Friday, December 13, 2013

Thru the crucible, and onto... Boredom?

The crucible of fire known as fever.   About a week ago i was going through one of the worst colds of my life.   It wasnt just the illness,  it was one calamity after another .   Before i was sick i got a nasty broken fang and had it pulled.  This caused me to be broke for two weeks

Then the illness. Then i get a cop knock at the park and ride. They claim they received a call that a van was cooking meth. More like they wanted to know what i was doing there. Then my starter went bad. Whew!

Well things are looking up now, feeling better and new starter installed for just 45 bucks. My propane heater is working well and my insulation in the van is paying off. I heat it up and then can turn it off for hours and be comfortable.
My only problem now is the boredom that is kicking in as the temps drop and im confined inside the van. Im thinking of taking up a hobby, despite my lack of handyness, or because my desire to overcome it, i want to make it a crafty one. Maybe jewelry making or something similar i can do in the van easily. Have happy holidays, Merry Christmas and God bless!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Has it been so long?

Park i walk in


It is hard to believe it has been 2 months since i posted last, and even more surprising that it has been 4 months since I began living in the van.  Though I have little to report, things have settled into a steady routine.  I alternate between 3 or 4 spots during the week, then visit family on the weekends.  I am still working.

I am a little surprised at how little i have managed to save since moving into the van.  I continue to fall into and out of the 'fast food trap', the temptation to buy a little something with all the resturants in the area is hard for me to resist.  Other expenses seemed to creep up on me, I was a little surprised that I use significantly more gas than when i lived in a stick and brick, i guess as a result of me moving from place to place.  It doesn't seem like a lot to drive but it adds up in fuel costs.

Falls?  More like rapids...


One good thing on that front is I believe the majority of my purchases for the van itself are done, at least until i make the leap to solar.  I bought the heating system, a mr heater portable buddy, 20lb propane tank and hose.  It has worked out pretty well so far.

I wanted to make sure that it was placed as safely as possible, so i relocated my batteries into my cabinets and consolidated or gave away things i notice i am not using.  Experienced vandwellers know and told me to expect this after you settle in a while.  I am pretty happy with how much room i have, though the sleeping arrangement can leave me a little sore when i awake (i relocated the bed to the back of the van to free up room at the cost of like half a foot of leg room or so).    Nothing is near the heater or has a chance to fall onto it, so i feel confident there.


I like this bridge so im posting it again,
it reminds me a little of Torii I see in anime

So all that is left is to try to make something out of this little adventure.  Sometimes i wonder if there was any real point in doing this...I have doubts about whether giving up my nice cheap apartment was the right move.  But other times I feel great about what I am doing, almost like I am a kid in his cool clubhouse :D   Winter is a pretty depressing time for me usually, especially the holidays, so just gotta get through to the more fun seasons.
 
Wish me luck, and see you out there.

I always want to see whats around that next bend..

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Geocaching, and solving practical problems :)

"Me?  I solve practical problems.  Like when some Mother Hubbard soda cup is too big for this little old cup holder."  (TF2 reference..sorry :P)



Problem solved..


So anyway, i decided on a whim to do some geocaching at Holly Gray park.  Its a cute little park near a small airport.  They have a couple little league diamonds, tennis court, horse stable and couple little tracks or whatever the horses run in.  They also have a nice couple of ponds and pavilions, and its kind of a boy scout camp headquarters.  There are myriad boyscout trails and campground areas and such back behind the park. 





The geocache listing had the thing on these trails, and i ended up taking this circuitous route up a mountains and along a ridge....and i was a little annoyed that i ended up right behind the park a few hundred feet up the hill.  I should'nt have bothered with the trail and it woulda took me like 2 minutes instead of an hour lol   Oh well, i need the exercise anyway.  The hint to where to look wasn't too hot, it mentioned looking for roots of a fallen tree, and they are everywhere.  The spot was actually a massive indentation in the ground..i guess the tree root structure was ripped up here but its long since grown over.  I was so happy to find it too, as i was about to give up!


Mission (finally) accomplished!


My reward was 4 black Marbles that were inside the cache :D

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bikers for Babies

This one is to all you motocycle people out there.    I went to the bikers for babies rally here, it was kind of cool though it was earlier and things just starting.  I don't know squat about motocycles other than they look cool and get good mileage but the people were all nice.  They had two stunt riders doing tricks too, tho i was a little worried that they didnt have much of anything to stop a bike from flying into the kids and crowd who were watching. 

Now for some motorcycle fan service :)









 

I was more intrigued by the really historical ones:





And of course the stunt guys were cool



Thursday, August 15, 2013

Battle of Bulltown 3



This is the well, which was vital in the soldiers being able to hold out, it is the only remaining original structure still relatively intact of the actual entrenchments (tho the farmstead has buildings). 



Here you can clearly see the confederate staging/artillery point that I was earlier.  I am pointing to where i took the photo above :)





Can you imagine trying to assault this trench from below?  I guess thats why a frontal assault wasn't happening :P


I really really enjoyed reading this passage, and was probably my favorite thing on this trip:



I went to the farmstead next.  I thought it was hilarious that the guy who owned the farm was against the army encamped on it.  I don't think the shot in his butt was an accident at all   :P







Don't forget ye olde outhouse..



And finally, this is what they were fighting for, the Turnpike.    I wanted to walk down it for a while but i took a trail already to get here and was running out of gas.  Maybe some other time I'll go hiking :)

Battle of Bulltown 2

Now things get interesting.  The union entrenchments are kind of build up and preserved as a historic site, and there is more to see.  I think you can click any of these pictures and it will take you to a slideshow, if you want to go that route.



I really loved reading the dialogue these soldiers had, they were full of grit  :)  "I'll fight you till hell freezes over and if need be retreat on the ice!"



This is the entrance to the union fortification, or i guess the rear entrenchment/lookout?





After that, you take a pretty long but wide trail through the woods to get to the main area....as I walked this getting some good exercise I was imagine what it musta been like to march soldiers through this area or even fight in all these trees. 

The Battle of Bulltown 1

So about ten miles from my work is the location of the Battle of Bulltown.  On a whim i drove out there and explored a little, and hard a great time.  The battle had the Confederate army staged on one hill (more like small mountains), and the Union army entrenched directly across on another hill, with the gully river in between.  It was a battle to control the waterway (and a covered bridge spanning it) and a graded dirt road/turnpike.    I first went to the confederate side.   You have to drive a good 5 miles or so to get from one point to the other, unless you like to mountain climb and swim :D  The really cool part is you can see the confederate area across the mount from the union side, and imagine the two firing artillery at each other. 



There isn't much to see on the confederate side.  There is a cleared hillside, a mass grave (7 really) and some stone remnants of the fortifications.  You can look out over the opposite mountain where the union fortification is, but it isn't easily visible through the trees...but the reverse isn't true (as ill show later).









Saturday, July 27, 2013

Geocaching, you are not forgotten!

I've been very occupied with living in the van and everything, so i put geocaching on the back burner.  I did take it out at the lake, where there is a couple spots around.  the make up of the lake and dam structure is strange, even though you can see the other parts of the lake there are 3 different access points around the lake, and some are a 10 mile drive from the other (and about 5 minutes across the water lol).

Unfortunately this makes locating stuff with the GPS strange and confusing.  I thought i might be onto one, and headed down a trail but i came to a dead end.  As the terrain difficulty was low,  and i was face with either rock climbing or diving off some rocks and swimming, I must have been on the wrong trail...literally.

My batteries died fairly quickly and I had to give up...but I am armed with fully charged up replacements, and might spend some time this weekend trying my luck at the other access points. 

Nice view, and pinnochio's spoon

Getting ready for a nap before work, not a bad view out the door :)




On a more mundane note, I got a chuckle out of this spoon.  Who are you trying to convince here mcDonalds?  lol

I can do anything now...ANYTHING

ok, well, i can power anything.  Well, almost anything  lol

Finally have my inverter woo!  Also picked up a cheap little voltage display.  Man, this thing had such insanely tiny wires, you should have heard me curse this thing as i tried to splice it into another wire that could actually fit the terminals to the battery.  I think i cut the red wire 10 times till only a stub was left before i got enough stripped to twist onto a thicker wire.  cheap chinese buggers :(



The display didn't have a back to it, just the microchip and wires out the back...so i just took the box it came in and cut a hole to stick it into, and it worked out well :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Its so easy, being breezy...

Ciggy Socket



Well here is the roadpro 12v fan i bought.  It worked suprisingly well, but i think i want something with a little more power and easier to place or hang..



This one had a lot of power, think i can fit it in the van?  lol!


I went ahead and settled for something between the two.  I turned in the fan and got this roadpro tornado for couple bucks less.  I really like the clip and it swivels in ANY direction.   It moves a ton of air especially on high.  But it is LOUD, on high it sounds like the stepson of a vacuum and a hair dryer.  At about half power it is more tolerable but it always makes a high pitch whine.  Really moves air though and on its highest setting uses 2.5 amps or so.



As i look at this thing, it got me thinking.   I need an air intake but couldnt figure out how to make it work with a fan.  well this thing already has a casing and the noise might not bother me as much mounted under the floor =P  Maybe a duct or something in the floor to bring the air up and over my bed.   hmm...have to think on this one.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Or so I thought....



Well my last spot i mentioned is gone now too.   It kinda irks me that i live in 'wild wonderful' west virginia but you cant find any place to sleep for a few hours without wonderful cash in hand. 

Apparently it isn't in a grey zone, but an option i hadn't considered...private property.   The property owner was nice about it but made it pretty clear he wanted me to be gone by 4pm.   Its strange because there is this sign there like you see in the public parks about boating down the elk river (seen in picture above), so i woulda swore it was public.   Im really bummed out...its 90 degrees today and i was comfortable in the van in that spot...cool air off the river and total shade.  :'(

He seemed to indicate that i had been staying there for days.  It made me think...even tho i hadn't been there everyday (using the 'rotation' method bob suggests), if people aren't noticing when you aren't there it could just seem like you never left.  I also thought it would somehow matter that i park in the day time and never at night (as i work nights), but i guess early am isn't much different than overnight to people who don't notice you there until later in the day.

With only 3 spots left, I need to find new ones, before those dry up also.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Made in the shade....

This is one of my favorite spots for sleeping.  Its at a little kayak launch point just off a little road.  [strike]I think this falls in a jurisdictional grey zone as the road is public on the edge of town, but its right on the river and it leads to one side of the dam that has no park, just a mountain bike trail.  So i dont think its a regular park of any particular agencies rounds.[/strike]  It is 100% shaded throughout the day and i back up to a tree and brush on a cliff that goes to the river, so i can leave it open for airflow and a nice view. 





View from front of van



From the rear door




This old bridge used to be how you crossed on a car...scarey prospect back then, but a nice piece of scenery as a footbridge.



You may notice on the light poll, big brother is watching...tho i doubt they monitor it all the time.  probably required to have it there because of the dam access.