The van still lays in disarray after the trip to Wyoming. The mechanical issues that arose during the trip, along with my redesign of the interior has created a never ending to-do list.
In order to tackle the list, today Jackie and I headed to the Home Depot to pick out the vinyl floor that will cover the dirty plywood floor we have been walking on since Wyoming. The van interior will be painted a warm white color with cedar strip trim framing everything up. I took a small chunk of cedar and stained it using Minwax wood finish: Special Walnut 224. I matched the color of the stained wood with our favorite vinyl flooring choice they had, and then proceeded to watch as the employees of the Home Depot wrestled with the online ordering system to complete the order. I would have been a little frustrated but Des and his fellow co-workers were hilarious and in good spirits, so Jackie and I patiently waited for the order to take form. While we waited, I couldn’t help but noticed the onslaught of Christmas music blaring from the speakers hidden somewhere in the giant department store. One of the employees made a comment about the terrible music, and I was transported back to my 7 years of retail working in a grocery store growing up. 40 hours a week from Thanksgiving till Christmas I would hear the same few merry songs on repeat. To this day, I feel nothing but madness anytime I hear a holiday tune. Call me a Scrooge, but I compare it to Chinese water torture. Repeated dullness until you go crazy. Anyways, we bought a 13’ x 5’ roll of the Smokehouse Oak Gunstock vinyl. It should arrive in a couple of weeks.
After the Depot visit, I headed out to the van and started working on the kitchenette. The kitchenette will slide in and out from under the bed giving us a solid platform to cook on while simultaneously storing all of our cooking paraphernalia. I built the frame of the actual kitchenette a couple weeks ago, so today I started building the structure that it will slide in and out from. I framed up the side next to the passenger side back window while leaving enough room to still be able to open and close the little side screen windows which will be hidden below the bed. I was hoping to top it off with some thin plywood, but ran out of the necessary materials to do so. Such is life.
Once the bed is put into place, Jackie and I will be able to use the van to camp in once again, so this is of the highest priority, followed by the laundry list of other things that still need done. Did I mention that my muffler fell off a few weeks ago? Time to slap a new one on I suppose, lest I lose our hearing on my way to work.
I’m sitting here in front of my computer sipping on some coffee while I think back on the fondest memories of my life. As a youngster many hours were spent after school riding my dirt bike in the woods or cutting trails. I think of all the times I played catch outside with Dad, vacations and hikes with my family. Wonderful days were spent in and on the water, hanging at the beach, kayaking, canoeing, fishing and Grandpa, Taking walks, biking, climbing, snow sledding down our giant hill into the woods with my sister and countless other memories fill my mind. It’s clear that most of my greatest memories take place outdoors. Read more
All I see is miles of pristine ocean water pinched between two vertical extruding rocks. Big white clouds float gracefully overhead, while my sailboat bobs up and down in the sun soaked harbor. I notice my deeply tanned skin as I pick up my camera to capture the view. The camera viewfinder comes up to my eye, and framed perfectly, is my beautiful wife, paddling toward the boat on a Stand Up Paddle board. With open ocean in one direction, and a white sandy beach in the other, I’m completely surrounded by beautiful green water. Off in the distance I hear the low hum of a boat jetting across the water somewhere. Then I have to ask myself, “Is this a dream?”. Read more
There are a few things that will get you a lot of criticism on Youtube. One is trying to teach people how to filet a fish, another is how to setup a climbing top rope anchor. As I was surfing across videos to get some ideas on creative ways to set up top ropes, I noticed the massive amounts of dislikes these videos were receiving. I started to read the comments on the videos and realized that everyone is an expert when it comes to this topic! I would be terrified to share my opinion on the subject. So here goes…. haha! Read more
I tried left, then right, but kept striking rock. The frost feathers holding me up, it became apparent, were maybe five inches thick and had the structural integrity of stale corn bread. Below was thirty-seven hundred feet of air, and I was balanced on a house of cards. – Jon Krakauer, Into The Wild
The Year of Exploration
2017 is to be a year of exploration. Not so much inward and personal, that was the past 6 years, but a physical and outward exploration. Less than half a year ago, after much debating, Jackie and I decided that we make the Twin Cities our home. We thought about moving south to warmer climates, or maybe back out west where our relationship had started, or maybe to the southwest. But we realized in the end that we had made some amazing friends in Minnesota and the state was a hotbed of outdoor enthusiasts and home to a variety of landscapes to explore. In order to make the most of our decision, we have decided that we will make 2017 all about searching for something interesting to do outdoors every single weekend. That’s 52 weeks to explore the upper midwest. On top of that, to feed my passion of creating videos and photos, we will make a video of each weekend’s adventure to remember it by.
So that brings us to this weekend. Leading up to the weekend I still didn’t have a concrete plan of where we were going to go or what we were going to do. Then our friend Lauren reached out to us and asked if we wanted to check out the Sandstone Ice Festival. What is that I wondered? After a quick interweb search, I came across images of a playground of rock and ice with climbers scaling the faces vertically. After just finishing the book Into the Wild and reading the chapter that is quoted at the beginning of this post about the author Jon Krakauer’s experience ice climbing the Stikine Ice Cap, I was intrigued. Jackie and I love rock climbing and with the long cold winter of Minnesota upon us, why not explore what ice climbing is all about? Read more