May 5 2012

Bicycle Crank Arm Repair

A friend of mine gave me a Huffy with the pedals stripped clean off of the crank arms.  The thread in the crank arms was completely stripped.  After calling a few bike shops, and looking online, it seemed that replacing the crank arms on a Huffy isn’t worth the money, just buy a new bike.  I was happy to have a bike with shocks, I wasn’t about to give up.  So I simply repaired them.

Simple concept:

Fill the pedal holes in the crank arm (Weld them shut)
Grind for aesthetics
Drill the holes in the crank arm
Replace the pedals

Most hardware stores do not carry the necessary tap, you may have to order it online.

So I ordered the tap, bought some cheap, rugged pedals on eBay, and waited.

While it is recommended for that tap to use a a 33/64 drill bit,  I found that a 32/64, or 1/2 inch bit, will suffice.

Here are the pics.  It was a Saturday job.

Jan 22 2012

New Smyrna Beach, FL and Canaveral National Seashore Camping and Surfing

To make a long story short, I had to pay a late fee in Volusia County. The closest city to me was New Smyrna Beach. So I decided to make an event out of it and go camping. Then I head surfing was pretty good up there, and I had an old board that someone threw away. It had been fighting the elements for at least 6 years, but hey, why not?  I packed everything into my old Chevy, guaranteeing this would be an adventure, and was off.



Click here for Photography pictures



The drive to New Smyrna was OK, and when I got there, pretty hungry, I held out until it was too late, and the last place left on the mainland was the JB Fish Camp. The Mahi Sandwich was awesome. Lots of bikers, tourists, and fisherman exchanging stories there. The place had a good vibe and one heck of a view.  I would like to drive up with a flats boat and see this side of Edgewater.  After lunch, I went across the street to take a look at the beach.  I could hear the waves crashing, still being about a block away from the walkway.  As I walked up, it was an awe-inspiring site.

This was the first time I had seen the Florida Atlantic Coast in Northern Florida.  The beach was large and flat, and the waves seemed to come up to shore forever.  The sky reflected on the spacious, and there was but a few people.   Unlike Miami Beach, where one would have to walk a few blocks to get to the beach.  Here, you come out of your house, and just cross the walkway.  There was a walkway to cross the dunes about every 3 houses.  After a short video to commemorate the moment, I was off to the Canaveral National Seashore National Park.

Finding the visitor center and registering was easy.  However, there was a lack of maps of the campsite, and I didn’t want to lug around all of my gear in the wrong direction.  So after a few visits to the visitor center on locating campsite 2, I went ahead and spoke to a Park Ranger.  He advised me to drop my gear and walk in through an Authorized Access only area.   Geared up and ready to go, I started towards the walkway.

Crossing over to the beach, I finally got over the horizon, and saw it.  This was one of the most inspirational beaches I have ever seen.  The fact that there were no buildings around, and not a single person that I could see, is probably what did it.

It was one of those moments, where everything aligned.   The fact that my wife couldn’t make it due to school.  The fact that it was Sunday afternoon in a small town where everyone had to work the next day.  I don’t know.  But the fact was, this entire beach, as far as the eye could see, was all mine.  I soaked that in for a moment, and began to hike.

The campsite was elevated, and had a perfect view of the beach, with the waves crashing throughout the night.  After I set up camp, I tried my hand at surfing for a bit.  In the beginning I was kind of worried due to the beach’s reputation for sharks and rip currents, and the fact that there was nobody around.  But there was no way I was coming this far and not trying.  Bottom line, I sucked at it.  My board sank, I couldn’t catch any waves, and when I did, I couldn’t climb on the board.  In the end, I practiced until the sun started going down, and then sat ashore drip-drying.

Eventually it was time for dinner, and I was excited about the skirt steaks I brought with me.  Unfortunately, the charcoal I brought was old, I didn’t bring any lighter fluid, and everything in my camp was wet with salt spray from the misty shore.  On top of that, the mosquitoes decided to come out.  Luckily, they couldn’t get through my wet suit, and I brought a little bit of repellent.   Getting the coals to light was a bit frustrating.  Even with direct fire for 15 seconds on one coal, it just would not light.  After foraging and experimenting with a few different things, in the end, it was Styrofoam that got me through it.  While cooking directly with it is a bad idea due to the release of carcinogens, they make a good fire starter.

The Styrofoam that comes in meat packaging, lights up fast, melts, and that melted substance continues to light hot for a while.   Underneath some saw palmetto leaves I found dry grass and vegetation.  I created a mini tee pee out of four matches.  I surrounded this with broken bits of Styrofoam, that came with the steaks.  Atop of the foam i built a bigger tee pee with pieces wood (which was still a bit moist), and underneath I filled it with the shredded vegetation as tinder.  I lit a single match and the reaction began.   The matches lit the foam, which together with the tinder, dried the wood.  After a few minutes of smoke and fanning the fire (more oxygen = hotter flame), the wood eventually lit up.  I covered the wood with charcoal, following a few more minutes of smoke as the charcoal dried, I had a barbecue.  The steaks took a long time to cook, but were perfect.

After a good meal under the stars, I got myself organized and settled in my tent.  A little down because I didn’t bring any dessert.  I forgot that I had stashed 2 Oreo’s in by backpack on a whim.  That was a good find.  The two best Oreo cookies ever.  I made a goodnight call to the wife, a few emails, and I was out. I woke up around 2AM, but the shore put me right back to sleep.

I woke up around 6AM, at my traditional cereal and Lil’ Milk breakfast, and took some pictures of the sunrise.  After an argument with myself on whether I should stick around and enjoy the day, or head early to the courthouse, I decided on the latter, packed up, and left.

Jan 5 2012

Polytarp sailing canoe

So I have this canoe, that’s over 40 years old and it shows.  I don’t know the brand, only a faded silhouette of a logo washed away on the front of the canoe.  A group of people at work were planning a kayaking expedition to Cape Sable.  Everyone armed with tandem kayaks, equipped with pedals and such, I was, once again, on the short end.  “I have a canoe”, I thought, and went on a test run by myself, alongside two people on a tandem kayak.  I learned that in heavy wind, it’s damn near impossible to keep the canoe pointed in the right direction with one person.  With nobody willing to join me as usual, I decided to make another member, in the form of a sail.  I read a little bit about how to make a sail out of a tarp, as well as basic sailing requirements such as a rudder, leeboard thwart.  Equipped with some new sailing terminology, I set out to make the sailing canoe.

Some research online proved I could make a sail out of tarp, double-sided tape, and some nylon rope.  Rather than use blue tarp from the hardware store, I bought some white tarp from Polytarp Int., so I would at least look legitimate.  After a little googling about sailboat dynamics, I set out to make a rudder, and leeboard thwart, and a mast/boom.  The canoe wasn’t strong enough to handle this new adventure so I strengthened it where I thought fit, as well as adding a mounting point in the center for the mast.


In hindsight, the mast, should have been a little more forward on the boat to improve maneuverability.  Also, an outrigger would have made a world of a difference, as I was throwing a way a lot of wind to prevent being flipped over.  In the end, it sailed.  twice.  The second day I ran aground and ruined the leeboard mount.  Since then, I bought the Hobie 16, and I’ve used, but not sailed the canoe.

Quick video in action:

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Dec 22 2011

Just another day on the Hobie 16

It was a nice day, not too calm, not too windy.  A good day to get out there and dust off the sails.


Aug 28 2011

Bear Island WMA Scouting Session

After a 2 year hunting hiatus, I decided to get back in the saddle, or “back in the boots”, better said, and decided to go hunting last year.  With school, rebuilding my home, and work, I had no time to put into the woods.  Hunting Florida Wildlife Management Areas all of my life, you’d think I’d remember, but I forgot, that in order to get in on the hunting you had to apply for quota hunts early.  So I was officially out.

I spent my time carefully mapping out the quota permit application dates, and areas I wanted to hunt.  I applied for Alligator, and was denied.  This gave me more fuel for the regular season.  So come application day, I was on it! Apparently, so was everyone else, because I got slim pickings. I was unsuccessful left and right, except for a couple of permits, one being in Bear Island, for Archery.  So I packed my gear and headed out.

As usual, in this time of year, the Everglades welcomed me with lots of water to slosh through, check out a video here:

All in all, it was a nice to be out there.  The strange thing was, I didn’t see any tracks or traces of deer around (or hog for that matter).  I have some other areas in Big Cypress where I frequent and the deer tracks are around.  I found what looked like a good area to put my tree stand, and I’ll be there, Walden in hand, waiting for the game to show.  Here are some point and shoots of the area.

And a video:

Apr 30 2011

Watermelon Garden – Week 11

I have completely stopped watering the Watermelon Garden.  Engineering Exams took over my priorities these few weeks.  With nothing but little rain and morning dew, it’s been trying to take over the yard.  See below:

As I was about to chop it back to size, I noticed a few lemon-sized melons growing, so I extended the watermelon patch.  I figured that if the melons formed under these conditions, I’ll continue to ignore the watermelon garden, which is now established.  I believe it will yield baby watermelons until the rainy season, where the big boys will come out.

Apr 15 2011

Finding Cacita

When most people in Miami think of hunting, they think of driving to a hunt club, lease, or outfitter in North Florida, Georgia, etc.

Not me. I was taken as a young lad down Tamiami trail mainly into Loop Unit for the first time about 14 years ago. I remember telling my dad, “there’s no way that there are deer in here”. And about 30 minutes later, heard a big splashing follows by trotting away. I was hooked.

I remember one day while sloshing through we found a trail which led to a camp. Complete with two bunk beds. There were subtrails leadin to a swamp, a hammock, etc. There were welded tree stands about 60 feet up on dead trees. This was obviously a hunting camp used for years, when vehicles were allowed to roam the loop.

This place was only 1.5 miles in, but it was the longest hike through swamp and cypress to get there. It was our own secret spot, which someone else had abandoned. I ad seen deer there while camping and hunting, but we never caught one. We always wondered how we were going to drag a buck out of here, but never got the chance.

One day, while scouting, we found about 12 different tirds in about a 10ft x 10ft area. There were thick, and smelly, and looked like human feces, soft in the shape of a big Hershey kiss. I apologize for being so detailed, but to this day am unable to identify the animal that did that. Our best guess was bears. And that’s when the place got it’s name…Cacita. Pronounced cah-cay-ta in English. It’s a nickname for caca.

So now, 10 years since going Cacita, having the coordinates, I wanted to go back and check it out. A previous expedition last year led to lots of fallen trees and no sign of the trail, which was blazed pink (or faded hunter orange). I tried follow te coordinates, but ran out of water, and rain was creeping up.

So last weekend, I was able to recruit a buddy who was facinated with tales of this mystical place, and a scouting expedition was planned. We loaded up on water, got to the edge of a hammock, and pointed straight for the coordinates. After 5 hours of sun, green briar, fallen trees, and the thickest brush I’ve ever had to machete through, to travel about a mile, I saw a shotgun shell on the floor (Sign of human!!!). Follow by a single spray marking. We rested, and then looked for more markings….nothing.

Nothing but thick brush in evey direction, I may conclude that in 10 years, the Everglades has fully devoured Cacita. And it can only be found in my childhood memories, and those of my father. I may try again to find those bunk beds, but not in the near future.

Apr 15 2011

Human Mammal, Human Hunter – Attenborough – Life of Mammals –

What a hunt.


Apr 3 2011

Tiny Planet Photomerge


Mar 27 2011