Son Sam and I just completed a 5304 mile road trip. That is about 1/5th of the way around the world via Subaru. It was a lot of fun. THAT means it was a lot of fun and work combined with a lot of driving. It was meaningful. It was meaningful in a father child way and in a work way. It was meaningful in a National Park way. Yes. We did go camping. We went camping for part of it. We did not use an axe but axes symbolize some version of self-sufficiency to me and that is why I have a picture there of my current favorite from Best Made. I keep wanting to give Sam an axe but have thus far held off as there is not much to cut down right now, in our backyard, in Houston. We also went to a wedding, a trade show, a Woolly Bear product test session and camping. We neglected to go fishing which is sad because we agree we each ate the best fish ever on this trip. Same meal. Different fish. New Friends. A hearty shout out to Nora’s Fish Creek Inn! Go there if you are in Wilson Wyoming (just outside Jackson).
We started in Houston. We drove half a mile and turned left on I 10. Nineteen hours later and still on I 10 we turned right into Joshua Tree National Park. It was 116 degrees at the turnoff. A few Pokemon were in sight. Well, maybe not. I recall discussing mirages just before that. There were Pokemon sighted. Apparently they were different than those available in Houston. I did not see them myself, just heard tell.
One of our tasks on the trip was to tow the new Woolly Bear. It is the new product and we were towing the first one of its kind. A Woolly is a gear hauling trailer with a tent platform atop. Its layout is optimized for campsite activities. Mostly this means cooking. I imagine some will call it a chuck wagon. Why Woolly Bear? our working title was “wasp”. We liked wasp but in searching about in a trademark way we discovered that there was already a wasp trailer that is used in airports. They have a trademark. Our Woolly Bear is a tri-partite beast – a kitchen and gear box, a open box in the middle (for water jugs, propane bottles, what have you), a rear box / drawer that is sized for a cooler. A wasp kinda has three parts too. So look at the two pics below and think about how they are similar (or not). Down further, when seeing the tent platform unfolded, think of a Woolly Bear in its chrysalis transfoming into a TigerMoth and unfurling its wing(s) for the first time.
Well? It tows great. It goes 85 in West Texas. It goes 55 in California (the law). It goes 20 on washboard dirt roads and did not shake itself apart. It did not wiggle or track strangely. Nothing fell off or broke. We are of course making changes for prototype two. We are picky designers. The changes have mostly to do with making it ever easier to set up the tent platform and opening the compartment doors when camping, arranging the leveling jacks to make it easier to crank them up and down.
Joshua Tree is beautiful. Doctor Seuss-like trees and Doctor Suess-like cacti. It was easy to imagine that after a rain all the tress do a crazy happy dance. Maybe I should write that it was easy for ME to imagine that. It did cool down at night. We started sleeping on top of our sleeping bags and by the time we woke up we were each inside. Neither of us remembered climbing inside. I woke up earlier than my teenager and climbed a jumbo rock to take the picture below. We escaped the park before 8 AM as the temps started heating up again.
Also published on Medium.