Monday, April 30, 2012

Megafaun "Scorned"

This great number was shot in Greenfield Lake Amphitheater in Wilmington, NC this past April 20th, 2012. These guys just ooze Summer. Sure hope they come to Toronto this year.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Waxed Canvas Panniers.

After enjoying our last S24O, I have decided that I am going to invest in a new set of rear panniers. The panniers I have now are an old Cannondale pair. While they are functional, I have two issues with them.

1. The waterproofing coating really stinks, I am not sure what makes old waterproofing stink so much. Blah!
2. I just find that they are not big enough for my gear. I like to travel in cooler weather and that means some woolens, which tend to be a tad on the bulky side.

I paid a $2 for the Cannondales at a yard sale, so I have gotten my moneys worth for sure! Looking at the panniers below, I am sure I could sew my own, however As much as I like constructing, I enjoy supporting other craftsmen. With being in the market and looking around I am really interested in a set of waxed canvas panniers and prefer made in North America. There are three that have caught my eye thus far, and they are...

1. Frost River's Highway 1 Panniers. $190

They are really nice, I am totally digging the no buckle / piece of stick aspect, while some say fiddling with string might get difficult with gloves on, plastic buckles can break. I love the aspect of the typical "Duluth" style pack, but in pannier form. My only concern is they do not post measurements for the panniers, I have sent a email to inquire.

A Slick looking set of panniers made by a two person operation in Seattle. I love the side pockets and the cut aways for extra heel room. Also really digging the extra external pockets, for quick access to things, and the water bottle pockets is a nice touch.

Again a small cottage brand, with tons of care put into the construction. Again I like the front pocket of these, and the roll top design really seals out water, although it does seal it in as well. These I find look more military than the others, but I still really like them. I have a piece of army kit that looks almost exactly like the front pocket of these panniers. Carsick also makes a set without the pocket in a nice chocolate brown that are also a option?

I know Canada has Arkel Panniers which are top notch, but I am not a huge fan of their design and color choices. What are your options? which of these do you like? Any other recommendations?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

S24O Complete.

As in my previous post you will see that this past weekend my Wife and I completed our first S24O of the season with great success. We left our house around 1 in the afternoon. The late start is an aspect I really dig, being able to get some regular errands done before you leave.. Me: I got wallets cut out and a couple punched, ready for sewing. We were packed and loaded within a half hour and on the bikes. We were heading to Valens Conservation area, about 2.5 hours away through the country. As we arrived the winds were starting to pick up which was fine now that we were off the road, and camp was set up. Trying to keep it as simple as possible is the key for these type of outings. We decided to bring our smaller, single wall MSR "Fling", a futuristic looking sub 4 pound free-standing tent. We were lucky enough to not be expecting any rain even though there was some super low grey skies. Food wise we packed just enough for a small dinner, some snacks, and a couple bars for breakfast. Minimal gear was a cooking pot, headlights, a small Fiskars hatchet, and some little knick knacks. Clothing was the same idea. A change of sock and undies, a sweater and PJ's, that's it. The one non-simple thing I brought was 4 Camp stoves, As I am currently in the works for a field test review of some commercially available wood burning camp stoves. As we got the main fire lite, I was able to tinker around with some of the stove and get some pictures, I was only able to try two stove for the night, as I did want to relax and enjoy being outside. We climbed in the tent around 9pm, and man it was great. I love sleeping in a tent..Nothing like it, hearing the birds and noises. Laura was asleep within 2 mins of shutting her eyes...I wish I was exaggerating, but serious...she was. It got down to around -2*C that night, but all was great in our sleeping bags. I was up at 6 and stoaked the fire back to life to warm the site. As Laura climbed out of the tent around 7, we ate breakfast and broke camp. We were again on the bikes and riding the road by 8:45, and faced with some heavy cold winds. The first 9 km of the ride is across farm fields and the wind was head on. With ice cold toes and cheeks bright red we muscled our way home, and arrived around 11:30. I think that this year will be filled with many of these quick jaunts on our bike. So easy and quick and you really only need one set of panniers or a good backpack. I didn't take much pictures of us out and about, but I did get a neat shot of my bikes wheels with their reflective walls. S24O....try it.

Any other tips out there for making it even easier?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sub 24 Hour Overnight.

This Weekend my Wife and I are hoping to get in our first "Sub 24 Hour Overnight" or "S24O" of the season. The term S24O was introduced to me through Rivendell Bicycle Works a couple years ago. They are essentially quick outings to get out and camp, bringing the bare essential to enjoy the evening and that's it. You typically leave later in the day, ride out to your campsite, relax, hit the hay, then rise early and head home. The fact you can still run errands during the day, makes this kind of camping great for busy people. Just being able to hang out by a fire, sleep in a tent and wake up in a sleeping bag is enough to recharge for the week ahead, and the fact you can squeeze in a couple good bike rides doesn't do any harm either. Take a read of Rivendell's article on it, it explains it a bit better, and get out for a S24O. If your in the Halton area and need a partner drop me an email.

My Trusty Steed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Back From Maine.

Hey Folks, Got back Sunday from our week in Maine. Some of the same sites as last year, as well as many new one. This year we spent a day in North Conway NH. walking around poking in some of the shops. The 5 & 10 cent store is a step back in time. This shop has plenty of small household and gift deadstock items waiting to be picked up. I grabbed a couple Wiffle Ball sets and extra balls for this summer as they are near impossible to find here in Canada.

From NH it was a week in Freeport, Maine. Day trips galore, from shopping and getting injured at Liberty Tools, to hiking to the top and around Bradbury Mt. On average we were out the door 7am, and back at the hotel by 6. Busy days. On Wed we crused into Portland to take in some sights and sea breeze, Portland Dry Goods was fantastic, super nice fellows working there. Prices were great...Danner Stumptown for under $200...say what! We talked for a good chunk of time, one highlight was about the different names for Salvation army thrift stores people use. Here in Canada we grew up calling them Sally-Ann's, and in Portland apparently they call the Sal-Van's.  We ate at a recommended restaurant called Duckfat. The duck fat fried fries were down right amazing, Highly recommended if you are in the area.

Also this year we ventured a couple hours West to Boston. Going from Freeport's small to Boston's crazy was quite a change. Not to mention it was the Red Socks Home opener, the Boston Marathon was coming the following Monday, and the Bruins were playing in the playoffs.  A big thanks to James @10Engines for helping me set up the day while on the move.  He helped guide us in the directions to some of the great stores Boston has to offer. The first store we hit up was Ball & Buck. Wickedly Great shop, nicely selected items for sure. We had a great time talking with the store owner Matt. It was definitely hard to step away and move on,  l grabbed myself a TOPO Designs daypack, some Juniper Ridge Incense, and Military Can opener and a couple other goodies from Matt and finally pulled myself away!

We then headed to Hilton's Tent City. All I can say is Wow!. That is a digging mans store, as you never know what you might unearth there.  As we walked in we were greeted by Javier, who took the next half hour to show us around and some of the rare items on the shelf. It was amazing seeing the old deadstock of items like US made wool lined Woolrich Parkas!?! Come on! I was digging the heavy Carhartt Logger pants with Suspender Buttons...$39, none in my size!. After leaving the store, James emailed and mentioned to check out his special nook of the store where he has a items tucked away. Sorry bro...its still there for you! Next we headed to Bobby's from Boston, Javier just gave us the general area it was and the rest was up to us. We did find it, Great pieces and prices. Unfortunately again none in my size.

The last key destination was Wilderness Workshop. As we meandered over to the store poking in and out of shops and looking at the beautiful brownstones and historical landmarks you can't help to be amazed at the beauty that is Boston. So many intresting building and designs. Wilderness Workshop was nice, unfortunately the basement is a fairly dark atmosphere and the club beat coming from upstairs was little much and took away from the "Wilderness Feel" I was hoping to get. WW had some great items like Archival Clothing's Rucksacks and flap Musettes as well as some nice Yuketen mocs. By the time we got back from Boston, it was 8 pm and we were extremely tired and hit the sac like a bag of bricks!

On Saturday we drove to St. Albans,VT for our last night. Along the way we stopped at as many yard sales and Antique shops as we could. The drive should take about 5.5 hours. It took us almost 9 in total. Below are some of my great finds from our trip to Maine and the surrounding area and back. See you next year Maine!

Scratch Awl.  Paid $1.

Small Rucksack unknown make.  Paid $2.

Military Side bag dated 1955.  Paid $2 with the other bag.

Approx 5'x3' 48 Star Cotton sewn American Flag.  Paid $2.

Flag close up.

Mash bag. $4.

Schrader Valve Balloon Tire Gauge dated 1923 w/ leather case. Paid $1

Kybo Coffee Can..Yup the coffee can where scouting might
have gotten its name for a toilet. $ Free.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Hitting the road tomorrow morning. New Hampshire for a night, then into Freeport for a week and a bit. Gonna hit up Portland, Libery tool, and many others...Stoaked!  Probably won't post till I get back, but updates and tidbits will be in the Damn Yak Twitter feed. Vacationland here we come! 


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Algonquin Canoe Trip

Digging through some pictures trying to find some shots I came across a canoe trip from about 5 years ago. It was Algonquin, I believe in May.  I remember we got to run a river that was only run-able for about two weeks a year, as well we got to see Algonquin's Cripple Creek. And we did sing the song by "The Band". It also started snowing one morning while paddling down some narrows, it was beautiful large flakes falling. Very surreal. There is one picture of my wife that I am sure I would have gotten in trouble if I put up. She was super frustrated after spending 3 hours in a winding creek and after a long portage she took a snapshot of herself with an angry face and snot running out of she could forever capture the anger that I put her through by planning the route.

Our Put In Canoe Lake.

Tom Thomson Totem.


Old Logging Relics.

Easy Portage/Logging Road.

Before The Frustration.

Digging Deep.

A Hare On The Portage.



Starting To Rain, Someone Left "Park Bought" Wood.

It's now pouring, can't dampen our spirits.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Visit to L.L. Bean in 1936

Check out this short home movie from Archie Stewart of Newburgh, New York. It was released by Northeast Historic Film. Although it is a very short film, there is a great shot of L.L. Bean's store front. It amazing to see the size, compared to the massiveness of the store today, which is pretty much a city block. I love how the car is bogged down on one side, and Archie questioning how they will even be able to stuff more "goods" into it. Regular olde gear-heads eh!