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Outdoors Tips

​Winter Driving - Avoid a Speeding Ticket

Vehicle in puddle of water, stock photo
Before and After by Don Stec 
11/13/16 -- Every winter at the collision repair center I talk to drivers that received a speeding ticket after they had a collision. During the course of writing the collision estimate, the driver will often explain what happened leading to...Full Story

Fiberglass repair mistakes

Fiberglass damage, stock photo
Before and After by Don Stec
10/12/16 -- There are many products advertised to the boat (and home and auto) owner for fiberglass repair. Unfortunately far too many products simply “stick” to fiberglass. By using the word “stick” I mean, a product that...Full Story

He tried a Hollywood Stunt

09/19/16 -- Hollywood; a question was discussed several decades ago on TV and in the newspapers. Does Hollywood influence life or does it reflect life?  Obviously it does reflect life in many instances.  Documentaries and stories about real...Full Story

The Death Wobble needs attention!

Example of a vehicle with a solid front axle. By Don Stec
Article and photo by Don Stec
08/03/16 -- A Death Wobble is a phenomenon not to be confused with a front-end shimmy or a wheel balance problem. A Death Wobble (DW) is most common on vehicles with a solid front axle, mostly pick-up trucks and...Full Story

Fiberglass Repair Tips

By Don Stec
07/08/16 -- Fiberglass is a miracle product of modern science. It is strong, water proof, weather resistant, and reasonable in price. It can be formed into parts for your ATV, RV, boat or even your daily driver. Entire boats are built using...Full Story

A Vehicle Design Problem

By Don Stec
05/30/16 -- Today’ vehicle designs, including off road and RV, are complex and can be difficult to diagnose collision suspension damage. Case in point. A call from an Insurance Company Adjuster; “Don, we have a vehicle...Full Story

What to Do When RV Collision Repair Parts Are Obsolete

RV repaired, by Don Stec, Coachmaster
04/06/16 -- Article and photos by Don Stec
Imagine what goes through the mind of RV owners after a collision when they learn that outer body panels or parts for the family motorhome are obsolete. I have seen this many times and it is always shock and dismay they...Full Story

Dangerous Road Conditions

Undercarriage repair underway, Coachmasters, Don Stec, Myoutdoorbuddy.com
Article and photo by Don Stec 
02/29/16 -- The highway between Eureka and Redding can be very dangerous due to frequent rock slides. This is true of many highways in mountain areas. Severe weather, rain and snow often cause rock slides and large...Full Story

An Angry Man

He was a large man about six foot 3 or 4 inches tall, and I would guess 250 pounds or more in weight. He came into the office and slammed his huge fist down on the front counter, shaking the objects setting on it...Full Story

RV Collision Hidden Damage

Article and photos by Don Stec
Hidden damage is generally internal damage not visible to the naked eye. It is very often left unrepaired on motor homes and travel trailers because it was not discovered. I have written several articles before about incomplete...Full Story

How to Detect Flat Tires

Example of what happens to a flat tire driven at freeway speed and possibly ten miles distance, photo by Don Stec
By Don Stec
Modern vehicles handle very well. So it is understandable when some people tell us they did not notice one tire was flat and drove several miles on the flat, destroying the tire. The first time I had heard this I thought the driver... Full Story

Is that clunking noise just annoying or dangerous?

A photo of suspension failure, photo by Don Stec
Article & photo by Don Stec
The caller said. My car makes a clunking noise. Could you tell me what it is and how much it will cost to repair it? It’s incredible how often we get phone calls from people expecting us to analyze their vehicle problems over...Full Story

Common Questions & Answers about Vehicle Repairs

Example of an ATV set up for a frame repair. Photo by Don Stec
Article and photos by Don Stec
Question: I heard you on the radio talking about the car that was test driven eight times after being repaired at another place and the vehicle still was not correct. There must have been some time that passed after the repair. How did you... Full Story

How Not to Get Ripped Off When Buying a Used Vehicle

Shows the front of the wheel house shield missing a large portion, allowing debris to enter the engine compartment. Photo by Don Stec
Article and photos by Don Stec
One of the hardest things to do is…to tell a person the vehicle they just bought is not worth repairing. Improperly repaired vehicles are a major problem. Unfortunately most people do not know what to look for. Many of the...Full Story

How to correct misconceptions about wheel alignment

Example underside of a trailer with high ground clearance. Photo courtesy of Coachmaster Collision Repair
By Don Stec
Misconceptions about wheel alignment are common among the general public. Here at Coachmaster in Redding we do our best to explain to customers why what they think is wrong with their vehicle is incorrect. Here are a few... Full Story

How to Prevent Backyard Wildlife Conflicts

Ground squirrel photo courtesy of CA DFW
Have you ever woken to the sound of a scampering animal in the ceiling above your bed or been startled by a strange scratching noise in your walls? If so, you understand the frustration of having wildlife take...Full Story

How to Comply with Tow Chain Laws

Before and After, Don Stec author badge, myoutdoorbuddy.com
By Don Stec
One of the most common mistakes trailer owners make is: Failure to properly attach a safety chain between a trailer and the towing vehicle. There seems to be a consensus by the general public that simply attaching a chain is... Full Story

How to Handle an Insurance Claim

Before and After by Don Stec, Author Badge for myoutdoorbuddy.com
Article by Don Stec
It is at least a weekly occurrence when a vehicle owner, during the course of getting an Insurance collision estimate, will express concern about an Insurance Company cheating him on a collision repair by not allowing... Full Story

How to prep inflatable life jackets

With their small size, inflatable life jackets keep you cool on a hot day, allow you to freely move around the boat, cast a line or raise sail, and come in a variety of belt and harness styles. While inflatables have a reputation for... Full Story

How to Describe Car Problems with Sounds

Article by Don Stec
Several years ago I did a radio commercial about a woman who gave the following description of her car problem, she said. “My car makes a loud scream like noise when I accelerate, then I hear a loud ka-plunk and the warble... Full Story

How correct words ensure efficient auto-body repair

Article by Don Stec
It is important to use the correct words when describing a problem with your motor vehicle. Words used incorrectly may result in incorrect repairs. For example, many people do not use the word “New” properly... Full Story

How to Avoid Collisions! Check Tire Air Pressure

Accurate tire pressure gauges are an important glove box accessory.
Article and photos by Don Stec 
Well winter has finally arrived in Northern California and the reports of tire failure resulting in a collision have already started; as they do every year when the cold weather returns. Most often the driver reports a tire blow out... Full Story

How to Select Hiking Boots and Shoes

 Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra trail show. Photo courtesy of Trailhead Gear
By Jim Broshears 
In order to be prepared to shop for hiking shoes or boots, you need to be able to answer the following questions. How are you going to use the shoe/boot? Do you want waterproof or ventilated? Do you want low, mid or high... Full Story

How to Prepare for Communications Disasters

Capt. William E. Simpson II, preparedness, emergency communications, radios, myoutdoorbuddy.com
Article and photos by Capt. William E. Simpson II 
Generally speaking, when it comes to disaster preparedness, few people have it together better than farmers and ranchers in my opinion. In most cases, they have water, food and shelter handled very well...Full Story

How to winterize your boat

Many boats tied up at their docks. The boat in foreground is sinking due to snow accumulation. Photo by Jack Hornor
Water expands in volume by about nine percent when it freezes, creating a staggering force that can crack a boat engine block, damage fiberglass, split hoses, or destroy a boat’s refrigeration system over...Full Story

How to live with 30,000 black bears

black Bear, courtesy of CA DFW
Each year, the month of May is “Be Bear Aware” Month and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds the public to act responsibly when in bear country. Spring is the time of year when California’s black bears emerge... Full Story

How to Observe Proper Boat Ramp Etiquette

By Chuck Giles
It’s that time of year again to discuss boat ramp etiquette; yes, there is an unwritten set of guidelines for launching and loading your boat. What follows are just suggestions to keep you from incurring the wrath of irate recreational boaters. Keep in mind to follow all boating laws at the same time...Full Story

How to Help 'Lost' Wild Animals: Leave them Alone!

In the spring wildlife are giving birth and raising their young, teaching them what to eat, where to take shelter and how to survive in the wild. During that time mothers leave their young alone, often for extended periods of time, to feed...Full Story

How to Keep Bears Out of Your Neighborhood

Oregon is home to a healthy population of an estimated 25,000-30,000 black bears. California has just as many. Bears can be a nusiance at any time if there is food around. During spring, black bears are coming out of their winter dens...Full Story

How to be Safe while Boating: Wear Your PFD

By Gary Heffley
I don’t have the power of political position to make it so and I don’t have the podium at which I can preach to the masses but I have this forum by which hopefully I can reach even just a few of the readers with a very simple message…Wear your PFD’s!... Full Story

When and How to Help Boaters?

By Chuck Giles
Whether we realize it or not, those of us who enjoy boating have joined an exclusive fraternity. We signed nothing obligating us to help each other in times of distress. However, there are laws, and moral obligations to be obeyed...Full Story

How Axle to Axle Misalignment Affects Trailer Tire Wear

myoutdoorbuddy.com, Trailer axle repair, Coachmaster, Don Stec, tire alignment, axle alignment, trailer troubleshooting, outdoor recreation
Article and photos by Don Stec
Two or more axles on a trailer can cause unusual tire wear problems if the axles are not aligned with each other.The diagram below describes a typical trailer frame. Trailers use a centerline as the standard during manufacture... Full Story

How to Correct a Sideways-driving Vehicle

Article and photo by Don Stec
Have you ever followed a vehicle that seemed to be going sideways on the road? If you were to watch it as it went around a curve you would notice that the vehicle could not navigate the curve smoothly...Full Story

More Outdoor News

Selecting Hiking Boots and Shoes

 Merrell men’s Moab Ventilator Mid hiking boot. Photo courtesy of Trailhead Gear
By Jim Broshears
In order to be prepared to shop for hiking shoes or boots, you need to be able to answer the following questions. How are you going to use the shoe/boot? Do you want waterproof or ventilated? Do you want low, mid or high boot...Full Story

The Vanishing Spirit of America

White stallion and black stallion, photo by: Laura Simpson © 2015
Photo Essay by William E. Simpson, photos by Laura Simpson © 2015
I have crested the high places of the earth in the darkness to greet the fiery orb rising in the east and the beginning of a new day…I was nurtured and...Full Story

Game Wardens and Ghost Towns

All that’s left of the ghost town of Newville are the remains of this service station. I remember the old hand-pump gas tank still being out front during the 1960s; it’s gone now. Photo by Steven T. Callan
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
12/02/16 -- Out of beer and three sheets to the wind, the three deer poachers turned west on Newville Road and headed northeast toward Paskenta. Rounding the first bend, they passed the ghost town of Newville. Newville had thrived...Full Story

The Most Beautiful Duck in North America

The drake mallard, with its iridescent green head., by Steven T. Callan
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan 
11/05/16 -- Ask any waterfowl enthusiast to name the most beautiful duck in North America, and he or she will most likely point to the brilliant, multicolored, drake wood duck (Aix sponsa). Others might claim that the iridescent green head of...Full Story

ODFW Weekly Recreation Report

09/29/16 -- Oregon’s most popular hunting season opens statewide Oct. 1. Don’t forget to pick up your tag by Sept. 30. Forecast rain could make it a good opener in some areas; see the reports below for more information. Don’t forget to...Full Story

An Island of Our Own

Western Toad, by kathy callan
On Patrol, by Steven T. Callan
09/23/16 -- Over the years, Kathy and I have often dreamed of escaping today’s fast-paced, hectic world and moving to an island of our own—an island of trees, flowers, and abundant wildlife, where we could experience the joys of...Full Story

Rafting and Reflecting on the American

Rafting on the American River, by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
06/12/16 -- When I looked at the list of outdoor activities for this year’s Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) spring conference, a rafting trip down the American River practically jumped off the page...Full Story

​In Search of the Elegant Trogon

Male hooded oriole in pomegranate tree, photo by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
05/18/16 -- I’ve always been fascinated with birds, but I really became hooked on bird-watching, or birding, as it’s often called, during the mid-seventies when I was a rookie Fish and Game warden down on the Colorado...Full Story

The Mudhen King

Don Webster, author badge, myoutdoorbuddy.com
04/22/16 -- There has been a time or two during my life when having some knowledge and experience with the outdoor world has come in handy. Especially job handy. As in monetarily handy. I remember one such occasion...Full Story

Hite Cove

hand holding fish, by phil akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
03/21/16 -- Revered by the Ahwahneechee, later congressionally designated as a Wild and Scenic River, the South Fork Merced originates on the southern slope of Triple Divide Peak in Yosemite National Park. Part of the Clark ...Full Story

​A Letter to Ted Trueblood

Ted Trueblood, photo courtesy of Don Webster
By Don Webster
01/28/16 -- Although you probably know what’s on my mind, I think you understand that it’s important for me to tell you anyway. You, Corey Ford, Nash Buckingham, Robert Ruark, and Ernest Hemingway were writers who wrote... Full Story

Flat tires! Are They Undetectable?

Example of what happens to a flat tire driven at freeway speed and possibly ten miles distance, photo by Don Stec
By Don Stec
11/02/15 -- Modern vehicles handle very well. So it is understandable when some people tell us they did not notice one tire was flat and drove several miles on the flat, destroying the tire. The first time I had heard this... Full Story

Poaching in the Parks

A stately bull elk in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Photo by Kathy Callan
By Steven T. Callan
08/29/15 -- The recent killing of Hwange National Park’s beloved icon, Cecil the Lion, has brought to mind a number of outrageous poaching incidents that occurred right here in California -- all of them inside national parks, state parks... Full Story

Those Wonderful Wildlife Caregivers

Steven T. Callen with one of three orphaned black bear cubs, circa 1981. Photo courtesy of Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
07/18/15 -- One of the more disheartening, sometimes discouraging aspects of a wildlife officer’s job is dealing with injured, orphaned, or imprinted wildlife that cannot be released back into the wild. Wildlife rehabilitation facilities, most of... Full Story

Caribou Wilderness

Susan Lake, photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
06/01/15 -- Adjacent to the eastern border of Lassen Volcanic National Park is a remote volcanic plateau on the eastern slopes of what was once Mt. Tehama. Cinder cones, crater peaks, old-growth forest, and azure lakes make up... Full Story

A Jewel in the Desert

Once coveted by the pet trade, native reptiles, like this chuckwalla, may no longer be sold in California. Photo by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
05/25/15 -- In late April, before summer set in, Kathy and I decided to spend a few days in the land of blistering sands and sharp thorns. I had worked in the California desert during my early years with the California Department of Fish... Full Story

Don’t kill them all! Some snakes are good!

Indigo snake
By Captain William E. Simpson
04/27/15 -- Most survivalists and Preppers spend a good deal of time outdoors as do many other Americans. Many people have a healthy fear of snakes, and given the fact that there are several species of venomous snakes that are...Full Story

Marijuana Wars and the California DFW

ish and Wildlife Warden Jerry Karnow with suspected poisoned bear at an illegal marijuana grow site. Photo courtesy of California Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden Jerry Karnow
By Steven T. Callan
04/16/15 -- Just after daylight in September 2014, four California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers and four Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies quietly locked their vehicles and began what was to be an arduous hike... Full Story

‘Preppers’ & Disaster Preparedness Myths

Life is hard... it's even harder if you're stupid, John Wayne
By Capt. William E. Simpson
04/14/15 -- We live in a world where civilization, reason and logic are said to be at historic heights, yet so many people today, especially our youth, are making new lows in relevant intelligence and labor under a host of myths and illusions...Full Story

A Happy Dog is a Panting Dog

Pup, Phil Akers, A Happy Dog is a Panting Dog
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
04/07/15 -- Bigfoot’s number one pet is the wolverine but for us humans it’s the canine. Americans are projected to spend $60 billion this year on pets! A large portion of this goes to dogs. We all love our dogs and generally...Full Story

Show Respect and Pass Through Quietly

Butte Valley Wildlife Area with Mount Shasta in background, photo by Kathy and Steven Callan
By Steven T. Callan 
03/05/15 -- “Quick, roll up the windows!” said Kathy. We had just entered the ten-mile auto tour route at Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, when four cars roared by us like we were standing still. Pulling to the side of the road...Full Story

Tactical Survival Axe, AKA: ‘The Bruiser’

USMC Tactical Survival Axe, AKA: ‘The Bruiser’, photo by William E. Simpson
Article and photos by Capt. William E. Simpson
02/24/15 -- I am not an expert with edged weapons, even though I have a trunk-load of them, including the old Buck hunting knife that my Dad gave me when I was a teenager many moons ago. So with that said, I wanted to share...Full Story

Hot Stove

blue lake surrounded by gray snow peaked mountains with green grass meadow in the foreground. Photo by Phil Flip Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
02/24/15 -- Much like fantasy baseball, winter is the “hot stove” season for high elevation wilderness adventures. It is time to study and plan for the upcoming summer. But instead of preparing to draft players, we find...Full Story

A Problem Requiring a Different Approach

A humungous crowd of people.
By Captain William E. Simpson, USMM
02/08/15 -- Most survival strategies and related tactics used today draw upon the methods that were used or which worked in past small-scale localized and regional disasters, and will likely work again to some extent in similar...Full Story

Firearms and Disaster Preparedness

Military man leaning on the heavy back that pulled him backwards
Article and photos by Captain William E. Simpson, USMM
01/19/15 -- With the start of the new-year, there always seem to be several articles that come out promoting guns as part of a preparedness solution. And it’s an unfortunate fact that firearms have become almost synonymous with Prep... Full Story

Getting Kids Hooked

Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
01/06/15 -- Now, more than ever, we need to get our kids involved in the outdoors. Many kids are becoming softer and lazier with each generation, losing touch with nature, depending on technology to instantly learn everything, presumably...Full Story

Survival Using RVs

Silver mobile home with striped awning, parked on a grassy field alongside a river with forested hills leading up to snow capped mountains. Photo by William E. Simpson
Article and photos by William E. Simpson
12/26/14 -- Over the past year many people have reached-out to me asking the same question; ‘What can people do to survive a catastrophic event besides sailing to an island on a bug-out boat? This was of course a natural... Full Story

For the Love of Ducks

Snow geese at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. photo by Steven T. Callan
Article and photos by Steven T. Callan
12/23/14 -- With the north wind blowing off snow-covered Mount Shasta, it was brutally cold that December afternoon in 1960. Sitting in the back seat of our family car, I spotted an enormous flock of snow-white birds feeding in the... Full Story

Disaster Preparedness Strategies – Part II

NASA image depicting solar storm impacting earth’s geomagnetic field.
By Capt. William E. Simpson, USMM
11/25/14 -- Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of Disaster Preparedness articles written by Capt. William E. Simpson, USMM. The first was an attempt to simplify the subject of disaster preparedness by focusing on risk...Full Story

Disaster Preparedness Strategies – Part I

Preparedness & Survival by Capt. William E. Simpson
11/12/14 -- Over the past few years, disaster preparedness (“prepping”) has become a popular topic. A very large mix of people have begun preaching prepping, all having different motives for promoting their particular... Full Story

Making Friends With The Neighbors

Wild (feral) stallions competing - copyright Laura Simpson 2014
By William E. Simpson
10/14/14 -- There are few animals in nature that match the majestic beauty of a stallion running wild and free. They rule their territory by day and by night. Recently, my wife Laura and I decided to change adventures...Full Story

Ishi

 Newspaper headline from early August 1911. Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Bee.
By Phil 'Flip' Akers
10/08/14 -- Southwest of Mt. Lassen lies a remote and largely forgotten piece of Cascade foothill region. Dark basaltic cliffs and pinnacles adorn inhospitable river canyons, carved by what is now Mill and Deer Creeks, through bad...Full Story

Tall Trees and Emerald Waters

Kathy at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, beside one of the largest (redwood) trees on Earth., photo by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
10/06/14 -- Kathy and I recently attended the Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) fall conference on the aptly-named Wild Rivers Coast. Stretching from Port Orford, Oregon to Klamath, California, the Wild.... Full Story

Lassen National Volcanic Park

Jim Broshears, Mt. Lassen view from Brokeoff Mountain
By Jim Broshears
07/21/14 -- Lassen National Park is one of the best kept secrets in the National Park system. It may be hard to call a place that has over 400,000 visitors a year a secret but compared to Yosemite’s 2.5 million and the 9.4...Full Story

Peak Bagging in Winter

Peak Bagging in Winter, Jim Broshears, Trailhead Adventures, Paradise, CA, MyOutdoorBuddy.com By Jim Broshears
02/11/13 -- Peak bagging, according to peakbagging.com/ refers to climbing mountains. When a summit is reached, it is “bagged”. You don’t have to go to exotic locations to enjoy this sport, or even be an elite mountain climber...Full Story

The Mystery of the Middle Fork – Part III

Jim Broshears, Trailhead Tales author badge for My outdoor buddy
By Jim Broshears
04/09/14 -- Our search for Tuck’s lost meadow continued in 2013. After three previous trips and multiple days of searching, you might be wondering why we don’t just call it a day. Or possibly question why we have not... Full Story

The 'Death Wobble' -- Be Safe Not Sorry!

Death Wobble, underbody of a vehicle, Don Stec
Article and photos by Don Stec
03/31/14 -- Death Wobble is not to be confused with a front-end shimmy or a wheel balance problem. A Death Wobble (DW) is very common on vehicles with a solid front axle. It has earned its name, not from mechanics but by vehicle... Full Story

The Mystery of the Middle Fork -- Part II

Article and photos by Jim Broshears
03/10/14 -- Our return to the Middle Fork of Feather River would take place in August of 2012. Having nearly 10 months to plan the next exploration, we, of course, waited until the last minute decide our course of action... Full Story

The Mystery of the Middle Fork -- Part I

The Mystery of the Missing Valley By Jim Broshears
Article and photos by Jim Broshears
02/15/14 -- Part #1 Exploring the Middle Fork of the Feather River -- Stories about hidden valleys, waterfalls, canyons and fishing are part of outdoor folklore. Most of these tales begin with “When I was a kid we went to this place” and...Full Story

 

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