Author Archives: tento2013

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

This moon that was just coming up over the mountains to the east of the campground at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona. About five miles from the Mexican border. I shot in on my iPhone so it is a bit fuzzy because I zoomed in. Looks like King Kong watching the moon come up. The sun was going down in one direction and the moon coming up in the other. It was Christmas 2011 and also where and when I first started writing our book 2 Years in a Tent.
The showers were solar and we could also charge our batteries there. The stars in the winter sky were spectacular. You are free to share the photo if you wish..

All the best and keep camping..

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2 Cots

2 Cots

We couldn’t use a lot of the photos we took in our ebook – 2 YEARS IN A TENT – so I thought it might be good for our readers to see how we used our cots for sleeping off the ground. Note that this is a 10’x10′ square tent and the one we used most was an 11×11 hexagon and the cots had to be parallel. Honestly, if we didn’t have those cots, it would have been much harder on us. They’re about $50 at Big 5 and Walmart and the best for us was the Coleman. Strong and durable.

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Grand Teton Quote

Grand Teton Quote

Profound truth in these words. Laura and I shot this photo in the Grand Teton National Park Visitor Center. I must admit – our National Park Service does a wonderful job and some of our best 2 Years in a Tent book experiences came from insights like this. It helped us understand the value in our little tent.

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2 Years In a Tent book review and Mercury News Article

We’ve just had an article and special book review written about our 2 Years in a Tent book and senior-saga. It was in a major California Sunday travel section and written by a well known travel writer – Myscha Therialut. We hope you’ll check it out and also share it as well.

Here’s one of the photos that was used.


And BTW, we’ve reduced the of our ebook from $8.99  to $2.99 via Amazon – and Apple as well

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About Generators

No matter if you’re tenting, RVing or in a trailer – here is a post that can be highly relevant to any camping experience . It is a re-post from a special traveling guy Laura and I met when we first started our 2 Years in a Tent adventure. Gary Ramsey travels in a trailer all over the southwest. He wrote this about the unique problems with some smaller generators. Gary publishes many other great camping insights on his website – Check out his expertise in camping coffee making while you’re there. Enjoy 🙂

Here’s what Gary wrote:

“About buying a generator. All I can say is if you think you need a 2000 watt generator go with a bigger unit and here is why. I have a Yamaha 2000is generator that is 7 months old. runs fine until you need power.

I had the unit re-jetted for the altitude. Runs better but…. when I turn off the converter and all else I can think of and turn on a simple 850 watt toaster I get 99 volts and 597 watts. And this is when I go outside and turn on full power. This is for all generators. On any generator figure about 3% to 3.5% loss of power for every 1000 feet of elevation gain. So you are going to have to spend a bundle to get a 3000 watt or so unit. That is the best way to solve the dilemma. To save money just buy a 2000 watt unit and when camped at higher elevation say 7500 feet or more don’t use the high power settings to run things that require the power. No toasters, hair dryers, microwave’s, etc. We can all get by for a time with that. You don’t have to live in complete poverty to live this live style. You can still recharge all of your devices, like your cell phone, your laptop, watch TV, etc.

I am happy to have learned this lesson. Expensive lesson for sure! But learning to live a different lifestyle is always a learning experience. So don’t change the generator jet for $87.00 for the season at elevation and then another $87.00 to go back to the original jet. Save the money on gas to see the sights of the area you are camped at. Just do your research.

Now don’t be the type of Jerk SOB that buy’s a big expensive trailer and then is so damn cheap and insensitive to others to go and buy a cheap noisy generator. It drives me crazy and all the others around you. Makes a person want to go over and hit you up side the head for your stupidity. But then that is just the kind of person that would go out and buy a cheap noisy generator.”


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Next 5 of 10 Tips for Camping in our National Parks



Here’s the next five tips I promised. If you are reading for the first time, you may want to read the first five  below, then come back to this. Either way – it’s OK. Enjoy and if you want more insights about full-time tent traveling, check out our book 2 Years in a Tent.

Tip 6
Connect some campground dots. Get your map out and try to connect as many campgrounds as you can on your way to your ultimate destination. Try to make them within a one-day, 6-8 hour driving range. This means if – for some reason – you can’t get to your destination that day, you’l have another “fall-back” or alternate place to put up your tent.
Tip 7
Also consider visiting our many National Monuments and National Forest System campgrounds. Only Congress can create National Parks but the President can create National Monuments. They are both managed by the National Park System. The National Forest Service (NFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Army Corp of Engineers are also under federal jurisdiction and if you have the Access or Senior Pass you can get into them and the National Parks and National Monuments for free and 50% off camp fees as well. Best deal in the USA for the disabled and seniors.
Tip 8
If no reservations – travel to arrive only on Mondays or Tuesdays. The rest of the week and Wednesdays can be “iffy.” This way you’ll arrive and get a better site without having to compete with “week-enders.”
Tip 9
If reservations are required – ask for a level site in the “tents only” area – if they have one. The reality is, you might have to take whatever they have available during busy season. Some campgrounds have a few “overflow” sites but you must be there in person to get them. Overflow sites are often left up to the camp host to issue and if you are friendly, you stand a better chance of getting one without a reservation.
Tip 10
Take a good size ice chest and buy food and ample supplies before you get into the park. Inside the park normal things get expensive. For example, we priced a small bottle of propane (for the stove) at the only store in Death Valley National Park, and they outrageously priced it at $13. You can buy the same item at a Wal-Mart for less than $3. Go figure.
And of course, take your camera, first-aid kit and don’t forget the axe, hammer and tent stakes.
And a final suggestion: Always remember and respect the people who came before you and built the roads and parks for all Americans to enjoy today. They were hard working people and realized the very best of American is within our National Parks and Monuments – not in the city. Go and enjoy the very best of America.
Richard and Laura Pawlowski are the authors of 2 Years in a Tent ebook and can be downloaded on and the iTunes store.

They also post on the blog and you can contact them thru


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10 Tips for Camping in National Parks

10 (or more) Tips for Camping in National Parks
by Richard and Laura Pawlowski
Are you considering camping in one or more of our wonderful National Parks? If so, here are 10 tips from a pair of “seasoned” tent campers that can make your adventure much easier and enjoyable.
Tip 1 
Tents are better in National Parks and you don’t need an expensive RV to enjoy your National Parks. Tenting is so much cheaper and environmentally safer as well. In many ways, tenting with a regular car or mini-van is much better than going in an RV. As a matter of fact, some roads leading to some parks actually limit the length of RVs allowed because most parks were originally designed for and by tenters. Tent camping is MUCH cheaper for sure (site fees, gas, insurance and maintenance) and in many National Parks, the best campsites are for “tents only.” 
Tip 2
Go for more than a just a few weeks – if you can – and go to more than one NP – they are all wonderful places (and our personal plan is to see them all). Regular or typical vacations are OK, but you’ll miss so much if you don’t stay as along as possible at each one. Most folks just go for two days on a week-end but see only the highlights and often miss the real essence of the place. Laura and I spent two full years of camping with our tent – and we got to 55 different campgrounds and 15 National Parks in 10 states. Some places we stayed for more than a month we paid only $3 a night. We also met a lot of other full-timers and made many new friends this way. In our book, we suggest you take a full year out of your life and give it as a grand gift to yourself. Just quit paying rent and go.
Tip 3
Choose the tent wisely not cheaply. Wind and rain will happen – count on it. Unpredictable weather requires you to consider the types of seams and zippers (very important) and how close to the ground the rain-fly goes. If it is above 8 inches, a strong wind event might shred it for you. Big metal zippers are better than small plastic zippers and metal poles are better (in some cases) than fiberglass poles. The type of connection of the poles – to each other and the ground – also matter.
The shape of the tent really matters too and the taller it is the more wind it will catch. We used a two-door, mini-yurt model (after going thru 3 others that failed) and the hexagon shape was best for us. We used a 11×11 footer and it was just tall enough to standup in and just the right size for two adults. BTW, we went thru a near hurricane in Padre Island National Seashore (Texas) and were the only tent standing after 60 mph winds. A very exciting night for sure. You should have heard it from inside our tent and the sky was incredible – wow! 🙂 
Tip 4
Get get off the ground. We’ve been camping for over 40 years (we’re in our 70s) and in our extended sojourns – we’ve come to appreciate the value of a good, foldable cot (about $55). For extended tenting, this is a must. Choose wisely here too because some cots have a very uncomfortable bar in the center. Test it at home first. 
And BTW, air mattresses are a total waste of time and money.
Tip 5
Showers – Go Solar. Most National Park campgrounds do NOT have showers. Some do but don’t count on it. Some parks have pay showers that are operated by a concessionaire and they can soak you (pun intended) to use them. We bought a solar heated water bag (about $20) and a shower-tent (about $50) and it was one of the best things we used. Saved us a lot of money and when the sun didn’t cooperate, we used our 2 burner propane stove to heat the water. 
As an aside, many campers had never seen tent-shower like ours and when they asked what it was, we told them we used it only when we wanted to sleep standing up. 🙂

 **** I’ll post the next 5 next week. So please check back or email me if you need them right away. Thanks..

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16 Ways To Kick Start Frugality

Just a little blurb that we got a write-up about our 2 Years in a Tent adventure. It is part of article about 16 Ways to Kick Start Frugality – on WiseBread by Aaron Crowe. It also some other very good tips on frugality besides ours 🙂

Hope all is well for you – and wherever you are – via con Dios Amigos 🙂
Richard & Laura Pawlowski
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Not Enough Reform on Derivatives

In our book 2 YEARS IN A TENT – I wrote a lot about how derivatives – $600 TRILLION globally  were nothing but computer blips that could again bring down our economy. They were one of the factors that forced us into living in a tent.

In a 4/9/2013 New York Times editorial  – titled “Not Enough Reform on Derivatives” hits the nail on the head. Here’s the link to it and also an excerpt:

“In writing the rules, regulators have gone to great lengths to consider bank concerns. If Congress further indulges the banks by approving these bills, the effort to reform derivatives, which is central to overall financial reform, will be turned into a farce.”

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Wall Street is embracing its dark side and “Dark Pools”

In a New York Times article today, a very disturbing reality about what is really going on with Wall Street and 40% of trades that are not being reported. They call them “Dark Pools”. This article reinforces my belief that all Americans should have a Tentonomics strategy somewhere in their minds. Millions may need it if we have another crash..

Excerpts: “As the stock market continues to climb, trading has increasingly migrated from established bourses like the New York Stock Exchange to private platforms, including dark pools, that are largely hidden from public view. The shift is helping big traders hide what they are doing in the markets, and regulators are worried that the development could obscure the true prices of stocks and scare away ordinary investors.”

Dark pools, like public exchanges, give investors a place to connect with buyers and sellers of stock, but the pools are subject to less stringent regulations than public exchanges. Often run by big banks, dark pools do not require buyers and sellers to publicly announce their intention to trade stocks, allowing traders and investors to hide behind a veil that only the operator of the pool can penetrate.

That appeals to a pension fund that wants to buy a million shares of Ford stock, for instance, because it allows the fund to avoid tipping off competitors who could push the price of the stock up.

For the full article see :

If you read it, I’d like to personally know what you think and how it might apply to others you know. Comment here if you want – Thanks..

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