Remember all the discussion last winter about the shortage of firewood at the springs? Among all the complaining, blaming and general hand-wringing, someone jokingly suggested dumping 10 pounds of wood pellets in a hubcap and making your campfire out of that. Well, I can tell you, that doesn't work. I know because I tried it. Wood pellets in a pile don't burn with an active flame, they just smolder and make lots of smoke. Too bad, because it's so much easier and cleaner to haul a sack of pellets than a bunch of firewood.
Then I remembered a little device that we made when I was in the Boy Scouts, about 50 years ago (yes, I'm really that old!) It's called a wood-gas stove. We made them out of an old soup can and tomato can with a bunch of holes punched in them. It would burn pine cones, needles, dried cow-patties or whatever you could fit into it. I decided to make one of them that could hold 10 pounds of wood pellets and see how it worked. The result has frankly exceeded my expectations.
You dump the pellets in, squirt some charcoal starter on it and light it. Without doing anything else, you get to enjoy about 2 hours of bright dancing flames without worrying about sparks, smoke or having to clean up the next morning.
Those of you who were at the springs last Presidents' Day may have seen the first prototype burning next to the campfire at the Lower Soaks, or during the post-game pot-luck at Palm Spring. It got a lot of attention and many people expressed interest in buying one. Since then, I've made several improvements and developed a process to manufacture them in quantity. I call the device the “Hot-Pot”, and details can be found at...
If you're interested in buying one, you can save the shipping cost by meeting us at the springs or somewhere else and picking it up in person. Otherwise, shipping costs $12.50. We'll be at the springs for Halloween for sure, so we can deliver some at that time. We may also be back for Veterans' Day, but I'm not certain. I'll post when we're sure. Hot-Pots delivered in person also come with a bottle of starter fluid and 10 pounds of pellets. We can't ship flammable liquids, and the USPS wants more to ship 10 pounds of pellets than it costs to buy a whole 40 pound bag!
NOTE: I will NOT have Hot-Pots for sale in the Valley! Don't even ask! Engaging in commerce in a National Park is illegal, and I have no intentions of violating any laws. I will only deliver units to those folks that have pre-paid via the web site or by phone.
We've already sold over 30 of these things, and everybody really likes them. Check them out for yourself, and let us know.
See you at Halloween!
SilverBob and Michelle