2016 Pymatuning camping trip

This past weekend went camping/fishing at pymatuning (PA side, sites J222 and J223) as we did last year. Fishing was better than last year from the site, but we were unable to secure a boat. We lucked out with the weather and had no rain. While the couple fish I caught were not anything special, I  did manage to catch a snapping turtle while fishing for catfish. Estimated the shell was 16-18 inches. Caught using a piece of bratwurst.

Turtle 1 Turtle 2

Camping at Pymatuning in Jamestown PA

Annual camping trip to Pymatuning. This year we stayed at the Jamestown, PA camp ground due to the closing of most of the Ohio sites because of the bald eagles nesting. Good weather for the days we stayed. Fishing was a bit off I think because of the algae and water visibility. The sites were 222 and 223 and were fairly large and pretty isolated from the neighbors because of bushes. I think the ohio side is cleaner and these sites did not have electric unlike the Ohio ones. Also, there is no dumpsters close to the sites so you need to drive to the entrance to dispose of trash. We rented a pontoon boat from the marina nearby for about 6 hours at the cost of $120. The boat had a fish finder which was nice but did not really help us with catching much.

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New smoker

So my char-griller offset was looking a little ragged after the winter. Still works okay so I will probably recondition it and maybe find it a new home. However I have been looking for a new smoker/grill for a bit and decided to go look at some new grills. Went to three different Walmarts to see if any of them had the Oklahoma Joe Highland smoker on display so I could see it in person. None did. Went to Home Depot to check out the Brinkman Trailmaster Limited Edition. The displayed version of the Brinkman looked ok from what I could tell but they had it on an elevated display so I could not reach th elid and feel the wait and check the lid fit. Like I said, none of the Walmarts had a display unit for the Oklahoma Joe but one did have a partially opened box so at least I got to knock on the metal to kind of judge its thickness. Checking reviews each had their drawbacks in design but in person the Brinkman’s burn chamber seemed a bit smaller. So I decided to go pick up the Oklahoma Joe Highland.


Overall, I think it is not  a bad grill/smoker. Did a test burn and seasoning and temps ranged from 50 degrees off to almost 100 at full open. The more you reduce the intake the lower the difference between right to left. I am thinking I will just ad some tuning plates to help with the heat difference after a few cooks. The main smoker/grill area is solid, welds although not pretty in all spots are fully sealed and the lid fits proper. The bolts for the burn chamber to the smoker went together well and I noticed no leaks between the two chambers. However, the design of the offset/burn chamber is not great. It comes in two seperate section and bolts with 4 bolts. There is quite a gap on the front and back that is noticeable. Some high temp gasket could fix this or I may weld it. I don’t think it affected the function that much. I could pretty easily control the temps using the intake damper and was happy with the range.


The temperature gauge is in the wrong location and I do not like. The thread was pretty rough and if you are like me, you just over tightened it and screwed up your gauge. Not a huge deal though since it is not a very good spot for watching your cooking temps.

After the test burn, there was paint on one spot of the firebox that bubbled. This was partially due to the hot coals and wood touching that side. I did not see any other issues with paint.


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Lance’s Brewery Tour

Support the project, buy the documentary, and see some of the best breweries in the US