HOW TO: DEEP CREEK LAKE, MD.This article stirred up a lot of heat. From claims we missed favorite spots to sharing directions on how to get to secret rock mazes, the Blue Ridge Outdoors community got involved with how to explore Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. We can’t even believe we are typing these words, but just as time refuses to reverse, so does the Live Outside and Play Road Tour refuse to go on forever (although we have two more meetups left!) We are parking the van in Charlottesville, Virginia, and bidding adieu for four months. It will hibernate until we make our way back in April and revive it back to life. Until then, please check out the best of the best blog posts from along the way. To say we’ve learned about ourselves, each other, living outdoors, and getting a van out of a foot of mud is an understatement. We are now Ph.D. level #vanlifers, please send our congratulations and diplomas to the address below and we are sure it will arrive promptly.Live Outside and Play VanRandom BackroadEast Coast, United StatesIt comes to no surprise that our most popular posts are about food, alcohol, and living in the van. Those are our favorite things, too! Check out the most popular posts, organized from earliest in the tour to most recent.HOW TO MAKE AN EVENING HOT TODDYAh, the days of springtime in the jungle of the East Coast. One of our very first ways to stave off the rainy blues was warm beverages, and we keep going back to this recipe time and time again (for example, today). Check out our van version of the Hot Toddy, enjoy! LIVE OUTSIDE AND PLAY VAN: A TOUR OF OUR CRIBThe curiosity was overwhelming about what the mysterious van looked like from the inside. Luckily, we did an extensive tour and you can see exactly what we call home. Usually, the in-person tour of the van is very quick, “that is the bed…” So this is an extra special in-depth look at our house on wheels. ROMANCE IN THE BACKCOUNTRY: TIPS AND TRICKSHow are we still together? Do we still love each other? Have we had explosions and swore to never speak to each other again? Thank the van gods, the answer is no to the last one, but there is still a lot to learn! We have grown as a couple in ways we never imagined, mostly being honest about when the other needs to put deodorant on. #VANLIFE VS. #REALITYVANLIFEThis video is a little peek into what it looks like when the glamour of #vanlife fades and reality sets in. Is there ever really a glamour stage? We had a great time shooting this one — mostly just shooting our normal lives and staging the glamour parts… PIZZA+HIKING: A MATCH MADE IN ADVENTURE FOODIE HEAVENAfter eight months of touring the country, we have eaten plenty of pizza and done plenty of hikes. This post was hard to put together because we had SO MANY combos we wanted to share. Check out the top four, and let us know if you need more suggestions; we’ve had enough pizza to hike thousands of miles. HOME IS WHERE YOU PARK IT: TIPS ON MAKING YOUR VAN A HOMEWe had been living in the van for six months by the time we wrote this post. We both felt settled and had a semi-organized van. Every object has a place, and once that is settled, you can get to decorating and making the van a home, instead of metal on wheels. 50 DAYS OF #VANLIFE, TIPS, TRICKS, AND TALESOh, the nostalgia. Fifty days feels like a walk in the park now. After over 200 days parking the van down by the river, we have learned so much more. This is a good benchmark for those just starting the #vanlife to learn from our copious mistakes. WILDFLOWERS AND WHERE TO FIND THEMThis one turned out popular when we were really just writing it for our own enjoyment! We went on a wonderful hike through the Maroon Bells on the four pass loop and we have NEVER seen more beautiful and varied wildflowers. We were inspired to write this post and share the beauty of the wildflower. If you like the gear we’re reppin’, or what we’re wearing, check out some of the sponsors that make this tour possible: La Sportiva, Crazy Creek, National Geographic, RovR Products, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, LifeStraw, and Lowe Alpine.
Andy Fate / The Badger HeraldFor the Wisconsin football offensive line, adversity is nothing new.As the Badgers stumbled out of the gates last fall, much of Wisconsin’s slow start was blamed on the offensive line and its inability to open up space for then-senior running back Montee Ball – who was held to one touchdown against some of UW’s easiest opponents through the first two games, despite scoring an NCAA tying record of 39 touchdowns the season before.As the season wore on, the offensive line improved and before long, the Badgers were right back where they expected, helping Ball finish the season with some of the more impressive running statistics in the Big Ten.So when spring practice rolled around in March and the offensive line began to dwindle with injury after injury, a new offensive line corps – replacing veteran starters such as Ricky Wagner and Travis Frederick from a year ago – has taken the same approach that they did in the fall.“[It is a rallying point], absolutely,” redshirt senior Ryan Groy said. “You’ve got to deal with the injuries as they come. That will happen, so you’ve just got to deal with that adversity and go with it.”With projected starter redshirt junior Kyle Costigan out this spring with a knee injury and other players in and out with other injuries, it would have been easy, and maybe even understandable, for Groy and his positional group to consider the spring a lost cause.Instead, Groy and the remaining members of the offensive line – which at its leanest times has boasted just eight healthy players this spring – have chosen to look at the positives, citing the ability to work on some of the more intricate aspects of the game since it is not hard to come by reps.“With such a small group, you can really focus on guys,” Groy said. “You can really get nitpicky with little details and stuff like that. I think it’s almost easier this way.”For new offensive line coach TJ Woods, the ability to work with a smaller group of players this spring has been, in some ways, a blessing in disguise.In a tough, physical conference such as the Big Ten, injuries and wear and tear are expected. Woods said he believes the opportunity to practice this spring dealing with those types of situations could prove invaluable on fall Saturdays.“To me that is what this is preparing us for,” Woods said. “It’s the Big Ten, now. We’re going to have injuries. I mean every year is going to be like that, so we have to be able … to play different positions and have different lineups and still execute at a high level.”Still, while the offensive line’s situation may have its advantages, it also has its drawbacks.With fewer players to distribute reps to, the wear and tear of practice so far has already seen those that are healthy enough to play pick up a number of nicks and scrapes – forcing them to take turns missing a practice here and there in order to recover.As a result, the coaching staff has had to adjust spring practices – limiting many scenarios during practice and even adjusting the upcoming spring game into more of a controlled scrimmage – so as not to aggravate the situation further.Helping Woods guide the team through this tough stretch and what could be considered a transitional spring season with both Frederick and Wagner moving on to the NFL draft, has been Groy.Now one of the most experienced players on Wisconsin roster, Groy has taken it upon himself to help the younger guys in the new-look offensive line as they head into the new season – working hard to set an example both on and off the practice field.And his coach and teammates have noticed.“Ryan is trying to fill that role right now, and he has been doing a good job of it,” Woods said of the redshirt senior. “But we need some more than just Ryan and we’re trying to work to cultivate that.“We’ve got some younger guys who’ve got some experience and I think that’s part of the transition.”“For me, I have never played in a game yet,” redshirt freshman Dan Voltz added, who’s been practicing as the starting center on the No. 1 offensive line for Wisconsin. “So having guys like Groy who have played a lot, they can pick out all of the little things that you are going to see in games during practice, and that is really helpful for all of us.”Still, despite all of the challenges and inexperience that Groy and the offensive line have faced this spring, their goal remains the same: to maintain their reputation as one of the best offensive lines in the country.“We want to become that dominating line that we once were,” Groy said. “We really want to roll over some people next fall.”