We just got back from a great week long trip to the Western North Carolina mountains. We camped up at 4000 feet of elevation near Hot Springs, NC. Because we were going to be gone for a week, we took our big tent. That was a lot more comfortable for an extended period, especially with the dog. She takes up a lot of space in the teardrop.
Since we wouldn’t have the teardrop, we had to use an alternate way to power the 12 Vdc pump for the shower. So we used the battery on the 4Runner, which works great. The 4Runner battery has plenty of capacity to run the 10 amp shower pump for the short amount of time needed to take a shower.
Taking a shower in the evenings is a great way to feel refreshed before going to bed. Its really not an option when backpacking, but a nice perk when car camping / glamping or overlanding.
I’ll also show you a simple DIY sink and countertop setup and storage box that works great if you have the room to haul it around or have a place where you can leave it permanently. We leave it at our permanent camping location and use it again and again. You could use this type of sink setup for a glamping trip as well, but you would have to haul it to your camp site. It might work well for a large gathering where you need a good way to wash dishes for a larger group.
Using a water jug like this makes it super easy for everyone to wash hands. That is very handy!
Our storage box setup is great for extra supplies and for storing higher value items when you leave the campsite.
Reminder, always be aware of wildlife around you. I was standing near some tall grass and this guy slithered right by me and set up to sun himself on that log.
We found out that we had a leak in our tent roof, after many years of reliable service. Or quick fix was to use tarps to cover the top of the tent and make it through the week without any more leaks.
As usual, my wife cooked some great meals! Makes the whole trip better.
There is so much misunderstanding and misinformation about this subject. So I break down my understanding of why you should wear a mask. It is longer than I intended, but hopefully it is simply stated and makes a good argument for why masks should be worn.
If you physically cant wear a mask (small percentage of the population), that is ok, we just need to get everyone else wearing a mask so we can beat this virus and go one with our lives, liberty and prosperity.
You can listen to the podcast or on Youtube (below).
Thinking about going camping soon? The video below shows how we tried to stay safe last weekend and avoid the Covid virus while we were camping at Grandfather Campground in Banner Elk, NC.
The goal was to not enter the shower or bathhouse. Instead we used our pop up shower tent and portable, propane hot water heater to shower at our campsite. We used our portable poop bucket for those needs.
Here is what it looks like when they first start hatching. They start out very tired from the ordeal of hatching, then quickly get very active. These videos were taken over a 24 hour period. When the last eggs hatched there was a lot of activity!
Many of us are working from home. Some of us are still going to work everyday. There is a lot of uncertainty on jobs, liberty, and health. I have friends that are asking me what to do next. How do they prepare. So I’m putting together some of those thoughts on what you can do to thrive in the coming months.
Let me start out by saying that I can’t predict what is coming but there are four areas that concern me. It is best to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
My biggest concern is the loss of liberty because of often illegal government overreach in response to the Covid-19 virus. That is a bigger topic than I want to address this morning, so lets look at the other three topics.
The number of people unemployed is astronomical. And none of us right now know when our jobs will be in jeopardy or end. Layoffs are are a real threat. Now is definitely the time to reduce spending and pay off an debt. What debts can you eliminate. Do you really need that nice car right now? Could you sell it and buy something less expensive? It may get more and more difficult to sell an expensive car if the economy spirals downward, so it would be better to downgrade now while you still can.
I have two pieces of advice here.
#1 – PLANT A GARDEN! Right now is the time to plan beans and veggies. There is a very real possibility of food shortages over the next 12 months, including meat. Plow up that beautiful yard and put in a garden. There is a good chance that you will be very happy that you did
#2 – Add backyard chickens – having a few chickens gives you eggs everyday. Its easy to do and a great learning experience for the kis.
Make sure you are armed. If people are desperate from layoffs and a family going hungry (possible food shortages) then, they may want what you have. That could put your family at risk. There are three steps to keeping your family safe:
#1 – have the firearms and ammo you need, not just for one person but also for your spouse. Don’t listen to the media, but all the ammo and guns that you want and can afford.
#2 – training is necessary. There are tons great videos online. Take advantage of them. Learn to do what is called dry fire training at home safely. You’ll be amazed how much you can learn.
#3 – planning – Create scenarios and teach everyone what to do in those scenarios. Scenarios include someone kicking in the door at night, someone kicking in the door during the day and someone approaching a family member while you are working in your yard. Failure to plan is simply planning to fail.
Other Things to Do
Get your concealed carry permit. It makes traveling with a handgun so much easier. It also means you don’t have a wait time to buy a handgun. Finally it allows you to carry your handgun in public while concealing it.
Get a pistol permit from your local sheriff. You will need that to buy an handgun in most states.
The window for preparing for whatever is coming next is closing, so move fast. Grow a garden! Be prepared.
The teardrop trailer has been a work in process. We’ve wanted to add more capability and storage, but I didn’t want to have a big impact on ground clearance or break over angle. Moving water, propane and the spare tire to the trailer means more space in the tow rig (either or Wrangler TJ or 4Runner).
Another challenge is the 200 lb tongue weight limit on the Wrangler. Once we get everything loaded on the trailer, I can check the tongue weight. I had relocated the battery to the rear of the trailer and that will help off set some of the additional tongue weight that we are about to add.
Items for this round of upgrades:
propane tank for use with the oven and especially the shower water heater (which can use a good bit of propane)
2 jerry cans for water or gasoline
winch for the spare tire – wanted to tuck the spare tire between the structure so it didn’t have a big impact on the ground clearance and breakover angle
go to a larger jack on the tongue so i could use a two wheel roller (this part didn’t turn out like I hoped)
First step was to trip check that the bumper on the tow vehicle wouldn’t hit the jerry cans at the minimum turning circle. That also required a Bojangle biscuit since I was already in the Bojangles parking lot. This was just before the virus hit.
Once we had the lower guide plate for the jack removed we could start verifying the layout of the can holder, tongue jack, propane tank and spare jack.
Next step is to fabricate simple brackets to attach the tank holder. Then the brackets were attached to the tank holder and squared up before welding the brackets to the trailer frame.
One of the challenges was attaching some sort of frame to the front rail of the trailer frame without getting the weld bead too close to the blue skin and causing heat damage to the skin finish.
We also found a structural weld that was not adequate and could have caused a failure on the trail. The tire winch mount is bolted along the top and welded along the bottom. The weld pattern also addressed the frame weld issue and fixed the weak spot with the bad weld.
how NC and Wake county are misleading us and not being consistent with CDC guidelines
why the Corona virus is a threat to your employees, you and your bottom line
why you should send your employees home sooner, rather than later, to protect your business and bottom line – especially employees that can work from home
reducing the chance of infection by reducing the potential R0 in your business
remember as the commentator on PeakProsperity.com says the pattern of the virus is case, case, cluster, cluster, boom
Our local disinformation from the state / county / public schools is so bad that PeakProsperity.com was pointing out the inaccuracy of info provided by Wake County public schools and the Wake county health department in conjunction with NC DHHS.
I’m not a medical professional, but I’ve been following the virus very closely. I hope this helps you make proactive decisions that could save lives.
I was recently interviewed for the Everyday Innovator podcast. This is a great podcast that interviews leaders in the product development and product management field. I’m honored to be included in the podcast.
Excerpts from the interview:
Our guest for this episode is Montie Roland. Montie used my online training course to prepare for, and pass, the New Product Development Professional exam, earning him the NPDP certification from PDMA, which is the oldest and most established professional group for product managers. After passing, he contacted me to discuss providing training to product managers in his company. This is a topic I always enjoy because I love helping organizations improve their product management capability and helping product managers further their skills and how they work with each other and the product team.
As I talked with Montie, I also learned about his background, became fascinated by his experiences, and knew he had to join us here to share his stories and knowledge.
Montie has pursued an entrepreneur path, building his own company, and an intrapreneur path working in an established company. He is a mechanical engineer with a ton of design experience.
We talked about his experiences, including the pros and cons of working for yourself vs working for an organization.
[3:19] What is your current role as an intrapreneur?
I’m on the new product development team at Pentair. If you’ve ever been in a swimming pool, the water probably went through one of our products. I get to do a lot of front-end work in industrial design and the connection between customer and product. The strongest part of my skillset is bridging that gap, and I have the chance to do it on a lot of different projects in a large organization.
[5:26] What kind of products did you create as an entrepreneur?
I ran Montie Design for about a decade. We started in B2B products and eventually moved into B2C. We made rack-mount servers and packaging electronics. Clients would come to us because they were trying to get around politics in their company or were behind schedule on a project. We developed products that they could transition into manufacturing. On the B2C side, we made in-home air filters that were highly stylized. We tried to make as much as we could locally so that there was a community feeling to it. We wanted people to look at our products and say that’s the way they would have made it themselves.
[13:02] What are the advantages of working on your own?
I enjoyed the sense of self-determination. You don’t have someone looking over your shoulder like you do in a big corporation. You can explore directions that you might not be able to otherwise. People who work in product development have an inherent sense of adventure, which tends to be more constrained in a corporate environment.
[14:40] What are the disadvantages of being an entrepreneur?
It requires a lot of work. If you have a spouse or family, you need to have buy-in for your entrepreneurial endeavor at home. You also need to have the funding you need and scale your operation based on the funding you have. I had a great time working on my own, but went back to the corporate world because I needed a lifestyle change. I scaled my business back as a result and now do Montie Gear on the side.
[20:45] What are the advantages of working for an organization?
I’m part of a large, multi-disciplinary team that has a lot of depth. There are times when you might have to switch projects and hand off what you’re working on to another engineer who is a better fit. Pentair fosters the sense of trust necessary to make those transitions happen. It’s also much closer to a 40-hour work week and I don’t have to worry about everything. I have a lot of people around me who are experienced at product development, which pushes me to keep my skills sharp. My colleagues and I challenge each other, which creates a very collaborative environment. I get to focus my time designing things and don’t need to worry about all the other aspects of running a business.
[25:55] What are the disadvantages of working for an organization?
There’s a lot of skepticism from companies about hiring entrepreneurs because they think you’ll get tired of the corporate environment and be out the door to do your own thing in six months. Look for companies that see your entrepreneurial background as a benefit because you can bring different skills to the table. It’s also difficult for HR to translate entrepreneurial skills into existing roles and job levels. You need to be flexible about starting at a lower rung and working your way up over time. Another disadvantage is that you’re not responsible for every decision; the scope is much smaller and you need to be okay letting go of some responsibility. There’s also a culture shift because every company’s culture is different.
[32:58] Why did you pursue the PDMA NPDP certification?
It’s easy to back off on training and certifications when you’re an entrepreneur because you’re so caught up in the day to day of running the business. In a corporate environment, you have time and money for professional development. The company wants you to grow and that makes it really easy do things like certifications.
“A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” – James Keller
Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it using the social media buttons you see below.
We spent two awesome days on the trail. The first day was in Big Creek. Big Creek is tight and technical with lots of rocks and several great hill climbs. We made it up Winch Hill with no problems and lots of smiles from my wife and co pilot. We also finally made it up Perimeter Hill without having to winch. We had tried getting up this hill for 3 years before we made it up without winching. So that was a nice victory.
The second day was doing the D’s in Uwharrie. The D’s are Daniel, Dickie Bell and Dutch John.
Hiking the Black Mountain Crest Trail was awesome. We made it from Bowlens Creek to the summit of Mount Mitchell in a little under 10 hours. Make no doubt, this is a tough hike but the views and the terrain are amazing to see. The hike began at Bowlens Creek. The first 3 hours were 95% climbing. You’ll gain about 3500 feet and come out of the woods on the crest of the ridge at Celo Knob. Celo Knob is where the really beautiful part of the hike begins. At this point you can see the peaks that you will cross over before connecting with the Deep Gap Trail and coming out at the parking lot at the top of Mount Mitchell. During the day you’ll gain almost a vertical mile! This is one of my favorite trails.
Always come prepared, the weather on Mount Mitchell is very unpredictable. Previous time we hiked Mount Mitchell, we faced 40 degrees and rain and high winds on the top after hiking up a warm sunny trail.