September Photo Challenge: TEXTURE Recap

September felt like a whirlwind month. The start of school (for some), and work (for others). After enjoying the dog days of summer, getting back into a daily routine seemed to ramp up quickly! September was my month of TEXTURE and I tried to spend the month looking into all the nooks and crannies of my everyday.

So here’s my TEXTURE recap for you.

The September Photo Challenge took me from …

… Climbing inside on textured plastic to climbing outside on the good stuff.

… Looking at the delicate texture of plants and flowers to the rough and gnarly texture of rocks and wood.

… Feeling the smooth, yet textured grip of a climbing rope to marvelling at the peeling bark of the Arbutus tree.

… Realizing how much metal we cross every day.

… Looking past the paint, to the texture of the buildings, themselves.

… Enjoying the ripples across ocean waves.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | September 2017 monthly photo challenge - Texture recap

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | September 2017 monthly photo challenge - Texture recap

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | September 2017 monthly photo challenge - Texture recap

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | September 2017 monthly photo challenge - Texture recap

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | September 2017 monthly photo challenge - Texture recap

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | September 2017 monthly photo challenge - Texture recap

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

Happy picture-taking!

October 2017 Monthly Word: MONOTONE

Well, September flew by with a blink of an eye! Maybe it’s the shorter month, maybe it was the great weather. Whatever the case, September was another great month. We were finally able to take the van out for overnight travels, and I think that’s been the major highlight of last month! And with that, My Month of Texture has come to an end. I’ll share the full photo round-up in a few days time.

October Month of MONOTONE

Well, this is another word I’m crossing off my “photo word list”. Like last month’s word, this is one I’ve wanted to try for quite awhile, but wasn’t sure if I’d be able to pull it off for a full month. I’ve always tried to use this personal monthly photography focus to challenge me to see the world in a different way, so there’s no time like the present! I’m thinking along the lines of Colour meets Minimalist. We’ll see how it goes!

So, I’ll be dedicating October to my month of MONOTONE. 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 #MyMonthOfMonotone and #MyMonthOfOctober.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | October 2017 monthly photo challenge word - MONOTONE

Here’s to a month of MONOTONE!

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: “Best Bakery Near Me”.

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 🙂 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!

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.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | August 2017 Monthly Photo Challenge - Happy recap

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | August 2017 Monthly Photo Challenge - Happy recap

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | August 2017 Monthly Photo Challenge - Happy recap

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | August 2017 Monthly Photo Challenge - Happy recap

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | August 2017 Monthly Photo Challenge - Happy recap

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | August 2017 Monthly Photo Challenge - Happy recap

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | 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: 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.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | 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.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Sprinter van conversion - convection oven installation

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | 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 🙂

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | 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.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | 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 🙂

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | 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 🙂

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Camping in the sprinter van

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | 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).

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Sunrise in Vancouver BC from Cambie Street Bridge

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | 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.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Sunrise in Vancouver BC from Cambie Street Bridge

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Sunrise in Vancouver BC from Cambie Street Bridge

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | 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 🙂

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Sunrise in Vancouver BC from Cambie Street Bridge

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Sunrise in Vancouver BC from Cambie Street Bridge

Happy Weekend!