Monday, October 17, 2016

Almost full time, week 1 done.

She's doing fine  :)

Well one week done in the van and it's been interesting. We have yet to try and kill each other, that's good. Territory in the van has been established, she gets the bed and I get the passenger seat in the cockpit during waking hours. The bed is used as a couch-living room when watching TV and outdoors is pretty much out of the question since it's getting cold out there.

One thing that did come up last friday was Celine getting sick. The experiment was put on hold for a few days until she got better. Which brought up another thing to consider when making the move full time. Being sick in such close quarters isn't going to be any fun. Fortunately we have a plan B for such a situation. We'll be renting a Motel or Hotel room until either crew is back in top shape. This is what the emergency funds will be for, not just mechanical emergencies.

Talking about mechanical failure, only one break down in the van so far. The adapter for the LED light bar in the 12 volt socket died. It's the 3rd one that quits on me but this one lasted a lot longer. Guess I'll have to shop around again for a better one.

Next week end we are going mobile for the last trip of the year before parking the truck for the winter. Celine will have the van pretty much for herself during 2 days while I sleep in the woods giving survival training courses.

Until next time.

Living the van life.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Living full time in the van...almost. The Babbit Experience.

"We store our vans in 3 weeks, what if we lived in them full time during that period?". So this is the conversation starter that got this going last week with 2 of my buddy vanners. We talk about living full time in our vans but can we actually do it? Now right off the bat let me say that we are nowhere near what some real full timers are doing out there. For various reasons, each one of us is not ready to make the jump just yet. However, we figured that even though bragging rights wise it's pretty much poser level, at least it would give us an idea.

All 3 of us are at different stages of readiness when it comes to full time living in the van. I'm certainly not ready since I am missing some key elements like solar panels. So we each decided to tackle the challenge in our own way with the basic concept of living and sleeping in our trucks full time. As for the rest, each one would adjust the simulation according to his means.

For me that represents parking in my driveway, plugged into the wall and using my home's bathrooms. Meals, sleeping and free time all being spent in the van for 3 weeks. I know, it's weird.

The main goal of the exercise is not as much a challenge as it is a learning experience. The ultimate test of our set-up as far as long term usage is concerned. It will also answer other questions like what do you do of your free time on a rainy day amongst other things.

Thankfully the wireless network works fine.

As I'm writing this, we are about to spend our 4th night in the truck and so far so good. We sleep better and deeper than in the house even though we are right next to a busy boulevard. Keeping the place warm in a steady way is turning out to be a challenge. Too hot or too cold, will be working on that.

I also upgraded our set-up with a bar fridge since we are plugged for the duration. I didn't want to buy ice every 2 days. However, I realized by putting it in the van, it could act as a great ice box when power is not available better than the old unit. Best part, it was already paid for.

Bar fridge added

I'll keep you posted on our progress and on the lessons learned.

Living the vanlife


Monday, October 3, 2016

El Campo, the last outing of the season

Go-Van organized a van meet in St-Raymond de Portneuf last week-end and this was the chance to attend a unique event. A bunch of people who see the van as more than a status symbol but a means to an end: freedom.

We started getting Tiki ready the week before figuring we had ample time to fix a bunch of little bugs and make some small adjustments. Sure enough, we still ran out of time and didn't get to finish everything. The truck looked even more patched up with bondo and duct tape filling a hole that requires a sheet metal patch but at this point I didn't really care. The insulation for the windows and the oh so important remote switch for the inverter were critical for a pet peeve free and warm week end.

Having no shore power on site, it was important for the auxiliary battery to be spared unnecessary drainage from forgetting to shut off the damn inverter because I was too lazy to do the acrobatics required to do so. A remote "cable" was hooked up and problem solved. Little things like that gets to you hard when living in a small place.

88 vans of all makes and their dwellers gathered in this magical region. It was a great opportunity to meet other like minded people and exchange ideas, tips and tricks. Everybody was cool and we had a great time. I think the lack of network contributed to better exchanges as people never had their nose in their phones.

Everyone had a great time around the campfire with live music from the gathering's talent until late into the wee hours. Weather was cooperative even though it was cold but nothing that couldn't be handled.

We are definitely going back next year as this was a fantastic way to end a superb season of adventure with our van. Great times, awesome friends old and new, what could be better?

Living the Vanlife