Tent Man’s at it again

Well look who’s moving up in the world.

You’ll recall we wrote about “Tent Man” Don Strom of Olalla in August. He’s the guy who turned heads with his floating tent, made of old hot tub covers and what-not, gliding inches above the chilly waters of Puget Sound and later the toxic-algae laden waters of Long lake County Park.

In this recent photo, posted to the Kitsap Sun’s Facebook page by alert reader Taumy Laughlin, you’ll see Tent Man has made himself a cozy little cottage on the water, complete with window box and American flag … looks like something that might entice Hansel and Gretel or Beaver Cleaver.


“Yes, the once dung gray tent has now transformed into a beautiful swan of sorts,” Strom said.

When I asked if he’d taken up residence in the waterborne abode, Strom replied, “I cannot confirm or deny at this time.”

As it turns out, Tent Man has a kindred spirit out there in Kitsap County. After the story ran, I heard from Barbara Burns, writing on behalf of her inventor husband Brett Dawson, who “can’t stand email,” so relied on his spouse to reach out.

Mrs. Burns was hoping I could connect her to Strom. (I directed her to the phone number at the bottom of the story, since Strom was trying to rent the tent out.)

“I would very much like to introduce him to my husband, Brett Dawson, who would be thrilled to work with him on a propulsion system for in-line skates, or any other oddball project for that matter,” Barbara wrote.

“My husband is a compulsive builder and tenacious engineer and has thus far been unsuccessful finding like-minded people who are interested in building unique things. He has built a robot mailbox holder (you can see it on reddit), an electric lawn cart for hauling brush, an electric bicycle where the wheel is actually the motor, numerous fighting robots (one of which he competed with at Battlebots in San Francisco) and more.

“Brett is also a somewhat shy outdoorsman who would happily live outside if I would join him (which I will not, because I like sheets and running water), Barbara informed me. “To compensate, he’s got a shop that’s bigger than our house.”

I searched high and low for a video of the robot mailbox, which I told Barbara I would love to see in action. But it turns out a video would be pretty boring.

“It doesn’t actually move,” Barbara replied. “It just looks like it can.”

Love it. A robot with potential.

Tent Man, clearly, you have competition.

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