Gerber/Be@r Gry!!s fire starter: an honest(ly excessive) review

Discussion in 'Fire' started by CoolBreeze135, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    The review you have all been waiting for has finally landed. Don't worry, I made sure to censor it so nobody gets triggered.

    I was walking through my local Wally World today, and decided to venture down the clearance aisle. I shuffled through discounts, seeking the deal that would send me home a happy man. I was reaching the end of my journey, merely feet from the automotive section, when I stumbled upon an intriguing item hidden behind some cheap headlamps. It may have been intentionally hidden to spare each passerby the shame of beholding it. Alternatively, it may have been mindlessly shuffled to the back of the shelf by a disgruntled employee whose perpetual purgatory was to organize the chaos that is the WalMart clearance aisle. What was it, you ask? Why, the Gerber/Be@r Gry!!s fire starter, of course.

    A light shone down from the heavens and illuminated the packaging (or was it shining up from the underworld?), the bold yellow tag slapped carelessly in the center. "$7.00," it read. Nearly 50% off of its common retail price of $12-15. I was stricken with both curiosity and anguish, for I knew the path before me. It was my duty, nay, my destiny, to purchase the trinket and evaluate it. I rushed to the front of the store, hiding the package behind some Oscar Meyer mesquite turkey and avoiding eye contact with the other consumers that filled the establishment.

    Tonight, in the safety of my home, I removed the product from its packaging and looked it over. A smile crept onto my face even as my brow furrowed. It appeared to be a solid little plastic capsule with a lanyard. However, it bore a dreaded symbol emblazoned in orange: "BG".

    IMG_5955.JPG

    I examined the item more closely. On one side, it demonstrated the appropriate way to do the YMCA dance in a survival situation. Furthermore, it denoted the standardized alpine rescue signal in a dialect I can only assume is Oreo-based.

    IMG_5956.JPG

    The flip side contained equally present information. In addition to an SOS signal sequence, the capsule illustrated the proper way to refuse rescue in a survival situation. I presume this is useful for exhibiting one's masculinity or other such display of brutish stubbornness.

    IMG_5957.JPG

    The adornments were so captivating that I gave them a lingering and affectionate stare before remembering the duty to which I was called. This firestarter must be submitted to rigorous testing! As such, I headed to the foreboding environment of my front porch to test the gadget in the extreme condition of a chilly fall evening with occasional gusts of wind.

    Now, the merit of a firestarter should never be evaluated with man-made tinders. Surely, a petroleum-soaked cotton ball can be ignited with a careless sneeze or a stray fart. This boldly branded bringer of blazes needed a more suitable opponent. First, I tested its effectiveness in lighting a pile of wood shavings. The wee curls of wood were no match for the shower of sparks generated by the Be@r Gry!!s fire starter.

    IMG_5959.JPG

    Next, I tried to light cattail fluff. This material makes a great flash tinder as long as you only want it to to burn for 10 milliseconds. A short-lived poof of flame is all you get. Make sure to have your gasoline-soaked rags nearby as backup (foreshadowing).

    IMG_5962.JPG

    The packaging boasted that the device was "water resistant", so I put that to the test. I filled my extreme survival sink with water and dropped the closed capsule into it. Of course, this is simulating a scenario in which I was skipping along my path in the wilderness, camera man in tow, when my Be@r Gry!!s fire starter fell from my pocket into a puddle. After letting it set for a second, I opened it and inspected the insides. It appeared to be quite dry. I repeated the test, but this time left it submerged for 20 minutes. Of course, this is simulating a scenario in which my Be@r Gry!!s fire starter fell out of my pocket into my hotel toilet, and I had to wait on room service to arrive so I could demand that they remove it for me. Again, after the soak, the insides were quite dry. I did notice a drop of water this time, but it may have dripped in there while I was opening it.

    IMG_5964.JPG

    IMG_5965.JPG

    At this point, I discovered the hidden secret of the Be@r Gry!!s fire starter. Not only does it snap together to keep your ferro rod dry, but it also has a hidden compartment for dry tinder! This secret compartment also stayed dry during the bath.

    IMG_5967.JPG

    Unfortunately, the advertised emergency tinder was merely a piece of a cotton ball. No accelerant, no flame extender, no waterproofing. This was a bit disappointing, as a small chunk of a cotton ball will not burn for an extended period of time and is particularly susceptible to water. Oh well. I guess corners have to be cut to be able to afford such a celebrity endorsement. I quickly remedied the problem by stuffing a couple tinder quik tabs in the secret compartment instead.

    IMG_5968.JPG

    The last feature that must be discussed is the wee survival manual that came in the package. It contains helpful hints about how to be careful when starting a fire with gasoline-soaked rags (seriously) and how sucking moisture out of a fish's eye can be life-saving (seriously). I am a bit perplexed by the latter. I'm not claiming any survival expertise, but in my experience the vast majority of fish come from the water. I can't imaging a situation where catching a fish, removing its eyeball, and sucking on it to glean a bit of water is an easier solution than collecting the water that the fish was swimming in.

    IMG_5969.JPG

    All jokes aside, I hope there is something you can learn from this review. Here's a serious summary (in my opinion).

    Pros:
    1) Striker works well, and is infinitely more comfortable to use than most little pieces of hacksaw that most other cheap ferro rods come with.
    2) Handle of ferro rod is large and grippy for good purchase.
    3) As advertised, the fire starter is water resistant when closed.
    4) The tinder compartment is really handy. I like it a lot.

    Cons:
    1) Has Be@r Gry!!s initals on it,
    2) Unnecessary branding, hype, and survival "tips".
    2) The tinder it comes with is lame.

    All in all, I think this is a pretty good ferro rod. It won't become my go-to fire starter, but there's really nothing wrong with it. The main purpose of this evaluation was to answer the question: are any of the BG survival products actually worth anything? The knives, it seems, are cheap crap. However, this particular item is quite functional. Wanna know the best part? Gerber makes a nearly identical fire starter without the BG branding or other nonsense!

    Hope you found this as fun as I did!
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
  2. NWPrimate

    NWPrimate Supporter Supporter

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  3. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    That was fun, even though I had to read ‘the name’ and see ‘the initials’ repeatedly.

    thanks for the smiles... :p
     
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  4. thereandbackagain

    thereandbackagain Scout

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    I saw one used on the Santa Monica beach by a bunch of guys holding a drumming circle around a driftwood fire. I backed away slowly when two guys did mutual grooming picking and eating lice out of their dreadlocks. I wont ask you to say the serenity prayer or sing KUMBAYA for your sin, but will confess mine.
    I paid good money to attend one of the very first TOM BROWN tracker classes. I was dating this Ali McGraw type with the standard University library; THE FOXFIRE BOOKS, the collected works of Carlos Castaneda, THE MOTHER EARTH CATALOG and this survival series ghost written for who my Native American friends call 'that damned plastic indian stealing our culture.'
    We were going to NYC on summer break. I wanted to see THE STARRY NIGHT by Vincent, the Statue of liberty and attend the MET. She tossed in two spots in his class in the NJ Pine Barrens. I butted ALPHA heads immediately giving the traditional Apache Greeting to him and receiving back a stare something like a steer in the abbatoir. I called him on some obvious falsehoods in outdoor lore. I was told ' You are disrespecting grandfather!' and kicked out. I demanded a full refund IN CASH and got it. My GF broke up with me over it. She started sleeping with our TA, got pregnant and last I heard was pushing 240 lbs, had 4 kids and a mess of grandchildren and he was still teaching and working a second job.
    You got off cheap!
     
  5. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker Traveller Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    What a nice way to start my day!
    Loved the whole review.
    Many years ago my Uncle gave me an original Gerber ferro rod. I believe they have since stopped making them like this. Another company seems to have the same thing in survival orange. It has the compartment in the base. I use it -literally- every single day. 20180314_063655.jpg

    Thanks again for your funny and entertaining review.
    P. S. I didn't discover the tinder compartment until I had the thing for about two years... I read a review that mentioned it and then found it. I never use it, but keep it full.
     
  6. central joe

    central joe Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Nice write-up young fellar. joe
     
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  7. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Not only was it entertaining but educational as well.
    Thanks for posting @CoolBreeze135 !
     
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  8. Dadio

    Dadio Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    But what about the lanyard?

    WHAT ABOUT THE EVERLOVIN' LANYARD?

    Nice writeup, Bud!
     
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  9. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Oh, yes. I forgot to mention that in my write up last night. It was getting late and I had to retire.

    The lanyard is made of cheap cord, not unlike every other inexpensive ferro rod I have tested. I removed it. I think I will replace it with some blaze orange paracord.
     
  10. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Stay tuned, folks. I may do some strategic stippling with a pyrography pen to remove the offensive images on the outside of the fire starter.
     
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  11. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker Traveller Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Now that I want to see.
    I always thought BG stood for Bushcraft Gear...
     
  12. Hoof

    Hoof Former Genius Supporter

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    Entertaining review :)
    I was gifted one of these several years ago, tried it out in an empty plastic trash can. A big spark jumped around in the can for what seemed like 45 seconds, I was about to break out the fire extinguisher. It's been in my haversack ever since.
     
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  13. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Well, a few minutes with some sandpaper, some gutted 550 cord, and a couple of tinderquiks made this a 25% better (and more attractive) tool, IMO.

    4CD4B8A4-535A-4407-B373-27ECB91F50E8.jpeg

    096ACFB6-E722-40BF-BAA3-6C29FC286D18.jpeg
     
  14. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Doesn't look the same, much better in fact!
     
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  15. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Guide

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    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are."
    hello,
    Yeah a very nice write up @CoolBreeze135 $0.50c (points at the swear jar) & @Beach Hiker $0.50C (points at the swear jar) for the initials. :D No one escapes the Spanish Inquisition..
    Regards
    David
     
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  16. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Nice but I thought Gerber made baby food... :28:
     
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  17. mcdudr

    mcdudr Supporter Supporter

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    Nice review, headed out today and will stop by my Walmart to check out the clearances. Thanks
     
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  18. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    [​IMG]

    :rolleyes:
     
  19. DomC

    DomC Retired Old Scrub Stomper Supporter

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    I picked up 2 of them way back in 2012. Still have one unused and the other I gave to my son. Great write up btw.....;):35::dblthumb:
    Dominick......
     
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  20. Djektd

    Djektd Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I lost it at this point... legitimately made me laugh out loud. Nice write up. I actually picked the same one up for the same price a few weeks ago. It's still in the package.
     
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  21. Uncle Duke 520

    Uncle Duke 520 Tracker

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    Got mine @ Goodwill, $2, no instructions, no fancy packaging, filled the storage space with petro-cotton, threw the useless lanyard away. Works just fine.
     
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  22. J. Pierce

    J. Pierce Athletic Supporter Supporter

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    So then..... How many fish eyes does the storage portion hold?
     
  23. Bridgetdaddy

    Bridgetdaddy Guide

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    Any gear that works is worth carrying. Even if it is marked by "He who shall not be named" :58:
     
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  24. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I agree.
     
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  25. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Supporter Supporter

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    good chuckles ...
     
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  26. rustystove2017

    rustystove2017 Supporter Supporter

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    Dude- you should write for the Onion.

    https://www.theonion.com/blizzard-survival-tips-1819592042

    • Stockpile flint and colored beads. These will be important for bartering in the After Times.
    • Purchase a CB radio to maintain lines of communication with the other lunatics in your neighborhood.
     
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  27. MASC1104

    MASC1104 Ole Dominion Resident Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Good write up, thanks. I dont really care for celebrity endorsed and branded items either.

    Ive also had good luck with Gerber products. They recently started making certain models back here in the US, so I was glad to see that.
     
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  28. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Thanks for taking one for the team! Despite the lineage it does look like a useful bit of kit. My sole complaint is that the water tight compartment doesn't look like it would hold enough urine for a true survival situation.

    Last time I was at Wally World I found a Lodge Cast Iron Pan in the clearance for $7. Just sayin'.:D
     
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  29. haunted

    haunted Guide

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    The packaging boasted that the device was "water resistant" does that mean urine?
     
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  30. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Guide

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    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are."
    hello,
    EXACTLY :)
    Regards
    David
     
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  31. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker Traveller Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Ouch. Fined for just using the initials! Tough crowd.
     
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  32. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Guide

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    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are."
    hello,
    $0.50c was lenient & for trying to outwit the Inquisition there was an extra $0.25c but we'll waver that (for now). :D
    Regards
    David
     
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  33. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker Traveller Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I got off easy.
    Watch yourselves around here folks!
     
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  34. Jacob

    Jacob Supporter Supporter

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    That was hilarious! Good job.
     
  35. marbleman

    marbleman Supporter Supporter

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    "This boldly branded bringer of blazes".... you made Diet Pepsi come out my nose!
     
  36. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Haha. Glad you guys appreciated the humor.
     
  37. Midwest.Bushlore

    Midwest.Bushlore Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Tee hee! Honestly though aside from the dreaded BG labeling it actually looks pretty serviceable!
     
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  38. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    It sure is!
     
  39. Sticks N' Stones

    Sticks N' Stones Scout

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    As much as I hate Bear, the firesteel sparks well.
     
  40. Ascham

    Ascham Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Good write up, thanks.
     
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  41. bacpacjac

    bacpacjac Guide Bushclass I

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    Bacpacjonax got one way back when he first starting learning firecraft, and it's about to be handed down to bacpacgirl. Great piece of kit, IMO, especially for kids. I like your lanyard upgrade, BTW!
     
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  42. caoimhin_s

    caoimhin_s Tracker

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    Thanks for the laugh!
     
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  43. phatbill83

    phatbill83 Watcher of the wise Bushcraft Friend

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    I cut the tube off of mine and discovered that the rod is twice as long as it was. Goes all the way to the storage spot
     
  44. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Guide

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    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are."
    hello,
    ta.. da.. daaaah.. no one escapes the Spanish Inquisition points at the swear jar = $1.00c :D @Sticks N' Stones & @CoolBreeze135 flicks through the ^ ^ S.I torture manual R&R's hmm.. close but no fine this time, be warned. :) #LOL
    Regards
    David
     
  45. Big Furry Guy

    Big Furry Guy Scout Bushclass I

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    Speaking of Monty Python, about a sentence in, I started reading that entire review like Brave Sir Robin's favorite minstrel. It just...seemed to work. Thanks for the review.

    Paul
     
  46. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Guide

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    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are."
    hello,
    DILLY DILLY.
    Regards
    David
     
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  47. TerBear

    TerBear Scout

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    Liked your review almost as much as I like what you reviewed. I'm currently on my second BG firestarter, still have the first, but it's awfully thin. My son has one and I bought one for a friend a while back. They throw great sparks and I love the beefy handles.
     
    bacpacjac, MrFixIt, DavidJAFO and 2 others like this.
  48. Lichen

    Lichen Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    It was my purchase of a BG knife that drove me to this forum. The included firesteel is probably the best that I've ever used. If it works, I don't care whose initials are on it.
     
  49. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Guide

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    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are."
    hello,
    points at the swear jar & the $1.00c keep rolling in. :D
    Regards
    David
     
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  50. Sloany

    Sloany Supporter Supporter

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    NOT FAR ENOUGH NORTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
    Love the Avitar Squire :35:
     
    MrFixIt likes this.

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