Today’s post I will be sharing a part of my gear list.  While, I am not an extreme weight watcher when packing my gear, I do try to keep my total weight low while being functional.  The same is true for my gear repair kit.  Fortunately, I have never had to make a repair with my current kit, but I have used its similar components throughout my outdoor and Army life.

includes duct tape, needle, thread, super glue, safety pins, and patches
My Gear Repair Kit

Gear Repair Kit

Here are the contents of my repair kit and their weight in grams.  For those of you who like ounces, it weighs approximately 2.5 oz.  If you noticed the weights are not precise, it is because my little scale is only sensitive down to .01 kilograms or 10 grams, but this should be close enough for such tiny gear. 

Duct Tape
Safety Pins
Super Glue
Tenacious Patches
Stuff Sack
Total Weight:

Duct Tape - duct tape is a very versatile item and is part of my first aid kit and repair kit.  I cut 2-inch sections of straw and wrapped 24 inches of tape around the straw or you can get it pre-rolled.  Duct tape can be used to hold together a blown out shoe (I have fixed boots like this on Army hikes), a quick repair on tears or rips, or hold items together.  Plus, duct tape is waterproof, so it can be used on waterproof items for temporary fixes.   

Safety Pins – safety pins are an essential part of a field sewing kit.  The main use for safety pins is to hold fabric together while you are sewing.  Other uses would be holding together broken zippers or hanging up wet clothes on a line.

Needle and Thread – I carry two needles wrapped in a small amount of duct tape, so I’m not stabbed when I reach my hand in my repair kit.  In addition, I carry one small roll of thread; however, many people carry only floss instead of thread and floss.  Needles and thread can be used to sew up any rips and tears or reattach buttons.  Moreover, needles can be used to remove splinters or pop blisters. 
includes 2 needles, 1 roll of thread, and 4 safety pins
A close up of my small sewing kit

Super Glue – I carry one single serving tube of super glue in my repair kit.  Super glue is similar to duct tape and can be used to repair almost anything.  It can be used to seal seams, hold together blown out shoes, or mike minor repairs to broken gear.

Tenacious Patch KitTenacious Patches come with multiple precut circle patches.  The patches can be applied to any material, but I keep them in case I need to repair my sleeping bag or sleeping pad.  I consider those two items high priority, and the adhesive patches are the best method I have found to make an airtight patch with no sticky residue.   

Stuff Sack – The stuff sack has no function in the repair kit other than It keeps my repair kit and first kit together.  

Supplemental Items

Knife - while my knife is not specifically in a part of my repair kit, it is essential for making repairs.  If any item needs to be cut, you need a knife or scissors to get the job done.

Rope - I always carry a little extra nylon rope for tie downs and hanging my food to keep animals away.  However, it can also be used in gear repair.  Rope can be used as a belt, shoelaces, or to hold items together.

Possible Future Additions

There are a few additions I would like to make to my kit, but I always seem to forget about when I’m ordering off Amazon or in a store that will have the items.  Hopefully I will remember to pick them up before I learn the hard way.

Zip Ties – zip ties are plastic fasteners used to hold two items together.   Possible uses include securing a pack to your frame after a rip, make shift shoelaces, and holding a broken buckle together.

Fabric Tape – fabric tape is a quick way to make repairs to cloth items without sewing.  Fabric tape permanently fuses with the material it is applied too.  Also, It is important to get a non-iron version to make field repairs easy (it is not recommend to hike with an iron).  Fabric tape can be used to repair rips and tears in non-waterproof items such as pants. 

Silicone Glue - silicone glue is a type of glue used to seal and waterproof seams.  If there is a rip in your rain gear or waterproof section of your tent, use a sew kit to repair the damage.  Then you seal the new seam with silicone glue to ensure that section is still water proof. 

Final Thoughts

While, I can't tell you exactly what you need in you repair kit because everyone has different gear, I do highly recommend carrying at least some type of repair kit. It is true that the kit will be rarely used, but it will make a much better trip if you have at least some items available to make repairs.

What are you carrying in your gear repair kit? Also, if you like the blog, please follow us on Facebook.

Jarrett Morgan
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Changes to Adventures With BeeGee

A Few Changes to Adventures With BeeGee
Today Adventures With BeeGee has three big announcements all rolled into one post.  The first exciting change is a new web address for the blog.  The second and third are Jack and Dustin have decided to join Team Adventures With BeeGee officially.  So look forward for more exciting content a new address by two great authors!

Introducing the New Website
Tomorrow, Thursday, Adventures With BeeGee will change its web address.  The new address will be a little shorter,  However, if you use the old address, it will still get you to the blog.  I hope the shorter address makes it a little easier for everyone to remember.  Also, if you can’t get to the blog on Thursday, it is most likely because I am in the process of switching over.  I hope you will forgive any annoyances with the switch and keep coming back.

Introducing Jack
Hi everyone.  My name is Jack Morgan and I am Jarrett's younger brother by seven years. I don't like the outdoors as much as BeeGee does, but I do love being outside very much. I am from the Austin, Texas area. I currently work at a hardware store selling firearms and lumber. In addition, I go to school for code welding. Plus, I spend most of my outdoors time playing paintball, mostly at Petty’s Paintball. I lean more towards the extreme sports like shooting, skateboarding, and paintball but still love camping and a good hike. I'm looking forward to being able to go on sweet adventures with BeeGee in the future because it’s always much more fun when you are able to do things with family and friends. #teammate
he is an animal lover
Jack petting an escaped kangaroo at Busch Gardens

Introducing Dustin
My wife jenny and I have been residents of San Antonio, Texas since 2012 and, like my cousin; have spent a few years in an extremely humid environment. In my case, it was Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Having grown up in South Central Texas, I'm used to the heat here. While I truly enjoy all of the physical exertion of any outdoor activity, my favorite part of any trip is getting outfitted with the stuff I think I might need. Rarely are what I think I need and what I actually need the same thing, but I'm sure under the tutelage of Jarrett that will quickly be remedied.

Looking stylish
Dustin and Jenny

If you have any thoughts or suggestions for the future, don't hesitate to share. Also, if you like the blog, please follow us on Facebook.

Jarrett Morgan

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Gear Review: Pyle Pedal Sound 3-in-1 Waterproof Bluetooth Bicycle Speaker

Pyle Pedal Sound 3-in-1 Waterproof Bluetooth Bicycle Speaker Gear Review

The Background:

If you’re going to ride a bicycle, safety should always be the first thing on your mind. The Pyle Pedal Sound 3-in-1 Waterproof Bluetooth Bicycle Speaker, with Built-in Mic for Call Answering, Power Bank and Flashlight is a great way to make sure you never walk out of your door without your headlamp again.

Following all of the rules of the road is a must. But asking other drivers to do the same and be fully attentive while behind the wheel of a car is a luxury you can’t assume. Visibility and cutting the number of distractions are your best weapons against your potential assassins, and the Pyle Pedal Sound 3-in-1 Waterproof Bluetooth Bicycle Speaker, with Built-in Mic for Call Answering, Power Bank and Flashlight gives you plenty visibility and its speaker keeps those pesky earbuds out of both of your ears. (Available directly from the manufacturer here) This was another Woot purchase for me and the waiting for it to come on sale was well worth the price difference.

small size with a lot of features
The Plye Pedal 3 in 1 mounted: small size with a lot of features

I bought it mainly for the speaker. I like to listen to music while I pedal and my phone is not loud enough without using headphones. The Huffington Post story linked here gives a few figures to illustrate why the use of earbuds is not the best of ideas while biking or walking.

The Design and Features:

After it arrived I was very pleased with the size and weight of the Pyle Pedal Sound 3-in-1 Waterproof Bluetooth Bicycle Speaker, with Built-in Mic for Call Answering, Power Bank and Flashlight, (that is quite a mouthful the third time around. I call mine Gerry) at 1.5” by 6.1” and just under two thirds of a pound (0.63 lbs to be exact), it is solid and feels lighter in the hand than the previously reviewed K-3 Due’. Gerry has good sound that can be heard easily over moderate road noise and wind. I have also started using it as a shower speaker since it’s so much louder than my phone. Despite what Gerry’s given name suggests, it is not waterproof. It is rated at IPX4 which means it’s tested to resist splashing water from any direction, but not to be fully submerged. The flashlight has four settings: dim, bright, slow strobe, and quick strobe. The bright setting is luminous enough to reveal hazards better than most other headlamps I’ve used (and I use an additional cheap flasher to make myself more noticeable to motorists). Pairing Gerry to my phone was simple and the connection is stable to about ten feet.

about the length of a dollar
The length of the Plye Pedal: about the length of a dollar

On the battery life front, Gerry is purported to have a ten hour playback time, but I have not put that to the test in one sitting. It does seem to rarely need charging when used as a shower speaker. I have tested the life of the light on bright and it ran for just under 4 hours and 20 minutes continuously. The call answer feature is a nice added touch by Pyle, the voice quality on my end is good enough and there have been no complaints from the people on the other end. The one feature I have not put to the test is the 2300mah power bank, my hesitation behind that being that there is no external means to gauge the battery level of the device. When the speaker is being used, there is an audible beep that gets more frequent as the battery drains, but that doesn’t help if you fully drain the battery to charge your phone without the speaker on.

In addition to all of the above the Pedal Sound is sturdy; it has taken a few tumbles with me on the bike and hasn’t missed a beat. It also comes with an oddly versatile handlebar mount that fits my Duracell 500 lumen flashlight comfortably.

 used to increase visibility
A standard flashlight using the same mount: used to increase visibility

Gerry does have a few idiosyncrasies: the charging of the device is odd by modern standards given that it charges with a usb to usb cable, so you’ll have to carry yet another cord with you if you want to charge it on the go. It makes sense if you take into account that the LED bulb head plugs into a usb receiver and the power bank feature had to be shoved into such a small package; it still seems weird though. The LED bulb head has to be popped off in an odd manner to reveal the usb in/output. It’s kind of like popping a bottle cap off with an opener.

the LED bulb popped off to access the input/output connector
The charging cable and the LED bulb popped off to access the input/output connector

The Brass of It:

Pros- It’s a quality all-weather Bluetooth speaker, a four setting headlight, a Bluetooth call answerer, and a 2300 mah power bank. The speaker is loud and clear, the light is brighter than I expected it would be, and it is compact enough to pack with you on the trails while backpacking. On our backpacking trip around Lake Georgetown it played the music that made the last three miles of Jarrett’s and my fifteen mile day fly by.

Cons- As I mentioned earlier, there is not an external power gauge to provide the peace of mind that your headlight will have the juice to get you home in the dark.


The Pyle Pedal Sound 3-in-1 Waterproof Bluetooth Bicycle Speaker, with Built-in Mic for Call Answering, Power Bank and Flashlight does just about everything but scramble eggs, which given Pyle’s wide selection of products is likely something they are working on. It is not only a crucial safety device but the icing on the cake that is any outdoor adventure. Just remember to be respectful of the noise pollution on the trails, some people don’t appreciate Ke$ha bettering their outdoor experience as much as I do.

Let us if you have ever used the Plye Pedal and what you've got mounted to your bike.  Also, if you like the blog, please follow us on Facebook.

Dustin H.
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