Saturday, June 26, 2010

Racked Up n' Inventoried - - Um, is that even a word?

We successfully installed our roof rack on the Matrix the other night - - and although the Thule cargo bag meant to contain up to 17 cubic feet of gear lays, oohh, about 15 inches in length past the rear rail bar, it'll work (fingers crossed).

Our camping trips of the past, were, um, well, excessive in terms of readiness. We've been quite, let's say, thorough in terms of our planning; planning for anything that may possibly be needed. For this latest trip, however, off to Yellowstone with two kids in the car who will need room to breathe, it calls for seriously brutal consolidation measures.

I spent a couple hours in the garage last night running an inventory of sorts. This was a feat in itself, rummaging around FOUR different bins of camping/hiking gear, and although they're highly organized, the sheer volume to sort through was daunting all at once. At least each bin is categorized by types of gear... You can -no, you should- skip this next part- - This is another listing inventory exercise of mine meant for my benefit (I love lists, um, because I'm a total dork that way, amongst other ways):

1) Light-producing/propane/fire-related bin: 2 massive citronella candles, one bug-attracting-killing lantern thingy, box of wooden matches, butane lighter, grilling charcoal, 2 packs of fire starter, spare newspapers stash, 2 pivoting handheld flashlights, 2 LED lanterns, one which has a remote control for inside the tent, 1 propane lantern and a duel-fuel lantern. And we'll be taking only the LED lanterns this trip due to our highly curious, highly assertive sweet potato. Oh, and this bin also holds 2 axes (did I spell that plural right?) and a few bungees for hanging up lanterns.

2) Our 2nd largest bin contains all our cooking supplies: 5 gallon collapsible water container, 1 gallon water container with side handle, two 1-qt containers, 3 collapsible food storage containers with lids, our 'french toast dipping' container with lid, butter container with lid, 8 various teeny-tiny spice/condiment containers (creamer, sugar, flour, french toast spices, ketchup, mustard, mayo and our favorite grilling spice mix), 1 medium sized mixing bowl that our sauce pan with lid sits inside, 2 mess kits, 1 dutch oven, 1 cast iron fry pan, 1 massive non-stick frying pan, a non-stick griddle, 1 splatter screen, 6 roasting sticks, an extra-wide roll of heavy duty aluminum foil, large roll of 1/2 sheet paper towels, 2 mesh mess drawstring bags for hanging up wet and/or dirty dishes, a 6"-deep bin for washing dishes, a 9 cup percolator and a large enamel, 16 cup percolator as well, and and we have enough serving gear for 8 people - - plates, bowls, cups, and mugs, plus a red tool box that holds all our cooking utensils; 2 chef's knives, 2 flat n' 2 rubber spatulas, 2 small whisks, 2 stirring spoons of varying lengths, a small grater, 1 can/bottle opener, various tongs (3), enough nylon flatware for 8 people, a set of kabob skewers, other spices, dish soap, extra matches, an extra butane lighter, small plastic grocery bags and small Ziplocs, and a container for herbal teas and cocoa.

3) Our largest bin holds all our sleeping gear: 2 floor pads, a queen-sized air mattress, 2 uber large, multi-heavy-duty Mexican wool blankets, n' 6 different sleeping bags - yes, 6 for a family of 4... Two of them are meant for below freezing temps. And we have two 'truckers' blankets as well. [BACKGROUND INFO: Early 2001, I'd bought an old Honda Civic hatchback from a trucker who lived in my neighborhood at the time. The car had belonged to his wife, who had also been a trucker. In the car I'd later found two matching, very old, navy, gray n' orange plaid, merino wool throw blankets in the back, but he didn't want them - - they had been he and his wife's car-cuddling blankets, he'd told me, and he asked me to please keep them and use them well. They're very soft and cozy, and one of these blankets was the very blanket the angel boy-O had asked me for, after our first trip to the Santa Monica beach together in 2004. The boy-O slept with that blanket for several months after I'd given it to him. A couple years ago, before a camping trip to Zion, he had suggested, all on his own, that we keep the two blankets together for campfire-cuddling, thus the 'truckers' blankets are now our campfire blankets.

4) This bin contains all our containment/shelter-related gear: A roll of large, black trash bags, other various trash bag sizes, gargantuan Ziploc storage bags to keep things dry, a container filled with various bungee cords, 3 different kids of lashings, some plain old rope, 3 tarps (two 6x9, one 9x12), and our 6-person tent. And there's a red, child-sized, folding camp chair kept in this bin as well. It had been the angel boy-O's chair and now his lil' sissy will be using it. Written along the back in casual hand-type font in yellow print, reads "Little Camper."

We also have 3 other folding camp chairs - - but I'm almost sure we won't have room for them this trip (despite my honey-man's insisting) = I don't imagine we'll really need them, with all our running around Yellowstone during the day, coming back to our campsite for dinner, juggling our lil' pee-wee, getting her to bed, etc. Hmmm... maybe after the kids are out, we could sit n' soak in the forest sounds n' campfire crackle... but we could sit on a log, side-by-side n' do that just as well, and with our campfire-cuddling blankets! For sure we'll be taking the girlie's Kelty pack. Oh, and we should bring the 5-gallon shower bag for easier hand rinsing... And now the random rambling has begun. There's more gear I could list, but I've got other things to do... like write about our sweet potato's vocabulary development!

P.S. I told my honey-man that his juggling pins WILL NOT be coming on this trip... especially when every time he's brought them camping, he only brings them out the very morning we're packing up to leave camp! For the sake of principle alone, he winds up juggling for the 5 minutes before we pull out, just so he can say there was reason to bring them. I love my little clown-man, I mean, mah honey-man.

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