In the Woods: Dumb but lucky (my life's creed)


Despite some equipment setbacks compounded by my embarrassingly poor grasp of the fundamental nature of circuits, I am computing to you from a hill overlooking the Hudson on a Lenovo X300 laptop being recharged by a Brunton Solo 15. The Solo 15 was recharged by our sun through a folding Solaris 52 solar panel. I'm also sipping water — well, coffee — cleaned by a SteriPen while taking the occasional phone call.

(I'm listing all this stuff by brand name both to catch up anyone who hasn't been following along. Also, because man is this stuff getting dirty; I'm hoping the more I mention the products by name the less blank stares I get from the companies when I return their mostly intact but dusty gear. Still, typical review caveats apply: If something sucks I'll say so.)

It was my intention to actually do some more blogging out here, but my internet connection using the X300's built-in EVDO modem is stuck at 1xRTT, which is usable, albeit slowly. Like days of yore, I am loading only a single web page at a time. For a brief moment this morning I had a strong EVDO signal and speeds to match, but like the fog it vanished with the sun.

In short, things are going better than I could reasonable expect, but I wouldn't advise anyone to make the same attempt. The solar gear works but is heavy. The internet works, but barely. The camping comforts I left to make room for all the electronics are missed.

Yet I'm still looking down into the valley below and it's lovely — when the trees fill out their leaves it will be stunning — and am able to answer emails, upload pictures, post stories, and live a muted analog of my normal work day.

But these are supposed to be work days, however awesomely indulgent they may be, so I'm going to pack up in the morning and head back to Brooklyn. I've tested all the gear I've brought (and shot video, coming soon). I'll lose most of the day tomorrow to travel, but better three light posting days than four, I figure, especially since I'm bopping off to Costa Rica next week for what will be — save a few video shoots — a proper vacation.

I'll be writing up full reviews of all this gear after I get back. Except for the inverter that came with the Brunton Solo 15 that coughed up some smoke when I plugged it directly into the 12-volt (estimated!) outlet on the Solaris 52 solar panel, everything has worked very well. (And the inverter is still working right now, although it will occasionally make a little snapping noise to remind me it is not long for this world.)

Oh, I almost stepped on a rattlesnake. Then almost fell on it when I jumped in fear and nearly lost my balance. Then sat in the shelter chain smoking recalling all the times I've sneered to someone, "Oh, they're more afraid of you than you are of them." Because if that's true that snake had a hell of a poker face.

Anyway, lots more to come, but I realized I hadn't checked in since this morning. Thanks to everyone who sent me "Complete the circuit, dummy!" messages while I was rigging up the plug this morning. Every time I got one a little more drool dripped from my smiling, idiot mouth.

PreviouslyVideo: Week in the Woods [BBG]
In the Woods: Brooklyn, we have a problem [BBG]
Gadgets in the wild: Is Joel Dead Yet?; Update: Sirs, I am not [BBG]
Week in the Woods: Final checklist; Leaving tomorrow! [BBG]
Week in the Woods: Need to Get My Computer Decision Made [BBG]
Help Me Plan a Week Working in the Woods [BBG]

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  1. You’re outside on a sunny day, sitting on a hill overlooking the Hudson…and you’re blogging?

    That’s really sad.

  2. Oh crud. For some reason I missed the fact you are across the river from me. Depending on what part of the park you’re in, I’m either right across from you or to your right *waves* If you’re short of a few beers, lemme know; we’ll pop over the bridge!

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