I’m tired, too tired. Yes, I slept in the car last night and no, I did not sleep well. The weather was amazing poor at the top of the mountain. Cold, snowy, and the wind would not stop.  In fact, it was so terribly windy it was entertaining, like watching a violent thunderstorm. Yet here, I was in the middle of a violent wind sto… okay, maybe that’s a bit over dramatic, yet my car was rocking back and forth for most of the night. As cold as it was, experience has taught me, would be no problem for my mummy bag, yet I wanted to try something else.

I’ve used the electric blanket more than a few times and it has earned a permanent place in my car (just like my little twelve volt tire pump.) Yet, so far I’d just used it for extra comfort for an hour or two at a time, yet never for necessity. In terms of wondering if it was “enough” by itself to keep me warm all night was a serious question in my mind (as well as how much juice it would consume.) Though I did not sleep well, it wasn’t because I wasn’t warm enough.  On top of the mountain, it was close to freezing, and with the wind it was far below that. With only the electric blanket for heat in the car, the temperature never got lower than forty five. That might not sound very warm, yet the heat was being applied directly.

As for energy usage, I have two hundred amp hours of capacity in my battery bank and over night I usually run it down to about eighty five percent with just my normal usage. With the blanket on all night I was down to seventy percent. Give or take, that’s about thirty amp hours used overnight. Fine for myself with an extra battery bank in my car- yet if you’re considering this blanket for your own car, you should know most cars only have about ten amp hours of capacity (and still be able to start the car!) So you would be limited to about two hours. Then you would need to start that car, let it get warm inside and recharge the battery for thirty minutes, then you’d have another two hours. In an emergency it could help you extend your fuel. In any case, it’s product that certainly gets my recommendation.

Camped on the top of the mountain, there was even a vault toilet available for my use.  Convenient, yet with the temperature and wind conditions, the idea of sitting on top of the open air vault did not sound appealing, gladly I didn’t need to use it.  I had planned on spending my morning up there and exploring more, though the temps ran me out.  A slow drive down the mountain was fun, so beautiful that I was just moving at a crawl so that I could try to see it all.

Down from the mountain, I went back over to the Cedar Creek area intending to do a morning walk after using their facilities. Yet as I was sitting in my car, guess who rolled up behind me?  Cliff.  It was a windy day, but not enough to keep him at home.  I’d say we didn’t chat long, yet I’m sure it was another hour or so. Not wanting to sit that much, I was out of the car for much of our conversation, yet just standing and walking around.

It caught my eye yesterday, yet I’m not much of a car guy to have known what it was, yet today our conversation moved to Cliff’s truck. A nineteen sixty three International pick.  I could tell you it was a pristine restored glossy showpiece, yet it was better. It’s got patina. And a starter that came out of a tractor combine when his parts guy couldn’t find anything else to fit.  It does have one brand new part- a heater core that his parts guy found a new-in-box in some Chicago barn. Most everything else has been repaired, remanufactured, or replaced with similar items, such as the mirrors from a Ford.  Really though, it’s the patina that makes it cool.

I had gone there to walk, yet all I did was talk.  Next up, I wanted to pay homage to the local Apache tribe as I’ve never (I don’t think we have these in Michigan..) been on an actual Indian Reservation before. So a trip up to the Inn of the Mountain Gods for a couple hours of black jack.  One of these days, I should by the book.. or at least memorize one of the little card charts. I’m not much of a gambler, I think this might have been my seventh or eighth ever visit to a casino. Once or twice a year at most I might by a scratch off or sometimes even a lotto ticket, you know, just in case God wants to give me a million bucks.  At least for today, He didn’t.

Before I went into the casino though, I wanted to plan my next stop.  The mountain was nice, but cold. The Cedar Creek area is amazing, but doesn’t allow camping. So I pulled out my big MVUM (motor vehicle use map) and started looking for the closest dots (the dots indicate dispersed camping sites. Finding one on the other side of town from Cedar Creek, I felt good knowing I had a plan for the night (you know, just in case I kept winning and stay late at the casino.)

The way I figure, God really wanted me to take a walk tonight, so he made sure I was out of there before it got too late.  Then a quick drive to my new spot for the night (with no paperwork or camp hosts to bother me,) with an option to stay thirteen more days and the freedom to pack and drive away tomorrow. After setting up my tent and bed stuffs, I went for a walk to explore further down the forest road (I forgot what number road this is.) I would have driven in much further, yet there was big bump in the next uphill climb that I wasn’t sure my car would get over. Gladly I was looking ahead, so I didn’t go alway down the hill, I just reversed from where I was and backed into kinda clear spot in the grass to park.

My tent though, I set it up in the grass- the shin high grass- I’m expecting it to be very comfy tonight, we’ll see.

Time to rest.


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