Camp Chef Shelley

Stop WaitingIt’s Memorial Day Weekend, for many, the first three day weekend since President’s Day. It’s heralded as the start of summer, of camping, of all those things we’ve been waiting for. We’ve got pool parties to attend, new recipes to try out, barbecues are getting fired up. Let’s celebrate!

How do you barbecue? Is it burgers and dogs, is it dutch oven, do you limit what you can do because you are on a grill outside instead of inside in the sanctity of your kitchen? I hope not. Cooking outdoors is one of my greatest pleasures. Of course, that might be because I have no indoor cooking facilities. Seriously!

I cook outdoors on a Camp Chef almost daily. Recently my husband upgraded my Camp Chef, but for the last seven years, that’s been our only cooking apparatus, aside from an electric steamer and a crockpot which are used occasionally.

So let’s talk about what you can cook outdoors. Last month it was my world famous fish tacos, steak with baked potatoes, spaghetti, Jambalaya, Linguine with clam sauce, breakfast – lots of those. I also fixed chicken legs and kabobs, pork chops, couscous, and corn on the cob, among other things. Do you see much difference between what I cook outdoors and what you cook indoors? Probably not. The key for me is fresh and available, rarely do we have anything boxed or packaged, frozen or shelved. There’s no need for that. Does it take preparation? A bit, I have a tiny, tiny kitchen counter in our RV. I do my food prep with awesome knifes and a great cutting board, throw all that in separate bowls and then move it outside to add when needed. The biggest collection I keep in my house is knives and spices.

So as you move it outside this summer, consider the great possibilities you can cook there. Everything tastes better outdoors.

And as we celebrate this holiday weekend, let’s also remember. The purpose of the weekend is to reflect on those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, those who gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy. Thank you to all in uniform, present and past, and to your brothers-in-arms who never made it home.

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Day 66 – Rubicon Springs

jeepersPart of the deal of my 50th year is that I get to try new things and go to new places.  The Rubicon is part of that.  Last year we attended Jeeper’s Jamboree, a great little camping trip, they provide three meals a day, a band, a raffle, in other words, a great party.  In 2012, there were 1700 people there for an anniversary year, it had been 60 years since the first Jeeper’s trip.  We were excited to attend, I had never been on the Rubicon before, but because we were traveling from Tennessee to get there, we were late getting there.  It was Friday before we arrived, so we snuck in the back way, down Cadillac to find a camping spot right near the helipad.  It was a great trip, but we didn’t have time to run the whole Rubicon trail.  Enter 2013, we planned better and only had to come from Washington this time.  On top of that, only 600 people were there, so there was a whole lot more room.

Of course, Rich still thought we were late, we ended up delayed for a day in Redmond with some repair issues, but nothing serious.  We got parked at Donner Ski Ranch on Wednesday night, packed the XJ and on Thursday morning we headed in to Georgetown, California to pick up our wristbands.  A quick stop in Auburn for groceries and we were on our way.  The first stop after Georgetown was Uncle Tom’s.  It’s a little beer joint at the end of the road, dogs are welcome, as long as they live there, people are welcome, as long as you can behave and have $3 to pay for a beer.  We milled around for a bit, talked to the locals and then headed to Loon Lake, the start of the trail.  Four hours later we found ourselves swimming at Buck Island, an hour after that we were pulling in to the historical Rubicon Springs.  The area has been traveled for a hundred years, it has been improved, but it is not a road.  Much of the area goes through National Forest, other pieces are private property, including the Springs.  There are many parts of the trail that are named, some still open, some not.  Little Sluice, Chappie’s Rock, Gatekeeper, Ellis Creek, Walker Hill, Soup Bowl, Thousand Dollar Hill, Indian Trail, Big Sluice.  Rich pointed them out to me as we passed either through or by them.

The weekend was great, just as last year was.  Lots of fun, lots of laughter, we swam in the river daily, talked with great friends, made new ones.  A recommended trip for anyone.  The best part for me was finally being able to check off The Rubicon Trail from my life list.  This was the first time I got to go through the whole trail.  If ever you are looking for a “wheeling” trip, this is one that you should consider.  Jeeper’s Jamboree takes care of all the hard parts, as a participant, you just need to come with a capable rig, a great attitude and a little bit of party spirit to have a good time.