How do I know my coffee break is almost over?

Coffee break is almost over...
The coffee is almost gone.


Girls Road Trip 2018: Entertainment in the Middle of Nowhere - opted for the best portable DVD player(s) I could find on a TIGHT budget

When camping, the best entertainment is straight from nature.  It's time to put away the electronics, relax, enjoy the company of those with you, or the solitude of being by yourself.  Enjoy hiking, sightseeing, fishing, swimming, animal watching, bird watching, rock studies... whatever you happen to be doing on your little camping trip.

After dinner, the evenings are awesome spent sitting around a fire, telling stories, jokes, singing songs... enjoying a drink of your favorite beverage and roasting marshmallows.

But let's get realistic.  When you are camping long(er) term than the weekend, or a few days, some other entertainment might be nice.  And when you are in the middle of nowhere or you have small children to entertain night after night... entertainment might be nice.

And when there are "NO FIRES" allowed - there goes all thoughts of enjoying yourselves around a fire.

The hiking trip my daughter and I are doing involves a little of "most of the above".

It's two weeks.  In the middle of no where.
No electricity.  No water.
No fires.

During our last two week road trip I had brought my laptop with me and I happened to have 1 DVD with, tucked into the side pocket of my laptop bag from some forgotten trip.  It was season 9 of FRIENDS (Friends: The Complete Ninth and Tenth Seasons)and although when we planned our 2 week trek across the state of South Dakota, we didn't plan on watching movies or TV episodes at all; we found it was awesome to have on those nights when it was dark and cold, we had about an hour before either of us would be tired enough to sleep and there were no fires, electricity or water.

With all that background (sorry for the ramble - it's just the Coffee Talking again...) you'll understand that this year I decided I would just invest a cheap portable DVD player.

Commence about 2 weeks of research and my brain almost cracking with the effort. 
I scoured three main sources really;  Best Buy, Amazon and Walmart.
I read hundreds of reviews.
And just when I thought I'd make up my mind, I'd find another fact, detail or review that was a deal-changer for me.

I also found that portable DVD players are not made by many companies any longer; they only make 1 or 2 models, are discontinuing them, or only make one high end (higher than my budget) model;  and most are made by just 2 "I've heard of them" companies while the rest are coming from random made up names from China - and the actual players are the exact same model sold under different names, in different colors or they change up the button style a bit.


  • Our needs are different than someone elses but I needed a screen big enough for 2 people to watch.
  • A car charger just in case.
  • A wall charger because I plan to have our solar panel and a portable power source (remember we will have no electricity throughout a good portion of this trip).
  • Cheap. Or at least common-sense affordable.

I didn't care about remote controls, a head-rest car display case, double headphone jacks or anything like that.  But all those things would be 'fine' to have as we'll obviously be using these for other reasons than this road trip.

I overwhelmingly found the portable DVD players either work great for a couple years or don't work at all right out of the box or within days or a couple weeks.  Usually a 5 star or 1 star - little inbetween.  It seems to be a crapshoot whether you get a good one that will last for 2 years or one that is sent back the next day.

You know the Navy Seals saying "Two is one, and one is none"?   Yeah, that.

So in the end, after research and price checking and over-thinking things way too much, I'm sure, here are the TWO I went with.  (Because remember, two is one, and one is none; and the reviews have shown pretty much ALL brands of portable DVD players to be hit-or-miss on whether they work or how long they work. 

UEME 10.1" Portable DVD Player CD Player with Car Headrest Holder, Swivel Screen Remote Control Rechargeable Battery Car Charger Wall Charger, Personal DVD Player PD-1010

UEME 10.1" Portable DVD Player CD Player with Car Headrest Mount Holder, Swivel Screen Remote Control Rechargeable Battery AC Adapter Car Charger, Personal DVD Player PD-1020

I'm not going to get into all the nitty gritty specifics on these - but I linked to them so readers could research them themselves if they wish.  From what I can tell they are the same item, from the same company, but have different buttons on the top.  They do come with all the do-dads like the remote and the headrest mount, swivel screen, etc. but those are just icing on the cake for us.

As a sidenote  - I was also looking for 2 small portable DVD players for another (totally different) use and again I went with the 2 is 1 and 1 is none belief and got one from Amazon in the same order (below) and another, different one from Walmart.  Just in case my readers would like to know which small, individual 7" screen DVD player I opted for.

Magnavox 7-Inch TFT Screen Portable DVD/CD Player


Girls Road Trip 2018 - A Rambling Post of Our Broken Texsport Cot from Sierra Trading Post

It's a cold, miserable kind of day and I've been wanting to get some of these photos sitting in draft files posted even if I'm not in the mood to really write the post I originally planned when I took them!

Does that makes sense?

Sometimes I take the photos and plan some awesome, well thought out post with links but reality happens and they sit in draft files waiting.

Today I'm taking these out - getting them posted just because it's something to chat about over morning coffee.

I've never been one to sleep on a cot when camping - and this is throughout my entire life.  As a matter of fact, I believe camping should be done with whatever you can carry in a backpack and hiked in... but I do little of that kind of camping anymore.  I'm still old-school with a tent but mostly I've got a car somewhere nearby that got me where I'm going.

This year while looking over items for the road trip one of my kids (the college daughter) and I are taking together, I saw a great deal on these steel Texport cots from Sierra Trading Post.  The price was right and I figured we could also use them here at the house as an extra 'single bed' option when guests came in addition to camping.

I ordered two and was pretty excited to set them up and check them out when they were delivered.
I got the blue colored.
Two of them.
Sturdy - and heavy enough you wouldn't want to carry them but for car-camping they were great.

The first one went up perfectly.
The second one... uh oh.
This is a problem.
This little tiny flaw made for a big issue.
Someone, at some point, had tried to put this cot together and did a crap job of it.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to assemble them but based on the reviews I read while researching them before buying, I did note that a lot of people complained about not knowing how to set them up and they were too difficult.
I'm glad none of them are rocket scientists or the future of space exploration would be doomed.

That small little piece that should be hanging out, ready to do it's job, had been pushed in by someone in the past trying to use force to get the cot into place instead of using their brains.

This means there is nothing to go into the steel bar to hold the bed frame in place.
Darn them.

You can see the piece just hangs loosely since it has nothing to insert into the hole.
The way it's broken you can't get it out - and you can't get the frame to stay in place without it.

I did contact Sierra Trading Post and gave them photos.  I thought they would step up and be cool with their customer service but that was soooo not the case.  Basically I was going to go through a crappy step by step of trying to box it back up in the original  box it came in (which was damaged and taped when it was delivered to me) and I was going to have to go through the hassle to try to get it BACK to them when really - they could have stepped up to the plate and offered to send me a new steel bar for that side of the bed. 

ONE STEEL BAR would fix it right up. 

And if they were really, really cool they could have said, "Dude, that sucks!  And we know the hassle of sending that big old bulky, heavy bed is a pain.  It's on clearance and pretty cheap right now so let's just send you a new bed, k?"

But they didn't.

They pretty much ignored me after my initial message and photos.

These are pretty cool cots generally speaking.  They are not the crappy little light weight ones you normally see; they are a better version of quality steel and the legs have great support by forming an X instead of just little straight legs or the kind that can tip over.

The canvas is quality and I really do love them... except this broken one.  Still, I'm the mother of invention and I'm not going through a version of mini hell to fight with Sierra Trading Post or waste my time trying to box this sucker back up and print labels and drive all over trying to ship it back to them.  Not over a cheap clearance sale item I got.

But I AM going to post about it on my blog.
Cause well... eh, I've got time today and it's just the coffee talking.