Goodbye Old Friend

R.I.P. 2008 - 2011

You came into our life during a time of transition. You gave hope, energy and caffeine on those summer Saturday mornings when we were building our future home. Your stainless carafe was sturdy and unbreakable as we bounced down washboard roads from Vermont to Utah. Your speedy brewing got us moving out of those Wal-Mart parking lots in a timely fashion. Your sleek design and simple functionality were things of envy among the climbers in Mexico. Your five-cup capacity ensured a fresh second pot on those cold rainy mornings when we just couldn’t get out of the van. You waited patiently in the holler while we swapped hemispheres. Your timer functioned flawlessly as you sputtered to life at 5:30 AM, signaling another morning of work in the California wine cellar. And you continued to brew, right up to the end, in our new Oregon home.

Goodbye old friend, your efforts were not in vein.

Dump Bike

When I was a kid I used to love a trip to the dump. It was a real treat to hop in the cab of the pick-up with my dad or granddad and haul off a load of junk. Our ‘local’ dump was out there in the middle of nowhere. A place you only go to get rid of stuff, legally. On many of those trips I’d wander off from the task at hand, dumping our junk, to pick through other people’s junk. And from time to time other people’s junk would become my junk. It usually wasn’t much really, but as a kid it was nothing short of awesome.

Over the past few months Jill and I have been hauling a lot of junk out of the holler to the dump. Truckloads of junk. And while it was really just a trash transfer station instead of a real life landfill, it still brought back found memories of going to the dump. In all our trips I didn’t come home with a single thing. Until last week.

I backed the truck up to the un-loading dock right next to the red Dodge Ram brimming over with junk. Jill and I quickly went to work on our own load.  A voice rose out of the pile of junk next to us.

“What size tires you got there?!” asked the old guy next to us. He wanted to give us some of his junk.

We quickly defused the situation, they were too big, and went on emptying our junk. There was a queue forming so we quickly finished and hopped in the truck. Jill and I looked at each other and wondered aloud about the bikes in the back of the old fellows Dodge.

A challenge alright.

Chain guard, check.

Before I knew it I was headed home with two rusty bikes that had seen better days. Maybe they were some rare old brand. Maybe I could part them out. Maybe they just needed to go back to the dump.

Putting the shine on my newly 'created' dump bike.

A few hours and some WD-40 later two bike had become one. A swapped wheel, the least rusty stem and a ‘better’ set of handle bars later I had merged two into one. A steep frame, single speed with coaster brake. Awesome.

Ahrr-teeest

I can add a new skill set to my CV, artist. My mother in-law wanted a barn quilt, I had time on my hands…why not? We picked out the pattern and I went to work.

The artist hard at work down in the basement...errr...studio.

Barn quilts have been popping up all over Kentucky over the past few years. They are a great way to decorate a barn, display a classic family quilt pattern or give the horses something to look at. I like to think of it as rural public art.

Bringing color to the holler.

 

My interpretation of the spinning color wheel.

Headliner

Ahhh spring time is in the air. The grass is greening up, the birds are chirping and the days are getting longer. True signs of a season change. But you know how else I know its spring? We’re getting more hits on our van construction page. Laugh if you will but its the truth. Soon after we made this blog public (ie Google searchable) we noticed that most incoming traffic was going to the van construction page. Turns out a lot of people dig homebuilt camper vans. And after combing the internets for ideas and information while building ours, I can attest to the fact that there aren’t very many good homebuilt van sites on the world wide web. So as we blogged about our travels we always got a chuckle that the only real interest this site was the van construction page.

Like clockwork we noticed the spring spike in hits.  It started a few weeks ago, it seems that after a long cold winter the dirtbags are stirring. Tired of being cooped up all the rock climbers, adventurers, and those suffering from seasonal induced wanderlust start day dreaming of escape. They turn to the Google and end up on our blog. Who can blame them really? What better way to shake off the winter blues, see the sights and recreate than in your very own home built campervan.

Speaking of shaking off the winter blues, we’re dusting off our rig and getting ready to set sail once again. I’ve been tidying up a few odds and ends that have fallen by the wayside while we were in New Zealand and then rocketing across the country for the harvest last fall. The biggest change of all was recovering the headliner.  Seems the thirteen year old factory job was starting to give out. Changes in temperature and increased moisture from cooking and living aboard had worn out the glue holding the fabric to the backer board.  No worries, just pop out the factory headliner, strip off the old fabric and foam to recover with a material of your choice.

While I’m not sure about our choice in finishing, Jill loves it. Definatley different, it lightens things up from the deep dark factory navy blue that was original to the van. Our new headliner might not fly on the high fashion runways of Paris this spring, but it sure will look good out on the road.