Bakery Quest - a year hacking the US with our kid and dogs.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by szurszewski, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    That is a fantastic thread. Sometime around the summer of 2015 Laura and I agreed that we'd start off on this thing in a year, meaning the summer of 2016, but for various reasons we kept the plans under wraps until the very beginning of 2016. At some point near the end of 2015 my mom, who was just getting ready to retire, made some comment about worrying that we were going to set off around the world in Land Rover and she wouldn't get to see us again for years...kind of hard to keep quiet then, but I managed. (I did say we didn't have plans to take off on a round the world trip...and just left it at that.) She'll probably chime in here, but I do remember finding that thread shortly after he started it, and showed it - with all its GLORIOUS photos to my mom - who said something along the lines of (in my memory anyway), this is amazing - you should do this!

    There are not many things I wish we'd brought along that we didn't, but a good camera is one - and that thread is a big reason why. On the other hand, I didn't want to mess with a camera all the time, so....


    You know you don't have wait for us to have a permanent address to come visit, right? If you can find your way to us, we can find "couch" space for the three of you no problem. :)
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  2. MrAndMrsZINC

    MrAndMrsZINC zero income,no children... Lots of time

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    ^^^ thats good to hear

    (Because we were planning on it anyways...:dukegirl:beer)
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  3. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    Now that you've landed, are you in Olympia for the time being?
  4. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    That is an excellent question - but one for which I don't have a complete answer yet. At present we don't have plans to go anywhere else, so I think it's likely we will be here for awhile :)
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  5. thnknsae

    thnknsae n00b

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    I SO love this and you both tho I have never had the pleasure of meeting you! ❤️
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  6. greiffster

    greiffster Adventurer

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    I'll take a stab. I was going to start with 1145 final drive rebuilds. :lol3

    strangers' homes in which we slept 30
    number of times the final drive has been removed/replaced 7
    broken bones 2
    countries visited 3
    nights in a motel 92
    eclipse 1
    final drive rebuilds 4
    difference between ODO miles and log miles 1145
    Mexican states 8
    nights in a tent 21
    dogs who have hosted us 17
    US states 40
    average miles per final drive rebuild 9890
  7. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    Not bad - you only got one wrong ;)
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  8. greiffster

    greiffster Adventurer

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    Too many tents, not enough dogs?
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  9. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    Ah man - I was hoping you'd point out it was impossible to only get one wrong :(

    Wait - you didn't recently, like, drop a compact transmission on your head or anything, did you ;)

    Tents is good. Dogs is low.

    Edit to add:
    We tried to count cats as well as dogs, but frankly that was much harder to do.
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  10. thewbee

    thewbee Been here awhile

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    strangers' homes in which we slept 17
    number of times the final drive has been removed/replaced 7
    broken bones 2
    countries visited 3
    nights in a motel 92
    eclipse 1
    final drive rebuilds 4
    difference between ODO miles and log miles 1145
    Mexican states 8
    nights in a tent 21
    dogs who have hosted us 30
    US states 40
    average miles per final drive rebuild 9890
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  11. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    That's it :)

    Already have something extra for your little man, but I guess we'll have to figure out a bonus for you as well now.
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  12. greiffster

    greiffster Adventurer

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    Oh sure, I do all the heavy calculating....
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  13. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    On the shoulders of giants and all that, yeah?
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  14. greiffster

    greiffster Adventurer

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    That's a high dog/stranger ratio. Dog people stick together, don't they?
  15. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    I think there is some truth to that. Or maybe it's just that dog people are more agreeable to the idea of random mammals of questionable cleanliness taking up space in their homes.

    Also, the ratio is a bit skewed as the dogs of family and pre-existing friends are in that count but those people are not.
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  16. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    Well, here's pretty much everything we've been lugging around the last year. ...pretty much. IMG_3482.jpg

    And here's a not great video of loading it all. I made a much better one with the GoPro, but then it crashed while saving the file at the end...and didn't save anything. Or rather, it saved a 0kb file and I almost threw it into the woods. I'd pretty much had it at that point, but Laura convinced me to do one more, and this is it. I'm not smart enough to speed up only part of a video in YouTube, so it's all sped up - actual time was around ten minutes (I think you can find the full time version on my youtube "channel"), but it's down to two minutes (and if you're impatient like me and watch just about EVERYTHING on youtube at 2x speed, it's only a minute ;) ).







    ...and since you can't really see where anything goes in that video, here's a bit of chart.

    Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 7.45.42 PM.png

    Stuff that's not identified obviously includes a skateboard and some fuel bottles, but also a laundry bag, some cleaning stuff, first aid stuff, another tool roll that's hidden by the orange drybox, dog food and bowls that might actually not be in the picture, and a big pile of shoes (mostly Laura's and Jeremiah's - I swear).

    If you have questions about what we took, what we shouldn't have taken, what we wish we'd taken or where/how we packed anything, please don't hesitate to ask.
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  17. Nixels

    Nixels Face fears - live life

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    Now I know how the Simpson's get their unique walk - they speed up the animation! :lol3

    This is a great video.

    :clap :clap :clap
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  18. MrAndMrsZINC

    MrAndMrsZINC zero income,no children... Lots of time

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    Ha ha! Threw it in the woods. Dont know how many times i have been at that point with technological items. That video makes me feel tired. And sloppy.
    You're really good at tetris, arent you?...

    So, always wondered - whats the story behind the snails? Some tradition? You guys made them - something you just 'do'?
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  19. szurszewski

    szurszewski Long timer

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    Actually Laura is really good at Tetris - I'm just really good and packing things, and, you know, I've loaded the rig a "couple" of times over the last year.

    As for the snails, well, there is a short answer. But. Since I don't have anything else to talk about....you get the long one. (If you really don't want it, well I question how you made it through the sixty five pages leading up to this, but that aside you can just skip to the bottom of this post.)

    Once, back in the before time, as you've probably all heard me drone on (no, not you @DRONE - I should have said ramble, or prattle...like I'm doing now), Laura and I lived out on the arctic tundra, and I taught high school. You can see our village here. Kind of. Actually, you can see our house even. And the shipping containers mentioned later as well, now that I think of it....
    Screen Shot 2017-11-11 at 9.44.35 AM.png


    One day we were at a neighboring village - probably for a junior high basketball game, since being the newest teacher I got assigned that coaching job - and one of the teachers there tipped me off to some pottery supplies that were maybe in an old shipping container out back of the school. (Most of the schools out there now are in the same money boat as most schools elsewhere in that there isn't much money to float in, but back in the Alaska boom days of the 80s there was SOOOO much money the schools just, apparently, were spending it willy nilly on about anything. But since the staff turnover out there is astronomical, a lot of stuff would get purchased, used a year or two and then just sort of abandoned.) Anyway. I managed to find someone with master keys and started going through the shipping container collection. About six containers in, near the back, I found a pottery kiln and a bunch of other stuff. And, sinking into the snow, near the shipping containers, I found a handful of wheels that I think had literally been there for a decade or more. Insert getting things done medley here, and eventually I'd talked my way into possession of, extracted from containers, chipped out of ice, loaded into sleds and hauled by snowmachine back to our village a few tundra miles away several wheels, one kiln, parts of another kiln and a sled full of pottery "stuff."

    Fast forward a year and I've managed to turn six broken potter's wheels into two working ones, cleaned enough space in a storage room to wedge a kiln and the wheels, sweet talked our maintenance guy into adding a circuit and wiring to run the kiln, and had several hundred pounds of clay shipped up by barge from Seattle. Seriously. And I'm all ready to teach a pottery class, because, well, why not? And, as in high school, I suck at throwing things but I really love hand building and I really really really like making coil pots (and other coil stuff), and so I make a lot of that while my kids throw stuff and generally make a huge mess. It's pretty fun. But, when you make stuff out of coils you end up with a lot of leftover bits of coils, and one day someone - maybe me, maybe Laura, maybe someone else entirely, turned a bit of a coil into a snail...and then Laura and I started making snails out of leftover bits, and doing fun glazes on them...and that was about it. I honestly don't remember having as many as we did, and I don't remember packing them to ship from the village to Anchorage, or loading them into our trailer in Anchorage, or unloading them into our new house in Portland, and the nearly ten years we lived there I don't remember ever seeing them once. But. When we cleaned it all out and got rid of a lot and put a little in a sidecar rig and the rest into a storage unit, well, we came upon a cache of ceramic snails. And we were about to start a slow trip around the country, with sort of our house on our backs, and it just seemed like the perfect little thank you to leave behind - not so big as to be one more thing taking up space in our already filled up houses, and not really worth anything, but something we made and thought maybe it could convey how thankful we were to be let into peoples lives.

    And amazingly, we had almost enough to leave one behind in each home where we stayed - except for you @Nixels ! - and now all the little snails are out there in the world, and I think that's pretty cool (and I'd maybe be sad I didn't save one for us, but we were fortunate enough to stay with all four of our parents in their three houses, so I figure someday we'll inherit three snails back ;) and we'll probably have forgotten about them by then, so that will be cool).


    Short version: we made them when we lived in Alaska and thought they'd be a cool thank you gift for hosts.
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  20. Nixels

    Nixels Face fears - live life

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    :clap :clap :clap That's a great story about reclaiming useful tools and making bits of clay into presents for a decade later!

    While a part of me is wistful at not getting a snail, we really are fellow travelers as I shared a friend's home, not mine with you. I too am leading a snail's life, and I feel like I got a great gift just being able to meet the Szurskewski clan. :deal