Sunday, November 18, 2012


Even though the cold weather has moved in, it doesn't discourage my husband and I from hitting the outdoors.  Several years ago we bought an enclosed trailer and made it our home on the road.  Affectionately known as the "Redneck Toy Hauler" or the "Silverbox", we made some modifications so we can enjoy it anytime of the year and stay very cozy.  My husband and I have a moto, "less is more".  Keeping things on the light and simple side enables us to have the advantage of going almost anywhere we want to without the burden of being bogged down with unnecessary gear and equipment.

"The Silverbox".  A 6' x 12' extra tall Cargo Mate enclosed utility trailer.

Knowing that we were going to use the trailer year round, it was important for us to add insulation for better temperature regulation.  First step was to remove the wood wall panels.

 One of the side walls with the wood paneling removed.  To help seal out both cold and dust, we laid a hefty layer of caulking at the floor base and where the sheet metal wall pieces join.

We used a 1" hard foam core insulation for the walls and ceiling.

Nose of the trailer with the insulation installed.

Wall with insulation installed.

For insulating the curves near the ceiling, we used a bubble wrap type insulation that is covered with a foil-like material and attached it with Gorilla tape.

Wood panels reinstalled after installing the insulation.

The ceiling, like the walls, received the 1" hard foam core insulation.

The tailgate was also insulated.

Rod holders were installed.

A friend of ours built aluminum side rails for the walls.  Another friend of ours powdercoated them.  
The holes along the length of it makes it easy for tying down cargo.  The rails also support the three crossbeams that support the elevated bed.

We attached the rails by screwing them into the metal frame behind the plywood wall.

Both rails installed.

After one long ride down a gravel road, the front of the trailer took quite a beating from rocks being thrown from the car tires.  We later took the trailer down to Line-X and had them coat most of the front.  It works perfectly.

In the nose of the trailer, we've set up a small living/kitchen area.

With the stylish plastic cabinet, the sleek black Coleman two burner propane stove powered by the five gallon propane tank, and the snappy wood finish countertop...what woman wouldn't be proud of this kitchen?

The plastic unit with large drawers not only provides a lot of storage, but also can be moved easily anywhere in the trailer.

The rod holder doubles as a drying rack for our dish towels.

The elevated bed is very similar in size to a king sized bed.  In addition to the insulated walls, we sometimes use Mr. Heater (never while sleeping), a portable propane heater that is safe to use indoors.  During elk season, we experienced temperatures in the single digits.  Although the door handle and the wall screws were frosted over on the inside of the trailer, we remained very cozy while sleeping.

The layers of the bed not only make it extremely comfortable, it is also a great way to stay warmer.  Being insulated underneath you is just as important as being insulated on top.  The green pad on the bottom is an REI 3.5" self-inflating pad, above that are two pieces of 2' x 6' x 3" foam padding nestled in a duvet cover, and on top is our 30 degree double sleeping bag.  If it is really cold, we top the sleeping bags with fleece blankets.

Our 3.5" REI self-inflatable bed pads are each 78" long, 29" wide, 3.5" thick, weigh 6.7 pounds, and have an R-value of 7.0.  "The "R-value" is how the insulation is measured according to its capacity to resist heat flow.  The higher the R-value, the better you can expect it to insulate you from cold surfaces.",

Because the bed is elevated, we are able to use the trailer for many functions. 
With a clean tarp thrown over the bedding, we are able to store our 9' inflatable pontoon boats.  One on top and one on the bottom.  

When the three support pieces and the two plywood pieces of the bed are removed, we are able to load our motorcycles.  Perfectly fitting vertical, the REI pads tuck nicely under the wall railings while travelling, and the sleeping bag fits in a large duffel bag.  With this configuration, we sleep on the floor. 

The three aluminum cross supports are secured with bolts and wing nuts, yet are easy to remove.  
The portable propane heater, Mr. Heater, is seen here on the right.

The holes that are the full length of the wall railing make it easy to attach tie downs and bungee cords.  At each corner we usually have a five gallon container of fuel.

We textured the floor and the tailgate with a product that we found at Home Depot.  
It is a deck coating similar to a spray in bed liner.

"Camping:  nature's way of promoting the motel industry."  
-- Dave Barry

Sunday, November 11, 2012


So you've shot yourself a game bird.  Now what?
Here are step by step instructions on how to clean a typical game bird.

If you plan on getting into bird hunting, this is an excellent, must-have tool.  
This kit from Kershaw Knives contains game shears and a very sharp knife.

The knife, scissors, and carrying case.  
The scissors have a special notch near the hinge to easily cut through bone.  They also disassemble for easy cleaning.

Shown here is a ruffed grouse, a forest bird that we often hunt for.

Using the notch in your game shears, hold one of the legs and cut just above the knee joint.

Repeat on the second leg.

Position the bird on its back.

Grab one of the wings and again using the notch in your game shears, cut the wing off at the 'shoulder' joint.

Repeat on the other wing.

With the bird still on its back, hold the body of the bird in one hand and with the other hand, carefully grab and pull out some of the breast feathers.

After pulling some of the breast feathers, you should be able to see the skin that the feathers were attached to.  When you see this, gently tear the skin to expose the breast meat.

Continue peeling the skin with the feathers attached.

Removing skin and feathers from the neck.

Trim up some of the feathers on the head.

Cut the airway.  Do not cut off the neck and head.

Cut off the tail feathers at the base.

With the spine facing up, using the tip of your shears, insert them on the right side of the spine.

Carefully cut upwards along the spine and stop just below the base of the neck.

Repeat on the other side of the spine.

After making the two cuts up the spine, cut the spine out using a crosscut.

Using the tips of your shears, scrape out the innards.

Finish by rinsing the bird with fresh water.

After the bird is clean, we store the bird in a gallon sized Ziploc bag and place it in the cooler.

As with most states, Oregon law requires that the head is left attached for proper identification.

Here is the link to Kershaw Knives:

"There is a passion for hunting something deeply implanted in the human breast."  -- Charles Dickens