Tales From The Road: Winter 2019 Half-Time

Tales-Faroutride-Winter-2019-Half-Time

Tales From The Road: Winter 2019 Half-Time

Hi! It's been a while!

Our last update is from November 2018; we spent so much time on it (it’s VERY, VERY extensive), that we lost our motivation to create more Tales From The Road… Sooo from now we’ll do things a bit differently 🙂

What's new on FarOutRide.com?

Mountain's Biker Guide to Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton

MTB season is coming to an end. By choosing to ride your bike all summer instead of helping with house chores, you proved you’re a bad human being. But that’s OK: the off season is the redemption season. So choose one productive task to perform NOW:

  1. Fix the leak in the bathroom
  2. Clean the basement
  3. Plan your next mountain biking trip for summer 2019

If you chose option 3, you missed the point of this intervention, but you’re in luck because we just published:

CONDENSATION AND MOISTURE IN A VAN | WHY IT HAPPENS AND HOW TO CONTROL IT

We’re very proud of that article, we put a lot of efforts into it… We hope you like it!

“Condensation and moisture are pretty much inevitable when living the vanlife. While it is normal occasionally and at a certain level, precautions should be taken during the van conversion by selecting the appropriate materials & techniques, but care should also be taken after the conversion in the day-to-day. Denying this issue could turn your van into a fungus incubator… Sharing your home with mold colonies could lead to serious health issues, no jokes. And once the molds invite themselves to the party, it’s almost impossible to kick them out definitely. And on the short term, living in high humidity environment is uncomfortable. That’s plenty of reasons to do something about it!”

The Need For Speed

(Warning: Geek Stuff Ahead)
New Hosting Servers

When we started this “blog” in December 2015, there was maybe 1-2 people visiting on the busy days… Hosting a website isn’t free, so we went for the cheapest option out there. Fast forward 3 years later, we get about 1,400 visitors per day! 

FaOutRide Analytics 2015-feb2019
Monthly Visitors on FarOutRide.com

We noticed lately that the website was getting annoyingly slow, so migrating to a better hosting service was the first step to the solution. We elected SiteGround.com as our hosting service becauce they’re fast, reliable, their interface is simple yet effective, and they actually have customer service (they also migrate your website to their server for FREE!). We went for the “GoGeek” plan (11.95$/mo).

Results?

We immediately noticed a difference, nice! We also had a picture doing the front page on Reddit.com and that day we got 80,000 visitor on the website!! The site didn’t crash so I guess it passes the test.

New WordPress Theme

The site got faster, but there was still place for improvements; our Google’s PageSpeed Insight scored really low and that affects how we rank in Google (in order for people to find us).

So we switched to GeneratePress Premium. It’s modern, customizable, light, fast and it’s made on Vancouver Island 🙂 It also works really well with Elementor (keep reading).

On top of that, we also disabled a bunch of plugins that were using a lot of resources.

Results?

Our PageSpeed scores went from around 30% up to 70% (desktop). Awesome!

New Page Builder

Isabelle and I have mechanical/electrical engineering background; we are NOT web developpers! So we tried Elementor Pro Page Builder and it makes thing SO MUCH EASIER. It’s a visual editor, so we can focus on creating content FAST and formatting easily. And we think the end result is much better too.

We were worried about speed, but turns out it doesn’t really affect speed (as long as we turn the CSS option to “Internal Embedding” rather than the default “External File” under Elementor –> Settings –> Advanced).

(End of Geek stuff)

VanLife Actual Cost

December 2018

TOTAL FOR TWO PERSONS
$US 3805
  • Auto Insurance $133
  • Gas and Fuel $560
  • Propane $15
  • Craft Beer & Wine $379
  • Groceries $652
  • Restaurants $328
  • Travel Medical Insurance $182
    (complementary to free Canadian Medicare)
  • Activities $62
    (lift tickets, bike shuttle, music shows, etc)
  • Campground $0
  • Showers $30
  • Laundry $31
  • Van Maintenance $1188
    (new tires)
  • Everything Else $245
    (Cell, Internet, Netflix, Pharmacy, etc.)

January 2019

TOTAL FOR TWO PERSONS
$US 2140
  • Auto Insurance $133
  • Gas and Fuel $275
  • Propane $0
  • Craft Beer & Wine $225
  • Groceries $554
  • Restaurants $119
  • Travel Medical Insurance $182
    (complementary to free Canadian Medicare)
  • Activities $192
    (lift tickets, bike shuttle, music shows, etc)
  • Campground $0
  • Showers $31
  • Laundry $39
  • Van Maintenance $92
    (oil change)
  • Everything Else $298
    (Cell, Internet, Netflix, Pharmacy, etc.)
YEAR 2018:
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Total
Total
$3847
$2420
$2384
$1918
$2449
$1911
$2026
$2911
$2476
$2965
$3003
$3805
$32115
Auto Insurance
$136
$136
$136
$136
$136
$136
$136
$136
$133
$133
$133
$133
$1620
Gas
$494
$500
$386
$360
$479
$340
$425
$537
$492
$584
$513
$560
$5670
Propane
$0
$7
$0
$17
$0
$16
$0
$8
$0
$12
$0
$15
$75
Craft Beer & Wine
$154
$299
$206
$179
$297
$168
$155
$246
$386
$313
$280
$379
$3062
Groceries
$669
$570
$615
$560
$745
$583
$701
$714
$567
$851
$551
$652
$7778
Restaurants
$230
$108
$120
$149
$159
$113
$104
$281
$276
$383
$109
$328
$2360
Travel Medical Insurance
(complementary to free Canadian medicare)
$202
$202
$202
$202
$202
$202
$202
$202
$182
$182
$182
$182
$2344
Activities
(lift tickets, bike shuttle, music shows, etc)
$16751
$332
$483
$0
$93
$74
$53
$295
$65
$258
$131
$62
$3521
Campground
$40
$0
$0
$0
$27
$0
$0
$1192
$0
$0
$42
$0
$228
Showers
$0
$22
$26
$6
$17
$6
$0
$2
$0
$7
$0
$30
$116
Laundry
$7
$22
$15
$35
$28
$7
$30
$11
$40
$32
$37
$31
$295
Van Maintenance
(oil change, tires, brakes, etc)
$49
$0
$0
$88
$0
$0
$0
$0
$75
$0
$7884
$11885
$2188
Everything Else
(cell, pharmacy, haircut, Netflix, music, books, etc)
$191
$222
$195
$186
$266
$267
$219
$3603
$260
$210
$237
$245
$2858

Van Talk

New Tires

Our tires worn out, time for new ones:

– MODEL: BFGoodrich KO2 All-Terrain (Winter Approved).
– SIZE: LT255/70R16 120S (this size clears the weight rating of the Ford Transit).
– Installed on factory wheels, NO MODIFICATION TO THE VAN.
– SNOW CHAINS: Thule/Konig XG-12 PRO (Size 255). They fit, but clearance is low (1/2″ towards front) and they start rubbing with the plastic trim at above ~ 15-20 MPH. The noise is annoying but we can live with it.
– SPEEDOMETER: Since these tires are larger than the factory tires, the speedometer reads about 58 MPH when our true speed is 62 MPH (this CANNOT be adjusted at a dealer).

We’re happy with the upgrade and recommend it! More info/pictures/justification/comparison in our article:

Side-by-side review of the Scopema, SwissTech, DiscountVanTruck & SwivelsRus Swivels

We published a side-by-side review of the Scopema, SwissTech, DiscountVanTruck & SwivelsRus, if that can help you make up your mind… We actually tried all of them, so it’s an actual “real-world” review! 

NOTE: The Scopema were back in stock in January but sold out in a weekend… we’ll let you know when the seller gets more…

The graph clearly shows that we have a SOLAR power deficiency in winter. (data was recorded between Jan 14th – Feb 14th)

Conclusion? We’re glad we installed a Sterling B2B to charge from the alternator! The Sterling is our Plan B in summer, Plan A in winter. We think the combination of solar + alternator makes a nice and balanced electrical system for people using their van for summer & winter adventures (i.e. ski. solar is probably enough for Baja or Cali winter adventures!). What about adding more solar panels instead? We think it’s not the solution for weather like PNW winter… sometimes there’s just NO sun for days. It’s nice not relying on a single source of power.

Tales From The Road

"Winter 2019 Half-Time" Interactive Map:

This is the part where it gets very, very, time consuming for us and we loose motivation... Since we already share our tales on Instagram, here are a re-post of our feed!

5th December 2018:
View this post on Instagram

FAR OUT WINTER 2018/2019: PLANNING (Post 1 of ?) . It's that time of the year again; the time to make DECISIONS! We've been dwelling lately, going with the flow and just avoiding the discussion to be honest. But clues that winter is imminent are all over the place: it's cold, days are short and our Instagram feed is getting filled with the white stuff... . It pretty much comes down to this dilemma: SUN or SNOW? . SUN: It means discovering different cultures, food, people, relaxing on the beach... Speaking of beach (Baja?): we're anxious just by hearing that word. We are NOT beach people 😆. We like to go AGAINST or WITH gravity and from what we know, there's no gravity at the beach. We do have scuba diving accreditation and we would LOVE to dive again, but it's not exactly cheap and we can't do that everyday ($). Going INLAND could be fun; we traveled to Asia, Middle-East, Africa and Costa-Rica so we like discovering new places, that's for sure. . SNOW: It means spending too many hours in the van because it's cold and dark, not knowing if we will find (unfrozen) drinking water, waking up early to get the first tracks, shoveling the solar panels, sharing our living space with our drying gear, etc. But then we could be rewarded with fresh, untracked, delicious POW....... . It's time to ask ourselves: WHAT ARE OUR WINTER-DREAMS MADE OF? . . Thoughts? 😀 . . . #vanlifers #vanlifeideas #ProjectVanLife #vanlifemagazine #vanlifediaries #vancrush #vanlifedistrict #vanlifeexplorers #vanlifemovement #vanlife #minimalism #vanliving #vandwelling #vanconversion #selfbuild #camper #campervan #camperlife #campervanlife #homeonwheels #adventuremobile #vandwellinglife #offgrid #tinyhouseonwheels #tinyliving #livingsmall #homeiswhereyouparkit #lifeontheroad #roadtrippin #nomad

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8th December 2018:
View this post on Instagram

FAR OUT WINTER 2018/2019: PLANNING (Post 2 of ?) . Going south is on our mind, the main reason being that we DON'T look forward to the inconfort of living in a van during winter. But making decisions based on what we DON'T want doesn't sound right... It should be the other way around: what DO WE WANT? At this point of our life, nothing make us feel more alive than by riding our bikes and our snowboards. That's what our dreams are made of, so we shall daydream! (Eventually we'll take the time to go south. No rush.) . Sooo here we are, staring at our "Far Out Winter" empty map... starting from a blank canvas is awesome, but it's hard to make decisions when there's too many options! 🤯 . And we do have a constrain: there's not much time left on our USA "VISA" and we don't really want to use it all, in case we have opportunities later in the USA (friends visiting, Alaska?, etc.). . So here's what we're thinking: . 1- Head towards @mtbakerskiarea (WA) and spend a week or two there. There's not much snow right now, but we know this place can get buried pretty fast! So pray for snow! . 2- @powderhighway (South of British Columbia): big snow, big terrain, small crowds. You can't go wrong. We absolutely love it here! . 3- Head towards Terrace (BC) and explore the backcountry zones along the way (Valemount?). Spend like a month in Terrace riding @shamesmountain and the backcountry around. . 4- @tailgatealaska ? We hesitate a lot because we'd have to buy our tickets NOW; it's not cheap and we have to commit good weather or not. On the other end, we always wanted to go skiing to Alaska but it's soooooo far! It would be a good motivation to go and an epic grand finale to our Far Out Winter! . . . To be continued... 🏔️

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11th December 2018:
View this post on Instagram

ON SECOND THOUGHT 🤨: SOLENOID VALVE FOR PROPANE . ➡️ SWIPE . We initially did not to install a solenoid valve; we thought we would close the tank manually every time we hit the road... nope, we honestly NEVER close the tank (except on ferries and tunnels)! We've said if before: every repetitive task should be made as simple as possible or it gets irritating (or gets ignored...). . We also had an "incident" where we accidentally opened a stove burner and walked away from the van. Fortunately, the funky propane smell raised suspicion and we came back to double-check... that totally saved the day (and our van)! 😬 . So we finally went ahead and installed a solenoid valve. It's a "normally closed" solenoid valve and it has to be energized (12V) to open (and to remain open). It's controlled with a push-button switch that illuminate when ON, so it's an effective reminder that the propane is open. The switch is located near the stove/oven, so it's not irritating to use. . As usual, we detailed all the installation process 😃: . https://faroutride.com/propane-system/ (link in profile) . . . #vanlifers #vanlifeideas #ProjectVanLife #vanlifemagazine #vanlifediaries #vancrush #vanlifedistrict #vanlifeexplorers #vanlifemovement #vanlife #minimalism #vanliving #vandwelling #vanconversion #selfbuild #camper #campervan #camperlife #campervanlife #homeonwheels #adventuremobile #vandwellinglife #offgrid #tinyhouseonwheels #tinyliving #livingsmall #homeiswhereyouparkit #lifeontheroad #roadtrippin #nomad

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24th January 2019:

That's it for now! To be continued...

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about us

Nice To Meet You.

Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine 🙂 In 2017 we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers and moved into our self built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!

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