Playback speed
Share post
Share post at current time

One: Our Why

Spider Lake Crash Pad Series 1

You have to follow where life’s momentum is taking you.” ~ Kurt

It is hard to believe over a year has gone by since we purchased property in Northern Wisconsin to build a cabin/part-time home.  In many ways I wish we were SO much further along, in many ways we have come SO far.

In our world, outward appearances of our life to others are much different than the reality to us.  To many people it may seem like we made our decision to buy rural property and build a cabin happened quickly, but from our vantage point it was years in the making.  We have always discussed big ideas, and made big plans, over many walks, dinners, drinks, off-the-grid camping trips, and chats in the kitchen.  And when we finally decide to hit ‘go’, it happens fast.  It has happened before, like when…. we were packing our belongings to move from Iowa to Colorado, we were selling our house and moving from Colorado to Northern California, we were leaving California and moving to Minnesota… 

Although the decision process was the same building up to 2021 ~ we knew what we have known for a long time, we were done with the big up endings of our lives to new places for new adventures.  But we were not done with new adventures.  This time what we knew with certainty was ~ Instead of Breaking up, we needed a Break.

We had been looking at rural properties for years, which has been a priority of Kurt’s, and were never able to find the right place:

  • UP Michigan

  • Driftless, WI

  • SE MN

  • Northern MN

We never found something that had affordable property with out-the-front-door recreation under a 3 hour drive from Minneapolis like we wanted.

Thanks to another cyclist’s intel… In 2020, we started spending a lot of time camping with our dogs and gravel biking in Northern Wisconsin (in particular, Roam Basecamp). On November 6, 2021 we nipped in our last gravel camp of the season, and it was during our last ride that I turned to Kurt and said “I want to ride as much gravel as I can, for as many years as I can.”  You see, I was 50 and Kurt had just turned 51, it felt like time to do what we were doing in the way we wanted to do it was running short. We knew that in order to do the things we wanted, it meant being somewhere more than on weekends and trips out West. We also knew that packing up and making a big move again wasn’t the answer. What I didn’t know it meant was that here I was, without my knowing it was happening, I had fallen in love with a place that I swore to myself I would never return to ~ Wisconsin.

We looked at exactly one property immediately thereafter, it wasn’t for us.  We returned home thinking it could be years before we found what we were looking for, but as soon as we got back home, ‘the one’ popped up for sale. We had hoped to get up to look at the property the next weekend, but the realtor said it would go fast (indeed later, we found out other cyclists were eyeing it up). That Tuesday while I was in a virtual cycling class, Kurt came in and said “I did it”, meaning he put in an offer on land we had never seen! After years of dreaming, Kurt was ready, I suppose I was too but I rode the rest of my cycling class slightly terrified, and yes ~ slightly excited.  By November 12, 2021 ‘our’ offer was accepted, and by December 17, 2021 we closed on the property.

In what felt like an instant, all those years of talking, ideating, and dreaming clicked into place, propelling us forward into a reality of us being exactly where we had no idea a few short years ago we needed to be.  Northern Wisconsin.

For us this property, this cabin, this new lifestyle, is about doing things we have wanted to do more of for a long time, mainly:

  1. Spend more time in nature doing the things we love.

  2. Move.

If it was just one of these things we would not have put the wheels in motion. But when our two priorities came together, in the way that felt right, we were ready. Ready to get away and decompress in the woods, and ready for change because we were feeling restless in our lives in Minneapolis.

But we weren’t quite ‘moving’. Let’s backtrack on that for a moment. We moved to Minneapolis from San Francisco in 2006. We left California because financially we were paying to play, literally ~ and it was time to be adults and start thinking about not treading water, but getting our head above water and saving for retirement. BORING, but smart. We never stopped thinking about California, but we also knew what the price of living there cost us, so moving back in our eyes was never really going to be an option. Nor were most places out West. We had also lived in Colorado, the place we really ‘grew up’, but also the place we knew we were not likely to return to. People suggested Portland (rainy winters again, but worse? no thanks). We looked at Austin (not sure Texas is ‘the’ place). Meanwhile, climate change had accelerated adding a second layer to our decision making. Honestly, it was starting to feel like we were running out of places to go. We started to realize we actually really liked it in Minneapolis (except the long winters), and with the property and our current jobs, we realized we could share our lives living in the City and Far Far out of the City.

So here we are, with ten acres of wooded land in Northern Wisconsin and building a cabin/part-time home so we can do the thing we love more ~ gravel biking, and we can escape for extended periods from our life in the City. As I type this at the end of January 2023, a building stands, a calendar is laid out for the work to be done this year, and as soon as the snow melts we hope to start spending time living in, and not just working on, the Spider Lake Crash Pad (the name our architect gave it that has stuck).

Through my blog and complimentary videos, I plan to share with you both feelings (the ups, the downs, and all the in-betweens) of building something out of nothing, as well as the facts (what it is like to work with an architect, how a SIP Panel building is planned and built, what it is like to be your own GC).  All through our lens.  This isn’t about being a how-to, or getting thousands of subscribers because we want to be ‘influencers’, what this is about is sharing our experience to inspire, motivate, educate, and entertain.  This is my creative project, I hope you enjoy it!

Thank you for reading ä! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work. Once subscribed, you can choose to receive notifications for each Blog post AND our less frequent summary Newsletter, or one or the other.

We also post our videos on YouTube for people who prefer to follow us there.

*But only blog posts are shared here. My blog posts will always be more in-depth than YouTube (because I am a writer, not a filmmaker), but you are welcome to join us there!

Find us on YouTube

Cabin Stories
These are our stories about building our cabin in Northern Wisconsin.