Posts Tagged ‘Photos’

By Cameron McKirdy

McKenzie River Trailhead Sign

An hour East of Eugene, the McKenzie River Recreational Trail waits to be conquered.  A 26 mile path skirts the cold, rippling waterway.  It’s one of America’s premier destinations for bikers, and hikers.  Outdoor enthusiasts can also be spotted during the summer on the water in rafts of all shapes and sizes.  Survival Bros floated it.  However, here’s what’s its like to attack the upper part of the wilderness trail on my bicycle.

The 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon is locked.  Bike is ready.  God bless my vintage Univega Alpina Pro mountain bike.  It’s a hardtail with tire liners for extra protection, so I shouldn’t have trouble pummeling porous lava rocks.   This will be my first ride with it off of pavement, or graveled logging roads.  Exciting.  Water, check.  Mechanix gloves, yes.  3M safety shades, on.  Let’s crush this.

And I’m off.  Going downhill mostly, to Clearwater Lake from the top of the trail.  I will have to fill my stainless steel water bottle at the campground.  Problem is, it’s hard to know what’s undrinkable, and what’s potable with all the well pumps around.  I may have to take a chance, because I’m not buying water.  I’m looking forward to adding 2 packets of Airborne Plus Energy into my drink for flavor, vitamins, and minerals.

The plan is to tackle the challenging section of course around the lake first, then take an easy trail back uphill to my vehicle.  OK, get centered.  Where are you?  In the moment.  Faster!!!

Root!  Pop the front wheel over, and peddle.  Good.  Lean into this corner.  Branch…We’re bushwacking today.  Alright, NOW break.  Shift weight back, coming off the seat.  Who put this tree down here?  Ever heard of a chainsaw?  Pick up your bike.  Thankfully, it’s lightweight, full chromoly frame.  I’m so happy I invested in tuning this vintage ride up.  The guys at Canyonview Cyclery took care of me.  This is the video I produced at their shop after the Univega was restored to glory.

 There’s the edge of the water at Clear Lake.  I’ve never seen water so pristine.  I bet I could drink straight from the lake.  Ducks do it.  I almost hit one fowl in my way.  Move mallard.  Already, I’ve narrowly avoided about 10 chipmunks, and a large rabbit too.  I’ve seen squirrels try to take on bikes before.  They ended up in the spokes without a head.  That would ruin my day.  I need a bell on this bike of mine to signal wildlife.  

Now comes the hard part.  Negotiating lava rock fields on two wheels.  But I’ve been here before.  Only I came from the opposite direction last time.  I’m going to have to push it up this long hill.  It feels great to get off my butt, and work other muscle groups.  I like my new bicycle handle bar ends.  Now I have more hand positions, and can really pull myself up steep inclines.  

I’m flying.  Let’s not forget our 5 D’s of mountain biking: dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge!  Corner!  Hard left.  Leaning into it, and looking where I want to go.  Holy guacamole.  I almost sailed into the lake.  The canoers would have liked to see that.  I’d rather not be fishing.  This is what I came to do.

Bump.  My nuts.  Watch the nuts.  You’re going to need those.  Oh God, I have to split between a root, and a rock going fast.  No room for error.  Arrghhh.  Made it.  But that took all of my upper body strength.  I haven’t screamed that loud since…oh, let’s keep it PG.  I’m dumping sweat.  This is my hell workout.  Put it all on the line.  Gasp.  Exhale.  Breath.  Sigh.  Focused.  A few more miles of rocky road, and then a less technical section to savor.  The McKenzie River Recreational Trail is damn tough.  No wonder it’s one of the World’s most celebrated biking areas.  I can do this.  Finish strong.  I’m the man.  BEAST MODE!

mckenzie river map

Map courtesty of the USDA – Link to info on the McKenzie River National Recreational Trail

Watch an exciting video I produced with my GoPro Black Head Camera mounted during another ride here.

I had a horrible mountain bike accident on the McKenzie a few years ago.  I’m still healing from the traumatic crash, but here’s tips on healing bruises and scratches from that with gruesome injury photos for you to marvel at.

bruise legI’m lucky I didn’t break my leg! 

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!

By Cameron McKirdy

cam-game-show-close

 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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

survival bros logo

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!

1021131158-1

1021131234-1

old dr martens

Dress Boots Waxed

IMG_0307

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. ;^].

20130324-205834.jpg

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.

20130225-155029.jpg
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.

20130225-184320.jpg
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.