August Recap | A Lot Has Happened
Updated: Oct 2, 2021
I don't know about you, but I just looked at my phone and realized we are now in September. Not even September first, but it's the second already! I just don't even know how that happened!
So seeing as how it's a new month, it's time for our monthly recap. As you can tell, I haven't been too good about keeping track of time so I am a little late of getting this out. In the future you can expect these monthly updates at the end of the month, which makes sense.
It All Started With a Trip
Matthew and I stayed with some friends in Kalispell, Montana for the first week of August. Even though it was smokey, we set off for a three day backpacking trip in Glacier National Park. This was my first ever backpacking trip, and I absolutely loved it! Except for the blisters...
Once we got into the mountains, we were out of the smoke and got some stunning views of the park!
Even though my feet were covered in blisters and we lost a water bottle somewhere along the way, I would call this trip a wonderful success. We are both really excited to go backpacking more often! And I'll be buying some different hiking boots.
Now is a good time to bring up the plan we have for Project 63. In case you didn't know already, we are planning to travel to all sixty-three of the National Parks over the next five years in our skoolie. This means an average of one month at each park.
So yes, we went to Glacier National Park last month, but we will not count this as part of the Project 63 journey. We'll be back, and will be sure to share all the information about it that you could possibly need and want.
How's the Skoolie Coming Along?
Ah, one of the most common questions we get. Makes sense though considering that's what our entire lives revolve around right now.
Our answer is pretty much always the same. It's coming along.
In all seriousness though, we've got some good work done and it's really encouraging to see that progress being made.
We bought a residential door to be our new front door. We got it for a great price at Habitat for Humanity and were able to get it up quickly. It isn't quite completed yet, but it's attached and works well. We love the way it looks and really adds to the homey feel of our skoolie.
Another thing we tackled last month was the kitchen cabinets. The frame for both the upper and bottom cabinets are secured in place and the face frames for the doors are attached. All the doors are made and painted (except one that we somehow forgot to make) so they will be ready to be attached soon.
It's crazy what a bit of paint can do for the spirit!
It really makes things look like they're close to done and gives us a glimpse at what the finished product will be.
In the bathroom, we've got all the walls and ceiling installed. The framing is in place for our built in medicine cabinet. But we'll wait to install it until everything is painted and ready so we don't risk breaking the mirror on it.
We're still not quite ready to get started on the shower, but everything is in place for when we are. So stay tuned for the endeavor.
Another thing that really adds a finished look to the bus is the window mantles and framing. Matthew did a great job figuring out what to do for it. The RV windows we installed all have rounded corners, so framing them in was scaring us for a while. The three windows in the front room are now all framed in and hides the metal window framing. They still need to be painted, but they're looking good! In the future, I will make some Roman blinds for each window.
Though they aren't installed yet, the wood floor pieces for the stairs are cut and stained. We would put them in, but don't want to risk messing them up while the rest of the bus is still a construction zone. They are a different type of wood than the main hardwood flooring, so getting the stain to match was difficult. At first, the wood didn't seem to absorb much of the stain so it was a really light color. We ended up putting a SUPER heavy coat on and letting it sit over night to soak up as much as possible. We probably could have wiped it off a little sooner, but the color came out pretty good and I think it matches quite well.
Changing Our State Residency
Another big thing we did this month was go through the process of becoming "residents" of South Dakota. Why did we do this? You can find out why in this post. In short, with our new residence being South Dakota, comes a lot of benefits for full-time travelers.
After filling out some paperwork, we made a road trip to Pierre, the Capitol of South Dakota. We had a lot of fun along the way, found some free camping, and got an important step of getting on the road completed.
Spent a Ton of Money
Yeah...things are expensive and the receipts are piling up. But that means we have a lot of new cool things.
Like our kitchen sink! We bought a 24" farm style sink and it looks great with our kitchen style. I'm really excited to have a full size sink in the kitchen! That was one area that I did not want to skimp out on.
Another thing we are super excited about is getting our YouTube channel started here shortly and of course taking amazing photos. So we went ahead and spent a pretty penny on a camera and accessories. Matthew is the head of that endeavor, and is excited to finally have a good camera that will stand up to the job. Since the camera is his baby, I'll let him do the talking about it another time.
We went to the Amazon! Well the amazing online retailer that is called Amazon. We bought off-road LED lights for the front of the bus that will illuminate the long stretches of road we'll be on over the next five years. The lights look pretty cool and fit in the holes left by the old school bus lights we took out.
We also found some fancy hinges that allow us to make our kitchen cabinets work the way we want them to. We have inset doors so they sit flush with the face frame. Finding hinges that hide inside and allow the door to open from this position properly is surprisingly difficult.
Another important thing we found was a backup camera for the bus. We figured that a 40 foot bus plus our car being towed behind that is pretty long and we'd really rather not back into anything.
Lastly, we bought the final pieces for our towing system. We're towing a Ford Explorer behind the skoolie, so we wanted to have the best set-up possible. It's all in place and you can hardly tell it's there. We'll be sure to share more information on this set-up once we've used it a bit so we can give you an accurate review.
Got Our Live Edge Slab Back From the Shop
A few months ago, we bought a small live edge slab that we are going to turn into a desk. It was a little tweaked from the drying process, so we took it to Wane+Flitch where we had it professionally flattened. Now that we have it back, we are ready to stain and seal it. I would love to install it right away, but we have to wait until the walls are painted before we can do that.
We Launched This Website
Getting the website, blog, and social media all going is such a relief and exciting step forward! We spent a lot of time thinking about what we wanted to put on the website and what types of blogs I would write. It's a lot of work to set up a website, but I think it turned out pretty alright.
We're so thankful to all of you who are supporting our journey and are following us. You're a huge help in getting Project 63 going and we're so excited to have you with us!
Working From Home
Matthew got a fully remote online job recently and has been really getting in the groove of working from home. This past week, he was been doing a lot of research and training, so work on the bus has slowed for now. He is working on getting his certification for software engineering, software architecture, and sales for a mid-market and enterprise cyber security company. Boy, that was a mouthful!
One of the best things about this job is the ability for him to have flexible hours since there is no set schedule for him. This makes working on the bus and traveling much less of a stress.
Celebrated Matthew's Birthday
In my family, there are a lot of birthdays in August, one of which is Matthew's. We tried to take the day off and have some fun without doing any work, but that only lasted for so long. Eventually, we found ourselves back to work on the skoolie like any other day. However, we did get out to see that new movie Free Guy, which we loved. Can't really go wrong with Ryan Reynolds though.
The month of August was filled with big steps forward. We got our South Dakota residency, got the website up and going, and are settling into our work lives. While these things don't show big improvements on the skoolie, they are definitely important steps forward.
We've also had a lot of fun this past month! From our backpacking trip in Glacier National Park to having my famous stuffed pretzels for Matthew's birthday, we've gotten to make a lot of fun memories.
We still have a lot of work to do, but the end is in sight!
I hope you all enjoyed last month as well and are off to a great start this September!