Saturday Snippets: 18.February.2017

Well, the nice thing about being at the tail-end of a long weekend is that the following week is a short one. The only downside about a short week is that I thought I had an extra day to get this post ready! It’s been a jam-packed 4-day week, filled with site visits, van work, gym days and training days. We’ve been going non-stop since last weekend. The weather has improved (read: it stopped snowing, started raining, the temperatures have reached the double digits, and I saw the first cherry blossom of the year!), which definitely makes working in the van much nicer. And we’ve even had a few days of sunshine!

Here’s a few things that caught our eye online during the week. Our Saturday Snippets for 18.February.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

  • This week we finished getting all of the cabinets mounted to the wall and ceiling panels. The original idea we had for thermally isolating the 80-20 cabinets from the van exterior wasn’t actually necessary anymore (Jonty had a better idea). So he manufactured different mounting brackets, drilled holes, installed rivnuts and we attached everything together. With this new design, the 80-20 cabinets will sit flush against the ceiling and the wall, still thermally isolated from the van metal, and provide a nice clean finish. | Sprinter van conversion interior | Sprinter van conversion interior wall mounts

  • Now that the panels are basically finished, it’s time to start thinking about covering them! I had a few practice attempts with pieces of scrap wood. It was definitely a good idea to practice, because it gave me an idea of how thick the foam-backed vinyl really is! The stuff we bought has 1/4-inch foam adhered onto vinyl and, while it looks like it would squish down quite a bit, there’s still some bulk around the corners. We ended up having to enlarge the holes for our ceiling lights, as a result. | Sprinter van conversion wall panels | Sprinter van conversion wall panels

  • I got my first taste at wearing welding goggles. Not to actually weld (I left that part up to Jonty, he was plasma cutting). I can feel your jealousy oozing through the screen 😉 | Sprinter van conversion

Pictures during the week of 18.February.2017:

We had our Family Day long weekend this past week (I’m pretty sure the rest of Canada has their long weekend this weekend. Good planning, BC government!). We took Monday off from van work and enjoyed the sunshine. We got out for a late-morning cycle around UBC. There was still some snow on the ground, but the temperatures were rising, and it felt so darned good to breathe some fresh air! Then we hopped on a bus and headed downtown for an afternoon of walking, eating and having a drink. It ended up being a really full day, but a really great one, as well 🙂 | Vancouver Gastown buildings | Vancouver Gastown buildings | Vancouver Gastown buildings

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 11.February.2017

I’m not sure why, but Canadian’s love to talk about the weather. This past week was a doozy for most of southern BC; Vancouver included. It’s all we’ve been talking about, and I don’t anticipate us stopping. Jonty doesn’t think he’s ever experienced such a long, white winter (phffft, British boys…) 😉 Highways have been closed, schools have been closed… Crazy days!

Happy Family Day (if you live in BC) and Happy Chocolate Day (i.e. Valentine’s Day) and enjoy our Saturday Snippets for the week of 11.February.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling, and Repeating:

  • We finished our last training/performance cycle a week or so, and will be starting up another 16-week cycle. First up is our strength phase. You can read about some of the training we do here and here. Here’s a great video post on some core strength exercises, from the training master Eric Horst (doing a front-lever is one of Jonty’s goals).
  • When you’re a household of two, it’s nice to have some small-batch recipes in your repertoire (like these, and these, and these!). Here’s a few ways to scale down your standard recipes, to start baking for two.
  • Ah, bread goals 🙂
  • If you live in BC, have you ever seen these Free Spirit Spheres? They’re near Qualicum Beach, on Vancouver Island. I think they look like a really neat weekend getaway stay!
  • Jonty wants one of these for the Sprinter 🙂
  • I just finished reading this book and really enjoyed it (maybe because I like food so much?)

On Moby News (aka Sprinter Van Conversion):

  • Jonty had a few more tweaks to do with the electrical system and he’s almost happy everything is working as it should. We should be able to start wiring in lights etc anytime now. | Sprinter van converions - wall and ceiling panels

  • We also started cutting the ceiling panels this week (if you’re interested, here’s a quick video of the CNC tool path). We spent a bit of time deciding on how to orient the panels to make best use of the material and for ease of construction. E.g. does it matter which way the seams run? Or how many seams there are? Which way is easiest to install the panels? Will the existing bolt holes in the van be sufficient to attach the panels? Will we need to add additional bolt holes? How will we deal with cabinets? Ah, so many questions 🙂
  • We’ve opted to run the main ceiling panels lengthwise, with smaller strips along either side. It’s amazing how much brighter the van feels, with the lighter wood. Once we cover the panels with our white vinyl, we might even need sunglasses inside! 😉 | Sprinter van converions - wall and ceiling panels | Sprinter van converions - wall and ceiling panels

Pictures for the week of 11.February.2017:

Like I said, we got another whack-load of snow this past week. I think everybody is thoroughly tired of driving in sloppy, slushy, icy roads. The temperatures have warmed up considerably, so perhaps we’ll see our green grass before long.

I had another site visit this week, and it was hopefully my last travel day for a little while; I think I’m done with winter flying! I was up in Quesnel for possibly the shortest trip ever, flying in at 11:00 am and flying out at 4:00 pm! It’s the first time I’ve been up there and, to be honest, if the weather was warmer I could have been tempted to stay longer to explore, but the -18°C did me in. I was hoping to walk around more before my flight left, but I wimped out. I managed a walk half-way down their pedestrian bridge, and a quick walk around their downtown strip, and that was about it! | Travel to Quesnel British Columbia | Travel to Quesnel British Columbia | Travel to Quesnel British Columbia | Travel to Quesnel British Columbia | Travel to Quesnel British Columbia

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 04.February.2017

Do you believe the old saying that, “Bad things happen in threes”? As I type this I am in yet another airport, waiting for yet another delayed and/or cancelled Air Canada flight. This makes it 3 flight woes in 2 weeks (I have one more flight next week, but according to the Law of Threes, I should be okay 🙂 ). While the Ottawa airport is fairly easy to hang out in, I don’t want this flight to be cancelled and I’m ready to get home. (Update: the flight was only delayed by 2 hours!)

This week I was at a mammography conference in Quebec. It was fantastic! I learned a lot and was able to reconnect with fellow medical physicists across Canada, and enjoyed spending a few days in the world’s largest man-made log cabin in the world (I’ve got a few pictures at the end of the post).

Have fun checking out what caught our eye in the online world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Our Saturday Snippets for 04.February.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter Conversion updates):

  • Because I was going to be gone for the majority of the week, Jonty wanted help installing the upper wall panels. It’s definitely a job that is much easier with two people. The big difficulty we had was trying to accurately map the position of the screw holes onto the wood panels. Jonty had a brain wave at 3 am one night – use a laser level to mark the centre of the first screw hole, then place the board back into place and mark the hole on the wood. It worked really well! After that the remaining holes can be found by indenting with studs in the bolt holes. It took us about 5 hours to CNC, measure and drill, and install 4 panels, which we thought was actually pretty quick! | Sprinter van conversion - installing wall panels | Sprinter van conversion - installing wall panels | Sprinter van conversion - installing wall panels

  • After two months of trouble-shooting, then sending off parts and waiting for them to come back, we finally got the replacement sense-board back from the manufacturer. Jonty hooked it all back up and, guess what – it works! Like a dream! Here he is, running the laptop off of our batteries, doing some diagnostic work. | Sprinter van conversion - installing wall panels

  •  Now that the batteries are charged and working, we’ll start to run the wiring throughout the van. Having ceiling lights wired will be pretty exciting! Hopefully we’ll also be able to start wrapping the panels in foam-backed vinyl. Moby is really starting to take shape, and each job we finish feels like one big step in the right direction.

Pictures from 04.February.2017:

I attended a mammography conference this past week. It was held in Montebello, Quebec, in the world’s largest log cabin. The place was huge! The fireplace, alone, was spectacular. The resort was built back in the early 1900’s, with logs shipped over from BC. According to someone’s cab driver, the entire building took only 3 months to build, because they employed non-union workers 🙂 It’s quite impressive.

The conference was jam-packed and we were kept busy with talks and sessions from 7:30 am to 8:00 pm so, unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of time to check out the area. We did have a few hours of free time before the conference began, and used that time to walk into the nearby village of Montebello. | 20170202-Montebello-Quebec-5174 | Travel to Montebello Quebec | Travel to Montebello Quebec | Travel to Montebello Quebec | Travel to Montebello Quebec | Travel to Montebello Quebec

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 28.January.2017

A part of me still doesn’t recognize that it’s 2017. I think I’ve typed “2016” for every single Saturday Snippets of this year! At least I’m consistent 🙂

Yesterday was the first day that the weather had some warmth in the air. We managed to get out on bikes, after climbing in an impromptu 1-hour bouldering competition up at UBC. The entire afternoon was really fun! It felt so good to be out cycling again, too.

Here’s what caught our eye online during the week of 28.January.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter Conversion Update):

  • We’ve been working on a few piece-meal jobs this week, but sometimes those end up being quite satisfying!
  • Jonty CNC’d, stained and installed the mounts for our inverter and electrical circuit boards. All of the big holes in the mount are to aid in heat dissipation from the inverter. We think it looks pretty great, and Jonty was quite pleased with how easy it was to gain access to all the wiring in the back. | Sprinter van conversion - inverter box | Sprinter van conversion - inverter box | Sprinter van conversion - inverter box

  • Last week, we were working on getting the measurements and contours for the wall panels correct. This week we started CNC-ing out the real panels! We’re using 1/4-inch marine-grade plywood, which will be covered with the foam-backed vinyl we purchased a few months ago. We have the back panels cut and temporarily installed, to get the bolt location correct, and will hopefully have the upper panels done next week. | Sprinter van conversion - wall panels

  • Dare I say, it’s almost starting to look like a home on wheels, instead of a bit construction site? Perhaps I should emphasize the word almost 🙂

Pictures from the week of 28.January.2017:

The week started out with beautiful weather! We had a bit of gloom mid-week, and then it’s picked up again. Our Monday morning walk took us to the lumber store (exciting times) and then to Kits Beach. Everybody was out – parents, kids, dogs, people running, people doing TRX, people splashing in the ocean. It was the first time in a long time that the sun felt warm on our backs! | Vancouver walk - Kits Beach | Vancouver walk - Kits Beach | Vancouver walk - Kits Beach | Vancouver walk - Kits Beach | Vancouver walk - Kits Beach | Vancouver walk - Kits Beach

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 21.January.2017

Well, this week absolutely flew by! I had a site visit early in the week and was able to visit Nelson, BC for the first time (pictures down below)! Jonty will be finishing his third Saturday welding class today, and I will be learning how to make homemade chocolate! I know Jonty really enjoys his welding classes, but I’m quite certain I win for the tastier of the two classes 😉

Here’s a few things that caught our eye online. Our Saturday Snippets for 21.January.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter Van Conversion):

  • This week we started CNC-ing the templates for our wall panels. Nothing is completely vertical or flat in this van. So figuring out the correct curves is definitely an iterative process! | Sprinter van conversion - CNCing wall panels

Watching closely, to make sure the CNC bit doesn’t run through a screw! | Sprinter van conversion - CNCing wall panels | Sprinter van conversion - CNCing wall panels

First pass at the wheel well curve. We’ll give it another tweak before we’re happy with it.

Pictures during the week of 21.January.2017:

I was in Nelson earlier this week for a site visit. If you don’t want to drive the 8 hours from Vancouver, you will need to fly into Castlegar, rent a car and drive 40 minutes down the highway, over to Nelson. It’s a beautiful drive – I’d love to see it in the spring and fall, with all the changing colours.

Nelson is a really quaint community. The downtown core is filled with old, restored buildings and is known for its great food and coffee shops. I completely agree!

  • Empire Coffee (attached to the Adventure Hotel) has Stumptown coffee, a great breakfast and lunch menu, and the most amazing looking (and tasting) muffins, cinnamon buns and pastries. Definitely go!
  • El Taco – A quirky little place, with big portions and good prices. Tasty!
  • Red Light Ramen – If you’re looking for ramen, head here. They make everything from scratch, and their meat is all hormone-free / grass-fed / pasture-raised.
  • The Cube: They even have a little climbing gym! I went. The bouldering was hard. I totally got shut-down. I had fun 🙂 | Travel to Nelson BC | Travel to Nelson BC | Travel to Nelson BC

Exercise machines in the park! The snow didn’t stop one gentleman from getting his reps in 🙂 | Travel to Nelson BC | Travel to Nelson BC

I was able to fly into Castlegar with no problem but, as I’ve been told, there is a high probability during the winter months, of flights being cancelled. Castlegar is located in a valley, and it will often get socked in with clouds, meaning the pilots can’t take off or land. This has given Castlegar the reputation of being “Cancel-gar”.

I thought I had dodged the Cancel-gar bullet, until I woke up to this view on Wednesday. | Travel to Nelson BC

There was a good 20 cm of freshly fallen snow on the car, and the snow was still coming (they were forecasting 30 to 40 cm by the end of the day). My flight had already been cancelled and I was moved to the next flight in the afternoon.

As I was driving to Castlegar to return the rental car, this was my view over the water. Yup, there’s actually a big lake right there… | Travel to Nelson BC

By the time I got to the airport, all flights for the day had been cancelled, and flying out the next day was also looking questionable. Oh, Cancel-gar, you’ve made your point 🙂

Luckily, there was a guy at the airport who really needed to get to Toronto that day. He lives in the town, and makes the drive to Kelowna on a regular basis, so was not concerned about the “extremely poor highway driving conditions” and was happy to give me a lift. Well, if it meant getting back home before the weekend, I was all for it!

My travel-saviour was easy to talk to, and the 4-hour drive to Kelowna went by quickly. Our views from a pit-stop in Greenwood made me grateful that I was only a passenger, and didn’t have to make the drive myself. | Travel to Nelson BC

This area of the Kooteneys was beautiful, and I’m excited to go back… in the summer… with our 4×4 Sprinter… 😉

Happy Weekend!