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dimanche 17 septembre 2017

Vancouver by aksel

So the last blog was that I was talking about Vancouver and the hotel well now I'm talking about how fun it was in the hotel.First I got in and looked at the hotel room it was very clean and I just loved it.Then I looked at the stuff and I was chilling with my iPad. Then I went to eat dinner, went back after dinner I was in the hotel room then I chilled for a little then went to sleep.


Today we went to Vancouver and slept at a hotel. This was probably one of the best hotels I've ever experience. I hope I can go to L'Hermitage Hotel in Vancouver again. The hotel had a pool and a hot tub. The pool had a heater, and it was in pretty good temature. The internet was pretty fast too, for hotel wifi. The hotel also had great service. The service was really polite and helped with a lot.


vendredi 15 septembre 2017

Hells Canyon

Last week we went to Hells Canyon and we went to a jet boat. We even stopped by a beach to have picnic. It was delicious.
We had burritos which I find really cool. Then we went back to the place where we started the jet boating. Then saw 2 hunters that had shot a deer. It was really gross and I didn't like those guys. They took the guts out of the deers neck. Other than that, the day was pretty cool.


We went to Vancouver by aksel

Vancouver is a city in Canada and were going there. It's gonna be a long way until we're in Vancouver. We're going to chill at a hotel for a day and I'm excited. In a few days we're going to reach the hotel. We're on our way there but still miles away from it. We're just going to stay in the car and have some breaks and chill. We're on the road right now.

jeudi 7 septembre 2017

We went in a boat at the snake river. By aksel

So the river was pretty fun I really got wet there was really fun jumps but I did not fall of the guy that was coaching us was a really nice guy we had some fun. I needed to use a school bus to go there and to go back there was other People in aur boat sometimes it was smooth and sometimes it was pretty rough.


We started off the day by going to a coffee shop to do school. Then we went rafting in Jackson. The river we rafted on was called Snake River. I think this experience was really good. Then we went back to the camp sites. It was a pretty good day.

dimanche 3 septembre 2017

We went to a river by Virginia Falls in Yellowstone, by aksel

So my birthday was yesterday I didn't do the blog because it was my birthday. Today when I woke up I was by a river I ate breakfast there and some people joined us they had dogs and we had some fun.

vendredi 1 septembre 2017

My birthday tomorrow. By aksel

My birthday is tomorrow and I'm having a double party the first one is I'm going to pick a restaurant and a hotel and I'm going to pick the best one I can find. The second one is the day I get back to San Francisco that's when I'm having a real party with my friends. I'm really excited my birthday is in September 2nd.

mercredi 30 août 2017

Online school by aksel

So k12 is a type of learning session on the computer sometimes it can be really easy and sometimes I can be really hard the hard parts are like really hard and the easy ones are really easy.The first day was the hardest because it was my first time using k12 then I stayed 2 day and it got a little easier the time i stated it was so hard that The first thing I needed to do.

Online school is the best by Odin

Online school is the best. It is probably even better than regular school. My recess was going canoeing with my dad for an haour and a half. Another recess could be horse back riding. In regular school, you something like basketball. That's lame! Imagine having a school choosing when your recess is, and doing it as much as you want. That's school for me: learning while being at a ranch. Also, at my recess at the pond, there was something to hang on with your hands, fly, and fall in the water. Imagine having a real school teacher watching you do that a recess. You would probably get suspended. Also, what kind of school lets you play video games at recess? Man, normal people must be unlucky.


mardi 29 août 2017

We went horseback riding. By aksel

So my horse was named croissant I loved that horse because it feels like he's doing backflips all the time here is a picture of  my horse.

And he was clumsy like me I loved him and I wanted a blond color and I got it.

lundi 28 août 2017

First day of school. By aksel

So we went to Idaho again and we found a place that is school but it is technology school where you have to answer questions on your computer. I need to do it everyday like a normal school. I was sad because everything was difficult and there's so much to do it takes like 5 hours just to complete it.

First day of middle school by Odin

My first day of middle school was awesome. My teachers name is Jose. He is pretty nice, and he taught me a lot. I really like the virtual online school I go to. The is school is called k12, and it's a really recommended homeschool. You actually get to meet other students, which is pretty cool. I've met someone in class with my interests, but I don't know enough about him. I hope I get to see him tomorrow.

dimanche 27 août 2017

Travel Tracker - Aug 27th 2017

Road to ranch by Odin

Today we went to a camp, again, and it was just to pause the road to a ranch. We will be sleeping in a ranch tomorrow, and I'm pretty excited about the ranch. I'll be able to have internet and my laptop, which is one of my favorite hobbies to do. I really miss doing my favorite hobbie.


We camped in the middle of the forest. By Aksel

Yesterday we camped at a place called silver wood at silver wood the was a water park and a theme park we went to we are going to the middle of the forest it was a cool campsite but there was no wifi it was sad we are going to sleep there.

Flint Creek National Forest Campground (by Christel)

Just south of Phillipsburg MT off route 1.
Flint Creek has about 10 shady sites along the river.
First come and free!!
You can hear the road but it's not a nuisance. No heavy traffic and hardly any cars at night.
I very glad we stopped at this restful place instead of the more busy campgrounds a bit further south near Georgetown Lake.

We got visitors during the night and was shirt of two flipflops when leaving the campground!

samedi 26 août 2017

Travel Tracker - Aug 26th 2017

Idaho panhandle through South West Montana (by Christel)

Day 9 Saturday 8/26: 4 hours of mostly I90. Anxious to get to the cabin with wifi we have rented near Yellowstone before the kids online classes starts Monday 28th.
Changing sceneries ...
Picnic lunch in Coeur d'Alene

Welcome to Montana:

MT cloudy skies due to wild fires

vendredi 25 août 2017

We went to a water park and a theme park. By Aksel

So my favorite ride in the water park was mountain peak and in the theme park it was timber terror the we were in siverware we went to a water park and the theme park at the same time.

Silverwood by Odin

Today we went to a theme park and water park. The theme park was part of the water park. The name is this theme park is SilverWood.
I suggest going there, since there is a camp site excactly right next to it. I think the theme park was the most fun part of the day,  especially when I went to the AfterShock roller coaster. I didn't find I scary, but it was the scariest. The roller coaster was in a round shape. I also love the way the Aftershock first goes back to go faster when the roller coaster goes forward.


Farragut State Park Campground in Idaho (by Christel)

Just over the border to Idaho coming from Spokane, WA. We're stopping in the area to treat the boys to a day at the Silverwood and Boulder Beach theme parks.
We read a couple of reviews about the noise level at the Silverwood campground and found this quiet State Park campsite only 10 min away.
Some great sites if you come early. We got there late and got a spot the size of a narrow driveway. No chance to set up our 6 person tent. Fourtunately we all fit in the van.
All sites are in the middle of the forest and have great shade. The Snowberry loop is the nicest and in walking distance to the lake and beach.

Walla Walla to Spokane (by Christel)

jeudi 24 août 2017

Travel Tracker - Aug 24th 2017

Winetasting in Walla Walla, Washington (by Christel)

Time for a day of wine tasting in Walla Walla, Washington.
Not the the usual Napa wine tasting experience exactly. Pricing was just as steep though. Great wines from Bontzu who established his own brand in 2015. Go for the rosé made from 100% counoise.

mardi 22 août 2017

Travel Tracker - Aug 22st 2017

Arrived at the city by Odin

Today we have arrived at Walla Walla, and we've chosen our activity. We've chosen to go to the Fort Walla Walla museum, and then go to the arcades after visiting the museum. Tomorrow will be a great day!
We've got a hotel named by RedLion. This hotel is really big, and it's got a really warm pool and hot tub. I'm really glad to be in Walla Walla.

-Odin Olsen

lundi 21 août 2017

Travel Tracker - Aug 21st 2017

The Eclipse happens.

Today was the day that the Eclipse happened. The Eclipse happened this morning. It was surprising how fresh it was while the moon is perfectly in a line.It took about a hour for the Eclipse to fully happen. We had to wear special glasses to avoid getting blind. After the Eclipse, we went to hit the road to go to Walla Walla, but we did not go as far as we wanted. So here we are, at another camp site, out of Walla Walla, the city.

-Odin Olsen

We saw the Eclipse! by Aksel

I woke up from my tent but odin didn't cause he was tired and I wasn't but when I woke up I remembered that the Eclipse was happening in 1 hour the Eclipse was very cool but when the sun turned into a bananna I was wierded out.when there was five min left I was excited want it would turn out at night it wasn't really the night because it was only a few min.

The total eclipse experience by Daniel

On Aug 20th, we left Bend to drive in "the path of totality". It is a 70 mile stretch where the moon would cover the sun completely and where the "experience" is the most striking. 

Image result for path of totality oregon
Path of Totality in Oregon

As you can imagine, we weren't the only ones having that neat idea :). Accommodations and campgrounds were booked months if not years in advance. So one solution left: boondocking! There are many public lands in the US (National Forests, BLM...) where you can camp for free in dispersed areas for as long as you follow some rules (I'll make a blogpost on that later). So this is what we did and found a neat spot in the Ochoco National Forest (yay! I finally found a way to import our tracking data in the blog).

August 20th Van Tracker

On the spot itself, well it's amazing (see Christel's post). It's quite an experience to be on your own, far from the crowds in the middle of the forest. If you add the eclipse to the equation, it's awesome!

So what does it look like? Well, unless you wear your special glasses, your really don't see anything besides the light dimming slowly (the whole process takes about one hour). It becomes a bit chillier and a few cows crossed our campsite and looked really confused (might also be that they didn't expect to see anyone here).

And then, bam, total darkness, total silence and a ring around the sun. There is really nothing like it. For what it's worth, here's a picture I snapped.

Totally eclipsed!

The totality lasted for about a minute and a half, and pretty much life resumed its normal course after that.


Watching the Eclipse in Ochoco National Forest by Christel

Leaving Bend on Sunday August 20th we went hunting for a campsite to watch the Eclipse. We had not been able to make reservations iside the totality path sobwe headed for Ochaca National forest. We had several walk in camprounds
in mind but all camp sites were taken. We finally spotted a clearing near a creek not far from Wild Cat campground. Exceptionally calm and far away from the cowds at Smith Rock and other famous sites. A memory for life!!

dimanche 20 août 2017

Almost time for the Eclipse, by Aksel

So I already told you the Eclipse comes once in 100 years,tomorrow is the Eclipse we're going to see the Eclipse in the forest.Were in the forest right now getting ready for it.were just waiting here there might be people we don't know yet,we set up the tent and I'm in it right know.
We just need to wait for tomorrow then we're at the Eclipse.

One day left until the Eclipse by Odin

The Eclipse happens on Monday, and today is Sunday. As I said, I am not looking forward to this Eclipse. The only reason I'm here is because my parents want to see it. An Eclipse happens by having the Earth, Moon, and Sun into a straight line. Like I said, again, the Eclipse only happens 1 time I'm a 100 years.
Today we're sleeping in a tent near the Eclipse. It's my first time sleeping in a tent while camping.

-Odin Olsen

Short Stop at Smith Rock State Park on our way to watch the Eclipse (by Christel)

Stopping for a short hike and instructions for Eclipse watching by local ranger.

Going To Another Camp by Aksel

First we started on Lake Head but now we went to another camp it's called thielsen was pretty good we got some new friends.
It was a pretty good camp,and we came here just for the esclisps it happens once in 100years that's why we went to this whole camp for that it was pretty rare but I'm not looking forward to to it.

samedi 19 août 2017

Starting a trip #2 by Odin

Today we went to see the deepest lake in the US. This lake was named as "Crater Lake", and located in Oregon. This lake used to be a volcano. Some Indians were near the volcano about 300 years ago, while it exploded. I think this just of been really, REALLY scary. There is a tiny volcano in the middle of the lake. My parents thought it was an island, but I proved them wrong after going somewhere with a sign saying it is a volcano, and saying how deep the lake is. The lake was 1943 ft. deep.

Next we went to a camp and got some new friends. We hung out, and it went really well.


Smoke on the water at Crater Lake by Christel

Thielsen View Campground by Christel

Fabulous location by Diamond Lake not far from the North entrance of Crater Lake National Park. 
Great spots with lake view if you get there early on loop A and B. (A is reservation only). We were doubious to reviews saying this camping is "mosquito hell" but we were not at all bothered by mosquitos. 
A beautiful paved trail goes around the lake (11 mi).

Early morning view Mount Thiesen in the mist

vendredi 18 août 2017

On the road to Oregon by Christel

Mount Shasta in the mist

Lakehead Campground and RV Park by Christel

Our first night camping on our tour of the Wester'n states. Chosen for it's proxemity to Interstate 5 as the first part of the journey is mostly about getting to the zone of the eclipse in Oregon.
The campsites have a lot of space and shade but the kids were very disappointed that the advertized pool had tured green and dirty. 
We had a great evening and late night by the fire. Weather was warm, no mosquitos!! And we slept with windows and doors open. Best sleep I had in a week.

jeudi 17 août 2017

Starting a trip by Odin

I have left my home to go on a road trip. That moment felt so sad! I was about to leave my friends for 6 weeks, which meant so much to me.
 We are going to this roadtrip to see the eclipse in Oregon, which I'm not looking forward to do, but my family really wants to see it. The reason my family wants to see this "Eclipse", is because it only happens 1 time in a 100 years.

Hike to Shasta lake by Aksel

Once we went on a four hour drive to camp,then we hung out there and my mom and dad decided to go on a hike to Shasta lake. I really didn't want to go but I needed to. So we went. Then I found a passageway to another camp. We saw the lake so we ran there and saw the view. It was boring, until I through rocks at the lake. Then we saw a black bird and played around with him. Then we went back to camp and I had a bunch of splinters in my foot.

samedi 12 août 2017

Got the van back! by Daniel

Went to pick up the van today! Thanks to Felipe & Carlos @523rods in Richmond to have helped me prepping it for the trip. New storage, awning and a lot of mechanical maintenace done do we can wander safely and comfortably (well, as much as possible).
Thanks guys!

jeudi 20 juillet 2017

So you're in the market to buy a Vanagon are ya? by Daniel

Since we bought our van, I've been spending quite a bit of my free time either reading documentation about it and restoring (when not "going camping"). I've shared our adventures, breakdowns, wood splinters and oil stains with friends and family. Up to the point that now and then people reach out to me and ask "I'm considering buying a VW Camper van? You seem to be an expert, do you have any advice?".
Upfront, I have no pretention to claim myself and expert about these ladies (for some reason, these vans are usually  given poetic feminine names). I've entered this world about 3 years ago and loved the vehicle as much as the community. I feel I was able to avoid the biggest mistakes but it's been more luck than science so here's my experience. For the record, we own a 1989 Syncro AdventureWagen (in other words a hightop Vanagon) so you'll be able to spot the obvious bias.

What Model? What year?
VW Campervans come in 3 main lines: the Buses (1968-1979), the Vanagons (1980-1991) and the Eurovans (1993-2003). If you plan to go camping I recommend against the Buses. They definitely look the coolest but they are not fantastic on the highway when it comes to drive more than a few hundred miles. Vanagons still have some of the cool factor (admittedly, they're a bit of an acquired taste) but are actually capable of long hauls. When it comes to the year, the 1986-1991 are the best choice (diesels and air-cooled have the reputation of being quite unreliable). Finally Eurovans… Objectively they are superior to the Vanagons in every aspect. BUT they are "modern" vehicles with an A/C that works, a front engine, power everything etc… So they lost some of that original spirit.

Syncro or not Syncro?
One of the awesome "options" of the Vanagons is the "Syncro", i.e. 4WD. Possibly the only feature better on Vanagons than Eurovans is their ground clearance so you can actually take them off road. They are very capable vehicles when it comes to leave the asphalt behind BUT that option comes with a (hefty) price. I saw very few Syncros advertised for less than $20K. If you add the camper package, prices can become very high (not uncommon to see $50K for a fully restored Westy Syncro). Add on top that these ladies are divas when it comes to maintenance. So if you're on a budget and just want to enjoy the campgrounds, stay with the 2WD. Now if you are looking for an exclusive ride (word on the street is that less than 5000 syncros were imported to the US, of which only a fraction are campers) that will probably beat your saving account in terms of interest rate, start looking around and be patient for the right opportunity!

Westfalia or AdventureWagen?
There is ample documentation on the internet about Vanagons but the AdventureWagen is even a rarer specie than syncros. Yet for some reason they are cheaper than Westfalias while being better equipped. The upside of the Westies is the community support (on the AW there's a good yahoo group but that's pretty much it if you need help). Admittedly the "pop-top" feature is the "signature" of the van which makes them hold their value. On the other hand, the hard-top comes with 2 advantages: it's makes the camping possible any time of the year and if you're into "stealth overnight", the pop top screams "I'm sleeping here" which may trigger a neighborhood watch call.  Finally, when it comes to the interior, Westies have that "RV" style whereas AW have and all wood interior which gives them an old yacht style.

What to upgrade?
The options to spend money on your Vanagon are endless. It's a matter of personal taste as everything is not useful but there are a few things that you should definitely plan for budget wise.
  • The engine: let's be clear, Vanagons are way underpowered for a 2 ton vehicle. Climbing up a hill on a highway can end up strolling at 30 mph. Also, if your plan to buy a van that has 200K miles on it and the original waterboxer, chances are that you will need to get a new engine pretty soon (there's a long list of things that can break, our head gasket blew on a road trip). We choose the Subaru 2.1 liter engine as it's the only Subaru that's legal in California. There are as many opinions on what conversion as there are owners and they all have their pro and cons. Do your homework, talk to mechanics, choose a good shop and it'll be the best investment you'll ever make.
  • The tires: Originally, the vanagon rides on 14" wheels. We upgraded to the 16" BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO02 and it makes a great deal of difference when it comes to driveability on and off road (not to mention the looks). Once you upgrade, you will have the question of the spare tire location (usually on the back) which requires a bumper upgrade. We recycled our original spare-tire carrier to a BBQ carrier, will do a specific post on that :)
  • Headlights: Seriously, driving at night with the original "lamps" is anywhere between challenging to plain dangerous. There's a $100 kit to upgrade the bulbs (with a relay) or you can go for the "South African Grill" option.

We did many other upgrades on ours, mostly on the interior. I will share the journal of the restoration when I have time during our trip.

What else?
The community of Vanagons owners is helpful and dynamic and it's hard to put a price on that. We bump to each other all the time and so far I've met only awesome  people. Do your homework, read articles, post questions talk to owners… and I hope the bug will bite you. Now putting that amount of money in a 30 yr. old van is not for everybody and that's fine: the road is an expression for diversity also.

mercredi 28 juin 2017


We are a married couple with 2 boys and are taking the opportunity to go off on a creative journey, to rejuvenate, to make ideas tick and to reconnect with the family.
It is a road-trip in a vintage VW AdventureWagen across the western USA for 5 month. We look forward to experience a different lifestyle: change our relation to time, distance, belongings, nature, education, people…

If you are interested to follow our journey, we will be posting updates here.