The Internet can be a great source of information, but it isn’t foolproof. If you aren’t already familiar with the topic, taking on-line advice without a bit of checking can sometimes leave a person in a Melancholy Situation.
A good example involves units of weight or measurement we don’t use on a regular basis, such as how much firewood is in a “cord.”
Even campers who travel in a fully self-contained RV sometimes enjoy the ambiance of a wood fire at their site, and with the price of propane, some campers are using wood a little more often for cooking or a warming campfire. Locating legal firewood near a heavily used campground can be a challenge, however, especially late in the season. Start looking for “dead and down” wood close to camp and you’ll likely conclude that those hunter-gatherer genes are still well-represented in the campers who have come before you.
Many campers just end up springing for a bundle or two of wood from the camp store, but firewood purchased that way can be pricey if you plan to use it on a regular basis. That’s probably the background for an item I spotted on an Internet message board, offering advice on how campers in one location could save some serious money on firewood by the cord.
So, how much wood is in a “cord”? The answer is… it depends. A “full cord” is a stack of wood 4 feet wide x 4 feet high x 8 feet long and equals about two full-size pickup loads. You’ll often find firewood sold by other units, such as a face cord (or rick), a stove cord, and to make it really scientific, a “truck load.” If you want the full scoop on those terms, check out www.woodheat.org.
Here’s one other useful set of numbers, and we’ll get to the fun part of this story. Before you volunteer to help your neighbor stack his woodpile or decide to haul some wood home in your pickup, you might want to know that the weight of a cord of green firewood can range from 3200 to 5700 pounds, depending upon the type of wood. You’ll find a helpful calculator for the weight of wood by the cord here.
Now, back to that well-intentioned tip on the Internet. It noted there were areas near a particular park where campers could “clear firewood … for free.” Thrifty readers were advised, “if you have a little extra space in your vehicle, throw in a couple [of] cords of low cost wood for your campfire.””
“A little extra space?” Hmmm…. I hope anyone taking that advice has a hefty vehicle! “A couple of cords” = about 128 cubic feet (four full-size pickup loads) and could tip the scales at up to 11,400 pounds. That’s going to be quite a campfire!
There’s proof that the axiom, “Free isn’t always cheap” could apply to advice – and firewood. How much wood that woodchuck could chuck is irrelevant if you’re the one who has to load it!
Life – it’s an adventure…. Find something to smile about today!
Jim’s book Hey Ranger! True Tales of Humor and Misadventure from America’s National Parks is available from Trailer Life Directory.com