Tuesday, July 17, 2018

For Immediate Release

Contact: Ken Ralston, owner
Organization: Blueskykitchen.com
Phone: (928) 301-9004
Email: ken@camping-tips.com

BlueSkyKitchen.com introduces

“made for the car camping vacation”

Paulden Arizona, 5/3/2018

Blueskykitchen.com has taken the camp kitchen size and weigh down another level with it’s new “Mini-Grub” chuck box. It has external dimensions of 24” x 16” x 13 1/2” and weighs in at about 15lbs empty. This product has been designed specifically for the vacationing car and tent campers. It stores camp kitchen devices and provides clean level surfaces for food preparation and cleanup.

The internal shelf space can store wash tubs and dish drainer that can double as drawers for large item storage such as plates, pots and pans etc.. There are also two drawers for storing silverware and utensils. The doors detach completely to offer portable work surfaces.

Box ends are configured with racks for spices and personal items with cup hooks on one end and a tooth brush holder on the other.

The box can be used on a standard campsite table or your portable table.

Options include a stand to make the whole kitchen a self contained unit. It is possible to store a standard camp stove between the box and the stand making for very compact storage of the entire camp kitchen.

For product pricing, specifications and demonstration see:


High resolution product images available at:


Blueskykitchen.com has been pioneering the camp kitchen chuck box market since 1988. It offers several highly evolved camp kitchen product options in configurations ranging from woodworking plans, to ‘assemble-your-own’ kits, to ‘DIY unfinished and ‘ready-to-outfit’ finished products.

Blueskykitchen.com Press Kit

“all about chuck boxes, grub boxes and camp kitchens”

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Monday, May 14, 2018

How to cure the Big Data Blues

They are watching! Click on that Youtube cat video and you get included in a subset. What’s that you ask? I have no idea but it probably means you are going to get a call from a donation seeker for the local animal shelter. ‘Like’ your friends post about the new shotgun he bought and the NRA might very well send you a new member packet. Watch a crime movie on Netflix and, who knows, your could end up on an FBI ‘Dexter’ watch list.

This whole thing has just gotten ridiculous and it’s not just government organizations. Scarier yet are big companies, like Apple, Google, Facebook etc.. Their middle names are data and they have taken this to an esoteric level - Big Data.

That’s where you collect every piece of information known to mankind on every individual, organization, group, club, location, time, blade of grass etc. and put it all into a brew pot with special herbs,  snake heads and large doses of artificial intelligence. Then you bring it to a boil for a few microseconds ( Things happen fast in the world of data. ). Let it congeal for a few more microseconds and mystically the names ( and emails, addresses, phone numbers, gender etc. ) of all those with ‘blue eyes’ stratify in a layer at the top of the concoction. All those names of people with big smelly feet will be at the bottom, ( I hope). And us pot bellied old geezers, somewhat fittingly, end up in the middle.

Now why would anyone what to do this, you might be wondering? In a word - advertising.  Let’s consider advertisements that might precede the cat video we alluded to earlier. A pretty ’blue eyed’  maiden might see an ad for a blue sapphire necklace that would grace her beautiful eyes. A big stinky foot athlete would get an ad for Air Jordan athletic shoes and us pot-bellied old geezers will see belts and suspenders commercials.

So the real value of Big Data is to present different highly selected information to individuals based on how they congealed in the artificial intelligence potion! It’s brilliant! Each person gets exactly the ad they need. Well..... assuming you trust special herbs, snake heads and artificial intelligence. I am not sure I do but look for Big Data marketing tactics in my next newsletter.

For now though, my advice is to turn off that stupid Big Data collection device ( cell phone ) and go camping! ( You have to turn it off or else Google will Geo-locate your favorite camp spot and, of course, their mission is to ‘tell the world’ about it. )

Also, as soon as you go ‘dark’ don’t be surprised if the NSA classifies you as a gun toting, right wing, bubba redneck on a survivalist mission. After all, who else could actually get along without Facebook or Youtube for  a whole weekend?

Of course, I’m just kidding about all this ..... I think ;-)  - Go Camping!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Camping Vacations - The 2018 battle cry.

I had so much fun with my eclipse trip camping vacation last year that I actually designed the Mini-Grub chuck box specifically for camping out of the car. It's small and lite and can carry pretty much everything you need for your camp kitchen assuming you have a table, as most camp sites do. Here is the new demonstration video for the Mini-Grub:

I don't know why it took me so long to understand that there is a big difference between primitive camping ( where you have to take everything ) and improved camping ( camp grounds with amenities). What a revelation that has been to me! The big deal is it's cheap to car camp your way around the country. I don't think it cost us $50.00 a day on gas and campsites. Additionally, you just don't need near as much gear.

This year we are planning a Death Valley, Yosemite and Yellowstone trip. I'm thinking reservations will be in order here but I was surprised we didn't need any on our trip last year even at the very popular Mount Rushmore or Devils Tower. 

So be sure to download our camping free stuff which includes our calendar/planner and get your camping trips and vacations planned out now. 

Go Camping!



Thursday, March 4, 2010

Camping, Habits and Health

Perhaps you may recall the 'time and health' discussion from my last blog post. I pretty much beat the 'time' horse to death. ( This has gotten to be a New Years tradition. ;-) Now let's take a little closer look at the 'health' side of that coin. As mentioned last month, what is life without good health? Answer: Miserable.

As it turns out camping is a potentially great mechanism to positively impact your health and the health of those in your care! Here is why.

If there is one thing you can say about us human beings, and probably most other animals, it is that we truly are creatures of habit. For example, if you want to know what you will be doing this Monday just look at what you did last Monday and I am going to guess there will not be a whole lot that is different.

Perhaps a typical 'workday' might look something like this: Turn off alarm - take shower - dress - eat breakfast - "goodbye honey" kiss - drive to work (curse traffic ) - get to work (curse boss) - do the same old stuff (curse stuff) - drive home ( curse traffic ) - (pick up bread and milk on the way home - "Hi honey" kiss - have the "how was you day?" conversation - pop a beer - eat dinner - turn on TV - hit the couch ....so much for that day.

Perhaps your routine is somewhat different, I certainly hope so anyway. Surely you have a routine of one kind or another, though. Incidentally, a routine is simply a collection of habits. This is an important thing to note because we love, if not worship, our routines. We are married to, and devote our lives to our routines. Therefore a paramount reality is that our routines can make us or break us in many ways including time management, health and therefore happiness in general.

Now let's look at a typical weekend routine which should start on Friday night. Check planner for this weekend's camping trip - make menu/meal plan - load camping checklist - head for store - get food/ice/gas - head for hills - setup camp - start fire, laugh, frolic, play music, tell stories, poems and lies - sleep - up early -watch sunrise (best part of the day) - go fishing - catch breakfast - cook breakfast - eat breakfast - take nap - go biking - eat lunch - take nap - go hiking - take pictures - have fun - cook dinner - eat dinner - take nap , -go back to start fire and repeat through Sunday---- - break camp - head home - unload and stash gear.

What both of these routines have in common is that they have evolved into what they are. They came to be by virtue of both circumstances and our own volition. Also notice that routines drive behaviors but behaviors create routines.

Let me suggest that any and all portions of these routines, right down to the most intimate detail, can be changed. This relationship between our behaviors and our routines is the key to many doors. Good behaviors create good routines and bad behaviors create bad routines. And the routine perpetuates the behaviors that created it. Yikes! That is both scary and hopeful. Additionally, the longer the routine is allowed to persist the harder it will be to change. Again, that is both scary and hopeful.

Kind of makes one feel a little like a dog chasing it's own tail, doesn't it?

Here is the point. Camping might very well be the best vehicle for altering bad behaviors and reinforcing good ones because it offers three wonderful features:
  1. camping necessitates a vastly different routine than normal.

  2. camping is done in a remote and potentially isolated setting.

  3. many camping activities encourage physical exercise, an imperative to good health.

So, he who wishes to quit smoking, for example, might find camping trips will break his normal smoking routines while supplying an isolated, smoke-free environment. ( Where I camp there are no convenience stores so, no cigarettes = no smoking. ) Additionally, camping might encourage and after dinner walk or other alternate behavior in place of the after dinner smoke.

I have a friend that refers to this notion as 'detox camping'. (I like that name.)

So this year "camping for health" is going to be my battle cry. In case you are wondering, the thing that precipitated this 'healthy camping goal' was the most salient feature of my latest camp kitchen product demonstration video. That would be my pot belly! I looked at it and thought "you really need to fix that". It's been there for years so I have the feeling that is not going to be an easy task. Something tells me that this year's camping trips are going to be without potato chips and soda pop, among other things.

So join me in my quest for a healthier existence as this year we camp ourselves out of bad habits and into good ones.

Next month I am going to beat the 'health' horse to death. Till then, let's get in a few practice 'detox camping' trips.

Go camping!


Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Annual "camp more this year" lecture ;-) - Time, Life and Money

There is a very special camping spot with a lot of petroglyphs nearby. Sometimes I set there among them just trying to imagine what might have been swirling around in the heads of those who created them. I must confess to some degree of envy toward the seemingly simpler lifestyle our ancestors must have enjoyed. No mortgage, no credit card payments due, no rising gas price straining the budget.....etc.

Looking at petroglyphs is the daytime version of gazing at the stars. ( That would make them earthly constellations, so to speak. )

There is a good book called "How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life" by Alan Lakin. Perhaps the most important point within it is that time and life are effectively the same thing. With time we do all other things including making money. While it might be true that time and money are the same thing in a business sense, may I suggest that it is not true in a personal sense because once all your time is gone, all the money in the world doesn't do you any good.

We really spend our lives on a money vs time 'titer tauter' so to speak. In effect we work more, in an effort to make more money. Ironically, we think the more money we make, the more time we will have to do the things we really want to do. In other words, spend more time making more money so we can have more time??? What's wrong with this picture???

Perhaps the big mistake is orienting our lives around our work. After all time is our most valuable possession as it is life itself. Additionally, good health is the thing that gives you the ability to enjoy your time. ( People in pain and the sickly can't enjoy their time. ) Thus he who has both time and health is truly among the 'richest' of people.

Let me suggest, that this year you try making your life's schedule around your recreation instead of your work. How does one do this you ask? Planning.

Our camping planner/calendar will aid a great deal toward that end. Be sure to download our 2010 version if you haven't already done so. ( I hope you find the included cookbook useful too.)

Alternately, you can make your own calendar using your own pictures at this Calendar Projects wiki web site. They have many different options for making your own. Then after you have a calendar, the drill becomes planning out those camping trips you have always wanted to do.

Plan your recreation time carefully for it is the true gold of your life. You might what to do a little research at this point. You know, Goggle a few camping spot possibilities and such. One great way to research an area is to subscribe to local or state publications from the given area. For example, anyone planning a trip through Arizona might find a $21.00 subscription to Arizona Highways Magazine to be the best camping investment they ever made. After all that magazine uses professional photographers and writers to illustrate and describe the choices locations in the state.

Once you have your camping trips worked out, now comes the hard part - you have to stick to your guns and make them happen. Now if all this has a 'deja vu' feel to it, it's because we really have been here before. Remember how we started last year?

This year try planning your life around the things you want to do not the things you have to do. Guard your recreation time as though it is your most valuable possession - it is!

Time is life and money is only the middle man. Have you been paying him a little too much?
Let's make this a great camping year.

Go Camping!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Another World

"Being out here is like being in another world." That's when I knew she had been bitten by the outdoor bug.

It was about sunrise of the third morning on my son's unit 8 elk hunt. One of my grand daughters had made it out to go with us. The birds were chirping, the coyotes were yelping and my toes felt the tingle of a 15 degree morning. It was perfect!

My youngest son, in real life, is an electronic engineer over in San Jose and I get the pleasure of his company on maybe two to three occasions each year. It's almost always a big game hunting season that precipitates those happenings. Arizona has a big game lottery system and sometimes I'm drawn, sometimes he's drawn, sometimes both of us get drawn and once in a while neither of us are drawn so we just go with somebody else.

There are some that would portray us hunters as ruthless blood thirsty savages but, of course, that is not true. Our main motivation for doing it is largely the pleasure of each others company but it also satisfies some primal survival need within us. There is something about hunting that returns the soul to a more natural existence. Acquiring food by driving down to the store, loading up a shopping cart with highly processed, rigorously packaged, food and paying for it with paper or plastic just doesn't get it by comparison.

Of course, that 'in the wild' feeling gets renewed almost any time we can find an excuse to get out camping. And there is that great side benefit of "being in another world" as my grand daughter Emily has discovered.

We go because we like being in that every changing 'other world'. Welcome to it Emily, may you find a lifetime of wonder out there as we have.

Go Camping!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Let's go fishing!

For many years I went to the Wickenburg Bluegrass Festival in November. Some years I would buy a ticket just to support their efforts even though I knew I wouldn't be able to make it. Then last year they decided to outlaw tent camping. ( That's down right un-American if you ask me! ) I suspect this was done to make room for all the high dollar Canadian snowbird RVs, although there are any number of other lame excuses floating around as well.

So I have been thinking we should do something over here in Camp Verde on that weekend. ( Maybe next year we'll do a folk festival?) Then it hit me. Let's go camping! I mean together. I'm thinking Nov. 13-15 at the Bull Pen campground near Camp Verde AZ. It's going to be a no host, bring your own everything, kind of deal but I'll bet you have some fun if you can find a way to make it.

I'll call a couple of my musician buddies ( the ones that are tent campers ) and see if we can at least round up a little entertainment for the event. Plus the fishing should be pretty good now as trout seem to be a lot happier in cold water. Hey, maybe we can cook up some trout foil wrap style? Also the hiking is pretty spectacular out of this camp ground. There are some easy and wonderful day hikes including Blodget Basin and West Clear Creek trails. It will likely be a lot chilly at night so dress warm. This will make a nice little warm up camping trip for our Arizona winter camping efforts! Tent campers are more than welcome. It's a tough place to get an RV or camper trailer but if you have one, you are welcome, although we will probably sneer at you a little. (Just kidding.)

The trail going from the Bull Pen up West Clear Creek

No need to RSVP or anything, as you need to bring your own food and such.

Shoot me and email or give me a call if you have any questions. I'll send you a Google Earth place mark if you need it.

Let's Go Camping!