Saturday Snippets: 27.May.2017

I think Vancouver missed the spring memo, and has jumped straight to summer! We’ve had fantastic weather this week, and it’s supposed to continue through next week. We were able to get outside climbing twice this week (first of the season), and it felt pretty darned good. πŸ™‚

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Our Saturday Snippets for 27.May.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

We took Moby in to the shop to get some work done, at the beginning of last week. It was supposed to be done within the week. No such luck. At the time of writing this, it’s still not done, and their estimate is now by the end of next week! It’s a bit frustrating, but there’s not much we can do. Jonty thinks he might start designing the water / plumbing system for the van, because he’s finished up as much other design work as he can do, before we physically need the van.

So here’s what we’ve been getting organized for when the van IS back:

  • Our kitchen countertop butcher block slab has been purchased! We’ve bought an 8-foot unfinished slab from Yew Woodshop for super cheap (it becomes more expensive, if you want them to do all the work).
  • We’ve purchased our kitchen faucet! I’m pretty sure our van kitchen has officially become more modern and functional than our apartment. πŸ˜‰
  • Jonty has the CNC cut-outs for the countertop finished – we just need the van to load the wood in and haul it to Maker Labs.
  • We have the walls surrounding the fridge ready to be CNC’d and have added in a cool little design detail (you’ll just have to wait and see!).
  • We’re flipping back and forth between buying a small convection oven and a convection microwave oven. I think we’re leaning towards the oven-only option, as our food lives really revolve around baking/cooking with that. Any thoughts?

Pictures from the week of 27.May.2017:

On the Victoria Day Monday, we cycled up to UBC to look around. We’ve wanted to do this for ages – it’s been 10 years since Jonty finished working up there (eek!) and 12 years since I finished my Masters there (double eek!). We knew things had changed, and it was a glorious day, so thought it would be a good time to check it out.

Because I only did my Masters there, and spent most of that time off-campus, at the cancer centre, I’ve never really spent a lot of time exploring the campus. There were so many streets and buildings that I never knew existed! If you’ve never been around UBC, I’d urge you to take a walk or cycle through the campus. | Vancouver BC - UBC campus | Vancouver BC - UBC campus | Vancouver BC - UBC campus | Vancouver BC - UBC campus | Vancouver BC - UBC campus | Vancouver BC - UBC campus | Vancouver BC - UBC campus

Happy Weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 20.May.2017

Are you ready for the May long weekend? The May 2-4, Victoria Day, Memorial Day, the official start of camping season… Whatever day you’d like to call it, I think everyone can agree that we’re ready for a long weekend filled with sunshine. πŸ™‚

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Saturday Snippets for 20.May.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

This week, Moby was in the shop, getting a bit of a tune-up, so we haven’t been able to do any physical work on him. BUT, Jonty has been busy getting the CAD finished for the galley – figuring out the cut-out dimensions for the induction cooktop and sink.

We plan on having the cooktop mounted flush with the counter surface, and the sink will be under-mounted. As with everything else we do, we’ll prototype this design with a piece of cheap MDF, tweak the dimensions as necessary, and the CNC the finished product. | Sprinter van conversion - induction cooktop

True Induction 2-burner mini-duo cooktop. | Sprinter van conversion - double sink

Ambassador Marine double sink. | Sprinter van conversion - kitchen galley layout

Side-by-side layout for the cooktop and sink.

Before we started physically on the van, we made an initial design using FreeCAD. As we confirm dimensions, Jonty changes the original model to match reality and then tweaks the design of each part. As an example, here’s what our galley counter should look like in the end! The fridge is already installed, and we are still on the hunt for a convection microwave oven (which may be mounted under the sink as shown). Even thought we work on the van and see these progressions in person, it’s still oddly satisfying to see our van as a 3D model! | Sprinter van conversion - 3D rendering

Pictures from the week of 20.May.2017:

The weather was not quite as bright and sunny this week, as was predicted, but we’ve still been out and about. We spent a lovely Friday afternoon meandering along Jericho beach, taking in all the sights and sounds. The boaters and kayakers and paddle-boarders were all out on the water, and people were desperately willing-on the May long-weekend sunshine. A grey day at the beach is still better than a day in the office, I say! πŸ˜‰ | Jericho Beach walk in Vancouver BC | Jericho Beach walk in Vancouver BC | Jericho Beach walk in Vancouver BC | Jericho Beach walk in Vancouver BC | Jericho Beach walk in Vancouver BC

Happy (long) weekend!

Saturday Snippets: 15.April.2017

Happy Easter Long Weekend! Do you have any plans? We’re hoping the weather will hold for us to get a few good bike rides in, probably some van work, and definitely some good food!

Here’s what caught our eye online in the world of climbing, eating, cycling and repeating. Our Saturday Snippets for 15.April.2017.

On Climbing, Eating, Cycling and Repeating:

On Moby News (aka Sprinter van conversion):

The Awning:

  • Check out the automatic awning – it just works! Just ignore my barking orders πŸ™‚
  • We had a lot of rain since we cut the hole in the roof, and so far, no leaks. Always a bonus.

The Galley:

  • We finally started working on the galley this week. Which means we have at long last moved the fridge out of the living room in our apartment and into the van. Our apartment feels so spacious now!
  • The first big question was how to attach the fridge to the 80-20 frame and then attach that to the L-track in the floor. The second question was how we were going to thermally isolate the (metal) 80-20 frame from the (metal) L-track on the floor.Β We’ve got a plan, which we think is going to be pretty bomber.
  • Jonty spent the next few days prototyping fixtures and fittings, using the CNC to cut out the pieces we need. So far so good! We needed a few more parts (correct length screws, etc) but should have it all together by the end of the weekend. | Sprinter conversion - installing the fridge

The NovaKool fridge framed into the 80-20 galley. There will be enough room to place a shallow drawer above the fridge (and below the counter). | Sprinter conversion - installing the fridge

The fridge is attached to the 80-20 frame with a simple aluminum attachment (CNC-milled in aluminum by Jonty, specifically for this purpose). | Sprinter conversion - installing the fridge

The wooden mount fits under the fridge. It will be bolted through the L-Track in the floor (centre) and through the 80-20 (side holes).

Next up:

  • Our sink should arrive shortly, so we’re hoping to start prototyping the counter top out of cheap MDF. We’ll be able to play around with the fit of our induction cooktop and sink, and figure out if we need any additions to the 80-20 frame at all.
  • Then it’s probably more wiring and electrical work. It’s been quite time-consuming for Jonty, but he’s done such an amazing job!!

Pictures from the week of 15.April.2017:

The weather has still been a mixed bag. We had one nice day last weekend and were able to get out for a quick 15 km cycle. Then the other nice day was spent working on the van… which was glorious. We had the side door open, and only had to wear 2 layers, and I squinted into the sunshine for most of the afternoon. Bliss! | Vancouver cherry blossoms | Vancouver Maker Labs murals - blue sky

The other few days at MakerLabs have been grey and soggy. On one of the grey days, I snapped a few pictures of the area. If you know Vancouver at all, you’re probably aware of the Strathcona area, which borders onto the Downtown Eastside. We park the van inside the locked gate at Maker Labs, but can see what’s going down in β€œthe hood” throughout the day. | Vancouver murals at Maker Labs | Vancouver murals at Maker Labs

Most days, we see a minimum of 2 or 3 ambulance call-outs (dealing with the drug overdoses), a variety of people spaced out on something, and far too many people who are generally just trying to get by.

But if you look past some of the dark corners, you see the brightness, too. Murals cover many buildings in the area, and a local community garden (run, in part by some of the homeless people in the neighbourhood) is right across the back alley. Many artists live and work in the area, and there are great coffee shops and cafes everywhere.

It’s an interesting area and, I hope Vancouver will be able to find a way to help those people who need it, without forcing them out of their community. | Vancouver murals at Maker Labs | Vancouver murals at Maker Labs | Vancouver murals at Maker Labs

For better or for worse, there’s never a dull moment when we’re at work πŸ™‚

Happy Long 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰ 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ˜‰ | 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 πŸ™‚ | 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: 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 πŸ˜‰ | 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 πŸ™‚ | Vancouver Gastown buildings | Vancouver Gastown buildings | Vancouver Gastown buildings

Happy Weekend!