Coping: Kudos to Washington State’s Parks

The last time I went to Penrose Point State Park in Washington State, just down the road a bit from where we’ve been living for the past month in Gig Harbor, it was about 1959.

A family outing involved pappy’s then brand-new 1959 Ford 4-door six cylinder sedan and a load of ham sandwiches and milk.

Once there, we’d fire up a white gas stove, put on coffee and have a look around.

imageWe hit Penrose yesterday about 11 AM…Subway instead of a loaf of Gai’s Seattle Bakery French bread.  And instead of picking up driftwood for a campfire, we were reduced to having a fire in a large BBQ.

Campcraft is an area of special interest to me, especially the part involving fire-starting.

Pappy was a fire captain by trade, and maybe that as something to do with why we always had a heck of a time getting a campfire going.  In Texas, a 5-gallon jug od diesel helps things along, but that’s not man, manly-man in a state park, if you follow.

Finding dry wood was not particularly hard: $4.95 for a bundle of firewood at the local Albertsons, and another $2.49 for kindling.  $3.99 for the propane lighter and a few bucks for an 8-pack of fire starters, just in case my skills were weak.  You can get ju8st a bit less heat from burning a $10-bill directly.

imageAfter taking the kindling and shaving it as a “kindling tree” a single click and we were on our way.

There’s something about making fire by hand (I was too lazy to use my fire steel and char cloth, however) that’s incredibly satisfying.

True, there wasn’t much point to it:  We didn’t  cook on it, there was no kettle of water warming for dishes, as would be in the case in an overnight camping adventure, but I justified it by claiming that the cedar smoke would keep the bees away (it did) and I didn’t mention that cedar smoke will give you a serious headache (it does).

But in the end, we scored an unoccupied covered picnic area and had a warming fire for the rain that was expected, but never materialized.


A Washington State Parks pass is only $30-bucks for a year and there are tons of great parks to choose from.

The website is over here, so if you ever get up to this part of the world, and want to have some fun, pull in during the fall when the weather turns coolish and wetish.

Then buy yourself an overnight at a state park camp site.  The ranger’s office had wood for sale, too.  But there’s also a thriving business by locals who set up with pick-ups full of wood outside the park boundaries that’s cheaper than what grocery chains offer.  That bit of knowledge came too late.

Anyway, spend a night (with no other preps) other than what’s in your car right now to fine-tune your prepping goods and skills.

Camping is the descendant of pioneering and the parent of prepping. Living out of your car (spontaneously) for a few days is a sure-fire way to find out just how well prepped and ready you really are.

Besides, at least at Penrose Point, the cell coverage is good and I bet you could find a pizza joint to deliver…

And I bet the Park Rangers know who’s open.

Fukushima Overblown?

Depends who you ask.  In Japan, I wouldn’t take the bet, but I have eaten a bit of seafood (I’m a ling cod addict, but I don’t go to meetings).

Reader Bill thinks it may be overblown a bit, too:


We have been buying AK crab for quite a while.  We just got 12 #’s and I checked the radiation.  Just slightly higher than our SC background.  I check our background radiation every couple of months.  A very slight increase.  I retired from the (DOE weapons plant)Savannah River Site.  I worked in the reactors (reactor event engineer) there and finished ER Restoration.  When I retired 12 years ago, SRS had 50M gal of highly radioactive waste in 50 tanks (18 miles south of our house).  Now they are taking plutonium to make into reactor fuel.  Also have Pt. Vogule nuclear plant 25 miles from our house.  Most wind and all ground water is not towards our house.

We keep talking about moving but just can’t get together.  Everyplace we look has problems..

Sure seems that way, don’t it?  Camelot is missing in action.

On the seafood, that about squares with our view of things:  If we were raising the latest grandchild, I wouldn’t be feeding her fish…but at my age and with social security coming in 2015, I would think it would be in the government’s interest to buy me all the crab I care to eat.  And all the booze I feel like and a carton of smokes.

Unfortunately, the government probably won’t see it that way, so I don’t even attempt to write off the one-pound crab cocktails.

On the other hand an interesting notion overtakes me just now (and this would be a fine economics thesis…):

If the government was really serious about solving the budget mess, why not make all unhealthy habits a tax write-off?

No speed limits, write off booze and smoking, and anything else that’s bad for you.  Sure!  Take that heroin write-off, too.

Seriously, or nearly so:  If everyone got back on smokes and booze, how much money would Social Security save?  And how would that compare with the cost of all these drug and alcohol programs?

<Just wondering.> 

What’s the old holiday saying around here?  Oh yes…

The Devil  makes work for idle calculators.

Write when you break-even