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Chase vehicle outfitting (part 6)
Almost ready for observing! All that's left now is to figure out the Jotto desk mount, and I'll have a fully-outfitted vehicle for the upcoming season.
Tripod/shelter/umbrella case: I made the rounds to some sporting goods stores yesterday, and found a great storage solution at Gander Mountain for the tripod and umbrella - a rifle case! I found some fishing pole tubes that would have been OK, but they only had room for the tripod, were too long to fit in the truck bed, and were awkward to open (they had end caps that came off, which meant I'd have to lower the tailgate to pull the tripod out). The rifle case is made out of a Pelican-like material, durable, weatherproof and lockable (Pelican makes a case like this, but it costs 3 times as much). With all of the foam removed, there is enough room in it to fit both my tripods, my umbrella *and* my snow shelter umbrella and stand. Plus, it is easy to open, close, lock and unlock from the side of the truck.
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I had some concerns about the appearance that I had a gun in the back of the truck, but it's really not that unusual to see around here. I don't think it will be a problem unless maybe when I go pick someone up at the airport.
Camera shelter: I sprung for a nice 68" golf umbrella for the camera shelter. A pretty simple replacement for the Freestyle's rear tailgate, but it works. I found a foam-rubber chair leg cap that fits down into the bedrail stake hole, holding the umbrella in place nicely. This whole setup isn't as rugged as a liftgate in terms of wind resistance, but it's better than nothing!
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