Monday, May 30, 2011


Something I have worked on a while back was kind of a book of stories about the pools and lifeguards I have met in the past. Occasionally I will add one of these stories into this feed. You will know it is one of these stories since it will have the stories label attached to it. If you really love swimming in pools, you might want to skip these posts.

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Got to Keep Cool

I know, I am mean, I left you on a cliff hanger there. Wait you shouted! Your going to be camping, a few miles from power possibly, how the world are you going to be able to keep food cold? It is time to get geeky.

I have been thinking for a while now about using the great Lake Superior to cool food. I could just bury my food deep in the sand, but critters might get to it. One idea I have had is simply to have two containers, one with food in it, and a bigger one to keep lake water in to keep it cool. Nice and simple, this will keep the food about lake temperature, of about the 60s during warm summers, and cooler as you go deeper.

Another option involves some kind of device which uses evaporation to cool the food. Using fast evaporating liquids like alcohol, Ben Franklin and a colleague was able to cool a thermometer from 65°, the room temperature, to 7°. It would cost money but I could keep adding alcohol to something to cool it. This is good for maybe something I brought home earlier that day but not for multiple days.

I can do the same thing with water, but this will only cool to the dew point. Something like the container idea plus some fabric as a wick, and water evaporating from fabric would help to keep the water cooler longer.
I plan to test this method and a few others over my summer.

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

Friday, May 27, 2011

Here we go! I got the word on Wensday and conformation today that I am fully enrolled in Western Governors University and will be starting orientation June 1st!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Food Food Food Food

Food Food Food Food, everyone loves to eat Food! What to eat when I am camping? Well we have our classics of hotdogs, s’mores, sandwiches, pancakes, oatmeal, and water. Three months is about ninety days. I am pretty sure I can’t do hotdogs for 90 days straight. Ohh! I just remembered Mac & Cheese. Yum...Mac & Cheese with chopped up hotdogs! Yikes! (And don’t get me started on frank and beans)

The nice thing about the summer is all the yummy stuff you can get locally, such as sweet corn, lettuce, tomatoes, chives (I have a soft spot for chives), and green beans. Biking from town almost every day, I can get around the need for refrigeration by buying fresh stuff that I only need that day. I can occasionally stock up on canned stuff and things that don’t need to be refrigeration, such as cereal, peanut butter, oatmeal, and other stuff. Ohh patatos! Wait, no butter :(

Mmm, oatmeal. I have two favorites, apple cinnamon and maple brown sugar. I’m big, I like food, so I always make breakfast using one pack of each. put each packet into a bowl, add some chocolate chips or coco powder, maybe some brown sugar, and nice and thick but not too thick.

There are of course things I am going to miss. No more ice cream, microwaveable sweet and sour chicken, little smokies, hamburgers, sloppy joes, even salad dressing I think.

Something to note here, I think hamburgers are easily doable, but I have a little worry about cooking meat that I won’t cook it enough and get sick. What is worse is those of you who know me will think that is weird since I love eating cookie dough and going barefoot.

One thing I know I can do when I have time are tinfoil packets. Onions, Italian Sausage, pepperoni, peppers, and Italian dressing. It would be really great to make a few at a time and keep them in the refrigerator, but I won’t have one.

Or maybe I will...

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Your doing what!? And what!? All while doing what!? AND ON A BIKE!!?

I have already been asked, so I might as well share, just how I am going to take online classes when I am camping with no power or internet? Well, when I don’t have to work a shift I can work for a few hours on school stuff, or stay after evening swim lessons.

Here is what a full day looks like for me, at least last year. I wake up about 8:15, grab breakfast and head to the pool to make sure its ready. Teach from 9-11 am. Lifeguard either at the beach from 11:30-5:30 or at the pool from 11-1 then beach from 3:30-5:30. Evening swim lessons go from 5-7, then the closing shift at the pool from 7-9. Any time I don’t have to lifeguard I can use the school’s internet to go online. If I don’t have to do the evening shift then I can grab a little dinner and work as late as I want. Then its a 18 mile bike ride mostly downhill back to the campsite.

Yea, I know, 18 miles to work and another 18 back is a in Iowa, add another 4 miles to each and your traveling an entire county twice a day. Back when the US government was restricting where Native Americans lived, the land given to the natives was land that no one else wanted. In the case of the Bad River Reservation, which is where I will be camping, its mostly swamp land. The nice thing about swamp land is it is relatively flat. Between the campsite and the beach I guard at (16 miles difference) the overall elevation climb is only about 10 feet. Assuming no headwind, I can do that in just a little over an hour.

The bad part is going from the beach to the pool. Northland College sits just over 100 feet above the lake, and only a mile away. About a mile of this trip, no matter which method I take, either the highway or the corridor, is fairly flat. It is the other mile is the 100 foot climb. I already know I can go from the beach to the pool in about 20 minutes, so I am not too worried.

I will have my car and bike rack up there too, so if I need to I can take my car to and from work, but that costs money. Good thing I have a third option...the BART bus. Six times a day a bus will stop in Odanah, about 3 miles from the camp site, and can take me to Walmart, the beach, and the pool. Each bart bus has a bike rack, and a ride costs between 25 and 50 cents...well for you. For me and as a student of Northland College last semester, and still carrying my ID card, I, like all Northland students, have paid for unlimited access to the BART system. Just meet the bus in Odanah just before 7, and be at County Market by 7:30. A quick bike ride or walk just 6 block and I am on campus with an hour to work on school work before lessons.

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Hello, I am Travis, the Camping Lifeguard. I know, an odd title, but thats going to be me this summer. I currently live in northeast Iowa, but this summer I am going to go back to where I use go to college in Ashland, WI. During the summers I have been staying up there to lifeguard and teach swim lessons. I no longer am going to college there (long story), but I will be going up this summer lifeguard and teach lessons. I am also going to do something different and new...I am going to go camping.

Yea, doesn’t sound too interesting, but wait! I am not camping for a night or two, I have done that the last two summers. No, I am going to camp ALL SUMMER! This sounds weird enough that I figured I would share adventure with you here. I maybe crazy, but that is how I am.

Not sure when I will be starting at the beach, but I will be heading up in June with my bike, camping equipment, and car, and staying through August. I will be living on private beach on Lake Superior in Odanah, Wi, half the time camping alone, the other half with a friend. I hope to bike to work every day, which is 16 miles to the beach on level terrain, and 2 miles uphill from the beach to the college pool, where I will teach swim lessons. I will be without power and probably running water. I don’t really know how to cook (I am afraid of cooking meat and not cooking it completely). I will have internet to make posts and check the weather via my cellphone, and thats it.

When I can I will share stories about camping, lifeguarding, swim lessons, the weather, and anything that just tickles me along the way. If you have questions about what I am doing (or computer question) just ask. Pretty much anything involving any of the things I am on the first post is fair game. Oh, by the way I am also going to be juggling online classes during this adventure.

Yea, this is going to be fun.

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...the camping lifeguard

Good Morning

Good morning swimmers, I am Travis, your… … …what am I? I am a swim instructor, computer technician, lifeguard, lifeguard instructor, meteorologist, farmer, camper, and student. I’m a son, brother, democrat, Unitarian, and use to be a roller DJ. Hmm...that’s a little long. Well I am no longer a roller DJ, so I can remove that. It doesn’t matter that I am a son, brother, democrat, or Unitarian. We prefer you don’t bring your computer into the pool, so even though I will happily answer computer questions, it doesn't matter that I am a computer tech. Since we are in the pool, I don't plan to farm, and since you aren't becoming lifeguards, we can drop that.

So where are we? I am a swim instructor, lifeguard, meteorologist, camper and student. I use my meteorologist skills when camping or lifeguarding, not during lessons, so ignore that. We are obviously not camping, so drop that. Well students, I am Travis, your swim instructing, lifeguarding student.

Wait, I am the teacher and your the student. I am Travis, your student lifeguarding swim instructor. I don’t like that either. Lets drop student; I am your swim instructing lifeguard. That still sounds odd. Hmm. Maybe I should use what I came up with in the shower, I liked that.

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...