One project I had to wrap up was the solar ambience lights. You see, last year we used a bunch of Tiki Torches, which were great but also burned tons of oil. I bought a set of solar walkway lights off Amazon to help light up our camp. The problem with cheap solar walkway lights is that they always get kicked, bumped, or ruined in other ways, so I decided to hang mine to prolong their longevity.
These came with cheap AA-sized rechargeable batteries which, according to research, should be pre-charged. I drilled holes in the sides and strung them up with pairs of wire I pulled from some spare Cat5e wiring I had laying around. I tested them on a string by my camper, and they performed as desired.
Next I mounted my Raspberry Pi and webcam which I had setup to take pictures every 30 minutes over the year, and every 5 minutes while we were there. This ran from 6 AM to 10 PM flawlessly the whole week prior to departure. I also triple-rinsed the water tank and pre-filled it for the week with potable water.
The night before, I re-filled the water tank, swapped the propane for a fresh, full cylinder, and packed like crazy. This took considerably longer than expected, as I had to wire up the lights on the camper. The lights took an hour and a half to fix with missing grounds, non-standard colors, I’m sure many can sympathize with my plight… A friend came over and we also replaced the regulator on my old BBQ, fixing it just in time.
I left at 6AM Saturday morning to pick up my kids (who live with their mother 2 hours away). It took a while to gather and pack their stuff, and we hit the road to our destination: Collier State Park.
Originally, the plan was to camp at the park, and see the associated logging museum in the morning. However, with the camper “packed to the gills” and merely 1.5 hours from our property, the kids had a better idea. “Let’s just see the museum and push through.” They didn’t want to unpack everything for the night, just to reload the next day. (I love my kids, they’re so practical!)
The Collier Logging Museum is a must-see. We started with a tour of the machinery. From old tractors to trucks, steam mules and saws, the place was packed with awesome oldies. They even had an old boat on display that towed logs on the river!
There were cables strung up, showing how logs were towed to the tracks, and old loaders were setup to show how that was done. Skidders and Caterpillar dozers were in abundance with a few old road graders sprinkled throughout. They had nice trails, interpretive signs, and plenty of crafted log benches for resting on. They were preparing for their big ‘Summer Days’ event the following day. (Which we were going to attend…) The mill was being setup, a stage was being assembled, and the local fire department was watering the roads for dust control. The small twinge of regret for missing such a thing was trumped by the anticipation of camping with family, though.
My son especially liked all the old, big equipment. My daughter was fascinated by the niftiness of old practices, but my favorite had to be the cabins. Oh yes, they had their own village (practically) of original structures. From homestead log cabins, to store fronts, shelters, shanties, and even an outhouse. Each with a placard regaling the viewer with its story and lineage. COOL STUFF!
As this was also our ‘rest area’ we took to the foot bridge and enjoyed the swift, deep river and it’s cold water. I can only venture to guess that the day use and campground areas would be spectacular. The water was crystal clear and deep. After enjoying our brief respite, we continued on (bleary eyed) to our camp near Dorris. Stay tuned for that in the next post!
Note: Pictures in the body of this post are NOT in the album. You may click to view them in full quality, and download them as such.