Thursday, October 19, 2017

Why Not Head South?

The most annoying thing when I was up in Michigan through two winters in a van is everyone said go south for the winter as the solution to every problem.

I had just bought an extended body cargo van and then I bought a vintage 18 ft Amerigo travel trailer.

Traveling South meant about 200 gallons of gas.  There would have been no benefit to me of traveling slowly. It wouldhave still been very cold.

I had winter gear and a buddy heater. I had covered all the windows with heavy quilts. The second year I wasn't hooked up to electric. I managed pretty well to stay comfy and cozy.

Not all vandwellers are retired. Some stay local for work, some because they have family members that are very ill. My father's health can be very precarious and having just lost my mother I wanted to spend time near him.

If a van is insulated, you have appropriate clothes for the weather, and some skills for making a warm sleeping nest, the frozen north can actually be very beautiful in the winter.

I'm seeing a trend in everyone saying do this, buy this, and go to the desert southwest. That's so what Vandwelling isn't about.

Vandwelling is about being an individual, not rebelling and conforming in your rebellion. It's about being free to decide what lifestyle you want and living it.

I know of a person who is actually basing his living on winter camping in Colorado. Not my first choice but I celebrate his spirit in following his dream. That is what Vandwelling is all about.

So...if you're new to Vandwelling...choose your own dream...Not someone else's. Me, I'm hanging in New Mexico. The beauty of the land, the delicious local foods, the friendliness and warm generous hearts of the locals combined with being able to choose urban Vandwelling or boondocking in nature all within a couple hours journey works for me. Have the courage to figure what works for you

See you down the road

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

For The Want Of Changing A Thermostat

Today I'm watching one friend do a lot of work on another friend's van.

All because of a thermostat. A Thermostat is about a $20 part. It's not particularly difficult to learn to change.

What happens if your thermostat is stuck closed?

You over heat your engine. That can cause water pump to crack and water pump gaskets to fail.

That causes antifreeze to leak out. A bubble can form in the system not allowing you to add enough antifreeze.

If engine runs long enough without proper're looking at cracked/warped heads. Heads and head gasket must be done in a shop. They have to check for cracks and warped. This can not be done with a visual inspection.

We're lucky. My friend is looking at a water pump, thermostat, and a bad airconditioning belt. They're off to the parts store to get the needed parts.

So the next time some one says maybe you should replace your it. Sometimes it's a cheap easy fix compared to what happens if thermostat fails.

See you down the road

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Living As A Nomad Changes You

Not only has my life changed, but me and my values have really changed due to living in a van.

I've lived in one vehicle or another for a couple of decades. I did take some breaks and live in an apartment, usually with someone else. Thelast time I had my own apartment (other than a couple of months this last year) was in 1999. Wow, that's 18 years ago. Time flies.

I've lived in a two room tent in the woods, a 26 foot travel trailer, a 30 foot class A motorhome, a 18 foot vintage travel trailer, a Pontiac sunfire, an extended body cargo van, a minivan, and currently a conversion van. My favorites were the cargo van and my current conversion van.

Each one of my homes on wheels has had their advantages and disadvantages.

Why do I prefer my van?'s easy to move, easy to drive, I can park almost anywhere without drawing attention.

This van has wing windows and all the rear windows open at the bottom allowing fresh air and circulation.

I really need to remove the twocenter seats. I've added a tall 4 drawer dresser in the rear, a cabinet with shelves, an old hassack with interior storage and a top that can double as a table, and a small 3 drawer wicker cabinet. Wow, that's a lot.

I don't need any built in items. I'm happy with my portable stove. Water jugs suit me just fine, easy to fill and easy to use.

I did end up adding a board to the front of the shelves. I'm still cleaning up from the last shelf spill.

Several years ago, my definition of my van would have included built in shower, toilet, running water, regular electricity. It doesn't now.

I like using mainly 12v power. Jugs are easier to fill than using a freshwater tank. I've become much less wasteful of water and electricity.

My life is actually much simpler with fewer modern conveniences. That leaves more time for the things I really enjoy.

Even my cooking has changed. A big meal usually means hauling out my 6 quart pressure cooker. It night involve a whole hour preparing a meal. Usually though, it means about 15-20 minutes when I do decide to cook.

I've learned to dehydrate things naturally. I'm in the desert. It is really easy to dehydrate food. It retains its nutrients and flavor when you dehydrate.

I've rambled on long enough this morning. I'll revisit this topic another time.

See you down the road

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