brad's blog

Too old for Tik-Tok. Too lazy for YouTube.

Hall Of Flame Museum

01/26/24 - I'm not really a huge fire truck guy, but I love a niche museum, so Phoenix's “Hall Of Flame” seemed like a good choice for a dreary afternoon with nothing to do. The museum is the largest fire apparatus museum in the world. It boasts 35,000 sq ft of exhibit space and 130 wheeled pieces along with thousands of other display items. Everything is restored to near original condition, and I believe is all in working condition. (Check that with a docent, if you visit.)

The collection includes hand and horse drawn apparatus from as early as 1725. These are pretty fascinating when you see them and visualize how they were used for firefighting in the early days. Their motorized collection spans from 1890 to 2004 and has fire engines from all over. I saw one from Kutztown in my old home state of PA. A lot of them were the familiar names, American La France and Mack, but there were a lot of other manufacturers too. The docents were mostly retired firefighters and will tell you everything you need to know about any of the exhibits, but they also will respect your space and let you check it out for yourself. I prefer the latter, but then I circle back with specific questions about certain items.

In summary, I recommend this museum whether or not you like fire engines. The artifacts are in immaculate shape and are presented very well. You can just marvel at the beauty of the restorations, you can appreciate the engineering and design of the machines, or you can deep dive into the world of fire fighting and prevention with the display plaques and other firefighting items.

Product Review | Fjallraven - Kanken Backpack

01/19/24 - I'm always looking for good travel gear and I was looking for a new backpack. I saw a review online and the guy was lamenting how this had only one main pocket, no padded straps, and was basically a rectangle the size of two notebooks. What he found as objectionable, I found to be desirable. My goal for this was to have a compact backpack for air travel, not to hike the AT. This has become my go to travel bag for weekend trips.

The bag is 14.2 x 10.8 x 4.7 (inches) or 36 x 27 x 12 (cm) with a listed capacity of 16 liters. It has one external zippered pouch on the back, two sleeves on the side, and an internal pocket that houses an included seat pad. As stated the straps are not padded which I consider a plus. You can stow them out of the way and carry this like a sack with the two handles on the top of the bag. This stows easily under any airplane seat and gives you room to place a jacket or similar item on the top.

I can fit three shirts, a pair of pants or shorts, 2 days underwear and socks, toiletries, charging stuff for my electronics, and my laptop. Even more if I use a compression pack. I have used this on several trips this past year and I give it my seal of approval. Returning to the original feedback I read about this. The square single pocket works fine for me if I use packing cubes. The lack of padding means it packs small, but I still have straps if I want to sling it on my back. This small, unassuming backpack carries more than enough for my weekend trips.

Product link

Site Launch

01/16/24 - Soft launch, but I think this is really just a place for me to write stuff for me. I tried recording some videos for YouTube about things I wanted to talk about but that's not my scene. So this will be a place where I post about things that I think are interesting. I imagine it will be about travel and travel gear, but time will tell.

Random pic for testing purposes. This is a caboose converted to a home that I saw in northern New Jersey.


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