Our Dormobile

Our Dormobile
On the Mojave Road

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Knots from the Overland Expo West 2014

We had a wonderful time at the Overland Expo.  Grace introduced the new Junior Overland Explorer program and taught the class, "I Can Knot, You Will Knot."

Here are some of the knots:

Overhand Knot

 

Slipknot




Figure 8 Knot



Figure 8 in a Bight

This knot is an alternative to the bowline and is used if you need a non-slipping loop.

Two Half-Hitches

We frequently use this for one end of a guy rope on a tent or awning.

Taut-line hitch

We use this at the other end of the guy rope, the loop goes around the tent peg or a tree.  The knot  can slide up and down the guy line to adjust the tension.


Bunt Line Hitch

A bit harder to tie than the two half hitches, it holds better, especially on slippery rope.

More Knots!

If you are interested, here are some resources for further reading:

This is a free, open source book.


A site with good pictures even though it is in Dutch.  Duncan Barbour suggested it.



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Southern Utah for Fall Break

We were lucky enough to have 5 nights of permits in the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park during the government shutdown in October.  So, we had to come up with another plan.  We decided to go explore some of the BLM sites in southern Utah.  

As we were not visiting the Maze district, we decided to take our pickup truck and tent, since a 10 hour drive to Utah is very long in the Dormobile.  


 Our first stop was Monument Valley.  We told Grace to act like she was running, since this is the iconic Forest Gump scene.  Grace was perplexed, since she has never seen the movie.
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We spent two nights on Cedar Mesa.  We hiked into Yellow Ruin. 
 




 You can still see the reeds that were tied around the beams in the ruins.  We had never seen this before.



 Thousand year old finger prints.  We just sat there and tried to picture what it was like to build this and live here. 
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You buy guidebooks and the directions are vague at best, so it takes some initiative, many maps, and luck to find the ruins. We hiked up, down, and under in Slickhorn Canyon to try to find the "Perfect Kiva."  After about 3 miles, the sun was starting to set, so we never found it, but did find some other ruins and pictographs.  They were nothing spectacular. 




This ramp was so cool.  It was almost imperceptible, but lead us right out onto the top of the canyon.  Hiking back on the rim was much easier than along the ledges in the canyon.  We marked it on our GPS, so the next time we will hike out to this point and start looking again. 

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The next day we headed over to Comb Ridge to find Over/Under Ruins.  The hike was suppose to be easy and take at most 2 hours.  That is probably true if you find the ruins.  Didn't find what we were looking for, but found some unexcavated ruins, pottery, and pictographs.
 
 Grace with a few of the pictographs.

 The hand print from my Teva's.


 

 We have not been to many unexcavated ruins and we were amazed at how much pottery was there.  Thousands and thousands of pieces.  For the first time, I could understand why people a hundred years ago thought, "It is just one piece" and took some home.  We left it all there for others to see.




 In the next alcove over we found more ruins, and these really cool steps that were carved into the side of the cliff.


Lots of Matates in the stone.

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Southern Utah is such an amazing place.  So many different landscapes.  Around every turn, you find something new.  We decided to explore two of the State Parks and they did not disappoint.






Grace exploring among the Goblins.




One of the trails in Kodachrome Basin State Park.  This park was actually named with Kodak film's permission in the 1950's.
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On Friday morning we found out Bryce Canyon was going to open up at 3pm and Zion National Park was going to open up Saturday at 8am.  Even though our plan was to head home on Friday, we switched gears and stayed another night and went to Bryce Canyon.

 Bryce is one of a kind.  It was very nice and we had most viewpoints to ourselves, since the park had been closed.
 Grace becoming a Junior Ranger at Bryce Canyon.

James and I loved Zion National Park and were excited to share it with Grace.  In the late 90's we did an overnight through hike in the narrows, and despite my fear of heights, I even made it up Angel's Landing.  This trip was a little different.  We had to take a shuttle into the canyon and then were herded between fences at the stops.  I kind of felt like we were being herded at Disneyland.  I spoke to a ranger about this and they told me they have over 3 million visitors a year, so I guess they have to do something.

A window in the famous Zion - Mt. Carmel Highway Tunnel.





Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Overland Expo 2013


 By Grace Howard
Age - 12


I taught at the Overland Expo again this year.  This year I taught by myself (with the help of my parents) and this made it more fun. 



My favorite and most successful class was Knot tying: It's not just for kids.  Amazingly on Friday we had more adults than kids.  We cut 45 ropes and they were all gone by the end of Friday’s class.





On Friday one girl who participated in the class, went home that night and practiced the knots until she knew them and could do them as well as me.  She came back on Saturday and showed me how well she could do the knots.  Then she helped with the class on Saturday!!


We found out on Saturday that Andy Dacey and Duncan Barbour, from the Camel Trophy had been recommending my class.  What a compliment!  

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 Last year Andy and Duncan taught me several knots while building a stationary bridge.  This year I got to help Andy and Duncan build the floating bridge.


Tying up sections of the floating bridge.
The finished floating bridge.

  I got to run the winch for putting the final sections of the floating bridge into place.



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 I also taught a journaling class.  I talked a little about how kids could journal their adventures and then we made Zebra journals.





  I want to teach knot tying again next year, but with different knots.  I hope to see you there!