Hello My Friends…….

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a post……..mostly because I’ve been apartment living and not traveling in my van. My current 2003 Ford Windstar, isn’t really a travel worthy vehicle. it does however , get me to the close by Farmer’s market, where I sell my handcrafted beach jewelry. The plan is to save enough for a better or even new Van, by spring of 2017.

I had a little fender bender this week. I was stopped at a stop light and a gent’s brakes locked up, and his truck slammed into my poor old van, and shoved me into another truck, in front of me. Thankfully , none of us were hurt. Of course my van looks a bit like a sardine can, crumpled. Amazingly, it still runs, and the air cond. still works , just like it used to….[when it feels like it…lol]

The fellow that hit me, had just bought his old truck, and hadn’t got plates yet, or insured it. I only have liability insurance. Butttttt….silver lining in the cloud………The guy took his lumps like a man should, and did the right thing by me. He put plastic on my broken window area, bungied up my front bumper, so I could drive it home, and then he settled with me on the value of my van, in cash, as repairs would have come to many thousand over value of the vehicle. I can still drive it to the market, and am looking into someone replacing the rear door/window for me. The front bumper will stay bungied, and the sliding doors don’t work perfect anymore…but it is still OK to be my hauler for the Market , which is only two blocks from home. All in all, there will be around $1500 to add to the Adventure Van Savings Account.

I feel like my faith in humanity has been restored a bit . This accident could have ruined my life both physically and spiritually, as well as taken away my only mode of transport. Guess I better think about getting full coverage and uninsured motorist coverage! I wrote this post…NOT to illicit sympathy, but to give an example of how bad things can happen to good people, and we need to be prepared for what Life throws at us.

I will probably keep my apt. and upgrade my Adventure Van, as time and funds allow. It’ll be nice to have my cozy cave to come home to , after my Adventures, and when it’s really hot or really cold outside.

Here’s some pics of my tattered Van now…………..
1470917683574

1470917699048

1470917719522

IMG_20160811_081427

IMG_20160811_081434

IMG_20160811_081507

Now folks…….this is NOT meant to be instruction for everyone. It is only ‘MY TAKE’ and what ‘I’ve’ discovered , through the hard knocks sent my way.

So you are maybe stressed out with the ole 9-5, maybe close to retirement age, and haven’t lived as fully as you’ve wanted, or just fed up with paying ‘The man’ to live in a place, not own it, and have nothing left for working like a dog. Many reasons……we are each unique, special , and deserve to be HAPPY.

TEST THE WATERS

Some advice I wish I had taken in the beginning, is to go ahead and do some short stays in my current vehicle, whatever it may be…to test the waters. When I started out, I was just going to jump in both feet first. And I thought I needed the most perfectly outfitted mini rig possible. Boy was I way off!

If you are stressed out and want to take a stab at the freedom of the road, why not take baby steps. Anyone can sleep, even in their car at a truck stop, or any camp grounds that allows tent camping. While I was very comfy sleeping in my mini van in 24 hour shopping centers, a small car might stress me a bit there. It depends on your comfort level.

All you really need to take for an overnight, is a change of clothes and baggie of toiletries…maybe a lunch box cooler, if not eating out. A couple pillows and cozy throw….you are set for testing the waters. Be sure to research fun goings on. Don’t wait….go attend them….NOW. No need to wait for the perfect Van/RV…just Do IT!

STEP 2……
Ok so you’ve kept your job, saved and minimized, watched every utube vid on van conversions, and you are now mentally an expert at converting any kind of vehicle to your version of Rv Freedom. You have even figured out how to make a living on the road! You are READY to buy your Van or RV. So many choices…Ugh!

Hey…if you can afford a brand spank’in new 4 wheel drive, super cargo van…white for stealth of course,that is my first pick. Build it out exactly how you want. With this you’ll make mincemeat of those rutted roads…bla..bla..bla.

Oh….you’re just a sweet lil old lady and not going the rutted route, and can’t afford new….you need cheap, easy on gas, and don’t need a double bed. Ok…..you are a mini van camper….just like me! Get the best one you can afford and expect repairs. Have enough money to do any repair or replace the whole vehicle, before you start out. Boy did I learn that the hard way!

STEP 3….OUTFITTING
OMG……don’t buy anything till you absolutely can’t stand living without it! Then think on it a week, before buying. I know I wouldn’t buy a big cooler again, that guzzled ice. Shoot…..I ate bananas, nuts, fruit mostly and Mc Donalds dollar menu. In short….who wants to cook in a mini van? Ugh..not me. And boy did all that cook kitchen stuff take up a lotta room!

A good comfy sleeping space is crucial. 4-8″ of solid foam mattress is what most end up liking. I used a 6″ nice fold up chair/foam/twin bed, and it was great. Build a simple wood frame or use milk crates. I took lots of pillows covered in nice shams, so it looked good too. Like a couch or a bed.

I used plastic sterlite before, but this time it will be milk crates. But I am on a mission to do the next build almost for free. I have time, so will search out free postings for some or most of what is needed, just cause it’s a pet project. Of course…some folks use old wood furniture pieces. I’m on a milk crate binge, sooooooo!

STEP 4 …..EXPENSES
GAS and Repairs………..These will be your greatest expenses. The longer you stay in one place, the less gas costs. Repairs can eat you up. You really do have to be prepared for those.

Washing…..Cheap gym membership, baby wipes, and sponge baths at restrooms………….not hard to be clean.

FOOD…..You probably won’t be baking cookies and cakes too much, but of course you can if you want! I noticed that a lot of us have gone to one main meal a day, with healthy snacks…hmmmm. Not too expensive and now we are walking a lot more….wow…..did I just go down a size in clothes! WooHoo!

HEALTH….That is what it always was for you. Same meds….be sure to prepare if traveling.

Electronics……Not even getting into THAT can of worms. Some need iphones and satelite . Others….a trac phone and library for internet. Geeks def. need their solar panels and battery banks. I was really happy to hook up at Mc D’s for some face book time. I DO LUB MOVIES…but when on the road….not so much…hang out chatting with peeps and beach and fire pit time more. When at the home stick n bricks….MOVIES and netflix every day. For me, a portable battery pack, charged as I drive is good to run a fan on me at night to be comfy.

Loneliness…..You may think mobile life will be a bowl of cherries. It CAN get lonely out there. How do you fill up all your free time now? It really pays to research via internet and travel centers to find all these neato places to Go..See..Do…at. Honestly…a Van is an ok place to sleep and store your minimal STUFF, but to live out of like a house…not so much. Some do…more power to em. Us Minivanners…..harder to turn it into a mini house full time, with all the comforts of home. I don’t know….to each his own.

Well friends…don’t bash me too hard. If I helped one person figure some things out…..YAYYYY!

Next blog will be outlining my plans for the new camper van build out.

Minnievanjoy

It’s been about two years since I’ve had wheels. I was beginning to think I never would, and sink into life in the slow lane at the senior apt. complex…………………UGH!     At my one year reup time  I decided to do…….WHATEVER IT TOOK…….to have wheels again.

I made this happen in a bout 3-4 mos……so surprised myself. I clean house on anything I wasn’t using, and crafted and sold on ebay. 

This week I got………what in the 70’s we called a Hundred Dollar Van……only now they cost $1,000. Annnd you have to expect a few mechanical hiccups. My Black Beauty is a bit ruff around the edges……just like me…..and needs some TLC.    But ALL GOOD…….I have a mechanic on call……..it runs…………AND IT’S A VAN. 

Oh…….she is a 2003 Ford Winstar….BLACK and Chrome.   153,000 miles…..and to be fair…..looks it. The night I bought her, she ran ok, and the air worked, tires not bald. The next day a couple issues arose, so I called the mechanic and got the low down. She’s going to need a little work………a blend door actuator……and am keeping an eye on the alternator and starter, as the mechanic believes the former owner stupidly sprayed the engine compartment out , and didn’t take care with covering things he should have. It’s charging, but intermittently the idiot light comes on. He said it may dry out and be fine, but we’re keeping an eye on it. Today the air and fan wouldn’t turn on, so maybe I blew a fuse or it has to do with that Blend door thingy. At any rate, all will be fixed soon. 

I got a craft table partner and will now be selling my hand crafted things locally, as well as ebay.   It’s been a really busy week. I can’t complain about being bored anymore. 

Once I feel BLACK BEAUTY is trustworthy, I’ll be taking her metal detecting, shell collecting, and all that fun stuff. Yaaaaay!

These pics are her in rough mode…..soon she’ll be all cleaned up and will be looking about as good as I do……lol. IMG_19800719_031913 332839176715 IMG_19800719_031923

I wanted to have on hand both a camping and SHTF cooking set up. I’ve been watching utube for all the DIY bushcraft set ups. There are a lot of alcohol burner vids out there, but I wanted as safe as I could make it , and KISS SYSTEM…EASY. Sooooo…I entered a couple auctions on ebay, and got a nice alcohol burner and set of 4 nested pans, on a separate auction, for a grand total of about $15.

I saved a #10 metal can to make a wind shield out of. I still have to drill air holes in it, or whatever modification is necessary. There is even room in it to have a 4 0z. bottle of fuel, if you want. When I’m out on the road, all I care about is heating water for coffee or dehydrated meals, so this is perfect for me. Whatever ingredient is in Heet for cars is one of the better fuels to use , or 70% alcohol. Either looks to have safe to transport containers, and pour out only an ounce at a time.

So now I’m ready to cook on the road….all I need is the Van…..working on that….selling crafts and just penny pinching. If not by this fall…for sure by next spring I will have one, once more.
327465152557

327465177423

327465193658

327465201714

327465283123

327465309706

327465323609

327465368449

327465461677

327465487155

IMG_19800517_223409

IMG_19800517_223726

IMG_19800517_223817

Black and blue design...28" Diameter

Black and blue design…28″ Diameter

323737316173323737272156

Here is a link to my ebay listing for this rug.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/271874153753?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

This rug is 28″ in Diameter, and made from blue jeans. I love to upcycle crafts from common items and nature’s bounty. Proceeds from my craft sales are going into a fund to purchase a Campervan, so I can enjoy some travel, in my retirement. Thanks for your support!

I haven’t done  a blog posting in quite some time…close to two years….wow time flys!

I’m still ‘off road….vanless’ , but I hold hopes of owning another at some future point in time, as the WANDERLUST SPIRIT still tugs at my heartstrings. I guess that’s what Peeps like me get for growing up as teens during WOODSTOCK, and all that baby boomer/free love/hippie period of time. …LOL.

I’m now safely situated for almost a year now, in a cute senior efficiency apt, with a gorgeous view of a park with fountain, and the Indian River , in the beach town of Melbourne, Fl. Living on blessed SS. now, I get by ok, but not much for extras….like a Van/Rv or travel. I promised my family I’d play it safe, and stick with the apt, so if I want to satisfy my wanderlust, it may have to be done a tad bit more creatively. 

OPTION FOR HITTING THE ROAD

A] Every so often, rent a car or even a U Haul van for a couple days, and just go to those special events, I’ve been missing. If camping is allowed at the events, it is very doable. One can’t really sleep stealth in a regular car though, so that is out. I love permaculture events and would love to go to some weekend bluegrass festivals and such. 

B] Go on a short trip with good friends that have RVs. I don’t have anything like that lined up, but I supposed it’s possible, 

C] Planes….yes ..fine for visiting relatives, but as I try to explain….That is just getting from point A to point B….not the enjoyment of the trip.

BLOGGING AND UTUBE PLANS

Even though I am Very camera shy….I am going to try to start making some utube vids of my various interest topics……weight loss/ crafting/ travel/ van-RV ing/ simple living/ frugal living/ DIY projects/ gardening/ etc. I guess after you get 1000 subscribers, you can monetize your vids and eventually actually earn a small amount for your film making efforts. Not a get rich quick scheme, but I have the time and it might be fun…so why not give it a try. At the minimum, maybe I can share some DIY’s and pass on crafting to the younger generation. 

My utube channel name is     ontheroadwith Joy          I hope you’ll enjoy it enough to subscribe! Thanks Joy

In the mearntime…here are a few pics of my kewl lil Granny Pad

319927488345IMG_19800220_154707319927407747

****************************************************************************************************************************************