Its -30C (-22F) and I’ve slowly been sealing up little gaps here and there.
I had to wake up at 4 in the morning to put more wood on, thats only a 6 hour burn… But! its the challenge!
I have about 6 big rocks I keep on top of my stove, thinking that they might create more surface for transferring heat into the air. They also stay warm a while after the fire has gone out. The best use I have found for them is warming up my feet, or throwing into my bed in the morning, they warm me up!
What have I been up to?
Staying warm and shooting a film…
As part of the Yukon 48 Hour Film Challenge, winner of the Audience Award, we shot and then edited this film in the van over the course of 48 hours!
Hello, my name is Cud Eastbound & on june 6th 2014, I set off on an adventure to move to the Yukon.
I packed/gave away everything I owned, released a new album, left Halifax and went westward on a 2 month cross Canada tour, leading me all the way up to Dawson City Yukon.
I toured with my 77 Dodge Camper van, who’s name is “Night Danger” (like those moose signs through northern ontario). Night Danger has been around the continent a few times and I found it was time to find a place for it to rest for good. I’ve made a few modifications, and love living out of the van, so I figured I would try and see if I could survive a Yukon winter by living in my van.
The first challenge was to find a way to efficiently heat my little abode, so before I left Halifax I constructed a wood stove that would fit nice and safely in the back of the van. Second Challenge was to find a way to hold in the heat I would produce to stay warm all winter. I was not keen on using traditional insulation, because at that point I might as well just build a little shack, so I came to the conclusion that straw bales would be my best bet. Once I was finished with the first winter, I could donate the bales to folks who have live stock, or dog sled teams or something.
I was lucky enough to have a friend lend me some land in Bear Creek to try out my project on. (<3 thanks Cat). I have since cleaned up a lot of the dead trees laying around, made the road a little nicer, built a wood shed, an outhouse and wrapped my entire van in 117 Straw bales.
The adventure continues as I try and seal up leaky doors and windows, its a constant learning process. There are many folks helping me out with ideas, labour, time and most important of all support. Thanks to all of you <3
I have to go stoke my wood stove now, its starting to get cold, the ferry is getting pulled out of the water tomorrow, and I am so very excited for my first winter up here in the Northern Yukon.
So… the straw bales came quite late in the season and I was planning on mudding “stucco” or “cob” whatever the outisde of the bales. However the temperature dropped too quickly and anything I would have applied to the the bales would have either not stuck, or cured properly.
I decided to purchase house wrap… $70 dollars later and some tuck tape I was in business.
Had some awesome help from friends and we got it all taped up…. Oh before that I used rope and twine to tie all the bales together, so they would not fall down.
Also, I’ve noticed a lot of people concerned about my well being… I’ve been burning wood in my fireplace non stop for 2 months now, and I clean my chimney pipe (in case of creosote build up), I check everything every day. I DO NOT leave my dog in the van, the only time he is there is when I am there with him.
I have a Carbon Monoxide detector (Thanks Diana!)
Last week has been around -25 or colder, I’ve noticed the van is very nice and warm, holds the heat well, except for the floor… as the fire place sucks air, cold air from the outside creeps in along the floor… I fixed that by drilling a 2 inch hole in the side of the van right next to the woodstove, put in a PVC pipe & on/off Valve I was given by Martin (Thanks Martin!).
So, I am still alive and well, I appreciate everyones concerns, comments, outrage and love.
Night Danger is a big van, but there are many more things I could change on the inside in order to optimize space, and a lot more to come, but for now…
Taking out the front seats was good, I need to borrow a grinder to get the bolts out of the floor, but for now it will be good.
Shelves! little shelves, big ones, any kind of shelf is great!
Had to rebuild the chimney 2 times, but alas! it is done, and retrofitting the van went well!
I made a platform for the stove to stand on, that is off of the wood floors. I also put metal against the walls, then using aluminium spacers I laid down some more metal about an inch away from the metal on the walls. This way, as the metal heats up the cold air rushing past it and cools it.
The chimney is also tripled walled now, there is the insulated stove pipe, then I put corrugated tin, then a metal casing to hold it all in place as it exits the van window.
For added safety, I started putting down my collection of sings and licence plates, this is just in case an ember or spark flies out of the wood stove, instead of landing on my “hard wood” floors, it will burn out harmlessly on the metal!
Here are some photos of my really quick outhouse,
Its getting cold, and… I am not very fussy about where I poop.
But I dug out and berried my main poles, then hucked some tin over it!
For the poles I used some of the wood I’ve been getting up the Dempster highway, its old forest fire wood. Spruce I believe, and its light and strong.
Normally I would not expose wood to earth, as it will rot, but its a temporary structure that will need improvements in the future.
my frist time welding, I decided to make a woodstove, and I hauled it in my van on tour from Halifax to Dawson..
I am Pleased to say that it works amazing!
I have not tested it at -50 yet… but I have high hopes!
The design is pretty simple, I created a woodstove that was small enough to fit in my van, but with a twist!
inside the stove, I created another stove… and within the empty spaces I poured in crushed fire brick… the stove is only about 18 inches long by 12X12… but… its packs a mean punch, and so far testing it in my van on frosty nights is proving that it stays warm from 8-10 hours…
I am stoked!!! more about the woodstove to come…
I’ll try and draw my plans (with improvements) soon! <3
So, with the help of a friend named Quigs, we placed the old sidewalks in position, so I could “level them” as well as replace any boards that were missing or rotten.
I did not want to get too intense with levelling everything, because my van weighs so much… and I knew that I can jack up the van and put posts under it to make it level later on in the project.
So, first things first I guess…
visit the dump every day to collect as many free supplies as possible.
Thought it would be a great idea to have a floor, to keep me/the van & the straw up off of the ground… less moisture…. keep away from the permafrost.
So I collected (with the help of Olin & Devon) 6 6″X8″ Pieces of old sidewalks from Dawson City… Yes, these beasts are made entirely of 2″X6″‘s.
I plan on laying them out so that I end up with a platform that is 6 inches off the ground, and that measures a wopping 24 feet by 12 feet. Also, something strong enough to support my 1 &1/2 ton camper van.
Also, I forgot to mention, first off… I had to clear out the brush.. and find a nice spot!