Monthly Archives: October 2014

Elevation gain and mechanical issues

Where to start.. the last few days have been pretty crazy. Even more so today so make sure you read until the end.

We weren’t sure where we were going to go when we left Smith Rock. In the end we ended up going to all three places that were potential destinations.

We first stopped in Truckee to do some climbing. Unfortunately we weren’t able to locate the crag in a timely manner. What that means is that after parking where we thought was the parking lot for the climbing area, we hiked around for an hour trying to follow a faint trail, improving it with cairns in order to make sure we would be able to make it back to the van if somehow we managed to find the crag. We never found it but we found our way back to the van. We were able to locate the proper parking spot on the way back but by then it was too late to climb. So that was kind of waste of time and fuel.

Next we went to Lake Tahoe. A bit disappointing and after the facts, we aren’t sure why we actually went there. It was quite dead and not much to see. We drove off the same day and continued towards Yosemite National Park.

Pass Feet

Monitor Pass – 8314 Feet

Over the last week, we have gone up and down numerous mountain passes, it’s impressive the van didn’t break down. The most prominent one was Tioga Pass. From the bottom of it, you gain 1000 meters over a short distance. I think we made our way up going less than 50km/h. We kept an eye on the temperature gauge and thankfully it never climbed past the half-way point. The other cause for concern are the brakes. The west side of that pass loses even more elevation and you really got to use the compression by downshifting if you want to make sure the brakes will work when you need them to.

Tioga Pass - 9945 feet This is where I was able to get a tow truck from

Tioga Pass – 9945 feet
This is where I was able to get a tow truck from

IMG_3282We spent 4 nights in Yosemite village. We did two hikes of 20+ kilometers each. The first one was 1200 meters elevation gain and the second one was the famous Half-Dome summit(22.7km). This one was 1600 meters elevation gain. The views from both trails were amazing. In many ways we were lucky to be there at this time of the year. The reason is that you usually need a permit to go to the top of Half-Dome. Since it’s a draw, your chances of getting a permit vary from good to very unlikely. The last bit of the hike to the summit has cables with steps attached to them but in the off season, they remove those steps and the cables are then just laid down on the rock. They remain attached to the rock and that’s what we used to get up. Normally there may be hundreds of people on the summit at once. When we were there, we were 6 on top. It was awesome. Totally worth hauling some climbing gear up there (and walking for 9 hours total). Furthermore, we didn’t have to pay for the permit and we were guaranteed to summit it. Did I mention the views were wonderful? Below is a short video of the panorama from the top of Half dome.


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IMG_3326When we came back to the van after doing the Half-Dome, there was a paper on the windshield. At first we thought it was a ticket but then realized it was a hand written note. Conrad, Kristine, and their girls, were in town and had spotted our van. We were able to hang out and climb some all together. That was a great surprise!


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Our last hike planned was to do Mount Dana. A super accessible 13 000+ feet peak that you hike from the top of Tioga Pass. You start at 10 000 feet and the total return distance is 6.25 miles (10 km). We drove out of Yosemite village last night and slept 1 kilometer away from the park entrance. This morning we were super excited to hike above 10 000 feet. The bad news is that the van didn’t cooperate with us. It started just fine but it stalled 30 seconds later. It wouldn’t start again. We thought of doing the hike anyways and getting a tow truck later but the problem was that rain/snow was in the forecast for the evening and that this road will close, potentially for the season, if that happens.image_2

So we took the safer approach and decided to try and get a tow truck up there before the storm. To make things harder, there is no cellphone reception up there. We figured they may have a phone at the park gate so I hopped on my bike and climbed to the top of the pass. The folks there were super helpful. Again, it wasn’t going to be so easy as their own cellphone tower had been removed for the season. They were able to radio in a request for a tow truck to Yosemite village and then the guys there called the towing company and magically, 30 minutes later, a tow truck showed up.

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We were really happy to have AMA (aka CAA or AAA in the USA). It didn’t cost us a penny and our membership also comes with 160 km towing distance anywhere you want. We therefore got a tow all the way to our next destination, Bishop. Had we had to pay this tow, it would have been $620 USD !!! Thank god for this wise investment! We were towed to a local shop here and it cost us $98 to get told that the only problem with it was that the engine was heavily flooded. A bit pricey but at least that was all it cost.

While we were waiting for a tow truck, I troubleshooted a little more the propane leak issue we were having. It turned out to be the hose that went from the tank to the regulator that was leaking and not the valve itself. After getting out of the garage, we headed towards Amerigas in Bishop. We asked if they could help us and after fetching the right person, and asking him if we would be breaking the bank to get that fixed, he said he could do it and that it would be VERY expansive, like thousands of dollars. Of course he was joking and although he never told us how much it would cost, he was very willing to help us out. He spent about 1.5 hour messing around trying to find a solution that would fit this 40 year old set-up. He replaced the rubber hose with a copper line and he installed a new regulator. We saw the price tag of $35 behind the regulator and were expecting at least $100 to cover the repair. While we were at it we asked him if we could get a propane refill as we were completely out. So when time came to pay, believe it or not, he didn’t want any money. NOTHING. We insisted and yet he didn’t want to take any form of payment or compensation. That guy was just a great guy but he certainly didn’t have to give us anything. We are still blown away by such kindness. We will bring the shop some donuts tomorrow morning as a small payback.

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Random pictures from this week are below the weekly budget.

Our weekly budget is now $184.77 CAD for food & fun.

We finally received our paychecks from the grape picking $419.72 .. we are rich!

Oct 23 – Oct 29 : Weekly & Totals since we left 18 weeks ago.

Fuel: $331.38 / $3173.79
Food: $64.72 / $1357.35
Fun: $5.22 / $3119.77

Total for the week without fuel: $69.94
Total with fuel: $401.32
Total spent since the beginning: $7650.93

Total budget: $15756.21 (+$419.72)
Budget left: $8108.28

E & M

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Tight budget and rainy days..

Financially, this week was though. The exchange rate isn’t doing too great for us at 1.13. To make thing worst, we sort of got ripped off by the propane guy. We ran out of propane one morning and we went to Leavenworth to look for a refill. The propane was pricier than what we usually pay but how the guy got us is that he overfilled our propane tank. We usually pay about $25 CAD for a fill up and it cost us double of that this time around. The overfill made it so that much propane leaked out through the valve and overflow valve. It also made us realize that we have a minor permanent leak around the valve and we will be looking for a place to get that replaced. So we started the week with a around $100 USD.

We came close to starting the week with $0 as we got pulled over by the police on Icicle rd, the main road to access the climbing area. Allegedly we were going 42 miles per hour in a 35 miles zone. I used the good old excuse that miles/h and km/h are confusing for us canadians but she wasn’t impressed. Nonetheless, she let us go with a verbal warning “because all our paperwork was in good order”. Funny thing is that although she asked for my drivers license, and not that there was anything wrong with it, I told her it was in the back of the van and she didn’t ask me to go get it. We may have taken the bullet for Jimmy Webb as he was right behind us when it happened.

Bouldering was the thing for the rest of our time in Leavenworth. We made some friends at the parking lot and had a really good day pulling harder than what we are used to. That day was the day I set to make it up this highball problem. It looked really aesthetic and all the moves looked quite doable, even on sight. Grade is V3 and the height is around 25 feet. It’s called The Sword. The descent uses a tree… kind of cool. Elaine didn’t want to watch me go up on it at first but she manned up and filmed me going up. On that day Elaine sent a V3, I sent a V6, The Hourglass, and came really close to sending a V8, Resurrection, but I messed up the last move. I hoped to go back and finish it later but as the weather didn’t cooperate for the rest of the week, that will have to be for another time. Elaine has been trying hard as well to do the Real Thing at V4 but couldn’t quite unlock it. Only a matter of time, aka next time we are in Leavenworth.

Stove top pizzaWe experienced a little more with stove top baking/cooking and we tried cooking a pizza using our recently acquired baking sheet. Well we have a winner. We had to turn the pan around a few times to get the dough and the cheese to cook evenly but in the end, the bottom was crispy and the cheese all melted. It somehow made living in the van much more enjoyable by eating such a comforting meal.

catan in the vanConrad & Kristine ended up making it to Leavenworth but unfortunately the weather was quite bad when they got there. We made the best out of it and managed a day and a half of bouldering. We played a couple of games of Catan and made cake twice. Only because I burnt the first batch. I haven’t quite mastered the art of stovetop baking yet. There was a fair amount of van porn action happening.. and by that I mean exchanging beta on how to live in a van.

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The Germans

Our new friends from Munich and their wolf dog.

So a few days ago we got tired of the rain and set off to Terrebonne to climb in Smith Rock State Park. We climbed with friends from Leavenworth, Jakub and Solveig(traverlers from Germany). They’re quite good climber and Jakub is crazy strong. He sent a 5.13b before our eyes after working it only twice before. Elaine had a little bit of break down on the climbing front. Her head wasn’t there after not having been on the sharp end of a rope for a while. She got back into it the next day and there’s still hope for her climbing future 🙂

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cheap fuelOn the way down here, we were able to fill up on a reserve at the crazy low price of $2.69/Galon. We were only able to put 8 gallons in but that was pretty nice.

Unfortunately the weather isn’t so hot either here in Terrebonne, Oregon. We will keep pushing south today towards California, where the sun is shining, and the clouds are something they have heard of but aren’t sure they really exist. I did manage to climb shirtless for a couple of hours the first day here, but yesterday was chilly and it was full long johns climbing weather.

Next stop is was going to be Truckee, California but man this weather is not so good once again. We have three options now. Go to Lake Tahoe, go to Yosemite or screw it all and head for the desert towards Bishop where the good weather is pretty much guaranteed.

Random pictures from this week are below the weekly budget.

Our weekly budget is now $169.41 CAD for food & fun.

As we are compiling and writing all these numbers, we just realized that Elaine got confused with the exchange rate and short changed us about $18 for the week. That’s like 10% of our budget! No more booze for her when counting 😉

Oct 16 – Oct 22 : Weekly & Totals since we left 17 weeks ago.

Fuel: $134.80 / $2842.41
Food: $139.18 / $1292.63 (includes propane)
Fun: $11.13 / $3114.57 (Crash pad, belay glasses, travel medical insurance, weren’t accounted for in Fuel, Food or Fun. Now the three totals should add up to the total spent)

Total for the week without fuel: $150.31
Total with fuel: $285.11
Total spent since the beginning: $7249.61

Total budget: $15336.49
Budget left: $8086.88

E & M

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Rainy days

Rainy days



Mother of all coincidences

Leavenworth is known for the bouldering and its amazing outdoor but mostly for the Oktoberfest!! It’s a 6 days German Style beer festival that spreads throughout the month of October. The town of 2000 people turns into a 20000 tourists packed village. It’s madness!!! People everywhere with hats and costume, even protesters use the town for various causes.

Eat my pretzel he said!

Eat my pretzel he said!


Due to our limited budget, we weren’t able to participate that much or access the festival ground($20+ just to get in) but decided to treat ourselves to a beer at the local brewery, Icicle Brewery. The place was packed with drunk people playing games like pretzel toss or doing yodeling challenges… We shared our table with Shawn, a local guy who manages a zip line center and also works as a raft guide and in the winter he happens to work at the same brewery we were having a beer at. We spent most of the evening talking away and drinking beer. He also invited us to try zip lining…”not really our thing but thanks anyway!!!”. Before leaving he went back in to get himself one last drink, only to come out with a pitcher for us to share with him. That was extremely nice of him. We also met a guy that asked us if we had a gun…Elaine quickly replied..”NO we are from Canada!!” We thought that was pretty funny! After the crazy weekend, the town went back to the usual quietness…and we carried on with our simple life.


That’s what you see after hiking up an hour

Leavenworth climbing is much more oriented towards the Bouldering and the Trad climbing than the Sport climbing. After having done two, one hour long approaches, and descents that were just as long and failing at even finding the trail to another crag combined with a forecast calling for potential rain, we were more keen to focus on our bouldering skills. We had good luck until now finding people to boulder with but it wasn’t like we could really go on our own without a crash pad. The week-end crowd also was all gone and the bouldering areas are a lot quieter, making it more difficult to seek people and their pads to climb with and crash on.

So we set off on a mission to find ourselves a crash pad. We inquired at Leavenworth Mountain Sports if they would sell one of their crash pad rentals but they weren’t done renting them for the season. In the mean time Elaine was looking online to see if we couldn’t find something used for sale in a nearby city. Ultimately, Matt the shop keeper agreed to sell us one of his own. It wasn’t the mother of all deal but at $100 USD we could now go out bouldering in a much safer way. He was kind enough to hook us up with a free hat from the shop and we added a sticker from the store to the back of the van. So thanks a lot to all the guys at Leavenworth mountain sports!! If you come to Leavenworth make sure to stop by their shop!!

Broken French pressNow let me tell you about the last crazy cool thing that happened to us. It began when I broke our coffee making tool, the french press. It’s made with glass and it broke after dropping it down. we actually dropped that thing on the floor about 5 times already and were, I guess, very lucky to still have it four months into our trip. The thing is we forget to put it away in the morning and leave it on the counter, only to slide off of it when we slow down with the van. But that morning, we ran out of luck. … So we went on a hunt to find a replacement(Who can live without coffee??? Not us for sure!!) in this small town. We tried looking in town but the price was outrageous($25-$30+).It’s a very tourist town and all the shop are tourists trap. The last spot to check out was at the thrift store. They didn’t have any but one lady who worked there offered us to give us her own if we were fine with meeting up with her later in the evening. Of course we took the offer and were amazed(once again!!!) at how nice people are around here. We gave her $3 for it, which she was going to give to the food bank in return!!!

So here is the crazy coincidence. Had I not broken the french press, had Elaine not spotted the thrift store in town, had I not spent 15 minutes talking to my mom on the phone, the following might have never happened! As we were walking back towards the van, we heard some people shooting MATHIEU with a french accent and waving at us from their van. It was our friends Luc and Suzanne from Calgary, in their sweet van! They knew we were in Leavenworth and the weather was nice here so combined with them having a few days off, they came down here to do some climbing and kept an eye out for us. That was fantastic to see familiar faces!


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt must have been two years since we last saw them. It was awesome to catch up!We spent the day bouldering around and exploring the routes around the campsite. Elaine sent her first V2 on sight and that was really nice. Pretty high and very slabby. Luc got a video of me doing it afterwards and it made me really proud of her for on sighting that thing. Falling wasn’t an option 🙂 In the end we all pushed ourselves and our fingertip skin was all really sore and much thinner. We drank some cheap wine but still tasty and played some Catan!!!

Rain on the forecast today …spending some more quality time in a library!!!


Elaine on top of her V2 route

Elaine on top of her V2 route

Below is video of me going up that same V2 as above.

Quick News:

-Favorite route sent so far The Real Thing, Forestland area. Elaine is working on it.
-Elaine sat next to James Webb at the library today… And he parks in the same spot as us overnight.. We are like neighbors 😉
-We climbed a 7 pitches route called Condorphamine Addiction 5.10b.
-Pay cheques are apparently in the mail from grape picking.. we are just about to be rich!
-$3 wine is really tasty. We are going to buy more.
-You can’t do microwave pop corn in a pan.
-We were hoping to meet up with Conrad and Christine but they are delayed coming to Leavenworth and we have to keep on trucking at some point. It’s going to have to be for next time.
-Made more of the sponge cake in a pan and it was awesome. Even awesomer as we added chocolate chips to it.
-We laughed when the portable toilet ran out of paper and we could hear people tearing pages from a glossy magazine that had been sitting in there for a week.

Random pictures from this week are below the weekly budget.

Our weekly budget is now $168.88 CAD for food & fun.

The exchange rate isn’t working in our favor right now. We paid 1.14 and if we were to take some more money out right now it would be 1.16. On the flip side gas is going down a lot.
Oct 9 – Oct 15 : Weekly & Totals since we left 16 weeks ago.

Fuel: $0 / $2707.61
Food: $76.03 / $1153.45
Fun: $25.89 / $984.39

Total for the week without fuel: $101.92
Total with fuel: $101.92
Total of big ticket items not part of weekly budget: $114 (Crash pad)

Total spent since the beginning: $6964.50
Total budget: $15336.49
Budget left: $8371.99

















Willkommen in Leavenworth, Washington!

Penticton was really, really fun. We can totally see ourselves coming back here to pick some more fruit and of course to climb some more. In the end we picked 4 days all together and personally I could have picked some more. It’s hard to tell what I like the most about it. It might be the money it brings in but it’s like there is more to it. Even though it pays only around minimum wage, there’s a reward feeling that comes along with it. The reward of harvesting an awesome fruit or the reward of sticking it out and feeling like you’ve worked hard for your money. There’s also the feeling of having helped out a “small business” owner make a living. I’m curious to find out how much they care about their fruit pickers though… Not that we weren’t treated well but it’s not like they’re going out of their way to make you feel valued. In any case, I really liked being the employee vs the employer. It’s a lot more relaxed.

Blasted ChurchAfter our last time picking we went in and did a tasting. We bought one bottle and had it the last evening in Penticton. We will have to go back next year to sample the wine we helped making!

After our last time picking we went in and did a tasting. We bought one bottle and had it the last evening in Penticton. We will have to go back next year to sample the wine we helped making!

We then climbed some more in Skaha Bluffs. I think we touched all the main walls there. It’s really a big crag and it’s wonderful to be able to choose from such a wide variety of walls. The park is super well developped and finding your way around is quite easy, even without a guide book. We didn’t have the proper book for the area and we made out really well anyways. To make things better, there’s an update online to the proper guidebook that has pretty much everything in there, minus some pictures.

On the last day there we got an oil change done at Walmart and good thing there wasn’t any other car being serviced because it took them 1.5 hours between the 3 of them 🙂 I don’t think they made any money there as it only cost $38 all in. We then set off to Leavenworth, Washinton. Border crossing went well even with the minute long formal inspection inside the van. On the way there we got to see where all the apples grow on the west coast, potentially in the whole USA. You couldn’t see the end of those ORCHARDs. They even have ashphalt between some of the rows. Gas is much more affordable once again, paying around $1 CAD/L.

Elaine in downtown Leavenworth

Elaine in downtown Leavenworth

Leavenworth, or what you could call “little germany” is quite unique in its look. They adopted a bavarian architecture some 30 years ago and now everything in town must fit with the theme. They are having an Octoberfest in town this week-end and it sounds like the place will get packed. We might drive back to town when it’s on to see what it’s all about. The whole town is very much like a tourist trap and it’s once again tempting to go crazy and spend all our money 😉 Who doesn’t like beer & pretzels in a georgous setting!

The rock climbing guidebook for Leavenworth is pricey at $36 USD. We spent the whole day trying to get a used copy or finding information online to avoid having to buy it but we weren’t really successful. Some local told us that even himself end up on some goat trails sometimes instead of the right trail, that’s with the experience and the book. Everything has foliage overtop and it’s hard to see where you’re headed. We were just about to give up on the idea of not buying Leavenworth Rock, the area guidebook, when we ran into a climber on a trail who kindly offered to lend us a second copy she had access to. That’s after we said no to the lady at the sports store who offered to lend us the store copy of the book for a few days. This time we said yes and we are pretty excited to have reliable information to lead us around. People are extremely friendly here.

I think Elaine is looking for a crash pad


but couldn’t find any.. oh well just have to butter up the landings as much as possible!

That encouter happened while we were looking for some rocks to boulder on. It seems the bouldering is really big here and it wasn’t too long before someone offered us to climb with him. He let us check out his bouldering guide book too and we got to try 5-6 routes. Seems like it gets really hard at V4. We will have to climb more to get a better feel for it but at some point we may buy a crash pad. Bouldering on nice boulders is pretty fun!

Belay Specs - Belaying glasses

Belay Specs – Belaying glasses

Oh before we wrap it up. Belaying on a daily basis gets really tiring on the neck. So we bought belay glasses from Belay Specs. It was $80 USD but it may be our best expense for this trip. Our necks will be thankful and it allows us to give better belays. If you haven’t seen those yet, it’s glasses that act like a gyroscope. You look forward in them but instead of seeing straight through, you see what’s above you. We saw tons of people with those when we were in Quebec and I’m sure those will become more mainstream at some point everywhere there’s climbing.

To get those shipped in the USA we needed an address. We found this awesome service called Kinek that for a small fee, they will let you mail something to one of their 1000+ locations. It doesn’t cost you anything to set up either. So for $4 USD (that you pay at pick-up time) we were able to get the glasses shipped to a town on the way to Leavenworth. I need to order more disposable contact lenses too and will definitely be using that service again. It’s crazy convenient.

minesweeper_179Last but not least, I finally got sub 200 seconds playing the expert size at Minesweeper. I don’t know if I can do much better than that without an actual mouse to play with. Best score so far is 180 seconds.

We are now waiting for our last pay cheque. They’re supposed to mail it over. That’s going to help out greatly with the budget and cut us some slack. Meanwhile in town we found this cheap wine. Will let you know next time how it went down. It’s on sale for a while too so if it’s good we can stock up! No more border crossing for a while 🙂

$3 wine!

$3 wine!

<--- this wine will go great with this card game we got for $0.79. 90% off on clearance!

<— this wine will go great with this card game we got for $0.79. 90% off on clearance!

Our weekly budget is now $170.15 for food & fun.

Oct 2 – Oct 8 : Weekly & Totals since we left 15 weeks ago.

Fuel: $162.85 (includes oil change) / $2707.61
Food: $65.58 / $1077.42
Fun: $61.79 / $958.50

Total for the week without fuel: $127.37
Total with fuel: $290.22
Total of big ticket items not part of weekly budget: $185.87 (Belay glasses & 50 days of USA unlimited phone)

Total spent since the beginning: $6748.58
Total budget: $15336.49
Budget left: $8587.91

M & E

We found a job!

Yes! We are actually working, and pretty hard at it!! I REALLY wanted to get the experience of fruit picking for the kick of getting to know what it feels like. It’s a bit funny how it happened. One day we were biking around Skaha lake and while we were stopped at a farm to buy some produce, we ran into two Quebecois who were looking for work. They are professional fruit pickers.. they have been doing it for many years. So we asked them about it a little and they mentioned that a winery nearby, Blasted Church, was starting to pick their grapes really soon. So we went over as is to make ourselves available and next thing you know, we’re getting a text to ask us if we want to pick. We made it clear that we had never done it before but as you might expect, it’s as simple as it sounds. All you need are snippers and buckets to put the grapes in.

Field of the farm where we met the pro fruit pickers

Field of the farm where we met the pro fruit pickers



Harvesting grapes. All that pays $60!

Harvesting grapes. All that pays $60!

We never really asked how much it paid as it was mostly about getting the experience of doing it. So after we were just about done filling the first bin, I started thinking about how much work we had put into it and what I presumed the value would be. I figured since it took us about 4 hours between two people that it should be between $100-$150. I asked another worker (they’re mostly all Quebecois it seems) the pay rate and well I was a bit shocked when she said $60! Holy! There’s got to be enough grapes in there to make over 100 bottles (what do I know.. perhaps it only makes a dozen bottles.. doubt it though).

Evening grape picking

Evening grape picking! They though we were clever to have headlamps.

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Grape picking is cool

So in the end, we picked just about two bins. At the end we were pretty tired and we only did it for 7 hours. Some guys actually picked for 12 hours. It might not look like much but the little buggers grow at hip height so you have to be bent over all the time to chop away. I was pretty much sitting on one of my bucket at the end as my core muscles couldn’t take it anymore. Although tired too, Elaine didn’t think it was so physically demanding… I blame it on the fact that I’m taller so I have to bend more 🙂

Weather in Penticton is so far quite nice. It’s not nice enough to go swimming though. We did treat ourselves to a drop-in at the municipal pool to go for a really warm hot tub and a refreshing shower. It’s only $3 if you want to go in just for shower.

Test of the Ironman 5.11b

Matt on Test of the Ironman 5.11b

Oh the climbing is really nice too! Sooo many walls to choose from and so many routes to climb. It’s hard to decide where to go so much choice there is. They have some full 35 meters routes here with a variety of grades. Elaine is working on her lead climbing and it’s coming along real good. I think she’ll be leading at the grade she can climb sooner than later! Myself I got schooled on  a few longer harder routes due to my lack of endurance. In any case, it’s good training! That and the working out I’m getting at the vineyard will go a long way I’m sure! 😉




With our two new friends Oliver & Morgan

We are so lucky that once again we connected with really cool people at the crag, Morgan and Oliver. We got to climb with these two guys from BC and hung out some more before and after the climbing. Morgan is a coffee enthousiast (aka coffee snob)… That’s awesome because this guy believe it or not, roasts his own coffee (with a pop corn machine!) And to top it off, he even gave us 3 batches of his beans he had on hand. So far the Guatemala is the best one! Anyways, they’re both awesome climbers and hopefully we get to see them again.

Breakfast in the park

Breakfast in the park

coffee donation :)

coffee donation 🙂 Thanks Morgan!

We’re not sure if it’s good or bad news, but it turns out you CAN bake a cake in a frying pan on a stove top. Was on sale at Bulk Barns so we bought a little to try it out. Man it was so good I think I have made worst cakes than that with an oven. So I went back and bought 1 Kg of the mix.. We are ready for next time we have guests over.. anyone?

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Quick news:

  • We paid $0.99 for 2 lbs of carrots x 2. We had to throw one out as it got moldy. (Will keep vegies in fridge from now on)
  • We scored a deal on 5 lbs potatoes: $0.99!
  • Grapes for wine making tastes really good!
  • Grapes stains your hands and your clothes. Will know soon if it comes off the clothes or not.
  • Elaine thought The Fault in Our Stars was very sad and cried for the whole movie. I thought I had allergies.
  • One guy while picking grapes thought we were crazy to spend $15 000 to live for a year. WAY TOO MUCH he said!
  • If you can buy red wine from BigHorn Vineyards for $6-7, do it. Totally worth it and no headache 🙂
  • Don’t forget to take the knot out before pulling your rope. Easier to deal with than the alternative.
  • We saw a big rattle snake. At least a meter long.

photo 5 image_9

Our weekly budget is now $173.91 (+$5/week! woohoo) for food & fun.

Sept 25 – Oct 1 : Weekly & Totals since we left 14 weeks ago.

Fuel: $80.00 / $2544.76
Food: $58.77 / $1011.84
Fun: $27.85 / $896.71

Total for the week without fuel: $86.62
Total with fuel: $166.62
Total of big ticket items not part of weekly budget: $0

Total spent since the beginning: $6272.49
Total budget: $15336.49 (+$107.94 from grape picking!)
Budget left: $9064.00

M & E