Prepping: The Bug-Out Motor-home – Part 2

Let’s be practical here:  Coming up on age 69 is not the time to take on too many more big projects.  The big ones for the fall already include a rework of the kitchen with new counters and some new cabinets.  And on the Shop/Office we have plans to put on a small 20×12 outside area for metalwork.  I’ve  always worried about running anything that makes sparks inside the building, so a flame and spark-resistant semi-enclosed area outdoors out of the rain makes sense.

Still, the “build a Land Yacht” and take off for six-months sounds like a hell of a fun project onb the construction side and a grand adventure thereafter.  Not being “made of money” (or certainly not willing to spend wildly) I keep coming up with ideas and plans…the the Motor-home adventure of a lifetime around the US sounds like a hell of a lot of fun.  Just once… know the feeling, right?

Laying Out the Mission

Before we go to the drawing board and spec writing, let’s look at the mission and the snags.

This Motor-home dream will be a very tough sell to Elaine.  So we have to “build the picture” in order to “sell the dream” as the sales books I’ve written explain the process.  More to the point, the five steps in sales are?  Prospect, qualify, demonstration, overcome objections, and close.  The mandatory sixth step IRL is “get the money.”

The “prospect” part is easy:  Elaine and I have been married for coming up on 20-years.  Neither of us plans to go anywhere.  Check off item #1.

Qualify:  We know this will be tough. Elaine and I have both done the “outdoors thing” so finding a real use for a motor-home  is a matter of figuring the cost/benefit ratio.  If we expand our plans off the property here, to a lake cabin for example, then a motor-home might be useful.  We’re not big car race fans, but I went to some parties at racing events in my news-chasing days that were mainly held with binoculars and cold drinks on the roof of a motor-home… Good view of the western turns at Seattle International Raceway, back in the day.  Now? Put a question-mark by item #2.

Demonstrate:  This one is easy:  Rent a motor-home and take a week-long trip in one to see how we like it.    On websites like this one, you can rent a bumper-pull for under $100 per night.  Or, if you want to test-drive the truck and trailer, or you can find a fifth-wheel or Class C (*solid frame, bunk over) for around $200 per night.  Check item #3 since we have a plan.

Objections:  The main one for us is simple:  If we’re just going to use it once in a while, why tie up money in it.  If, on the other hand, we decide to actually do extended travel (and there are issues with house/ranch-sitting), then buying one makes sense.  The “demonstration trip” would answer a lot of these questions.

One of our biggest involves whether people actually stay overnight in Walmart parking lots – because I seem to remember they are open to that kind of thing.  Deli food at the ready, huh?

Closing:  From a sales standpoint, the “financial close” is the only one that works.  As a one-time  deal, $200 a night to “try-on a mobile hotel” seems like a fair deal. Do it when the kids are in school.  On the other hand, 6-weeks of travel turns into $9,000 by the time you toss-in sales tax and that’s before gasoline and oil…  Another ownership item would be the cost of insurance and how repairs are handled…

Funding is a non-issue…so now we move into the “If we like the demo, what then?

Pitfalls and Snags of RV’s

Gotta be a realist.  RV’s have all the same problems as any other vehicle, for starters.

You would need to look at the engine (compression check) and transmission, first and foremost.  Ideally, something with under 60,000 miles, but also something well-maintained.  At 10-years old, just about everything is suspect, so you’d need to do a complete service job on the rig.  This means all new belts, check of transmission by a good shop, brakes checks, tires, shocks…the list (and potential price) is expensive.  Alternator check?  Water pump replaced?

Also, if you do anything to the engine, add a gear-driven oil pump and an external oil cooler if it doesn’t have it.  Steer away from anything with a tow bar because that’s a sign there has been more wear and tear on the differential and transmission.

The problem is that this is only a start since we would be facing the same systems problems we found on the boat and corrected early-on.

  • The fresh water system needs to be totally gone through on a used RV if it hasn’t been already.  New hoses, clamps, fresh-water tank cleaning…what about the water pump?  One of those engine-heat exchanging water heaters can be adapted from marine use, or hit Camping World, wallet in hand.  Propane water heater work?  Does it run on the generator, too?
  • The gray water systems are also a joy:  Hoses, make sure the faucets all work, new gaskets, the drains seal and don’t leak – everything has a plug?  More hoses and clamps, and crawling around.  Does the shower look good as well as work correctly?  The showers run small in RV’s [ check to see if you fit comfortably!]
  • Black water (septic) starts with an inspection and repairs of the toilet.  Ever work on someone else’s poo-stall before?  A 10-year old one?  This is why plumbers make big bucks.  Again, hoses, gaskets, check and clean the holding tank, replacing valves if not serviced lately.
  • Power System:  People don’t realize that power system connectors work loose due to vibration over time.  On the boat when I bought it, I got a half-turn on every breaker connection because annealed copper is soft and continues to flow though in ultra low speed.  Especially when the boat is “working” or in an RV because everything moves.
  • Off Grid Power?  Your choices will be solar, a big house battery bank plus an inverter. And/ OR, you get to experience the joys of a slide-out generator.  With an inverter, maybe it’s time for cables, too.  I just bought two 24-volt banks for here at the (palatial UrbanSurvival) office last year and 16-good golf-cart batteries set me back a bit more than $2-thousand.  Battery banks in a motor-home should be smaller (4 to 8 six volter in 2 to 4-stacks of two each, fed on diagonal corners so lead resistance is the same across ’em all… Big bank especially if you plan power-intensive work like using ham radio or wanting to run power tools with the inverter….)  Got a cross-feed switch to the starting battery?  Just asking…
  • Body and Roof membrane:  Yet another part of scoping out an RV.  If you really think the coach is worth it, here’s a site that hints at $300 per lineal foot of roof to have it done.  Let’s see here, a 32-foot could would be how much?  $10,000 by the time you get taxes.  If the roof is leaking like a sieve (and has been which means rot is likely) might be a good idea to keep shopping.  On the other hand, there’s Dicor sealant, popular in the RV set and it runs $10-bucks a tube on the ‘Zon.
  • Then think about the air conditioning and heating.  Depending on where you want to go, an air conditioner or three is a must.  If you shop specials you might be able to find 15,000 BTU at CampingWorld for around $430 which works out to 2.9 cents a BTU by the time you toss in tax.  At (a great source, by the way) you can find discussions suggesting 32-feet and smaller might get by with one, but a lot depends on the roof, insulation and so forth.  Check that the furnace is working, thermostat….  Fire and CO detectors in place?  Extinguishers?  You want to be safe, right?
  • That leaves only appearance items, but these can be spending.  Price an RV Queen mattress  if you’re not wanting to sleep in someones old bed.  $200 budget for that.
  • How about upholstery and flooring?  It’s easy to spend $2.50 a square foot on the floor, so lemme see:  call it 32 by 7 for the budget…$560 before tax and labor in that, yet.  No replacing of the ratty captains chairs, stained by a million Subways on the road…
  • Kitchen stove?  How about the gas shut-off.  Have you checked the propane bottles for pressure check dates?  Are you keeping everything outside painted?
  • How about new graphics on the side and a compounding and wax job?
  • Not done yet?  New tires and batteries.  Say, got a spare?  Got some electric jack for this beast and an air compressor for the impact wrench on those wheels?
  • We haven’t event put a dish aboard, yet.  No ham gear, water filtration…OMG the list is tiring by itself.

At some point, you pusch-back, gnaw on all the negatives involved.  But then, you notice how much crap you have in the shop, see a sale at Lowe’s or Home Despots and talk yourself into thinking… “Well, hell.  This coach just need tires, brakes, new Formica and I have my trim router and all those damn tools…”

Next thing you know, you have a 120-day to 1-year project getting some over-the hill coach ready for the road.  Taking on such a task, with the idea of traveling around the country is the height of optimism, the more I think about it.

Still, there are times when we get “ranch fever” especially when it’s a while before the next big adventure (Johnny Rivers in concert in October with maybe a Grand Canyon trip cobbled on it) off the property.

So, I get to looking at Craigslist and then a spy a 10-year old RV that sports “New Tires and brakes and TLC” and I wonder…  “Could this be the one?

Damn-straight, it’s tempting to grab the checkbook and go.  But with what we have, do we need to buy more property or to go driving around the country?  UHD TV can quench a lot of wanderlust.

“Yeah…but Formica and  Wilsonart are cheap and we have the trim router and flush trim bits…”

Out come the ViseGrips as I pinch myself and look up RV Repair Nightmares on Google.

“Hand me the clicker, dear.  Wanna watch the Travel Channel or one of them documentaries on Chinese TV and pretend?”

Write when you come to your senses, and I’ll try to do the same.

48 thoughts on “Prepping: The Bug-Out Motor-home – Part 2”

  1. George, I have read your “2005 Best Book EVER About Sales” & following those steps should ensure the Motor Home & tour of the USA sale to Elaine. It was one of the best sales books I ever read. I recommend anyone in sales read it & apply the methods. At a minimum, you will triple your sales volume, especially if you are in insurance. Unfortunately, most insurance sales people can’t close a door. It has been the downfall of many.

    As Alex Baldwin said in the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross”, you need steel balls to sell the close (He was swinging a pair of steel balls by his groin). His ABC of selling – A Always, B Be, C Closing.

    • And they may keep you alive longer since Use ’em or lose ’em comes into play. People with great projects, plans, and ambitions are more active and thus die at a more advanced age. Or, with a bigger amazon bill, lol

      • Lol with my list of to do projects.. I’ll live to be a thousand..
        If it’s till your bills and expenses are fulfilled ill live to be a couple hundred…lol

  2. Having had both RV’s and travel trailers, I say ditch the RV plan. For a few reasons. Your spidey senses are spot on. An extra transmission and engine, along with everything bolted to them, are expensive. Not to mention paying for the insurance all the time it’s parked.

    But the biggest headache of owning an RV is simply this. The small little running around errands you eventually need to do at your camping spot. Forgot beer and hotdogs? Well, plan on spending the next 30 minutes battening everything down for a 2-mile trip up to the local Trading Post. A royal pain.

    With a travel trailer, none of that is necessary. Now I know what you’re thinking, wouldn’t I need to own an extra engine and transmission to pull a trailer? Of course, but who couldn’t use a pickup truck on a ranch?

    From a prepping stand point, if the SHTF, your options are extremely limited with an RV. Better make sure your bug-out spot has a well paved exit ramp. At least with a travel trailer you can ditch it if necessary and keep moving.

    Altough… I do wish I still had the dodge 440 and the 727 transmission that was in my old Concord RV. A lot of rust free old trucks here in the southwest I could have dropped them into.

    • “From a prepping stand point, if the SHTF, your options are extremely limited with an RV. Better make sure your bug-out spot has a well paved exit ramp. At least with a travel trailer you can ditch it if necessary and keep moving”

      If a real SHTF scenario happens you won’t be going anywhere.well have you ever seen a rush hour traffic in a big city times that by a thousand or a million or a big city seven million etc..

      To avoid Chaos there will be limited travel allowed..the national guard homeland security etc will all be in control.In the event of a national emergency Congress will be secluded away or sent home and out of service till the catastrophic event is cleared up ( heck they aren’t there now or doing anything ) the military and president will be in total control.

      the other thing is..

      fuel.. in a true SHTF scenario even the resources you have on hand become those of the federal govt. to be distributed according to their needs.
      I had a cup or two of coffee with an individual that overheard a conversation I was having during lunch one day.. he stopped me and we had a great chat.. He has been a wonderful person to glean information from.. anyway he had a list of everyone.. in one whole sector of the state. how much the average use per person was and how much had been purchased.. so travel trailer.. bit truck extra motors etc.. well.. it might not be a wise choice if you truly want to bug out of a secure location.. the how are you going to get there scenario.. hmm big one for sure.. own a bunker a thousand miles away.. on foot thirty or forty miles a day.. pushing a cart depending on how much stuff five to twenty.. It is wiser to prep to survive in one place than plan on moving to another place. Now if you want to just travel the country and not worry about a SHTF scenario got the money.. then look into something like this..

      I actually spent four days at one of the resort parks park.. what a great time I had.. back country horseback riding and lunch.. hot air balloon rides to see a national monument.. golf.. swimming in a stainless steel pool.. etc.. the list is pretty extensive. I stayed in one of the cabins.. great time.. to sit through the sales pitch afterwards I even got a tv out of it.. but just like a condominium resort membership you have to use it or its money tossed away..

  3. Keep reminding yourself of the approaching age 70 fact. Our bodies take as step a curve down as we did the up leg after being born. You cannot rationally assume that your current physical condition will be the same even a year from now.

    Mental adjustments related to aging must be made. Plus, you have already had gobs more adventures in your life than the average bear.

    • @Okie Cat Fan: I beg to differ. At a touch over George’s age, I’m determined to keep pursuing my dreams of the last 51 years, and any new ones that come along. I’m finally getting my houses into good shape, and plan to have my pool fixed and filled just in time for winter. I have an RV that I intend to repower, just because I already own it.

      I’ll stay youthful forever or die trying!

  4. Re RV
    Good morning George,

    As you went through the list of fix-up, maintenance and operating costs the sound of ca-ching got louder and louder. All that money buys a lot of hotel, AbnB, hotel, cruise, and airfare. At 69 do you really want more “stuff?” When I turned 69 I sold my one acre “estate” with a main house and guest house in Scottsdale and bought a condo. I was done taking care of things. Now, over two years later I am very happy with my decision. Phased condo renovation satisfies my need to build. The HOA fee is far less than the money I used to shell out to keep up my land, houses and pool. Going on a two week cruise through the Panama Canal with my girlfriend this November. Next year we may rent a place in Italy. Can’t do that with an RV.

    All the best,


  5. “So we have to “build the picture” in order to “sell the dream”

    Boy do I know that one… there are masters in all of the arts and careers.. but the most important one to master for the little woman’s sake is the old art of Hiding in plain sight..let it grow dust then when the changes are going to be made.. well honey I will just use some of this old C reative R eadily A vailable P arts to do it….

    On the counter tops.. boy.. I have to do that one to.. what keeps going through my mind is this other project I want to get done this summer if it will ever quit raining long enough for me to get it going.
    I’ll send you a sample of what I am going to do about my counter tops.. if you like it and it interests you then I will tell you the mix I am planning on using for ours. I was going to send you a small sphinx but I still have to have the kids that are going to be here make a mold for it first.

  6. Join a travel club with campsites around the USA.

    A van is more compact and cheaper.

    Breaking in and stealing contents while parked.

    Gasoline not available?

    Staying nightly in different hotels lots cheaper.

    You leave home you might never be able to return!

    Breakdown in the middle of nowhere!

    After having the RVs that I have had this is the RV that I would definitely by brand new and when I get tired of traveling and want to settle back down this one would have a high resale value.
    This one you can ride into any shopping center and park.
    its small enough and if you are young enough ,push a button and the bed Rises up to the ceiling and the doors in the rear open up and you can put in or pull out two motorcycles in there to make your quick run wherever you need to go as an option or you could put an electrical golf cart of some nature and there to do locally Anna Scott solar panels on top that keep the inverter batteries controllers working and it comes with different options and this vehicle isn’t going to need any going over cuz it’s brand new but for $150,000 what can you expect Yep this would be my last RV small enough to find parking places in any City and it’s four wheel drive so I can go into the back roads and if it gets muddy my 4 wheel drive will take me right out of there with a short wheelbase it’s able to go over Healy rocks and potholes.
    And as far as laundry goes I would buy another $100 portable washer that I presently use and it’ll fit into the shower of the RV and if I get muddy and I’m many miles away from the city I could do laundry out in the middle of nowhere
    but since I don’t drive anymore I guess my girlfriend will enjoy driving this vehicle.

    • $1000.of digibyte now will buy you one of these in feb.2019

      Dream On Dream On make those dreams come true

  8. Wal Mart overnight parking varies by store. Some allow it some prohibit it. Another cheaper alternative to a camping site in a State Park and perhaps National Park, instead of paying for a site in the park, simply park in the visitors parking lot after paying the nominal park entrance fee. Not having a significant other to be concerned with I like the idea of a regular van for the cross country tour. Better gas mileage, easier to get around. Easy to park in neighborhoods, choosing a spot between homes, being quiet and non threatening. Happy trails!

  9. i purchased a 32′ class A in 2010 for $10k. lived in it for 5 years and traveled sporadically. last year i put $2k in tires,front air bags, front a/c motor, and rebuilt the water heater. i just put in a new fridge for another $2k. i would live in it another 5 years if i had to, but i don’t, so i get it ready for the next “living under $10k” prospector. r.v.’s are great when you get some land and live in them while building a house on terra firma.

    • Agreed. Local public wholesale building matls store has .105 EPDM in 10×20 foot rolls (black or white) for <$200 (2015 price.) It is 75-year roofing, but folks hereabouts have been buying it for the last 10-15 years for use as pool/pond liners because it's tough enough to stack flagstone or limestone on top of.

      …Trying to figger out how anyone could get away with charging more than $50/ft to install. Does not compute…

  10. I remember us having the urge to get an RV of some kind back when I was in my 40s – motorcycles, too. Thoughts of traffic maneuvering and parking killed that idea on the RV long before I ever got to the point of wondering about maintenance. Let it sit for a year between trips and the thing goes to pot before you know it. Best to have the old super-sized SUV with 4WD that’ll go anywhere on pavement and many places beyond if you’re careful and carry your luggage inside. The newer ones even have livable fuel mileage between 16 and 20mpg if your foot isn’t too heavy. Just don’t carry much cash once you go outside your state or the cops will target you.

    Dang! What a world, what a world! There ain’t no buggin’ out for us. We live in the Alamo and there’s no sending out for reinforcements!

  11. i wanted to add to my previous post as far as the “bug out” aspects of an r.v.. the proverbial “shtf” 2 sides of the coin. phonecall received… it’s bad, i’m on my way in my r.v. not my s.u.v.. phonecall made…thought it was o.k. here, i’m on my way in my r.v.. backup “bug out” plan in action.

  12. Re; the Rv thing..,
    well, I lived on a sailboat in the Berkeley Marina, didn’t like it much, but then it wasn’t going anywhere. Confined, and if dropped overboard, its gone. Was there when the Japan Tsunami came in, 20 inch immediate flood tide like. Just pushed us around a bit.
    I guess we all want what we don’t have, haven’t done,
    for years I have really not liked being confined to roads/right of ways, having to go 20+ miles to find a beach/park access, having to look for (hopefully) a safe spot for the night, having to break camp every morning to move on, the traffic hassles, police hassles etc. Biked from Ogden to Boston..10 yrs ago.
    The (perceived) freedom of the local waterways is quite beckoning, if only sail not power so no DMV hassles. George, you’ve done that, how about a quick run-down of the +/- of the water life/ just raise anchor, sail, go..
    I can think of one issue is finding docking? and tri-cycling to get supplies. Then you are gone from boat.
    Always wanted to do the Erie Canal, don’t feel safe about the deep South though. Pirates?

    As to cabinets, counters and such, wish I had mentioned back when you were doing you bathroom project, another way would be to re-purpose some low file cabinets, or cut a tall one in 1/2, they have all the draw ball slide and the clean lines of the modern look you wanted, and steel doesn’t fail like chipboard..
    Then just top with properly supported 3’x5′ Hardibacker cement board, and you are ready for tile or whatever you and your love desire.

    ps. hint; to cut ‘tin’ thin steel, like roofing tin or file cabinets, use a backwards plywood blade on a circular saw, Helluva Noise, wear ear protection, go slow it just tears through very little flash clean cut, (blade will warp if gets hot and not track straight)

  13. “Not being “made of money” (or certainly not willing to spend wildly) I keep coming up with ideas and plans”

    Some of your writings are over my head, though, I admire the way your mind works, and I enjoy your reader’s comments! However, can you find a way sometimes to write about why certain individuals achieve that kind of success never to have concern about money, while others equally, or more so qualified, have to struggle most of their life for the breakthrough? At the decisive breakthrough a (invisible!!) hurdle seems to pop up preventing such event. ;-(

    • Bruno, if you keep coming up with ideas & plans, commit to one 100% & move forward. I had a partner who was a good friend & we both had different talents. It Worked great, but we committed 100% when we started. There was no turning back.

    • “However, can you find a way sometimes to write about why certain individuals achieve that kind of success never to have concern about money, while others equally, or more so qualified, have to struggle most of their life for the breakthrough?”

      You know Bruno.. I actually asked someone that very question.I never thought I was an uninformed idiot yet
      I worked day and night and never could seem to get ahead..there wasn’t anyone I ever knew or seen that was willing to work as hard or as many hours as I day I was swimming laps with a financial consultant..and I asked him..his answer..what do you do with your pocket change?
      He said the ones that don’t seem to struggle put their pocket change in a jar when young then invest it when its full..he then told me..your the one that’s the caretaker..always trying to give everyone what they need at that time rather than waiting till a later date..
      That’s why I tell all of my kids to pay themselves first and buy savings bonds every time they get paid. Until they are able to invest this way they can still double their money every seven years. Become a millionaire on savings bonds if their young enough.
      All over change in a jar and pay yourself first.I actually screwed myself to..when in high school I dumbed myself down to fit I make sure all my kids know that they are not to do that. Get that scholarship..

  14. When our first child was born I was in a position to take 6 months off work. It was an opportunity of a lifetime, and wondered how I would spend the time. Explored various options of travel, priced them out based on experience others had. Cost wise, a Chev Bel-Air station wagon met the bill. So we traveled throughout the US with a month old child. There were several logistics to work out. Money of course, how to keep a cash flow going when away. At the time I lived in a 3B apartment, so care and maintenance of a place was not a problem. Post Dated checks took care of the rent. My friend, a bank manager, when I explained what I wanted to do, suggested I use a charge card and change the address of the monthly statement to the bank. They would pay the statement with funds from my savings account with a nominal fee of $1 per statement. If I needed cash along the way, I could take a cash advance against the charge card. The year was 1982 where no cell phones were around. In the event of some emergency back home, bought a cobra telephone answering machine with remote access. Wherever I stayed on a Friday night, would phone long distance back home and have the cobra system replay messages left during the week. Next problem care and maintenance of the 1 month old arrival. Stabilized food by buying cans of ready made Enfamil. Just open the can, pour in a baby bottle, heat it up, and feed the baby. For the baby bottle found a bottle warmer that plugged into the car cigarette lighter. A box of pampers took care of the other end. For accommodation, went to a local Best Western and obtained one of their books with national listings. When ready to call it a day, would pick the next city to stop at, check the Best Western books, get to a payphone and book a room for the night. A small basket was the child’s bed.
    We traveled through the Northern States, down the east coast, back through the southern states to California, then North back home. Morning breakfast was either at a hotel, McD’s or other restaurants. Whenever we saw something interesting we would stop and check it out. We had no firm trip schedule only that I had to be back at work 6 months down the road. In Iowa, we checked out of our motel in the morning and 26 miles down the highway there was a sign for a county fair, so drove to the nearest Best Western, checked in, and spent the whole day at the fair.
    The adventures we had are too numerous to list. A thumbnail sketch is the best I can do without writing a missive. First stop was at town where Superman III was being filmed. I had an opportunity to be in the photo gallery reserved for photographers. There was Richard Lester the director, Christopher Reeve as Superman, Richard Pryor, and Annette O’toole. Margot Kidder was not in this “shoot” so was not there. Christopher Reeve impressed me, he was a “people’s” person. During breaks he mingled with locals, something Annette O’toole did not. She was transported to the site by a limo exclusively for her own use. Did her thing, got back into the limo and left. I guess the masses were not her equals.
    Next stop was Little Big Horn, Montana the site of Custer’s last stand. Standing at the spot where Custer made his last stand, did not make sense from a tactical point of view. It was on top of a hill, where land dropped off in rolls. At the bottom of the hill the rolls were so great they could hide a semi-truck if there was one. Did not make sense why someone would want to fight a battle at that location. Next stop was of course was Mt. Rushmore, a sight not to be missed, then Sturgis for a motorcycle rally. After that Wall Drugs, Corn Palace in Mitchell, Fast forward to Chicago, Boston, Maryland, Washington DC, Smithsonian Museum, West Virginia, Carolinas,Knoxville Worlds Fair, Nashville Opry House, Memphis, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and so on.
    Nashville reacquainted my love for Country Western Music. Favorite tune at the time was Willie Nelson’s “on the road again.” It fit in so well with our adventure. Elvis Graceland was a treat. Have a photo with my wife holding our child in front of the music gate to Graceland. Elvis’s décor was not to my liking. Knoxville World Fair was interesting. They chased everyone out of the Chinese pavilion so Jimmy Carter could have a personal tour. Most striking were the scalper rates (at the time) on private property, $35 for the day. While trying to find a parking place found myself on Univ of Tennessee visitor parking. The University was located next to the Worlds Fair site. Noticed a parking tag on one of the vehicles that exceeded the time limit, so checked the fine. It was $2. Left my station wagon there for the day, the fines were less than private parking, so did not mind paying them as I felt it was supporting education.
    During the trip we made regular stops at rest areas and truck stops. At a rest stop at Texarkana, a lone woman sitting on a blanket with 3 kids running around with no vehicles in sight. Decided to ask the woman if her husband had any car trouble? It was a sad story. Her husband a manager at a large chain store lost his job, sold their home and bought a yellow school bus. In the morning he would leave his wife with the kids at the rest stop and go into town looking for work.
    Another hi-light was at Daggett California, the installation of Solar Power generation station Solar-1. Thought it would be hiteck, but all it was a lot of mirrors on the ground focusing sun’s rays on a boiler perched on top of a tower, located at the center of a circular array of mirrors. Then steam was used to generate power the old traditional way.
    I enjoy this reminiscing, but not sure how many readers will. It was a journey that I will never forget, and yes, there was a lesson learned. Throughout the trip met people at various strata of society. Some were miserable as hell and had almost everything, others poor as church mice could not be happier. A forensic financial audit after the trip showed that was the way to go. A motorhome would have been a lot more expensive, more labour intensive, then simply checking in and out of a motel. From all of this, lesson learned, “IT is not what one has that makes one Happy in life, It is what one does with what they have!” Its as simple as that.

    • “I enjoy this reminiscing, but not sure how many readers will.”

      I liked it. Made me think about various adventures ans well as some of the MIS-adventures of my past.

      I was given a 1988 E350 Ford 30′ motorhome by a co-worker’s father-in-law who thought it was in too rough condition to sell or trade in.

      It’s in the process of rehab and will be on the road early next year.

  15. George; I remember about a year ago you wrote about a pull behind a truck RV trailer all the sheep and cattle people use. They had wood burning stoves in them. Can you remember the brand name? I will go back and look at my notes and see if I can find it.

    Mark “Red Dog”

    • I see the cattle haulers on Craigslist all the time. Feller like you, handy with a torch of mig should be able to whip up a 42 or 55 gallon barrel stove i8n no time on the back of one of em – wrap the outside with copper tubing and now you have not water…

  16. George,
    A couple of times you mentioned Camping World for parts. I used to go there UNTIL the CEO decided he really did not like “Deplorables” and I am one Soooo no more dealing with people that don’t like me.

  17. Lol.. Steel balls to make a closing sale..

    My sibling was an international sales manager.. Spent his life traveling to make sure everyone was working up to par..anyway he told me a story about closing a billion dollar sale..none of the team was ever able to even get a response..he came in took them out to dinner and drinks when it came up to the salad he of the members on the other side asked him why he didn’t order a salad and he said..mines already at the table and ate the lol He was a ways remembered as the idiot that eats flowers and closed the lol..
    He always thought I had not achieved the heights I should he would send me his hand made day I was looking in the closet and asked my wife.when in the heck has anyone seen me in a tie ( noose) so I gave then to the shelter..( really how many tuxes does anyone need they were pretty and coordinated )
    My mother use to crochet..its a family she got older things got bolder.. And I know how he loves his hand made elegant clothes here’s his Christmas gift from me ..

    I personally like the yellow ones he’ll be thrilled lol.. I will Make sure that they have a nice big pocket on the back.
    He likes these fancy key chains and pinky rings lol to you should have seen his hand made key chain

  18. George, I’ve used various vehicles as RV’s, including vans, buses, and even a real RV. I’d suggest that much of what’s sold in the way of equipment is unnecessary for most folks. I think the ideal RV is 22 feet or less in length. This is more than adequate for most couples if arranged correctly. I spent a week at Burning Man more than once with my former beloved and neither of us used much more than the bed, desk and stove. That included the trip there and back. Showers are available at truckstops and bathrooms are available everywhere. It’s not worth messing with gray and blackwater on board unless you’re boondocking. I never used external power except at home, and used an inverter rather than a generator. The most important part of an RV is privacy and a good bed, including blackout curtains so you can sleep at Walmart, truckstop or a casino parking lot. If you get one, get something light with a strong, reliable engine and receiver hitch. Make sure the engine/transmission is domestic, relatively simple, and RWD.

  19. On your outside shed for metalwork, I’d suggest planting some 3″ pipes or tubing, and building a metal structure. Since you’re welding anyway, welding up a building and covering with R-panel should be fairly easy and quick. I did one already and it’s pretty straightforward. With a flat concrete floor for fabrication, you can do as you wish with limited risk of unwanted fires. Since you’re near the oilfield, surplus structural pipe should be easily available.

  20. George found the range camp. Western Range Camps, Utah cattle and sheep ranchers Dan & Matt Mickel build the camps.

    Mark “Red Dog”

  21. Amtrak has a Rail Pass you can purchase & travel the USA. For sleeping, you can do it in your seat or a Pullman Car. The only problem is the delay when you have to switch trains. But that could be a positive allowing you to sight see while waiting for your next train. Book a hotel or you will be sleeping in the train staition. Also, it is relaxing dining on a train. It is like eating on your back porch with a personal food server catering to your every need.

  22. Dear Mr. Ure,

    Yes, it’s a fine Sabbath day to be counting one’s blessings, and reflect upon Jeremiah 31:3-4 so lovingly baked into past Oregon cakes by the martyr pilot late of Alaska.

    Such coincidence to set down upon a final island parcel resting place owned by a man who also calls the same Alaskan bailiwick home that was not mayored by he of “Monty Python and The Holy Grail” fame. One could well imagine the sonic booms from loyal Commonwealth of Massachussett’s F-15s, at beck and call of The Commander in Chief, responding to the urgent matter. Such an ungentle expat wake up call can be expected from room service after suing your Panama hotel manager who now has a Navy, not to mention any Latin American rellies who may have a penchant for laundry whites folded along creases by The House. A friendly sandcastle competition will need to await lower tides.

  23. Hi, George,

    Your RV thread has been very interesting; an RV versus a trailer and such. There are so many pros and cons to weigh, plus situations to consider. A thank you to all who have related their stories. I wanted to mention that a friend who lives just south of Santa Fe had to have an enclosed garage constructed for his large motor home because the pack rats were eating the wires and destroying parts for nests.

    • The reason they do that, turns out according to our lexus dealer – is that there’s a lot of plastic made from soy bean extracts and oils. One whiff and animals think it’s all edible.
      Size of 14-gauge speaker wire for breakfast?

  24. George, your ‘(bug-out) motorhome/trailer/camper vs. hotel/motel’ mental exercise is extremely familiar. (Bugging in is the best when you buy your home with that in mind, but do have other options on the side of your mind, in case…) Still, having seen enough of the lower 48 via some of the above, we just want to get out and about without sharing bed bugs and lots of germs, and go where there are no hotel/motels.

    We investigated and abandoned the frailty of rolling cat house comforts, and scaled down the building of our own hardy doable comforts from ex-Greyhound/school bus to ex-FedEx for stealth camping ability–and for the fun of it. We can legally drive around with the doors open if we want, and in the out of town ‘outback’, where we want to be, it is awesome.

    We modified the interior to hold quads, and in a bug out situation, it has excellent weight carrying capacity. There are no visible vents, or windows or awnings, so that in a pinch, a smallish parked step van beside a closed business, might go unnoticed for an overnight rest up. (We were thinking about getting some removable ‘business’ signs for extra stealth as needed–maybe something septic/sewer related to deter break-ins.)

    *Note: Some RV parks have a ‘dress code’, so we would be excluded from such fussy places, and really, we don’t care. There are many places where we live, that allow their parking lots to be used by ‘RVers’, which really tics off the RV parks–when they aren’t full as usual.

    We are still in the modifying to suit our next idea phase of change ups to it, but that is what winters are for. Still, we are also kicking around a floating camper for the roadless areas that we want to explore…

    May you chose well, the journey is the grail after all.

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