Please, please, PLEASE get in touch with us and let us know if we're inspiring or annoying you, if you have questions or comments, or just to say hi! We may even stop in and see you at some point!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Bishop's Castle

This past summer, we took some time to go check out one of the craziest, most revered places in local lore, the castle hand built by Mr. Jim Bishop.  This guy is the real deal.  He has no teeth.  (Seriously, I saw him snacking on oysters out of a can with a toothpick (may not have been oysters), and I was overwhelmed with awe.
But I digress, he's spent the better part of his life collecting rocks out of the forest to build this amazing, wondrous castle.  We parked just off Co Hwy 165 and walked up to where all the other cars were parked.  The castle can't really be seen from miles off as one would expect, hidden in a pocket of foothills and pine trees.  However, when you get close, the highest point towers over the trees.
There's more to write, but we've had the fortune to go on more adventures lately, and it's been prohibitive of the time necessary to write.  Stay tuned!

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Re-Introduction of Sorts

The realities of life creep up on us all.  No matter how much or how little we believe we are prepared for everything, or anything, the craziness comes out of the blue and leaves us bewildered... drops us in the beautiful San Luis Valley.  What Wikipedia tells us about this wonderous place is that it's "an extensive high-altitude depositional basin ... covering approximately 8,000 square miles ... and sitting at an average elevation of 7,664 feet above sea level."  It's a beautiful place.  As I understand, it's about the size of the state of Connecticut.  There are a National Park and Preserve's amount of Sand Dunes
From a trip down last winter/spring...
in the Valley, covering about 19,000 acres.  There's a UFO watchtower and an alligator farm.   There's a smattering of hot springs pools, tourist trains, and a museum dedicated to the world's greatest heavyweight boxer, Jack Dempsey.  There are educational opportunities, and plenty of things to do.

A little background, we purchased the property here in the San Luis Valley toward the beginning of 2017.  It's been a roller-coaster of journey since then, so we really haven't had an opportunity to invest any time in it.  We've camped down there once or twice, but that's really it.

If you put your feet on the dash while the
defroster is running, you're set!
Right now, we're renting a house in nearby Salida.  Salida is a nice town.  It's where I grew up.  It used to be a REALLY nice town, but then all of the money came in.  That Green Gold was one heck of a draw, apparently.  Salida's still nice, but it's too expensive for anyone who doesn't have a trust fund, parents, three jobs, or the security of being near the end of their mortgage.  Four bedrooms here will run you almost $2k.  There has even been talk about charging $500 monthly to rent a parking space to live in.  It's not the same gentrification that's happening in places like Denver, Bozeman, Salt Lake City, but it's very similar.  Everyone has to have a slice of the Colorado pie... but I'm getting off track.

Me, the ORIGINAL BattleWagon, and Red,
checking out conditions on the ground.
The property we have for the homestead site is almost 40 acres.  The plot is almost square, and very flat.  No well.  No electricity.  No infrastructure at all, except for the access road that borders the south and east sides.  There are some tumbleweeds on it, and we've already seen antelope hiding out down there.  That leads me to assume that there are rabbits, gophers, foxes, and coyotes, too.  That's fun!  No mountain lions down there on the flats, I'd guess, but maybe a bear occasionally?

Our plan is to grow it organically.  Anyone who wants to help or just wants a quiet place to land for a few days/weeks/months/years is welcome to drop in.  It's my current understanding that the water table is relatively shallow, so the first order of business, the well, shouldn't be too difficult to figure out.  Beyond that, the formula I anticipate to be the biggest occupier of the time will be the assembly and usage of adobe bricks.  If you're familiar with Bent's Old Fort out by La Junta, Colorado, you may get an idea of what I'm looking to recreate, albiet on a smaller scale.  Fans of Jim Butcher will recognize the term "-Holt":  This will be SchleicherHolt.

Wouldn't be who I am without my loyal
steed by my side.
Many, many things to do between now and then, however.  It's currently October, which means there probably won't be anything happening down there until next spring when it warms up a bit.  Still, plenty of time to dream and prepare in the interim.  Stay tuned for the journey!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Boom Goes The Dynamite!

We are super busy this fall, humble and fortunate for the opportunities this community has given us. So many people are in need of our services, and we're honored to help!
You know, when you need a diversion from staring at a computer monitor for hours and hours, this view out the front door is pretty damn good.
Lego Iron Man checks out the shop. In the foreground, an old channel six coffee mug (I'd say Bob Ross is indirectly responsible for me doing signs) with a prototype Sign Works decal. The coffee stain is part of a durability test...
The locals will know what this means, and how old this sign is. Thanks to Ken Brandon at BrandonWard Graphics/Box of Bubbles for this and several other classic Salida-area signs!
REALLY looking forward to getting the neon souped up on this bad boy...

Friday, September 4, 2015

Basking in the Afterglow

Tonight was the first night in a long time I've had the time and energy to get my head focused. I had some define catch up housework to take care of. We worked long hours at the shop before the crazy festival that actually exceeded everyone's expectations. We celebrated, and then spent some serious time getting caught up. After all that, my good vibes and energy level running on low, I needed to get some clean clothes put away. Here's our overflow rack above the inside of the dinette bench we kept. Behind it is Malcolm's ladder that's vertical and wrapped with a fleece blanket.
It doesn't take much to organize in here, but you run out of room pretty quickly, so management of time and things gets to be crucial. Here's our replacement use of the space the other half of the dinette took up. The bookshelf, a free find, holds our towels and linens, and the bottom shelf holds the little one's toys and books and puzzles. The bench to the left is our backpack spot. (Backpacks are crucial to Colorado culture... and an excuse for men and women to equally, comfortably carry more than just a wallet.) Our fire safe, a free find from Montana, doubles as a seat, and that Mr. Heater backs up our radiant heater on the chilly mornings. For this of you who camp, this Buddy Heater by Mr. Heater is a damn good investment. Good for use indoors (I always crack a window anyway), and gets a cold rv, big tent, or cabin warm in a hurry. Uses about one portable grill size bottle of propane every 5 or 6 hours. I'll swear by this one.
That's it for now. Tired. Stay tuned, be patient. I love you all.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Week Before Mini-Hipster Woodstock

Man, we have been super busy at the shop this past week. Mumford & Sons is headlining a tour that lands at all of these small towns across the country. Our little town of 6,000 people is going to quadruple in size this coming weekend, and everyone wants to capitalize off it. Lots of places, like Rivers Edge, are opening 24 hours for the first time ever. Here's a four foot by twenty foot banner we made and installed for them. This was tricky because we couldn't drill holes into the building. We wound up getting 10 foot 2x4s, cinder blocks, and lots of rope, and we simply weighed the 2x4s on the ground and the roof, and laced the banner to them like shoe laces.
The same place, Rivers Edge, and another restaurant, the Boathouse Cantina, have another banner hanging from second story windows in a historic brick building. To make as minimal an impact as possible, we used existing eye bolts to attach it, and where we couldn't, we used a wood screw in one of the window frames.
Just up the street, we went from approval of the design to printing and finishing these two fifteen feet tall banners that are only fourteen inches wide to fit on these columns. J2 Software was so appreciative of our quick turnaround that my bro and I got free fleece blankets as a thank you. We're totally going to use them in a Christmas photo!
Another sign we've been making a ton of are these small, corrugated plastic signs. Typically you see a million of these during any election season. Since this festival is a temporary event, lots of these signs are going through our doors. These signs for Rocky Mountain Taxi were in production here. The vinyl pattern has been cut out by the computer, and the excess vinyl has been removed. After this, these were covered with sheets of application tape, and then transferred on to pre-cut sign blanks. A printed decal will be installed in the center of each sign. I'm all for these signs, too. With 17,000 extra happy people in town, I'm glad getting a taxi is an option.Well, it's almost 1 am. My bro and I have been working long-ass hours to keep up with everyone. If we have an unsatisfied customer, we haven't heard about it yet! I'm going to catch a couple hours of sleep and hit it again early. Peace.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Family Photo Album

Hey everyone, I don't have a lot of time to update today, but I did take the time to post some pics of what I've been up to with the fam this summer. Enjoy!

Friday, August 14, 2015



20 September 2008

"It's crazy how sometimes we, as humans, find inspiration in the strangest or most unexpected places. It's almost as if, somehow, we are subconsciously searching for something greater, a search that trumps even the best intentions we are aware of, that leads us to new and motivating things we couldn't fathom before.

"On September 11th, my cousin ... died. To say I knew him or anything significant about him would be fallacy. I haven't seen him in around 20 years. I knew bits and pieces, like how he had dreads and did amazing pottery, but that was all secondhand and vague. He died, and I went with my mom and brother to his funeral, and here were all of these people whose lives he had touched for being a free spirit. I fear I've made an error in not getting to know this guy. I think we could have been good friends. However, [he] did inspire me.

"Free spirits are usually kindred spirits with one another. A free spirit can recognize another upon their first meeting and many times are drawn to each other. The essence of [my cousin] was with us all at that service, and I felt motivated to follow through with my goal of moving into my van, the BattleWagon, to see where I go with it. We only live once, and now is the most precious time.

"This is a more severe feeling than when I had watched "Into The Wild" or read the book before that.

"So, tomorrow is my last day at home in my Capitol Hill studio. I'm out. My home will be a 1994 GMC Safari, and I'll be building it to my needs as I go. Come on this adventure with [me]."

I haven't really taken the time to stop and read any of my old blogs in a long time. Lately, I've been so caught up in feeling too busy, too overwhelmed in the simple chaos of having a very busy life, not much time for the fun things, and kids to be responsible for.

I've felt lost. I've felt like a shadow I'd my former self, the outgoing and confident and ridiculous guy who was everyone's best friend, and not afraid of anything.

After some thought and posting my blog last night, I found a sense of relaxation afterwords. I pondered what it would take to feel like my younger self mentally. A seasoned and wise version of that dude that gave hugs to strangers.

Living in my first BattleWagon was one of the best times of my life. I had unlimited freedom, and I exercised it. Moab became a favorite destination of mine. I enjoyed every second of it.

If I can keep up, I'll take you with me as I try to remember all the nonsense I'd get into. You'll see me at some boring times, but hopefully you'll see some cool shit along the way.