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The Trip Actual (Disco Cat)

Greetings again! Thanks for checking the blog out!!

Since a modern trip and a medieval trip don’t take up the same resources or time you will find me posting more on my modern trip for the next few weeks. I can travel 8000 miles in three weeks with long stops in between but it would take a month or more in medieval times depending on circumstances..

I have finally hit the road after allot of time tweaking the truck and trailer. Thanks to all who helped and to craiglist, an infinite source of last minute parts. Just don’t ask my help about Tetris or “Rear Differentials” as Travis may go ballistic. Post a comment if you want to hear that story. For my mundane trip I am about to cross an international border and will hopefully have no troubles. See you on the other side.20110729-071506.jpg

Oh, and we have enlisted the help of Bruce Wayne as a driver.


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Toil and Trouble, Boil and Bubble (Def Cat)

Guten Noche,

How to get there?

A desert is my destination, a place of Holy significance in Palestine.  Jerusalem must be opened up for us.  To get there with my soldiers and war machines, I would need horses, mules, wagons, ships, and lots of walking.  I will describe later the details of the trip.   But suffice it to say, the Barony has been helpful, with a few worried about me and my Baroness not being here to rule together.  I am mindful of their concerns and will need to keep this trip short so that I may return to help govern the lands entrusted to me by the King.   I did seek their Majesties permission for my fighting pilgrimage, and was given leave for the pilgrimage.


There have been many preparations, a notable one is that my armorer has fashioned me a new helm to wear in combat.  I do send thanks to him, Magnus.  My old helm had been in service for 15 years and the metal was not holding  up anymore, definitely time for a renewed look.

Another angle of helm by Magnus


The wagons also received some work as we thought of ways to get them to carry more.  Well, I’m tired and must be off for tomorrow the wagons will get loaded as much as we can.  Come out and help if you’re not in the fields. 

By for now,


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Toil and Trouble, Boil and Bubble pt. 2 (Disco Cat)

Greetings to all,

This topic cannot fit into a single post unless it is a mile long.  I believe that as the reader you deserve a much more manageable set of posts.

Why Toil and Trouble?

Last post on this topic listed a few of the things that I toiled and troubled over…believe me when I say (that was)/(this is) the short version.  However, why toil and trouble as the topic/title?  Many hours were spent trying to figure out what I needed for my mad plan to work.  Reasearch was time consuming and tedious, and also drove my help batty.  I was at times OCD with my internet searches: as I first looked through countless sources to see what I needed, then more sources for where to get those needed parts.  A wild guess of hours spent is as follows:  Camper – 200hrs, Airbags – 45hrs, Tires and Rims – 42hrs, Shocks – 30hrs, , Trailer – 25hrs, Swaybar – 3hrs.  I definitely call that “Toil and Trouble.”  Those were nights and weekends I spent banging my head against the grindstone. Hopefully it will pay off.  Was I insane?  You tell me!

Big Wig Swaybar

Hellwig Big Wig Swaybar





Hellwig Air Bags

Hellwig Air Bags assembled and ready for installation

Why Boil and Bubble?

Has any plan ever worked without changes, often major ones?  The following comment will also be in my Def Cat version of this post, but applies here as well: “A battle is not won by a great plan, but by great preparations.”  All plans get thrown out the window and re-written once the action they were designed for starts.  A few things that tweaked my plans were the shocks not arriving to O’Reillys with all needed components, truck not being completed on time by a setup facility, trailer not having the weight capacity I was looking for due to a small frame, swaybar installation blocked by the superhitch previously installed, and the serpentine belt shredding on me at my welder’s house.  To break a few of these down,  one of the front shocks did not have its hardware and therefore presented me with a challenge to get O’Reillys to get said hardware.  They did do what they could in the time constraints I gave them.  There was nothing I could do about the trailer – good axles (6 lug wheels) but the smaller frame limits their weight bearing capacities – too bad, I’ll load them to the max anyway.

7' x 14' Trailer with Roof Rack

6 lug trailer wheel
6 Lug Wheel/Tire = 5200# Rating

As for the swaybar, it required some work.  First was the fact that two brackets and U-bolts would not fit around the frame due to the long side plates for the SuperHitch being in the way.  Fortunately, there were some available bolt holes on the side plates in the same area that I originally needed for the swaybar.  I contacted the engineers at Hellwig and they said I should be fine using those holes but needed beefier bolts.   After no help at Home Depot, NAPA was used to get the bolts and self-locking nuts.  Nevertheless it took two trips for NAPA to understand I wanted Grade 8 bolts and matching self-locking nuts.  Their bins may have been mixed up, hmmm.


Hindsight is the only sight of mine that can be 20/20.  It remains to be seen if I can see benefits from the long hours of toiling research.  The success of it all may depend on my rigid flexibility, and how I adapt to the changing plans and not succumb to boiling over.

cya,                              Bruce

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Wulf and Eadwacer

The 10th Century Exeter Book contains this interesting Old English poem.  The poem describes a lament of an unarmed woman who was involved with two men, possibly her husband and her captor.  In the poem, the woman is separated from her love through some threat of violence, possibly from her own people.

The following Old English original and the translation of that same poem present one of the earliest known Old English poems, and the noted scholar Michael Alexander provided his own translation in his book The Earliest English Poems (Penguin, 1973).

Old English Version

Leodum is minum swylce him mon lac gife;
willað hy hine aþecgan, gif he on þreat cymeð.
Ungelic is us.
Wulf is on iege, ic on oþerre.

Fæst is þæt eglond, fenne biworpen.
Sindon wælreowe weras þær on ige;
willað hy hine aþecgan, gif he on þreat cymeð.
Ungelice is us.
Wulfes ic mines widlastum wenum dogode;

þonne hit wæs renig weder ond ic reotugu sæt,
þonne mec se beaducafa bogum bilegde,
wæs me wyn to þon, wæs me hwæþre eac lað.
Wulf, min Wulf, wena me þine
seoce gedydon, þine seldcymas,

murnende mod, nales meteliste.
Gehyrest þu, Eadwacer? Uncerne earne hwelp
bireð Wulf to wuda.
þæt mon eaþe tosliteð þætte næfre gesomnad wæs,
uncer giedd geador.

English Translation

It is to my people as if someone gave them my gift.
They want to kill him, if he comes with a troop.
It is different for us.
Wulf is on one island I on another.

That island, surrounded by fens, is secure.
There on the island are bloodthirsty men.
They want to kill him, if he comes with a troop.
It is different for us.
I thought of my Wulf with far-wandering hopes,

Whenever it was rainy weather, and I sat tearfully,
Whenever the warrior bold in battle encompassed me with his arms.
To me it was pleasure in that, it was also painful.
Wulf, my Wulf, my hopes for you have caused
My sickness, your infrequent visits,

A mourning spirit, not at all a lack of food.
Do you hear, Eadwacer? A wolf is carrying
our wretched whelp to the forest,
that one easily sunders which was never united:
our song together.

Posted by Twobears79                                                                                                                        Thomas “Two Bears” is a guest blogger for Discover and Defend.  He maintains his own travel blog Twenty-Eight Days Later which covers the same trip, but in a different style.

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Toil and Trouble, Boil and Bubble (Disco Cat)

How to get there?

After finding out where in Arizona I was headed, I decided on a route and mode of transportation. My route would be the ALCAN and mode would be truck, camper, and trailer. Added to the trip would be visits to a huge party of 10,000+ people, visits to my close family, and other relatives and friends in several states. Plus visits to landmarks I had not made it to yet – Mt Rushmore, D.C., Philadelphia, Gettysburg, and Roswell.


Camper side view

Right side view of Northern Lite Camper

Bats are interesting and have nothing to do with this blog yet.

Months were spent getting a camper and trailer, with sacrifices made on both acquisition fronts. Then came the needed truck upgrades to handle everything safely.

–I had to learn allot about campers as my knowledge was severely lacking in that department. I talked with experts and spent countless hours on the internet and Craigslist. I checked prices and stats (weights, sizes, and options) for each possible camper. In the end I went with a lighter camper and a six lug tandem axle trailer.

–The truck received much attention in getting it ready. Long story short, it’s getting swaybar, air bags, shocks, wheels/tires, new brakes, and a new hitch. There goes whatever money I had left in the bank, bye-bye $$.

I lined everything up as best I could and have been trying to get it all to fall into place this last month. So far the delays have been small, a day here or there. My departure date is right around the corner and each day I face new challenges to defeat. Till next post – cya.


Poster supporting bats

Poster supporting bats, poster from WDW in Florida.

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OK, I’ll Go!! (Def Cat)

Picture of chain hauberk and coif at Medieval Times Florida

Chain hauberk and coif at Medieval Times Florida

Requirements to go:

All my worries for whether I could step away from fighting and turn these reigns over to a younger man centered on whether I could increase my military forces and coffers or I would lose the lands of the barony entrusted me by my King.

What happened:

Again reminded of a wise person’s words; a man this time, I pondered the phrase: “you’ll never have enough manpower, time, or money.” However, a life of Defending the Church’s interests has gained me many friend’s within its influence. To aid in this venture to free Jerusalem and restore the glory of Christ, I was granted a company to command and given a stipend to outfit and transport them with. Now I had enough men to defend my Barony and Christendom; and the money would not have to come from taxing my serfs.

What was wrong:

After announcement of the Crusade, I went to work preparing for my retirement via this Crusade. The problem was that even though I was old, in order to command this company I now had to move (travel to the other side of the world, Far! not Near!).

What Next:

I began my search for where I would be allowed to go and how I would get there. All decisions would have to take into consideration the return trip to my home. In the end, Jerusalem is where I was told to go.

So there I head! There, I’ll go!


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OK, I’ll go (Disco Cat)

Requirements to go:

All worrying centered first on whether I’d be forced to retire ahead of “my” schedule or be allowed to get “my” timetable back, and at what costs to get that golden date back to what I wanted. Bottom line requirement to stay employed till Dec 2012 was to get a promotion. The test for that promotion was in March 2010 and I had allot going on that month with work and the Iditarod Sled Dog race.

What happened:

I changed my volunteer dates for the Iditarod and studied for the test. The results of my test came out in June, the promotion was mine and would be awarded to me in September.

What was wrong:

After announcement of the promotion I went to work returning my job to pre-retirement status. The problem was that even though I would retain the job, I now had to move (not at all what I had been promised).

What Next:

I began my search for where I would be allowed to go and what my preferences would be for those choices. All decisions would have to take into consideration the return trip to my home after retirement in dec 2012. In the end, Arizona is where I was told to go.

So there I head! There, I’ll go!


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First Thoughts (Def Cat)

Picture of Armor display at school demo

Helm and chain making devices


Since learning to fight at age 7, my family and the Church had kept me busy.  At 16 I had travelled across to a new island that Duke William conquered.  My father had urged I go with him since the Church had supported his claim to the throne of England.  There were several times that I had been sent to the nearby island of the Celts called Eire at the Church’s request.  Now, in 1095, a new request has been issued by Pope Urban II, and I am old and desiring retirement.  The age old question is to stay or go.

What to do

I am reminded of an old wise woman’s comments, “If you burn bridges, make sure you cross first.”  I surely have two paths I could take – to retire from my life of fighting for the Church or head out on a new crusade to defend Christendom from the Seljuk Turks.  I have had a life of many successful and lucky campaigns and it is what I know best.  I feel the pull of service but at 46, I am older than too many of the young and inexperienced fighters signing up for this crusade.


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