Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Spring 2017: Whitewater Paddling and Camper Van Build

It's been a busy Spring, not so much on the water, where I was hoping we'd have had more time to progress this year. Unfortunately, most of our free weekend days -the days we can paddle- have been eaten by the albatross of van life. Well, at least for a few more months, and then the van will be complete and we'll have a bit more freedom to roam and explore new places to paddle, climb,hike and just tour around.

Along the way, we've had a few days that we got on the water and definitely had some fun. And while the Deerfield, an old favorite and our home river is back in the mix. Most of the rivers we've run we first descents for us. Much like onsighting in climbing, you only run a river once blind, and those are the most fun descents. Of course, unlike rock climbing, the nature of rivers change with the flow, so to some extent, every descent is a first descent.

Here's a little slice of our Spring 2017...

The van (aka. Henry Van Hoevenberg):

Factory denim being reinstalled over the 1/2in polyiso board.

The inside of the van was stripped to the sheet metal to get the insulation and flooring installed.

Polyiso with 3M or Loctite contact cement in the center and Great Stuff Pro Gaps and Cracks on the edges. The contact cement allowed the board to attach to the van without elaborate bracing while the Great Stuff cured, forming a moisture tight bond.

$8 swap...replaced the factory incadascent bulbs with LEDs. 1/4 the power consumption for the same lumen output.

JBL and Infinity Speakers all around. Not the most high end system but good enough for a 16 year old van.

Templating out the cockpit headliner sound deadener. Every little bit helps.

The core of my power system. Noco Genius Gen4 40amp AC charger, and 4x100AH (400ah) AGM batteries. I'll also be charging off a CTEK DC/DC converter off the alternator and a solar panel on the roof.
6x9 Infinity's in the doors.

Rusty bolts under the seats. Seats were removed to install insulation and sound deadener in the cockpit floor. Also we'll be replacing the passenger seat base with a swivel seat and we swapped out the factory vinyl seats with OEM fabric seats with arm rest.

EZ-Cool unerlayment being installed.
Cargo area insulated. Poly iso on walls, EZ-Cool + polyiso + 1/2in plywood  + Vinyl flooring is the rear floor. Walls are poly iso, thinsulate and the factory denim.
Rear side windows don't open, so now they don't exist.We sealed them with Reflextix, Thinsulate,Polyiso foam board and FRP board.

Finished sealed windows.

The fun stuff (aka. whitewater paddling):

We found some bigger water this Spring, bigger than even the Dead River at 3500. We ran some old summer favorites at Spring high water levels and a new run, the Schroon at what appears to be a not often run 7ft. It seems most folks are spending time paddling more seasonal stuff and usually hit the Schroon at around 3.5-4ft during the summer months.
Permanent Rapids on the Saranac River. Our first run in an OC in 2017.

Big hit in Zoar Gap at 1500cfs. Notice how calm Colvin (our dog) is.
Little Missy aka. Big Drop at 6.9ft on the Schroon. This was a blast to run and at this level around a IV.

Take a look at the vertical gain over those waves on the wave train following Big Drop. I'd guess the waves were in the 4-5ft range. 

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