As a quick recap, five years ago the opportunity to work at a startup aviation engine company was too good to pass up and I moved to the Milwaukee area to develop a two-stroke compression ignition aircraft engine. Developing the engine and the numerous jobs I held within the company was great from a learning perspective, but ultimately consumed most of my energy and created the majority of the stress in my life. These feelings only worsened as I climbed the company ladder. I ultimately resigned from my position as Director of Engineering in early October and handed over the reins of the program to one of my former employees.
When it comes to leaving a good-paying job, the choice can leave many scratching their heads. While my reasons are many, what I feel most comfortable sharing here is that my need to eliminate stress, pursue new growth opportunities, live closer to family, being able to afford more acreage, and live in a rural area all pushed me to make the choice to leave.
My wife and I had actually started hunting for property in northwestern Wisconsin in September of 2019 and even made an offer on a place back then, but we weren’t able to agree on a fair price with the sellers. We ended up doubling down on our place in the Milwaukee area that fall and began a full remodel. We decided while we waited for the right place to turn up, we’d work to increase the value of our current home so that we’d get a little more when it was the right time to sell.
As it goes with most renovation projects, it snowballed. I ended up remodeling everything - kitchen, living room, fireplace room, two bathrooms, exterior window repair, sidewalk and front stoop construction, and finishing off the basement. I spent nights, weekends, and vacations working on the house from October 19’ to mid-August 20’. We skipped Thanksgiving and Christmas with our families last year so that we could maximize the amount of time we had to work on the house. Despite giving up the holidays with our families - they were not absent from our lives. Both our parents contributed and helped us a ton and for that, we cannot thank them enough. We eventually got the remodel finished and it turned out great!
My wife and I ultimately decided that I should just build a shop if we didn’t find a place that had one that conformed to my specific “want list” and focus on properties that were in need of work so that we could keep upfront costs down.
The right property for us turned up in February, just not at the right price. We watched our future house sit neglected and over-priced until July when we started negotiating. We ultimately came to an agreement and bought ourselves 80 acres of dirt biking paradise with a pond, a mix of pasture and woods, plus lots of elevation change. I should note my wife is equally excited about the land because she has been dreaming about moving beyond our current flock of chickens and getting goats and other ruminants. So while I say dirt biking paradise - she translates that to farming paradise.
The house is built into the side of a hill with an unfinished walkout basement and a finished main floor. The property also came with a dilapidated cabin, single car garage (tiny by today’s standards - also in need of work), barn (needed work), large open-ended Quonset structure, and overgrown trail system. All in all, we got a great starting point to expand upon.
One of the challenges I’ve been contemplating how to deal with since the onset of creating DIY Moto Fix has been how to share my other interests and passions. My engineering mind is called to aviation, remodeling, snowmobiling, metalworking, woodworking, and unique projects. These subjects can all be DIY in nature, but certainly aren’t 100% moto related.
To solve this problem and allow me the freedom to branch out into other areas, I’ve created the Workshop Chronicles. The Workshop Chronicles will be a place where all of my passions and interests outside of dirt bike-related content reside. A place where you can watch, learn, and contribute, while I tackle all kinds of fun and challenging projects.
First on the docket is a DIY standing desk that I hope to create plans for, snowmobile mods, building the garage/addition for my house, and designing and developing a snow bike. If any of this stuff interests you please sign up for my Workshop Chronicle updates (see below)!
I hope you all have fared well this year despite COVID, and appreciate your continued support and patience. I’m incredibly grateful to be in a much better place now and am super pumped to unleash the plethora of ideas I’ve been sitting on, not to mention get back to riding more regularly! I doubled down on winter this year and bought a snowmobile and will be setting up the bike for ice riding, wherever you live, I hope you have a great winter full of powersports ahead of you!