Saturday Snippets: 25.November.2017

Gosh, we’re already at the last weekend of November! We’ve entered in our first bouldering competition of the season, and we’re looking forward to climbing some fun problems tomorrow!

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 25.November.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

  • For those climbers who have ever had to leave a piece of gear behind on a route, because you couldn’t get to the top, here’s a potential solution. Or, just carry a bail-biner ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Mmm, a lovely lentil coconut soup / stew for the changing seasons.
  • I saw this recipe, thought it would be a nice weekend treat, and bought persimmons the following day. At the rate we’re eating them, I may have to replenish the stock!
  • We love a good whiskey every once in a while (single malt, please). We tend to buy a bottle to mark a special occasion, and drink them at the same rate (i.e. special occasions). If you haven’t been bitten by the whiskey bug yet, here’s a guide to start. Oban and Cragganmore are two of my favourites!
  • Come December 1st, we’re all for looking at Christmas lights. Here’s 32 places around Vancouver, where you can find the best and brightest.

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

  • We’re still figuring out our shower. We think we’ve settled on a shower pan, and we’ve ordered a shallow drain, which has arrived already, and we’ve ordered some other parts. Jonty will probably start prototyping out a box for it next week.
  • We’re also still trying to decide on the best place for our bikes in the back. Every time we open the back doors, we’re convinced we have tonnes of room back there. And every time we bring our bikes around, still nope! They’re just awkward to fit in there – too tall or too long. The last time we tried to figure out a bike storage solution, it was to determine the bed height. Now that we have the bed in, our physical constraints ain’t moving! We’ve tried out a few different orientations, so we’ll see which one ends up the winner.

Vancouver Mural Festival walk:

This past week, we’ve been hit with our classic Vancouver weather – rain. So much rain. Instead of focusing on the grey and dreary, I thought it would be nice to inject a bit of colour into this post.

A few weeks ago, we had a glorious day of sunshine and we used it to get out on our bikes and trundle around the newest murals in Vancouver. We did this last year as well, by making a bit of a day of it. Cycling around, looking at art, popping into little shops for coffee and nibbles and the occasional brew.

If you live in Vancouver, or are planning to visit, walking around the murals would be a great way to spend the afternoon. The Vancouver Mural Festival website has all the artist and mural information, as well as a map of where everything is.

Here are a few of our favourites from this year!

ARI DE LA MORA + IRVING CANO – “Dance the Dance My Girl”

TYLER KEETON ROBBINS – “Trees Burn While Flowers Bloom”

JENNY RITTER – Community Mural

JANE CHENG – “Holograph”

CARRIELYN VICTOR – “Scolder Dives for Berries”

ANDY DIXON – “Vancouver Studio (After Matisse), 2017”


DAVID ULLOCK + DOUGLAS NHUNG – “Luxurious Dreamscape Bubblebath”

GHIA COLLECTIVE – “Community Tree”


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 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: 22.July.2017

Today my Mom is turning the big 6-5ย (Happy Birthday, Mom!!), and I’ve flown back home to help her celebrate. She doesn’t know I’m coming, though. So if all goes according to our plan, and nobody slips up, I’m hoping she will be suitably surprised. I’m pretty excited to see the look on her face ๐Ÿ™‚

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

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

  • The BC Wildfire situation is still a major concern in our province. There are now over 45,000 evacuees displaced from their homes and communities (that may not even exist anymore), ย and the province has brought in numerous wildfire fire fighters from Australia to help with containing the blazes. Every summer brings wildfires in this province, but this year seems to be extra sever. At the time of writing this, there are over 180 fires burning, and apparently over half of them have been started by humans. People – stop throwing your cigarette butts on the ground!!
  • If you’re not living in a furnace, I think this Turkey Pesto Meatloaf would be worth turning the oven on for. And if you ARE living in a furnace, making them into burgers for grilling on the BBQ.
  • I bet there are countless ways you could change up this summer veggie quinoa bowl, and never get tired of it.
  • Do you have any sunglasses that are still perfectly fine, except for a scratched lens? Apparently you can just order new lenses from this website, for tonnes of different sunglasses brands!
  • Did you catch Alex Honnold talking with Jimmy Kimmel about his most recent free-climb ascent in Yosemite? When he describes it, he almost makes it seem like a normal thing to do!

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

  • We started on the platform bed this week!
  • The original thought was to use aluminum angle to form a frame (with a centre bar) and then to use wooden slats (like the Ikea kind) to form the platform. The reason for using aluminum (instead of steel) was to minimize weight issues. The reason for using wooden slats (instead of a solid wooden base) is for ventilation.
  • We purchased and installed aluminum angle along the sides of the van. That seemed to go forward without a hitch. | Sprinter van conversion - building a platform bed | Sprinter van conversion - building a platform bed

  • Jonty still had concerns about the strength of the aluminum. Because this is a platform frame, it is kind of free-floating and isn’t directly attached to the floor. Deflection and bending of the frame could be a real concern. So he did a few deflection calculations, based on the grade and thickness of aluminum we were planning on using. And, yup, the frame wasn’t going to be strong enough, with the intended design.
  • In order to make the bed frame strong enough, we could either use a lot more aluminum (which would then negate any weight-saving benefits), or we could use steel. So, steel it is! We’re keeping the same design, but using Unistrut steel framing for the cross-bars of the bed. | Sprinter van conversion - building a platform bed

  • So the framing will continue, and hopefully next week, we’ll be able to show you a finished platform bed!

Pictures from the week of 22.July.2017:

We had to pick up more electrical wire for the van (story of our lives) on Monday, so made a pit stop down to Granville Island for a coffee and stroll. As long as we get there early enough (and not on a weekend day), we can always find a place to park Moby ๐Ÿ™‚ | Vancouver BC - Granville Island | Vancouver BC - Granville Island | Vancouver BC - Granville Island | Vancouver BC - Granville Island

On Tuesday, we headed to a new climbing crag. It’s only about 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver (which is nice) but it does require walking along the highway for a few hundred meters (not that nice). While it didn’t smell smoky, the air quality was definitely compromised in the morning. It still looks kind of pretty, though! | Howe Sound views

By the end of our climbing day, the air had cleared, and we had a nice view of Howe Sound. | Howe Sound views

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 15.July.2017

Happy Weekend! Hope your week was a good one, and your weekend is even better! Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 15.July.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

  • This company is 3D-printing climbing holds. And they’re based in Vancouver!
  • My birthday is in a few weeks, and Jonty’s been asking what kind of cake I might like. I think I might go rogue, and one of my requests was a peach pie (I love pie). But this blueberry pie is pulling at my birthday strings… ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Quantum Physics for babies! I know what all of our nephews are getting for Christmas ๐Ÿ™‚ They can grow up to be rock-climbing physicists, like their auntie and uncle.
  • I found this article about how AirBnB rentals in tourist towns are squeezing out the locals from accessible housing quite interesting. The same thing is happening in Vancouver, and the local government is trying to figure out a good solution, to ensure locals can find long-term rentals.
  • This is one of my favourite Canadian instagram account. He’s based out of Regina, and does a lot of Saskatchewan photos, and they’re all gorgeous!

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

Bed Frame:

  • Well, the closest we got to working on the bed frame, was bringing down our bikes and bouldering pads, to see how much room we were going to have under the bed. Spoiler alert – we’re too tall for our orignal plans :/
  • When we travelled in our rental RV a few years ago, we had to take the front wheels off, seats out, and stack the bikes on top of each other. It looks like we may have to go that route again. If we do, however, at least we’ll be able to design a box that will hold the bikes without damaging them and will be more accomodating for our needs.
  • As for the bouldering pads, we might end up attaching them to the back doors! They will fit where we first intended them to go (standing up, behind the wheel wells, along the side of the van, like in the picture below). But seeing as our original bike storage design isn’t going to work, the original bouldering pad location might not be ideal, either. We shall see! | Sprinter van conversion - measuring for platform bed

More Wiring:

  • Jonty started (and finished) wiring up the galley appliances!
  • Both the induction cooktop and fridge now work off our inverter as well as shore power, and the fridge is wired to work off of our 12V supply when not hooked up. This means we can start planning our first meal in the van, and then come home to do dishes ๐Ÿ™‚
  • The lights are all wired into zones. Yes, we have zones in our sprinter ๐Ÿ™‚ There are 4 zones in total: The ceiling lights are separated into the bedroom lights + kitchen lights, and the under-cabinet LEDs are also separated into the bedroom + kitchen. All are dimmable, and are remote controlled. We love how it’s turned out! | Sprinter van conversion - 12V fridge hook up

The fridge is cold inside!!

Pictures from the week of 15.July.2017:

We had to take my bike into the shop on Monday so while we were waiting for the store to open, we took a meander down Spanish Banks West beach. The tide was waaaaay out, and it was kind of neat to have so much extra โ€œbeachโ€ to walk on! | Vancouver BC - Spanish Banks Beach West | Vancouver BC - Spanish Banks Beach West | Vancouver BC - Spanish Banks Beach West | Vancouver BC - Spanish Banks Beach West | Vancouver BC - Spanish Banks Beach West

As we were walking back to the car, we stopped at these old driftwood trees that had been carved into furniture. I nudged Jonty to go and sit on one, so I could take an artsy-fartsy picture for my July photo challenge. This woman walked by, and offered to take a picture of both of us sitting. It through me for a loop! I’m pretty sure we couldn’t have been sitting together more platonically, if we had tried ๐Ÿ™‚ | Vancouver BC - Spanish Banks West

However, these pictures… I’m pretty sure this isย more representative of us:

โ€œJonty, let’s pretend we’re looking up at how high the rock is that we just climbed, okay?! Keep looking up! Keep looking up!!โ€ | Porteau Cove BC - climbing at Lumberjack wall

โ€œDarn it, the picture didn’t take. Keep looking up!! You’re still looking up, right??!โ€ | Porteau Cove BC - climbing at Lumberjack wall

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 24.June.2017

Gosh, the last weekend of June! How did this month go by so quickly? Here’s a few things that caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 24.June.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

I was on vacation this past week, and we really seemed to cram in a lot of work!

Kitchen Galley:

  • We filled all the holes and grooves with West System 105 epoxy (+ 205 Hardener) and covered any areas we thought would be affected by the under-mounted sink. I’ve never worked with epoxy before, so started on the underside of the counter, where I could make mistakes, knowing they would never be seen ๐Ÿ™‚
  • When you see the big blobs of amber-coloured epoxy all over the wood, I must admit, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Would that amber colour remain? Would you see remnants of the epoxy on the wood? But it turns out the epoxy sands smooth very easily, so we ended up without any overspill on the filling. | Sprinter van conversion - epoxy on butcherblock counter | Sprinter van conversion - epoxy on butcherblock counter

More CNC-ing:

  • We’ve CNC’d, stained and installed the back and sides of the kitchen counter. Do you like our ventilation holes?! | Sprinter van conversion - galley design


  • We wanted to make use of the 8020 grooves to hang curtains. We bought a strip of nylon glider, which fits into the grooves and cut some into small pieces, then screwed in a small hook into the centre. These act as runners along the length of the 8020!
  • I had a bit of fabric lying around the house, so sewed up a version of what we thought we might want, just to see if the runners would work. They totally do! So now the โ€œrealโ€ curtains can be made, once I figure out a colour scheme. | Sprinter van conversion - hanging curtains

Pictures from the week of 24.June.2017:

The Dragonboat Festival is on this weekend. Last weekend we had a rest-day (from climbing) and meandered down along the waterfront. We saw a few of the boats getting last-minute practice in. It was a beautiful afternoon to sit and watch the world go by. | Vancouver BC - Olympic Village | Vancouver BC - Olympic Village

Happy Weekend!