An Ode To The Garage

Not my garage. I no longer have one. I’m talking about the one at REI. It really can be bargain central, as my son-in-law found out yesterday when he rounded up an Alps Mountaineering tent for sixty percent off. My daughter consistently tells me that he’s not into online shopping, but that didn’t keep me from nagging him to check their deals periodically. Imagine my surprise when he sent me a text yesterday with a picture of the tent he had just proudly purchased:


Of course, he doesn’t realize he’s the creator of an unintended consequence: The pressure is now on me to finally make that decision and get a multi-day pack. Given the weather here, he’s going to be itching to go out for an overnight a month or so from now. And I’m still (blast it!) unprepared…


Note: As I’ve stated in the past, I’m a BIG proponent of supporting my small local outfitters (and businesses in general), but when I’m looking for an item they don’t carry or can’t order, I do shop on the ‘Net.


The First (But Not Last) Time

My first week in Virginia featured little-to-nothing hiking related until my daughter suggested a trip to the Richmond area to shop her favorite HomeGoods store. Well, that would be a five-star yawner for me, except for the fact that HomeGoods shares a parking lot with the Glen Allen location of REI. Where I lived in Maine, the nearest REI was a less-than-leisurely 3.5 hour (traffic permitting, of course) sojourn to (nearby?) Reading, Massachusetts. Given that I had never been in a physical location, and that I had a $9.58 dividend burning a hole in my account pocket, I was thrilled with the invite.


I was hoping against hope that they might have a Granite Gear Crown 2 in stock so I could set some eyes on one. It was a longshot, for sure; even Granite Gear has been out of them for weeks. And my now-local REI didn’t disappoint. Nary a Crown 2 to be seen anywhere.

Still, they had a pretty solid array of packs, about half of which are represented in this photo:


I was able to strap on the 48L version of my trusty Kestrel 28, and give consideration to a few others. But by the end of my hour-long trip through the backpacker’s candy store, all I walked away with was some GU hydration tablets which, after my staggeringly huge $9.58 dividend, set me back a grand total of $3.75.

Still, it was great to spend some time in an actual REI store rather than burning through page after page on their website. And I enjoyed the experience of proudly whipping out my membership card when asked if I had one…

Indoor Camping?

At the end of the month I’ll be moving to Virginia. For a handful of reasons that won’t be spelled out here, I’ll be taking up temporary residence for a few weeks in a family member’s empty apartment. Ever the minimalist, I’ve decided to use my sleeping bag as my bed. Which means that I need to (finally!) order the sleeping pad I’ve been eyeing since March as a buffer between me and the floor.

The only question now is, do I set up the inner portion of my tent to get used to the confining nature of a one person shelter? I mean, I’ve pitched it indoors before, albeit temporarily:


Of course, I’d much rather see it in a more natural habitat:


But I’m not sure the property management company at the apartment complex would be too thrilled about having a tent pitched on the lawn next to the building that houses the fitness room and movie theater.

They do have a lazy river that runs into the swimming pool. That would probably be a better spot…