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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A typical day as a vandweller

I'm in a town for at least another month or two while I deal with medical/dental issues. So...here's a day in my life.

Parked last night in a quiet cul-de-sac. It's legal here to sleep in your vehicles.

Woke up to a nice sunny morning. Of course Mona has to potty immediately...Then where's her breakfast. Dog Pottied, Fed, fresh water and then she's off for her morning nap.

I put the backpacking Coleman stove out beside the van, heated water, made coffee, washed the few dishes.

The stainless steel cup was easily cleaned, a wet paper towel and a tablespoon of baking soda. Swipe, wipe, and hang it on its hook.

My two small phone solar chargers are busy charging auxiliary phone battery chargers. They are both propped up inside the van on/near the steering wheel so no looking like a homeless person.

I'm enjoying my morning coffee in a glass mug instead of the travel cup. Breakfast will be muesli cakes with peanut butter and jam.

Hair is brushed and in a pony tail.

The passenger side faces a canal and a cemetery so I'm able to open side barn doors for fresh air and a breeze.

Two vehicles have used the cul-de-sac to turn around, I smile and lightly wave

One blog published, another about to be, and then just a product review or two and it's relaxation time.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Just Musing On A Cloudy Windy Day

i have to laugh. I'm not that unusual or unique.

There are quite a few of us who grew up during the sixties and the seventies. We were very much influenced by the rebellion & protests of the sixties. We watched the fight for civil rights unfold before our very eyes.

We loved words like antidisestablishmentarism.

We watched the moon landing on TV. We saw people changing the world, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, The American Indian Movement.

We smoked cigarettes in the bathroom at school. Most of us went on, got jobs, became the establishment.

Let us hear one of our songs from the seventies and all the memories come flooding back. It was a time of hope & change, George Carlin and Cheech & Chong. It was a good time to grow up.

Now, I feel as if I've gone full circle. I'm an environmentally conscious person living and traveling in my van. My youthful dreams are now my reality.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Let's Talk Vandwelling

When you say vandwelling, most people get really crazy ideas about your lifestyle.

I have MS. Living in a van makes me self sufficient and I'm able to do everything I need to do to take care of myself.

I generally travel at the pace of an arthritic turtle. Rarely do I do long trips. I meander here and there. Sometimes I'll actually visit what most consider a tourist attraction.

Usually I prefer to boondock on public lands such as national forest or BLM land. I've stayed in New Mexico state parks, both with and without hookups.

I have an older Chevy Mark III conversion van. A conversion van has a rear seat that makes into a bed..a camper van has a stove, sink, and a bed. Cargo vans are usually empty inside and have no insulation.

I use an Ozark Trails two burner propane stove for cooking. I also own a Coleman dual fuel 2 burner stove. That uses either Coleman fuel or unleaded gasoline.

Yes, I have a potty in the van. I can recommend a lugable loo toilet.

I have pretty much the same things you'd have in a tiny studio apartment.

Having an apt quickly wore me out. It was too much keeping up with cleaning. Smaller space means better organization and less cleaning.

My Chihuahua Mona also prefers a van to an apt. She can see all around her, enjoys traveling, and right now she's gone back to the bedroom to take a nap.

The lower stress life makes it easier to manage my MS resulting in lower medical costs. Yes I have Medicare but that doesn't mean I need to spend lots of times at the doctor or hospital. Actually the Dr at the last emergency room visit was pleased to know that I planned to go out to my van and go to bed. He released me rather than keep me in the ER for observation. We simply informed security I'd be spending the night in my van. Security walked me out and helped me in the door. I locked the van and went to bed.

I'm the girl who when I leave the spot I was parked in is absolutely clear.

I have a blog devoted to teaching those new to the van life how to be respectful responsible travelers.

I absolutely respect other's property rights. I own land myself. Yes, I'm low income. I get a minimum social security disability check. My vehicle is always legal, plated, registered, insured. I pay pretty much all my bills online or through automatic deduction.

So the next time you see someone sleeping in their vehicle, not all of us are homeless, drink, or do drugs. I rarely drink and don't even like taking aspirin.

I love watching videos, reading books (both paperback and on my kindle). I make and sell jewelry. I enjoy watching nature.

I'm not homeless, I'm houseless by choice.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Great Van Search

I had found the perfect van. We agreed on a price. I just had to wait until last Wednesday to pay for it and pick it up.

Wednesday came. I was nervous and excited. He pulled up and I was really happy...until he told me his room had fallen through and he couldn't sell it.

Thus starts the great van hunt and scrambling. I live and travel in my van full time. My current van sits unable to move due to blown motor.

So...I started looking on craigslist. LOL.
The dodge ram van had a small engine, transmission leak, oil leak, and stunk of cat piss. It was $1000 for van known to be problematic on transmissions and no power.

Next up was a Chevy van with no posted price. It was a 1992 so off we went to go look. Busted up trim, white smoke puffing out of the exhaust. Nope...that's water pump, blown head gasket.

So far two vans and neither even made it to test drive.

Beautiful Ford 4x4 pickup. I haven't seen it since the owner is working hour and a half away. Apparently he's not real motivated to sell it.

So..I finally got to test drive an astro. Drove nice but when looking underneath it...water leak. And it was water not antifreeze. And rusty where it had been dripping for some time.

Today's hopeful entrant is a 2000 Chevy 20 Mark III conversion. I swear if it runs drives and stops, needs nothing more than a radiator...it's coming away with me.

Sacrilege...this Ford tough girl has been looking at any van that runs.

I'll update you all when there's more news.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Update on Van Down

Woooohoooo
For about the same price as parts only, on Wednesday I pick up my new to me van.

New van is 1986 one ton hightop van with Onan. generator,refrigerator, running water, low mileage, 351 Cleveland engine. $1500. Dependable.

It's actually going to be the same price or cheaper than replacing engine in my conversion van.

To all those who helped, I'll be repaying the loans one or two people a month and the pay it forward money as much as i can as fast as i can. I'm very grateful and humbled by all you wonderful people.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Musings and Thoughts While Van Down

Good morning. Coffee in hand, Mona sitting outside in back yard that is privacy fenced it. It faces east.
I'd like to thank the neighbors, who are nice but I can hear any door slam, for reminding me I don't do sticks n bricks well.

Water gets turned on today. I've got distilled water fire washing things and spring water for drinking/cooking

Water heating on stove to wash dishes.

Pot of rice is almost done, I'm thinking pinto beans, split peas, green peppers, and assorted veggies on hand.

The van interior is about halfway organized the way I want it. It's actually coming together perfectly. It took me less than 3 minutes to locate what I wanted when I went to the van to get dried food goods for cooking,

I spent time on craigslist van looking. In AZ, one on same condition as mine, approx same interior, and with not running motor...$3000-.
For now, I'm going with a used junkyard motor as soon as I get definitive price. In the future, I'm going to put a Reman engine in for my peace of mind. The rest of the van is a 90 on a scale of 100- this is the one for me. After looking at another dwellers build, I think I'll eventually put a built in desk where my current one sits, and cabinet shelves behind bed that open front and rear. I'll remove the front passenger seat and build storage with Mona's Chihuahua Command Central.

I've $198 dollars toward my engine. I can put $300 from my disability check with it. That still leaves me short of my engine.

paypal.me/LouBurgess if you can help. Put engine and either loan or gift in the message line.

It will take me a while to repay the loans but that's just life when you're on short income. I do know how to cut expenses to the bone when I'm in debt.

Enjoy my musings and ramblings

Monday, January 23, 2017

For those wishing to help with my engine

I talked to the people at got engines dot com.

Unfortunately, they are not willing to take small payments as they said.

If you view this blog on computer or
On smart phone/tablet open in chrome, select the three dots on top right, you'll have a menu drop down. Select view desktop site.

Once you're viewing this as a desktop site, then you'll see a donate button top of the blog. This allows you to use any standard debit card out credit card to help. You choose the amount.

Donations handled securely through PayPal, I have no access to any of your information other than your name and the amount. Thanks for helping.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

My van needs a new engine

As many know, my van broke down on I-10 in New Mexico as I was headed for Quartzsite and Yuma.
I had it towed back to Las Cruces
It needs more than we first thought. It needs engine replaced.
I've found a used engine at gotengines.com it is 77,000 original miles, 5.4L V8, and it's the OEM motor for this van. Price $1896 free shipping. Warrentee 3 year 36,000
My total income is minimum social security disability. I have MS. I've refunded unused PayPal $ and have a balance of $6.38 in my PayPal. I have no bank accounts.
We know I do a lot for the van community, much of it quietly in private.
I'm not asking for a free van. I'm asking for some help. The $1896 covers price of motor only. I've got some local help free to pull old engine and put new one in, including loans of engine hoist and such.
If you can help, my PayPal link is paypal.me/LouBurgesspaypal.me/LouBurgess or you can call Joe at got engines.com http://www.gotengines.com/m/and donate directly. When engine is paid for, they will ship.
http://www.gotengines.com/step-two.php?orderid=10028762http://www.gotengines.com/step-two.php?orderid=10028762
I'm parked in a safe place, Mona, me and my van. No risk of towing or impound
Thanks
Stephanie Lou Burgess

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Goodbye Lil Bear

My lil bear was run over Wednesday.
He and Mona escaped. Mona was retrieved safely, but Bear was run over on I-10 mm 112 New Mexico.

I feel his absence keenly as does Mona. As I write this, yet again I can barely see through tears.

I've got lots of pictures and videos of him.  I kept only his bed, his blankies, and his very favorite sweater. His collar frayed and fell off, so I have that and his tag.

He was born on my bed, the last puppy born, and the runt of the litter. For only being 3 pounds, he had a big personality.

Mona and I miss him a lot.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Chihuahua Command Central

I travel with my senior rescue dog Mona (Deer Head Chihuahua) and her son Bear (chi/yorkie mix).

They snuggle in bed with me but they do have their own beds. 

There's also a blanket and bed on passenger front seat, known affectionately as Chihuahua Command Central. Next to the front seat is my 48 qt cooler. It's topped with blankets. It effectively doubled the size of CCC (Chihuahua Command Central.)

I plan on removing front passenger seat in the future and building custom traveling Chihuahua Command Central for my cute road dogs.

In CCC, they have a viewing area of 180°. This allows them to be master of all they survey. Because of the size, it also allows comfortable sleeping for two, the ability to watch for me returning to the van (are there treats in the bag, c'mon let me sniff and inspect), and to adequately watch for dogs, cats, squirrels, and other things of grave importance for a travelling dog.

Tomorrow we start another road trip. They're actually very good travelers.

I'll put an audiobook on and away we go. Westward Ho!

I'll be doing meets n greets with old friends and new.

See you on the road.

Those wishing to contribute dog treats...use the following link 

paypal.me/LouBurgess


Monday, January 2, 2017

Day 1 Return To Fulltiming In My Van

I really love living in my van fulltime.

The van now has a nickname... It's my gasoline powered tipi.

Yesterday I finished moving out of the temporary apt. In spite of rain, I got most of the moved stuff out of van and into travel trailer in storage.

I was able to throw sleeping bag on bed in back of the van and stretch out. Mind you, I had to curl around da pups. My two small dogs are confirmed bed hogs and pillow thieves.

The front passenger seat is Chihuahua Command Central. It's very handy with 180 degree views for watching birds, squirrels, people, and of course barking at much bigger dogs.

Chihuahua command central has expanded. I found a 48 qt igloo cooler at Walmart for $16. It fits perfect sideways between front seats. I added a blanket over it. They love stretching out on it next to momma.

I cruised about 3 minutes and picked a good legal overnight parking spot. Had reflectix up on windshield and front windows covered in about 2 minutes. The spot even had free open WiFi.

I was overtired so it took me a little to fall asleep.

I prefer instant coffee...just what l like.  Today I drove over to Starbucks, got cup of hot water, and went back out to my van.

I had put all my coffee necessities in the cooler. So it was fairly easy to make my coffee.

Fresh water, food, and a morning walk for da pups, hot coffee and a perfectly ripened banana for me. I have several pkgs of loaf bread and a fruitcake onboard for my morning coffee.

Now I'm parked facing east, the van is comfortably heated by passive solar.

Time to read, relax, enjoy videos.

See you down the road.