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This past weekend I had a few accidental experiments with my Coleman Folding Oven.

One, I left the Coleman Oven cooking muffins on the oven for over an hour, while I was pitching a tarp and gathering firewood. The muffins, while well done, were not black on the bottom, but instead were very well cooked throughout. No blackening on the bottom of the muffin. I am very impressed on how even the heating is on the Coleman Oven, although I think a lot of that has to do with the three fire brick I always stick in the bottom of the Colemen oven when cooking.

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The second experiment was I ran out of propane, so I ended up cooking with the Coleman oven on some charcoal, on a grill over the campfire. It works equally well for cooking muffins. Things were evenly cooked, even if they were somewhat more smoky then the when cooked on the gas stove. Not at all black on the bottom side, very evenly cooked. Again, I was very happy with the results.

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Apparently those Coleman Ovens have been around for a long time. I saw a similar oven box when I toured the LePorto house at the French Azul outside of Tonawanda, PA. They would put them on top of a wood stove for baking. Indeed, I could see using a Coleman Folding oven when I eventually live off grid, rather then a big oven, just as a way to save money and space over a full gas range, yet do the cooking that I need to enjoy life.

We are now 75 days out from the first day of summer, which began on June 21. Of those 75 summer nights, I spent 26 nights and 34 days total out camping on state and national forests. Nights that are starred it rained at least part of the day or night. It’s been a very wet and cold summer, but at least I got to see a lot of good country.

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Trip 1: Burnt-Rossman Hills State Forest. Hiked Vromans Nose, got fresh strawberries at Borhinger’s Farm Stand, swam at Mine Kill State Park.

1) Saturday, June 24 – Upper Betty Brook Campsite, Burnt-Rossman Hills State Forest, Summit, NY

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Trip 2: Independence Day Weekend at Moose River Plains. Hiked back to Cascade Falls in Eagle Bay, paddled on the Cedar River Flow.

2) Friday, June 30 – Campsite 67, Moose River Plains, Inlet, NY *
3) Saturday, July 1 – Campsite 67, Moose River Plains, Inlet, NY *
4) Sunday, July 2 – Campsite 67, Moose River Plains, Inlet, NY
5) Monday, July 3 – Campsite 67, Moose River Plains, Inlet, NY

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Trip 3: West River Road outside of Wells near the former “White House” camp. Hiked around “White House”, paddled the Main Branch of the Sacanadaga River on Auger Flats, above Auger Falls, swam at Wells Beach

6) Friday, July 14 – West River Road, Wells, NY
7) Saturday, July 15 – West River Road, Wells, NY

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Trip 4: Finger Lakes, visited several parks in the Finger Lakes, Montezuma Wildlife Refuge, Paddled and fished Lamoka Lake, climbed Sugar Hill Firetower.

8) Friday, July 21 – Cherry Ridge Camping Area, Charles Baker State Forest, Brookfield, NY
9) Saturday, July 22 – Mathews Road, Finger Lakes National Forest, Hector, NY *
10) Sunday, July 23 – Mathews Road, Finger Lakes National Forest, Hector, NY *
11) Monday, July 24 – Chicken Coop Road, Finger Lakes National Forest, Hector, NY *
12) Tuesday, July 25 – Chicken Coop Road, Finger Lakes National Forest, Hector, NY *
13) Wednesday, July 26 – Chicken Coop Road, Finger Lakes National Forest, Hector, NY *
14) Thursday, July 27 – Chicken Coop Road, Finger Lakes National Forest, Hector, NY *
15) Friday, July 28 – Chicken Coop Road, Finger Lakes National Forest, Hector, NY *
16) Saturday, July 29 – Chicken Coop Road, Finger Lakes National Forest, Hector, NY

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Trip 5: Burnt-Rossman Hills State Forest. Fished the Schoharie Creek, swam at Mine Kill State Park.

17) Saturday, August 5 – West Kill Road, Burnt-Rossman Hill State Forest, Blenheim, NY

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Trip 6: Partial Eclipse Viewing trip at Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Penna. Camped at Allegheny National Forest, visited Taughannock Viaduct, French Azulm Historic Site, Colton Point State Park, then went back to Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes.

18) Saturday, August 19 – Asaph Run Camping Area, Wellsboro, PA *
19) Sunday, August 20 – Forest Road 160, Allegheny National Forest, PA *
20) Monday, August 21 – Forest Road 160, Allegheny National Forest, PA *
21) Tuesday, August 22 – Chicken Coop Road, Finger Lakes National Forest, Hector, NY *

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Trip 7: Weekend trip to Piseco-Powley Road. Hiked back to Spectacle Lake, Good Luck Lake, and Good Luck Cliffs from NY 10. Drove the length of Piseco-Powley Road. Hiked from Piseco-Powley Road along Edick Road Extension, explored the well hidden Edick Road Campsite 1.

22) Friday, August 25 – Piseco-Powley Road, Stratford, NY
23) Saturday, August 26 – Piseco-Powley Road, Stratford, NY

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Trip 8: Labor Day Weekend at Branch Pond Road in Kelly Stand, VT. Hiked back to Bourne Pond from Branch Pond. Poured on September 3rd.

24) Friday, September 1 – Branch Pond Road, Kelly Stand, VT
25) Saturday, September 2 – Branch Pond Road, Kelly Stand, VT
26) Sunday, September 3 – Branch Pond Road, Kelly Stand, VT *

Mini Inverter

I sometimes need 120 volt household power in my truck cap. While I have a 800 watt inverter in the cab of the truck (under the back seat), I would have to run power back to the cap. But many times my demands are pretty low in the truck cap for household, so I picked up this $20 75-watt inverter I saw on sale a the store.

I have two Coleman coolers, one from the 1970s from my parents and one I found on the curb from an apartment down the street. They seem to work fine, although I wish I had a drain in them for letting out water. But I’m not going to replace technology that I have that already works. I typically use two coolers in the summer months, because about half of each is taken up by ice in summer months. One cooler is used for meat and milk which has to remain particularly cold, the other is for beer, cheese, condiments, and stuff that has to remain less cold.

For ice, I use two gallons of ice placed in each cooler, frozen in old milk jugs. The milk jugs typically last for 2-3 camping trips before they have to be replaced. I’ve looked at using blocks of dry ice for longer trips, but only one place locally, somewhat out of the way, sells ice. Dry ice has the advantage of lasting a lot longer and not melting into water, but I’ve heard it can food an off taste and you have to be careful handling it. It generally lasts 3-4 days, on the hottest summer days. After that I buy ice from local retailers, preferably block ice but if they only have cubes, that will work.

I also have a 12 volt piezeoelectric cooler, but I don’t use it much any more. For one I’m not all that impressed with it’s cooling ability, especially in a hot vehicle (I leave the windows shut in bear country and when I’m parked on the street, in shade, while at work before camping) and I only have limited cooling capacity.

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