Category Archives: Outdoors

The Reactionary Pedestrian

Living On Earth did a segment about the Reactionary Pedestrian. He tried to walk the 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine, and wound up walking 3,000 miles just to get to Georgia. He attempts to walk across the Huey Long Bridge, but is stopped by a Louisiana State Police officer, who told him there is no bridge across the Mississippi in Louisiana that allows pedestrian traffic. He winds up having to take a bus.

He also mentions that on Valentine’s evening, a long row of SUVs could be seen driving down the beach. But he was the only one walking.

He raises a lot of good points.

You can listen to Abner Serd himself (10 minute MP3 or RealAudio), or read a transcript.

Kansas Weather

So, we’ve made it through the Kansas monsoon/unpredictable season. The flooding, tornadoes, lightning damage, hail, etc. stayed mostly south of us this year, though the ice storn hit us hard this winter.

Now it’s time for the boring weather season. The boring weather season occurs when there is no need to give a 7-day forecast because every day is the same. In this case, it’s “Highs in the mid 90s, lows near 70, south winds 10-20 MPH” every day according to the National Weather Service.

Though Friday will shake things up a bit. That day, the winds will be from the south at only 10-15 MPH. Got to keep us on our toes.

The State Park We Didn’t Visit

Near the beautiful Kanpolis State Park, which we did visit, is Mushroom Rock State Park, which we did not visit.

According to my maps, Mushroom Rock State Park consists of the following things:

  1. A rock
  2. A toilet

It’s the smallest state park in Kansas, spanning all of 5 acres. On the official KDWP photo gallery for this state park, we see the following amazing features (titles are quoted word-for-word from the gallery):

  1. Two scans of maps
  2. “One of the Mushroom Rocks”
  3. “Another Mushroom Rock”
  4. “The Mushroom Rock State Park Sign”

And let me tell you, those two maps for the 5-acre area and the photo of the sign really have me excited about this park.

Though it’s sad they didn’t photograph the toilet.

Don’t Live Here

Cliff has a great photo or two in his “why you don’t want to live in Nebraska” series. I never posted photos from our recent Kansas ice storm, so I figured I should show you why you don’t want to live in Kansas, either. These are from our recent ice storm:

First up, the view from our porch:

Read on for more…

Kansas grass is unusually hearty:

Our driveway, after I had cleared all the debris from it:

The side of our house. That thing you see under the icy branches is, ironically, our air conditioner.

We weren’t the only ones with trouble. That power line in the background is holding up that big branch.

Stupid Ice Storm Activities

These are all real.

Local radio station KZSN told people to go to their website to get a list of Red Cross shelters available for people without power, but did not read the list on the air. They then repeated that message several times. Also, to get the list, you have to ignore the giant football on the page, click on school cancelations, scroll to the bottom, then click on shelters.

Burning your house down in an attempt to get some light. This happened to several people.

Going 55MPH on roads that are covered with ice, snow, or both.

Running a gas-powered generator indoors.

Lighting the 1901 Way

After a recent visit to the Coleman factory outlet and museum in Wichita, I was struck by how good the 1901 solution to the lighting problem still works today.

I purchased one of Coleman’s new North Star Dual Fuel lanterns. It costs 5 to 10 cents per hour to operate and can use standard unleaded fuel from any gas station, and puts out the same amount of light as a 75 watt bulb. Battery-powered lights cost roughly 50 cents per hour tooperate and put out far less light.

It was also intriguing for a geek to look at the mechanism, largely unchanged since 1901. The lantern vaporizes the fuel by using heat, then burns that. You pump it up with pressure once an hour, which keeps things moving.