Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Adventures on the Blue Star Highway

In August of '07, Piper was moving up to Reed in Portland and needed someone to drive with her, so I went along. A trip is always interesting for someone interested in gear and dedicated to preparedness because it forces them to actually take their practical hobby somewhat seriously. In my case, this meant no pockets full of flashlights to compare and contrast, but instead a minimal complement of just the essentials. Fortunately, the brand new NovaTac EDC-120P I'd preordered arrived just days before we left, giving me a light versatile enough to pretty much serve as all of my necessary lights in one (which is exactly what it ended up doing, I didn't use anything else). On the night of the 14th, we arrived on the outskirts of Castle Rock, at the southern edge of Washington. We were heading to Piper's dad's house and she had just taken over the driving because she somewhat knew the way there, but it was late and very dark and difficult finding the right way with her dim headlights. So, of course, out came the 120P at full power to help with spotting street signs. It found the sign we were looking for and we were on our way. It also provided dim lighting for me while in the car on the ride up, late at night while everyone else was asleep at the house, and on the 28 hour train ride back. (Fond memories of it discreetly lighting my little area as I ate that much needed turkey sandwich late at night while crossing through the Cascades.) It served me very well. :)

For all the drama that has surrounded NovaTac since then, and all the bad blood and broken promises, I still look upon that light rather fondly. The NT line had glitches and their specs were dishonest, the companies ethics came to light and left much to be desired, and I ended up switching back to mostly carrying my by-then-obsolete proper HDS after about half a year because the NT tint was bothering me, but when I think of the 120P I think of it as the light that was with me during that important time. I'm disgusted by the company, but the light itself is an old friend.

On the knife side of things, I carried my yellow Mini-Grip, which was pretty much the only knife I carried from 10/06 to 6/09, but I don't think I used it for much beyond opening snacks on the trip up. It felt kind of appropriate that I took a knife that was made in Oregon, and it got to play in the silty sand alongside the Columbia River... which actually didn't mess up its pivot as much as you'd expect.