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Tales from the Guys Side

father's day, gift guide, gifts, outdoorsman, dad

Somewhere between college and yesterday, the Big Guy has somehow become an outdoorsman. Surprises me too since I practically had to promise lewd and lascivious acts to get the man to eat lunch at an outdoor café due to “bugs” yet, here we are. We went on a family camping trip a couple of years ago and he has since been sold on the idea of all things in nature and I’m here for it.

Disclosure: I was provided some of the products on this list for review purposes but all opinions are my own.

While we’ve been camping in cabins and RVs, he’s been leaning more towards “roughing it” getting back to his great outdoorsman roots. He used to camp with his parents as a child. I, on the other hand, prefer my 5-star hotels to camping in a tent. Though I will say, there is nothing quite like camping in the great outdoors and looking up at the stars from around a campfire with nothing else around except for the sound of locusts and your children laughing. It really is magical.

READ ALSO: Why RVing is the Best Family Vacation

I fully support the Big Guys new found choice to fully lean into his more rugged side. Of course, he’s a tech junkie, metrosexual so this will be camping outdoorsman at its finest and most tech-savvy. The man already cooks like a gourmet chef, is the perfect father to daughters and is one of the smartest people I know. He does life to the fullest.

In celebrating this new endeavor, I have compiled a Father’s Day Gift Guide for the Great Outdoorsman in your life.

Classic Square Floating Sunglasses – Coopersfather's day, gift guide, gifts, outdoorsman, dad, coopers floating sunglasses

Floating sunglasses? What? Yes, there is such a thing. The Cooper frame from Rheos is designed to combine the best of style and performance. Made of a specialty material that’s lightweight enough to float on water, the Coopers will never sink if they fall over the side of your boat. The reduced weight also ensures these sunglasses won’t slide down your nose, cause long-term wear fatigue or result in tension headaches.

Soft-Touch nose pads are embedded for additional comfort and grip. The frame itself is designed to provide enough coverage to protect from all angles of sun and glare, with a style that looks just as good on and off the water. The Coopers feature polarized, anti-scratch, anti-glare, anti-fog, hydrophobic and oleophobic lenses with 100% UV protection in a variety of amber, gray and mirrored options. Basically, the Big Guy can run, hike, kayak, all-terrain bike and if the glasses fell off, they would float and he could find them.

father's day, gift guide, gifts, outdoorsman, dad, coopers floating sunglasses, nomad towelChawel Nomad Towel

The Nomad is the surf-inspired series with over 24 sq. ft. of absorbent surface for drying off. This quick dry changing towel has armholes, an absorbent hood and absorbent zipper pocket. The Chawel Sport will give you extra warmth and cover from the elements. Take your Chawel on your next surf safari, camping trip or backpacking adventure. The Chawels extra uses will save space and weight on your next trip. Use the absorbent stuff sack as mini towel, while the Chawel can stuff into its zipper pocket. Created by a beach lifeguard in Vancouver, BC. Think of it as the MacGyver of towels. Perfect for the MacGyver Outdoorsman in your life.

father's day, gift guide, gifts, outdoorsman, dad, coopers floating sunglasses, nomad towel, 3 gallon shower

3.0 GALLON SUMMER SHOWER: SS761

He’s got the Nomad towel why not give your camping loving dad a shower too. What else would you get the dad who has everything? Give him the gift of a hot shower anywhere he goes! Designed with an efficient 4-layer construction for optimal heat retention and performance. Simply fill and layout in the sun clear side up and you will have a hot shower in no time. Anyone who has ever spent a day roughing it in the great outdoors knows there is nothing more satisfying than a hot shower at the end of a long day.

father's day, gift guide, gifts, outdoorsman, dad, coopers floating sunglasses, nomad towel, 3 gallon shower, rfid wallet

RFID Theft Protection Leather ID Wallet

The wallet looks unassuming and like any other classic men’s leather wallet. It can hold 3 – 10 cards. It has a divided pocket for cash and receipts and a clear ID pocket with thumb slide window. It’s made with Nappa leather and has a moisture wicking nylon interior. It only weighs 1 ounce. No worries of there being a George Costanza situation going on here.

AFX

Some dads may not be as spry as they once were but still want to be active and should definitely be able to do so. That’s where the AFX Pro comes in to save the day. The Big Guy was a competitive soccer player well into his 20’s and suffered some leg injuries. Anyone who has been an athlete knows that all that high-intensity playing can play havoc on your body. You have to take care of it. Unfortunately, as we get older, we feel it a little more. That’s why the AFX Pro is perfect to keep dad in shape. AFX is a revolutionary new strengthening system that enables you to strengthen the muscles and tendons of the entire foot and ankle complex. It’s a system of resistance bands and training videos to help get you back into ultimate shape. When you put AFX to work, you’re harnessing a source of strength you never knew you had.

father's day, gift guide, gifts, outdoorsman, dad, coopers floating sunglasses, nomad towel, 3 gallon shower, rfid wallet, backmate

The Backmate

Speaking of getting older. We all are and that includes dad, even if he hasn’t felt the effects of it yet. I think most of us at one time of another have experienced back pain. The Backmate sets up in any doorway in seconds and provides fast relief from back and neck pain, stress & sore muscles. Dad can give himself a deep tissue massage any time to relieve the pain, lower stress levels and make his body stronger.

READ ALSO: Why Every Family Should go on an RVing trip before their kids grow up

The best part? 

All you need is TWO MINUTES PER DAY! Just lean into your problem areas, and let The Backmate do the rest! It relieves upper and lower back pain, alleviates tension headaches ( from bickering kids), improves mobility and range of motion, regulates nervous system for daily stress relief, reduces inflammation and increases circulation for faster healing and recovery.  Sounds like a winner to me. Plus bonus, I can borrow it.

The CloudLine Hiking Sock

The Cloudline hiking sock is a legend among serious backpackers and hikers. I know you are thinking,” come on Debi, it’s a sock! How legendary could it really be?”

Well, have you ever gone hiking and had to walk around with waterlogged feet? It is the worst. But the Cloudline hiking sock features ultra-soft medium weight cushioning throughout for long mile comfort. Premium merino wool wicks moisture, regulates temperature and resists odor making this the perfect sock for all but the warmest temperatures. See, I told you this sock was more than a sock.

tentsile, father's day, gift guide, gifts, outdoorsman, dad, coopers floating sunglasses, nomad towel, 3 gallon shower, rfid wallet, backmate, air beam bud

TENTSILE Connect Tree Tent

The Tentsile Connect Tree tent is built on a spacious and comfortable platform suspended above ground for versatile arboreal camping. It’s a family adventure like no other. Each tent sleeps 2 people and can be attached to other connect tents to create a suspended super camp with 3 or more tents. The suspension system keeps the tent off the ground making it environmentally friendly, plus comfortably away from roots and rocks for a sweet sleep.

Heavy-duty straps combined with 3 ratchet buckle system lets you tension and suspend the tent from 3 trees of at least 10 in. in diameter, at about 4 ft. above the ground.

Rainfly attaches snugly in inclement weather and can be pegged out for ventilation. It also has a 50 sq. ft. covered “dry porch” area under the tent to keep shoes, bags, dogs, and bike out of the rain. The maximum load weight of occupants and gear when suspended is 880 lbs. (do not exceed); recommended setup height is 4 ft. (1.2m). So basically even the burliest of outdoorsman can stay in the Tentsile connect tree tent. Plus, it’s just super cool. I’m pretty sure that’s the main reason it’s on the Big Guy’s list. Did I mention that TENTSILE plants 18 trees for every tent sold.

father's day, gift guide, gifts, outdoorsman, dad, coopers floating sunglasses, nomad towel, 3 gallon shower, rfid wallet, backmate, air beam bud

Lotus Belle’s Air Beam Bud

This easy to set up blow up yurt is perfect for the family who likes to experience outdoor adventures together. The inflatable Air Beam Bud, the first ever inflatable glamping tent is a must. It’s 10 x 10 foot in groundsheet diameter, has two mesh windows with canvas exterior blinds just like the Lotus Belle. It’s 7.8 feet tall at its highest point, so even comfortable for my 6’5” Big Guy. It’s big enough to fit a queen sized bed and only weighs 40 lbs. so you can transport in a backpack. There’s no center pole so you can use 100% of the space inside. It’s super-fast to assemble! The Air Beam Bud comes with a porch awning so no need to buy separately. The groundsheet thickness is super thick and waterproof. It’s perfect for the dad of girls who wants to be in the outdoors but doesn’t want to contend with some of the normal discomforts that come with the outdoors.

What would be the best Father’s Day Gift for the Great Outdoorsman in your life?

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Huawei Mate 9,Bourbon Blitzkrieg Run, Guys Trip, bourbon, hot rods

This is my first post on The TRUTH and I thought I’d tell you about the most fun you can have with your clothes on… the Bourbon Blitzkrieg Run. Since becoming a dad, traveling without the kids has become somewhat of a distant memory but once a year, I go with my dad and my brother (depending on whether or not any new babies are being added to the family) on a  guys trip that includes bourbon and hot rods.

By the way, I’m Wayne, referred to as “the Big Guy” here on the blog for the past 8-years. Nice to meet you. I’ll be writing here occasionally to give you the Guys Side of things. Well, this guy’s side, anyways.

For the last three years on Memorial Day weekend, my father and I have participated in the Bourbon Blitzkrieg Run.

Bourbon Blitzkrieg Run, Guys Trip, bourbon, hot rods

What’s the Bourbon Blitzkrieg Run, you ask?

I know, my wife says it sounds like a Ramones’ song but it’s not. What it actually is is an organized classic car cruise that ends in Kentucky with distillery tours, tastings and some very unique photo ops.

The Bourbon Blitzkrieg Run was started by a car club out of Chicago called the Tin Militia.  This year’s run was especially fun and not just because I got to spend the weekend cruising with my dad in his black 35 Chevy Standard Coupe hot rod with no bickering tweens for miles. There was just something different about it this year; something special.

How does the Bourbon Blitzkrieg Run work?

We left the house at 8 am on Friday morning to meet up with the first group of cars.  Many of the drivers from this group drove in from all parts of Ohio.  Once we got assembled at the first stop, we headed off towards the next meet up point.

Bourbon Blitzkrieg Run, Guys Trip, bourbon, hot rods

On the way to the second spot on the Bourbon Blitzkrieg Run we stopped by a garage in this small town that had a lot of old gas station signs to take some photos.  After we were done with the cool photo op, we meet up with the rest of the group coming in from Chicago.

The range of vehicles was large.  There were cars that had been completely restored down to cars that had never been touched. My father’s car is a 1935 Chevy with an LS6 motor in it. It’s a pretty bad ass hot rod if I do say so myself.

From our second stop on the Bourbon Blitzkrieg Run, we all left together and cruised down to the third stop for lunch.  After lunch, we fueled up and the entire group cruised to the hotel.

We checked into our room, collected our souvenirs and then went down to return the car to its pristine state and of course, check out the other hot rods.  After about an hour, we headed to the first distillery on the tour, Peerless Distillery, in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.

Bourbon Blitzkrieg Run, Guys Trip, bourbon, hot rods, Peerless Distillery

Peerless put on a magnificent event for us for the opening event of the Bourbon Blitzkrieg Run.

They opened up after hours to give us a private tour, closed the street down and barbecued for us. Before the tour, we had the chance to do some shopping in the gift shop.  They had a lot of cool Peerless and bourbon drinkers merchandise available for purchase. The hardest part was trying to decide what to buy, especially since we had more distilleries to visit the next day.

While we were waiting for our tour to begin, we sat down at a table and started talking to a guy who was sitting there. Little did we know that he would turn out to be the owner, “Corky”.  In fact, he was the fourth generation owner. See, it pays to be social!

Bourbon Blitzkrieg Run, Guys Trip, bourbon, hot rods, Peerless Distillery

He gave my father and me a private tour. It pays to be nice to people, you never know who you might be talking to. It was really interesting, he told us all about the family history and the distillery. Let me tell you, it was amazing.

Corky’s father served with General Patton in the second world war and was his right-hand man.  And since they could prove their lineage they were able to get their great-great grandfather’s liquor license number DSP-KY-50 reinstated.

After we got done talking with Corky we had the official tour.  Peerless has a beautiful facility. On the tour, we learned their process for making Bourbon and Whiskey and at the end of the tour, we got to sample some of the product. Aside from the conversation with Corky, that might have been my favorite part.

When the tour ended we went back to the gift shop and purchased a bottle of their “just released” whiskey and had Corky sign the bottle. Then we ate while the others went on their tour of the distillery.

Bourbon Blitzkrieg Run, Guys Trip, bourbon, hot rods, Peerless Distillery

At the end of the event, Peerless selected a car of the show and awarded them a trophy. We took a group photo in front of their amazing building.  When it was all over, we left Peerless with our bellies full and headed back to the hotel to prepare for day 2.

All photos were taken with the Huawei Mate 9  phone which in my opinion, even as a long time iPhone devotee, is the best phone to take on a road trip. It has dual-SIM cards: The Mate 9 features a dual SIM card tray, so it’s easy to pop in an international SIM while still being connected to home and you can also add an SD card for more memory for all of the gorgeous pictures you’ll be taking on vacation. Talking about pictures, the Mate 9 also has a top-of-the-line dual lens camera, co-engineered with Leica designed to be as close to a DSLR experience as you can get in a smartphone – with amazing modes like Food Mode, Night Shot, and Beauty Mode and special features like the Wide Aperture mode for the “bokeh” effect, a standalone Monochrome lens, and the ability to shoot in RAW format. The Huawei Mate 9 also has a long-lasting battery with a huge 4,000 mAh battery that can go for up to two day’s normal usage and safely charges the device for a full day’s power in about 20 minutes.

What’s your favorite travel accessory? Do you have an annual guys/girls trip you take with friends or family?

Coming soon, more of our adventures on the Bourbon Blitzkrieg Run.
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Every morning, I keep seeing the Mommies attached to their hysterical children, clinging to their legs/waists for dear life and sobbing uncontrollably.And every morning, I thank God that Bella isn’t doing that. Mostly because I couldn’t handle it. I just can’t imagine how that would wear on your heartstrings, day after day, watching as your child baby is overcome with fear and anxiety at leaving the safety and love of their Mommies arms. I do realize that if Bella were doing this, you could find me every single morning after drop off, emotionally crumpled in a puddle of tears and snot. It would be awful for both of us. I mean I am, after all, the Mommy who laid in labor with her second child, crying at a cell phone photo of her first born, because I felt so sorry for abandoning her to go to the hospital and give birth. Yeah, the apron strings are pretty taut between me and my Bella. But I loosen them as needed, for her sake. I am mature enough to know that I have to let her grow up, no matter how much I may not like the idea.Then Monday came.

There was absolutely nothing special per se about Monday, at least not noticeable to the untrained eye. The only thing that was different, was that the Big Guy had gone back to Iowa on Sunday night. You know to his hole that he lives in for work during the weekdays.Sunday’s are always hard on all of us but I had totally forgot about this Monday.I have noticed over the years that though I may be Bella’s “Best Friend” ( as she lovingly refers to me), Daddy has always been her rock. There is just something about a 6’5″ man, with a big strong body and an equally as big heart, that makes a girl feel safe and makes it easy to draw strength from. That is the Big Guy. Monday morning we followed the same routine that we had on Thursday and Friday; the absolute only thing missing was her Daddy. There were no tears from my Bella amidst the plethora of tears falling that morning amongst her classmates. I assumed all was fine.

When Gabs and I picked Bella up from school that afternoon, she seemed a little rattled as if something were missing. In retrospect, she was looking for the Big Guy. We drove home, as she rattled off the days events at a furied pace. We got home and things started going south. She proclaimed, almost angrily, that she didn’t like her outfit and promptly discarded it onto the floor. I was a little annoyed and quite confused by her behavior. I asked her to pick up her clothes; she responded with whining. I asked her close the front door; she responded with tears. I asked her what she wanted for lunch; she barked a hostile “NOTHING!” at me. The responses were becoming increasingly inappropriate to, what I thought was, seemingly innocuous requests. It was quickly a train wreck speeding out of control from bad to worse. Then Gabs had the audacity to ask her how school was; then the sobbing began.A fly landed on her and all hell broke lose! I was baffled. Is a 5 year old supposed to get PMS?

Concern trumped annoyance and I asked, in every possible way, what was wrong. After an eternity of sobbing and undecipherable blubbering, once she hit the point f hyperventilation from hard and ugly  crying, she had Gabs joining in  on the hysteria. I was a hair away from breaking down myself. Then she leans in and wraps her little arms around me, hugging me tighter than she has in a LONG time ( tighter than all those aforementioned Kindergartners holding on for dear life to their Mommies) and whispers this through her sobs (in her little baby kitty sounding voice) “Mommy, I don’t want to go to school. I just want to stay home with you and Gabs!I only love Mommy!” How could I not feel my insides turn to goo and my heart start to fall apart?

I held back my own tears,even though I wanted to curl up into a crumpled mess of snot and tears on the floor. It made me realize how hard all of this Daddy being out of town business has been on the girls. Sure its been difficult on the Big Guy and I but we are adults, most of the time. She misses her Rock and the collateral damage was a small nervous breakdown. I held her tight for almost forever and then a little longer and told her how we were so proud of her for being so brave and going to school. I told her how much we loved her, about all the exciting things she will do, the friends she will make and that Daddy wished he could be here with her. Then I told her, whenever she felt sad and missed us,to close her eyes and think of us and we would be at home thinking of her at the same time, because we are always thinking about her. We ended it with a nose kiss, a group hug, and a promise to walk her into class the next morning.

She called her Daddy in Iowa and he assured her that he was so proud of her, loved her more than life itself, and that he was thinking of her always. She seemed to take comfort in this.Apparently, everything sounds better coming out of his mouth. He also told her that we would send a photo to school in her backpack of all of us together. She hung up the phone, renewed and relaxed. Her entire body unclenched. Daddy the superhero. In the end, she felt better; we felt worse about the letting go. She grew up and we broke down. The letting go is the hardest part of growing up.

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