Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Heh... Paypal

I've been thinking. I need to survive, and maybe as time goes on, I can make a dollar or two from people who want to help donate a dollar to the starving vandweller fund. lol I wonder if I'll get any hits. The link is to the right! Just under my profile.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ugh... ex's....

Not a vandwelling post, but I need to get this out of my head, and writing is the best way to do it.

I have this ex, she's perfect in many ways, but she's promiscuous, and an attention seeker as well. I have discovered that this could very well be attributed to her Borderline Personality Disorder. We were off and on throughout our entire relationship, and she drove me crazy but I love her, and that makes it all the more difficult. We chose to remain friends, but she's all over the map, and sometimes, it's difficult to handle her.

Being the type of person I am, I am always there for those I care about, and this holds true for her as well. In fact, I have been learning recently, that I have basically been the only constant in her life outside of her family. The guys that she meets, are for lack of a better words, pigs. They are not interested in hanging out with her unless she puts out, and thus she's getting ditched a lot by these guys. Now, this is partially her fault, because she gives them the impression that she is an easy conquest, but when it comes time to hang out, that's all she wants. Go for a coffee, and stay in public.

Is it wrong for me to be a little happy about her getting ditched? For all her craziness, and the craziness that she got in me which made me do some things I am not proud of. Ashamed of actually. I still want her. I still want to be there for her, and still want to have a real relationship with her. I still want to be there for her whenever she needs me. We haven't done anything more than text this past month, and I have been going out on dates as well (Only stood up once, but that was resolved with a new date set). I'm not really looking for a relationship, but some good friends, and they're all aware of that. If something comes from it, then so be it. I don't talk about her to anyone, and as far as everyone is concerned, she's a distant memory.

I'd love to just be over her, and move on with my life, but damn. I just can't. I fell for this girl. Hard. Now I can only try to be supportive of her, and hope that eventually, she'll figure out that I've been the only one to want her for her, not just her body. I was there for some really bad times of depression from her, I would even take time off work to be with her (which is easy to do since I can work from home) when she needed me.

I don't know, maybe I'm a fool...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Hydrogen Generator

Surfing this forum that I am on, someone asked about HHO Conversions for a vehicle. There's not a lot of information out there on these, and everone seems to be selling kits, or really expensive How-To's. I decided once when I came across it to buy one with some money I had sitting in my PayPal account from a couple years back, and it was a $10 buy for a really really basic Hydrogen generator. It's composed of a couple mason jars, and assortment of other stuff to get it running. I don't know if it'll work or not, and I have to build and test it out yet.

The idea (of this one at least) is that the generator produces Hydrogen, which is pumped into the engine through vacumn lines as you need to hook this up to existing vacumn lines going into your engine. This would be pretty useless in a place where winter is often below freezing, but you could save money in the spring, summer, and fall (if it actually works).

I'm curious, has anyone ever built a Hydrogen Generator? How did it work for you? Did it actually help save gas? Living in a van, you can consume a lot of fuel, and with the cost of gas going up to near unaffordable prices these days, every bit counts.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blogger Stats - Actually rather interesting

So I was mucking about on the blog since all I can do is post. Have been unable to log in. Well, I can log into the dashboard, but if I go to view a blog (including my own) I'm not logged in. The forums are showing many people are having the same issue. Anyways, I clicked on the "Stats" button for this blog, and was surprised to find that I have readers in Russia and Ukraine (I'm second generation Canadian, but my family comes from Ukraine), and even China! I also have had hits from iPhone, and Playstation 3. Very cool. People are checking me out from unconventional devices :)

It's so facinating to see what brings people to your blog. Several hit from google searches, so I checked out one of the searches "Canadian Van Dwellers", and I'm #7 on the list currently. That's a very cool thing to me. In order to bring up my stats, I want to start blogging more about the van, and upgrades that are moving along.

As an FYI, stay tuned. Next month I'll be picking up a couple things, and starting to update the van :)

Thought I would share since I found it so interesting.

Pageviews by Countries
United States 697
Canada 315
United Kingdom 176
Australia 43
China 20
Germany 16
Ukraine 15
Russia 14
Sweden 10
Ireland 8

Pageviews by Operating Systems
Windows 1,163 (84%)
Macintosh 154 (11%)
iPhone 27 (1%)
Other Unix 15 (1%)
Linux 10 (<1%)

Rain Rain Go Away!

It has been raining the entire weekend, and with the province wide fire ban, made for a lousy May Long weekend. The rain is supposed to continue straight through this week and into next weekend as well. Thankfully, the van is nice and sealed, with no leaks.

I can't imagine what camping would have been like this past weekend for those without a van, tent trailer, or motorhome. I have heat, and electricity. I can sit back, watch a movie, and entertain a few people while cooking a nice meal. Cooking isn't something that tent campers really could do aside from a propane stove.

On another note, I met with a financial advisor recently, and should be able to get the finances under control, and a plan in place to get out of this debt I have. Apparently, $16,000 in debt isn't that much. It's huge to me.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Turning your friends onto the idea of Vandwelling

What the? Three posts in ONE day??? haha, I have plenty to say today I suppose.

So I was chatting with a friend of mine about this May Long weekend, how it's supposed to rain all weekend, AND the area he's going camping at has a fireban. Well, that's where a van comes in great use. If the weather is crappy, and you can't have a fire, you're going to be cold, miserable, and hungry in a tent. In a van, you can cook your meal, turn on the furnace to stay warm, and sit back watching a movie under the covers with your partner. Why do that when you can do it at home you ask? Because it's NOT at home, you get up, look out your window and see wilderness. That's why.

This friend has partied with me before in my van with some other friends when we went out to the bar for karaoke. We all partied, and pre-drank in the van listening to music and socializing and saving money on booze. Afterwards, I went to bed parked outside the bar, got up in the morning, and headed off. My friends, while making the customary "down by the river" joke, love the van. Some may never actually want to live in one, but they are also stuck on the stick-built mentality.

This friend has expressed a passing interest in what I had been doing (living in the van) last summer, and while he says he'd love to do something like that, he can't because he is living with someone right now. That's totally fine. I tell him that doesn't stop him from getting a campervan, outfitting it, and using it for camping. It also becomes that emergency shelter for things such as doing something that puts him in the doghouse, or if there's a fire and now has no where to live, or worst case scenario; the dreaded break up.

Even if you don't plan on living in a van, it can be a wonderful backup plan for the "just in case" scenarios. The "I want to camp all weekend away from people and campgrounds, but still have power" scenarios, and even the, "I want to actually go to a bar, drink my face off, and not drive or cab home 9because the cab driver always takes the long way home)" scenarios.

Just because this blog is written about living in a van, doesn't mean that anyone stumbling across it can't simply do a similar setup just to have weekends away. The freedom is still there, you just plan a bit differently. I never have to pack, or think about buying food for the trip. I have it all there, but a weekend warrior will have to think of what to bring for the weather, and what to buy for food.

The van can also serve (for the more paranoid) as a "bug out" van. You know, the war is coming, and you "bug out" of town, away from people, and hopefully hostility along the way. There are a myriad of reasons to just have one of these babies parked out back. You may not use it daily, or even weekly, but it's there. It's your safety net.

So what are you waiting for fellow readers?

Consolidated Links (aka The Wish List)

I realized that I am posting about many things that I want to do to upgrade the van, and make life more liveable in it. As I do this, the previous posts with links will eventually slide down out of sight, and what happens when I have been blogging for years? This is the solution. I may blog about a certain product, and how it's working, but I will also update the link in this post, with a link to the post about it. To the right is the Page for it. Same title as this post. :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Swampy Cooler

Well, here I am posting again yet another great little product that I think I will be buying. I'm keeping my eyes open on kijiji.ca, craigslist, ebay, and bargain finder for this.

The MightyKool 3-Speed Personal Cooler sounds like it'll be perfect for my van. Last year, it would get so hot in the van, that I couldn't wear pretty much anything, and would have to find places that I could have the side door open to get a breeze through. I didn't much care for that, especially when trying to sleep at night, or have a nap during the day.
Brand new, this thing is pricey. $337 USD to ship to Canada. I'm sure I could get it delivered to somewhere on the other side of the border, and then pick it up but that'll only knock off about $45. Still, $45 is $45.

Best best is to hopefully find one for cheap on the classified ad sites.
I think with all these products that I list here, I might get a widget that will give me that referral bonus for those that click through and buy. Maybe I can make just enough money to start buying these things myself as well!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Automatic Roof Vent? Oh Yes!

One thing I hated last year was sleeping, and it's so warm in the van that it's near unbearable, but I can't have the door open, and not enough power to be running a fan all night (See post about dead battery). Then there was having the roof vent open, which was great, until it started to rain in the middle of the night, and I'd get little drops hitting me in the face, waking me up, and disrupting my sleep, as I am now awake, have to get out of bed, and close the vent. Falling back asleep for me is difficult once I'm out of bed, and then there's the sound of rain, which is nice and I want to listen to it.
This fan appears to be a great solution to those issues: FanTastic Model 6000
It for one, has a fan, which I don't have right now, so already a bonus. This fan though, is the top of the line it appears. There are others on the site, so have a look for what suits you. This one is the one I need. Aside from just being a vent with a fan, it's a vent with a fan that can either pull air in, or push air out, has variable speeds so you don't need to make it a wind tunnel in your van. It has a both temperature and rain sensors. The temperature sensor will monitor the temp inside the van, and open and close the vent, turn on the fan, and keep a constant temperature inside. The rain sensor will close the vent so you don't get water damage inside.
That whole getting out of bed to open and close the vent? A thing of the past, this beauty even comes with a remote.
How cool is that? (No pun intended)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A 12v Freezer

So, scouring the forums here, I came across a post about freezers. I don't have a lot of space in my van, and the fridge has a "freezer" in it that is large enough to keep a bag of mixed veggies cold, nothing more really. I need a freezer.

Now, this one, is expensive, but the reviews all seem to be good, except for one guy whose unit broke down, but I'm sure he could get it replaced under warrenty.

For the price, I wonder if the free shipping and handling is only for USA, or for Canada as well. I guess I could always get it delivered somewhere in the States, and pick it up. Maybe on the other side in Montana. I hear that some people near the border run a service to allow you to send stuff to them, and pay $20 when you pick it up.

So much to do, so little time. I need to get my butt back in the van, and actually live my life.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Depression, and the open road

There are times in a persons life when they need to stop and look inwards. I'm coming up to that time now, and I don't know if I like what I see. I have all these responsibilities that are preventing me from being able to get myself in that right place. I currently am living in a stick built while I try to slowly get the van back to a condition that will allow me to live in it full time again, and with many of the troubles in my personal life, I find that I need to get away.
I miss the freedom that being in the van offered me, and I feel that even though there was an insurmountable amount of heartache for me last year, being in the van helped me be a bit happier. I find that I am still down, and it causes me to do some crazy things that I would never have even dreamed of once.

Living in the stick built has caused me to be more anti-social, and I don't really visit anymore. I don't know why, I just don't feel up to it, and that could be a part of this depression I am in. Decided this morning that I would most likely sell off everything I own, and get back in the van asap. I also decided that a counsellor would be a great idea, and possibly anti-depressants even though I have always been against taking medication.

After amking those decisions, I find out today that the company I work for (I work for an IT Staffing company) won't be getting it's contract renewed for the Service Desk at the company that we are contracted to. Now, I'm not currently in the Service Desk, but I am on a project for another team. Once that project is complete, if they choose to not hold onto me, I would be back at the Service Desk, and facing no job by years end. Fun times.

Things keep adding up, and they pile on top of eachother until I am swimming in an ocean of worries, pain, and regrets. I need out of my place, and back into freedom. I find that I want to drop off the radar for a while, and just focus on healing myself, but with all this stuff, I can't. I could lose everything, and then have nothing. If I can manage to sell off everything, I can start looking into getting away for a time, and trying to heal myself. Having only the van to worry about as a possession, would be far better than the stick built with all my stuff.
I can work anywhere, and just live. I came across a website today on http://www.cheaprvlivingforum.com/ that talked about organic farming, and volunteer work. I can travel and volunteer, which in turn gives me food, and a place to stay. Well, park my van in my case. Leave the lodging to those without a home on wheels. The site, forthose who would like to know, is http://www.wwoof.ca/ (.com for USA). Have a peek, it's interesting. I want to get myself to a spot where I can be happy again, and I have to do the things that make me happy. No restrictions made me happy.

Has anyone else ever suffered the depression, and been in the van? How was it? What were your experiences?

Thursday, May 5, 2011


I was reading about homesteading just now, and I have to say that I think it would be a brilliant idea. Technically, I would only need an acre, perhaps less, and access to water. A spotto park, and the rest of the land would be used for growing food, and keeping livestock such as rabbits and chickens. I'm thinking about the possibility of posting an ad to see if there are any farms nearby here in Calgary that would be willing to offer up a small area of unused land in the corner of their property that I could use, or buy for a small fee. Park the van, and get a cheaper car. Being close to the city would be beneficial as I am trying to save money of course, and still work at my full time job downtown.

Has anyone done this before where you are not a full time traveller of the roads? I have a stable job that pays well, but all my money goes into bills right now, so I am almost always broke, and just trying to get by. Calgary doesn't allow chickens to be kept in the city, but there is an organization that is fighting the bylaw. I can keep rabbits, but nothing else. Having a permanent area to keep the rabbits is what I really need if I can't get a small plot of land, far enough away from other people. I like my privacy as well.

With the recent updates to the iPhone 4, I can now use it to gain internet from my laptop, so I would be able to still be connected, and that is really my only other concern.


Something happened when I tried to post the other day, and I lost my entire post. I'm rather annoyed about that, as I had a lot of information. So I will try again, and attempt to capture what I had written then...
I have been pouring over websites, forums, and everything else I could get my hands on without spending a dime. I can't be bothered with paying for anything right now. I have too much else to pay for.

I have previously posted my "To Do" list of improvements for the van, but I feel I need to focus on a couple different things right off the bat. This is my "To do before the To Do list

New batteries. Last year, my "house battery", would only really provide me about 2 hours of laptop time before cutting out. Not knowing anything about them then, I assumed that was normal, but the more I read, the more I realize that it is not normal. I then discovered this winter that both batteries (starter, and house) were dead, and frozen. As it turns out, the isolator is shot, and one of the batteries was too, thus draining the good one, and killing it. I now need to replace both starter battery, and house. I am planning on purcahsing three new "house" batteries. One will sit under the hood, and the other two inside the van under the seats. Now before anyone gets upset, they will be in battery boxes, and a hole to the outside drilled to allow for the hydrogen gas to be vented.

I have a large space under each seat in the front of the van that I believe will house the batteries just fine. With three house batteries, I should be able to go without charging for days according to many sources, based on my power usage. Once a week, I could plug in and charge them.

As for charging, I need the following:
Smart Charger: These are designed for deep cycle batteries, and will, as the description reads, "Automatically switches from full charge to maintenance mode to maintain batteries during prolonged periods of storage without overcharging or damaging the battery". Now, mine won't always be in storage, but charging the entire day and night, you're going to want them to not over charge. With three batteries that would need to be charged, I think I will need three of these chargers to permanently hook up. What do you think?

To prevent that annoying "drain the starter battery" issue ever again, I am going to spend the extra cash, and install something better than an isolator...

The continuous duty solenoid: What happens is that when you turn on the key, power goes to the solenoid which activates a magnet inside it. The magnet lifts a bar which makes a connection between the two large posts, allowing charging current to flow from the starting battery to the house battery. When you turn the key off, current no longer flows to the solenoid, the magnet turns off, the bar falls and there is no longer a connection between house and starting battery. That means that if the engine is running, the house battery is being charged, and if it is off, the house battery can not run down the starting battery. The best of both worlds! Absolutely no drawbacks.

I was talking about solar panels previously, but two issues currently for me. First the cost, they are pricey, and second, my rook if molded fiberglass, with nothing really supporting it. I am looking into building a new roof for the van with the assistance of a welder friend of mine, and having better support (braces, etc) which will allow not only for me to walk up there, but also hook up panels, batteries, storage, or whatever.

Having new batteries, the solenoid, and chargers, my power issues should go away. If I set it up correctly, I should be able to even route the chargers through to the plug in the front of the van, and plug in during the winter, keep the block heater running, and batteries charging. That is something of a "wish", not a "to do" though.

What are your thoughts on the above?