January 7, 2014

Lot Lizards at Mt. Bachelor

The forced air furnace kicked on with a whir, blasting hot air into my camper. It was still dark.  Another hour or two until sunrise.  Laying back down I grabbed a pillow and covered my eyes.  Predawn light lit the camper and I pulled my upper body out of my mummy bag.  The high pitched chug of  two stroke engines bounced off a distant hillside as a crew of snowmobilers headed out into the backcountry.  Rolling over,  I opened the Velcro window and peered out.  It was clear, and probably in the low 20′s.  Turning up the thermostat,  I slid into a sitting position on my bed and reached for my rubber boots.

Cracking the side door, I poked my head out and looked around.  Swinging the door the rest of the way open, I stepped down on to the hard packed combination of snow and ice.  A line of campers in various forms parked north to south against the snowbank.  Walking around the back of my camper,  I noticed a layer of ice underneath the curtain. “Must have been cold.. I haven’t seen ice there before,” I thought to myself.  In a few hours,  the Mt. Bachelor parking lot would be full of its fair share of Subarus and Volvos, but for now, it was empty.

Looking over at the back of Tim Eddy’s camper, a Ford ranger wearing a Four Wheel Camper parked next to mine, I noticed the same ice on his windows. Tim is a professional snowboarder that lives in a 200 square foot cabin he made with his girlfriend in Truckee, California and often snowboards with crazy fleece hats.  Here’s a photo of him in action.  Pulling my ungloved hand from my pocket, I rapped on the gold glass window.

“Tim,  you awake man?”

“Carpe CARVE Brother!  Carpe CARVE,” Tim bellowed with his signature exuberance.

I broke in to laughs. “I’m going to get some hot water going in a few.  Want some coffee?

“I’m already working on my matte. Thanks though, I’ll come over in a few.”

Suited and booted.

Bryan Box and Austin Smith chewing the fat.  Check out their Drink Water project here.

Scotty warming up in the front seat.

Whitney built this camper out her self and has spent the better part of three years living in it.  It has a marine stove, bed for one and a 4×4 conversion.

The way to Mt. Bachelor.

For mote photos,  checkout Start of Winter on Adobe Revel.

Defrosting.

Shred sleds.

Kyle Shwartz and his Toyota Tundra with a Four Wheel Camper.

Alex Yoder and his Toyota Tundra with a Hallmark Camper.

Tim Eddy and his Ford Ranger with a Four Wheel Camper.

Scotty Wittlake and his Toyota Tacoma camper with an ARE top.

Whitney Bell and her converted Ford Camper Van.

The propane stove hissed on and with a flick of the lighter, the small blue flame illuminating the still dark camper.  Reaching for faucet, I filled the kettle and placed it on the burner.  The heat from the stove warmed the air.  Looking down at my watch to check the time, I noticed the date,  December 14th.  Today was my 750th morning on the road since August of 2011.  Time Flies. I thought to myself as I sifted through the a cabinet looking for my Aeropress.

“Rap rap rap,”  The side door of my camper vibrated.

“You in there Foster?”  Scotty asked.

“Yah man.  Come in and grab some coffee.”

Here are some more links,

Start of Winter (Adobe Revel).

December 19, 2013

Coastal Lurking

I pulled off the 101 south shortly after midnight into the small community of Arch Cape.

“I bet if we park in front of an empty house and pop the top, no one will fuck with us.  It’s a Tuesday night and if any one sees us they will just assume we are staying at the house.  Either that or we park on one of the logging roads, but those are mostly gated and the logging trucks get on it early.”

Dozing in and out,  Bryan didn’t respond at first.

“You dead mon?”

“Yess…lets do Jedi mind trick style.  Those logging roads are tough”

“Sounds good to me…”

I rolled down the street in first gear checking the driveways.  Only a few SUV’s populated the driveways of the dozen or so ranch style beach houses.  Picking one on the ocean side of the street,  I pulled into the vacant driveway and turned off the lights but left the engine running.  The motion lights turned on a floodlight that illuminated the driveway but nothing stirred in the house.  The occasional snore emanated from the passenger street.

“Le’s crash, I think  we are Kosher here.”  Opening the driver’s door, I unlatched the pop top and opened the back. Two minutes later and Bryan and I were in my camper setting up our sleeping bags. A light northeast wind tugged at the camper’s canvas pop top as I settled into my sleeping bag.

“I’m setting an alarm for 6:35.”

“Sounds good to me,  we’ll get on it early,” Bryan said switching off the LED ceiling light.

We both were asleep before pillow talk could start.

Caley watching peelers.

Guard dog.

North at sunrise.

Dog walking time.

Trevor’s homemade camper.

Bryan watching the sunrise.

Duly noted.

Lurking

Cold and glassy.

Vanlife parking on the Oregon Coast.

Waiting of the tide to drop.

“The tide needs to drop a lot.”

Making coffee first thing in the morning.

The thick wetsuit shuffle.

Low tide.

Scotty making breakfast.

Check out more photos from this series on Adobe Revel here.

Calling it a day.

Afraid of raising suspicion with construction workers working on houses on the street,  I woke before the alarm went off and laid in the comfort of my sleeping bag.  I dozed.  The propane heater kicked in and the electric fan whirred.  Looking down at the my iPhone, it was 6:30.

“Bryan,  you ready to rumble?”

“Yah.”  Bryan was awake and looking at his phone as well.

“When’s low tide?”

“Ehh let me check….8:41″

“Perfect. lets get the fuck out of my dodge..”

Jumping out of the camper like Spicoli in Fast Times,  I quickly latched the pop top down before hopping in the driver’s seat.  ”We’re home free,” I grinned to myself as we backed up and pulled out of the driveway.  The first suggestion of the sunrise dotted the coastal range to the east as we headed south on the 101.

Here are some more links,

Costal Lurking (Adobe Revel),

Bryan Fox (Tumblr).

September 2, 2013

Solstice

“This seems pretty level,  don’t you think?” I asked Tucker as I shifted into neutral and let my foot off the break.  The truck rocked back and forth before settling.

“Feels like it,” Tucker said with a level of empathy brought about by a day of eating, drinking and smoking.  ”I’m going to crash under the stars though. The stars are In-Sane.”

Nodding in approval, I pushed the stick into reverse,  and backed up over the knoll.  The truck leveled off  a bit but still favored the right side.  Looking over to the left, I watched Dan do the same thing in his Vanagon.

“That’s nowhere close to level.”

“What? Dan’s van?”

“Yah look at that.  Total newb parking job.” Turning off the truck,  I searched for my flip flops under my feet with my big toes.  Rotating to the left, I hung my feet out of the open door and looked west.  The last remnants of sunlight from the day before lined the horizon like the flames from a dying camp stove. It was 10:15.

I jumped down from my seat and landed on the field with a soft thud.  Some fifty feet off a gravel road,  we were parked on a hill overlooking the Lost Coast Trail and the Mouth of the Matole.  National news coverage of an escaped serial killer holed up in the area kept the local campsites empty, despite being the middle of summer.

“Where are you going to lay it down? I have an extra sleeping pad if you want to borrow it,” I asked Tucker as we walked back towards the truck.

“Sure.  I’m going to crash over there.  I found a flat spot.”

I groped the cup holder for a headlamp and found one tangled in a nest of coins, fin keys and iPhone headphone cords. Shoving it in my back pocket,  I walked over towards Dan’s van to say goodnight.  Tired from a day of looking for waves, cooking food and shooting the shit, I maybe had thirty minutes in me before I’d pass out.  That realistically meant that I had 10 minutes, I reasoned.  There’s no way I could make it to midnight.

Dan and Tucker checking waves.

Long days don’t last.

Drying off.

Dan’s Subaru powered Vanagon.

Tucker and Greg cooking dinner.

Jay Nelson’s OG quiver.

Death by powerslide.

Neil Young on repeat.

The road to Patrolia.

The propane stove in an off-grid cabin on the Lost Coast.

Windy.

Heater.

A rolling home on the 1.

 Turning on my headlamp, I inspected the ground around my truck.  All though very low to the ground, the oily leaves and small branches were unmistakable.

“Motherfucker. Do you guys see this?”  We are camping in a field of Poisson Oak,” I yelled.

Here are some more links,

Special Opz (Tumblr),

Lost (A Restless Transplant Post from 2 years ago).

January 22, 2013

Nick Dirks’ Van

Mt. Bachelor’s parking lot was empty,  save for a few RV’s and vans parked in the corner of the lot.  Looking for Nick’s van,  I spotted it nestled between two pickup truck campers.  Pulling up behind the group of campers, I parked and walked towards Nick’s van.  Icicles hung from the corners of every vehicle as a result of the mid-teens temperatures the night before. Knocking on the window,  I heard movement in the van, and opened the door.

“Rise and shine,  it’s butt whipping time!”  I said,  drowning out Nick and Alex’s groans as I opened the front door and hopped into the passenger seat.

“You guys stay warm last night?  It’s fucking freezing out.”

“We had the heater cranked all night, it wasn’t that bad,” Nick said from the fold down bed in the back of the van.

“Ha, how was the floor?” I asked Alex.  He lay on the ground wrapped in a Poler napsack surrounded by a few empty 12 ounce beer cans and a bag of chips.

“It was fine.  What time is it?”

“Uhh… Let me check..8:15,” I said checking my phone.  ”It’s dumping out!”

“Really?”

“Yah, you guys are tripping!  I’m going to go get first lift.  They start running in fifteen”

“Uhghh…” Nick rolled over onto his stomach.  ”We’ll see you up there.”

“Have it your way dude…”  I said tracking in snow out of the open door.  ”Give me a ring.”

Ass, Gas or Grass, Nobody Rides for Free.  For the record these empties were from parked activities, not mobile.

Shutting the door, I grabbed my board and headed towards the lift line.  They’ll be up in an hour I thought to myself.

I first met Nick snowboarding on Mt. Hood ten years ago.  Nick, myself and our friend Jarad ripped around Mt. Hood Meadows like we owned the place, cutting lift lines,  going out of bounds and occupying the lodge.   In the winter of 2004, we went on our first road trips by ourselves together in search of snow and hand rails.  When we graduated from high school, I decided to go to college, instead of focusing on snowboarding.  Nick went on to be a pro shredder and has rode his board in places like Lebanon, Russia and Chile.   Whenever I came back to Portland,  I’d meet up and chew the fat with Nick and Jarad.  During college and my stint in New York, these stories of old times, and Nick and Jarad’s current shenanigans, made me question my path.  Seven years later,  we are both living in our vans.

Note the icicles and empty beer holder.

The inside of #vanlife.

The Vantasy’s custom board rack.  Pure Cambvibes.

An hour later, my phone rang in my pocket as I road up the lift.  Sitting on my gloves, I wrangled my phone out of my breast pocket with my slow moving fingers.

“Where are you guys?  It’s going off!” I laughed, tucking my phone under my goggle strap.

“We are at the bottom of Sunrise (a lift).  Where are you?”

“I’m a few chairs a head of you,  see you at the top.”  Shutting off my phone I shoved it back into my pock and checked the zipper.  I couldn’t remember the last time Nick and I took laps together.  It must have been at least seven years.  I hooted in anticipation.

Here are some more links,

The Vantasy Christmas.