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Monthly Archives: July 2012

I am not going to advise you on where to get your morning Cup of Sanity…but offer what I have discovered, and my highly biased opinions…lol. My rating scale is from 2 thumbs down to 2 thumbs up. [Note: Yes….most times I will be making coffee in my Van, but social animal that I am, and living urban most of the time, I do avail myself of cafes and restaurants, as well. True..it’s not Cowboy Coffee or Solar Coffee, but it’s Coffee for Pete’s sake! ]

PANERA BREAD:  Honestly….What’s not to LIKE?!……….2 thumbs up

They give you free wifi and have a number of tables with electricity, so you can charge your battery as you enjoy coffee and maybe one of their awesome bagels or pastries. If you join their email club, they give you surprise freebies…….yummmm!

Now to the nitty gritty………….

I purchased a nice metal travel mug from them for $10.50. After that you get your drinks be it coffee or fountain service for a discounted price of $1.16, The full price of a coffee is $1.79. Also the first use of the mug, comped the coffee price, so 10.50 – 1.79 = 9.21. 63 cents saving every time , and it seems like I get a free bagel or $1 off something about every other time I go.

I also avail myself of a few condiment packages and napkins when I go. I have no room in my cooler for large bottles of condiments, so YES…I AVAIL MYSELF OF FREE CONDIMENTS WHENEVER I CAN……..Panera has all kinds of sugar, mayo, relish, ketchup, salt, pepper, and butter pats are avail. I do love it when I can find mayo……..

My review is……..I wish they’d lower the travel mug special price to like 50cents, but I give this place a 2 thumbs up review

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STARBUCKS       1 thumb down…….they do have wifi after all

They have great coffee and are all over the place, so I checked on their coffee cup club, yesterday.

OMG………………they have an assortment of cups /mugs to purchase, but only give you 16 cents off the price when you use it. I’m sorry………..it peeved me a little bit, so I just said loudly….Guess I won’t be buying one of those! I made no purchase that day.

If someone knows that they do any kind of a good deal for folks, please enlighten me.

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EINSTEIN BROS BAGELS…….1 thumb up

I know they have a coffee cup plan, but haven’t checked out the details yet. They have awesome bagels as well!

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MICKEY D’S……….1 thumb up

They have wifi, and one can get the hottest coffee on the planet for around 60 cents, if I remember correctly…for a small or ‘senior’s coffee. No condiments sitting out anymore…but if you ask, they grudgingly give you appropriate ones for what you ordered. You have to say…I need two dressing packets..or 4 ketchup packets, or you get only one. Be specific when ordering from them.

My best deals there are ordering a plain biscuit, with butter and jam……can’t remember the cost, but it’s cheap and filling.   And the double cheeseburger for around 1.50.

I will update, as I have receipts to go by.

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WENDY’S……………….2 Thumbs up

I haven’t bought coffee there yet, but I frequent it for their $1 menu. I have my favs, but they have several items on the $1 menu. I don’t know if they all offer wifi, but the one in Palm Bay , Fl on Palm bay Rd. does. Will have to ask about that to see if it’s nationwide.

My fav’s:

Jr. bacon cheeseburger…….everything on it…….$1

Baked potato with sour cream and chives…$1

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Will update this list as I experience The Road.

I’ve decided to take my travelog a step further, and keep detailed records of costs on the road, from set up of my Van, all the little things one needs to live this way, and will throw in a mix of tricks of the trade to live Very Frugally. If one tip saves someone $20 a month, I will be happy as a clam, that I was of help. Those $5+ little things we can do, may help keep someone eating all month…..or allow for admission to an event or art gallery they may have never otherwise been able to attend.

I myself like to live a peaceful life, yet I do enjoy amenities. Quite frankly…..while I would never ever steal anything….it does not bother my sleep to make use of things set out for public use. If you have moral objections to that, then please don’t disturb yourself, by reading any further.

Once I posted asking about where to get a wifi booster and a lady couldn’t control herself from commenting on how some folks think it’s fine to ‘steal’ wifi signals,and that she pays $xx a month for her service.  OMG…..I had only asked about being able to boost the free wifi signals from wifi cafes, while in the parking lot. I have paid my dues for 50 years of over priced cable bills. If I want to use a free signal, then that is my moral choice. While I have used cable service, in my home, I kept my signal open for others less fortunate and close by to avail themselves of ,though the cable installers highly recommended not doing so. I know many are so worried about identity theft and security. I guess if I had anything of value for ‘them’ to steal, I might worry, as well.  As it is…..I do not lose any sleep over it.

The point of this post is………While many of my tips are common sense, if there are any you do not agree with, then please just keep those comments to yourself.

Good bad or ugly…….I’ve had most of a month to ponder how to convert the Mini van. What to buy? What can I use of what I already have? I have been picking the brains of many patient folk on my Van/Rv groups……..Thank You to All of you that are so generous with your knowledge!

Hours and hours of watching utube vids, on back packing, as those folks are the most efficient with space. I am going to make some of those small kits made out of altoid tins.

The limited space I have, is sort of deciding how to configure it. At first I was all set to strap some cupboards in and try to fit sleeping into a small space. It was pointed out to me that those pieces would fall apart with the vibration…and my dear friend is right.

I already own these marvelous sturdy tubs…6 of them…perfect amount to support a twin size mattress. I am thinking that even if it looks a little strange, that will be the way to go. Those make a natural bed support, besides will hold all my possessions.Add a 5 day cooler, luggable loo, small butane burner, 12v. travel mug, and I am good to go. I own a fold up personal table , so that is all set. I did get a 200 wt. inverter, to power the laptop on the road. When I get in house elec…I’ll move it up to a 400 wt, so I can power a magic bullet, if I find I need one. Till then I’ll just eat raw and buy some canned juices.

With the tubs…I can change the configuration at whim…so guess it will all work out one way or another.

Thermos cooking sounds easy and interesting.I love subs as well, and juice the rest of the time.  I figure my lovely friends I will be visiting ,will take pity on me enough to soothe the need for home cooked food…..and a hot shower. of course it isn’t hard to keep clean, but a nice shower can be a good thing!

Keeping cool is the main thing here in Florida. It will be important to get an extra ‘in house ‘ battery put in, as soon as possible. I hope the first month, on the road. I’m going to try to take along my bigger 15″ fan, for when I can plug in to elec.

I’ve decided not to worry too much about getting the wifi enhancer right away. Will play it by ear, and see what is needed. So many places have free wifi cafes, I can’t see an issue. I will probably get a 24/7 phone or get more minutes for this one, as one really does need to stay connected in one way or another.

It’s all ponderings till close to the end of the month. I should be able to easily get any important essentials in one shopping trip to. Wal Mart…..my fav. place….we all know how I LOVE Wal mart…lol. For those that don’t know….I worked for them for 21 years…am glad I don’t anymore, but yet still shop there…..go figure! Might even park in their lot overnight a few times, as well!

In a couple weeks, I hope it will be interesting to see how the my new little place shapes up.

I am in the fortunate position of receiving a small stipend. Not enough to live well, but enough to keep me on the road if I watch it close. While I am ‘Over it’, as far as punching a time clock, I am still healthy and a hard worker.

Gigs…are welcome along the way!

I am a lady of many varied talents. In my former life, I have been a Waitress, Nurse’s Aide, Restaurant mgr., Retail Store Mgr., Farm Worker, Homesteader, Housekeeper, Mobile home renovator/flipper, and also owned a fountain designer website . My friends affectionately call me ‘Have Drill Will travel’ . The drill is the only power tool I currently own for the Road.

I own a Euro Pro Steam Cleaning machine, and it is traveling with me for cleaning Gigs. Will work for ….You name it…let’s barter. I am especially open to cleaning little Mom and Pop restaurants/shops, in the little strip malls, in exchange for Gift certificates from your shop.

I also am a certified Hypnotist and quite knowledgeable in EFT. I’ve had some success in helping others release past traumas, reduce chronic pain, and have done some past life regression. I do not  hold a doctorate in anything, so these areas are considered ‘entertainment’. Donations accepted.

Crafts……I am set up to do wire wrapped jewelry and wind chimes. I love making Tree of Life pieces and unique necklaces from special shells I find on nature walks. I can’t keep a large inventory , so love to do custom pieces, while you wait.

Part time event Gigs…..need help working your Concession during a big event?

House sit while you vacation…especially in Florida………

Gardening…….weeding….misc. gardening jobs.

Affiliate Links…..I will offer links to good products and good websites I actually use

[ Online payments for crafts/services/donations can be made through Paypal. I cannot get a button to post here, as the HTML snippet will not take, therefore must be handled manually.

I can either send a request for payment to your email addy that is linked to paypal, or you can just go to your paypal account and:       Go to   [Send money]…..send to…..    minnievanjoy@hotmail.com  ]

Those I have done Gigs for, please leave your references in the comment section……..Thanks!

Here are the ‘Before’ pics of “Betsy’, my new Home Sweet Home. I already took the seats out. Notice the fold up tail gate table….nifty to cart groceries in, or act as a camping table. At this point I am not sure if I will be keeping it or not. I may try out several configurations, using large Tubs I already own. I am already thinking a good night’s sleep and full size twin mattress, will be the way to go.

[A]I could keep the table , store metal detector under it, and still have a twin size bed in the rest. That would be using 6 tubs.[B] If I get rid of the table, I could get 8 tubs in. [C] No table…6 tubs, decent cooler, and luggable loo

Will probably go with [C].ImageImageImageImage

Home Sweet Home

Everyone thinks about chucking it all and ‘Hitting the Road’, at some point in their lives. Pipe dreams????  For most …..Probably…..more like a daydream. Certainly not for everyone.

We all have different, very personal reasons for ‘Hitting the Road’. Some of us do it part-time and some of us take a leap of faith…..usually shocking friends and family and aim for 24/7….living in a mobile , small space.

At the ripe age of 60, I looked around and wondered what happened to my life. Where is the paid for cottage in the country…..loving life mate…..money in the bank to enjoy retirement. I certainly thought all that was a GIVEN……

I could see the writing on the wall, and decided to start trying to Live Life, instead of Living to Work. I didn’t have the guts to do it all at once, but started downsizing to see if I could live in a very small space. At the time of this post…..I have researched all aspects of living on the road, as a nomad…24/7. I think I have my ducks in a row.

Something I really hate….is people thinking living in a vehicle is being homeless. It is simply your choice of abode……it’s a lifestyle. Ok if you’re rich and own a house in addition….somehow NOT OK if all you own is your 4 wheels……something is quite wrong with that philosophy.

After careful deliberation, I opted to make my new ‘Home Sweet Home’, a Mini Van. Not much room to lounge or stretch out….no indoor plumbing. It is my choice, as it’s what I am comfortable in driving and handling, as well as better gas efficiency. Very Stealthy. I am OK with not having it be a mini rendition of a brick and stick home.

My plan is to use it as a comfortable place to sleep, store my clothes, food, and actually live life outside of the vehicle. That is the point. Go…see…do….enjoy. I embrace the KISS system of life, and simplicity. Most certainly not for everyone.

Those of you thinking about doing similar….I just hope you think about all aspects, and partake after figuring out what is right …For you.