Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Another Rope Toy Bites the Dust

"That was fun......Where's the next one?"

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Camping with the Scouts

One of the nice things about living here on the west side of Puget Sound is that you can camp in very thick forests without having to go very far. This month we camped at Scenic Beach State Park which is only about 20 minutes away from the church building. Here's a map.
We were camped very close to the Hood Canal. There are many state parks on this waterway and there is so much to do. So far two of the last four camps were on the Hood Canal. I love being by the water. Last month we camped by the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Up there we were camped near the edge of some rocks that apparently reveal some fantastic tide pools at low tide, though we weren't there to see that.

At Scenic Beach the trees are thick and the underbrush would make the area impassible if not for the roads and trails that have been cut through. It would be the ideal area to camp in the heat of summer because there is no shortage of shade and the trees have that cooling quality. We got to the state park before the sun when down. In some of the pictures you can see the sun peeking through, but if not for that it would seem later in the evening than it really is.

So here are the pics:
Here is my new tent again. I guess it looks more at home in the woods than in my living room.

Here is Derek unrolling his sleeping pad.

We finished the night with a rousing game of Chinese Checkers.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


The first time I became interested in getting a ham radio license was when I was in junior high. I bought a study book to help me learn and I studied it for a while, but then started doing other things. That is partly because it became very clear that I wouldn't be able to afford a radio for a loooooonnnnggg time. So last year my little brother Shaun got his license and I became interested again.

Last year after Shaun got his license I tried taking a practice license test. Without any studying, I missed passing by one question, so I thought my chances of passing a real test were pretty good. So I studied more and got ready to take the test, but before I could take it all the craziness of last summer got in the way and we moved to Washington. So now that we are all settled I had time to wrap it up.

One of my main motivations for this is emergency preparedness. Amateur radio emergency services (called ARES and RACES) have been in place almost as long as radio technology and they are indispensable in disaster situations where the communications infrastructure is rendered inoperable. Cell service is more fragile than landline communications and these both rely on the same basic infrastructure (once the cell service is recieved at the cell tower). With a backup power source amateur radios can be operated as stand-alone units or as part of nets with extensive range. That is what makes them so useful for the emergency preparedness role they have assumed. For me one of these radios belongs right alongside the 72-hour kit and food storage at home.

Another interest that I have in this equipment is the ability to use it in the backcountry for fun and emergencies. A handheld unit can be used when backpacking both to contact other amateurs and can be used to call for help when necessary. These also have the capability to use things called repeaters that retransmit your signal so you can talk to people that are far away. They also make some of these for your car that are about the size of a CB radio but have 10-15 times more power for much greater range.

I hope to be buying a handheld radio soon for the 72-hour kit and maybe over the next couple of years it will work out that I can permanently install one in the Landcruiser. Keep a lookout for me on the air.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Jake at the Dog Park

Jake loves the dog park. I know that comes as a surprise to all of you but it's true.
Jake still gets a little nervous when he interacts with other dogs. He'll get over it, but in the meantime I love the nervous ridge that goes all the way from the base of his neck to his tail.I think it's funny how Jake's ears flap in the breeze when he runs. What could be better than a grimy old tennis ball in the mouth?

Here are some scenery pics that I took while we were out. It was a beautiful day.