Category Archives: Challenges

Living in the Cabin and Preparing the Studio


Posted by Cassie

Car and Finca
Looking down at our finca from the road you wouldn’t even know a cabin existed!

I suppose it’s time to do an update on the move to the jungle tree cabin! There is always something more to be done so it’s a little hard to say we are “finished” moving over. But we have been sleeping in the cabin for about 2 months now! Once we moved the bed over, we were officially living here!

Bed
Our bed in the cabin!

This, like everything, was quite the process because we had to haul everything over on foot.

Moving out
We loaded the truck and took the furniture half-way down

Jungle flowers
And then carried it through the tropical gardens

Bridge Britton
And over the bridge…

Cabin
Up the stairs…and into the jungle cabin

We also cleaned out the studio cabana and it needed a full scrub down! Even though it is tiny, things still get really dirty here. Having all our stuff out made the job a little easier.

Britton hoser
At least in the concrete cabin it’s acceptable to bring a hose inside! Haha

Then we bought another bed for the cabana and cleaned it again so that it will be ready for visitors.

Bed to Cabana
Unloading the bed for the studio cabana

Cabana bed (2)
Cabana all cleaned and ready!

So the studio cabana is now officially open for visitors! Contact us at lifetransplanet@gmail.com to stay with us! Here’s the page with information on staying in the cabana!

Cabana Table and view Cabana kitchenette
Roof top dining and view and inside living space of the studio

Back at the jungle cabin, while we had running water, electricity and even internet, we didn’t exactly have a kitchen. Not that that was a deal breaker considering that we lived for 3 years with a mini fridge and a hot plate for our method of cooking, but I was pretty excited to have a full sized kitchen.

Britton Kitchen
Britton in the kitchen/living room of the cabin with the new sink and stove just waiting to be installed

Santa Cassie
And though I have been loving our new bathroom, it just doesn’t make the best place to wash dishes! :-)

So we started building the kitchen including making our own counters/lower cabinets.  

Counters
Building the counters

Britton installed the heavy enameled cast iron sink but had to drill through our very thick floor in order to have a grey water drain out.

Thick Floor
Like a tree core sample. The floor consists of 3/4 inch plywood, thinset, 3/4 cement board, more thinset and the tile

Kitchen Sink
Kitchen currently with counter tiles and functional sink! Yay for washing dishes out of the bathroom!

The next big thing was to hook up gas to our new gas stove so that we would literally be cooking with gas! We went down to Rafucci’s next to Ventana Al Mar to get the parts and the friendly owner said he would just send the gas guys down. We warned them that this was not a standard hook up and that you wouldn’t be able to find us from the road, but he didn’t seem worried.

output_8Yh4We
After stopping at Rafucci’s we walked 20 steps to Aloha for a beer and that always makes BK happy

When the two workers showed up, they walked down the drive, through the meadow, past the chicken and turkey coops, through the tropical gardens, down the ridge line trail, across the bridge, up the stairs and quickly concluded that they would not be able to hook up a big propane gas tank. They said they would return with a 25 lb tank in about an hour. After waiting about 3 hours, we went back to Rafucci and talked with Alfredo again who said he talked with the muchachos and they said that the site was a little too difficult for them. (Would have been nice for them to have told us that instead of having us wait…)

So we decided to go ahead and do what we were going to do in the first place and just install it ourselves. We have found that often people don’t like to tell others bad news so they will just tell you what they think you want to hear and then just avoid you. Because of that we always have a Plan B especially since we know that we are an odd case in general.

Gas hook up
Britton hooking up the gas

Last night we actually ate our first meal cooked in the oven: lasagna; and it was so good! We have been joking that we are going to get chubby again eating with a real kitchen with a full fridge and everything! haha!

Stove
We can’t wait to cook lots of meals on this stove!

Overall, living in the cabin has been a lot of fun. Because there is no road and we are deep in the trees we are immersed in nature. The hummingbirds buzz around, the doves flap and the hawks are always swirling high above. We often see the mongoose running around and of course lots and lots of iguanas, geckos and coquis everywhere. The trees sway all around us and we feel like we live in and amongst them. It’s a really cool feeling.

Cassie stairs
You don’t want to forget anything or it’s quite a walk back!

It can be a bit of a challenge to walk home in the night so we have to always remember our flashlights especially because there are very few guard rails. One night we forgot them and had to crawl on our hands and knees across the bridge because it was a dark and moonless night and…we had been drinking. But we laughed the whole way across.

Coqui
This cold, wet and clammy coqui landed on my leg and then hopped on this ginger leaf

 

First party
We have even had our first “unofficial” get together with a few friends at the cabin!

Cassie jungle
We have lots of fun in our own jungle park!

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Buying (Another) Car in Puerto Rico!


Posted by Cassie

britton-mustang
Britton has a sports car again!

We have been considering buying another car for some time now. Having just the truck works fine especially because we don’t really need to drive very often and when we do it is pretty much just local to Rincón. However, we have had a couple of occasions when the truck has broken down and we have no other recourse except to walk everywhere or bum rides. Also, Britton has been missing his Corvette and the V8 under the hood ever since we sold it in the move from Colorado.

corvette
On one of our first dates in Colorado with the Corvette

He found a cool old Mustang on one of the Pulguero groups on Facebook and we made arrangements to meet with the owner.

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Checking under the hood and we found everything was (surprisingly) stock!

After inspecting it, taking it for a test drive and agreeing on a price we then made arrangements to meet the next day in Mayaguez at Obras Públicas to buy it and put the title in our name. In Colorado all you had to do was sign the title over to the new buyer and then take the title in to get registered. Here, it is much more friendly and you must go with the owner in person to change it over. In this case, the brother was the official owner so the four of us made the early morning trek.

Unlike when we bought our truck, this time we have established residency with our driver’s licenses and so we didn’t need a utility bill in order to buy it (though we brought it just in case). However, the marbete (registration sticker) was expired so we did need to go take care of that right away. Because though the police will often ignore drunk driving, if that little sticker is expired you are nearly guaranteed to get a ticket!

mustang-and-guys
Britton with the ex-owners

Now that we know our way around the system a little better it was actually pretty easy to buy this car. Here are the steps we took to buy this used car from a private seller.

1) Meet with the owner to inspect, test drive, negotiate price, etc.
2) Make arrangements to meet at Obras Públicas (CESCO/DTOP) together with the owner
3) Buy $10 worth of government stamps (sellos) to make the transaction
4) Wait in line to sign over the title. Both parties need identification and address information.
5) Pay for the car (usually cash)
6) Get emissions inspection (that is not really an inspection- they don’t even look at the car in most cases) for $11.
7) Sometimes you can get marbete at the time of the emissions inspection. In our case for some reason we had to go to another Colecturia office. We went to Añasco. Basic Marbete (registration/liability insurance) is $169.

inspeccion-edit
The laughable emissions test even gives out readings though it never took any! But hey, can’t complain too much if you pass!

The car is a bit of a fixer-upper and needs a little bit of work. For instance the seat belts don’t clasp, the doors don’t really lock and it badly needed an oil change. But overall, it seems to be a good solid car with a heck of a motor. It’s fun to take it out and about on the island. And with more seats, it will be a good vehicle for excursions with friends.

cassie-car
Mustang Cassie

bk-ck-car
Fun with the Mustang

cassie-mustang-car-standing
Do you ever feel like you’re part of a movie?

cassie-mustange-desecheo
Driving off into the sunset

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Lizard Internet / Mango Wireless


Posted by Britton

Our normal morning routine is to wake up, make some coffee and zone out on the internet for a bit until we start our daily do-ings.  Lately however our internet setup hasn’t been working!!  So my routine started to include walking over to the other side of the property and checking out our wireless bridge.

I can usually check segments of our network from the cabin, but lately the cabin has been completely cut off!
britton-ladder
Climbing the Pole
The higher the wireless router inside this little box on the utility pole, the better signal we get from our neighbor’s router that we share with.

chewed-wires
The Problem

Pretty much every day there is rat poop on top of the box, with some leftover parcha or starfruit.  So I know the rats have been hanging out on top of the box.  But these wires are inside of the cage I built!  They can’t be getting inside?!

iguana-on-the-internet
Another Possible Hacker

I saw this one on top of the goods one day too.  But again, it is waayyyy too large to get into the box and be able to chew the wires up!  So probably not the one I am looking for.

It wasn’t until the other day I finally saw the culprit!

lizard
Ah Ha!!! (click to enlarge)

There has been a small lizard living inside the box and eating the cables every night!  The power cables are pretty chewed up but power cables shock them once they eat all the insulation, so he stops.  With the Ethernet cables however, he just chews right thru them.

I’ve mended the Ethernet cable probably 5 or 6 times now.  I covered it in some really thick waterproofing tape and that seems to be working for the moment.  I also will be hunting this little pest.  He is fast and I found myself chasing him with a stick the other day!  It was really quite humorous.

The other idea I had was to electrify the wire cage so that it isn’t such a nice spot for critters to sit and hang out.  I don’t think it will take much to do, but something I’ll have to figure out!  Maybe in the next revision?!

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Beach Breaks


Posted by Cassie

We are in the midst of moving over to the cabin!! (More on that soon!) Yay! But it has been a stressful period too. So we have been trying to take some time out to reset at the beach as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
At the Marina in Rincón

tropical-barbie-cassie
At Steps Beach in Rincón

britton-steps
Britton at Steps before going snorkeling

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Mermaid magic underwater

shark-cass
But it was out and about that we found a shark!

cassie-on-steps
On the Steps at Steps Beach

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