Saturday Snippets: 25.March.2017

We’re entering the last week of March, how the heck did that happen already? I think I’ve finally gotten used to the time change, and the 6 am wake-up calls don’t feel as bad as they did the last week, and it’s been nice to have brighter evenings.

Here’s what caught our eye online during the week of 25.March.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

  • Royal Robbins, one of the big-name American Yosemite climbers back in the 50’s and 60’s, passed away this week. If you’ve never seen Valley Uprising (it’s on Netflix), be sure to give it a watch. It provides a good history of North American climbing over the last 50 years. Quite interesting, even if you’re not a climber!
  • These marinated white beans looks like a great keep-in-the-fridge-to-eat-all-week kind of dish. I’m down with that!
  • I feel like these cookies might be in my weekend plans…
  • We’ve been off to a slow start, on the springtime weather. Jonty and I figure the cherry blossoms are around 2 weeks late. If you’re in Vancouver, here’s the interactive map, to show you where all the trees are blooming currently. So grab your umbrella and take a walk!
  • This book popped up on my library “to borrow” list last week, and I finished it a few days after I started it. I knew it was popular, but didn’t read the synopsis, thus didn’t really understand the first few chapters. Then I got completely absorbed, and stayed up waaay past my bedtime to finish it!

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

Electrical work and in-floor heating:

  • We tried to time the weather this past week so that any under-the-van work could be done on the dry days. Jonty’s been working at adding more electrical components (like wiring up the fans) and tidying up the wiring.
  • The main job was adding in the hydronic-heating component and associated wiring. We got it working on Monday, which meant we could enjoy nice warm feet, with in-floor heating all week. In-floor heating in a Sprinter conversion? Yup, when we go in, we go ALL in 😉 After dealing with cold, wet weather, being able to work in a warm van (without running the engine) feels like a luxury!
  • Unfortunately, another central battery-management component is not working correctly and needs sending back to the supplier… sigh. | Sprinter van conversion - electrical work | 20170325-Sprinter-conversion-in-floor-heating

Yup, these floors in the Sprinter Van are warm, thanks to the in-floor heating!

Wall panelling:

  • We finished CNC’ing and covering a few more wall panels at the back of the van, including the sections around the windows. It feels so much brighter in there now. | Sprinter van conversion - hanging wall panels | Sprinter van conversion - hanging wall panels

Next up:

  • Our True Induction two-burner induction cooktop arrived in the mail last week (thanks, Mom and Dad!!), and we’ve been testing it out in the apartment. It works like a charm! Hopefully in the coming weeks, we’ll start figuring out the kitchen galley.
  • We still have more wall panels to cover, but that will happen in due time.
  • Jonty is finishing his last welding class today, and now he’s thinking of all the things that he could weld, will a platform bed-frame be an upcoming project? | Sprinter van conversion - True Induction cooktop

Pictures for 25.March.2017:

Monday was a dry day for us, and we decided to make the most of it and get out for a quick bike ride in the morning! We had to pick up a few electrical wires from a store just around the corner from Granville Island. With coffee mugs in tow, we enjoyed a quiet, and slightly cool, breakfast along the water. We’re really hoping the weather is much better than last year, because we miss our early morning cycling + breakfast dates! | Granville Island - Vancouver BC | Granville Island - Vancouver BC | Architecture in downtown Vancouver BC | Architecture in downtown Vancouver BC

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 18.March.2017

Earlier in the week, we were reminiscing about where we were this time two years ago. Spoiler – we were in Joshua Tree and made a strawberry tart for Pi Day, made Guinness Chocolate Pots for St. Patrick’s Day, and cycling in Riverside during our rest days. Does anyone else remember where they were, based on the food they made / ate? We also tried our best to remember how nice it felt to be in warm sunshine, instead of cold rain (Vancouver, we’re okay whenever you want to allow spring to come…).

Here’s a few things that caught our eye online during the week of 18.March.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

  • We just started our power training rotation last week. I find campus training quite intense and tricky for me, so I’m always looking for new exercises to try, to improve my power movement. This video is a good intro to campus training, if you’ve never done any before.
  • Being a Prairie girl, is it a sacrilege that I’ve never had a Flapper Pie? I’m thinking, with Canada turning 150 this year, I should start a series of posts, trying to make all the classic Canadian dishes.
  • I love the flavour of lemongrass (have you tried making our red curry paste?) and this Vietnamese bowl looks like one to try.
  • Here’s a little hearing test to try. I got to the second last one, before I couldn’t make out the words anymore.
  • How awesome does this lego tape look! I’m thinking of all our nephews here… 🙂

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

Headliner Insulation

  • We finished insulating the last section of the van this week – the cabin, which involves taking off the headliner. I read a good post in the Sprinter Forum on how to do it and it seemed easy enough. In real life? It was a battle.
  • Taking off the trim and the sun visor shelves was pretty easy, with only a good amount of muscle power to get the screws out.
  • You want to know what the sound of a sinking stomach feels like? Hearing the sound of the screw you were trying to remove, rattle its way down the inner channels of the van.
  • You want to know what elation feels like? Removing more parts of the cabin panel, seeing said screw, and actually being able to retrieve it!
  • The headliner removal was tricky as we didn’t want to damage the air bags along the sides of the windows. And getting the headliner back in was harder than we thought! It’s quite rigid, and the space is a tight fit. But after a few starts and re-starts, and jiggling and jostling, we got it back into place.
  • We both think it sounds much quieter in the van while we’re driving! | Spriner conversion - removing the headliner

The headliner removed. | Sprinter conversion - insulating the headliner space

The cab insulated with Thinsulate, before putting the headliner back on.

Room dividers:

  • As a friend of mine said – “You have rooms!” We have the walls separating the galley and the bedroom CNC’d and stained and installed! We used 1/8-inch plywood, to minimize the weight. They do feel a bit delicate, so we’ll probably end up adding some trim along the edges, for added sturdiness.
  • Next step is to finish off covering a few more ceiling and wall panels, and then start working on the main kitchen. | Sprinter conversion - separating walls

Heating system:

  • Jonty spent most of the week getting the Espar heating system fully connected. This will include the hydronic, in-floor heating, as well as the forced-air heat. Despite the cold, wet week we’ve had, he managed to get under the van to hook up almost everything. Hopefully by this time next week, we’ll have a fully functioning independent heating system! | Sprinter conversion - electrical components for the Espar heater

Things always look worse before they look better 🙂 | Sprinter conversion - expansion tank for the Espar heater

Filling the expansion tank with water, to make sure the in-floor hydronic heating works,

Pictures during the week of 18.March.2017:

Hmm, I’m afraid I slacked off this week. It was a running around / doing van work / climbing training / sitting in the office week, so the best I can do is the following 🙂 | cycling picture

I managed one quick cycle this week, and shared a bike rack with these cool wheels. | Grey skies in Vancouver

So many grey days in Vancouver this week. | rainy day

Rainy day murals at Maker Lab. | climbing training

Boulder warm-ups before campus board training.

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 11.March.2017

Are you ready to spring ahead tomorrow? It’s a love-hate relationship. I love the extra light in the evenings, but the hour of lost sleep in the morning? Not so much. Good thing I have Monday off 🙂

Here’s a few things that caught our eye online. Saturday Snippets for 11.March.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

  • Every time I see a new post from The Perfect Loaf website, it makes me want to start making my own mother starter immediately. I’ve told Jonty it’s a 2017 goal of mine 😉 Perhaps this Sour Cherry, Pecan and Buckwheat loaf will finally push me to try it; gorgeous, isn’t it?
  • The calendar might indicate Spring is on its way, but our weather begs to differ. Cold mornings still require warm breakfasts. How about this blueberry oatmeal?
  • But I’m willing Spring on, and so this Grapefruit Lemon Tart is looking mighty appealing!
  • Are you itching to travel? These Instagram travel photographers are here to help (and two nods for Canada!).
  • This is a major problem in Vancouver, and I’m not sure how they’re going to solve it.
  • We’ve had our Thermos mugs for nearly 10 years (they’ve travelled with us near and far), and they still work! Not sure how they would stand up against the leak test, though. Maybe when they finally konk out (or we lose them), we’ll upgrade to the fancy-pants ones 🙂

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

  • Jonty was working solo this week, as my vacation stint was over. He wired up the lights in the back, as well as the MaxxFan fans. I find it oddly satisfying and very exciting to know that we can flick a switch and have light! Who needs daylight savings time, anyways 😉 | Sprinter van conversion - installing pod lights | Sprinter van conversion - installing pod lights

  • We also spent a bit of time, thinking about the logistics of separating the bedroom from the kitchen galley, something we designed for. Jonty finished prototyping one of the dividers and if we can find the wood we need, hopefully they can be CNC’d in the coming days. | Sprinter van conversion - prototyping the cabinet walls

  • Remember that last 5% of the van insulation that hasn’t been done yet? I started to tackle it yesterday. The headliner in the cab area can be removed, and insulation put behind it. It requires taking off a few panels, the sun visor storage compartments and dealing with the lights console. No problem, hey? My progress involved googling how to do it, then taking off one sun visor compartment. Slow and steady 🙂 | Sprinter van conversion - insulating the headliner

Pictures during the week of 11.March.2017:

Monday was the only reasonably nice day of the week. Before heading down to work on the van, we grabbed a coffee and snack and wandered down into Olympic Village. It had snowed (again!) the day before, and the mountains are still covered. Too bad we’re not skiers – the local mountains have definitely had a great year. | Vancouver's Olympic Village | Vancouver's Olympic Village | Vancouver's Olympic Village

The sun was shining just enough for us to have some reasonably dry benches to sit on. We must have been one of the few people sitting down to eat, because the seagulls were sure looking hungry! While there was still a briskness to the air, the sun was warm on our backs and it was a lovely place to ease into the week. | Vancouver's Olympic Village | Vancouver's Olympic Village

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 04.March.2017

Well hello, March! You sneak up so quickly after a short February 🙂

Here’s a few things that caught our eye online, our Saturday Snippets for 04.March.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

I had a few days off this week, and we were able to finish a couple of major projects.

Thinsulate insulation:

  • We finally insulated the remainder of the van interior (well, 98% of it). We wanted to get that done before putting up the wall panels. Do you know how many nooks and crannies and crevices and awkward, seemingly-hidden areas there are to shove insulation into? Answer: A lot. But it’s done, and my lower back can stop spasming now 🙂 | Sprinter van conversion - how to cover wall panel corners

Foam-backed vinyl panels:

  • We also finished covering the wall and ceiling panels (at least, the ones that we’ve CNC’d). The foam-backed vinyl we’ve used gives the walls a nice soft touch.
  • We spent a few hours last weekend figuring out a folding technique that would make the corners less bulky, then Jonty drew up a template for me to use. This saved a pile of time when cutting the corners out! We made the decision to peel off some of the foam around the edges we were folding over, then used 3M 90 adhesive spray for the gluing.
  • We’re super happy with how it’s coming along! We still have more panels to go (in the ceiling corners, and at the front) but I think it’s going to make the van feel quite cozy when it’s all installed 🙂 | Sprinter van conversion - foam-backed vinyle covered panels | Sprinter van conversion - foam-backed vinyle covered panels | Sprinter van conversion - foam-backed vinyle covered panels

Pictures from 04.March.2017:

We had snow. Again. On the last day of February. Granted, it only lasted for a few hours in the morning. But still! Those poor little daffodil shoots won’t know what hit them! And then we had rain. A lot of rain. The van work got a bit soggy, but we were treated to a sunset at the end of our week. And somehow, a good unexpected sunrise will make you forget all the other weather 🙂 | Vancouver in March

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 25.February.2017

I was on vacation this past week and that translated into A LOT of van work, which I didn’t mind. So I hope you’re ready for a pile of van photos, because that’s where we spent most of the week!

Here’s what caught our eye online this past week. Our Saturday Snippets for 25.February.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

  • It’s been a busy week for our little Moby. The first big news is that we bought a Bully Hitch Step! This has been a game-changer for getting into and out of the back of the van. The 4×4 makes the height of the van quite a high step, so this has really helped. Why did we wait so long to get something like this?! | Sprinter conversion - attaching a Bully Hitch Step | Sprinter conversion - attaching a Bully Hitch Step

  • We’re finally at the point where we can start to add more of our Thinsulate insulation to the van. There are nooks and crannies everywhere in the van and one of the trickier locations to put insulation is into the hollow ceiling ribs. Thank goodness for YouTube, there’s some great solutions on there! The method: tape over all holes and attached a piece of tissue to the end of a string. Then, using a vacuum cleaner, suck the string through the rib. Once the string is through, attach one end of the string to the Thinsulate, and gently pull it back through the rib – done! I was able to do one ceiling rib in about 5 minutes, I reckon YouTube saved me days of work! | Sprinter conversion - insulating the ceiling with Thinsulate | Sprinter conversion - insulating the ceiling with Thinsulate

  • Everything is curved in this van – the walls, the ceiling, parts of the floor… It’s a bit of a nightmare for Jonty and his design work. Another job we ticked off this week was to do something about the curvature of the lower wall panel boards. The solution was to add shims of varying thicknesses to the back of the wall panels. Now that it’s done, the walls are straighter, and we’re much happier 🙂 | Sprinter conversion - installing wall panels

  • Finally, we got around to insulating and boxing-in wheel wells. Jonty CNC’d the panels for wheel well boxes and we stained them. We added Thinsulate to each wheel well and attached each wheel well box to the floor and wall, and put in the panels. While we were at it, Jonty beefed up the attachments for the battery box. Everything tied down nicely now! | Sprinter conversion - building a wheel well box

Pictures during the week of 25.February.2017:

Honestly, the week was filled with van work from Sunday through Friday, so we didn’t have a chance to get out for our weekly photo walk. I did manage to snap a few sunrise and sunset photos, as we travelled to and from Maker Labs. So this will have to do 😉 | Vancouver sunrises

Happy Weekend!