Saturday, April 7, 2012

Palm Springs visit

For Easter I traveled to the strange environment of Palm Springs. As might be expected of me, I put a lot of thought into the EDC items I'd travel with. The flashlights, of course, were pretty easy: I took my two main Clickies (170Cn and 100Chc) and the ZL H51Fc for headlamp duties. Knives were a more thought-provoking decision. The standard CA local ordinance length restriction is 3", so that was my limit for traveling through unfamiliar areas. Initially, I wanted to stay under that by taking the Cat, my old campus knife, which would be only 2.5" but give me a sturdy little blade of S30V; however, I didn't have time to sharpen it satisfactorily, so I left it. Instead, my main carry was the UKPK Rescue, which is colorful and friendly but able to cut through anything. I also ended up taking the Tasman, but I shouldn't have bothered; I mostly just took it in case I wanted a peanut butter knife. Neither of those got significant use.

The real hero was the Ladybug Salt. (Readers of past entries might remember my frustration with its edge; no such problems now that I've reprofiled it.) First day there, I had lunch at a restaurant surrounded by water (interestingly, you see a lot of small bodies of water in the desert, like they're balancing out their surroundings) and ordered chicken kebabs sticking out of a big piece of grilled mango sitting on top of a slice of pineapple. Turns out, grilling makes mango very tough, to the point that a standard restaurant knife isn't capable of cutting it so much as smushing through it. The LB sliced right through, cleanly and without drama. Another night, I had steak but didn't have a steak knife. Another easy task for the little yellow knife.

I like a variety of knife designs and sizes, and lately I've been gravitating more towards the bigger stuff, the excessively large really. This little vacation reminded me of what I already knew: there's very little that can't be done with just a Ladybug.

Flashlights didn't get a whole lot of use, but still the usual quick daily stuff. The H51 was very helpful when going through bags since an overhead room light does a very poor job of illuminating inside things.

Finally, a few quick notes about other things I had with me. Beyond the usual cutting and lighting tools, there were various other things that I was very glad to have. The day before I left, I received my new blue (and now French-made) Parker Jotter, which is loaded with a space pen refill and now serving as my official geocaching pen, though I also like to use it for receipts. For protection from the desert sun, I had my wide-brimmed Patagonia cap with rear protective cover. I ended up having to buy a UPF protective shirt while down there because I realized as I was packing that I had nothing that offered decent protection without being too heavy for serious heat. Ended up with a basic but functional Rugged Exposure collared shirt, and I was so glad to have it. My big regret in this area was that I didn't buy the UPF 50 NRS gloves I'd been looking at before the trip. It's not something I think about so much until I'm actually out in the sun, but my hands are right in harm's way, and covering them in sunscreen will always result in smudging up glasses and camera lenses.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Trip planning knife humor

A conversation while deciding what knives to take on a trip.

Ian: no, take the khukuri
me: Nah, too big. It's like a 2.5" blade mounted at the end of a 1" arm that may or may not be considered blade. Since the standard CA local restriction is sub-3", I'm not taking anything larger than a UKPK when traveling.
If I need a bigger knife, I'll combine Cat, two Ladybugs, and a UKPK, Captain Planet style. And the Bug, I guess it's the rainforest heart kid.