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Off-Season 20/21

For James & I, living in a van is a dream come true. We have the freedom to live almost anywhere. To bring our own bed, books, and kitchen with us wherever we are. We have our own space & privacy whenever we want, & wherever we go.

The largest downside to this lifestyle is being farther away from family for the majority of the year (because of the tour schedule that James competes in).

The off-season gives us the opportunity to spend some time with family, see people we do not get to see all the time, & maybe even take some time away from the disc golf course. (And some time to give Henry (James's parents' dog) attention.)

After spending Thanksgiving with James's family in western Virginia, Christmas with my Dad's side of the family in Maryland, and New Year's with my Mom in northwestern Pennsylvania, James and I were ready to hit some warmer weather & get back into the rhythm of movement, practice, & disc golf.

We had plans to head out to California and visit our friend Peter McBride (fellow MVP teammate), but stopped in Austin, Texas to visit Nate Perkins before we went west.

I'm a straight sucker for a good farmer's market. Between the organic local produce, hardworking agriculturists, and fresh eggs... I'm into it.

Here, I ended up making breakfast tacos with peppers, eggs, & mushrooms, and lion's mane faux crab cakes on greens with toast. Tasted all the better eaten outdoors, on a warm morning after a few colder days, and next to fresh blooming flowers.

We shared the meal with our good friend Nate, his notorious bassist Uncle Bobby Perkins, & his friend Natasha.

Eating with loved ones always adds so much love to any meal for me. And it helps with leftovers, too- I always make too much food!

Turns out, one of the most brilliant things in the world is the combination of fresh fruit and good lighting.

We compiled most of our favorite foods, & used a whole tabletop to create this beauty.

I loved being able to circle back to it a few times, finding new pockets of delicious delights. (To me, this is the marker of a good charcuterie board.)

We intended to stop in Austin for one night, and stayed for nearly a week. I was unexpectedly taken by her charms. The food, atmosphere, and music of the city is lovely. We made new dog friends, some lifelong soul friends, soaked in the live music, & absorbed the spirit of this place.

After the Austin stop, we headed west through the southern states. Stopped in Arizona & New Mexico on our way to California. Having spent most of the off season thus far in wooded areas, the wide open desert was a beautiful change of pace.

We loved a few mornings in the desert haze, but couldn't wait to get out to California.

In the beginning of 2021, James signed with a new disc manufacturer sponsor, switching from Innova Champion Discs to MVP Disc Sports. At this point he had less than a couple dozen rounds of golf with his new bag and discs and was eager to get in more repetitions with his new tools.

James had been practicing with the new plastic since roughly November, but we hadn't spent much time in places he could really throw.

This was our first sunset in costal California, the view from Peter's backyard.

I hadn't spent much time in California before, and loved seeing the variety of flora in every yard & space. (I did live there for a little less than a year as a toddler, but I'll get to that later...)

Luckily, James also appreciates a good nature nerd moment.

One day we took advantage of some California sunshine & hiked with Peter near Los Osos & San Luis Obispo. We trekked up the backside of a mountain, then walked downhill towards the sea, watched the sunset, & saw whale tails on the horizon.

There's something incredible about being the tallest thing around. Bearing witness to the expansiveness of the air and earth.

This was our first real hike of the year, and truly a fantastic way to begin 2021.

One of the best things about this lifestyle is being able to enjoy the heart of a place. We are infinitely lucky for our friends and family (who are local to the area) taking the time to share with us the most magical views, food, & adventures of each place we visit.

{This is a reminder to the people that only go to those places when they have visitors-

Go when it is just you, too! Please don't wait until you have out-of-towners to go to your favorite spots. }

James & puppies are a lifelong love story. He grew up with dogs, & has a soft spot for German Shepherds. This is Peter's mom's dog, Red.

While James and Peter worked on cutting a hole in Peter's van for his skylight, I got out my sewing machine on the back porch.

I made two side window covers, and one windshield cover for our home. They are made with reflectix & wool for insulation. The side window covers attach with magnets, and the windshield cover stays in place with the sun visors down. This keeps the van from heating up so much in the daytime sun, and from losing heat through the glass on colder nights.

The variety of California also shows in its seasides. Black or tan sand beaches, stone or shell beaches, tidepools, & rocky cliffs. It is mesmerizing.

I had heard about the small ecosystems of tidepools, but I had no idea the complexities of their liveliness. Every texture, color, & shape I could imagine, alongside creatures that look made up. Absolutely magic.

(Have you ever gently tickled an anemone before?)

This shellfish was straight out of a fantasy book series. Thousands of these clung to the side of the stone next to pink coral and bright green seaweed.

The brightness of this pink was jaw-dropping, and its contrast with the sea foam green blue anemone is memorable for me.

Grateful for this kind, nature loving, travel partner to explore this world with.

After the San Luis Obispo area, we traveled up the coast to Monterey. The shoreline was rocky, windy, and frigid- and breathtaking.

I had actually lived in Monterey for about six months as a toddler, while my Mom was on active duty orders for the US Navy, but I had not been back since. It was neat to match some of the physical locations with stories from my childhood. She has one about me pushing my way to the front of a cliff to better see the view.

Neither James nor I had been to Death Valley or Yosemite, so we made sure to spend a couple days in each before our schedule filled up from the start of tour.

The size of the stone mountains dwarfed us. Enormous crags of rock, ranging in hues of purple and pink to blue, green, and orange surrounded us for miles. It was unlike any place I had ever been before.

The desert light is magical. It was surreal to be in a place so dry after a week along the coastline.

Incredible to think about the water moving through these canyons when the rains do come. I'd love to see a desert storm & the wildflower burst that follows.

The extremes continued when we got to Yosemite! There was a few feet of snow along most of the road, and at the top of the mountains.

When we began this hike we were walking in about six inches of snow. By the time we reached the summit, we were trying to stay on top of the snow (unsuccessfully) as it was hip height when we fell through the top layer.

The snow was slowly melting by the low 40 degree temperatures, and on the way back down the mountain we were literally coasting. Sliding on dropped leaves and melting snow. An absolute blast.

We didn't know it at the time, but we would actually visit Yosemite again in 2021. With no snow, multiple waterfall hikes, and witness the start of a loving relationship for one of our friends.

Even with over a month spent with our families for the holidays, I feel lucky we managed to fit in quite a few new adventures before the start of the 2021 season.

Thank you for reading! Feels good to share glimpses into our lives, as well as having some place to keep all the memories. I'm glad you're here.

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2 comentários

Kristin Conrad
Kristin Conrad
26 de jan. de 2022

Love the photos and descriptions and especially love you both! We lived in the East Bay Area of California from 2003 to 2004. It’s such beautiful country.


No one interested in #vanlife should miss this! Beautiful prose and amazing pictures!

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