Archives for posts with tag: West County Explorers Club

I cut together this quick video from our trip to Canyon de Chelly in northeastern Arizona. Apologies for the wind noise.

Here’s the blog post about the trip. It includes a map, resources on guides and camping, and a bunch of photos.

There’s something so great about vintage, narrated travel films. To make them easier to find on WCXC, I’ve added a new category called “Vintage Video.” It includes all of the vintage overlanding, off-road, and travel videos on the site. To find it, scroll down to the bottom of any page and look for MEDIA > Videos > Vintage or click on “Vintage” in the Category links at the bottom of any Vintage Video post.

Or just click here: Vintage Video on WCXC


Say you’re camping and just about to crack open a can of tomatoes for your stew when you realize — d’oh! — no can opener. If there are some rocks or, better yet, some concrete nearby, to scrape the top of the can on, you can get it open.

No can opener? No problem.

Here’s what we’re reading at the moment: a travelogue called Blue Latitudes: Boldly going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before.

The author, Tony Horowitz, follows in the footsteps, or rather the wake, of 18th-century explorer Capt. James Cook, whose voyages were pretty much responsible for taking “Thar be monsters” off the map and inserting some of the Pacific’s most popular locals: Tahiti, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia just to name a few. In Hawaii they had never seen then likes of a square-rigged bark and took Cook to be some sort of god. They also ended up cooking him, literally (oops — spoiler alert!) but we haven’t gotten to that part yet.

For authenticity’s sake, the author even signed up as crew on the replica of the HMS Endeavour, Cook’s ship, to get a taste of life as an 18th-century seaman. Yarg.

So far it’s been an entertaining and informative read. The author even has a Pulitzer Prize. We’re looking forward to working our way through this one.

I’ve been into learning about rocket stoves lately. They burn a small amount of wood but create strong draft in order to burn the wood more fully. This has a two-fold benefit: less smoke (which is actually unburned fuel) and greater efficiency. A company called StoveTec makes a small rocket stove for camping. It’s just over 10″ high and will burn any biomass you can fit in the 4″ x 4″ opening.

If you’re looking for a natural-fuel camp stove, this little beauty, with it’s ceramic combustion chamber and cast-iron stove top, could be it.

Link trail: Apartment Therapy > StoveTec

Here’s another of Natalie’s Pinterest finds. A homemade chuck box / camp kitchen. Everything has a place and you always have a clean work surface. Very nice

Natalie found this on Pinterest. They’re homemade, egg carton fire starters. Fill each cup in the carton with dryer lint and cover with melted wax. When the wax is dry, tear off a cup, place it under the kindling in your campfire-to-be, and light the corner.

Update 2/15/2015:

We’ve been using these the last couple of camp seasons and they work well. We tear off one or two sections of the egg crate, put them into wherever we’re going to light are campfire, and with a single match, the fire is lit.

Leave it to the English, the inventors of the luxury SUV, to push the limits of that vehicle segment into new, outrageous terrain—understatedly outrageous, that is. Bentley’s new SUV concept, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show this year, makes a mere Range Rover look positively populist.

It’s called the EXP 9F, which—let’s be honest—doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. As for the look and feel of it though. That’s another story. There’s so much style, upon stateliness, upon brawn in this vehicle that it’s hard to imagine these disparate elements coming together in any kind of comprehensible way, yet they do. Whether it will make sense as a functional object remains to be seen. I can’t imagine hitting the trails with a 600hp, W12 engine, quilted, white, leather seats, 23″ wheels, and all-wheel-drive. That said, I’m looking forward to seeing the videos of the first person that does.

Rumor has it that it’ll be out in 2015. If, in three years, you happen to run into Jay Z on some remote hillside, this is the SUV he’ll be driving.

Update 12/8/2013: Bentley has announced that their SUV will be available in 2016.

In 1955, six Oxford and Cambridge students set out to travel overland from London to Singapore. The 18,000 mile journey would be the first of its kind. Never before had such a long and difficult route been driven to completion. Men had attempted the London to Singapore route before, making it as far as the middle eastern deserts or the Indian plains, but the mountainous jungles of Assam and Burma had previously thwarted all efforts. In fact, the route was thought to be impassable. Read the rest of this entry »