Sunday, May 27, 2012

Killer Commute

None of this for us!

Of course, we'll be spending a lot of time driving, but we won't have the stress of commuting.

Killer Commute
Created by:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Making Progress

We've still got a ways to go, but we're making some serious progress in our quest to sell everything. Our apartment is looking quite barren.

Friday, May 18, 2012

2nd Construction phase

Okay, so we thought, "in order to lessen the amount of live Tetris we have to play every night to prep the bed, we ought to build some more storage." The cavity in the conversion high-top made this a relatively easy project. Nothing funny really happened, there were no injuries, and we were so well prepared there was only one trip to Home Depot... So that just leaves the pictures.

As with everything for the trip, the upper loft is Sallie approved. 

If she seems a little mopey, it's because we told her the space was not for her personal use, but that it would be filled with necessities for the trip.

To which, she responded, "Oh really."

The space is roughly 4' deep, 5' wide, and 16" high.

Here is what it looks like with some stuff staged in for a photo; it will soon be full - above and below our sleeping space - with the accoutrements for the trip, and I think this should give us more than enough room.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Building a Lofted Bed with Storage Underneath

It took us all day, but we did it!!

When we originally purchased Liberty, we knew we'd be taking out the captain's chairs, but we were kind of excited about the cool bench seat in the back that electronically transformed into a bed with the push of a button. After close examination, we decided that really wouldn't work for us. Not only was it designed more for a bench seat than a bed making the bed lumpy and awkward to sleep on, but it had zero room for storing anything underneath.

So, Jeff came up with a brilliant plan on how to create a lofted bed for Liberty.

Well, a couple plans actually. After some discussion, we decided on one design and spent the entire day yesterday making it a reality.

We started out with a trip to Menards, but the quality of their 4x4s was poor. Plus we were trying to get to my brothers' house before 8am, so we could get into the garage where many of the tools we needed for the project were located.

After getting into the garage, we headed out to Home Depot to get a bit more hardware and, of course, the wood.

Once back at the garage, we realized there were still two seat belts bolted to the inside of the van that needed to be removed. They were in tight and proved to be a real bugger to remove. After loosening them a bit, we decided to saw them off the rest of the way.

We did have access to a reciprocating saw, but no appropriate blades.

Back to Home Depot we went.

Before we headed out, we had this conversation:
Clarinda: You want to go alone, while I stay here and continue to vacuum out the van?
Jeff: Think that through.
Clarinda: thinking ... thinking ... thinking ...
Clarinda: Oh! How I can stay and vacuum when you'll need the van to get to Home Depot!
D'oh! Clarinda was still giggling about this conversation hours later. Well, still this morning a little.

We both went to Home Depot. :-)

Once back from our second trip, we were really able to hunker down and get to work. We got those pesky seat belts removed. Jeff got to measuring the plywood while Clarinda concentrated on vacuuming out the van.

Getting the plywood into the van was a bit challenging and took a LOT of finagling, but we did it with little to no damage to the wood or the van.

Clarinda continued vacuuming while Jeff measured and cut the 4x4 into blocks to use as additional support.

Time to wedge those posts in. Perfect fit!

But will it support our weight?

In an early design, we were going to sleep curled up in this amount of space, but Jeff brilliantly devised a way to extend the length of the bed - using hinges.

Problem: The screws that came with the hinges were a tad too long.
Solution: Filing, sawing, sanding those babies smooth.

We did as much work as possible outside of the van, but there were times when Jeff had to lie on his back under the platform and use a drill very awkwardly. It was a little touch-and-go on how to maneuver all the tools and hardware while on his back with about 12" of clearance!


It was bit a slow going in the beginning, but once we got into a groove, the day really just flew by! It was hard to believe when 6pm rolled around.

Not to say it wasn't physically challenging. It was. And today, we are paying for it.

Overall, despite all the physical pain, it was incredibly satisfying to work on this project together and have it turn out so perfectly!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Virtual Moving Sale

Visit Our 20 Day Apartment Sale!

To explain, we are selling everything we own,
so we can travel around in our van.
We will be posting items on Craigslist,
but you can see everything at once on
our yard sale blog, and on May 24th and 26th
we will be having actual yard sales at:
2057 Laurel Ave, St Paul MN 55104

Everything is being sold at cheap prices,
and every price is negotiable (obo).
What doesn't sell will be donated to charity.

Here is a small sampling:

Decoration = Prices vary

4 Shelf pantry cabinet = $10

Abstract painting on stretched canvas 48" x 24" = $40

Locking hasp = $3

Running belt with water bottle = $10

Life jacket = $10

Work lights = $10

Shop broom = $15

Captain's chairs and back bench seat from Dodge van = 
Best offer

See Post

Ergonomic highly adjustable office chair = $250

Office chair = $10

Bookcase = $40

Telescope = $150

There's plenty more to see, and more posts are coming.
Come take a look:


Today, I shared with my 10th graders (I'm just finishing a semester of student teaching) what my plans were for after graduation.


It was very thrilling to share our plans with my students and to feel some of their excitement about our plans.

Graduation is next Saturday, and I still have a few loose ends to tie up in regards to school, but mostly it's time to prepare for our adventure.

Our van will only fit so much stuff for us to live comfortably in it.

So, we are once again going through a major PURGE.

Please take a moment to visit our virtual yard sale at Our Junk, Your Treasures and let us know if there is anything you're interested in purchasing.

Here's an example of a few items we've posted.

We'll be updating that blog frequently over the next few weeks, as we're hoping to sell most things by the end of May - in only 3 weeks!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Why The Trip?

Okay, so we’ve decided to loose the shackles of everyday, ordinary living. And why, you might ask. In our opinion (not a judgment, just an opinion) living is not going from your house to your car, your car to your cubical, your cubical to your car, and back from your car to your house. Therefore, we have concluded that we will live the colorless workaday life, when circumstance absolutely demands it -- and no sooner. After all, why should we have to put our lives on hold before actually living life? For that matter, how many retirees actually get to enjoy the liberty they now have?

We try and live a fairly minimalist lifestyle as it is, but even with the comparatively little amount of material possessions we have, we are finding ourselves more and more caught up in the hassles and burdens of dealing with them.

Well, that ends now.

There is a huge, beautiful world out there with magnificent sites to see, cultures to experience, and adventures to have. Unfortunately, the devices that were sold to us as makers of convenience -- ways to make our lives easier and more enjoyable -- have become nothing more than an anchorage, stagnating our will, our desire even, for adventure.

“You have to have a house”; with a house comes a mortgage, gas bill, water bill, electricity bill, garbage bill, etc., and since you have to pay all these things, you have to work harder and longer hours. This means you don’t really have the time to go anywhere and do anything anyway, so you get stuff you can do at home: phone or cell phone (so you can stay connected) another monthly bill; computer (so you can take advantage of all the benefits they provide, most of which are very good) another monthly bill, plus your virus protection bill, plus whatever debugging / hardware / maintenance / replacement costs; BBQ grill which will need fuel (liquid or solid) and cleaning and cooking tools.

The list just goes on and on.

You soon find yourself working more in order to buy more stuff for your stuff, or to pay for the stuff your stuff needs just to operate for you in the first place. Meanwhile, that Egyptian pyramid is not coming any closer to your house.

It’s time to take the house on the road, and we’re do’n it old school. Paper maps, no phone, sleeping bags, cold meals, avoiding all the major freeways and highways, and I’m sure -- on occasion -- peeing outside.

Here's the plan; we will be traversing a giant S across the U.S. and then circling almost the entire Gulf of Mexico, from Weeki Wachee, FL to Cancun, Mexico and then down into Belize.

** All of this is, of course, subject to change at any given time. The goal of the trip is for it to be as organic as possible. No deadlines, no set pace, no obligations... 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Introducing Liberty...

If you are friends with us on Facebook, you might
remember this post from last weekend.

Well, here is the beginning of the story.


The newest member of the Dodson family.

We bought Liberty as a way to facilitate our travels 
as we embark on the journey of a lifetime.

She will be our home over the next several months
as we explore the U.S. and Central America.

We hope you'll join us on our journey.