Merry 2016!

I will concede that this blog has quickly deteriorated into a historical archive, but rest-assured it is not because we are not having fun. Trailer-related activities have temporarily ground to a halt on account of the awesomeness that surrounds on a daily basis. Basically, there is so much recreation around Pemberton that we are hard-pressed to feel a need to travel in our tiny, mobile home.

In fact, we’ve gone and acquired the opposite of a tiny, mobile home: a small, stationary townhouse!

But, don’t worry. True to form, we have completely gutted it to the studs, reconfigured the layout, and are slowly working on reconstructing it back into a livable habitat… Sound familiar?

This renovation is taking more time (and $$$) than the Burro, and that isn’t helped by the fact we are constantly distracted by the winter wonderland that has descended upon Pemberton and Whistler. Hopefully we’ll finish before biking season starts…

Check the forecast. Bring the Burro. (Plus, a motor-assisted adventure)

Whoa! Hey there! We’re back!

So we haven’t been out with the Burro much on account of the general awesomeness that is Pemberton (see end of post), but we did camp in it once this summer. And we also camped without it once.

Let’s see how the two trips turned out:

Camping trip #1: Squamish (with Burro)

When apocalyptic smoke from local, raging wildfires descended on Pemberton, we loaded up our car and Burro for a biking trip in Squamish with some friends. After waking our battery from what seemed like a potentially fatal coma, re-attaching the tow mirrors, and revising our faithful “Towing Checklist”, we were off to the adventure capital of Canada.

(Pro tip: If your AGM battery’s voltage is too low to charge, hook it up in parallel with another higher-voltage battery. The higher voltage battery will give the inverter the voltage it needs to charge. We did this by hooking our trailer up to the car; both the car and the inverter were able to charge the trailer battery this way. Back from the dead!)

After a sweet day of slaying it on our bikes (kind of like this: Half Nelson), we retreated back to the best spot at Wonderland Valley Resort for a wonderful evening of grilled halloumi and other foods that not as memorable as grilled halloumi. When the rain started in again, we retreated into the Burro for drinks, desert, and a comfy evening of conversation.

Overall, a fantastic, dry, well-equipped trip!

Camping trip #2: South Chilcotin Mountains (no Burro)

We intended this to be our anniversary adventure bike weekend. The Monday before, I eagerly and hastily snagged the last camping spot for the weekend. The road across the mountain pass from Pemberton to the Tyax Wilderness Resort seemed too rough for our hand-crafted trailer, so we decided to leave the Burro at home and pack our tent.

One could have predicted the outcome of this trip when my response to the question “Is it still supposed to rain this weekend?” was “What rain?” Nevertheless, in true Ming and Jared fashion, we forged ahead, hoping for the best and planning for the best.

We can’t wait to go back and ride something besides muddy fire roads.

Moral of the story: Check the forecast. Bring the Burro.

In other news…

Oh man, we’ve had a lot of fun this summer. Mostly centered around biking. A lot is centered around a great group of friends. All of it enabled by an epic landscape and an unbelievable place. An attempt to summarize our activities will bore you with superlatives and exclamation marks, but humor me for a moment while I tell you about…

HELI BIKING!

It’s a thing! We did it! BOOM!

A post went up in the local women’s bike group that spots were available for a heli-drop. When I first saw the post, we were in the midst of a frantic deadline push at work. When the deadlines eased a bit, I realized that we could actually take a day off and snag the last 2 spots. I sent in my confirmation payment without telling Jared, and informed him of plans to bike in Whistler on our day off.

The morning of the ride, I was uncharacteristically productive in packing lunches and putting the bikes on the car. Jared (pre-coffee) stumbled into the kitchen and asked me, “Why are our bikes all wrapped up?” When I explained that the padding was for protection during the helicopter lift, he nodded without comprehension. When it finally sunk it, he lit up, totally animated by the day to come, and (characteristically) started frantically packing.

Obviously, it was amazing. The weather was perfect. The company was awesome (we met some super cool people). And the views were insane.

And all this was just out our front door; the helicopter pick up was a 15 minute drive away.

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Is that a tent for the Burro?

It’s official: we’re the weird kids. We built a tent for our trailer.

The legit reason is that snow load is real and not to be trifled with. (The idea and design was actually recommended to us by our landlord, a trail builder and ski patroller.)

However, the real reason is because our trailer is not water tight.

“Maybe you have a leak in the ceiling fan seal?” Great thought. Let me rewind a bit…

It was August in Pemberton. We were wrapping up an amazing summer, but were feeling nostalgic for the trailer. We decided it was time to give it the love it deserved and spent a weekend replacing the window seals. No more mold for us!

After unscrewing the aluminum frame from the fiberglass, we popped out the entire window and replaced the butyl tape that lined the windows and sealed it against the fiberglass. We did the same with the ceiling fan, replacing the silicone caulk we mistakenly used with a triple-layer butyl tape seal (the gap between the ceiling fan and fiberglass is really large in some areas). Then we had a congratulatory pizza lunch and afternoon lounge in the Burro. Lovely.

(Note: Our Burro twinsies at Mt. Bachelor were the ones who keyed us into the wonders of butyl tape. Silicone caulk dries out and cracks after 6 months. Butyl tape stays flexible for years and years.)

Fast forward to October. It was pouring in Pemberton and our cooler (serendipitously located directly under the drip) started to fill with water. Legit. Like 4 – 5 inches. Multiple times.

We were totally bummed, but couldn’t tackle re-sealing the fan with the bad weather. So we did the next best thing: we built a giant A-frame, plastic sheet tent for our Burro. And it was raining so much that we actually left work early on a rare dry day to built this.

And it’s holding up well. It’s snowing heavily right now (powder day!), and our little trailer is sheltered from the storm.

Sheltered from the storm

Sheltered from the storm

Up next: getting the Burro out of it’s home for our next ski-RV adventure. Revelstoke, anyone?

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Vote for us (now) on Cali Bamboo Project of the Month!

We’re in the running for Cali Bamboo’s Project of the Month!

Help us beat the (adorable) tiki room and the (kind of awesome) VW bug — we would really appreciate if you could resist voting for them and vote for us instead.

You can vote by “liking” our pictures on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Currently the only one who has voted for us is yours truly, so come join me in celebrating living in tiny spaces. The winning prize would cover half the flooring cost of the next project we’re planning 🙂

Voting ends in 2 days on August 26th, so please go and vote for us now!

Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Cali Bamboo

Thanks!!!

P.S. And you can always re-live our flooring adventures.

 

 

Room To Stretch Our Legs

So we live in a house now. (Well, we live in the ground level suite of a house.)

And while I do genuinely miss living in the trailer, our adventures are far from over. Over the past couple of months, we’ve adventured our way around Pemberton, with many more exciting things to come.

So far, summer has been incredible here — fresh, local produce, mountain biking (and lots of scars to show for it), lake trips, eternal days…

Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve been up to!

P.S. We’re hankering for another adventure in the trailer (oh how I miss that tiny space!). But, it’s too hot. It’s a little fiberglass sauna in there. Also, the inverter may have some issues. Trailer post-mortem to come…

 

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Joffre Lakes

Once we got to Pemberton, we first thing we did was take a hike.

And it was super cool… literally.

Joffre Lakes are a series of 3 alpine lakes that lead up to a massive glacier. The entire forest was still buried under six feet of snow, which made for a surreal winter wonderland, capped off by a shocking blue glacier. The trail was well-worn by previous hikers, although on our way back to the car we inadvertently followed a set of snowshoe tracks into some deep snow piles and slippery slopes. Curse you, snowshoe tracks!

Overall, though, an all-around great hike — we’re looking forward to doing this again in the summer (like, next week?) and camping at the highest lake.

(Right. And I should mention that I started this post in April, and just got around to writing the last sentence and adding pictures. So forgive my tardiness; we’ve been preoccupied…)

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Canada, eh?

The Great White North: the end of our full-time trailer living.

As of early April, we’ve towed our little trailer up to a town about 2.5 hrs north of Vancouver called Pemberton.

And parked it.

Pemberton is small and cute. There’s a killer coffee shop and a yummy french bakery. As you walk around town, you feel like you encounter as many off-leash toddlers as off-leash dogs (both are friendly). People don’t bother to lock their front doors, but will lock up their skis and bikes. And there’s no garbage pick-up on account of the bears and wildlife.

Did I mention the big ass mountain?

Every advertising dollar the BC tourism board spent during the Vancouver Olympics was well spent. “You Gotta Be Here: Super Natural British Columbia” — every time I saw one of those commercials, my eyes moistened a little as the views and scenery were embedded into my dreams.

And now, Ryan Reynolds, we are here. We did it.

But don’t be too sad about us moving out of the trailer. We’re actually camping out for a bit while our long term rental gets fixed up. And we plan on exploring much more of this vast country with our little Burro in tow.

 

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RV Realities, Episode 3

8. Public showers aren’t that bad. Honestly? It’s fine. It also helps that almost everyone camping in the winter is doing so in a full service motorhome, so I’ve never encountered another person in the women’s bathroom showers before. It’s like the entire bathroom exists just for me.

9. There are actually two dogs that live in the trailer. There is the live one, that pants and farts and takes up all the space on the bed and refuses to move. And then there is the omnipresent dispersed one made of thousands and thousands of abandoned hairs. Hairs that stick to everything, everywhere; on the egg that you just cracked into a frying pan, or the fork that you’re about to put in your mouth, or the underside of the bed cushions, multiple layers of fabric removed from where the dog actually sits. When we confronted Argus about his hairy little offspring, he just opened one eye, grumbled, and stretched out some more.

10. It’s all about moisture management. Human breathing, dog breathing, cooking, catalytic heater — all condensation producers. Every morning is like waking up in a tropical rainforest. And similar to a tropical rainforest…

11. There are multiple colonies of mold growing. It started with a little algae colony on our window; a fun little science experiment. But then the little black dots on our ceiling wood veneer starting multiplying and spreading. And then once day we took out all our shoes from under the cabinet and…. MOLD. 3-dimensional colonies flourishing on the unpainted wood supporting the back of the cabinets. The mold even spread to my beloved leather Rainbow flip-flops. Gross. Gross. Gross. Gross. Gross.

12. The most expensive things are the ones that break. Dealing with the $1,000+ over-spec’ed inverter has been a nightmare (tech support at AIMS Power is on speed dial). We watched the $200 birch veneer warp and wrinkle and mold over all the humidity and temperature changes (okay, it was a bad idea to start with). But our cheapo $40 cooler? Killin’ it.

13. Fiberglass is out to get us. Remember that post where we reattached the back bench and closet, and I was all like “I hope these rock-hard little domes of weakness don’t turn on us one night as we sit down for dinner.” Guess what? They did.

 

 

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Rainier!

So, it’s been quite a while, but here’s a little recap of the past 2 weeks for Jared…

On March 30th, Ming and I parted ways for a few days and I began my Ski Mountaineering class with Rainier Mountaineering Inc (RMI). I was originally invited by some friends to go heli-skiing, but ended up backing out a few days later (let’s just say cost wasn’t at the bottom of the list of reasons to bail).

So, instead, I signed up for this 5-day introductory course on the lower 48’s largest volcano, situated in the heart of the Cascades. The course planned to tackle the basics of ski-mountaineering (roped glacier travel, crevasse rescue, route finding, etc.) over the course of 4 days on the mountain. I was stoked!

On Saturday morning, I met the rest of the team. Solveig and Bryan were our guides, both with a ton of knowledge from the backcountry and time patrolling on the slopes. Then there was Jen, who was supposed to be accompanied by her friend Wendy (who had unfortunately broken her arm a week before the trip), and the “doctors” (two real-life doctors and one in-training). We spent the day in a classroom reviewing basic skills.

On Sunday, we reached the mountain in warm, but whiteout weather, and made our way to our camp just below Panorama Point. When the clouds cleared, the view was amazing…pictures don’t do it justice. We had to head back down the next day due to boot issues with one of the team members (seriously, who buys ski boots on the internet and wears them two days later, un-fitted, on a 4-day ski tour?!?!) and stick around the slopes by the Paradise parking lot while we learned the ropes of anchor building and crevasse rescue. All in all, a slow but great start to our trip. Jen and I even built an emergency snow cave, which was a surprisingly warm place to turn in for the night!

The next day, Jen, the guides and I milled around Paradise while the doctors woke up from their hotel beds and got hot breakfast in town.  We all set out around 11 am with perfect conditions on the mountain.  Our goal was Camp Muir, and the 5,000 foot climb proved quite a challenge with our 40 lb packs and relatively minimal experience ski-touring. We rolled in right around 6pm and eased in to the downright luxe bunkhouse, with hot water waiting for us in coffee carafes (thanks, RMI guides)!

The final day, we spent the morning on a little glacier tour, skiing down and skinning back up on-rope. Not sure how many of you have tried to downhill ski with a rope tied between your legs to the person in front of you, but it’s not quite the easiest thing to get the hang of. Redemption came on the final descent where we skied, unroped, down 5,000 ft of elevation to Paradise. What took us 6 hours to slog up the day before took about one hour to descend, and it was glorious!

So, for those of you considering a class with RMI, I highly, highly recommend it, not only for the quality of the climb itself and the great experiences, but for the amazing caliber of guides they offer. They were some of the most knowledgable people I’ve met, and open to answer any question or teach any skill. I hope I get the opportunity to return. Thanks guys!

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Girls weekend in Seattle

Hot, running water? Daily showers? Spacious bed? Laundry? Yes, please!

While Jared braved the elements on a massive volcano, I spent 5 luxurious days in Seattle with my super awesome girlfriend, Tina, who came up from the Bay Area to hang out with me. We had a fantastic time walking around in the sun (!!), soaking in the adorable neighborhoods of Seattle. An AirBnB studio in Ballard served as our home base, a perfect cozy spot on a quiet street.

From gawking at larger-than-life glass sculptures at the Chihuly museum, to hiking a snow-packed trail to Franklin Falls, Tina built us a schedule that encompassed the awesome diversity of the area. Checkout the pics for a highlight reel!

And THANK YOU, Tina, for a totally kick-ass vacation (from my vacation). Miss you already!

Part II:

You may have guessed by now that Jared and I aren’t big city-slickers, but I had such a great time in Seattle that I brought Jared back to the city after his stint on Rainier. We hit up some of the things that Tina and I didn’t get to, including going to an epic Seattle coffee shop and taking the Underground Tour. We also met up with our new friends from the Burn Hut in Colorado, who hosted us in their beautiful home looking out on the Cascades, and gave us a beautifully and skillfully painted watercolor of Argus that perfectly captured his personality. Thanks again, Peggy and David!

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