Campfire Trilogy

As Ranger Rusty raised the flag at the crack of dawn, he thought it was “just another day. Little did he know his day would turn into a 3-book odyssey, plus an abridged version on the way. Buy Books

Intro - Birth of a trilogy

It was only supposed to be a 30-minute campfire talk

By Robert V. Sobczak

The origin of the trilogy ...

Is as improbable as it is absurd.

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In December 2014 Rudi was trying to get back in the groove of civilian life after returning from a nine month tour overseas in Kuwait while Bob was on the mend from a procedure to get his heart to beat right. But for one night everything was right, perfect in fact. Big Cypress National Preserve was celebrating its fortieth birthday at the Collier County Museum. As the festivities wound down, Bob found himself entering the ember glow and crackle of the campfire to take a brief respite when a lumbering Rudi stepped forth from the shadows.

“Can you help a fellow American down on his luck?” Rudi asked with a slightly brooding look on his face. The flicker, aroma and sound of the campfire also made him simultaneously relax as he approached.

Bob told Rudi to ditch the powerpoint

South Florida’s winter tourist season was just about to begin. Three weeks and it would be in full swing. The kickoff for Rudi was January 9th. That’s when he was scheduled to give an evening talk around a campfire at a remote campground ― halfway the distance between Miami and Naples ― in the epicenter of the swamp preserve.

“I love the idea behind the campfire program,” Rudi lamented as he settled in around the orb of light and reached for a slider sandwich that Bob offered from his paper plate. “The problem is, nowadays, the actual campfire … munch munch … is almost an afterthought. It’s the giant outdoor screen that gets all the audience’s attention. I just sit in back … munch munch … and let the Power Point do all the work … munch munch.”

“A POWER POINT at a campfire? Apocryphal!” Bob stammered in disbelief. He flicked a pebble toward the pulsing embers. “—That doesn’t seem right.”

Bob and Rudi's original campfire talk

Fast forward a week later to the edge of town where Bob greeted Rudi with a proposition he couldn’t turn down. “What do you say you forget about the Power Point?” Bob suggested. “We’ll partner up to do a campfire talk ‘on the campfire,’ just you, me … and my guitar. We'll make it a theatrical production -- part off-Broadway, part Vaudeville and part Shakespearian.”

Rudi nodded his head as the concept slowly soaked in before calling it a "capital idea."

The rest is, shall we say, campfire history.

The Centennial Campfire Trilogy is co-authored by Robert V Sobczak and Rudi Heinrich. Books include: The Legend of Campfire Charlie (Book 1), Last Stand at Boulder Ridge (Book 2) and Final Campfire (Book 3).

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Buy the Books

Looking for three handsome books …

And better yet, an immersive campfire read?

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If so, we highly recommend the Centennial Campfire Trilogy, all three books, either in kindle format or paperback. Personally, we recommend the paperback because for one you’ll be dog-earing many a page, referencing back and forth, and did we mention, they are awfully pretty tomes, either for your coffee table or bookshelf.

Book 1: Legend of Campfire Charlie

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Book Summary

Welcome to Book 1 of the Centennial Campfire Trilogy. Do you have a fear of being squeezed to death by a giant Burmese Python? Or does being followed around all day by a Florida Panther rattle your nerves? If so, join Rusty, a well meaning but – how shall we say – “often distracted” park ranger who is scheduled to give an evening talk in a swamp preserve on a topic he doesn’t much like. Not to worry (or maybe worry a lot) as the unwitting ranger meets a mysterious stranger who catapults him on a breathtaking journey to confront and maybe finally answer the deepest and most confounding question of his life. That is assuming he can ever get done (or to) his campfire talk …

Book 2: Last Stand at Boulder Ridge

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Preview Book (click on image to see inside book)

Book Summary

Welcome to Book 2 of the Centennial Campfire Trilogy. The saga continues! This time Ranger Rusty and his cohorts are off on a new adventure that leads them back and forth seamlessly in time and space to faraway places that include a Seminole War fort, the sands of the Middle East, the mountains of the Great Southwest, an archaeological expedition on the Mighty Joola River and airboat rides across the Everglades. Or is it all unfolding around the campfire glow in a remote nature reserve? We’ll let you be the judge.

Book 3: Final Campfire

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Preview Book (click on image to see inside book)

Book Summary

Welcome to Book 3 and what critics are raving “the stunning conclusion” to the Centennial Campfire Trilogy. At the end of the first two books of the trilogy — The Legend of Campfire Charlie and Last Stand at Boulder Ridge — our fearless protagonist, Ranger Rusty, finds himself simultaneously trying to man the Sweetwater Visitor Center in the heart of the Big Cypress Swamp while also slipping back in time to distant childhood memories of an old backcountry camp and deeper still to a first-hand historical account of adventures at a Seminole War era fort and a haunted archeological dig for dinosaur bones as he tries to conjure the energy to hold court at a campfire talk in a remote campground at the end of a very (emphasis on very) long day. As exquisite an ending you’ll ever find in a “large canvas” epic work, Final Campfire is a full-body experience that no respectable book reader, plumber or campfire enthusiast (including the inner s’mores roaster in all of us) will want to miss.

Power of the bookmark
And why you still need one

Remember the days …

When a bookmark was a good present?

Cowboy talks bookmarks

Well, how else were you going to remember where you left of reading. Sure, you could use a scrap piece of paper, or alternatively dog ear a page, or even try to remember the page you last left off, but none of those had the style points of a good old fashioned bookmark — especially the ones with a tassel on the end. Today, bookmarks are pretty rare. And if you read from your phone or another digital device, really what’s the point. My solution: I highly recommend picking up a “paper and ink” copy of your favorite book (i.e. think of “paper and ink” as the “bricks and mortar” equivalent of a digital book), find a comfortable chair and settle down under a good reading light and just dive into a book. And no you won’t get it done in one sitting. That’s why you’ll need a good bookmark.

In a funk?
How about a book?

Life dragging you down?

If so, maybe it’s time for a good book.

The Centennial Campfire Trilogy: (1) The Legend of Campfire Charlie, (2) Last Stand at Boulder Ridge, and (3) Final Campfire.

More specifically, I recommend the Legend of Campfire Charlie. Why? For one, it’s what we call an immersive read. It allows you to escape deep into space and time. And not just any space — but the sanctuary of one of the nation’s over 400 national parks. Even better yet: It allows you to walk in the shoes (or shall we say boots) of a park service ranger. And maybe best of all: It’s part of a trilogy, so the end isn’t so much the end as it is a welcome mat to the continuing adventures of Ranger Rusty. Most of all I recommend the book because I wrote it myself, or rather “co-wrote.”

Long Line Grievance
Uncle & Uncle will move you up fast

Have you or a close friend …

Been unfairly stuck in line?

Uncle & Uncle is in your corner

And did the line next to you move more quickly, or even worse — did a new line form that allowed people behind you to quickly check out? And if so, did it cause you psychological harm? At Uncle & Uncle, we’ll makes sure you’re always first in line and served quickly (conditions apply).

Remember, don’t wait or be late — Call Your Uncle!

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