No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky »

Yes, our current campsite at $14 is $420 per month for 2 people. Our class b camper van is like a small studio apartment. Solar panels power our fridge, lights and devices. We use a small amount of propane for cooking and to run the furnace on cold mornings.

For us, the big cost is getting from our home in northern Midwest USA to interesting and warm areas. The way I drive, it takes 2 days of driving through cornfields, one day of crossing mountains and one day to cross the coastal plains. A lot of fuel. I would be more specific but I did not track the numbers. I would guess under 100 gallons one way. My van gets about 14 miles per gallon. Once we arrive, we don't need to drive that much, although we do like to explore. We are currently on Ocracoke Island and don't need to drive much.

Frugalchicos
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by Frugalchicos »

Very nice pics of your trips. I’m also jealous of your van set up. I would love to have a van one day for surfing trips. Although I couldn’t excuse the cost of it 😃

I also like your sewing projects. Did you learn as you went? I would like to modify/fix my clothes one day. My mom does it all the time. She never throws clothes away, she modifies and repurposes them.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky »

I learned sewing on my own. Both hand sewing and machine sewing. I am still learning!

Electric Minimalism

I have been observing my need for electric devices while living in a van, and I think I could reduce my needs down to the following devices:

Headlamps
Small USB charged headlamps that can be worn as a headband or wrapped or clamped to something overhead and used as an area light. Perhaps 4 headlamps so some are in use while others are charging.

Phone
USB charged smartphone with data service, used for communication, reading, navigation, banking, entertainment. The phone takes the place of a laptop.

Fan
USB powered fan for hot weather.

Devices to avoid:
Refrigeration. Learn to store and cook food without a fridge.

Furnace. Use insulating quilts and clothing. In the morning, idle the van motor for a half hour to warm the van and eliminate condensation.

Water pump. Instead of an electric water pump, use a gravity system by putting a water container at head height with tubing and a valve at the sink level.

Electric vent. Instead of a powered vent, use open side windows with screens along with an opening roof vent. Use mosquito netting over the bed to reduce insect annoyances.

Charging the headlamps, phone and fan

The interesting thing about this system is that each device can be purchased with an internal battery with enough power to be used for at least one or two days. Combined with a solar charging system, no external battery is required, although a back up battery for charging on cloudy or rainy days would be useful.

The devices could also be charged while driving, using the motor alternator as a power source.

By reducing one's needs for electric devices, one could eliminate the need for a built in wired electric system. Instead, one would build a solar charging station where the devices could be stored while charging.

This method might be adapted for use on a boat or in a cabin.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky »

It is cold and windy tonight, in the 40's F. We are doing fine by wearing warm socks, hoodies and using blankets to stay warm. No furnace. My van is insulated and has a lot of cupboards that hold in warmth, but there are also air leaks, through the stove hood vent, under the fridge, and probably a few more air leaks. I am partly glad about air leaks because it means fresh air in the van, but it also means the wind blows cold air into the van.

We parked by the sea today and I was glad I was not anchored out in a sailboat. I remember being anchored out in cold, windy weather, wondering if the anchor would hold, rocking in the waves. Looking out at the lights on land, people in their warm, safe houses, while I am on the edge, living minute by minute wondering if my anchor will hold. I will take the van life, it's safer with four tires on solid ground.

Rocking it to Buckethead tonight.

https://youtu.be/P5D6NtIFULA?si=7B8LOml1gwTzwtFU

From the island where Blackbeard lost his head.

SouthernAlchemy
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by SouthernAlchemy »

Ocracoke is one of my favorite places, and Autumn is probably my favorite time to be there. That was a brutal cold front that blew through on Halloween, though. Hang in there another night and I think you'll have some great weather for a while. Enjoy!

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky »

Living the Feral Life

The campground we are in is quite nice, just a short walk from the Atlantic. However, the showers here in the campground are cold water, and open at the top and bottom to the wind. There is no laundromat on the island. The closest laundromat is 50 miles away and involves a 2 hour ferry ride.

Hot water - Mixing by Volume

Making hot water on a stovetop can be quite dangerous, because hot water and cold water look the same. You can hover your hand above the water to feel any heat coming off, or you can brush your hand against the pot to gauge the heat, but you might be burned, especially if you plunge your hand in the water to test the temperature.

My preferred way to make hot water is mixing by volume. To start out, put a liter of cold water in the container that you want hot water in. Next, boil a liter of water, and add it to the cold water. This gives you water at a predictable temperature. You may find a mix of 50% cold to 50% boiling to be hotter than you like. Instead, use more cold water and don't heat the water all the way to boiling. Stop heating when the first bubbles form, or when it starts steaming. After you do this a few times, you will find it easy to get hot water at the desired temperature.

A cold shower can get the job done, but it can be a shock to the system. For those days when you can't deal with a cold shower, fill a gallon jug about half way with cold water. Using a funnel, add about a liter of boiling water. Take the jug to the shower stall. Pour water over you to wet yourself down, then scrub with soap. Pour water to rinse. This is not as nice as a hot shower, but does achieve the same result.

Another method is the hand scrub method. This requires a private place to disrobe, some towels to put on the floor to catch any drops, and an intimate partner. Using about a liter of warm water, the washer scrubs the washee with soapy hands. Then follow up with a wet washcloth to rinse off. Then switch roles so both parties are washed. To avoid surprises, clean the crotch area first with wet wipes or wet paper towels. This is a very enjoyable method which only requires one or two liters of warm water.

We use a folding pail and two folding tubs for laundry. It helps to wear quick drying synthetic clothing. Add a pot of hot water to cold water in one of the tubs, and add a small amount of soap (laundry soap, dish soap). Pre-soak the laundry in the pail, add it to the wash tub and let it soak, stirring occasionally. Then move it to a tub with rinse water and lift and drain it a few times. Wring out the laundry and dry on a clothesline with clips. It is not the same as machine washing, but you can keep yourself in clean comfortable clothes and fresh hand towels indefinitely. You may have to wash small loads more frequently.

7Wannabe5
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by 7Wannabe5 »

Rough camping is more fun with a partner. What I used to do most often when rough camping in cool or cold weather was wash cloth and small amount of water whore's bath combined with sneaking into shower at more luxurious campground every so often. In hot weather, I'll just go swimming. The one consumer product I use that would make me eventually seek out thoroughly modern plumbing is the box of Natural Blonde 101 that I dump on my head every 4 to 6 weeks. The other terrible consumer product that I use which does greatly extend the period between my trips to the laundromat is Febreeze Fabric Refresher sprayed on items that are too heavy to easily or quickly hand-wash and dry.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky »

I have fairly short hair, which I cut myself, so washing hair is easy for me. I just wet my hands with soap and rub my head for a minute.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky »

For the past three weeks, we have been living in a space of under 200 square feet. It is perfectly adequate, although somewhat cramped for two people. For one person, it is plenty of room to live. When it comes to a person's housing needs, in other words a minimum comfortable dwelling, 200 square feet per person would be a good number.

If I were to take the layout of the furniture and cabinetry of this camper van, and put it inside a shed, I could improve on the livability of the camper van. I would install a foot of insulation on all sides and underneath, and 18 inches over the ceiling. I would use boatbuilding techniques to seal the insulated space from moisture intrusion. I would add windows on the south and east side. I would add a heat exchanging ventilation system. I would add water storage tanks for thermal mass. I would collect rainwater and learn to use very low amounts of water. I would wear insulating clothing on chilly mornings before the sunlight warms my home, and would rely on bedding and quilts for warmth through the evening. Waste water would be used to water plants, and human waste would be composted and used as fertilizer for trees. I would have a small vented heater of some kind for occasional use. I would have a modest solar electric system to charge lights, ventilation system and phone/computer.

As I sit in my camper van, I imagine a permanent home similar to my van that is inexpensive, quiet and comfortable, requires no utilities and uses a minimum of resources to live in.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky »

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delay
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by delay »

Thanks for sharing, your RV looks clean and neat!

jacob
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by jacob »

sky wrote:
Thu Nov 09, 2023 8:11 pm
For the past three weeks, we have been living in a space of under 200 square feet. It is perfectly adequate, although somewhat cramped for two people. For one person, it is plenty of room to live. When it comes to a person's housing needs, in other words a minimum comfortable dwelling, 200 square feet per person would be a good number.
IIRC, the 34' Georgie Boy Encounter we lived in during our RV years was 286sqft. Based on our experience with that, we'd go closer to 20' if not shorter for the next round. Our conclusion, which was mostly DW's conclusion as I was already there, was that comfort=size-stuff && mobility ~ comfort => comfort = smaller vehicle. As such, comfort is greatly increased by hauling around less stuff in order to drive/maintain a smaller vehicle. Basically learning the lesson of "go light, go easy, go fast". The stress of a larger vehicle to haul around one's xmas decorations and high school yearbooks is just not worth it. A curve can be drawn ...

Add: In that regard, I'm wondering what the obvious trade-off is in terms of utilities. For example, using internal show/toilet and having to dump the tanks vs walking over to the campground facilities. The answer probably depends on whether one camps east or west of the Mississippi / willingness to talk a walk for a midnight piss.

shaz
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by shaz »

What is the relevance of east or west of the Mississippi? Not snarking just curious.

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Ego
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by Ego »

Our recent experience with a VW campervan reminded us of the importance of being able to fit into regular sized parking spaces.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky »

Nylon Belt

I have made a number of nylon belts over the years, and finally have found what I think is the ideal method to make a belt.

2 yards of regular weight 1" nylon strap

https://www.therainshed.com/shop/Narro ... 36391.htm

Plastic cam buckle, 1" black

https://www.therainshed.com/shop/c/p/P ... 85342.htm

Standard Triglide, 1" black

https://www.therainshed.com/shop/c/p/S ... 21120.htm

Measure around your waist at the belt. Add 16" to your waist measurement to get the strap length.

Cut the webbing to the strap length. Flame the end to melt and prevent fraying.

Loop the strap through the cam buckle as shown, with about 6" to 8" strap end.

Slide the Triglide on the tail end of the strap with the center bar outward. Push the short end of the strap through to hold a loop for the cam buckle.

The belt is ready for use. You may adjust it by moving the Triglide and changing the length of the loop.

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sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky »

We returned from our trip to the ocean shortly before Thanksgiving. On the way, we experienced overnight low temperatures of 23F. There was no difficulty in keeping warm under blankets and quilts, although getting out of bed was somewhat chilly.

What is more healthy, living in a home with thermostatically controlled temperature, or living in a shelter with large variations in temperature which follow the outside temperature? I pose this as a question because I have no proof and have not heard opinions of others, but I believe that variation of temperature in the living area is more healthy, at least to a healthy person with adequate insulating clothing and bedding.

Last year, I did a one month digital detox, in which I stopped using the internet for a month. My conclusion that screen addiction was not caused by technology that is intentionally causing addiction, but rather by personal behavior (laziness). This year I am working on methods to improve my screentime habits that will lead to a more beneficial use of the internet.

1. Email. Go through email once a day, don't check more than once a day.
2. Youtube. Watch Youtube no more than once a day. Go through the Home feed, then the Subscriptions feed, watching any video that seems interesting. Then turn off Youtube.
3. Reddit. Reduce posting on Reddit, due to the odd and often disconcerting reactions one gets there. I like to join the conversation, perhaps give advice, or joke around, but the number of psychotic reactions one gets is too high. When reading, scan the posts quickly, then discard and move on if they seem too stupid. I suspect that many posts are made by Unintelligent Bots and mentally deficient people. It is better not to pollute one's mind by focusing on them.
4. Forums. I follow a number of forums. Forums are good to the extent that there are people focusing on how to improve their lives somehow, and sharing advice on what works and what doesn't. My goal is to read threads that provide practical information, skip threads that are rants, arguments, bigotry, hate or conspiracy theories. Once a day is often enough to scan the forums of interest, once a week might even be often enough. Forums seem to be in decline, I need to find community in the physical reality.
5. Search. It is always good to do a search on a subject of interest. Make lists of interests and try searching on different platforms (web search, Youtube search, Reddit search, Forum searches) using search terms which interest me.
6. Classifieds. One of my interests is going through craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and others to see what is for sale. I generally don't buy anything, but am tempted sometimes. This makes this an entertaining but dangerous activity, because I don't want to add anything to my collection of stuff. As long as I am committed to not buying anything, it is harmless entertainment, but when I start to think about actually acquiring something, I need to back off on reading classifieds.

Hopefully these habits will improve my use of the internet and reduce the amount of screen time. The other side of using these habits is that I need to find other things to do in the physical reality, rather than the virtual.

jacob
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by jacob »

sky wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2023 4:29 pm
We returned from our trip to the ocean shortly before Thanksgiving. On the way, we experienced overnight low temperatures of 23F. There was no difficulty in keeping warm under blankets and quilts, although getting out of bed was somewhat chilly.

What is more healthy, living in a home with thermostatically controlled temperature, or living in a shelter with large variations in temperature which follow the outside temperature? I pose this as a question because I have no proof and have not heard opinions of others, but I believe that variation of temperature in the living area is more healthy, at least to a healthy person with adequate insulating clothing and bedding.
A constant [thermostatic] temperature is less likely to make you sick. Whether it's achieved by walls, heating/cooling by thermostat, putting on extra clothes, fire, or blankets is immaterial and perhaps mostly a matter of aesthetics or values. No bonus just because it's "natural". Exposing the body to variations makes the cardiovascular and immune systems work harder which takes away from other systems such as physical performance or fighting off diseases. Humanity has historically done best in steady climates.

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mountainFrugal
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by mountainFrugal »

sky wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2023 4:29 pm
On the way, we experienced overnight low temperatures of 23F.
Burr! We had a 28 degree night on our trip in the van. We have rubber water bottles that we fill with boiling water before bed. It really helps with the initial cold bed. Nalgene bottles in a sock also work great.

sky
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Re: No Time Like Right Now - sky's journal

Post by sky »

Surprisingly, we have no problem staying warm in bed under the covers. It is getting out of bed that is a cold shock to the system.

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