Thursday, July 28, 2011

Taking the van out for the weekend - Finally!

So, I get to take the van out this weekend. My grandparents are having their 50th wedding anniversary, and it's a four hour drive north with my girlfriend. It should be interesting to say the least. My family gets to see the van, and I get to see what the gf thinks of it. Something tells me that she wouldn't be on board for living in it, but with her possibly moving in with me, our combined incomes will make life a whole lot easier on both of us, and I can really get to work on my upgrades to the van. That way it's easier to use for hunting and such as well.

This weekend will be my first long distance trip, as the last couple trips have only been about an hours drive away. I'll be four hours one way this weekend, here's hoping that DD is happy to make the trip!

I think that by the fall, I should at the very least have the reflectix installed, and the furnace fixed. Purchasing and wiring a couple new house batteries will be next after that. I want to make this trip as comfortable for her as possible so that she can see that travelling in a van for vacations would be great rather than flying, and hotels. Especially on the way to Alaska.

However, we're planning a trip in January for her birthday to Dominican Republic, and the van couldn't drive there! lol

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Outdoor Camp Oven 2 Burner Range and Stove

You've always wanted an oven when camping - Now you can with the Outdoor Camp Oven. Don't let its compact size fool you. The Outdoor Camp Oven features over 18,000 total BTU's, the twin burners and spacious oven have plenty of power to get your cooking/baking done right. This stove's folding lid is designed with portability in mind. This camp oven is loaded with features. It is just perfect for your cabin, summer camping, or RV.
Perfect for muffins, cookies, casseroles, and Dutch oven dishes. Simplify your life with the Outdoor Camp Oven.

Well, well, well. For those of us that didn't get an oven built into our little mobile homes, it looks like this is ideal. Not only does it come as an oven to cook, there's a range on top.

How about that! I like that I have a three burner range, but sometimes, I'd like to bake something, and I can't. Well, this has been added to my wish list!

A portable, propane powered oven and stove. I love that. It's the little things that make living in anything other than a conventional home more civilized, and let you see that you CAN have the nice things. The thing I like about this over having it built in, is that on those hot days when I still want to cook, I take it outside and cook, rather than heating up the van even more. Talk about convenience! Try and do that in a house!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mobile Technology and Mobile Living

Ashley, over at The Tuckerbag Blog, brought up a good post, inspired in part by a comment I made about technology really making the mobile life easier. As I started to comment about one little piece of technology that I just couldn't live without, I felt that it really deserves it's own post.
Naturally, I'm talking about my iPhone4. Now, I understand that everyone has their own views, and hey, if you love your Nokia, or your Android, fantastic, write about it so we can get some great ideas and make educated decisions on which phone to grab! I can only write about my experiences with the iPhone. (If you want, write me at thevandweller (at), and I'll post your review of your phone in this post! I'd love to get more viewpoints!)
One of the most difficult things to do in a mobile situation, whether it be in a car, a van, or a 40' Class A motorhome, is have room (and power) for a lot of tools that are just about a necessity. I got my first iPhone 3G, a couple years ago, and I loved it. In fact, you can see it on the counter in a couple photo's in my grand tour. When my iPhone 3G started acting up a bit, I opted to grab the iPhone4, and I have never been happier.

This phone has everything. It's a phone, it's an iPod, it's a half decent 5Mp camera (both still and video), it's mobile internet, it has GPS, and accesses maps to provide me with directions. I have a digital compass in it. I have the YellowPages apps, and can look up businesses, and people. I can turn it into a mobile hub, and tether my laptop to it, surfing the web on my laptop through my iPhone4's data plan.

I have games on it, music, movies, pictures, I can blog from it while sitting in a chair overlooking the lake. I even have an app that turns the flash, into a flashlight, and let me tell you, that light is very bright. I've had to use it a time or two in the past in areas that I needed light, and did not have a flashlight.

This one little device that fits in the palm of my hand, and sips power, is by far, the best technological purchase I have ever made. It replaces so many devices that would fill up my little van, and eat up all my power in no time at all. I have the world at my fingers because I never go anywhere without my phone.

I am fully connected to the world, no matter where I go. Well, there was this one place in the mountains where no one had service that I got a little dissconnected, and freaked out that I couldn't tell the world about the beauty of what I was seeing with a picture to share until I got back into a serviceable area, and by then, the rush was gone.

My suggestion, is unless you enjoy tinkering, and really need to mess around with open source, stick with the Apple iPhone over Android. I've noticed in my work place, that Android users seem to be as smug towards iPhone users, as MAC users are towards Windows users. Guys, no one is better than anyone else. Relax. You like to build your own apps, I like them to simply work right away. It's all about preference, and I'm not you. Don't be a hater! haha :)

Here's a quick breakdown of the iPhone4. For full specifications, check out Apple's site here.

Size and weight
Height: 4.5 inches (115.2 mm)
Width: 2.31 inches (58.6 mm)
Depth: 0.37 inch (9.3 mm)
Weight: 4.8 ounces (137 grams)

16GB or 32GB flash drive

Assisted GPS
Digital compass

Power and battery
Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Charging via USB to computer system or power adapter
Talk time: Up to 7 hours on 3G Up to 14 hours on 2G (GSM model only)
Standby time: Up to 300 hours
Internet use: Up to 6 hours on 3G Up to 10 hours on Wi-Fi
Video playback: Up to 10 hours
Audio playback: Up to 40 hours

Camera, photos, and video
Video recording, HD (720p) up to 30 frames per second with audio 5-megapixel still camera
VGA-quality photos and video at up to 30 frames per second with the front camera
Tap to focus video or still images
LED flash
Photo and video geotagging

Monday, July 11, 2011

Came so close, so very very close...

To packing up over the weekend, and driving away. There is something about those little stresses in life that make you wonder what it is that you are doing in life. As I have noted before, I really miss my van, and the freedom that it offered me.

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to live a more simple life, and just get out of the rat race. Seriously. It started with reading a book when I was in grade 5, a book that I still have to this day, and have patched it up a couple times (The covers are held onto the book with duct tape...)

The book is My Side of the Mountain (Of course, mine is much older with no colour or pictures that were not hand drawn to it). It's about a boy who runs away from home, and lives in a tree in the Catskills. It's written like a diary, and it inspired me. Whenever stresses get to that breaking point, I start thinking about that. If you have never read the book, I highly recommend it. (Once I figure out which addon allows me to link to Amazon to get a penny or two from anyone buying the book, I'll add that in.)

This past weekend was a downer for me. I have a week left until payday, and I am tapped out of cash. It's a pain. I had rent, and bills which all together came to over $1200 off my cheque, and even though I tried putting a bit away on the last cheque, I had to dip into it some, and that means I had to use more on this one. My monthly bills last year when I was in the van were insurance at $90, perhaps $100 for gas, and $14 for propane. A whopping (roughly) $200 a month, with no stress like I have now.
Reading Glenn's blog probably doesn't help my state of mind either. haha He is living the life I want.

Now, to find a way to make money on the road with the skillset I have... Probably not going to happen. Time for a career change?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Canadian Winter Vandwelling

This has been a topic that I touch on every now and again, and it's one that I have not really been able to get the information that I am looking for on. You see, most the blogs out there are about American Vandwellers, and not only that, but usually retired snowbirds. No matter where they are, they move on down to warmer climates when the mercury starts to dip.

As much as I love these blogs, and the information I read on them, they do not quite apply to someone like me. Someone who is a young professional, with a fantastic, well paying job that he doesn't really want to leave. At least not for a while. That's who this blog is for. The guy or gal who chooses to live in an unconventional dwelling like a van, when they can afford to live in a stick built with ease.

I am locked into my location here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada year round. The summers are hot, the winters are cold. Recently, a forum post that I started and never got a response on (for good reason, no full timing Canadians on the board in a climate like mine), recently got a response from a new member who happens to live in Ontario (Their winters may be "milder", but are brutally cold because of the humidity there, I'm blessed with dry cold). Wealth of information so far from this gentleman. It appears that he's done it. He has lived in a vehicle in the Canadian Winter, and was fine. This brings me hope!

I still need to update the insulation, but finances have been less than ideal trying to get debt down while living in this awful stickbuilt. All in All, I'm paying close to $1000 a month to live in my place, including utilities, but not food. Then, I have food, internet, car/home insurance, life insurance, savings, etc eating up most the rest. I miss living in the van, and rent WAS my car insurance (and gas).

Looks like there could be hope for me yet!