Tag Archives: Michigan

Sawyer Mini Review

24 January 2019, Thursday

Greetings from our family to yours and Welcome to another TrailMagick89 missive,

Today we are looking at the Sawyer Mini. Usually, we do not look at gear products, however as the year continues we will be looking at more and more gear. And to kick off the reviews for TrailMagick89 we are looking at the Sawyer Mini Water Filter: Blue Mini SP128. In true TM89 fashion, I will not pull any punches on the review you are about to read. Let us begin.

THE SAWYER MINI PERFORMED AS IT SHOULD AND I LOVE IT!

We purchased our Sawyer Mini on 4 January 2019, it arrived about five days later from Amazon with the two day’s free delivery service. We took it out of the packaging and included in the package was one grey straw, one backflush syringe, and one 16 ounce Squeeze Water Filtration System Bag. We had a busy week that week so we tested it on the only bad water source we had access to (heck, we did not even have snow that week, that we could melt down to test it on.)

The water source was the City of Clio water system. Well, water is something I enjoy, city water not so much, and Clio city water not at all. The water here in our part of Clio leaves a film on the surface of everything we wash and we frequently have to rewash dishes, along with what looks like gasoline floating on the surface, and it daily smells like bleach. I am not sure as to why but I usually have heartburn when I drink the water. Since moving here, a little over two years ago, I have cut down from a pot of coffee a day to half a cup of coffee every three days.

THE IMPROPER WAY TO USE IT

So, we tested the one water source we had access to and we have done about ten to twelve gallons of the wonderful city water, and as wonderful as it is, I have stopped having heartburn. And I am slowly drinking more water, straight water, flavored water and glorious, glorious coffee. I know that you have figured out that we have definitely been filtering the water to drink. And it has been a blessing to be able to drink water again.

The Sawyer Mini according to the package can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water from lakes, rivers, and streams. I believe the “up to” is the key phrase in the description. And when the testing was done they either had their Sawyer Mini rigged up to a water flow system that would periodically backflush their Mini or some poor soul was assigned the task to back flush it quite frequently, which meant some dishpan like hands. Do not get me wrong the Mini has been a blessing.

However, in those ten to twelve gallons of water we have filtered into water jugs, we have had to backflush about every three gallons, and I know that does not sound like much of a big deal for filtering tap water into a jug, and in reality, it is not. On the other hand when we are out on the trail that will be a big deal as it will be water and time wasted. On days when I am out in the sun backpacking, I usually drink one to one and a half gallons per day. Now there are the days, since my diagnosis, that Sweets is out with me that we can easily between us, drink three gallons together.

So let us look at what the issue truly is. I am filling the water bag with water, putting on the filter, flipping it upside down so that the exit end of the filter is pointed into the jug, and I wait for it to drain. That was not so difficult. I have noticed since we have been using it from the first day until the writing of this post the flow rate has reduced by half, it is down to a trickle. Now granted I have used it as a gravity system and not at the top of a bottle to drink dirty water out of. Gravity can only do so much.

That all being said, I love the Sawyer Mini. Regardless of how slow it is and how often I have to back flush the filter, I am able to drink fresh, clean water again.

I have used this filter the improper way because the above-mentioned equipment is all I have with it. I have not yet ordered the proper equipment to create a gravity system. And that is next on my list of equipment to order from Sawyer. Now…

THE PROPER WAY TO USE IT

I love putting each piece of equipment I have through many tests to see if it with function in a pinch the way I may need it to. As I finish this post I have it screwed onto a Smart water bottle filled with more city water, and just like the water that is in the water jugs in the kitchen, this water tastes just fine and I do not have heartburn from it.

Something that I have yet to see mentioned in a single video or blog is that when you drink out of the bottle since you are reducing the volume of water in the bottle, the bottle is collapsing. If you are a first time user, it may or may not dawn on you that this will happen. Every once in a while just crack the seal between the Sawyer Mini and the Smart Water bottle. As with any plastic if the bottle stays in the collapsed shape for a period of time it will stay that way and when out on the trail, that means that you will have less volume of water that you are able to carry.

WATER TASTES GREAT

We appreciate that you stuck around until the end. If, you have found any value in this post, make sure to hit the “Like” button and “Subscribe” to the TrailMagick89 blog. Please feel free to share your thoughts below. And until next time; make sure to seek peace within your own life. You can also find us on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon, and of course WordPress.

Semper Fidelis, Elroy & Sweets

Bear Canister, Really?

10 January 2019, Thursday

Greetings from our family to yours and Welcome to another TrailMagick89 missive,

After taking some time and evaluating the next steps in planning the trip from Au Sable to Empire on the Michigan Shore to Shore Trail, we have come to realize that we need to assess the situation regarding the equipment and gear we currently have compared to all that we will need to backpack the trail. So we need to make a list of all required gear and equipment need for safety on the trail, then those items that we will need to make ourselves comfortable while up North in Michigan’s backwoods, and then the completely luxury items that we want to take but do not necessarily need. And secondly we need to evaluate each piece we do have by the number of uses the item has, the weight of the item, its pack-ability, and finally which list does it fall under; needed based on safety, needed based on comfort, or luxury item.

So of the items we already have; the big three are actually covered. We have one backpack each, we each have a goose down sleeping bag, and we have a dome tent that we are able to split the weight on. We also have our own accordion sleeping pad, individual headlamps, trail runners, water bottles, a heavy duty cook kit with utensils, pocket knives, walking sticks, hats with full brims, toiletry kits, first aid kit, fire starter, backup flashlights, synthetic t-shirts, camp shoes, and pocket Bibles.

And then we are in need of other gear as we have none or just one; such as only one rain poncho, we do not have a water filtration system (we need two), we have yet to get a backpacking stove (though we are considering cold soaking everything to cut down on weight), bug repellent, a way to contact the outside world in an emergency, compasses, the map set of the trail route that we will be following. We have to consider how long it will take and if we will need a change of clothes when we arrive in a trail town to do laundry or attend church. And as you can guess the list can be quite extensive, yet we have not been on the backpacking trail in quite some time even though we do have some experience. And the area we are hiking in actually has a public transportation system that services the counties we will be traveling in.

The weight of all the above gear could be quite high which means we need to look at what we can cut to travel lighter and maybe allow us to cowboy camp or backpack ultra-light. Either one would allow us some possible travel possibilities. The final thing we need to consider is the fact that part of the trail is in bear country. And yes we could bear bag each night, though a bear canister would be better just much heavier.

We appreciate that you stuck around until the end. If, you have found any value in this post, make sure to hit the “Like” button and “Subscribe” to the TrailMagick89 blog. Please feel free to share your thoughts below. And until next time; make sure to seek peace within your own life. You can also find us on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon, and of course WordPress.

Semper Fidelis, Elroy & Sweets

Have a Groovy Day at the Brough

21 August 2018, Tuesday

Greetings from our family to yours and Welcome to another TrailMagick89 missive,

Sweets: “What advice do you have for future generations?”

Gwen: “Be nice to your patrons to have a good product to sell and work hard.”

The Brough Bakery has been in operation down on Smith Street in Clio Michigan for four years now, opening on August 7th of 2014 with painted walls similar to her mother’s kitchen and a restroom wall mural of musicians; both reminiscent of her upbringing during the ’60s and early ’70s. Inside you will find Gwen (the owner), Jacob (her son), and Naomi (her daughter-in-law) Brough making creations so mouthwatering you may as well leave your diet at the door. To be fair there are delicious bagels, loaves of bread, and snack bars; however, you will also spot cookies, doughnuts, cakes, and pies. Hot coffee is served from five a.m. until six p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, on Saturdays from five a.m. until four p.m. and Sundays from eight a.m. until two p.m., along with tea and soda.

Sweets: “Where did the 60’s theme come from?”

Gwen: “The paint color came first, same colors as her mom’s kitchen while growing up. Then the music artists that are portrayed in the bathroom. Then our motto of “Have a Groovy Day.”

One morning before opening the doors for the first time Gwen and Naomi were chatting about the motto for the new bakery and Naomi suggested “Have a Groovy Day”, as that is a phrase that Gwen has said for quite some time. Within the walls of this establishment, the family dynamic is very original of the mother, son, and daughter-in-law. As they complement one another’s talents and abilities.
Jacob and Naomi arrive early each morning to make the variety of doughnuts that the Brough is known for, as well as some of the other baked goods. Gwen arrives in the late morning hours and works many nights past closed filling special orders like smash and birthday cake, and cupcake and cookie fundraisers. Gwen is always on the lookout for new creative desserts to add to their unique menu. Upon being the Recipient of the local Chamber of Commerce 2018 Citizen of the Year Award for her many contributions to the many Clio area activities Gwen has brought more recognition to the Brough Bakery throughout the area. She is active with promoting the activities of the Chamber of Commerce and of Clio Proud & Strong.

Sweets: “What is it that you like about coming to work every day?”

Gwen: “The comradery of the patrons is the reason I come in, the story changes every day as do the people that come in and tell their stories.”

On a baker’s rack not far from the doughnut case one can find local goods such as honey from a farm in Millington, maple syrup that is wood fired in Montrose, and we can not forget the handcrafted Happy Hats; products from the very mind of Gwen herself. Customers include former and current teachers, farmers, city and county officials, antique collectors, musicians, and many former members of the United States Armed Forces; locals and out-of-towners all visitors on their first visit and old friends for every visit after that. Some of their patrons are also local artists and you can find their many works hanging on the walls of the bakery.

Sweets: “What is your favorite quote?”

Gwen: “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it, to begin with.” Dorothy, Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum, and

“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.” The Tin Man, Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum

The bakery sits in a busy little plaza at 100 Smith Street in Suite C, where it intersects with Mill Street; the businesses are all quite friendly. If you are planning to visit by bike or trike it is suggested you park your rides on the sidewalks up against the building. They are willing to make special orders or create custom works of foodie artwork.
Make sure to stop by and again “Have a Groovy Day.”

We appreciate that you stuck around until the end. If, you have found any value in this post, make sure to hit the “Like” button and “Subscribe” to the TrailMagick89 blog. Please feel free to share your thoughts below. And until next time; make sure to seek peace within your own life. You can also find us on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Amazon, and of course WordPress.

Semper Fidelis, Elroy & Sweets