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Survival and Preparations Long and short term survival and 'prepping'.

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  #1  
Old 07-07-2017, 1:56 PM
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Default Land in Borrego Springs

Recently picked up some land in Borrego Springs near BLM. Main purpose for the purchase was to build a small get away house so I have a place to camp when I want to go shooting. I can't decide if I want to build using a 40ft shipping container or build a traditional stick built cabin type structure. Trying to stay with in a 10-15k budget. I was quoted for a new shipping container delivered to the site for $6500. I feel like I could build a small cabin for that much using traditional building methods but I love the idea of building using shipping containers and also the security of it.

What do you guys think? Pros and cons of each? Any good design ideas?
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Old 07-07-2017, 1:58 PM
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I am not a builder but putting a metal can in the middle of the desert just sounds hot to me to live in.

Check insulation and air conditioning requirements before you go that method.

Good luck and let us know when the winter barbecue is.
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Old 07-07-2017, 2:02 PM
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I've definitely considered the heat in a metal can. Full insulation and AC will definitely be included. On the plus side metal doesn't break down like wood does in the heat. Also I usually don't go out during the summer months when it's over 105 degrees. From about October to April the climate is very reasonable out in Borrego and the cold becomes more of an issue than the heat.
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Old 07-07-2017, 2:07 PM
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While I'm certainly not partial to putting ANYTHING in the middle of the desert to live in, the shipping container does sound more durable for the climate assuming you can work out the insulation.
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Old 07-07-2017, 2:15 PM
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Maybe I wasn't clear. This isnt to live in full time. I use to tow a trailer out when I went out to shoot. Would camp for the weekend and enjoy myself. Sold the trailer but still wanted something more comfortable than a tent to sleep in and also something I can leave the dog In while shooting (main reason AC is a must). They trailer was just a hassle to store and load up and tow out every time I wanted to go out especially for the one night trips. A cabin on some land would allow me to hop in my vehicle and book it out to the desert for some weekend fun.
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Old 07-07-2017, 2:25 PM
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Dig in, drop the container into the ground. Few feet of soil makes a heck of a diff with heat. Or if you have a back stop anywhere dig into the side . Then invite us all over.
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Old 07-07-2017, 3:37 PM
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Cheapest would be to just get another trailer and leave it there.

Shipping Container seems like a good idea until you see how much custom work has to go into making it livable.

I'd advise to go conventional or nearly conventional.

How much work are you planning to do yourself versus contracting out?

If it were me, I'd build on concrete piers. Much easier for one man to pour piers than a slab. Something like a 16 x 16 structure to start with so you maximize the use of plywood. 2x4 on 24 inch centers. Infill with rigid foam. Tongue and groove panel on the inside so I'm not doing drywall.
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Old 07-07-2017, 4:10 PM
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You better check local building codes first. They can really mess with you. Even a non-permanent structure.
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Old 07-07-2017, 4:14 PM
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Cabin first, container later for storage and spare sleeping qtrs.

Wood lasts a looooong time in the desert.

The aquifer there is depleting rapidly, don't know that I would think about a well (in case you were).

Last edited by God Bless America; 07-07-2017 at 4:16 PM..
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Old 07-07-2017, 4:16 PM
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I've read that most people that build homes with containers do it for cost savings only to realize they didn't save much money.

I will be doing 100% of the work my self. It's one of the reasons I thought a container would be easier. Didn't think I'd need any foundation with a container. Just plop it down, frame the inside, run electrical and plumbing, drywall, flooring and ceiling. Im more comfortable with metal fabrication than wood framing (not that I think it would be hard, just not as much experience).

Did think about getting another trailer to leave out there but idk secure a trailer would be just sitting. The land is not super remote so showing up to find that my trailer has been stolen would suck.
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Old 07-07-2017, 4:21 PM
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I'st thought vandels. Wood cabin will be burned down within a month. Build a roof structure over the container so it's shaded. Stick a 10-12,000 btu AC unit through the wall. Dig a pit to put the generator in so you don't hear it run. If you don't want stuff destroyed pull the AC and leave the doors unlocked. An empty container will probably only get spray painted.
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Old 07-07-2017, 4:29 PM
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I'st thought vandels. Wood cabin will be burned down within a month. Build a roof structure over the container so it's shaded. Stick a 10-12,000 btu AC unit through the wall. Dig a pit to put the generator in so you don't hear it run. If you don't want stuff destroyed pull the AC and leave the doors unlocked. An empty container will probably only get spray painted.
You will have meth heads partying in it and using it for a bathroom in the first month.
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Old 07-07-2017, 4:35 PM
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Look into cinder blocks.
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Old 07-07-2017, 4:46 PM
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Here is a link to San Diego County codes.
http://www.sandiegocounty.gov/pds/zo...ds/PDS-726.pdf
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Old 07-07-2017, 4:55 PM
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The land is in a residential area. There are 200-300 thousand dollar houses, trailers, shipping containers, RVs and more. My lot is at the end of the grid so someone looking to vandalize or steal will pass all that other stuff before they get to me.
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Old 07-07-2017, 5:05 PM
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Close in enough for someone to care about building codes makes it tough.

I'm definitely doing a travel trailer or RV. A permanent structure would require a permit. A permit will require a septic system and a well. A well will cost more than your entire budget.
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Old 07-07-2017, 5:41 PM
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Fence in so neighbors can't see what you're doing. Buy a tractor & move it to the site. Dig down 12', put in 2' of gravel, then pour concrete pad, then build a cement block house under ground. Use metal beams for the roof, pour more concrete and cover with dirt. Lastly build a tool shed as secure as you can possibly make it, put the entrance into the underground home in the shed. Water & septic will be a pain, but if it's a weekend getaway you could get by with minimal comforts.
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Old 07-07-2017, 5:51 PM
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My wife's parents live full time in Borrego Springs. You definitely want to check the local codes. They have some odd ones there, for example all new houses must be built on stilts in case of flooding.

Last edited by AlienHobo; 07-07-2017 at 5:53 PM..
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  #19  
Old 07-07-2017, 6:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK5.56 View Post
I've read that most people that build homes with containers do it for cost savings only to realize they didn't save much money.

I will be doing 100% of the work my self. It's one of the reasons I thought a container would be easier. Didn't think I'd need any foundation with a container. Just plop it down, frame the inside, run electrical and plumbing, drywall, flooring and ceiling. Im more comfortable with metal fabrication than wood framing (not that I think it would be hard, just not as much experience).

Did think about getting another trailer to leave out there but idk secure a trailer would be just sitting. The land is not super remote so showing up to find that my trailer has been stolen would suck.
If you go with a "container" go with a big one like 40". If you want to insulate it. Do so on the outside surface. If you frame and insulate the interior you will only be left with a 7" wide usable space in width. Use 2x4" steel studs pop riveted to the exterior. And skin it with powder coated steel siding panels. Or just corrugated galvanized steel panels. Bottom must be closed with flashing to prevent "pacKrats" from stealing your insulation and chewing your wiring. Any plumbing goes through the wall and is "run outside". Under the "skin". With just angle stop and dirty arm spuds, on inside.

Not much rain out there. But you still need a pitch for run off. A ledger along one long side made of 4" sheet metal channel. And use same powder coat or galvanized panels as a roof.

Probably better off financially and time spent. To go with a Pre-Fab Steel structure.

JM2c
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Old 07-07-2017, 8:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in California View Post
Close in enough for someone to care about building codes makes it tough.

I'm definitely doing a travel trailer or RV. A permanent structure would require a permit. A permit will require a septic system and a well. A well will cost more than your entire budget.
I looked into septic and since I wouldnt be living out there full time the septic system would be tiny and not very expensive. If it did pose a problem I'm completely fine with a composting toilet like people are using in tiny homes. They get great reviews, are low maintenance and depending on how many people are using it are only required to empty the chamber once a week which would be about the longest I would be out there at any given time. As for water I would do a water tank and have water deliver which would last me a full season or just bring water out with me. My toy hauler had a 20 gallon water tank and I never went through all of it and that was with washing dishes, using the toilet and taking 1-2 showers.

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If you go with a "container" go with a big one like 40". If you want to insulate it. Do so on the outside surface. If you frame and insulate the interior you will only be left with a 7" wide usable space in width. Use 2x4" steel studs pop riveted to the exterior. And skin it with powder coated steel siding panels. Or just corrugated galvanized steel panels. Bottom must be closed with flashing to prevent "pacKrats" from stealing your insulation and chewing your wiring. Any plumbing goes through the wall and is "run outside". Under the "skin". With just angle stop and dirty arm spuds, on inside.

Not much rain out there. But you still need a pitch for run off. A ledger along one long side made of 4" sheet metal channel. And use same powder coat or galvanized panels as a roof.

Probably better off financially and time spent. To go with a Pre-Fab Steel structure.

JM2c
My toy hauler was only 7' wide and wasn't a problem. If I do a container I want to keep it looking like a container to be as inconspicuous as possible. My main concern right now is permits for a container in San Diego county. I know it's hard to get and near impossible for a container converted into a living space. .
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Old 07-08-2017, 2:27 PM
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Nothing is secure out there. Lot's of petty theft and breakins.
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Old 07-08-2017, 3:22 PM
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Nothing is secure out there. Lot's of petty theft and breakins.
Do you have first hand experience with theft or break ins. I have a few buddies who owned homes not far from my lot with zero issues. Not saying it doesn't happen just wondering if there is a story?


Here's an idea of what I'm thinking:





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Old 07-08-2017, 4:35 PM
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Don't forget before you get a permit your abuting neighbors may have to sign off on your design.
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Old 07-08-2017, 5:06 PM
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I like the middle design (grey) above... face it north, put a few solar panels on the roof. It would be like a trailer without wheels.

The big question as some have mentioned is theft and vandalism. If you have a fix for that issue, your plan could work. If you don't, you could be sinking a lot of time and effort into a project that will end in heartbreak and frustration.
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Old 07-08-2017, 6:23 PM
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Only idea I have to minimize people wanting to get to my stuff is a fence with barb wire. But even then if someone wants in they will get in.

On another note. Would it be feasible to put a trailer axle and a Tongue on a sea container to make it into a trailer or at least look like one and avoid permits altogether?

Last edited by AK5.56; 07-08-2017 at 6:58 PM..
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Old 07-08-2017, 8:12 PM
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Those three containers are not secure. Just as secure with a regular cabin.

Last edited by God Bless America; 07-08-2017 at 8:17 PM..
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Old 07-08-2017, 8:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK5.56 View Post
On another note. Would it be feasible to put a trailer axle and a Tongue on a sea container to make it into a trailer or at least look like one and avoid permits altogether?
Great idea and sure why not. Check out this guys idea on how to do it.
https://www.dcourier.com/news/2016/j...product-towin/
You'll need brake, running and turn signal lights, just like a trailer. But why not.
You can always have a trailer built to tow the container to your site.
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Old 07-08-2017, 8:34 PM
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Great idea and sure why not. Check out this guys idea on how to do it.
The dolly is a good idea but the way they have it puts the container over 8'6" so you'd need a wide load permit to move it.
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Old 07-08-2017, 9:07 PM
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First you said,

Quote:
If I do a container I want to keep it looking like a container to be as inconspicuous as possible. My main concern right now is permits for a container in San Diego county. I know it's hard to get and near impossible for a container converted into a living space. .
then you posted pics that are OBVIOUSLY modified for residence.

A bit conflicted?

If you want to make a container look like a "dry van trailer", just buy a dry van trailer and remove the running gear. Or leave the gear. If that is an issue. Then hire any owner operator with time on hands to put it anywhere you want.

They can be had as cheap as containers. I know a guy who bought two 40s. Placed them parallel 12 ft apart without gear. Using 1/8" stainless cable and "UV resistant sunshade netting between them, made an awesome setup.
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Old 07-08-2017, 9:11 PM
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Originally Posted by gringo m View Post
You better check local building codes first. They can really mess with you. Even a non-permanent structure.
The county has really been after folks about their shipping containers. Especially in the Ocotukey Area off Split Mountain road.
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacrat View Post
First you said,



then you posted pics that are OBVIOUSLY modified for residence.

A bit conflicted?

If you want to make a container look like a "dry van trailer", just buy a dry van trailer and remove the running gear. Or leave the gear. If that is an issue. Then hire any owner operator with time on hands to put it anywhere you want.

They can be had as cheap as containers. I know a guy who bought two 40s. Placed them parallel 12 ft apart without gear. Using 1/8" stainless cable and "UV resistant sunshade netting between them, made an awesome setup.
I guess to clarify. I don't want to buy a container then modify it to the point where it doesn't look like a container at all with exterior siding and full on roofs. Some container builds look like full custom homes with no inkling they were made with containers. If I wanted a full custom house I would just build a custom house with out the container. Yes the pictures I posted have some windows a door and an overhang but it's clear they are still containers.

Thanks for the dry van trailer idea. I will look into that!

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Originally Posted by damon1272 View Post
The county has really been after folks about their shipping containers. Especially in the Ocotukey Area off Split Mountain road.
Again, any first hand experience or stories or is this just hear say?

I have friends who use 40ft containers with bathrooms, doors/windows and "lounge" areas within San Diego City, un permitted, that they use as offices for construction companies with zero issues.

Thanks for the feedback guys!
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK5.56 View Post
I guess to clarify. I don't want to buy a container then modify it to the point where it doesn't look like a container at all with exterior siding and full on roofs. Some container builds look like full custom homes with no inkling they were made with containers. If I wanted a full custom house I would just build a custom house with out the container. Yes the pictures I posted have some windows a door and an overhang but it's clear they are still containers.

Thanks for the dry van trailer idea. I will look into that!



Again, any first hand experience or stories or is this just hear say?

I have friends who use 40ft containers with bathrooms, doors/windows and "lounge" areas within San Diego City, un permitted, that they use as offices for construction companies with zero issues.

Thanks for the feedback guys!
Not hearsay. The county has been restricting people putting containers on alluvial fans. Not to say there is already a ton out there but they are trying to restrict them from going in. Personally I have looked at land out there and though the same as you having a container or two to store toys and to camp in. Beats dragging all your crap out every time.
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Old 07-09-2017, 8:34 AM
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Those three containers are not secure. Just as secure with a regular cabin.
Exactly.

I'd vote rv & done.
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Old 07-09-2017, 9:47 AM
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The problem with an RV is they are fairly expensive for what you get. A decent used RV is going to set me back 20-50k. It's still not secure, and there's a chance of it being completely stolen. I'm thinking I'd rather show up to a broken in container or cabin with not much to be stolen rather than a missing RV.

But it might turn out to be the better option if permits turn out to be too much of a hassle.
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Old 07-09-2017, 9:54 AM
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The problem with an RV is they are fairly expensive for what you get. A decent used RV is going to set me back 20-50k. It's still not secure, and there's a chance of it being completely stolen. I'm thinking I'd rather show up to a broken in container or cabin with not much to be stolen rather than a missing RV.

But it might turn out to be the better option if permits turn out to be too much of a hassle.
Take the wheels off.

And I have to believe there are decent trailers around for under $20k. For your purposes anyway.

Last edited by therealnickb; 07-09-2017 at 9:57 AM..
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Old 07-09-2017, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK5.56 View Post
Do you have first hand experience with theft or break ins. I have a few buddies who owned homes not far from my lot with zero issues. Not saying it doesn't happen just wondering if there is a story?


Here's an idea of what I'm thinking:





Cousin's place seems to get hit at least once per year, from vandalism like graffiti and cut fence and rammed gate, to actual entry into container, shed, or trailer. I had thought about getting a place next to his, but changed my mind after all the headaches he has. I'm looking at a place in town and will probably go that route if I can afford it.

Oh, and nice container conversions.
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Old 07-09-2017, 10:52 AM
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And I have to believe there are decent trailers around for under $20k. For your purposes anyway.
True. I bought a 2005 26 ft travel trailer for 7k. Everything works. The OP doesn't need something with a motor. Just a trailer.

He can even get one of those dump tanks on wheels so he can service the black and grey tanks. If he brings in fresh water and leaves with a dump tank full, he will have no problems. A EU2000 genny and/or a few solar panels and he is good.
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Old 07-09-2017, 11:30 AM
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True. I bought a 2005 26 ft travel trailer for 7k. Everything works. The OP doesn't need something with a motor. Just a trailer.

He can even get one of those dump tanks on wheels so he can service the black and grey tanks. If he brings in fresh water and leaves with a dump tank full, he will have no problems. A EU2000 genny and/or a few solar panels and he is good.
Exactly what I was thinking.
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Old 07-09-2017, 11:39 AM
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You will have meth heads partying in it and using it for a bathroom in the first month.
Don't forget Dirty Dave and the boys will be having sex there too.
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Old 07-09-2017, 12:15 PM
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Get a used travel trailer like everyone else does out there. If you get tired of it you can sell it. BTW, it hit 120 Thursday if you need a tan.
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