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Completed Objectives

“Moonshinery 2008” Update

Hey Team,

Here’s the update on “Moonshinery 2008.” You all know Jeff MacPherson (better known on the webbernets as Dr. Tiki) and I got the ball rolling late last week with an attempt at mash (which, for you non-hillbillies out there is the fermented liquid that gets distilled into moonshine). As far as we know (which isn’t very far) things went well…

Yesterday I got a call from Dr. Tiki saying that, after five days, our (more than likely poisonous) mixture of sugar, cornmeal and yeast definitely smelled like booze…and bread. And since I have to be in Virginia City tomorrow to ride an ostrich(!) we decided to jump the gun a little and see if we couldn’t manage to distill some grade A moonshine from what had already fermented.

We couldn’t.

Despite our ingenious still setup we had nothing to show for our early efforts after several hours. Which isn’t to say we’ve failed…yet. The yeast in our toxic brew is still doing it’s thing and as soon as that poison stops bubbling and things start smelling more like alcohol than bread we’ll jump back in and see what we can make happen!

Until then…I’m going to go jump head first into the terrifying More >

Disaster Looms

Hey Team,

After a long hiatus from crossing stuff off the list thanks to one scheduling failure after another spanning most of the country I finally feel back on track after today.

I packed up the goods (mostly corn meal, sugar and a bucket) and met up with Dr. Tiki at an undisclosed location (well into international waters where it is completely legal to make moonshine) and spent about an hour setting the stage for our undoing.

I purposely chose the simplest moonshine recipe I could find that still seemed to follow all the basic rules, reasoning that there would be less opportunities to screw it up. There’s no way of knowing whether or not we managed to do just that anyway for another few days but suffice it to say, despite there really only being three steps involved in this little procedure the most common phrase to pass through the lips of both the good doctor and I was:

“Wait…hold on…what do the instructions say?!”

It’s almost guaranteed to be a disaster. And I’m not just saying that because basically we’re trying to make a poison that the human body wants to reject anyway nor because it will practically by definition taste horrible; I’m talking More >

Is Horse Feed Really a Good Idea Anyway?

Hey Team,

I’ve been reading quite a bit about moonshine lately since I’ve recently decided I don’t want to poison myself like so many ill-advised hillbillies before me. As a result I felt pretty confident when I set out this afternoon to hunt down some grain for the “mash” to start the fermentation process. A quick half hour to and from the Tack and Feed store and I’d be set. Easy. Amazon.com Widgets

Here’s the thing. Nothing is ever easy in my world. (Of course I wouldn’t have it any other way. Where would the fun be in that? And where would I get all these ridiculous stories from?!)

When it comes right down to it, even after HOURS of researching moonshine making techniques and recipes, all I really knew was that the recipe I had decided to use (because it looked simple) recommended a five gallon bucket of “MannaPro Hi Grain sweet feed.”

I have no idea what that means.

“Hi. Do you guys sell, MannaPro Hi Grain sweet feed?”

“What’s that?”

“I thought you were suppose to take it from there. I don’t even know what the words I just said mean…I’m just on an errand for my aunt.” Ha! That’ll throw them off the More >

#3 Sleep in a Lighthouse! [podcast]

Hey Team,

The much delayed/ballyhooed podcast featuring your’s truly’s adventure in a lighthouse is here! Check it out.

“Amtrekker travels to Frankfort, MI to sleep in the 150 year old Point Betsie lighthouse (one of the most photographed lighthouses in America). Watch as he offers up a Cribs style tour of his overnight digs!

Hip-Hop ensues.”

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player. var WT1_1 = { params : { wmode : "opaque", allowscriptaccess : "always", allownetworking : "all", allowfullscreen : "true"}, flashvars : { file : "http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amtrekker.com%2Findex.php%3Fxspf%3Dtrue%26id%3D6", volume : "80", bufferlength : "5", controlbar : "over", 'logo.hide' : "false", shuffle : "false", playlist : "bottom"}, attr : { id : "WT1", name : "WT1"}, start : function() { swfobject.embedSWF("http://www.amtrekker.com/wp-content/uploads/player.swf", "WT1_1", "437", "522", "9.0.0", false, this.flashvars, this.params , this.attr ); } } WT1_1.start();

And here’s the YouTube link.

I’m done.

Brett.

Annnddd…here are two great ways to help out Team Amtrekker! Our new affiliation with bookingbuddy.com means all you have to do to help out the site is click on one of their ads and sign up for an awesome newsletter filled with travel deals! Thanks everyone!

Thanks!

Ore-GONE!

Hey Team,

Lots of news…how to make it all interesting…? Oh well, I guess I’ll just use the same approach I use in life. Jump in headfirst and hope for the best.

This week was the week I finally killed Oregon’s status as one of the few remaining states on the list I need to geocache in thanks to a little help from Superfriend Katy and a spontaneous roadtrip to Crater Lake National Park. What a beautiful place, the water is SO crystal clear and pure. I don’t care how many amazing Caribbean beaches or out of the way lagoons you’ve been to, you’ve never seen anything like this. (My camera is out of commission for the duration of the trip but Katy took plenty of pictures that I’ll be able to share in the near future.)

Making it down to the water isn’t the nature walk I expected it to be though. It was actually very similar to the first 1.5 miles from the top of the Grand Canyon. It was steep, dry, dusty and hot…and MUCH more crowded. In fact it’s probably a pretty good barometer for hiking the GC. If you manage Crater Lake and think you can do More >

#50 Hike to the Bottom of the Grand Canyon! [podcast]

Hey Team,

Obviously my self imposed deadlines have been a joke since I bought the Greyhound bus pass. BUT, never fear…the videos are still coming. I just get fewer opportunities to team up with Charley and get them done lately.

Oh, look! Here’s one right here! Handy.

“Team Amtrekker travels to the Grand Canyon National Park on a three day journey to the world’s most famous hole in the ground!

Immense beauty and heavy breathing ensues.”

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player. var WT2_2 = { params : { wmode : "opaque", allowscriptaccess : "always", allownetworking : "all", allowfullscreen : "true"}, flashvars : { file : "http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amtrekker.com%2Findex.php%3Fxspf%3Dtrue%26id%3D7", volume : "80", bufferlength : "5", controlbar : "over", 'logo.hide' : "false", shuffle : "false", playlist : "bottom"}, attr : { id : "WT2", name : "WT2"}, start : function() { swfobject.embedSWF("http://www.amtrekker.com/wp-content/uploads/player.swf", "WT2_2", "437", "522", "9.0.0", false, this.flashvars, this.params , this.attr ); } } WT2_2.start();

AND, as usual…here’s the youtube link.

Thanks!

I’m done.

Brett.

If you enjoy the podcasts…why not donate?

Don’t let me stop you.

#3 Sleep in a Lighthouse!

Hey Team,

Charley is having some charging issues this week and it’s making life very difficult when it comes to updating the site so I hope you guys don’t mind the delays in new content. (Because I freaking HATE it!) I’m taking him to the hospital (a.k.a. Apple Store) this afternoon but before I do that I wanted to get an exciting post up.

It seems one of the countries best kept secrets (right up until you read this) is North Western Michigan. I don’t know what the area is like during the wintertime and that always scares me (you all know #4 on the list of things I hate is “cold weather”) but while I was hanging around the Frankfort, Crystal Lake, Pt. Betsie area I was greeted by nothing short of an extra large helping of beautiful.

But to skip to the point (Get it? Oh man…that’s a good one…), my second night in the area brought me to the Point Betsie Lighthouse, where thanks to Jen and Amy, I was given the grand tour of this 150 year old piece of Michigan history (by Jay) before being left to my own devices.

My “devices” in this case seemed to consist mostly of my More >

Frank’s Fort

Hey Team,

I made it to Frankfort, MI, no joke, named after a guy named Frank that used to own a Fort here on the bay. Apparently everyone used to say, “Hey let’s go meet at Frank’s Fort.” (I was assured I wasn’t being screwed with on this point.)

Regardless, I’ve made it to the next destination, I’ve seen the lighthouse I’m sleeping in tonight and I’ve already met some incredible people. It’s such a great cap to an otherwise crappy week. Right now I’m even less excited about the lighthouse than I am to continue to spend time around people that are eager to share their lives and their town with me.

This is an amazingly diverse town but not in the usual sense of the word. The area may even rival Pigeon Forge, TN and Branson, MO for high levels of weird. Not that same kind of “quirky show and tourist trap” weird that they have in those towns but there does seem to be an awful lot of tourism here.

In this case I keep getting driven around the lake while Andy, the guy who was generous enough to pick me up at the bus station an hour from here and More >


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