Thursday, September 26, 2013
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Come join the festivities on one of the most beautiful rivers in Alaska, Six Mile Creek. Events include an intense mass-start down river race series AND an extreme inflatable pool-toy race through a class IV canyon, all with easy spectator access.
UPDATED SCHEDULE BELOW!!! There will be micro-brewed beer for volunteers, racers, and bands, food from AJ's Bar-be-que Friday & Saturday, a raffle for some sweet prizes, and some fire-spinning once the sun goes down on Saturday night!
All events, beer, music, & raffle are free, BUT I need to pay the bands, so please plan on donating $20 or more (which helps cover all costs). Please make a donation to the donation box near the beer garden and main stage. This will help pay the bands, set-up costs, and keep the festival COMPLETELY FREE for years to come!!! And hey, where else can you get free festival entry, free boot stompin' live music, free beer, free camping, a free raffle ticket to some killer prizes, and free competition entry for $20 anyways?
DIRECTIONS: Drive 1 hour south of Anchorage on the Seward Highway until your reach the Hope road cut-off. Look for festival signs between mile markers 9 & 10 of Hope Road and turn right into the main festival area. Free camping on site!
PARKING: You can park on the shoulder of the road, but DO NOT park over the white lines or you will be towed. Only kayak racers, band members, and shuttle driving volunteers are allowed to park on the main festival grounds. All other festival goers can either park off the shoulder of the road (you will probably need a truck to do so) OR take the shuttle bus provided, which will be leaving every hour between the main festival grounds & the Hope area. Prepare to arrive early to insure you have a seat on the shuttle bus and to avoid missing music or other events.
* there will be a pull-through "drop off" area at the main festival grounds to drop off your friends, camping gear, etc before shuttling your vehicle to the Hope area. Please car pool if possible. Thanks!
FRIDAY, AUGUST 9th, 2013 at the main festival grounds:
8:00ish pm - Anonymous Inc
10:30 pm - The Dirty Hands
SATURDAY, AUGUST 10th, 2013 at the main festival grounds:
11:00 am : competitor sign-up down at the main festival grounds tent/main stage area, racing bib hand-out
12:30 pm: racers and spectators leave main festival grounds at Boston Bar area and drive back north to the 1st canyon extreme race series site (about 1 mile north of the Seward Highway bridge over Canyon Creek, just before the Hope cut-off road... look for lots of parked cars off the side of the highway at 1:00pm.
1:00 pm : downriver mass-start extreme race through the 3 biggest rapids of the 1st canyon (KAYAK, canoe, inflatable kayak)
1:30 pm: PACK RAFT mass-start extreme race through the 3 biggest rapids of the 1st canyon (pack rafts only)
2:00 pm: INFLATABLE POOL-TOY extreme mass-start race (inflatable pool-toy race...ride an alligator, shark, couch, whatever you want!... (normal whitewater gear is required (aka: drysuit, life jacket, helmet))... pack rafts don't count as an inflatable pool-toy:^
2:30 pm: Backwards race! (ALL river craft!) You go forwards, you're disqualified!
4:00 pm: everyone drives back to main festival area, awards ceremony, bonfire party, micro-brewed beer, AJ's bar-be-que, FREE RAFFLE, & live music begins.
5:00 pm- Overby Family Band
6:30 pm - Big Fat Buddha
9:00 pm - The Gutter Sheiks
11:00 pm - Corrine Rose & Boot
*** Fire spinning ***
Here's a write-up from a few years back:
and a quick racing video:
DIRECTIONS to the racing area: *Competitors & spectators will leave the main festival grounds & drive up the road to the 1st canyon race area just off the Seward Highway about 1 mile north of the Canyon Creek bridge overpass at 1:00p.m. sharp. * There are plenty of free camping spots along the Hope Road if the camping/parking is full at the main festival grounds.
* Please pack in and pack out your own trash. If you have time to help clean up the festival grounds on Sunday, your help will not go unnoticed!
* Cook Inlet Keepers
* Mooses Tooth Brewing Company
* World Kayak
* Susitna Sled & Kayak
* Alaska Raft & Kayak
* Chugach Outdoor Center
* American Whitewater
* Alaska Mountaineering and Hiking
* Bills Distributing
* Knik Canoe & Kayak Club
* Great Harvest Bread Company
******* Any questions please email or if you want to volunteer help please Timmy @ firstname.lastname@example.org *******
**** I need volunteers to help watch over the beer garden (just 30 minutes of your time, then trade with the next person), free beer included! Also needed are kayak race time/score keepers.****
Monday, May 13, 2013
Laurel Andrews of Alaska Dispatch news recently sent me an email asking for an interview on living off-grid on wheels, so I figured why not? The article talks a little bit about what it's been like so far and what a few plans are to come. Not everything is entirely accurate, but it will give you an idea of how this lifestyle works (if you don't know already). Enjoy & here's the link!
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Well, I'm on my way home. It's been an incredible journey across the world to some of the best whitewater kayaking on the planet. The floods sure keep changing the rivers down here, every time I come down here it's like doing a first descent on each river. Here's a short video compilation of our trip. More blog updates soon!!!
Monday, December 17, 2012
You would not BELIEVE the ridiculous amount (and caliber) of people that stalk me in my little Toyota motor home. I’ve had people approach me in coffee shops, grocery stores, bathrooms (you heard it right, bathrooms), restaurants, bars, and even park outside my rig at 1:30a.m. waiting for my return. Most of them ask “Do you have a wood stove in there???” And I say… “Oh shit! My house is on FIRE???? HELP!!!!.......................... just kidding!!!” All jokes aside, yes, I do “have a wood stove in there” and that tiny wood stove is the primary reason I’m surviving my first Alaskan winter in an RV. Oh, I didn't have a chance to take any good winter pictures yet, I'll get on that!
|Quantifying the efficiency of my Kimberly wood stove by weighing & measuring firewood.|
I’ve had a lot of requests for an update on this blog… wish granted. Many folks have emailed and asked if I have abandoned the motor home and fled to the warmth and creature comforts an apartment or house… and I say to them… “Nay, here I hold my mobile ground!” The recent temperatures in Alaska have been unseasonably cold, hovering between -10 and 0 degrees F in the Anchorage area over the past few months. Not only have I made it this far into the winter and been put to the test by the extremely cold temperatures, I have actually enjoyed myself, and have become addicted to the un-conventionalism that has become a way life! To tell the truth, I can’t see myself renting or purchasing a house anytime soon. The way of life on the road is just too much fun and has led me to unique opportunities, people, and experiences, that I otherwise never would have known if I lived in conventional housing.
So… how can I sum up my experience of living full-time, completely off-grid in an RV the past 9 months, through the 1st half of the Alaskan winter??? MOST EXCELLENT! Sure, it’s cold as hell when I wake up in the morning (if I don’t keep my tiny wood stove stoked with firewood all night). Yes, I have to thaw out the ice on the INSIDE of the windows every morning. No, I no longer have running water because I have no reasonable means of keeping my pipes thawed out. And sometimes I get scared in bed and hit my head on the roof at 3:30a.m. when a shotgun randomly goes off inside my camper… except it’s not a shotgun, it’s an exploding can of soda because it’s SO cold that pressurized cans explode.
|Tobias the wolf dog joining his human counterparts on a backcountry ski session in Turnagain Pass, AK.|
Here’s a quick list of my recent (significant) challenges:
1) No running water?
“How does he wash himself and not smell like a dead skunk?”
Solution: Purchase a membership to a local gym. I simply take showers at the gym every day and fill my 4 gallon drinking/cooking/dish water jug there once a week. Yes, I only use 4 gallons of water a week. Embarrassing? No way… I feel good about it. People don’t realize the resources they waste when they take those resources for granted every day.
2) What about a bathroom?
Solution: After my RV’s blackwater tank (toilet wastewater holding tank) froze solid with a 15 gallon poop-sickle (despite heat tape & a heat pad, -50F antifreeze, and rock salt in the tank), I removed the RV toilet and purchased and installed a miniature flushing porta-potty (Camco 5.3 gallon from Sportsmans Warehouse) in the RV toilets place. It holds 5 gallons of waste, the tank won’t freeze because it’s completely inside the RV and I flush with RV antifreeze, and the porta-potty can be dumped very easily.
|My new & improved winter throne.|
3) How do you stay warm?
Solution: My Kimberly wood stove! With these cold temperatures, I would quite literally be dead (or preserved if you believe in cryogenic freezing), however this little wood stove provides all of my life-giving heat. Sure, I have to keep the tiny firebox stoked with miniature pieces of firewood every 3 hours, but it burns a relatively miniscule amount of wood, it eliminates the condensation from cooking and breathing, and it provides a cozy 80 degree temperature difference (it was -10 F outside and 70 F inside one night). I do have a propane furnace, but propane produces too much condensation inside the camper and it is expensive, whereas I split and collected my firewood for free. Not to mention, since I am completely off-grid with no electrical plug-in, the propane furnace would drain my 12 volt battery within 8 hours of use. My Kimberly wood stove will run non-stop, 24-7, as long as I clean out the ash from the firewood every 14 hours.
4) How do you keep your batteries charged?
Solution: I simply use my RV as my daily driver… driving to and from school, work, running errands, weekend adventures with friends, and looking for a “parking spot” for the night. This daily driving habit charges my battery by utilizing the Toyota engine's alternator (it typically takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour of driving to fully charge my battery). I also have two 30-watt solar panels (for a total of 60 watts) that provide a good bit of charge to my batteries on days that I don’t drive. For instance, my 19” flat screen TV consumes 35 watts and my LED light bulbs consume 4 watts, so I can basically watch a movie and run all of my lights strictly from the power provided from the sun. Pretty cool. I will soon have a thermo-electric generator that uses the heat from the wood stove to create an additional 50 watts of electricity.
|How hot does the Kimberly stove get on "full throttle?" How about this hot...|
Advice for the curious or those wanting to live off-grid in an RV throughout a cold winter…
1) Get a Kimberly wood stove! Check out the link at the top of my webpage for more information!
2) Buy imitation (or real if you can afford it) sheepskin blankets to use instead of sheets. These fur blankets do not get cold like cotton sheets and make your bed much more inviting;^)
3) Get a small 12 volt fan to recirculate the warm air from the ceiling down to the floor of your RV… if not, your floor area will cooler by 20 degrees F or more than your ceiling area. I placed my 12 volt fan directly above my wood stove and blow the hot air directly back towards the floor to circulate heat.
4) Drain your water and live in a “dry home” to avoid major tank freezing, pipe-bursting problems… Get a gym membership to take showers and fill your drinking water jugs there. Get a flushable porta-potty to use as a bathroom (because you DON’T want to go outside or try to find a bathroom at 3:00a.m. when it’s -10 F outside), and you sure as hell don’t want a 15 gallon frozen block of piss & poo stuck inside your blackwater tank.
5) Purchase solar panels to help recharge your batteries! Despite the lack of daylight hours in the winter, my solar panels significantly contribute to keeping my batteries charged every day.
6) Replace all of your lights and appliances with extremely efficient, low-draw products! Replace your incandescent light bulbs with 4 watt LED light bulbs and use a fan to recirculate air that has a low amp draw (hopefully 4.0 amps per hour or less). For instance, most deep cycle RV batteries have about 80 amp hours, so if you have a fan that draws 4.0 amps per hour, you have about 12 hours of battery time before you’ll need to recharge (because you don’t want your battery to get much below 50% depleted to lengthen battery life).
Besides the RV life, what have I been up to? Maybe you don’t care, but I’ll speak a bit for those who do care or might be bored at this moment… I've been talking with an executive film producer from National Geographic and I’ll be applying to be on a new and upcoming reality TV show where 10 contestants are placed in the Alaska bush and have to survive with absolutely nothing for several weeks… it’s due to be filmed this coming spring… keeping my fingers crossed! I’ll be heading to New Zealand to go whitewater kayaking in a few months with three good Alaskan kayaking buddies, so that will be a horribly good time.
In attempt to serenade people with my tone-deaf voice, a motion has been made to start up a band (of an un-defined genre of music) with a mutual banjo-playin’ & singin' companion, this should be SO good! My master’s thesis work (where I’m creating a river and lake water isoscape for Southcentral Alaska) is rolling along fairly well, and I expect to graduate this coming April. Lots of skiing and speed flying (with new videos) are soon to come… and maybe, just maybe, some sleep would be nice! Someone once said “There’s no one but yourself to blame,” and this quote holds true for how busy I feel right now, but busy ain’t bad when you're enjoyin' yo self!!! Rock on and happy holidays to all you folks…
Monday, November 12, 2012
The end of the paddling season was officially begun this weekend with the beginning of ski season. It was a good one! Here is one of my latest videos of a pack raft trip with Roman Dial, Luc Mehl, & myself attempting to paddle some of the more difficult rivers in the Southeastern United States. Enjoy!
Friday, October 19, 2012
|Boiling water for coffee... only took 9 minutes to reach a rolling boil!|
It's finally COLD & winter is officially here! In Anchorage, Alaska, the temperatures are dropping into the single digits at night and the snow is beginning to fall. In the past, I never paid too much attention to this fall-to-winter transition... but now I am! Why? Because when you live in a traveling motorhome with no where to "plug-in", you are forced to find off-grid solutions to keep yourself alive in the cold.
|34 F outside, but 81 F inside!|
I was forced to think "outside-of-the-box" to keep myself alive this winter, and my solutions are working really well right now! There is one reason I am going to survive this winter in my little motorhome... the life-blood of my off-grid lifestyle, otherwise known as the "Kimberly wood stove." This little gem provides all of my heat and does an incredible job at keeping my little home toasty warm. I have also been doing the majority of my cooking on this Kimberly to avoid using my counter top propane stove (which causes excessive condensation in cold climates).
Pretty soon I will have an add-on oven that will sit on top of the Kimberly, which will allow me to bake pizza, casseroles, pies, and all kinds of goodness. I also will have a thermo-electric generator soon, which will sit on top of the oven and produce electricty from the fire's heat, this way I'll be able to charge my laptop/cell phone, power my lights, a fan, a vacuum, or charge the RV battery. The owner is also creating a hot water coil system, where I can hook my sink & shower's plumbing directly to the little wood stove, start a fire, and take hot showers... pretty cool!
The Kimberly stove is obviously my centerpiece, and I can't rave enough about it! To help charge the batteries, I have two 30 watt solar panels (60 watts combined) that work very well, even with the minimal sunlight we receive up here in Alaska. I basically try to park facing the sun every day (they are up on my roof and tilted towards the front of the Toyota. Since the motorhome is my daily driver, the alternator on the engine actually charges my batteries after a few errands around town.
The one downside to living off-grid in a motorhome in a cold, winter climate... frozen pipes. It just isn't feasible to keep my water "running" through the winter, as it will cause the water pump, pipes, and tanks to expand and crack open. To avoid that carnage, I drained my drinking water and grey water (sink/shower) tanks completely. I flushed the pipes with RV antifreeze (they say it's safe to drink, but I don't want to test that hypothesis) and shut the shower & sink down for the winter. I just take showers wherever opportunities arise.
For drinking/cooking water, I simply carry a 4 gallon jug and refill it about once a week (the water won't freeze this way). I rigged my sink plumbing where my dish water in the sink falls directly into a 5 gallon bucket beneath the sink, & I can easily dump out the 5 gallon bucket as it gets full. It's shocking how much fresh water people waste every day, and how little water you truly need to survive. I connected my toilet plumbing to my waterpump, which flushes RV antifreeze down the toilet every time you flush (instead of water). This allows me to still have a bathroom for the winter. I also took toilet freeze-proofing precautions by applying a 12 volt heat pad and heat tape on my blackwater tank and piping, which I can thaw out if the RV antifreeze doesn't live up to its -50 F expectations.
|Releasing thesis work stress via banjo.|
|Thesis work: Collecting data & modeling Alaskan Rivers. Gulp...|
It seems like there is no time to get "bored" these days. I search for interesting new places to park my home every night (usually with an awesome view), and I have yet to experience getting kicked out of my parking spot for the night. Alaska truly is a laissez-faire state. Moving around is pretty fun, I almost feel like a modern-day nomad. Whitewater kayaking season is wrapping up, so it's about time to stash the kayaks for the season. Finishing off my master's thesis (creating a hydraulic isoscape for Southcentral Alaska) and playing the banjo currently fill my time up in the RV, at least until ski/speed-fly/snowmachine season come knocking at my front door. That's the update, more soon enough...