Posts Tagged ‘Photos’

By Cameron McKirdy

Survival Bros followers know I’ve been on the road all summer in my 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon GL.  It’s ran strong for months straight.  I will do a big summer review blog soon, but here’s a van update shot recently on my travels around the Pacific Northwest.  Scope out the rest area known as Dismal Nitch.  This Washington State Park is a historic location, because The Lewis and Clark Expedition ran into trouble here, and were pinned against the rocks for six grueling days.  Harsh winds, and brutal rain pounded The Corps. of Discovery along the mighty Columbia River over 200 years ago.  

My overnight stay was much more pleasurable.  I was sheltered in my VW bus, protected from the elements.  I took advantage of the facilities by dumping my trash, washing my hands and teeth, and cooking on a covered picnic table in grass.  Dismal Nitch in WA also features a trail, informative maps, plus plaques about Lewis and Clark.  As mentioned in my HD video, you can stay parked for up to 8 hours, but overnight camping, and tenting are not allowed.  So keep a low profile, and pick up after yourself.  This is an excellent destination for car campers, and travelers on a budget, or just wanting to get away from the static of the city.  

I’ve spent the night in my vehicle here maybe six times this summer, and each trip has been a positive experience, and memorable.  So it’s Survival Bros tested, and approved.  Visit, because it’s probably the only rest area you’ll ever want to take a picture at.  Snap a selfie, and post it on Facebook, because I also got great cell phone reception out there.  The view of Astoria, and the bountiful river is astonishing, and extremely relaxing.  The only cons are lots of lighting in the parking lot, possibly affecting sleepers negatively.  The road noise is also noticeable, but luckily the highway is not heavily used.  Thanks for supporting my blog!  Feel free to comment, like, and share on social networks.  Peace and love from the road less traveled.

Lewis and Clark Bronze

Lewis and Clark Bronze Sculpture at Dismal Nitch Park in Washington State

Visit the official website for more info, and history by clicking here!

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By Cameron McKirdy

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 Follow your instincts and win at life!

I love game shows.  I’ve always wanted to host one, or play others on TV.  A new program called Let’s Ask America gave me the chance to claim $50,000.  Using a webcam and Skype I played from my apartment, and represented for my city of Seaside, Oregon.  The episode I starred in aired on my 30th birthday.  It was the best gift ever.  I dominated the competition, and maintained a lead the entire game.  One by one I picked off the challengers.  I attribute all of my success to following my instincts.  I went with my gut.  Even though we were playing before a live studio audience in Hollywood, I kept my cool.  I racked up $6,600 heading into the final question.  I decided to bank $5k, and risk $1,600 which could be doubled.  I guessed the correct answer and screamed in joy.   My total winnings ended up being $8,200!  The crowd went wild, and I ran my mouth.  The host Kevin Pereira asked what I would do with the money and I said, “Well Kev, shout out to William Blake and da Vinci, but I think I’m the greatest artist of all time.  So I’m going to buy some Art supplies, and get my ideas out there.”  The Daily Astorian wrote an article on my victory.  Here’s the two clips the show has uploaded on their YouTube channel.  

By Cameron McKirdy

Former Marine Tactical Gypsy has an exclusive Survival Bros blog and new elk jerky recipe for you.  He hunts in Oregon with seven other buddies, and no matter how much they kill, they split the meat evenly so nobody is left out.  This season his hunting party terminated five bulls, producing around 225 pounds of meat each.  He has used the animal for sausage, country fried steaks, and thick jerky strips.  His favorite cut is the back strap, which runs on each side of the spine.  It’s the most tender part, and is amazing in a stew of vegetables and spices.  Simmer that on a low boil for awhile, and you have a man meal sure to satisfy.  Tactical Gypsy also told me he likes to pan sear the meat first, to lock in the juice.

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To produce scrumptious elk jerky he cut slabs 1/4th of an inch thick, because they shrink.  His recipe calls for six or seven pounds of flesh, so he ends up with big nuggets to feast on.  Each hunk is approximately 4″ x 1″ wide.  The marinade calls for 4 1/2 cups of soy sauce, with plenty of Worcestershire depending on personal preference.  Mix in 1 pound of brown sugar, then a 8 oz. bottle of hickory liquid smoke flavoring.  Soak the elk in a bowl, or deep pan, and refrigerate for 12 hours..  After that, use a colander to run off the marinade.  Next, lay out the strips on the dehydrator trays evenly, with bigger pieces going on the bottom.  Sprinkle on coarse black pepper, turn the machine on high, and let her rip.  Check back every few hours, and rotate the racks as needed.  In 12 additional hours you’ll have a stash of jerky to devour, and give out to your friends.  Tactical Gypsy, if you are reading this, please save me a nug or two.  Survival Bros will have more blogs soon.  Check back often.  Likes, shares, and comments are appreciated.

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By Andrew McKirdy
Whiskey Barrel TablesUpcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.
 
This DIY project started when I sat down for a drink at Rock Bottom Brewery in Denver, Colorado.  I noticed several old whiskey barrels being used for decoration.  I asked my waitress if I could have one, and a few days later the brewmaster and I were loading two freshly used barrels into a borrowed car for transport.   They’d been emptied, but I could still hear swishing when I moved them.  One had been used for a raspberry saison and the other for an ale.  I don’t have a shop, but thankfully a friend let me use his patio to begin work.  I decided I wanted to keep one barrel whole and use it as a kitchen table.  The other I would cut in half and turn into two side tables.  I used a handsaw for accuracy, and finished with a powered skill saw.  For the whole barrel, I drilled a small opening in the bottom to drain the remaining contents.  I scraped the insides with a chisel, removing any loose wood chips.  Then I poured vinegar in the barrels to kill bacteria and prevent future growth.  This also helped get rid of the funky raspberry smell. 
 
I sanded, then dusted off both barrels, to prep them for stain.  I came back the next day, but the stench of high VOCs (nasty chemicals called volatile organic compounds) reeked.  I realized I would need to seal them up.  This would stop the smell, and provide an excellent sheen.  I found a low VOC polyurethane which worked wonders.  Lastly, were the rusty metal hoops, which I wanted black.  After those were painted I priced around for the most affordable glass company.  I was told I needed a tempered piece of glass which cost twice as much, but is infinitely safer and stronger.  Finally the project was complete.  I had taken something that was going to be destroyed, and given it new life in my home.  I researched the name on the barrel and found out it came from the oldest and smallest distillery in Kentucky, originating in 1797.  The Woodford Distillery is in fact a National Historic Landmark.  I have a real piece of Americana.
Vintage Oak BarrelsOak Whiskey Barrels to be upcycled

By Cameron McKirdy

A friend was generous enough to give me a bag full of fresh Rosemary.  Her plant produced incredible amounts, more than she needed.  My stash has been drying in the dark pantry, on the water heater, ready to be utilized.  The day came, and man did it improve the meal.  

Fresh Rosemary

After plucking it from the stem, Survival Bros tossed several teaspoons in to boil with the potatoes.  It gave them a sweet taste, that was way better than ordinary spuds.  

Boiling Potatoes with Rosemary

Then we cooked chicken with a few pinches of fresh Rosemary on top.  Now I don’t want to cook without it.  It also pairs well with lemon.  Tell me that doesn’t look succulent!Rosemary ChickenI’ve also been trying out shampoo and conditioner harnessing the power of both Rosemary and Mint.  I think this Suave product works really well.  I hope you can get a hold of some of this special herb.  For more on the uses and cultural significance of Rosemary, read all about it on Wikipedia here.  Thanks for visiting the blog.  Make sure to read some of our other posts.  %^).

rosemary suave shampooRosemary in Latin translates to “dew of the sea.”  It is said to improve memory, and has additional medicinal uses.

Produced By Cameron McKirdywonder balsam

If you have leather, try Dr. Martens Wonder Balsam on it.  I had to do a product review on this treatment.  I’ve been using it for years, and restored four pairs of footwear today.  It brought my boots, dress shoes, and UGG slippers back to life.  I will try it on an old leather coat next.  It’s so much fun to apply, I wish I had a crappy leather couch to fix up.  You don’t have to rub much on with the sponge for it to condition, and protect.  It’s a good prep to get out of the way.

Here’s the product description: A unique blend of coconut oil, lanolin and beeswax. These all-natural ingredients clean and protect leather to keep it soft and supple. For use on all leather, except suede types. Use it on all things leather … shoes, handbags, jackets, even furniture. • All-Natural Ingredients of Coconut Oil, Lanoline and Beeswax • Protects Against Water, Liquid and Salt Marks • No Polishing Necessary

Now look at my kicks before and after!

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old dr martens

Dress Boots Waxed

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Survival Bros tested and approved!

Saddle Mt Summit Photo

Ready or not, my chubby puggle Mocha was going hiking with me.  I took the pug/beagle combo to the top.  She made the summit by herself, but it was a struggle.  It was a sweltering 80 plus degrees out.  My poor dog hasn’t been training hard lately.  Her exercise routine consists of going from the couch to food and back.  But Mocha and I have hiked, so I knew the 5-year-old mutt still had it.  I remember the first time I let her off the leash on a trail.  She was running back and forth, up and down it.  The puggle was so excited to be out of the apartment.  I couldn’t contain her.  Once she even fell off a cliff as the bank eroded and I had to quickly swing her up by the leash and collar to save her.  Mocha is much fatter now, but we are working on it.

Mocha The Puggle

When we got to Saddle Mountain State Natural Area her nose was working overtime.  There were lots of people hitting the trail, and camping.  I brought water, and gave the puggle breaks.  I made her sit, and she would lay in the shade when she could.  The hike is 5 miles round trip,  but the elevation change is brutal. It’s 1603 feet to be exact, with the top at 3283 feet. Mainly I was concerned about her paws bleeding.  There is lots of metal fencing on the ground to contain the loose rocks, and I didn’t know if that would bother her.  On the way up I kept Moc on the leash, 1 because there’s cliffs, and 2 because lots of people were coming down the trail with dogs.  I wanted to protect her.  However, on the way down I decided it would be better to let her follow me off leash.  She didn’t want to walk on the trail because the gravel was hurting her.  So she waddled along side the main path, and didn’t hurt anything.  Plus, it was getting late, and we were basically the last down.

Mocha Survival Puggle

On the way we checked out a geocache hidden on a side trail.  I’ve found it before, but I wanted to see all the new stuff inside, and sign the log book again.  Not many people locate it each year.  I traded in a emergency paracord bracelet for a CD with clues to another cache.  I’m getting into geocaching because it’s something fun to do while hiking, or when you’re just out and about.  There’s more than 2 million geocaches planted around the world.  This hobby also forces me to analyze and use maps too.  I filmed Mocha and I checking out what was inside the ammo box this time.

After a few solid hours of hiking, Mocha, my cameraman, and I reached the peak.  We all sat down and took in the majestic views of the North Coast.  You can see the whole coastline, from Seaside well into Washington State.  Poor Mocha was beat.  She was gasping for air, and I was a little worried about her.  We had just enough water left to quench her thirst, but more would have been nice.  Usually there is a spring about halfway up that I feel is safe to drink from.  My dog did lap up the puddle there, but I wasn’t getting on all fours.  In the end, Mocha killed it.  I was so proud of her.  I kept her motivated with words of encouragement, smacking her butt, and tossing turkey jerky in her mouth.  On the way back I told Moc we were going back to the car and home for ice cubes (her fav).  My legs were jello, and Mocha was walking funny, but we accomplished the mission.  Next time we will be even stronger, and smarter about it.  

Cam and MochaMocha knew we were going to the top.  If you want to rock a paracord bracelet for emergency preparedness made by Survival Bros, send $8 to cameronmckirdy@hotmail.com via PayPal.  Thanks and best wishes from us both.

Produced by Cameron McKirdy

I was on a mission today. It was too sunny not to train hard. I got a good sweat going.

It’s Spring Break! My hometown Seaside Oregon was full of life. The bumper cars, and mini golf course were finally open. The smell of freshly dipped corn dogs in the air. But I biked by, and checked out the action on the beach. I didn’t stay long. I was going for speed and distance today.

I did stop for a raw Synergy kombucha, and found a new green one with chunky chia seeds. It was dank. Slightly sweet. It’s full of healthy bacteria and blue-green algae. It’s an energizer. The convenience store also offered free reverse osmosis filtered water. I filled 2 big bottles, and packed them up to the gravel logging roads.

It was a great day, bursting with sun. I rocked out, and flew down the mountain. I had it to myself. I used the Nike+ GPS iPhone app to track my route and progress. I check Google maps a few times to make sure I didn’t take a dead end. A few of the hills were monstrous, and needed to be walked up, but I like mixing up riding with hiking.

With a few water breaks, and stops for a picture, I went 10.7 miles in 1 hour 50 minutes. I figured the loop would take 3 hours. It was a solid training session. I only laid the bike down once trying to muscle over a down tree. I slammed some protein when I rolled out of the woods and got home, just before darkness fell. I wish you were there, but you may have slowed me up. ;^].

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Today I met up with an old friend interested in trading pocket knifes, for my antique wooden chest. I’ve been packing this cool, big box around for years, but felt like swapping it out for smaller items I can potentially trade or sell later.

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I got this ornate chest in Tigard, OR at a St. Vincent De Pauls for $40 or so. I was going to restore it, but liked the rough, vintage look, and couldn’t bring myself to refinish the wood. I never cleaned the tin exterior either. It made a great shoe box for awhile, but I had my eye on a stash of Swiss Army knives my buddy acquired from an estate sale. We are both hustlers, so I felt like meeting to get some deals going.

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I picked these 18 multitools out of my friend’s collection. I will end up putting a few in small emergency caches to be buried. Some will be gifts, and others I will use for odd jobs. A couple have lights built in too. It felt good to trade for items that won’t be a burden to move. I’m always traveling, so bulk is bad. I will do more deals with this contact, and the possibilities are endless with online networking. Don’t miss out. Be social.

By Cameron McKirdy

About the video: To film this trip I used the Panasonic Lumix TS4. It’s waterproof, and takes quality high definition video. In the past I’ve used GoPro Hero cameras to film sports, but the audio was poor. This Panasonic sounds better, and is rugged. The TS4 is even high visibility, with a safety orange color. I took nearly an hour of footage. This is the best 15 minutes. I still need to get a better wrist strap so my camera floats. I handled it well, but with all the passengers falling into me, it could have slipped into the blue. Speaking of, the water was remarkably blue. I haven’t altered this footage in any way. It’s beautiful country near Tillamook. It’s fun to film out there, and on water.

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Yesterday, a group of 30 people including myself, rafted the powerful Wilson River. I took these photos, and lots of HD video.

My Dad and I went on a paddle boat with three others from the Oregon Whitewater Association. I don’t have the gear the other boaters have. I’m more of a mountain man. They had dry suits, but I didn’t even use my wetsuit and booties. I wore hiking boots with waterproof socks, sweatpants with rain gear, and three layers for my upper body, plus a life vest, and a HooRag bandana. Going in, I knew I’d be cold. It’s rafting during the winter in Oregon. In the end, every rafter was freezing, and glad to be off the water. It was a long day. 14 river miles in 6 hours.

Our greatest challenge was getting people through a tiny 4.5 foot gap. My craft got stuck in between the two massive boulders pictured above, so we let air out of the sides and floor. Then we wiggled through. I filmed everyone making it. The group used ropes to pull one man’s cataraft over the rocks here on the upper Wilson. We all worked together, prepared for the worst, and got in position to help if needed. People were climbing mossy river rocks to signal, and help. They were ready. Also, everyone wore a helmet, and gloves, but me. I couldn’t film and wear gloves. The feeling in my toes and fingers did come back. I’m surprised.

It’s a real challenge to raft this time of the year. Everyone had to follow the plan. Safety was the name of the game. We had two people go into the drink. One guy wanted to swim, but our guide, the raft owner, got bumped out as we hit a rock wall. I look back, he’s floating there. Should I film this? Or pull him in before he gets crushed on some rocks? I put down the camera, and yanked him in with two others. We experienced Class 2, and 3 rapids. Whitewater for sure. I was soaked. We also cruised by a guy that snagged a huge steelhead. It must have weighed 9 pounds or more. When we finally got to land, I got a ride to snag our car back up river. Then it got dark. The group and I left my dad behind at the boat ramp. Problem is, I couldn’t find the damn thing. Dad’s soaked, it’s pouring. I was driving around, feeling like I left him for dead. I figured he’d wave me down on his walk back into Tillamook. There was no way to reach him. But suddenly, he text me from inside a fisherman’s truck. He was safe, and not angry that I made him wait. Then we got mexican food. Lots of it. In the end, the trip was hardcore, but worth it, and an amazing workout. It was another learning experience.