Our sailing off-season — driving around in Chip, hanging out in the Great Lakes, sailing, surfing & swimming — has been a fun diversion from the boat. Now it’s time to get back to Florida. We finish our last big van project (building a bed), and also go behind the scenes at the Joshua Tree Skin Care (use “sailingsoulianis” to get 20% off, patrons get a 30% discount) shop in Michigan to oversee the creation of our Sailing Soulianis lip balms. Then, with Chip packed and ready to go, we begin our journey back to Soulianis.
Hope you enjoy!
Lauren & Kirk
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Theme song: ”Adventures” by A Himitsu — https://youtu.be/8BXNwnxaVQE
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Stay Sun Safe with Soulianis SPF Lip Balm
Are we even halfway yet?
[Lauren] We are Lauren and Kirk and this is Soulianis. We sailed her from Lake Michigan, down the Mississippi, to the Gulf of Mexico.
[Kirk] It’s the ocean!
[Lauren] And have been living and working aboard ever since. After hauling the boat over hurricane season, we moved into our summer home on wheels,
[Kirk] All right, boat, take care of yourself.
[Lauren] a van we named Chip.
We are about to head back down to Florida, and as you can see, we have not hardly done anything to the van. All we’ve done is put in this nice new floor all summer.
[Lauren] Chip took us all over the Midwest and Ontario, Canada, in a big circle around Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Despite not being on our boat, we managed to spend a lot of time in, on, and around the water. We also did some fun stuff on land, too. We ate countless fruit and yogurt bowls, lots of camp food, and showered in some weird places.
[Kirk] Say that again.
I really don’t wanna be in this swimsuit right now. I just wanna be able to get all my parts you know?
[Kirk] We’re in front of a public library.
In front of a public library. In Escanaba. Kirk even managed to get in a few surf sessions.
Hi. The house is parked overlooking the beach.
[Lauren] There’s a bunch of laundry hangin’ up.
And I’m gettin’ out all my water toys.
[Lauren] Oh, are you gonna body surf?
I might ’cause it, like, the waves looked big enough a minute ago.
But I think only the set waves are big enough. So, I’m gonna bring this down. If it’s not good enough, then I’m gonna body surf. It looks real small right now. But there was good set, like, just three minutes ago. Will you carry these?
‘Kay. Lookit, our house.
Kirk’s very, very excited. He was just jumping around inside the van. And I’m like, “Kirk, wait, wait, wait. “Wait ’til we get the camera.” And now he’s only, like, showing partial excitement.
‘Cause I’m ready to go.
[Lauren] ‘Kay. ♪ Summertime is here ♪ ♪ Skies are getting clear, you see ♪ ♪ Everything just seems all right ♪ ♪ The sun will heal ♪ ♪ All the pretty leaves ♪ ♪ Sitting in the precious snow ♪ ♪ It feels like the time is on ♪ ♪ To go inside ♪
I think he’s looking at me know to bring down his fins and hand plane so that he can body surf instead. Yeah. ♪ That was broken ♪ ♪ What’s been done ♪ ♪ But not unspoken ♪ ♪ Should by now ♪ ♪ I know how to ♪ ♪ Love me too ♪
So, what I’ve got set out here is everything to built a bed, an elevated bed in the back of the van. So, we’re gonna build the bed width wise. The bed is gonna go this way, instead of running this way, which is what a lot of people do. The reason we’re gonna do that, is a queen-sized bed is 80 by 60 inches. So, you get an extra 20 inches of living space if you can run your bed across the van sideways. The transit van is 78 inches wide. So, we’re gonna kinda squeeze the bed in there for now. It’s a memory foam mattress.
But next summer, what we’re planning on doing is buying some flares from Flare Space, which will give us an additional four inches. We can put a little half inch of foam insulation on the inside of the flares and still have a little bit of room leftover and the bed will fit just perfect. But that gives us an extra 20 inches of living space to do a whole lot with inside the van. Yeah, so we’re gonna build out the bed so that we can store all of our stuff underneath as we drive back down to the boat, ’cause we got a lotta stuff to take with us to the boat. And I’m pretty excited. I’ve got my tools. I’ve got my tunes. And most importantly, beers.
♪ One, two, three ♪
[Lauren] What do you got there?
I got one support. One support for the bed. I’m mounting our vertical bed supports into the wall with these quarter 20 plus nuts. So, these go right inside the little pre-drilled holes and you screw ’em down. It just goes right inside that hole. And it splays out and then that is an anchor in the wall for attaching our vertical supports on the side of the van. Sit like that.
There weren’t pre-drilled holes everywhere we needed, so we had to drill a few of our own. We connected the vertical supports with aluminum angle brackets and topped them off with one-inch aluminum square tubing across the van. Next, we made a pattern for the plywood platform that would support the mattress. We cut and painted it and then screwed it to the aluminum tubing. The last piece to build was a temporary center support to run the width of the bed. We used another sheet of plywood to capped by a couple of two by fours on the top and bottom. Yeah, now we just have to
see if I cut it to the right depth and cut it the right thickness. Progress never sleeps, Lauren.
Today, we are here at my buddy Dave’s shop.
[Lauren] In Michigan.
[Kirk] In Michigan.
Buddy Dave, as in buddies since you were what, like six years old?
Yeah. Dave owns a company called Joshua Tree Skin Care. He makes all organic skin care products. It started with rock climbing, so he made–
[Lauren] Healing salve.
For when rock climbers like tear up their fingers. And then he got into sunscreens and lip balms and body washes
Body wash and lotions.
and all sorts of things.
We used all last year and has been absolutely awesome to have. Biodegradable soaps on the boat, reef-safe sunscreens, all sorts of cool stuff.
We’re pretty stoked to be able to partner with them. He’s gonna make some products for “Sailing Soulianis.”
[Lauren] Hi, Gypsy! How are you puppy? How are you?
We grew up next door to each other. Your dad moved in what, like when you were
13 or somethin’.
So, Dave is five years older than me.
Bad influences on each other for years, right?
I think it was mostly one-way. But we’re here today because Dave makes all organic and natural skin care products. We just made “Sailing Soulianis”-branded lip balms.
Probably one… This takes some skill. You have to angle it right.
Yeah, these are awesome. These are made of organic, locally sourced beeswax, cocoa butter, coconut oil, sunflower oil, tea tree, and peppermint oil.
Put that in there like that. Well, you remember that one time, we were wake boarding and shooting fireworks at each other out of the boat, Roman candles.
[Kirk] I was the one who was getting shot at.
Oh, right, yeah, yeah.
[Dave] So, he’s got enough .
[Kirk] Dave and his team designed and built all his machines in his shop. It was pretty cool to see all the automation in action.
[Kirk] This is what we did in robotics class.
[Kirk] Hey Gypsy.
Is she happy or freakin’ out?
[Kirk] No, she’s fine.
So cute. Oh, you’re such a crazy dog. Yes, you are. Oh, yes, you are.
Today is the day. We’re finally leaving Michigan and we’re heading back down to Florida, back to the boat.
We do a tour? Do a tour of Mr. Chip, all packed up and ready to go. It’s a little different than the leg up from Florida. Unfortunately, there’s a lot more sh*t in here than there was before.
[Lauren] Yeah, well, we got a lot of food in there. We also got boards.
This is my little fish board, which has a lot of flotation and is pretty good on mellow days and is small. That’s the important part. And this is my new kite board. We also have skateboards in there. Cooler’s gonna work nice for a step.
That’s awesome . Whoa.
You just can’t tip it over. This is quite nice.
[Kirk’s Mom] Bye!
[Kirk] Oh, man.
How do you feel, love?
That was the emotional part.
So many people are on their ride along mowers.
Rakin’ up leaves.
We’re gettin’ outta Dodge.
Well, it’s not like we’re not gonna see your parents very soon.
No, we’re gonna see them soon.
They said they’re gonna come visit us in Florida in like a month, probably, so. What have we been doing the last five months?
[Kirk] The end of June, after putting our boat on the hard, and we came up to Michigan, and we spent the last five months looking for rental properties, visiting family, sailing when we could with friends, and travelin’ around in the van.
Yeah, we had some birthdays, Kirk’s dad’s retirement. We celebrated my parents anniversary with them.
This van feels heavy now.
Does it? Can you tell the difference?
[Lauren] What you workin’ on?
I’m writing a blog post about our monthly cruising budget.
[Lauren] Did you know that there’s a Charleston, West Virginia?
[Kirk] I think so.
‘Cause I didn’t. And Charleston is actually the capital of West Virginia.
Wait, did we confirm that?
I’m pretty sure.
Should we look it up?
Charleston. That sucks that you’re capital of your state is outshined by a city in the state next door. Sorry, West Virginia. We stayed in the cleanest rest area I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
Way to go West Virginia.
Could have had dinner on the toilet seats.
It was pretty clean. Well, there’s the capital.
I just wanted to tell you, this bed is awesome.
Yeah. I’m very happy that you built it.
Good. I think you’re awesome.
It’s a good thing I never became a steady op.
Yeah, you’re pretty terrible at it.
[Lauren] How do you feel right now?
We’re parked in the middle of Savannah, Georgia. And I’m super cozy here in my bed, doin’ what I’d be doin’ anywhere else. Reading about sailing and finishing up the day’s work. We don’t have any lights in here yet or any insulation or a sink or a stove or a bathroom, but we have a bed and that’s the most important thing to me ’cause, I don’t know, I feel like I’m at home right now.