Entries by Dakota

Installing a DIY Gray Water System Under My Sprinter Van

For years, our Sprinter van’s “gray water system” consisted of a simple 3-gallon plastic jug. When it filled up, we’d haul the jug outside and dump it out. Usually discreetly, sometimes on an azalea in someone’s front yard. After I upgraded our batteries to lithium and moved them inside, we lost the space for the […]

Bikepacking Magic on the Colorado Trail

The Colorado Trail is the big leagues of bikepacking. Get ready for leg-thumping elevation gain, lung-emptying altitude, afternoon thunderstorms tossing lightning and rain at the passes, and remote, rocky terrain with significant consequences.  Oh, AND prepare yourself for a fabulous adventure you’ll never forget. We experienced no days I can label easy, but for determined […]

Sharing the Mental Load

At some point in the past decade, I read an eye-opening article about how mental load, the invisible labor involved in handling a household and family, is usually carried by women. It suggested that for those of us without it, mental load is the water we swim in, unseen and natural, the actions helping the […]

Bikepacking Hijinks on the Oregon Outback

The buzzing on Jono’s bike started shortly after we rolled onto a tooth-rattling section of the OC&E rail trail. The culprit: his Crocs were dragging on the rear tire. “PHEW, glad I didn’t lose those,” he said. “Hey, wait. Where’s my sleeping pad?” Losing a sleeping pad a mere 13 miles into one’s first bikepacking […]

Creating a Solid Piano Practice Routine

In June 2020, Chelsea surprised me with a thoughtful birthday gift: a digital keyboard. Starting from scratch, I’ve managed to progress from “where the hell is middle C?” to “hey, this is going somewhere!” When a reader (hi Kim) recently asked about my piano practice routine, I adapted my notes into this blog post. If […]

Ditching a Self-Bullying Mindset

I’m one of those Type-A people who enjoys filling a 30-day calendar challenge with X’s. Solidly motivating for me, or at least a simple reminder to practice my Italian! Recently I saw a challenge with a different take: a repeating loop of “do activity, get less awful.” (Paraphrased.) I found it funny…until Chelsea pointed out […]

Begone, 2020! Looking Back at an Intense Year

Good grief, how do I write about 2020 without sounding like a jackass? It served up so much: social unrest, wildfires, the election battle. Did I forget anything? Oh yeah, THE F’N PANDEMIC. Talking about what I experienced and learned this year feels self-indulgent when people are hurting and the damndemic rages on. Still, 2020 […]

The Best Books I Read In 2020

Amid all the upheaval of 2020, at least I found time to read amazing books. Some were heavy, while others transported me to other worlds. (Like I did sitting in the van with the view above, immersed in the world of Dune.) Turning off the news and disappearing into a book served as an important […]

Sewer Trenches Versus Carpal Tunnel

Most weeks of my life yield few concrete results. Phone calls and piano practice, emails and payroll approval, bike rides and socializing leave a scant real-world trace. When the results of our work hours are digital detritus, carpal tunnel and bad posture, tackling physical projects is even more valuable! Two weeks in October delivered on […]

My Case For Why Ebikes Rule

EBIKES. Some people love them, while others beseech the pope to label them the 8th deadly sin. I’m a cycling enthusiast (some might slight addict) and don’t personally ride an ebike. However, many people around me do, and I think ebike maligners are missing the potential of electric bicycles. There’s a place for them, as […]

Setting Up a Garage Gym for Home Workouts

GarageFit started as a joke in 2017, a goofy name for garage strength workout with a friend. It soon blossomed into a 2x/week community workout for a group of guys. (Well, until the damndemic hit…) With covid blaring away, cold weather upon us, and outside options diminishing, a garage gym is ever more important. Per […]

Dealing With Emotional Lightning Strikes

When I get hit in the head, I morph from Calm Dakota into Dak the Destroyer, Wannabe Viking Marauder. Take the time a college roommate (Chelsea’s brother) tagged me in the head with a rubber ball as I studied for an engineering test. RWWWARG. Dak the Destroyer grabbed my chunky TI-89 calculator and angrily launched […]