Some Important Tools For Handling Repairs in the Wild

off road preparedness

Whether you’re on the Dark Continent in the savanna’s of Africa, traveling the Gobi desert of Mongolia, or driving through Zion in the United States, there are a few tools that are a must have when you need to handle basic repairs to your transportation.  We’ll take a look at a few of the things we keep close at hand to ensure we can always keep moving no matter what comes up.

Tire Patches

When you’re traveling off-road for extended periods of time it is not at all uncommon to puncture a tire.  While today’s tires are light years ahead of technology that existed even just 25 years ago, nothing is invincible.  And the last thing you want when stranded in the middle of a large desert is to lose your mode of transportation.

Tire patches allow you to quickly and easily make repairs even when under the worst conditions.  It goes without saying that you’ll also need a pretty good tire jack on your vehicle as well.  Those that come with today’s cars are nowhere near good enough to handle the variety of surfaces and angles on which you will eventually be forced to effect a repair.  Here is a great product you can use under just about any circumstance.

Self Sealing Fuel Tanks

This one is less an accessory and more of an automotive upgrade.  When you’re taking your vehicle into SERIOUS off-road situations it is always a possibility that you might rupture a fuel tank.  Traveling over large, broken rocks that can slip and strike the undercarriage of your vehicle can cause a rupture in the fuel tank or do other damage.

Having a self sealing fuel tank can save you from this exact circumstance.  Rather than just a fuel cell, these tanks can repair themselves and continue on as though nothing has happened.  This can be an absolute life saver when you’re 500 miles from the nearest possible repair shop.

There are a couple different styles of these products.  One of the most popular is to have the stock fuel tank internally coated with a material that automatically fills punctures as they happen.  These are the most cost effective, but not quite as durable as the second option.

The second option is to go with a complete aftermarket fuel tank.  These are designed from the ground up to be as resilient as possible.  The outer shell is reinforced and then internal structure is again coated with the same type material that allows any punctures to automatically be filled.  Depending on how rough the terrain your vehicle will be traveling you can choose the best option.

Here’s a great video demonstrating how these tanks work.

Metal Cutting and Welding

As you drive across rough terrain it is inevitable that the undercarriage of your vehicle will take a beating.  Just about every part on the underside of a modern car is made of some sort of metal.  Control arms, heat plates, suspensions, transmission cases, and exhaust systems are all comprised of metal.  And all of them can be damaged when driving under such rough conditions.

Having a portable welder and/or plasma cutting torch can be a great item to include under these circumstances.  You won’t have the power necessary to use a higher grade unit, but a car battery can power a DC converter that will alow you to make minor repairs.  Some of the cheaper plasma cutting tools on the market will do the trick.

They utilize an inverter technology that allows them to draw significantly less power.  This allows them to be used as long as you’ve got enought juice coming from your cars electrical system.

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An Exotic Meal Prepared on Safari

Here at WIldlife Radio we love to highlight the strange and the bazaar, especially when it has to do with travel.  That’s why we couldn’t resist talking about a story that comes all the way from the eastern edge of Africa.

Thousands of people each year descend on this part of the dark continent to witness firsthand the life and death struggle that takes place each and every day on the savanna.  This is nothing new.  And in fact even luxury safari’s are nothing new.

But one company is taking things a step further.  They’ve built a restaurant high above the scenery below that allows diners to enjoy a three-star meal while watching the wildest show on earth below.

Amazing Meals

One of the biggest challenges for the crew is preparing fresh food each day for discerning customers.  These are folks that are used to dining in the best restaurants in the world.  And while it’s obviously challenging to prepare such good food in such an environment, their expectations are set pretty high and don’t cut the chefs any slack.

Because of the environment, and because everything must be transported to the restaurant location daily, only fresh food is prepared.  This means that each day the head chef must make the journey back to town and the local market to procure whatever he needs for the day’s meals.

Luckily there is an abundance of fresh produce and meat in the area that is available from a couple of high quality sources.  Beef, lamb, pork, dairy products and even goat is available from an organic farm located just outside of town.

Fresh vegetables, grains, and fruits can be found in the local market every day.  Since everything is harvested when it’s in season the produce is all of exceptional quality.  They may not have all the same veggies and fruits as what their guests are used to, but when mixed with local ingredients that play on the unique flavors of each item, they make for an exceptional result.

Running the Kitchen

While the head chef handles all the fresh ingredients, the sous chefs are in charge of ensuring everything is prepped and ready for both lunch and dinner.  This includes everything from making bone broths, stocks, and baked items to maintaining all of the kitchens equipment including sharpening all of the knife sharpener reviews, replacing propane tanks, and maintaining cold storage with ice.

There is no electricity at the site, so everything is done by either battery operated equipment or torch/candle light.  It certainly gives this large treehouse a unique look as they typically start well before daylight each morning.

All in all it is quite a spectacle.  Certainly not one you would expect to see in the middle of a tree in the African bush.

The Animals

While it’s not impossible for some of the cats native to this area to climb trees, they have taken precautions to ensure this doesn’t happen.  The tree in which the restaurant is built is actually constructed of a composite material.  Once the ladder is raised there is nothing for which the large cats can gain purchase in order to climb to the top.

Of course it resembles a native tree.  But upon close inspection you will see that it is actually constructed of steel, aluminium, and a great deal of plastic.  Of course the animals don’t know the difference.  So they go about their business as if nothing were going on 30 feet above them.  Though you will from time to time see them stop to sniff the air in appreciation of what the chefs are creating.



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Incorporating Smart Glass into Your Home Automation System

smart glass systems are becoming more popular in residential applications

For years the home automation industry has been using automated shades and blinds to control both the amount of natural light entering rooms as well as the amount of heat transfer that occurs.  Both are great reasons to invest in motorized shades since they can have a direct impact on overall energy usage in both residential and commercial spaces.  But smart glass is an alternative that doesn’t require any type of motorization or window treatments.

The Benefits of Smart Glass for Energy Savings

Smart glass works by reducing the amount of light that is allowed to pass through the window.  The reduction of light translates to a reduction in heat as well.  This means that in the hot months of summer you can reduce the amount of time air conditioning systems need to run.  Jason Harrison from Audio Video Experts in Los Angeles says “These systems can be especially beneficial in areas like Southern California where high summer temperatures can dramatically impact cooling costs.”

Different products operated in different ways but they all accomplish the same basic thing.  For the most part they are controlled using electric current that causes the glass to either be transparent or opaque.  The opacity is dependent upon how dark you need your room and can be determined when purchasing the product.  “Using a product like a Control4 system allows us to incorporate all control into one device.”

The least expensive method of accomplishing this is to use a film.  This means that you don’t have to replace your existing windows.  You simply apply the film to the inside of the windows that you want to be able to darken.  An electrode is then attached that allow for controlling the film.  The electrode is controlled with a wi-fi device that is controllable from a smartphone.   One such product is made by Sonte Film.

Other manufacturers offer products that require you to replace your existing windows.  Their windows basically operate the same way but the solution is more elegant.  Some manufacturers even offer windows that have soundproofing capabilities if you live in an area with a great deal of ambient noise.

The controls couldn’t be any easier.  You can have the windows change modes at the brightest part of the day, or on a schedule of your own choosing.

Enhance Your Privacy at Home

Another great benefit of this type of glass is that it allows you more privacy anytime you want it.  It’s wonderful to have a house with windows everywhere.  But sometimes you want to feel more secluded.  Not to worry.  With the press of a button you can make all the windows in your home opaque and no one will be able to see in.

Jason went on to say “This can be great when you are out of town on vacation as well.  Incorporated into a full home automation system you can even have the windows work in conjunction with your lighting control system making it look like your home is occupied even if you thousands of miles away on a beach somewhere.”

Great For Media Rooms

Sometimes the room you use for your home theater or media room has a large number of windows.   This can be annoying as it causes a glare on your TV or washes out the image from your projector.  Smart windows can eliminate this glare in a matter of seconds allowing you to watch your home entertainment system any time of the day or night.

While smart glass technology is relatively rare in residential homes, it has been used in commercial buildings for years.  The ease with which it is capable of being controlled means that it is now moving into more and more residential projects.  Check it out for your home.


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Planning the Perfect Day in Tampa Florida

perfect day in Tampa FLWhile we all dream of leaving town on an exotic vacation, it can often be just as fun (not to mention cheaper) to plan an exciting “staycation”.  The Tampa area is filled with fun and interesting things to do, all you have to do is look around.  Here is an idea for a fun filled day that requires just a little driving.

Exotic Animals

While Busch Gardens in Tampa is world-renowned for it’s fun rides and spectacular animal exhibits, a lesser known park also hosts some exotic animals.  Start your day at the Big Cat Rescue is located in the Citrus Park area north of Tampa.  Here you’ll find a wide variety of ferocious felines that have been rescued from less than ideal circumstances.

This non-profit organization has been rescuing big cats since 1992 and now the park is home to over 80 cats and includes lions, tigers, bobcats, and mountain lions.  While their stories are often sad, the sanctuary is a great place to get up close and personal with these beautiful animals.

The sanctuary offers a variety of tours that include daytime tours, kids tours, and even feeding tours.  Unlike a typical zoo your tour will be led by a guide that educates you on the animals and their particular circumstances.  All visits should be scheduled in advance.  You can schedule a visit here.

Exotic Food

Tampa Bay is known for it’s wide variety of ethnic foods.  And some of the most flavorful dishes come from the island of Cuba.  Though our relations with this tiny Caribbean island are just now starting to warm up again, their food has been heating up Tampa for many decades.

One of the best and most well-known spots is The Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City.  This landmark restaurant has been serving authentic Spanish and Caribbean dishes for over 100 years.  In fact it is the oldest restaurant in the entire state.

Here you’ll find everything from authentic Cuban sandwiches to beautiful and hearty paellas.  In addition to the amazing food, visitors will be amazed at the beautiful setting.  The original restaurant underwent a $6.5 million dollar renovation in 2006 and now has the ambiance to match it’s amazing food.

Exotic Outdoor Movie Night

What better way to finish your day then by heading home for a movie night under the beautiful Florida sky?  Innovative Sight & Sound of Clearwater specializes in designing and installing over-the-top custom home theaters.  In an area with weather as amazing as Tampa, it only makes sense that you would incorporate the outdoors into your movie watching experience.

In addition to high performance surround sound systems they also design and install smart home automation systems.  This makes controlling your audio video system as easy as the press of a button.

It’s the perfect way to end your exotic stay-at-home vacation.  You’ll finish the day full and relaxed.

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