Thursday, February 28, 2013

Random Thoughts / A bit more personal than usual

I want to do the van plan. I want to travel the country and see new places. I want to feel happy, and like I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing in life.

As cliche as it is, I think I was at my happiest during my junior and senior years of high school. I had my own style, my own personality, and I had great confidence in who I was and where I was going. A few years after graduating my style and personality melted away. My confidence slowly eroded until my business and my life fell apart. This was years ago, and yet I still feel like I'm just drifting in limbo and don't have much of a purpose.

In high school I knew everyone and everyone knew me. When I share this next bit I usually get harassed forever about it, but I was even the homecoming king. Haha. But I wasn't necessarily really close to anyone. I barely ever hung out with people after school. It worked for me. I like being known and knowing people, but keeping them at a distance. I don't know how to do that in the real world, after high school. It's been 10 years, and I still haven't figured it out.

So I wonder how living in a van and traveling would REALLY work out. Especially if I'm not going from job to job that forces me to meet and interact with people. Would I eventually just stay in my van? Seek out isolated and remote areas and keep to myself? I've met wonderful people in my two previous workamping situations. The best ones were from working at Amazon. They still encourage me often to get back out on the road. I greatly enjoyed my experiences in Kansas and Iowa, and they were mundane in comparison to what I think I could actually experience if I were to make a real 100% go at vandwelling / rubber tramping / vagabonding / gypsying / creepy van driver.

Of course, other than the uncertainty of how my personality would truly fair out on the road, there's the simple fact that a part of me wishes to be settled again. Just everything in its place, order to be made and kept, and a little life to be carved. A place all setup to work on cars, or fix bicycles, or grow a garden, or so many different things.

I know that I can always settle. I might not always be able to travel. And while it seems easy to just pack up some things and go, actually going definitely is not that easy for me. So I try to keep that in my mind to stay motivated and moving forward. I can always settle, that's not the hard part. If I travel I can always come back. Years later and I'm still trying to part with STUFF that I acquired in my previous life. Mental and emotional attachments and just plan not wanting to sit down and deal with all of my junk. That's probably another reason why settling again looks so good. I could just move my junk somewhere new instead of actually dealing with it.

There's also a big part of me that is attracted to hippie / bohemian lifestyles. I don't know. I guess I wish I could just break free of my upbringing and the last 27 years of my life and just try to be someone else. Someone that I think I might actually be deep down, but don't know how to release and BE. I'm sure a mental picture of a cute blonde hippie girl to guide me factors in there somewhere too, but that's probably another daydream far from reality.

Anyway, I'm still slowly trying to get on the road. It's getting harder to stay focused and progress is down to a very slow crawl. So.. Yeah.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Curtain Pictures

I finally got some pictures of the curtains today, and got more of the new curtain 'hardware' installed.

Wouldn't you know it, I had a few other pictures I wanted to add but I didn't get them ready to post. One was a comparison of my old mounting method, which was those white curtain rod things you can buy from anywhere. They curve out and the result was a large open space at the top of the door. That's the number one reason why I went to this system, which as you can see is just a dowel stuck into two screw eyes. That black part is a rubber chair leg tip you can buy from the store. Just because of the way things lined up and everything I had to cut the rubber tip in half and only use part of it, BUT I found out I only needed to do that on the door directly behind the front passenger door. On the rest I could use the full rubber tip the way I intended.
I have one more window to do (directly behind the driver's seat) and the big curtains between the cab and the rear but the van is currently to messy to do the one behind the driver's seat. Yikes. And I'm still brainstorming how to hang the big curtains.

There you have it. Nothing too fancy or special but they're thicker than the ones I bought from the store, are custom made to fit, and I like them.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Storage and Curtains

Last weekend I made curtains for the van. I've been meaning to take pictures of them all week and I wasn't going to update until I got a picture or two, but for some reason I just can't remember to do it. So far I've been liking them though. I made two big curtains for behind the front seats too but I don't have a way to hang them up yet and I think I might have miscalculated how wide I needed to make them to account for bulging out around the back of the seats and whatnot. That remains to be seen for sure.

The place I've been storing all my crap for 2 years has suddenly raised my rent by $5 without any notice. I kind of feel silly being so riled up about $5 but that adds up, and it's kind of the principle of the entire deal. I've been meaning to go through my storage for the last year that I've been hanging around the area but it's seriously a mess. 10x20 of space, the back is piled to the ceiling and the front is a thrown in mess. Pretty much when it came time to move out of my house I threw everything, I mean EVERYTHING, into boxes and put it in storage. Completely worthless or not.  I didn't have the time to sort things.

I just don't want to go through it all. I could take a week off from work and devote the entire week to going through it and I still wouldn't be done. That, and I have an unhealthy attachment to THINGS. Forcing myself to look at what's in there would be emotionally taxing. Suddenly I would care greatly about things I forgot I even had. Also, I know it's all just STUFF and that I can buy similar items again but everything costs money. If I end up getting another house or even an apartment that's all stuff I would need to buy again. Ugh.

Living in the van seems far off. Progress has stalled, and I'm just stuck between a lot of things. I just don't know what to do. Things are stagnant. I'm paying too much in gas just to get to work every day ($100/week) and I don't make that much to begin with. My life needs a radical shake up, but so far I'm afraid to do it myself. I want to love my life again, like I used to long ago.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Fan Clutches and Heater Hoses

Today's main goal was to change out the fan clutch that I just replaced a few weeks back. There were three options for my van: severe duty, heavy duty, and heavy duty w/o heavy duty cooling.

 The first time I went with simply 'heavy duty'. The clutch stuck out from the nut an inch or two, which my original did not, but seemed to be no issue with that. Well, that clutch stayed engaged too much. It made my van sound like a jet taking off and really zapped my horsepower too. In fact when I'd first start out in the van it would be crazy loud and I'd have to floor it to get the van up past 20mph. Usually by the time I got up to 45mph, or sometimes half a mile to a mile down the road you could hear it finally disengage and it would quiet down and I'd have more power. It almost acts like a transmission problem but it's not (though I do have one of those too).

This time I went with 'heavy duty w/o heavy duty cooling'. The clutch is right up against the nut like my original one, even though the rest of it looks quite a bit different. I'll give it a week but the initial engine start ups have not had the roaring fan at all, which is hopeful.

With the fan and fan shroud off I decided to take a look at my heater hoses. Specifically, if I could find the hoses that supposedly went to the rear heater core. I took a heater fan out of the back of the van months ago and I thought that's all it was. But there really is another heater core back there under the van, in with all the AC stuff. I blocked all of that stuff off from the interior when I took that heater fan out. The hoses that went to my front heater core just had two simple Y's in them. I got rid of the Y's and ran the hoses straight to my front heater core. In the process the bypass tube that was connected to one side of the heater core started leaking on me. The o-ring had a scrape on it, no clue how or why. All it needed was a new o-ring but the tube with o-ring is only $10 so I got a whole new one, and it gave me a chance to buy 4ft of new heater hose just to make myself feel good. That hose that went to the bypass tube was a tiny bit short without the Y in there too.

So, everything is back together. I still have heat. The fan clutch sounds good so far. And I no longer have coolant traveling 7-10ft of hose to the rear heater core, that wasn't used, anymore. Someday I will remove those lines completely from the van, but for now I just made sure they were completely drained.

With any luck, I'll soon be installing some new slightly ghetto curtain hardware and making myself some curtains out of left over fabric my dad got from his work.