August Photo Challenge: HAPPY Recap

August feels like a distant memory at the moment, and so ends that monthly photo challenge. This post is later than I would have liked it to be, but van work and regular work and travelling has taken priority for the first half of this month. August was my month of HAPPY and, looking back at the pictures, I feel like I captured my month fairly accurately.

So here’s my HAPPY recap for you.

The August Photo Challenge took me…

… from early morning climbing sessions to early morning training sessions…

… from Monday morning breakfast dates to morning journaling sessions…

… from celebrating weddings in Abbotsford to Pride in Vancouver…

… from getting the water system installed in the van to having our first breakfast in the van…

… from exploring the city on bike to exploring by foot…

… from enjoying the calm morning sunrises over the water. | August 2017 Monthly Photo Challenge - Happy recap | August 2017 Monthly Photo Challenge - Happy recap | August 2017 Monthly Photo Challenge - Happy recap | August 2017 Monthly Photo Challenge - Happy recap | August 2017 Monthly Photo Challenge - Happy recap | August 2017 Monthly Photo Challenge - Happy recap | August 2017 Monthly Photo Challenge - Happy recap

And just like that, we’re well into September and a new challenge word! This month is all about TEXTURE and you can check out the details here.

Happy picture-taking!

Saturday Snippets: 16.September.2017

Well, we started out this week working flat-out on the van, to get a few bits and pieces finished before Wednesday. Because you know what happened on Wednesday? We’ve taken Moby on his first trip, away from Vancouver!! I had a few work visits on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, so we made the decision back in August to get him ready for his first voyage. You can read more about it down below. But first, our Saturday Snippets for 16.September.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

We were on a mission to get Moby ready for his first big trip this week! I was working in Duncan and Powell River for the last half of this week and, given that September is usually a glorious month, weather-wise, we knew we wanted to make use of the van for this trip. So there were a few things we wanted to finish off before then.

  • We made a headboard! It didn’t actually take Jonty that long to make. The CNC design was relatively quick – it almost took longer to stain and spray it, than it did to design and cut it out! We’ve added holes in the headboard to match the rest of our inner cabinet walls (they have holes, too). Also, cutting out material saves on weight, which is always a consideration for us and the van. It works really well! | Sprinter van conversion - headboard | Sprinter van conversion - headboard

  • Jonty designed a new electrical panel board – we needed space for more toggle switches, so he took the opportunity to prototype a new one. The nice thing about this new panel is the laser engraving below each electrical component! Although I’m much better at knowing which switch is which, it’s definitely nice to have each labeled. | Sprinter van conversion - laser cut electrical panel

  • We were trying to figure out what to do about privacy curtains in the cabin. In the end, we’ve screwed some hooks into the headliner and have hung a make-shift curtain across. The curtain simply hangs down in front of the dashboard, so when our chairs are turned around, the windows are still covered, yet we have space to move. I’ll make another set of curtains for this area, now that we know the hooks will work.

Pictures from the week of 16.September.2017:

I should have more pictures from our time on the Island, but for now, here are a few pictures of our first few days with Moby on the road. By the end of the weekend, he will have been on 4 different ferries and 3 different coast lines!

  • Riding with the big boys, in the lower berth of the ferry to Nanaimo | Sprinter van conversion - Traveling to Nanaimo BC

Riding with the big boys in the lower berth of the ferry.

We stayed at the Willingdon Beach Campground in Powell River. Not too shabby of a view, hey? | Sprinter van conversion - Traveling to Powell River BC | Sprinter van conversion - Traveling to Powell River BC | Sprinter van conversion - Traveling to Powell River BC

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 09.September.2017

The haze has returned to the West Coast, due to the ongoing forest fires. Our lungs seem to be struggling with this smoke-filled air more than we did back in August, maybe it’s because we’re getting smoke from the BC interior as well as Washington? We’re supposed to get a few drops of rain over the weekend, so here’s hoping it helps tame some of the fires!

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world during the week of 09.September.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

  • Winter training goals (for Jonty 🙂 ) I’d probably just work on the triceps exercises, because I’m weak, yo!
  • If you’re Canadian, you’ve no doubt eaten more than your fair share of Nanaimo Bars growing up. If you have ever wondered where they came from, here’s a bit of history for you. We’re off to Vancouver Island next week, and will be heading through Nanaimo. Perhaps it’s time to rekindle my love-affair with these gems 🙂
  • Our weather is still firmly planted in the hot-summer territory, BUT for when the temperatures start to dip, I’ve bookmarked this simple black beans and rice meal. These one-pot dishes are always so easy and always so tasty.
  • Fake Merit Badges, because even the small outdoor victories should be recognized 🙂
  • Last week, I listened to this episode of the This Is Criminal podcast, which led me to the next episode. The next day, I got an email saying this book was available for me to borrow from the library. Totally weird, yet all connected!

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

  • We’ve installed our convection oven in the van this week! Last week, Jonty constructed the frame out of 80/20 and CNC’d the faceplate to cover the oven and air vents. This week, we finished staining the wood and properly secured everything together. | Sprinter van conversion - convection oven installation

  • To secure the oven, mounts were fabricated to attach the 80/20 frame to the L-track (which is bolted through the floor). We then strapped the oven to the 80/20 frame, as well. The strapping may be replaced but it works for now. | Sprinter van conversion - convection oven installation | Sprinter van conversion - convection oven installation

  • The oven is completely open to the back of our “garage”, and we designed it this way to help with the air-flow and heat venting. Breville (our convection oven) gives minimum spaces that must be open around the oven, to prevent overheating, and judging from the view from the back, we should have tonnes of it 🙂 | Sprinter van conversion - convection oven installation

  • From the front, we have the open space between the air vents and the oven, which will give us access to both the plumbing and electrical boards on either side. This space can also act as a little booster-step, to get onto the bed, if we need it.
  • All of the pipes and electrical wires are fed through holes along the floor on either side of van. Once all of the cupboards and drawers and doors are in on the cabinets, these will be hidden from sight. | Sprinter van conversion - convection oven installation

  • After turning up the oven as high as it would go (with the fire extinguisher close by, just in case), we checked all the electrical connections and everything looks good! So, as a pat on the back, we enjoyed our first bit of food in the van – a toasted scone – and it was pretty darned tasty 🙂 | Sprinter van conversion - convection oven installation

And then, the most exciting Moby News of the week:

  • We spent our first night in the van! We had talked about driving up towards Squamish on Thursday evening to spend the night, then do some climbing on Friday. It was a long day on Thursday for both of us, but we still decided to give it a whirl. So we packed up a few things for breakfast in the morning, brought down some bedding, and away we went!
  • We knew exactly where we wanted to spend the night – a secluded little pull-out off a logging road, just past Porteau Cove. Driving up to our little spot, I was instantly transported back to our travelling days from two years ago. It was the trip that prompted us to head down this van path, and it felt wonderful!
  • Moby passed with flying colours! A bathroom would have been nice, but that will happen in due time. We’re getting there 🙂 | Camping in the sprinter van | Camping in the sprinter van

Pictures from the week of 09.September.2017:

On the night before the Labour Day Monday, we decided to get up early and catch the sunrise. It was a good thing we made that decision, because the wildfire smoke rolled in on Monday evening, and we’ve been under a smoky haze since then. But on Monday morning, the skies were clear, weather was warm, and we enjoyed the view from our favourite sunrise-viewing bridge (Cambie Street Bridge). | Sunrise in Vancouver BC from Cambie Street Bridge | Sunrise in Vancouver BC from Cambie Street Bridge

The water was so calm and glass-like, and then a small boat came trundling under the bridge. It wasn’t going very fast, but it’s amazing how quickly the wake of the boat can upset an entire bay of glass. | Sunrise in Vancouver BC from Cambie Street Bridge | Sunrise in Vancouver BC from Cambie Street Bridge | Sunrise in Vancouver BC from Cambie Street Bridge

We waited until the blood-orange sun crept over the horizon and through the buildings, then slowly meandered back to the van for breakfast and a coffee 🙂 | Sunrise in Vancouver BC from Cambie Street Bridge | Sunrise in Vancouver BC from Cambie Street Bridge

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 02.September.2017

And, just like that, we’ve hit September! Do you have any fun plans for the long weekend? We’re still trying to figure that out. The weather is supposed to be a scorcher, so Saturday’s climbing day will be another early start, to beat the heat.

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 02.September.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

  • “Climbing-Gym-Parter Wanted” ads. If you climb, you’ll find these pretty funny (and pretty accurate).
  • I had no idea a trail like this existed in Canada, but I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. The Great Trail connects all of Canada (13 provinces and territories), from coast to coast. I wonder how long it would take to complete the entire thing? The pictures of people on the trail look pretty great!
  • Storm-chasing. The clouds just come alive!
  • A healthy, protein Snickers bar? I’m in!
  • We don’t eat burgers very often, but sometimes when the craving hits, it hits hard. Something about this Satay Burger is nudging me towards a long-weekend burger night.
  • How not to use “quotes” 🙂

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):


  • Jonty was on a mission to have water running through our kitchen taps by the end of August. He made his goal, with a few days to spare, and we now have running water! We don’t have a grey tank installed yet, so for the time being, the grey water will simply drain into a big bucket under the sink. Not fancy, but it works for now.
  • Last week, Jonty was able to get the water heater hooked up, so we had hot and cold water. This week, we mounted the sink to the underside of the counter (glued and sealed), and let that dry for a day. Then, it was just a matter of connecting the sink pipes to the rest of the plumbing circuit. Easy peasy (or so Jonty says 🙂 ).
  • This is super exciting news! We’re hoping to take the van over to Vancouver Island in a few weeks, for his maiden voyage, and we really wanted to have running water for the trip. | Sprinter van conversion - kitchen plumbing | Sprinter van conversion - kitchen plumbing

Installing the convection oven:

  • Because he finished the plumbing a few days early, Jonty started to work on installing our convection oven. So, sadly, the oven has left our apartment (I love that thing!), but the good news is that we should have it installed before our Island trip.
  • Our plan is to mount it under the bed, and above the air vents (the two black circles). The oven will be open to the storage area on 3 sides, which will help dissipate the heat. And we’ve designed a little step (the rectangular space below the oven) to help us get up onto the platform bed. The secondary purpose of the step is to give us easy access to the plumbing and electrical panels below the bed.
  • We still have to stain the front plate, and mount it properly to the floor, so hopefully this will be in next week’s update! | Sprinter van conversion - built in convection oven

Happy Long Weekend!

September 2017 Monthly Word: TEXTURE

Whoa, September already? I can remember last year’s September like it was yesterday! August was a great month, filled with fantastic weather, lots of climbing and so much van progress! And with that, My Month of Happy has come to an end. I’ll share the full photo round-up in a few days time.

September Month of TEXTURE

I may have mentioned it before, but I have a page in a notebook, with a running list of monthly word ideas. I’ve had this word on my list for quite some time, now, but always felt nervous about using it. Would I be able to come up with a full month of pictures? Will I get bored with it, or find it too difficult? Silly, I know. Then, I saw this post on the Digital Photography School website. They used the word TEXTURE as one of their weekly photography challenges, and the pictures were gorgeous!

So, I’m finally crossing this word off my list, and dedicating September to my month of TEXTURE. I would absolutely love to see what ideas you come up with, too, so if you’d like to join in, please do (as many or as little photos as you’d like). I’ll post my findings on various social media places – Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter,  tagging #MyMonthOfTexture and #MyMonthOfSeptember. | 2017 September Monthly Word - Texture

Here’s to a month of TEXTURE!