To You and Yours: Here Comes 2013

Stephens family 2012

So, good people out there, another year is slipping away, and let her go we must.

Earlier tonight my wife and I struggled with our 5-year-old over the usual. No, no more sweets tonight, kiddo. Brush your teeth. Now please. It's bedtime. And it went around and around in various forms of gentle voices and good old fashoined hollaring. You've been through it I'm sure. And like us, I bet you paused and said to one another, "How the heck did we get here? This time at night we used to be at the climbing gym with friends." Or whatever, the concept is the point here: sometimes we feel like we used to be interesting, now we're parents — people who find no finer joy than children finally getting to bed.

It's both surreal and okay.

Next week we're going to gather some friends and their kids. We'll drive 350 miles south of the border and down 60 some miles of washboard dirt road to the coast on the Sea of Cortez, light a campfire and share our dreams, goals and hopes with one another. We'll each light a sky lantern and cast it into the ink of the night sky.

One of my wishes will be for you good people who actually read this blog. It's been great to have you along, and flattering to see the comments and rising number of visitors.

Happy new year to you, from me and mine.

sky lanterns
By Takeaway (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Here We Go: Teaching a Child to Ride a Bike

Though parenthood is a lifelong affair, each stage asserts its own lessons in despair, patience, happiness, and how to sign big checks with a smile. Depends. Some events are rites of passage, too. For instance, we're giving our 5-year-old daughter, Chloe, her first two-wheeled funmobile next week. Yep, she's getting a bike for Christmas, a real one with air in the tires, a chain, a basket up front, and a helmet. And I'm going to teach her how to ride the thing.

OMG, I'm going to have to teach her how to ride the thing . . .

5 Things You Need to Know About Portable 12v Fridge/Freezers

Engel fridge, ARB fridge, cooler, filled with food for a camping trip

We're four years into ownership of a 12v refrigerator, specifically an Engel MT35, and there's no shortage of questions about it from our readers who've never seen such a critter. The majority, of course, wonder what the downsides are. Is it really worth while for camping and adventure road trips? Won't it kill your battery? What's wrong with a cooler and ice? Can it really keep popsicles frozen?

Well, read on.

Infographic: Hiking The Beautiful USA


Did you know? There are 11 epic hiking trails in the U.S. on the list of National Scenic Trails, trails of exceptional and unparalleled beauty managed by the National Park Service. These are the must-dos if you're the sort who enjoys the work, pain, and rewards of walking on a beautiful trail in a wild place.

Click on through to see the whole thing . . .

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