*notcot - 10.06.14 , 17:14 - 1 Notes

Nomadix Towels

nomadix0.jpg Just home and jetlagging after my first completely work free vacation in some time to Tokyo! Arrived to this adorable orange wooden mini crate from Nomadix, a local Southern California based startup that has created the ultimate versatile, stylish pack towel that can be used for everything from camping to yoga to beach adventures and more! I’m used to the usual boring single color pack towels - lightweight, absorbent, quick drying towels for camping/backpacking… i even used to leave one in the car for beach and other spontaneous adventures. The dimensions however were never quite right to lay out on. So far, beyond the stylish designs (even the bottom has a lovely print!) these Nomadix towels are 100% recycled and rigorously tested to hold up for years. Love their motto - “Own less. Do More. Buy one towel that does it all, instead of three that don’t.” They had a successful Kickstarter funding, and now you can purchase Nomadix Towels on Indigogo! Take a peek at details of the unboxing on the next page, and you can be assured that this towel will be packed for our NOTFZJ80 adventures!

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*notcot - 10.01.14 , 16:10 - 0 Notes

IN TOKYO!

tokyo.jpg Hi! Been a bit quiet here because Shawn and i are currently in TOKYO! Running around, getting inspired by as much randomness as we can find and experience. For a peek in real time - join me on Instagram!

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*notcot - 09.21.14 , 20:45 - 0 Notes

Road Trip: Oregon + NorCal Coast

roadhome0.jpg 4,000 miles and 2.5 weeks later - we are HOME! From LA up to Alberta and back… the first part took us from LA to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, the second part was 8 days exploring as much of Alberta, Canada as possible, and this final part is the journey home! To get home we crossed over to British Columbia and crossed the border into Idaho through Spokane, WA over to the Oregon Coast and followed the ocean down to San Francisco then dropped back down central California home to Los Angeles! I’m still amazed (and exhausted) reliving how much we’ve seen and done the last few days as i put this post together! Take a peek at the journey and discoveries on the next page - from the “world’s largest truck” to a few breweries to spontaneous forest (and redwood) hikes to a cheese factory to driving the NOTFZJ80 on the beach to 3 dozen elk and mini deer to finding a whole new level of “dog-friendly accomodations” and the pushed up ocean floor at the Stornetta Public Lands… phew what an adventure! Though it is good to be home, even for a few quick days!

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*notcot - , 13:40 - 0 Notes

8 days in 100 Instagrams: Alberta, Canada

use00.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way!

WOW. It’s surreal to be home in Los Angeles - after putting 4000 miles on the NOTFZJ80 in 2.5 weeks as Shawn, Bucky, and I headed up from LA up through the middle of the US, spent a week in Alberta, Canada, and came home down the west coast… Even as i work on making sense of our many pictures and adventures, SO much has happened and been experienced along the way! One of the most important things i’ve learned on this Alberta adventure - be ready for ANYTHING - from hot weather into a snow storm - from camping to luxury hotels - from stuck in traffic to being alongside amazing creatures. You just never know what might be around the corner…

When I was counting things up, i couldn’t believe how much has happened in our 8 days across the border alone, which i’ve shared in exactly 100 @NOTlabs Instagram pictures! So as fun as breaking it all up is, the epic nature of our adventure seemed like it deserved a post of its own - all 100 instagram pics in chronological order to relive it all in one scroll! See it all from crossing the border to Waterton to Calgary to Canmore to Banff to Jasper to more Calgary to Drumheller and more on the next page.

p.s. Why an Instagram picture roundup of the whole trip? When i look back to remember this adventure - going through hundreds of pictures to make posts is one thing - refiltering it all through a new lens… but the Instagrams in order with their captions… THESE are the things that got us at the exact moments they were happening (or very close to it, depending on cell reception) - looking through/reading all of these are the 8 days as we got excited about things in real time!

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*notcot - 09.17.14 , 09:10 - 0 Notes

Hotel Arts, Calgary

arts0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way!

One of our favorite Calgary spots is definitely their designer boutique Hotel Arts in the heart of downtown. Dog friendly, well located, and awesomely designed? Amazingness! And as far as Bucky was concerned, it was his first luxury hotel experience (days after his first hotel experience ever)… and i’m pretty sure he thinks that walking into them now means belly rubs and excited greetings from the valets and front desk ladies are standard. They also spoiled him (and us!) with treats when we got in - that are so beautiful! I’ve never seen a fruit+chocolate platter displayed quite like the one above! And their fun greetings on the plates - even special Bucky ones… so cute. We also got to check out the newly redesign interiors by B+H Architects - including my favorite custom made bedside tables (minimalist with USB and outlets in the base)! Take a peek inside the lovely new rooms and goodies on the next page!

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*notcot - 09.13.14 , 23:07 - 0 Notes

Moraine Lake in Banff, Alberta

moraine0.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way!

The BLUE! That Glacier Water Blue… to be honest, I thought most people’s pictures were over saturated or photoshopped, but no. It really is THAT blue. It’s amazing how quickly the weather changed - from our snowy adventures at Spray Lakes to heading up into Banff National Park. My first stunningly glacier blue lake was Moraine Lake. We’d heard rumors that it is even more breathtaking than Lake Louise, so we detoured over first, and WOW. It is AMAZING. And beyond the lake views as you wander around… the Chipmunks! I’ve never seen such chubby little chipmunks run right up to you. Even crazier, they run up to BUCKY! And stand up in his face. You’d think a pup like him would go after it, but when it came right up to HIM, he had no idea what to do. And once you wander up past the chipmunks, the view down at the lake is just incredible. It was hard to leave Moraine Lake, but I had to keep reminding myself this was just the beginning! Check it out on the next page.

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*notcot - 09.10.14 , 21:30 - 0 Notes

Canmore Quarry Lake Dog Park

dogparkMAIN.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way!

I can’t even begin to sum up how much i’ve learned since Bucky joined us less than 2 years ago. We’ve all been learning a lot on this epic road trip… he’s been learning to take in all the newness, calm down a bit more with new folks, and adapt like a trooper to camping and hotels for the first time… and it’s our first serious trip with him. But along all of it - it also means less free roaming running around time for him to get his energy out and stretch his legs properly. SO - on unexpected awesomeness, we’re loving the Canmore Quarry Lake Dog Park. There’s a huge off leash area - as well as on leash trails surrounding it. And better than the beautiful land and views around it… the people! Who knew that pulling up our beast of a car with CA plates and having Bucky romp around with so many other big dogs would be such a great spot to connect with locals and travelers alike. Also crazy - we went two days in a row, the first with a little snow on the ground, the second covered in snow and snowing heavily! Both days you couldn’t stop Bucky from sprinting from end to end with a ridiculous puppy grin. Take a peek at the site and his giddy puppiness on the next page… and as we continue traveling with him, figuring out good off leash areas will definitely be high on the list.

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*notcot - , 15:45 - 0 Notes

Inspiration: Waterton Lakes National Park

watertonMAIN1.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way!

We made it! We crossed the US/Canada border in the NOTFZJ80 with dog and all with no problems, and even finally got to make use of our passport cards. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited Shawn and I are to embark on the adventure we’ve dubbed the NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape. As you know, the NOTFZJ80 Project was all about building a rig that could take us to experience new things and get inspired in a whole new way. So when Travel Alberta asked us to come explore their province - and were cool with us not only roadtripping up from LA (allowing for some fun adventures along the way) but also bringing Bucky along as he turns 2 next week… we couldn’t say YES fast enough. After crossing the border, we headed to Waterton Lakes National Park, which is essentially the Canadian side of Glacier National Park. In fact, in 1932, the United States and Canada joined together to create the world’s first International Peace Park: Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park to commemorate the peace and goodwill our two nations share. In 1995, UNESCO even designated it a World Heritage Site. What more perfect place to cross over and start our adventure? See what we found on our first day into Alberta on the next page - from Bison to stunning lakes, to Pop Shoppe, to our campsite and more!

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*notcot - 09.09.14 , 00:36 - 0 Notes

Inspiration: LA to Yellowstone to Glacier

precanada0.jpg Almost a week into our adventure to go explore Alberta, Canada… and first time curled up in a hotel (now in Calgary!) to catch up and give you a proper update. As the last post told you, Bucky, Shawn, and I are adventuring north in the NOTFZJ80. A mix of remote roof top tent camping and hotels as we work our way around. Here’s the update from LA blowing through Las Vegas and Salt Lake City heading up into Yellowstone, around Montana, into Glacier as we got ready to cross the border to Canada into Waterton as our first Alberta stop. Here’s a peek at everything from what we saw on the road to the magical sites in national parks to roadside bison, sunsets, pasties (and cocktail pasties!), google map detours that turn into off road courses to get around highway closures, dozens of miles of dirt roads to get to the perfect camp spot by a lake, unexpected little towns, ridiculously good huckleberry pancakes and pie, and one of the most epic drives i have yet to experience (Going-to-the-sun Road!)… ready to get the quick version of the last few days? To the next page!

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*notcot - 09.05.14 , 09:23 - 0 Notes

Road Trip: LA to Alberta, Canada…

instagram.jpg Going a little quiet here as internet gets intermittent and Bucky, Shawn, and I are adventuring north in the NOTFZJ80… we have to get across the border to Waterton by Sunday! And then the REAL adventures begin… but for now, follow along on the NOTlabs Instagram and NOTCOT Twitter if you want to see where we are in real time. So far we’ve made it up through out of LA and California… through Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and now we’re back in Montana and heading up into Glacier National Park…

*notcot - 09.02.14 , 14:03 - 0 Notes

Inspiration: ORD to Iron Mountain, MI

up0.jpg On continuing this year’s trend of doing things i’ve never done… just knocked 3 more states off the list! This weekend we flew into Chicago, spent a night, and road tripped through Wisconsin and into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a lovely wedding in the woods, with pit stops in Chicago, Sheboygan, and Milwaukee and explorations around Iron Mountain, Norway, Vulcan, Faithorn and more. Ready to see what inspiration we found? To the next page!

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*notcot - 08.27.14 , 18:40 - 0 Notes

NOTFZJ80: Test Trip, Big Bear II

map0.jpg The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

So for Part I of the NOTFZJ80 Test Trip, we focused on Camping… in Part II, it’s time for off roading! And in this case, we decided to explore the Forest Service Roads around Big Bear further and really put the NOTFZJ80 through its paces. So from paved roads and highways… we headed down Forest Service Roads to find our campsite. They varied from paved to dirt to rocky… as we used the yellow post sites as an excuse to weave our way through the mountains as we checked out a few more spots, we arbitrarily picked service roads to explore! The result? everything from easy scenic routes to steeper routes… super steep rocky routes… weaving from peeks of lake views… through once burned forests starting to get lush with new growth… coming across a surprised family of deer… and more! Most importantly? It was fun, relaxing, and the NOTFZJ80 handled like a tank! you can see our route on the map above - the X is where we camped, and the rest is where we wiggled before popping out in Fawnskin. Take a peek on the next page…

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*notcot - , 18:15 - 0 Notes

NOTFZJ80: Test Trip, Big Bear I

maincamp0.jpg The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

I can’t believe we’re finally at this stage… TEST TRIP! For our first quick test trip there are two big things that need testing: #1 Camping! #2 Offroading! It still blows my mind how quickly we’ve gotten here, and how much we’ve done. It looks like such a different car from when we first brought it home. Looking back for a moment - we’ve been asked “Why THIS project car?” quite a bit, and without a doubt, it’s all about the experience for me. This isn’t exactly the type of setup you can just rent - and there’s something different when you do it all yourself bit by bit to make your ultimate setup! And as NOTCOT closes in on 10, I can’t even count how many incredible experiences i’ve been exposed to as i’ve run around covering events, exploring brands, testing (new) cars all over the world, but what has been lacking are the random vacations and goal free explorations I used to have. So the NOTFZJ80 is our way to do something that none of our other vehicles can do, and a reason to simply venture out, get lost, and get inspired by the unplannable unknown. Will it work? I can’t wait to find out!

So back to first test trip… having just gotten back from Atlanta, and heading to Iron Mountain, Michigan tomorrow… we didn’t have much time to squeeze in a little test trip. So it had to be close to home! A bit of research landed us on Big Bear! Only 2.5 hours away, gorgeous lake, and an easy spot to camp for a night and off road a bit… so take a look at part one (Camping!) on the next page!

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*notcot - 08.05.14 , 17:20 - 0 Notes

NOTFZJ80: PART III

update0.jpg The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

Seems about time for a NOTFZJ80 Project update! This update is a combo of accessorizing and… waiting. So much patient waiting… as the Land Cruiser heads in to TLC to get some work done. But just because the car isn’t here doesn’t mean there aren’t NOTFZJ80 Project related tasks to be done. In this update we’ve got the front bumper + winch installed, dropped it off to the shop, started the scavenger hunt for parts (which even brings us over to AutoNation Toyota in Irvine), amusement with jigger siphons, jerry cans, MaxTrax, D-ring shackle bracelets, marine grade battery and more… check out the latest progress on the next page! We are nearly adventure ready!

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*notcot - 07.23.14 , 01:02 - 0 Notes

NOTFZJ80: ARB Simpson III Roof Top Tent

arbtent0b.jpg So excited to announce that The NOTFZJ80 Project is being sponsored by our friends at AutoNation: America’s largest auto retailer with 270 stores selling 33 brands nationwide backed by industry-leading policies like SmartChoice pricing and no-hassle money back guarantee. They are helping us turn our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser into an overland adventure rig to go discover inspiration off-grid! Follow the progress here as we build up to our first trip.

On NOTFZJ80 updates - the truck is currently in the shop at TLC and we have put in an order for some OEM parts over at AutoNation Toyota Irvine - so big updates to come in the following weeks! Currently the biggest update is the addition of our ARB Simpson III Roof Top Tent we received, installed, and climbed around in… (No, i haven’t spent the night in it yet!) I’m still in awe of it - so fun, so BIG, and i love the way it opens and closes. While rooftop tents have long been the norm in places like Australia and Africa (keeps you up above the creepy crawlies and such) - they are starting to pop up more and more in the US lately. It took Shawn a bit to convince me it was the way to go - until our adventures at Overland Expo where i got to climb in and around a few models to fully understand how this was so different from camping in a regular tent… and picked this one!

So what’s so different? Firstly, THE VIEW! Everything looks so different peeking out from the windows up above the car. And they say a shift in perspective can do wonders - i’ve even heard that taller beds often changing the way you dream! There’s also something treehouse like about being perched up there. Secondly, the nearly queen sized foam mattress! Yup, this isn’t just sleeping on a sleeping pad in a sleeping bag. You can even close it up with your bedding in there. And thirdly, the way it opens and closes with ease - just pull off the cover, slide out the ladder, and pull it open! With a little practice, we’re getting faster and faster with it!

Oh, and yes the cantilever is super secure - and no the ladder is not structural. (First thing everyone asks as they climb up in there!) Ready to see all the details of it up close? To the next page!

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