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Living Life Updates

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…………..
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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

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As many of my friends know, I’ve experienced a challenging time the last few months, with my Mini van tranny going out, and making the decision to junk it out. My laptop broke down , as well a couple weeks ago. This leaves me with only my prepaid phone working . That’s the bad news……here is the Good News.

I was on the way to visit my kids for the summer, so have been having a fun time with them. My son in law is working on fixing the laptop, so all is not lost yet. They have graciously been letting me use their’s , as well as sharing a vehicle. My Sis also got to visit us here, so it was just great, getting to see most of the family. Butttt….this State…[Pa] is not my ‘home’ state, and I am used to flat lands and a warmer climate. I never intended to spend the winter here, and found it time to make some sort of plan for winter digs.

My bankroll wasn’t great enough to purchase a good van or rv and have extra for any potential repairs, so I opted on something else. I decided to go back to a comfort zone , area and abode. I called the mgr. at a +55 mobile home park I used to reside in, in beautiful Clearwater Beach , Fl. The park is small, simple, walking distance to shopping[need that with no vehicle], and reasonable. Even so, it would have been less expensive to rent a room share…but after being literally homeless for a while, I feel the overwhelming need to own ‘something’, for my peace of mind security.

Sounds weird, but I bought this place, sight unseen…basically over the phone. I had a trusted friend go look at it for me, and got the same verbal description the park mgr. gave me. A 3 bdrm mobile home that has been rehabbed…new flooring, paint, new water heater, and has a double roof. I flipped a couple mobile homes and know this is a move in ready situation…and the Price was Right. I wanted to be able to have a roomie or two, to off set costs, and the company can be nice, if it’s the ‘right’ roomie. Owning the home , paying lot rent, utilities, cable, buying furnishings, etc is costly. I also need to ‘get a real job’ for awhile and save for another vehicle, and get a decent nest egg built up.

I won’t be there till the 19th of Aug., but am testing the water for potential roomies. I am going for a good fit, lifestyle wise and am advertising for those compatible with ‘green living’. I have a few friends in the area, and have thrown myself on their mercies, willing to be happily surprised if they hook me up with anything and everything to stock and furnish the household, as it is empty. I am flying there. I managed to pack my beloved old drill and a few hand tools in the baggage that will go in the belly of the plane….a few clothes in the carry-on….laptop bag for my freebie carry-on [hoping the laptop gets fixed].

I’m feeling very confident now, as the whole process of finding and buying this home has gone seamlessly. I have big plans to create an example of permaculture gardening + energy saving…in small places. I will join a couple local ‘permie’ groups in Clw. It should be lots of fun. I always have to have a ‘project’ going on, as it keeps you young to keep busy.

For the future…..I’d still like to travel and either getting another van/Rv or traveling with a friend with one, will hopefully be in the cards. A ‘real job’…meaning punching a time clock, might hamper things for a while, but you never know. Working part time…one should have more days off, and short trips should be ok.

I hope to visit family more now. Miss them already , and I haven’t even left…lol

I’d love to plan meet ups with others, if they are passing through the Clw, Fl area.

I spent the last several days making the hard decisions of what to get rid of and what to keep. Once I leave this position, the Mini Van is my Home Sweet Home. Sure I’ll get breaks , as when you visit friends and family , they like to have you visit in their sticks n bricks homes. 

Now since my visit to Pa. will be extended, I may take a short term housekeeper position. We’ll see what cards life deals me. Now onto the packing of the van. I can’t really show you pics of where everything is, as it just won’t show up well, with my camera. Suffice to say….it looks exactly the same, except drawers are full now, and every nook and cranny is filled up. Refer to pics in the last post, as to a visual of how it looks.

The hardest things for me were to get rid of tools and craft items. I’m sure you know how some of those things just sit in your tool,boxes, and rarely get used…… I crochet and do wire wrapping. I also had a whole tub of paints and stencils, which I honestly rarely use. I also am an avid gardener, and am going to try to find a place to bring my fav. garden tools along, as I will be putting in a large garden for the family. I will be leaving the garden tools, dehydrator, electric fan , elec heater, and some bulky bedding, stored with family, for future trips. So being a little overloaded on this trip is acceptable. I hope to have a snowbird lifestyle. Visit family up north in summers, and travel rest of the time. I am also looking into getting on a waiting list for a senior apartment in Fl, for my permanent residence. 

How I fit it all: 

Tools/Crafts: I condensed all hand tools and crafting items to One big drawer and half of one skinny set of drawers for the over flow. Tools are in one plastic shoe box and crafts in another, set inside a bottom large drawer. Over flow was a glue gun , staple gun, and cordless drill in a case. Due to the contour of the lift up back door, I had 4″ of space to stick a couple items. The cordless drill, and satchel with my MC jacket, and a small foldup camp table, went there. 

I mounted large drawer units to one side, and created a space to store tall bulky items like the heater, a magnifier lamp/mirror, elec fan, and hopefully the heads of a couple garden tools will fit there.

The remaining large drawers are reserved for my clothes, both summer and winter. Amazingly….they are fitting. I even had room for a 3/4 leather jacket, a shorty, and a zip up sweatshirt in one drawer. Tanks and gym clothes/swimwear are in one drawer. 3 pair jeans and 3 sweaters in another. I have 2 drawers left for tops and capris, which are my primary clothes right now. 

The remaining skinny drawer unit, facing the front of the van, most accessible to the side door, is for food storage. My nested pans and gadgets are in small top drawers, in the opposite skinny unit. 

Under bed drawers;

Two are reserved for shoes and purses. I used to collect these things, so this is as small as it goes …so far anyways. Other two have all my important papers, pens, stapler, etc.

Behind Under bed drawers:

I made my porta potty out of a lidden chamber pot, that came with a chair..For added strength, I cut down a sturdy 2 1/2 gal bucket to the right height to house it….a perfect fit, and with snap on  lid and cover, it all fits under the 9′ clearance of the bed. I am quite proud of myself on this , and happy it doesn’t have to sit out in plain view , except when I need to use it. 

Next down the line, is my one burner butane stove and a grill plate i got at thrift store to use to toast bread and grill things. Mostly I’ll just be heating water up for coffee, or making one pot dishes, in my nested pans. 

The large blender/smoothie maker, I am taking for when I have 110 use, sits in the middle, between the drawers. I wrapped the glass part in a towel.

Behind the second set of drawers is reserved for the dehydrator and smaller garden tools like loppers. Eventually i will buy a fold up shovel, fold up pruning saw, and fold up rake, for my travl’in tools. I have it in my head to tend the earth , plant seeds, help folks with their gardens, where ever I travel. 

The kitty liter jug sits in a space in the door well, behind the bed frame. Easy to get to, yet hidden by pillows. Once I store a few things, it will fit nicely, under the bed frame.

My 12v cooler sits handy at the side door entrance, and doubles as my desk. I have a large ugly , but oh so handy 5 gal. yellow and red water cooler with spigot, which will sit beside the cooler when travling and outside on a table when camped. My 12v cooler doesn’t hold much ice, so most of the ice from a bag, will go in the water cooler. I’ll carry along an extra re purposed kitty liter jug to hold extra water…just in case. 

Front seat area will hold my laptop bag, gym bag, and craft bag. I just keep them there in the passenger foot well, so it doesn’t mess up my living quarters. I cover them with a towel or throw. 

My portable battery pack will sit between the drawers in the back , tucked out of sight, for now. It fuels my 12v fan and small 240wt blender. I currently use laptop at public places like mc d’s.

I’ll update with pics, as I have more time , and get the final things packed.

To become an expert at simple,, gracious living, is my goal. I know I can’t do that completely, as my very home uses gas and I am still using some electrical appliances….but my carbon foot print  is getting lower by leaps and bounds. 

 

 

 

Pic view from front seat. New sterlite drawers and bed frame.

Pic view from front seat. New sterlite drawers and bed frame.

Under bed storage

Under bed storage

I’m leaving the stick n bricks position and going to visit my family as of May 1st. This will be a Fl to Pa trip, and it’s time to devise a ‘new plan’ for the van configuration. I took many measurements, and sat in it thinking how it could be comfortable. Turns out , with my height of being 5’6′, I had room to do 9″ high legs on a bed platform.

I bought some sterlite drawer units and played around with how best they would go. I asked my friend’s sig other for a little bit of help, and he helped me…taught me…how to make a solid ,simple bed frame. We had to remove some remaining hardware from a console unit, and then a 4′ x 8′ piece of 1/2″ plywood fit perfectly on the van floor. I topped it with a $20 carpet from Wal mart. I braced the bedframe with lots of L brackets and corner brackets for added strength. I spray painted it black to match my decor. I tacked all the drawer units down with L brackets. I made velcro fasteners for the drawers to hold them shut while traveling. The outside portion was sticky, so covered it with black ribbon with a tiny tab to help grab it for opening.

I had a 6′ thick fold up chair/bed for the bed cushion. I love this thing! It can be a chair, a inclined lounger, and bed, as well as is comfortable and stylish as a couch. Now I can sit on it as a couch and use a drawer unit as a desk. I now have just enough room to navigate and not feel claustrophobic. I have about 10 ” of room behind the drawers, under the bed to put those larger loose things.

There is room for the porta potty, and a stool, towards the back. I have plenty of room to get in and out of the side door, as well as space for the 12v cooler.

These are pics of the basic configuration. Later on, after I have it loaded, we will have to see if it still looks fairly neat and homey…lol. It’s my goal anyways.

Well Pals……..we made it through 2012 !

They say it is the end of the darker…Iron Age….and the true beginning of the Aquarian Age of more Love and Light flowing to our planet. I see it happening in so many subtle ways. It’s all good in my book!

I can’t wait for free energy and a myriad of other things to come about. For my little part……I am growing more of the food we eat daily, and trying to live more sustainably. Back in the 70’s, I homesteaded, and did live that way. I wish now I had chosen to stay on that path, and not deviate.

For now……I will just compost as much as possible, and grow more food. I am experimenting with Aquaponics, Hydroponics, and possibly Vermiponics as well as conventional gardening. I just assembled most of the items needed to start up a simple system. I’ll post pics and my design plan soon.

On New Year’s Day, I adopted an aquarium. I love the added life the cute fish bring to this place! I started off with a couple Shubunkins and some gold fish to start off. They are very active and are getting along fine. I’ll post a couple pics of them.

As time moves forward, I’ll be adding more plants, indoors and outside. I hit the new seed rack at Wal mart and bought a passel of 20 cents packs of seed, and one of those mini green houses that will hold 72 plants.  I have a friend with a cottage herb biz and will be raiding her place come spring, as well.

I know it might sound funny to start a big garden when this job I have might or might not last, but one cannot live in fear of that. I choose to live in the Now and make the best of my circumstances.

I looked at some RVs , and found one I loved. A Ford 4 Star or something like that ….a class C. I loved that it was small enough I would be able to handle driving it, yet had a big bathroom, and all the amenities for comfortable living for myself and a friend. A better choice than my minivan, and something to shoot for down the road.

I wish you all the best in this New Year……and if you get over to Palm Harbor, Fl way…let’s meet up for coffee or lunch somewhere. Tarpon Springs and Dunedin have neat places to stop. They are spitt’in distance from here…lol.