Thursday, July 28, 2011


I didn’t think it would happen, yet it did! I have had 1,000 blog visits! Actually 1,005 at this moment.

Blogger, the blog hosting company I am using here keeps track of visits and information about those visits. For example:

  • The most popular blog post is Camp Sweet Camp with 19 views.
  • The website which sends the most people to my blog is (Hi Grandma!), followed by
  • Need to Google my blog? 3 people have found by blog by searching for “the camping lifeguard.
  • Most of my views are from the US, but 13 are from Germany (Hi Lauren!)
  • By computer operating system, 62% of readers use a Mac, 36% use Linux, and 4 views are from Linux (Hi Cousins!)
  • However, even though 62% of readers are on the Mac, only 59% use Safari, others (20% of total) use Firefox, which is more popular than Internet Explorer (12%). Good job on being secure people!
  • Someone uses SimplePie to view my blog, which is an RSS reader.
  • Since I have 1000 views, and 50 posts now, divide and there are about 20 viewers to my blog.

That might not sound right (and a few other numbers), and there is a reason for that. Blogger counts a view for a blog when someone uses their browser (not an RSS reader) to view the blog. When someone reads a preticular article by clicking on a link to that article, it counts the article read and blog read. Going to the blogs main page (, simply scrolling to read does not count for individual reads, just as a visit. Using a bookmark or typing the address in manually does not contain reference information.

Now how did I know who did what reads? Blogger does not tell me individual readers; however, I know that my grandmother uses Netzero to check her email and that is how she goes to view my blog. I know one person who lives in Germany, a friend who went to high school with me. Linux is a fairly complex operating system and the only readers I know who use Linux is my cousins.

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

Monday, July 25, 2011

And now a word from our sponsor:

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It was an amazing night, I had been asleep for an hour, when all of a sudden a strong wind hit my tent and almost blew me away. I collapsed my tent to prevent it from breaking and drove away to shelter. The next morning it was still very windy but clear out, so I left for some breakfast, only for half an inch of rain to fall. Now my tent is a pool and all my clothing is soaked!

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Fade to black

Quickly fade back

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Remember, call 1866-666-6663 for a free Mini-Heck, and to order your first Heck-in-a-Hand-Basket! Call Now!

©DWA 2011

All Heck!

Just found out why I was blown over and flooded yesterday morning...Mother Nature left me a Heck in a hand-basket. Glad she helped me to clean it up in exchange for a plug! (advertising placement)
I even get to be in the commercial!
From the mobile guy with his eye on the sky: Travis

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rose is Rose

I have a favorite comic called "Rose is Rose". It always has some nice, happy, family friendly comics. I was reading the comics today and saw this one,, which reminded me of the awesomeness of the other night.
I wasn't carrying garbage, but I, like Jimbo, enjoy a good starry night.

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

Woo Tech

I am at the lifeguarding beach right now. Five miles from my beach is the town of Washburn. It is right accross the bay and some people think its Bayfield (some think its Canada). Yet for how far it is from here, I am connected to a WiFi hub at the Washburn Marina! Normally WiFi (the type of wireless internet most people use) is good for roughly 300 ft outside, and 100ft inside. The fact I can get their internet here from so far away is amazing, yet explainable.

Back where I went to school in Iowa, while waiting for the school bus, I could hear our band practice, even though school was about three miles away. What happens is there is warm air near the ground, then a layer of cool air on top. This temperature inversion bounces the sound waves like a sheet of glass, then off the ground until it got to me. This effect is well known for lakes and ponds, but also works under the water, and is a way to hide submarines. I remember a JAG episode in the first season where just this occurs...a sub needs to hide from another sub, so it goes deep enough that it hits a cold water inversion. The attacking sub’s sonar waves bounce off the inversion and can’t find the sub.

AM and Ham radio also do this with the inversion layers and other types of layers of the atmosphere. I remember meeting some Ham radio operators up here last year and they were talking about how during the Katrina disaster, they were able to talk to people in Louisiana and were able to contact family members for those in the disaster area. This was only possible with radio waves bouncing off the atmosphere and coming back down to earth.

WiFi is also a type of radio waves (2.4 GHz) and is reflecting off a cold layer here to give the same effect...communication from a crazy far distance!

Oh, great thing about the internet at the beach...Watching the sunset!

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

Edit: If my manager is reading this, Sara, I think each of our parks larger parks need this, free wifi for people to sit outside and work!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fireworks 2011

It took me a while to go through the 1300+ pictures, but here are some of the best out of the 104 that were good.

Holy Awesome Nights Batman!

Oh last night was so awesome! After 10:30 the bugs left and I was able to go swimming and do some work on my tent. Afterwords I went for a swim and was able to just float on my back and watch the stars. Looking straight up I could see the milky way and satellites flying by. Occasionally I would see a shooting star, including some really bright ones.

The air was warm but not hot, and the water was cool but not cold, and it was very tempting to just fall asleep right there in the sand, only a foot from the water line. I think I will have to do that some time.

During the entire two hours I was out there, part of the sky glowed green from the aurora, and at about midnight there were streaks of light to be seen. Before I saw the streaks I thought I saw it move more south as the eastern sky was getting brighter. Then I saw the tip of the moon rise up. It was only a half moon, but it was bright enough to cast shadows of me and the little hills of sand on the beach.

The awesomeness only lasted until about 2 am, at which point the winds went from calm to 20 mph off the lake and was strong enough to cave in part of my tent while I was sleeping in it. It was odd however as there was still not a cloud in the sky. Because of the wind I decided to collapse my tent to keep it from breaking, gathered up some bed stuff, and while shouting to myself "EVAC EVAC EVAC!", ran to the round house to sleep.

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Q&A 2: Humidity

TIme for another Q&A. This one comes from my grandmother, asking “What is the difference between humidity and dew point?” Given our current weather throughout the nation, this is a good question.

We have been hearing lately about how the humidity is high or the dew point is tropical. Temperature is simply how warm or cold the air. On a more technical level, it is the average kinetic energy of what is being measured.

Dew point is simply what temperature air can cool to before it gets saturated and either the water in the air needs to be removed via condensation or rain. The dew point tells us how much water is already in the air. It is measured by finding what temperature water is in the air. Once the dew point pasts 70, it is considered to be tropical. Temperature can never be below the dew point.

Humidity is the percentage of water in the air compared to the temperature. When the humidity hits 100%, the air can handle no more water, so it condenses out, which can cause rain, or droplets on glass to form. When the humidity is high, water evaporates more slowly, which is why when the humidity is high its harder to cool yourself.

The body uses sweat to keep cool because evaporation is a heat absorbing process, so when it is humid, the body cannot cool itself, so you start to overheat. This is why high humidity and hot temperatures are dangerous. It is also why it is good to invest in dehumidifiers. Dehumidifiers remove the water from the air, so that more water can be evaporated, helping to cool you. This is also why a house at 75° in the winter feels nicer than outside at 75° in the summer...less humidity.

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

Operation: Table

Two years ago a picnic table was floated into the lake for a ride. The waves and currents pushed the table to a small lot of sand down the shore. Between work this weekend, I decided to go bring it back from the mini-beach. Great thing about tables, they float!

It is annoying hard getting the table into the water when you are wearing flippers, but once in the water you can lay on the table and keep afloat. All I had to do is kick over to our beach area, and since I just had to lay there, i could have fallen asleep and been fine.

The table however also became home to many spiders. Those who did not drown took shelter on the dry spots of the table I wasn’t leaning on. Over time, I eventually had some very large spiders on my arms, hoping that this lifeguard would save them. I promised them as long as they stayed on the table where its dry now, they will be fine.

After what was a very relaxed 30 minutes, I finally made it back the main beach. With the table out of the water, there was still a good sized dry spot on the table for the other passengers. The question is, how long will the table remain at the beach before floating away again?

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

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bay Days

Every third weekend in July is a celebration called Bay Days. Bay Days is a three day festival at Bay view park and beach, featuring food, rides, bands, competitions, races, and a triathlon.

For me Bay Days started on Saturday morning helping out with the 5K and 10K triathlon. My main job was just telling them where to go. Unfortunately it was really hot and humid out, so standing out in the sun was not fun. Between the runs and lifeguarding, I was able to do some swimming and return a table back to our beach (Read Operation: Table).

My lifeguarding shift for the day was from 11:30 to 5:30. Knowing it was going to be very hot out, I planned to do my entire shift on the rescue board, so I could just hang out in the water, staying cool. Unfortunately a guard didn’t show due to being sick (now our second guard currently sick), so I was alone until 2:00. After the next guard showed, I was able to go have a snack of fried bread then hang out in the water on my board. Being in the water, I was constantly floating away, resulting in regularly swimming back to where I wanted to be at.

It had the makings for a good day, except for multiple rounds of teens who did not care about their safety, resulting in much yelling and eventually the calling of the police.

We have a rule about the railing. The railing goes around the dock and is made of wood, which means it is not overly strong, just a 1-by-4 piece of wood. Kids seem to enjoy jumping over and sitting on the railing. Problem is that the railing can (and has) snapped, so if the railing snaps, the sitter will fall backwards into the water. On the swimming side of the dock, falling will result in landing in the water, but run the risk of hitting the superstructure that is holding up the dock, or more likely the metal sticking out from it. On the other side, falling off is a very short trip into a few inches of water followed by going splat on parts of the old ore dock the swim dock is built on. Old wood, metal rods, and the occasional nail fill the bottom area of the deck.

Jumping from or over the railing has its own issues. If a swimmer were to collided with the rail or the rail breaks, it can injure them and cause them to fall into the water. Unlike the diving board, the other areas are not checked for being clear of debre, such as wood, rocks, and bikes, and can be too shallow for even a lifeguard with entry knowledge to be safe.

After warnings to not sit on or jump over the railing, I issued orders to leave the beach as I cannot focus on them being unsafe and keep everyone else safe. For the safety of everyone, I had to get them out of the area, and since they would not leave, we called the police, twice! The second time the officer came down he had everyone causing trouble to leave and threatened to close the dock, which would have been nice, since at that time of the day, its mostly troublemakers.

Oh, and to that one guy who talked to me that evening, I would not need anger management classes if you would just follow the rules.

Sunday was a busy, early day with the triathlon at 8 am. The first leg is a 500 yard swim, which I have volunteered for for the last three year. It is always fun to cheer on my boss in the race, however she tends to fall behind because her lifeguard instincts take over and she starts helping the swimmers falling behind and the runners and bikers who are also having problems. It was about 80 out, and the lake is running at roughly 75° right now. As with the other two years I guarded, almost everyone was wearing wetsuits. The wetsuits are normally used to keep the swimmers warm and help them float. Wetsuits are worn even in the Caribbean and Bahamas, as even “warm” water can still cool the body. The disadvantage of wetsuits is that they slow you down during the swim or transition to biking. I can’t imagine how hot they were.

After guarding the race I went to wave the runners around a corner to make sure they didn’t take the longer trail. After the race was done I had to restore the ropes for our beach. Luckily I love that job. The easy part is just swimming the rope around the buoy to the dock. The hard part is moving the buoy. It only took me one try to get it exact, but normally its a multi-trip process of diving to the bottom of the lake, pick up two concrete bricks, and walk them until I need air. Did I talk about this before? It seems familiar.

Lifeguarding started with me working with our other head lifeguard. The first two hours went as normal, occasional yelling of railing sitters and people wanting to jump over the railing, then came chaos. First the lifeguard I was with had to go play in the band. While he was playing with the band, part of the Bay Day events involved cardboard boat races. Teams had to build out of cardboard and duct tape a boat they had to use to float from the beach to the rope and back. Some boats have no chance, others are surprisingly good. One boat, built by the family of one of my swim students from last year, was amazingly strong, though lost due to team with twice as many paddlers. While built for two, after the race they stuffed four into the boat and only did a problem occur when a fifth tried climbing in and broke a support structor. It stayed afloat fine, but was now able to cave in.

After the race was done, and I was able to let people back in, though upon doing so, about half a dozen people jumped over the railing into the water. A yell at them not to stand on and jump over the railing got a reply of only “shut up” and I am sure some words which I could not hear. Another round of over the railing and I told the swimmers to leave. This resulted in yet another round of jumps, a call by me to the police to have them leave. It worked and the rest of the shift being nice...until we herd a big boom. We had a thunderstorm near us and we cleared the beach. The storm gave a nice warm rain that was pleasant to be in (minus the windows in my car left open).

Besides the rain, nature gave me “sorry about the day” with a beautiful gust front from a newer storm to the south. The gust front caused a rolling cloud wall that passed over head while I was parked at a gas station to watch it. Then later there was a nice red sunset.

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Go Swimmers Go!

Today during one of my Level 1 classes the four kids there swam 30 ft about four times, then 75 ft...mostly by themselves! The pass requirement for a Level 1 student is two body-lengths. I feel so proud!

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

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Q&A 1: Ads

Earlier today I received a question from my mom:
Does your blog advertising do anything like sorting for the interests of the reader? When you first started blogging, most of the ads were camping related but I've started to notice that lately, it is doing more ads for something called Audiodigest which is something I already subscribe to for continuing ed and now all of a sudden, it is showing ads for a clothing company I occasionally shop, and this one started popping up after I accessed their site because of a sale ad I got in the mail. Is it starting to show me ads to click on based on what it thinks I am more likely to be interested in or is it just a coincidence? Just curious.
Actually this is not a coincidence. The ads here on this blog are provided by Google Adsense. Google Adsense, as well other ad companies, such as DoubleClick, monitor where you go and what you read to give ads targeted to you. In the case of my mom, because my blog is about camping, those were the ads she was first getting. As she visits other sites, it sees that she also likes the clothing, so she gets the ads about clothing, and knowing from her history that she like a certain company, so ads are shown of stuff she might like from the company she likes, figuring she is more likely to buy from there again.

Companies like this of course because it targets their audience, who are more likely to buy something than anyone else. Its good for the consumers because the ads show buyers something they would like but never knew about.

People however worry that these companies are tracking you personally. That is only partial true, as what its actually being tracked is something called a cookie, or a small file that gives a unique ID. Each ID is unique to the combined of computer, user, browser. As a result, even if you have the same computer and your the same user, using different web browsers will result in a different ID and different ads. Don’t worry about these cookies and ads, they are trying to make everyone happy. If you do worry about it, just need to delete those cookies. Just note that cookies store other things, like login information, though nothing critical, just be careful you don’t delete stuff you want.

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

Friday, July 8, 2011

Busy Busy!

Holy cow! Its been hard to work on posts this last week, between guarding, end of swim lesson session 1, 4th of July, Jeniqua visiting... Don't worry I will begin working on more posts soon!

From the guy with his eye on the sky, Travis...The Camping Lifeguard

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

This Preview is Rated PG for ickiness

Every 17 years comes a beast from below. Their sounds fill the air, drowning out everything thing else. They are everywhere yet many do not see them. Soon they will disappear for another 17 years. There are 2,500 types of these five eyed creatures. This year they are back!


They are up here in Wisconsin. I remember them from growing up in Iowa. I think they are really cool but its funny to watch other people freak out at them.

From they guy with his eye on the sky, Travis....The Camping Lifeguard

Monday, July 4, 2011


♬Happy anniversary! Happy anniversary! Happy anniversary! HAAAAAPPPPY anniversary!♬

I have been here for a month! I have probably lost a gallon of blood to mosquitos, but still here.

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