Monday, May 28, 2012


     The first thing that comes to mind when I think about camping is the Campfire. The second thing is, “I sure hope they never stop us from having them”.  In this day of  Spare the Air Days at least in the State of California, they have still not outlawed the good old campfire. I would gladly give up the right to have a fireplace fire in my home to retain the right to have a campfire in the wild.  I’m sure there are those of you who do not agree with me on this point, but I am pretty sure most of you agree that a campfire helps retain the real romance of living outdoors.

     Putting the romance of the campfire aside for the moment, there are very practical reasons to have one. Here are a few: heat, light, cooking, cleaning and warding off most wild animals. I know that each one of these can be replaced by: a stove, lantern, boiling water on a stove and a weapon of some sort. But if you are going to have a campfire for esthetic reasons why not also use it for practical ones too. In that way you are not using as much propane, white gas, batteries or ammunition, I also hate roasting marshmallows and chestnuts over my camp stove.
     The main ingredients of a Campfire are: tinder, kindling, wood, igniter, air and a contained place to burn it. Configuring the layout of a fire is as important as having all of the ingredients. Before all of these are combined you should always make sure that Safety and Respect are always present. Having a container of water, at least one gallon and a shovel are important. Keeping all flammables away from the fire area is paramount. Last protecting your body particularly your hands and arms is mandatory. I have a pair of Fire Gloves, with them you can reach into the fire and adjust things without a stick. I will talk about them when I go into equipment.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

    After my last post about using the van for camping and that it is the largest vehicle I would use, I feel the need to explain my reasoning. I have never owned or used a motor home. Nor have I had a trailer longer than 12 feet. I’m sure for some people it makes sense.
     For 45 years I have camped using bicycle, motorcycle, backpack, tent, camper shell, tent trailer, 12 foot fiberglass trailer and three different vans. In my mind the most simplicity and freedom there is in camping is backpacking. The theory for me is the same with all of the conveyances mentioned above. Simplicity and freedom lend to more time to enjoy being outdoors.
     All of the above boils down to one fact in my mind, shelter from the elements and a way to get where you are going. The van makes sense to me because it gives us shelter and transportation in one unit. Not to mention that it becomes a day to day vehicle when you get home.
     Anyone who has ever owned a trailer will attest to the fact that they are high maintenance and most require a substantial vehicle for towing. When you combine these two it equals rotten gas mileage, six or more tires and in most cases a storage fee for the trailer. Wow!
     Everything I mentioned above applies to motor homes also!
     Tents are wonderful. They are inexpensive, come in all sizes and stow away in any mode of transportation. Tents are the most traditional piece of camping equipment of all. They are your shelter and storage area. The downside to tents is that they only protect you well in decent weather or light rain. When rain comes into the picture they are a pain in the rear to take down and transport. If you put them away wet, you have to set them up later at home to dry them out.
     Camper shells on a pickup work well for a dry place off the ground to sleep and store your gear. The downside is that you can barely sit up inside them. Even getting dressed is quite an ordeal. On a stormy day it is also very cramped while you wait out the weather.
      To sum it all up I have to reiterate that simple is the keyword.
      In my next post I will begin to share my experiences with basic gear and camp craft.   

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

     We bought a 2008 Dodge Caravan. We took out the second row of seats, which used to fold into the floor. Without the seats in the van it leaves two large storage wells that have folding covers so that the floor is solid. The wells hold almost all of our camping gear and a spare battery for the van.
     We acquired a nice Persian Carpet to cover the floor between the front and rear seating. We also bought an ottoman that converts into a table and has storage inside. The table is perfect for the stove and the storage works well to stow the stove, teapot, sauce pan, cups and drip coffee maker.
     By unbolting the front passenger seat and turning it around you are now facing the back of the van. It makes for nice positioning between you and the person sitting in the third row seats. We also added a small steamer trunk to the area in the middle of the van for storage of basic food, utensils, coffee and tea. It also doubles as a table or foot stool.
     For sleeping inside the van you lower half of the rear seat, lay down a special mattress that is about 30 inches wide and 6ft long. The mattress is stored behind the rear seat when it is up.
We also carry an ice chest, outdoor camping box, dog kennel (that collapses), shovel, axe, basic hand tools, bag of dog stuff, heater for the van and a mini 9 inch DVD player. We seem to have all the comforts of camping. Not too shabby for a mini van that gets 25 mpg.
     The latest addition to the Gypsy Caravan (The name of the van) is a very cool rooftop tent that sleeps two. It is a fiberglass shell that pivots up from hinges on the forward end with waterproof tent material between the top and bottom fiberglass halves. It has a mattress and pillows with a storage net in the top. When it is up you enter it with a ladder that stores inside the unit. It is very cool...very.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

We bought the 1989 Volkswagon Westfalia in 2003 and the 2008 Dodge Caravan in 2012

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ed’s Road Trip 15

July 25th, 2010
Thanks for coming back, we didn’t intend to be gone for three weeks, but life rolls on. After recording Episode 15, in fact the same afternoon, Erin had to go to the hospital and our week was all about getting her better and she is. I mentioned “we” above, Erin will be joining us today as we touch the Atlantic Ocean and her sister Jackie with her niece Katie. We are now in Maine and will be exploring a place where the Sun rises out of the ocean. Thanks for joining us as we travel the USA in our way, and in our time. Adam, thanks for the background music.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ed’s Road Trip, Episode 14

Posted in Uncategorized by indivisiblespace on June 27th, 2010
Welcome to Indivisible Space and Ed’s Road Trip, Episode 14. We will be leaving Pennsylvania to New York State and the Adirondack’s. From there we will see Vermont, New Hampshire and finally arrive in Maine. Join us as we travel the USA, in our way, and in our time. There will not be an Ed’s Road Trip episode next week. We will be back with a new episode by July 12th. Thanks for coming along.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ed’s Road Trip, Episode 13

June 20th, 2010
Welcome to Indivisible Space and Ed’s Road Trip Episode 13. My name is Doug Graham, my wife is Erin and our van is Ed. In this episode we head south out of Michigan, into Ohio and east through West Virginia to Pennsylvania. Thanks to Adam Daigle for the background music and to my wife Erin for her Journal entries which help me to remember details I need to build these podcasts. Please leave your comments or suggestions on this site, or at Please join us next time for Ed’s Road Trip, Episode 14.