Baby Steps Forward

Today was all about getting stuff done around the house—The joy of “moving” and downsizing to live life in a car. Definitely have found some hiccups in the car which is a little frustrating, the driver’s door side lock doesn’t manually push down to lock, the radio antenna is missing, so that’s going to set me back $10-15, not sure if it’s worth it to fix the lock.

Today I did get to chat with Darrow  and Kevin, who founded The Bird School Project, and is one of the best environmental education programs—I was hoping to visit him in Vermont, but I don’t think that’ll play out now. I did get some good suggestions for some of the essentials (down mummy bag, headlamp with a red light, and the like)—fortunately all this planning falls when there’s quite a few sales at REIBackcountry and the local Patagonia outlet—I already picked up pullover down jacket to keep warm for the trip at 1/2 off.

It’s funny how many small things there are to keep track of: camping supplies, cooking utensils, car supplies, where to go. I’m trying not to get bogged down in the little things so that way I can actually start the trip.  Eventually it feels like I’ll get to the point of just throwing everything in the car and going for it, the clock is ticking so hopefully I can get going sooner rather than later.

One hiccup is the air quality is pretty terrible in the Northwest right now, so I need to see where things are at in the next couple of weeks and see where that might push my path.

Northwest Air Quality Source:


New Car Day


The New (to me) Car

The last few days have been spent scouring Craiglist for what I want. After some stubbornness of not doing my trip in my 2 door Echo, AKA the green dolphin, I looked first at Subaru’s for AWD for dispersed camping, then quickly found the Honda Element.

These boxy little cars, have quite the cult following and hold their resale value well—important if on the other side of this trip I want to sell it and recoup some of the costs.

Tips for buying used cars:

  • Search craigslist—use a an RSS Reader, I used Vienna, it auto downloads any new posts and allows you to spot them on them
  • Research average going price—Another benefit of an RSS feed is I could see all the posts and costs of different cars and see what was a reasonable price. Also researching on Element Owners Club
  • Run a carfax and read Yelp (if buying from a dealer) I ended up finding mine through another site, with a dealer who only sells Subarus and Elements, he seemed reasonable
  • Get a prepurchase inspection done—The carfax did turn up some unreported damage so I had a mechanic in Dublin check it out (the dealer drove it there and back, and the mechanic called me before I drove it up, and everything checked out besides some typical maintenance stuff)
  • Test drive and purchase— try to haggle if you can, I knew I was getting pretty close to going price so I didn’t try to hard
  • Be ready to pay—most places will take cash, I ended up having to go to a local branch of my bank, which was fortunately around the corner, although it did take 30 minutes, so make sure to have the time for that.
  • Take care of loose ends—Drive safely, fill out paperwork, make sure to get it insured

I’m pretty happy with my car with the drive back, and feel quite spoiled with features like power windows, air conditioning, rear defroster—not to mention the moonroof, AWD, ample cargo room and head room, aux in,—I almost feel like I should just permanently move in.

The First Day of the Pre-Journey

It’s my first day of actually working towards this trip and not working—it was a great summer at soccer camp now it’s time for the next adventure.

It’s hard to just find the time to do everything. When not working, you feel like there should be so much, no commitments mean that time should be a plenty right?

Things take time, and work, and energy. Finding that time and putting that energy is exhausting…

Today was spent working at Verve, both shopping for things for the trip and planning on a running project I want to do, probably spent 5 hours there, it’s nice just to have a place to work. The tough part with writing for this and my other project is going to be the showing vs telling, it’s going to be a learning process, hopefully I can work on that here.

The other part of that project is the interviews and Runners in the Wild—right now it’s figuring out how to better interview people as well as. The basic idea is going around and meeting runners on my journey and then finding a way to highlight and tell their story with running. I’ve been thinking out what that will look like as the project and how it converts into the actual product which is a little tough. If anything just finding people to run with on this trip will be fun.

The other half of my time at Verve was going down the rabbit hole of camping gear. Paul Mag’s blog has been helpful and very much in line with my sort of thinking. Budget options combined with quality when you have the money—a tough thing of buying the generalist gear for my trip, but then having something on hand for future trips that might not be as cozy as car camping.

Everything is slowly moving forward.