Saturday Snippets: 18.November.2017

The Vancouver Eastside Culture Crawl in on this weekend, and we’re planning to check out some of the artists around town! We went last year, as well, so the plan is to check out the other areas we missed last year. If you’re in the Vancouver area, it’s a great way to check out local artists – there’s something for everyone!

Here’s what caught our eye in the online world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 18.November.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

It’s been a bit of a slow week here on the Moby News. Jonty is in design-mode, so nothing has physically been done in the van. We’re still trying to figure out the best way to make our shower and have been hashing out different setups. Nothing is ever a simple solution, but we’re getting there ๐Ÿ™‚

On Visiting Dawson Creek:

Last week I had to fly up to Dawson Creek (no, not the television show… ๐Ÿ™‚ ) for a work visit. One of my colleagues usually looks after this site, but she was going to be out of town and I was able to help her out. I’ve never been up that far north in BC, so a part of me was actually excited to go. It’s just unfortunate that my first experience up there was in the middle of November! It was -17ยฐC when I landed, although the following day was slightly warmer (a balmy -10ยฐC). Regardless, I was able to get out and explore while the daylight (and my frozen fingertips) lasted!

On the flight up, we were delayed in Prince George for a few hours, due to heavy fog and poor visibility in Dawson Creek. Once we got there, however, I was greeted with the most beautiful hoarfrost-covered trees. As I was โ€œnavigatingโ€ my way to my hotel (there are only 2 main roads in the town, no navigating really required), I saw a big park off to one side of the road and stopped for some pictures.

I assume it’s a well-used park, as the paths were shoveled clear. It would be quite pretty in the summer, as a creek meandered through it. I managed about 20 minutes of picture-taking, before my fingertips were red and I was beginning to lose feeling in them. Despite that, I really enjoyed the brisk walk out!

The following day, I had a few hours to kill before my flight was scheduled to leave, and the blue sky was beckoning me to do a bit of exploring of the town centre. The claim-to-fame of Dawson Creek is that it’s situated at Mile 0 of the Alaskan Highway.

At the central hub of the town is a nice art gallery and tourism information centre, built out of an old grain elevator. They also have an electric vehicle charging station! Colour me impressed ๐Ÿ™‚

… A little something for you, Dad!

Again, it’s too bad that my first visit up here was in November because I think it would be a nice area to explore for a day or two (in the right season). The town seemed to have quite a few parks and green spaces, and a handful of quaint cafes and coffee shops.

I had stopped in at the Baked Cafe for lunch, and was treated to the most fantastic turkey sandwich on homemade bread. Everything there was made from scratch and looked wonderful. Cookies, cinnamon buns, bread, soup, you name it! I’d go back to Dawson Creek, just to eat there again!

My colleague did offer to trade me her Fort St John / Dawson Creek trip next summer, if Moby wanted an extended road trip. For that cinnamon bun? I could possibly be convinced! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy Weekend!

Moby, the Big Grey Van, travels to Powell River

Two weeks ago (how can this be two weeks ago already?!), we took Moby (the big grey van) on his maiden voyage. I had to work in Duncan (Vancouver Island) and Powell River (Sunshine Coast), so we knew it would be a perfect time to finally test out the van! Usually, September is a gorgeous month on the Pacific West Coast, and this year didn’t disappoint. We had one day of rainy weather, but otherwise we were welcomed to the Island life with sunny arms.

Day 1:

As always, I take the first ferry over to Vancouver Island on my site-visit day. It’s always a very early start and a long day, but more often than not, we’re treated to beautiful sunrises. There was a bit of low cloud this year, but the end result was still pretty fantastic.

Because the travel was for work, we decided to stay in campgrounds instead of finding a place off-grid. And at the end of the day, three nights in a campground is still significantly cheaper than three nights in a hotel! Our first night camping was at Brannen Lake Campground. It’s almost right in Nanaimo, although you wouldn’t think you were that close to a city. It was a nice little spot. The bathrooms were clean and it was quiet at night. We couldn’t really ask for more.

Day 2:

Day two was a travel day, as we needed to drive from Nanaimo to Comox, then catch the ferry from Comox to Powell River. We decided to make a leisurely day of it, stopping at the local marine hardware store in Nanaimo first (Jonty was in heaven), then googling one of our favourite phrases: โ€œBest Bakery Near Meโ€.

Our search landed us at a Bodhi’s Artisan Bakery. The city is putting in a new road right in front of the bakery, so navigating into the little complex was a bit tricky with Moby, but I’m glad we persevered. We shared a cinnamon bun and a bread pudding roll (yes, it felt like vacation), and both tasted mighty fine with a cup of their locally roasted coffee. If you’re heading north out of Nanaimo, I’d recommend a visit!

An hour or so later of highway driving, you end up in Comox. We had about an hour before we needed to be at the ferry, so we planned a stop in for a quick flight at Gladstone Brewery. The brewery used to be an old mechanics shop and they still had some of the old memorabilia integrated into the space (think wrenches for beer pulls, old gears for door handles). The place was attached to a wood-fired pizza place, and it sure was a busy little spot! Good beer, nice people and the food looked pretty tasty, too.

The nice thing about small towns is that nothing seems very far from anything else ๐Ÿ™‚ The ferry terminal is only about 10 minutes from the downtown, and we just managed to slide in before our 30-minute reservation cut-off time.

And one hour later, under a bright blue sky and on shimmering water, into Powell River we landed! Again, small town, short distances. Our campground (Willingdon Beach Campground) was just down the main drag, along the water’s edge. The site we were in didn’t have water hook-up (only electrical), but the views from our front door, more than made up for it. This was home for the next four nights!

We had one day of rain while we were in Powell River, but we still managed to get out climbing for a few hours before the rain came down. Even then, it was only bad for a few hours. Still enough time in between showers to snap some pictures of their harbour.

Day 3 to 5:

After finishing my site visit on Friday, we headed up to a local climbing crag (Higgyland) and tried to figure our way around the rock. The pdf guide wasn’t as helpful as we were hoping, and we’re pretty sure we climbed things that were much harder than was indicated online, but we had lots of fun and met some super helpful locals!

Our in-between climbing moments were spent enjoying the scenery, eating good food, and drinking good beer. Really, you can’t go wrong with that pseudo-vacation combination!

Day 6:

It takes almost a full day of travelling to get from Powell River back to Vancouver. It’s another two ferry rides plus about two hours of driving. But, they are beautiful ferry rides, and the drives don’t seem so bad when you’ve got a good co-pilot!

Before the ferry left the Saltery Bay ferry terminal (Powell River), we stopped in at Stillwater Bluffs (we saw there was climbing and bouldering there) to look around. The wind was a bit stiff but it was blowing the clouds away, and it was a great little hike before the journey home.

So, if you ever find yourself camping on Vancouver Island or the Sunshine Coast, here are somethings you might find useful:

Where to stay:

Where to get a good baked good:

  • In Ladysmith: Old Town Bakery (Definitely stop here if you’re heading south of Nanaimo. I look forward to it every single year! Their cinnamon buns…gah!)
  • In Nanaimo: Bodhi’s Artisan Bakery (we didn’t have any, but his homemade bread also looked fantastic!)
  • In Powell River: Powell River Farmer’s Market (runs Saturdays and Sundays) or River City Coffee

Where to get a good coffee:

Where to get a good beer:

Hopefully now that Moby, the Big Grey Van, is starting to make his way into the world, we’ll be able to start sharing more of our adventures!

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ ) 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 ๐Ÿ™‚
  • 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 ๐Ÿ™‚
  • 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 โ€œgarageโ€, 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ | 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ | 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ | 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ | Sunrise in Vancouver BC from Cambie Street Bridge | Sunrise in Vancouver BC from Cambie Street Bridge

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 29.April.2017

Goodness gracious – the last weekend of April! I feel like I’m in denial. Maybe because it’s only started to kind of feel like spring in the last week. One more weather fact for you, because we’re Canadian, and apparently it’s all we talk about ๐Ÿ˜‰ On Monday,ย Jonty sent me the rainfall update for April: as of Monday, Vancouver has had 170 mm of rain in April (the average for the month is 67 mm), and we still had a week to go! However, the sunshine gods must have been feeling sorry for us, because we’ve had more sun than rain this last week of April. Hopefully this is a sign of weather to come?

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 29.April.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

This was another week of planning and prototyping, but we’ve officially entered cabinet-making season ๐Ÿ™‚

The Cabinets:

  • The first half of this week was all about the hinges. What type of hinges are there, what kind do we want to use, do we want to fully cover the 80-20 or not, how can we attach the hinges to the 80-20, what hinges will work with 1/4-inch thick cabinets, etc, it’s all non-standard…
  • The second half of this week was all about the latches. Once we figured out the kind of latch to use on the cabinet doors, we then spent a bunch of time trying to figure out who sold them in the lower mainland, to see them in person.
  • Good news is that we think we have answers to both questions! Jonty used some cheap-o $3 hinges from Home Depot, to prototype attaching them to the 80-20. It involves drilling holes in the hardware, but we think it’s going to work! We also found the latches we want to use, at the local Marine store (which is closing their Vancouver store shortly), so picked up one to try (at a 25% discount!). | Sprinter van conversion - upper cabinet hinges

  • We picked up a few sheets of 1/4-inch Baltic Birch and started making the cabinets! The bottoms of all the upper cabinets will slide into the grooves of the 80-20. The cabinet fronts and sides will fully cover the 80-20 frame. Jonty was able to blitz out 4 cabinet bottoms and 4 cabinet fronts on the CNC machine yesterday. Now we just have to stain / seal them, and attach the hardware and we’ll have usable storage space! | Sprinter van conversion - cabinet bases

Cabinet bottoms, made out of 1/4-inch Baltic birch, will slide into the grooves of the 8020 extrusion. | Sprinter van conversion - cabinet bases

Cabinet bottoms, made out of 1/4-inch Baltic birch, will slide into the grooves of the 8020 extrusion.

Pictures from the week of 29.April.2017:

Last Saturday we were climbing in the competition, but Sunday morning we spent an hour wandering around downtown Victoria, to snap a few pictures before it got too busy. Victoria has a very walkable downtown area, and I absolutely love the old brick buildings! | Downtown Victoria BC | Downtown Victoria BC | Downtown Victoria BC | Downtown Victoria BC | Downtown Victoria BC | Downtown Victoria BC

Happy weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 22.April.2017

We’re in Victoria for the weekend, and hopefully the weather is going to hold! We’ve got our bikes walking shoes and our climbing gear and our growlers ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 22.April.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

  • For the most part, I’m not good at stretching. It’s not in my daily routine, so I forget. Perhaps it should be my goal to incorporate at least one of these stretches into my day.
  • Whether you climb or not, this sweet potato and avocado burrito should satisfy all taste buds.
  • The science of weird food pairings. This was definitely not one of my physics courses offered at university.
  • At first, I was drawn to the gorgeous colour of this green sauce. Adding miso? Colour me intrigued!
  • Sometimes, you just need a good piece of really-dark-chocolate cake. Simple and unpretentious. This looks to be that cake.
  • It’s everyone’s favourite season in Vancouver – Attack-of-the-Crow Season! Yup, we’re entering those magical few months when you feel like you’re being followed, tormented and dive-bombed by those avian creatures. I wish I could find something nice to say about them (because I know they’re just protecting their young) but I can’t. They follow me and freak me out. Jonty thinks my fear is irrational, but I beg to differ!

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

The Electrical:

  • For whatever reason, it felt like a slow week on the van conversion. Well, only in that I was working most of the week and Jonty was updating some of our electrical schematics, and doing a bit more prototyping. So it was a bit of a computer week. | Sprinter van conversion - electrical diagrams

The Fridge:

  • We did get the fridge fully installed and secured to the L-track and 80-20, so that is good. That sucker is solid!!
  • Jonty cnc’d one more mount for under the middle of the fridge, finishing that part of the set-up. | Sprinter van conversion - fridge mounts for L-track

The black fridge mounts are bolted to the L-track (through the van floor) and then connected to the 80-20 extrusion on the top. The fridge is then connected to the 80-20. | Sprinter van conversion - fridge mounts for L-track

Having a bit of a laugh while installing the fridge mounts. These three mounts will connect the 80-20 to the L-track. The fridge is then connected to the 80-20, and thus to the van floor. Solid!

The Galley:

  • Yesterday we found out that our sink (which was supposed to be delivered last week … then Tuesday… then Thursday….) has officially gone missing. Big bummer. Some employee must really love RV-sized double sinks! At least Amazon recognized the unfortunate disappearing package was not our doing, we’ve been refunded the price already. But we still need to order another one, which will probably take another 3 or 4 weeks (because they weren’t in stock). Again, bummer.

Pictures during the week of 22.April.2017:

We’re in Victoria this weekend for a bit of a getaway. The weather was absolutely glorious on the ferry ride over, and you better believe we tried to soak up as much Vitamin D as possible! We’ll need it, as the weather is supposed to turn rainy again today (hence, no bikes). But we’re used to this; it will just be nice to enjoy the new scenery.

So, next week there should hopefully be a few pictures from our weekend away. For today, you get ferry pictures ๐Ÿ™‚ | BC Ferry ride to Victoria BC | BC Ferry ride to Victoria BC | BC Ferry ride to Victoria BC | BC Ferry ride to Victoria BC | BC Ferry ride to Victoria BC

Happy Weekend!