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Am I too camp? (Epsiode 3)

TentOne of my favourite ever all time Tommy Cooper jokes is this one:

So I went to a camping store and said “I’d like to buy a tent please”. The assistant replied “To camp?”, I said (butchly) “Sorry, I want to buy a tent.”, followed by “I also want to buy a caravan”. He said “Camper?” I said (campily) “Make your mind up!”

Yes – it’s time to take this roadtrip thing seriously, by which I decided that it’s quite likely that I’m going to need a tent, a sleeping bag, and (most important of all) a mini stove so that I can boil up some water to make some tea each morning. So I went down to The Outdoor Shoppe this week in downtown Charleston where my friend Eleanor works, to get some equipment for my trip …

The chap I refer to in the video is a guy called Barry Stiefel. He visted all 50 states in the USA within a one week period as part of his annual vacation – his story is here. The same dude also holds the unofficial ‘record’ for visiting the most states in day – he managed to squeeze in 21, yes twenty one states into the period of one day! He does cheat a little though by actually doing it in a 26 hour period – as he gains an extra hour by entering a different timezone, and another by doing it in October on the weekend when daylight saving ends – still a fascinating read though.

Whilst doing research on this, I discovered that Barry and others are part of a club called the EMC. The Extra Milers Club. They’re people that want to travel to every county in the whole of America. I’ll be doing somewhere between 700-800 of the 3,200+ counties that are in the USA, so I’ve already sent off my $12 and signed up to the society too. I might even get to speak at their AGM in Philadelphia when I’m passing through in June.

Dave Gorman’s American Unchained story is here – he travelled from west coast to east coast America without giving any money to ‘The man’, I’ve got the book and DVD and they’re both superb. Stephen Fry in America – Documentary that was on BBC1 earlier this year. He drove about the USA in a London black cab. And you can tell that Coltrane in a Cadillac is pre-internet because there’s hardly any information out their online about it! But I do remember it quite vividly …

Oh, I made an Underground USA cafepress shop too, mainly so that I can just get myself a t-shirt with the logo printed on, and make sure it gets signed by at least one person in every state.

I leave Charleston in just over three weeks time now, on the weekend of 13th June.

20 responses to “Am I too camp? (Epsiode 3)”

  1. jhota says:

    on the Extra Miler Club:

    i assume when they say “county,” the are including Louisiana’s parishes in their total count. but when it comes to Alaska, do they count the 18 boroughs plus the unorganized borough as 19 counties, or must one visit the 11 census areas in the unorganized borough independently?

  2. Raineth says:

    So we should save all of the Starbucks gift cards we’ve bought you, since you won’t be needing them?

    heh 😉

  3. ian (the benign dictator) says:

    It’s not Tommy Cooper

  4. TinaMum says:

    Was it in the film ‘Carry on Camping’, Sid James, Barbara Windsor etc. That’s the one where B.W’s bikini top flies off! U.S. readers might have to look this one up.

  5. Anthony says:

    Yo Geoff! Here is some wisdom I would like you to consider and discard at your discretion.

    My three-month low-tech, low-cost Aussie road trip with Chelle and our friend Lauren utilised the following:
    -1988 Volvo 240 GL sedan, beige. Sagging rear suspension when fully loaded. “Swedish” air conditioning. Indestructible.
    – Tarp to be laid out on the ground before pitching tent. This protects the tent’s real groundsheet and ensures it’s usually nice and clean when you put it away. Incidentally, try and make sure it’s dry when you put it away. If not, dry it out the following evening or whatever.
    -Tent. Make sure your tent is low enough to avoid wind; our “7-person” (cmon srsly?) dome tent was too tall. Wind was our main enemy. If your tent is too tall to escape the wind, you will find yourself being much more cautious when choosing where to pitch it! Extra poles that we bought to peg out the door to form an awning were hardly ever used as there just wasn’t enough time. Ensure you’ve got more guy ropes than you need, and PLENTY more pegs than you need. A mallet to drive the pegs into the ground ended up invaluable for us. The ground can be very, very hard. It was, however, big enough for us to stand in (bonus) with three:
    -Camp beds of the stretcher variety. These are cheap and, after the first night of getting used to them, really comfy. You end up being able to assemble them very quickly indeed. Tent needs to be big enough to accommodate them.
    -Camp stove, the cheapest square variety measuring approx 14 x 12 American inches, taking the tall lighter-fuel cans. It’s very effective and the fuel ends up cheaper than those short, fat “this is just the fuel, Geoff” camping gas bottles. They’re a rip-off in the UK.
    -Esky or cool box. We used bags of ice, bought once every two or three days, to keep the food cool. Do not drain the water from the melted ice. It acts as a big heat-sink and the Esky is more efficient with the water in it. You’ll need some way of keeping your food watertight though, such as freezer bags and so on. You’ll start to truly appreciate refrigerators and how they let you open a door and instantly have access to cool, dry food. You’ve probably got one installed in your super Yankmobile already, however.
    – Our “5 degree” sleeping bags were fine at 5 degrees, as long as we were wearing two pairs of socks, pyjama bottoms, T-shirt, jumper, wolly hat and wrapped in a blanket…
    -Cushions to use as pillows: smaller, more easily packed.

    It turns out that a Volvo is not such a big car, but we got by. Also, sleeping in the car is fine as long as the seats recline sufficiently, especially when it’s very windy and you don’t have the luxury of pitching in lee of a building.


    “Toob” is incorrect: please sort this out.
    Your pronunciation of “research” is indecisive. Please decide which side of the pond you are on here.
    Finally, you’re looking more and more like Benjamin Linus these days. That is just an observation.

    I am looking forward to watching the rest of the vids! Good luck!

  6. geofftech says:

    JJ – I don’t know. Have you read their FAQ? Or email them and ask!

    Ian – Ok then, Tim Vine. *nods*

    Anthony – That’s the longest comment I’ve ever got! ha, thx! I have also already bought a cool box for the ice trick, oh yeah. Like the pillow tip.

    I’ll get working on my pronounciation of ‘toob’ and ‘research’ immediately…

  7. MumTina says:

    You can now use the knowledge you gained in the Boy Scouts when you went on those weekend camping trips, many years ago.(Proper English Tea Bags are coming soon by the way.):) What sort of rations are you taking, tins of beans?

  8. Chuck Boyd says:

    Geoff, years ago, on a beach camping trip, someone left a backpack filled with canned goods too close to the fire.

    When we returned from a hike up the beach, the bag had flamed, cans had exploded from the heat and beans, creamed corn and who-knows-what-all coated our spare clothes, tent, sleeping bags and other supplies.

    A good idea is to keep can goods away from excessive heat…and, don’t leave a fire unattended.

    Have a safe journey.

  9. bmk says:

    and if you’re camping in the forest, one of ward of warning: Bears! so hook your food up in bag high up in a tree a long way from your tent.

  10. Chris says:

    Hey, I’m in one of your videos! (for about 5 frames..). Very nicely produced, by the way.

  11. Chris says:

    .. except, is there any reason why it stops at 10:55 when it says it’s 13:37 long? Or is it just me?

  12. geofftech says:

    Hey Chris.. yes you are! Peter too! thx.

    stops at 10:55? ouch… refresh that baby, i might have been uploading a slightly new cut at the time (i’ve edited it slightly since first putting it up), so try that one again. I believe it’s 13m 28s long now.

    Next weeks is much shorter too, viewers. I try never to make them more than 10 minutes, really, I do.

  13. Paul says:

    How do you get videos on a website anyway?

  14. Geofftech says:

    How to get videos on a website? There is more than one way, but the popular method (which i use), is to:

    Produce the video in Flash Video format (.flv). Either your video editing prgrame will export as that directly, or download an FLV converter program.

    Upload the .FLV to your website/host site.

    Write code to embed the FLV file on your site. OR! in the case of WordPress (which is what this blog is), just go google the phrase “wordpress flv plug in”, and someone has written the code for you which does all the hard work!

    et voila…

    of course, you have to come up with an idea, then – shoot, direct, produce and edit the fekkin’ video in the first place. that also helps. 😉

  15. Paul says:

    Superb … so all I need now is a converter for Mac to produce .FLV files

  16. Chris says:

    Hmm. craps out at 10:44 in new version – same point in the video, just as you’re about to answer the question about what you’d miss the most. I need to know the answer!

  17. geofftech says:

    Chris.. the video is ok. It sounds like your PC has got an old version just stuck in it’s cache. It plays all the way through and OK for me on other computers here. CTRL-F5 or Apple-R to refresh! then see what happens…

    Paul – i just googled ‘MOV to FLV’ and came up with this:

    use iMovie to make a .MOV file, then convertit to FLV. Actually the iLife’09 version of iMovie might already export to FLV. look for the ‘Adobe Flash Video’ setting. What do i know? I’m not a Mac boy… 🙂

  18. Richard says:

    How much does a cheap motel room cost in the states? Camping can become very grim very quickly…

  19. geofftech says:

    If you check into someone VERY basic like a Super8 Motel, then you can get it for as cheap as $45 … about £30. but that’s if you book over a week in advance.

    i figure on staying in motels like this only two or maybe three times a week at most. x10 weeks, so that’s $1500 in accomodation

    i’m also estimating $2000 in gas. and another $1000 on food and drink.

    therefore, total trip cost = $4500, about £3000 at current UK exchange rate

  20. Hi there, Like your site some very useful information

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