Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sold my vintage travel trailer

My beloved travel trailer has entered the realm of pictures and memories tonight. The above pictures are a combination of Kansas and Iowa, years ago. It was in much the same shape, but with a much dirtier exterior when I sold it tonight. 

I listed it for $650 on Thursday. A really amazing price for what it was. But I was aiming for a quick sale and it's December. Not an ideal time to be selling these things. I wanted to get it out of the yard before any snow came back. It has all melted for the time being. Had a lot of out-of-state interest, but I didn't want to mess with that. I showed it to two groups yesterday. The first group I didn't think I'd hear from again. The second group pretty much said they'd buy it, but needed to see if they could borrow someone's truck to tow it home. They backed out hours later. Surprisingly the first group emailed back last night asking for some measurements and came to look at it again this morning. Again, left and said they'd call me later. They actually did though, and hauled it out this evening! 

Pretty happy, really. Now I can shift focus back to the motorhome. Figuring out what can stay inside of it, and what needs to go. 

I am officially a week ahead of schedule on the sale of the trailer. I was going to sell it by the 14th, no matter what.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

I am not to be believed

If you've learned anything from my writing, I hope you know that I am fickle, and change my mind often.

The snow is finally coming. 15 miles away from me got 10 inches the other day, while we got just a dusting. Tonight my area is looking at 3-10" it sounds like. Right on the line between 3-6" and 6-10".

Anyway, I allotted myself $2500 to get a different vehicle. Even took it out of the bank and was ready to take the plunge. I looked at one minivan and of course it wasn't quite as described. I continued my search, had a couple leads.. But then I started to ask myself what I was doing.

I still don't know what I'm doing, and the snow that arrives tonight complicates things a little more. I've been working on trying to find places for things in the motorhome. At the same time I've been trying to get my mind right enough to make the final push to get rid of things.

Everything that used to be in my storage now fits in my old travel trailer. Which is amazing, and I need to recognize that. At one time I had reached a point where I was 'okay' with leaving it just at that. The trailer would be parked here at my parents and I could travel and feel 'okay' about it. Not so much anymore. I really want to get rid of everything left in there and then sell the trailer for cheap to get rid of it. That trailer is going to be stuck in the snow pretty soon, and nobody is going to want to mess with it.

So am I hitting the road?

Answer still unknown. I'm leaving the option open. Another realization I've made is that if I don't trust it enough to travel in, after ALL of the time and money I've put into it.. then why do I have it? At this point there's nothing that's going to make it better. I've already put a new engine in it. Eventually I just have to take that leap of faith.

I would say that currently I'm leaning towards hitting the road.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fall and Winter

I feel like a bit of a failure once again. For how long I've had this blog going and making videos for YouTube it seems like I would have gotten my crap together and been on the road at this point. 

To be honest I'm incredibly close. There's really no reason I couldn't be on the road this winter. There are a handful of things I would feel a lot more comfortable doing/fixing before I hit the road, but I could squeeze by without addressing them. 

Mostly I'm just not 'feeling' it. I feel like I'd be forced into doing something I'm not 100% ready for just because winter is coming and the evil white stuff (snow) will be making all of my decisions for me. I'm concerned about money, about breaking down, or about getting out there and after a couple weeks wondering what the hell I'm doing. 

I've been feeling a different direction lately. I've been feeling really good, and more like 'me' than I have in probably the last 8 years. I have no intention of getting rid of the motorhome, but it'll  most likely be sitting through another winter. 

My life, while there is still work to be done, is more organized than it has been for years. I'm finally down to two vehicles, the motorhome and my van. Junked out my other old vehicle a few weeks ago. My storage unit is gone, but I'm still dealing with some of that stuff.. at least I'm not paying $100/month anymore. I've been working on web development lately, which is what I used to do. Things more or less seem to be falling into place in the big picture again. 

I'm seriously considering getting rid of my big 1 ton van. Practically every system on it needs repair in one way or another, and it will be terrifying driving it this winter. I'm looking at minivans, because I still like the space. It'd be nice to have something with a lot less rust and a little better gas mileage. 

This change is probably going to force me into getting a job again. I'm not opposed to it. I'd be looking for part time though, or else 3 possibly 4 day work weeks. I want to have time to do something with my life, and also to keep focusing on the web development stuff so hopefully I can get back into my own independent income stream enough to support my life. 

At this point I envision having a minivan for short trips this winter, and then getting out and about more often in the motorhome next year after the snow melts. 

So.. anyway. The above picture is from washing the motorhome. The roof still needed to be cleaned at the time of the picture, but I washed it on Monday. I'm also putting the bars across the top back on because my roof seems to be sagging. Unfortunately I'm cutting down the sides that go under the solar panels and it's weakening them quite a bit. Better than nothing, is my mindset. This is also requiring me to take the solar panels off, just to put them back on again. I've done the front bar, I still need to do the rear bar. I also put the spare tire back on the front now that I'm done doing all my engine work. I might try to do the rear without taking the panel off, but it's a good idea to clean under there anyway.

Monday, October 13, 2014


I got into metal detecting this year, but after a lot of digging and finding nothing very good I took a month or two off recently. I bought a cheap metal detector off of craigslist during winter and actually was out digging in the snow and frozen ground. My first dig was a 1920 wheat penny only 40 ft from the house. Since that first dig, nothing of any real note. Not even more wheat pennies.

Until last Thursday! I finally decided to break out of the metal detector and drove the motorhome to one of the closest parks. I wasn't getting much of anything, and then tucked into an isolated corner of one section of the park I dug up a 1948 wheat penny. That by itself was enough to make me excited after so many digs and nothing but modern coins or plain junk. Then just a few feet away I dug up a 1949 wheat penny! Imagine that. Nothing all year and then two notable (for me) finds in such a short time.

Saturday I went back to the same park again. Also once again in the motorhome. A wedding party was just starting to assemble at the pavilion but I decided I was going to park and detect anyway. I usually would have left, as I have a problem with feeling I have a 'right' to be somewhere. They were on one side, and I planned to be on the other side so I parked and soon the motorhome was surrounded by cars on all sides. Haha.

Anyway, I was hunting the same overall area as Thursday but I was finding pennies from the 90's like crazy. Complete shock when I pulled a 1937 mercury dime out of one of the holes! My first silver coin while metal detecting. Couldn't be happier that it was a mercury dime. I love that design for some reason. I went over that area for a long time hoping to find something else good. Nothing.

Then tonight I went to the store to cash in some bottles (10 cent deposit in Michigan) and got some Pringles and a 2 liter too. I still got money back from the bottles and as I was walking out I was looking through my change. A 1964 silver quarter. 2 silvers in 3 days. Can't beat that!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Oil Pressure and Water Leaks

Earlier this week I was driving the motorhome around on some errands and when I looked down the oil pressure was completely gone. The gauge wasn't registering anything. This freaked me out, but up at the next stop light the pressure went back up and stayed there to my next destination. On the way home it started to dip low again. I installed a new pressure switch and changed the oil. It was a quart low, but I don't think that would have caused it. Just running it in the driveway has the pressure where it's always been since the new engine. Fluctuating between 40psi and 20psi. Doesn't seem great, but I never paid attention to where the gauge was before I changed the engine. Soon I'll have to take it for some more drives to see if the problem was fixed with the new switch and oil change, or if I'm going to have bigger problems.

Originally I was feeling like if it's a bigger problem (i.e. bad oil pump or pick up) that it  would pretty much mean I'd be sitting through another season for sure. Now that I've put some thought into it, it wouldn't be too bad. A pain in the butt, and a decent amount of work, but not impossible. I would have to pull the exhaust, transmission, starter, and raise the entire engine again so that I could take the oil pan off. I'm practically a pro at all of that now. 

It's been cold and rainy. We got a couple inches in 24 hours yesterday. I noticed water in the motorhome again. Yuck. It seems to just be coming from the window. I don't know if it's just old weatherstripping or poor design or something else I haven't figured out yet but definitely the channel on the bottom that the window slides along seems to get very wet, and I think it's just overflowing to the interior.

I took that window out last year and redid all the "monkey poop". Maybe I'll run a bead of caulk around the edge anyway. My other thoughts are to drill some more drainage holes in the bottom of the channel, and possibly make a metal guard along the top of the windows. Both the motorhome and my old travel trailer have that sort of thing above the doors. 

Either way it's better than it used to be. I used to have a small pool of water along the bottom of the wall after it rained. Of course, it could just depend on which way the vehicle is leaning and maybe I have a pool collecting somewhere else I haven't found yet.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Bunch of Stuff

I ended up behind this old bus conversion a couple days ago. I was hoping they'd stop somewhere but they ended up getting on the expressway. Michigan doesn't issue that style license plate anymore so it's expired by at least 10 years. They must have just bought it or something. 

I've been starting to get the inside 'finished up'. I finally got the new wood cut and in place for the little corner spot there. Where the TV mounts to and the part next to the door. I also mounted the TV, which I really like. I still need to tie up the wires so they're neatly routed, and figure out where I want to keep the Roku.

You blog readers finally scared me enough to swap out the old steering gear. I don't think it would have ever completely failed but still it was pretty loose. It was an easier job than I expected. I figured getting the pitman arm off would be the hardest part but I rented the puller from AutoZone for $15 and after spraying the threads with PB Blaster it came right off. The new one is very noticeably tighter. My only complaint is I miscalculated and the steering wheel is a little off center now but I'm already used to it.

I've been driving the motorhome around more as my daily driver lately. The van's brakes are grinding again and I'm afraid that eventually the rotor is going to get so thin it'll just break in half. A sticky caliper is the issue, but I'm hesitant to put more money into the van because it's got a lot of issues and I plan to retire it soon. Also, there's a lot of extra weight in the van right now because I cleared out my storage unit. I'm still trying to find new places for everything.

I'll finish up by leaving you with some pictures of the motorhome at the park I hung out at for a while the other day. I didn't even notice while I was there, but you can see the leaves are starting to change. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I'm Still Scared

There's a lot of things to be afraid of when you tell yourself you want to move into a motorhome.

For me, something that has been very difficult for me has been getting rid of my stuff. Forcing myself to go through stuff that has been in boxes for years. Being faced with things from my past that I've either really tried to ignore, or that have brought up memories that are more painful than I thought. That has been a scary process, that is still ongoing.

The fear of needing something down the road is big for me. Not trusting in the future to provide. There already have been a few instances of wishing I hadn't gotten rid of something because I suddenly had a use for it. Truth is, in the mess of boxes in storage I wouldn't have known where it was, if I even knew I still had it to begin with.

The constant nagging in the back of my head that knows I'm somewhat more talk than action keeps putting that little seed of doubt in my mind. Am I really going to do this thing? Or am I just forcing myself to deal with all of my STUFF for no reason? Wouldn't it be a lot easier to just sit on the couch, or go work at a job you hate? Stuff has value in my family. To throw stuff away kind of feels like I'm shunning my parents, or betraying them in some way. Weird.

I'm definitely afraid of failure since I'm trying to do this "all in". When I hit the road I don't want to have a storage unit. The unfortunate reality is that I won't be able to get rid of everything. I will have some boxes hanging out at my parents house, I'm sure. But I also want to get rid of the van, and my old travel trailer. When I hit the road, I want the only form of transportation I own to be the motorhome and a bicycle. That's a bit of commitment.  It'd make it that much more difficult to throw in the towel after a month and return to normal life.

(You might be aware that I've hit the road twice before with my travel trailer and returned after my temporary jobs ended. Both times I had a full storage unit and a ton of mental/emotional weight. I want to do it differently this time)

My absolute biggest fear is that I hit the road and have catastrophic engine failure. I don't know why. The options, should that happen, are limited. If possible, fix it. Worst case, tow it and sell it on the spot. Not much to it. Finances used to be a big part of this fear. Lately I have felt much better about it because (as I've mentioned earlier this year) I've been working on rebuilding my credit. I finally got approved for a credit card with a credit limit greater than a couple hundred dollars. So, should a worst case scenario happen I could use the credit card and limp along until I could figure out a new situation.

I've been working on the motorhome slowly but surely. I'll have an update about what I've been doing coming soon. It's getting pretty home-like in there.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The First Walmart

Last night was the first time I walked out of a Walmart and back to my RV. The first of many, I hope. Haha. The scene above is typical of that Walmart. Lots of parking. Also, like normal, there's never any RVs. You don't see too many in parking lots in Michigan. I was the only one for the short time I was there.

My biggest fear of the trip was almost realized. It started very hard on the way out. So I need to figure out what that's about. Otherwise, it's still running great and I had fun just cruising around for about 40 miles. 

I felt very on display for the few moments I was hanging out in back. Obviously if I was parked with the intention of staying awhile I'd probably tuck myself along the edges or something. Still, that will be one of my biggest obstacles when and if I launch myself into the mobile lifestyle. Feeling comfortable anywhere I go. 

I realized while I was there that I had electricity, in both 12v and 110v. I had a fridge. I had a stove. And I had a shower and a toilet. I could have showered right there in a Walmart parking lot. I could have made a meal. It was a powerful moment of true freedom. 

I couldn't have actually showered though. Almost. I redid all my plumbing yesterday as well. There's not much of it. The hardest part was limited access and tight spaces. I'm happy to say all my new lines are good and they don't leak. Unfortunately, it's still leaking right at the tank. So I drained everything again and I still need to get back out there. It's one of two things. Either the vinyl tube isn't clamped down enough (probably) or the actual fitting into the tank is loose. Easy enough to fix.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


We're getting close now. So close that I can no longer hide behind too many excuses and my fear of actually doing what I've been saying I want to do is going to be shown!  

I pulled back into my parents yard 3 years ago, pretty much to the day (I don't know the exact day) with the intention of getting back on the road within a matter of months. A lot of plans came and went and nothing really happened. I bought the van and started building it out. When I got close to finishing that I chickened out and/or decided it was too small for me if I took the cats. A year and a half ago I bought the motorhome thinking it'd be a couple months before I'd move into it. Took a little bit longer, but I'm close to having a really darn nice motorhome. So many new parts. 

I don't really have a 'move in' date. I guess that seems too finite and I want to test the waters slowly and build up my confidence in the vehicle. I still don't completely trust it. 

Anyway, the motorhome is back from the shop again. Other than the transmission being sluggish (was very low on fluid, must have finally cycled all the way through after I changed the filter and fluid), the motorhome ran great when I picked it up. So, as of right now I'm calling it 'ready' mechanically. Focus is shifting back to the living space and getting things up to speed. 

My most recent plan was to start taking short trips in it as of September 1st. Which now seems quite achievable. This next week I'll probably just drive it to the store and here and there. Maybe drive to the closest Walmart and hang out for a while. Haha. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hopefully, The Last Time

Back to where I started. Kind of. Got the motorhome back from the shop the other day, must have been Friday afternoon. He did the best he could, and it did run considerably better when I picked it up. However, the intake manifold started leaking coolant. It was plain to see that it was. He also told me that the EGR Valve had a vacuum leak.

The tuning cost me $50, but I gave him $60. He said once I get those two things fixed to bring it back to him and he'll fine tune it for free. Can't beat that, other than the (minor) hassle of dropping it off and picking it up.

The picture above is the engine with the intake manifold removed once again. I did that this evening. I was really tempted to just leave it with him and pay him to do it, but I knew it's a simple enough job (now) and that it'd probably cost a good amount to have him do it.

I've already got it put back on. I used RTV on all the gaskets this time and things should be great. I torqued all the bolts down to spec. I admit, I skipped that part last time. With luck I'll have no more coolant leak and no other vacuum or exhaust leaks from the intake. 

Still have to put the carb and whatnot back on. I'm letting it sit for 24 hours before filling it back up with coolant anyway to let the RTV cure. I also still need to address the EGR valve leak.

I know all of these engine posts are boring, and far from what this blog was supposed to be. Hah. I'm fairly certain the end will soon be in sight and I can start posting pictures and stories about actual adventures. The blog is kind of the tell all. I promised myself I wouldn't make anymore videos on YouTube until I'm living in the motorhome. 

Hang in there. I'm almost there!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

At the Shop

The motorhome tucked in the corner at the shop

The motorhome took its maiden voyage with the new engine this morning. Only  about 3 or 4 miles down the road to a shop. Didn't drive too bad, really. Only had two stops. The intersection right next to the house and then a stop light down by the shop. I threw it in neutral both times for safe measures. Tends to want to stall out at idle in Drive.

I'm eager and nervous about it. I don't like shops. I don't trust them. Even though I like them and trust them a lot more now after working at NAPA for 2.5 years. It would have been nice if the store I worked at was near home so that I would have built the relationships with local shops instead of ones 25 miles away.

Anyway, I want to believe this guy will be able to time it and tune the carb to near perfection. Another part of me doesn't quite believe this motorhome can run smoothly. Just kind of the way this thing has been going the whole time I've owned it. Admittedly, it's an almost 40 year old vehicle with a carb so I'm probably being too picky with my expectations. Even with practically everything being brand new. It's still older technology.

No pictures again. How boring. I need to start taking more pictures. (I added a picture above now. The shop posted it to their facebook page and I 'borrowed' it.) 

Next update comes when I get it back from the shop. Supposed to be today or tomorrow.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Scratch That Last Post

I broke down and took the whole thing back apart. The broken piece of dipstick was just sitting in the bottom of the oil pan. Bonus, I was able to fix the gasket on the rear of the pan that I had unknowingly messed up originally.

It was all back together today and I ran the engine. It needs to be properly timed still and have the carb tuned. I'm admitting defeat on that front. I've been talking to the owner of a shop down the road and it sounds like I'm going to take it to him for all of that. I'm still wondering if there's another issue other than timing and the carb, but I'm sure he'll be able to tell me if that's the case.

I did find another RV I wanted to look at, but it's way up north. And a hefty chunk of change. I just couldn't bring myself to spending such a large portion of my savings so that's why I broke down and went back to work on my Chinook. If the shop can get it to run smoothly, it'll be quite the motorhome.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It Messed Up

I'm literally only an hour away from this horrible thing happening so maybe I'm still thinking rashly, but I don't think so.

I got the motorhome to start today. It wouldn't start the last two days even though I didn't try too hard because I was afraid of wrecking things. There was a ticking noise but I thought maybe things just needed to be worked in or oil wasn't reaching everywhere yet. Not good, but would have went away if that was the case. The noise got worse so I shut everything down. For whatever reason I decided to check the oil dipstick. A good 5 inches of it are missing. So now there's a chunk of dipstick either in the oil pan, or already causing way more damage.

That's pretty much the end of this motorhome for me. After so much time and money invested you might think it'd be silly to throw in the towel now. But, this pretty much requires me taking the entire engine back out again, and frankly I don't want to do that. I've already had this thing for over a year and I'm just done working on it. I want to be LIVING in a motorhome, not WORKING ON a motorhome.

I might have mentioned I'm cashing out my 401k from my last job. That money is scheduled to show up in my account later this week I believe.

It's time to stop messing around and just live the dream, you know?

My current thought right now is that I'm going to start looking for a new motorhome. The best I can buy with the money I've got. Which, as always, isn't a lot. It has to be 100% move in ready. New requirements different from my current motorhome are that it has to have a side door entrance. No back door. Solid hitch on the back. And even though they leak and freak me out for a lot of reasons I think it has to have a full bed over the cab. I would greatly prefer a 20ft for parking issues, but I think I'm willing to increase to 24ft.

So buy a new one, move into it. Forces me to get a job, but at least I'll be living the dream more or less. And just get on with it. That, or find a new dream and give up on this one.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Fingers Crossed

I'm crossing my fingers tonight and sleeping on it to see if I can think of anything I might have missed.

Three months after picking up my new remanufactured engine and taking the old one out, I think the new one is ready to go. Put a good two days work into it, and redid some of what I had already done to hopefully stop a leak already. Now as of about an hour ago I think I'm ready.

Tomorrow, more than likely, will be when I fill it up with oil, put some gas in tank, and try to start the beautiful beast. Definitely nervous about possible leaks, and FIRES, and whether or not I did everything right, and very concerned about the 'break in' period. I don't want to mess this thing up. One, I don't have the money to do anything if I do mess it up and two, I'm not sure that I would want to do this project over again.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Throw it ALL Away.

My storage unit has been my nemesis for years. Yes, years. I've been paying on this unit for years. That's a lot of money. It's 10 x 20 unit, which would run pretty expensive in most parts of the country. It started out 'reasonable' and lately they just keep raising my rates. Still cheap in comparison, but too rich for my blood.

My deadline to get everything moved out is this Friday. 3 days away, basically 2 days. I've given up thinking I'm going to make it, and I'll end up paying another $102 for another month of storage. I could literally load everything into the back of my van, make a few trips to the dump, and have it all completely out of my life for less than $102 at this point. The dump is $28/load.

It's to tempting.

All the blog posts and articles online about getting rid of your stuff, decluttering your life, and going towards minimalism still want you to either sell or donate your valuables. That's so much work! I don't care about this stuff anymore, I don't want to put the time into cleaning it up enough to donate it, or listing it on web sites and dealing with flakes or even messing with true, genuine people for a $2 item. Or free items. It doesn't matter. I don't want to do it.

All I've wanted is one person to say, "It's okay to throw away half way decent things in order to get your life back". So far I haven't found that. Surely there are people out there that are doing it. Just chucking it all into a dumpster and rejoicing at their new freedom.

I'm pretty sure it's what I'm going to have to do in the end. Honestly, I don't have that great of stuff. Most of my 'best' stuff already went to the dump because it was full of mildew from being in storage. And don't get me wrong, I have taken a couple trips to Goodwill to donate.

I have trouble with things like microwaves (that I never cleaned before I put in storage), and old TVs. Surely someone could use them, but I don't want to clean them and make them presentable. Metal I have a problem with. I know I can get money for metal. But lately I've been realizing I don't have enough to really scrap out, and wouldn't it be a lot easier and a load off my mind to just bring it to the dump with the rest of it?

I struggle with things that someone in my family might want or could use. Even though I know I'd be doing us all a favor to just get rid of it and never tell them about it. Hoarding seems to run in my family.

Is it okay to just take it all to the dump and be done with it?

Truth is, even when I get my storage cleaned out I still have plenty of stuff to contend with. Right now my old travel trailer is filling up with stuff, I've even had to put some things in the motorhome. I feel like I'm going backwards a little. I have literally no where to keep anything, so just get rid of it. Yeah?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

On My Own Again

The job is done and over, and I was replaced by the start of the next week. They didn't even try to get me to stay, which was a little shocking. My manager's final words on the matter were, "A man has to do what a man has to do". I had never made it a secret that I wasn't going to be there forever. He knows of my restless mind and ideas. He stopped over at the house several weeks back while I was literally in the middle of taking the old engine out of the motorhome. Doesn't take a genius to see my plans. Even still, I'm sure I mentioned my plans were never to leave my job this soon. The workplace had changed and I couldn't stand being there anymore. So I did what I had to do.

I have been lazy this week. I know I can't be lazy. I told myself I can't be lazy or else it will become a routine. I justify it by calling this week a vacation. I just got done serving 2.5 years, surely I deserve a week to be lazy.

Even still, I have managed to get a bit done on the motorhome. It's filled with coolant again. The entire front side of the engine is put together, tightened bolts and whatnot. It has been filled with oil twice now. The first time I was priming the system and 2 quarts of oil came rushing out the filter adapter plate. Apparently there WAS supposed to be a gasket there. Drain, and repeat. Gasket is in place and I put a little RTV around it for safe measure. Filled and primed tonight, and all seems well. This has not been an easy project, all of the smallest, most frustrating, things have been going wrong.

That there is the end of one, actually two, annoying projects. The side note is the alternator bolt there. Incredibly difficult to get lined up with the hole in the head. It's done though. The real story is that yellow dipstick. The original dipstick tube broke when I was taking the old engine out. On Monday I went to a u-wrench-it type junkyard and got a tube and dipstick off of a newer Dodge truck. It was different, but would make do. Well, last night I was installing it and it broke off in the new engine. It came out easy enough (actually, my dad got it out while I was washing up). Off to the junkyard again today. The three trucks I had in mind were not going to give up their dipstick tubes easily. I spent plenty of time and it was clear they were just going to break like the others. I had basically given up and went to look at other vehicles in the lot just for the fun of it. I found two Dodge Dakotas and noted that it looked like their tubes might be the same also. The first one I tried, wouldn't you know it, the tube came right out. I was back in business. I tried to take the other one off for a spare but it wasn't going anywhere either.

Long story short, the 77 Dodge now has a dipstick tube out of a Dodge Dakota Sport of unknown year, and I kept the dipstick from the first truck.. a 97 Dodge 1500. The add and full lines don't match up, I had to make my own with a file. After the run around on something so simple / dumb, I'm fine with what I've got.

I would like to think that the rest of the project will go easily. I don't foresee anymore issues. Here's hoping, but nothing about this has been easy.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Three More Days

There are only three more days until I no longer have a job. I'm still pretty excited about it.

The motorhome project continues on, at a snail's pace. There's only a handful of things left to do before I fill it back up with fluids and give it a go. Pretty important things that I don't want to mess up. Later this week I will have plenty of time to work on it.

Today, I only have my normal one day off. Around noon I'm headed over to my sister's house to put new brakes on her vehicle. I don't think that should take me too long.

The closer I get to leaving my current job, the more my thinking starts to be focused on self-employment and where I'm going from here. I finally feel like it's all lining up again and this will all happen, and more importantly that I'm really excited about it. For the longest time I wasn't excited about it anymore, which is why I just got 'normal' jobs and didn't try to force anything. I've got good ideas for the new projects I'll be working on and just out of the blue, my old projects that are between 7 and 10 years old have started taking off again within the last week. Right after I put in my notice. Almost as if the universe is trying to tell me something, no?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

You have five dollars, Quit Your Job!

This five dollar bill came through work today. A customer paid with it. I wonder what the person that did it meant. I like to think that they meant that hey, you've got five dollars. That's enough for an adventure. So quit your job and go experience life.

Ironically, I did quit my job this week. At least, I put in my two and a half week notice. As previously mentioned I have no concrete plans. I'm still a little nervous about it, but not really. The way things have gone since I put in my notice have really shown me that I made the right decision.

Number one priority after my last day at work is to finish cleaning up my life. Clean out the rest of my storage unit, get rid of junk vehicles, my old travel trailer. Everything must go, pretty much. After that the motorhome should be ready to roll and I will have a clear calendar and clear mind to pursue not only adventures, but I'm definitely ready to make self-employment a reality again. Just like it used to be. The clear mind and space issue is huge for me on that front. I will be able to focus on becoming financially independent again, with no distractions.

Unrelated note, the new engine is in the motorhome. The transmission is back in place also. I have a lot of things left to do before I can start it up, but things are looking very good. Maybe with a tad bit of luck, I'll be able to start it up on Monday? Still in no hurry, as I want to make sure I did everything right.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A delay and possible changes

The new engine was supposed to go in between Sunday and Monday, but it did not. It should be closer to being ready to go in, but it's not. I ended up having to buy a few more parts, one of which (vibration damper) I had to get from the internet and won't be here until tomorrow. Without that part installed I can't put the new engine in anyway. I could, but it'd be way harder to put on with the engine installed.

I only have this next Monday off but with any luck I'll be able to get the new engine put together (oil pump, pan, timing cover, vibration damper, etc) and into the motorhome. I don't plan on getting everything hooked back up but as long as I get the main engine block installed I'd be really happy. Bonus points for getting the transmission back in place too. Everything else after that can be done with a little time here and there.

I want to take my time and make sure I'm doing it all properly too. I'm really anxious about trying to start it up for the first time and the break in period to follow.

Possible changes on the work front. After two and a half years, and from starting as delivery driver to now being assistant manager. I fully intended to stick it out through the end of September. That was my great new plan as of a few months ago. However, things continue to go down hill, and the speed in which it's happening is increasing. The way it's looking right now, I might just be putting in my two week notice next week. I have nothing planned. No back up. All I have is my vacation pay that would be paid to me, and my 401k that I would cash out.

From there, who knows. Hopefully the motorhome would be in tip top shape. Might shift all of my focus for a while on making YouTube videos, and blogging here, and a few other travelish related business ideas. I know of one place, one job, where I'd probably always be welcomed back if I really had to.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Engine and Turtle

I'm pretty sure this is only the second turtle I've ever seen here at this house where I grew up. I went outside after the rain cleared up and saw something down at the end of the driveway but brushed it off for about 10 minutes until I noticed it was on the edge of the road. I went to investigate. By the time I got there he was in the middle of a lane and a car was coming. Impulsively, and perhaps foolishly, I quickly went out to grab him out of the way. (The car was really close at this point) Very pretty Eastern Box Turtle. I took a few pictures and then brought him to the other side of the road.

As mentioned, it rained. I didn't expect to get any work done on the motorhome once the rain came but it cleared up and I went to work.

The above picture is actually from yesterday, after I got the transmission disconnected and out of the way, but before I stripped down the engine. In my mind, the transmission was going to be the hardest part of this project because it was the only thing that hadn't been disconnected within the last year.
This was today's project. This is after I had to resupport the engine from inside to remove the jack from the underside so that I could take the front tire off and jack up the passenger side in order to get the legs of the cherry picker where they needed to be. Also after I removed the door.
Typically these engines would come out the front, and that is their intended way. However, that requires dismantling the entire front of the motorhome and that sounds like a ton of work. I had done enough research online to know that it was possible to take it out the passenger side door.
This involved a lot of going an inch here and an inch there. Overall it would have been easier had I removed the fan before I started, but I didn't. My dad was right again. My boss stopped by right about at the same time that the above picture was taken. I texted him 15-20 minutes after he left with the below picture of the engine outside of the vehicle. He told me he had to admit that he was skeptical it was going to work. Hahaha.
There she hangs! Completely outside of the cab and ready to be lowered. I still need to strip the essentials off to put on the new engine. I need to figure out what all I'm going to replace while I've got the extra space and easy access to things. Back to work tomorrow so it won't be until late next weekend when engine stuff resumes. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Yes, New Engine.

There's the new engine! Fresh in its shipping container and sitting in the back of my van. Unfortunately it looks like I'll probably be driving around with this thing in the back for a couple days.

In the end the company I bought it through "wasn't allowed" to ship engines to my work. Some sort of agreements dealing with competition and whatnot. So I changed the ship-to address to my house, but in the end it worked out and I just picked it up from the freight companies hub. Which, by all means of luck, just happened to be a couple miles down the road from my work anyway. It couldn't have worked out better.

The new work schedule was out yesterday and for some reason I now have Sunday and Monday off, when I was only planning on having Monday off originally. I might get to start tearing into this project this weekend. Hopefully all will go relatively easily, but I'm getting a little anxious about the upcoming challenge.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New Engine?

I've never quite been satisfied with the way the motorhome runs. Don't get me wrong, it fires right up, every time, the first time. But I don't like the way it smokes, or the way it idles until it's fully warmed up, or the way it smells. I realize it's a beast from the late 70's with less strict emissions controls, but still.

So, now I'm leaning heavily towards, and almost ready to take the plunge, ordering a new engine. It's not complete, I will have to take a number of things off of my old one. However, the main guts that I should have had rebuilt last year while I had the heads off will all be redone. I can only hope that after such a purchase I would have a smooth running machine once it's all tuned up.

I look at other motorhomes and whatnot. To be able to get anything that I would feel confident in I'd be spending $5000+. So for less than $2000, and me doing all the labor, I should be able to have a pretty nice running motorhome with a ton of new parts that's pretty easy to work on. Plus I've already customized the inside a lot, I've already added my solar panels, and a ton of other stuff. It's impossible to know what you're getting in a used motorhome too. The engines are put through tremendous stress. Run hard, and then parked for years, and then run hard again.

I feel like throwing a couple thousand at it and a handful of hours will be well worth it at this point. Aside from the looming anxiety of finally making the leap to motorhome life, my main hesitation to doing so is the engine. And the smoke and the smell. I don't want to drive around leaving a cloud of smoke and exhaust stink. Even if a part of me feels like it adds a million points to ramblin' man status. The worse it runs, the more cool you are, right?

My main concern now is where to have it shipped to. I can probably have it shipped to work, which is by far the easiest option. I feel like they'd be a little annoyed by having a competitors engine shipped there. Even though it's the same brand we sell, but I can get a way better price through someone else. It is what it is. I'll probably push for an answer tomorrow on whether or not I can have it shipped to work. If I get the okay, I might even put the order through tomorrow too.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Loving Decluttering

As it turns out, I'm really starting to enjoy decluttering my life. So much, in fact, that my mind starts to wander to business opportunities related to it. Haha. I doubt I'll be cleaning out other people's clutter any time soon though. I have other ideas I'd rather persue first, once I get all of this clutter out of my life and mind.

I find it so, so liberating to open a box in storage, and see that it's all papers that were once considered oh-so-important. When I see that, I can quickly leaf through them and throw the entire box away. These are papers from a very stressful time of my life. Bills and responsibilites through the roof. Throw them in the back of the van and later release them to the dump. Good-bye stress and 'important' responsibilities.

The goal for getting that thing cleared out by the end of July is starting to seem incredibly doable. For some reason I just realized 'end of July' really means July 25th. After that date I'd have to pay for another full month anyway.

I'm beginning to be very thankful that my storage company keeps raising my rates. As of the first of the year they started forcing me to pay a $9/month insurance fee. Which brought my bill up to $97/month. If that wasn't enough, in March they raised my rate $5 to a nice $102/month. I realize this is actually pretty cheap compared to a lot of areas across the country. However, to finally hit that $100 mark really got my brain thinking and realizing how ridiculous it is to keep paying that, and keeping JUNK that I never even look at. When I first started renting my unit I was paying $83/month. Even that is insane if you think logically, but it was reasonable in my mind at the time.

Just looking through it all, I'm shocked I've only been paying $102 since March. It seems like I've been paying that much for longer. It makes me feel even better about myself that I got motivated fairly quickly and said enough is enough.

I just paid my unit up through June 25th. I'm curious to see if that will be the last time I pay that bill, or if I'll have to break down and pay for one more month.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A New Goal

I finally set a goal for myself, gave myself a time frame for something. My new goal is to have my storage unit completely cleaned out by the end of July. If I'm really good then the end of June, but at the very latest the end of July. This weekend is looking very nice for getting some good work done on that front. 3 days off and amazing weather.

I moved the motorhome for the first time since it was parked for the winter the other day. And tomorrow is going to be 80 for the first time since October. Yay.

The car I was hoping to sell did end up selling last week. So that was very nice and some money in my pocket. He didn't end up buying some of the spare parts I have that I was pretty sure he would. Oh well. Great to see that big empty spot in the yard.

Unfortunately, now I have a bunch of spare Falcon parts in the back of my van with no where to really put them, and me wanting to make at least one trip to the dump this weekend. I'll be very honest, at this point I have no interest in trying to sell them anymore. They might end up going to the dump or scrap yard. Is the time, energy, and mental effort worth a few hundred bucks... good case scenario? Not really, especially when I consider I sold some parts (for cheap) worth a lot of money to that guy the other day without a second thought just to get them out of my way.

I need to keep my narrow-minded, "get rid of things", attitude going.

(I might have also thrown out a whimsical goal of leaving my job in 4 or 5 months. But nothing set very firmly on that one. I think I need to stick to it though, and throw my sails to the wind.)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Declutter Me

I'm still pretty motivated to get rid of stuff and declutter myself.

I'm hopefully set to get rid of one of my larger objects (a car) within the next day and a half. The guy was supposed to get back to me tonight to lock down a time that he would be able to make it up here. He hasn't, but I'm hoping that it'll still happen. I told him it had to be before Tuesday afternoon because that's when I have to go back to work. He sounds pretty interested in my spare parts too. So on top of the price of the car I plan to try to pawn off ALL of the spare parts I have for a pretty decent price. He's in it to make money, I'm in it free up my life. Win, win.

My storage unit is always an interesting thing. There isn't really enough room to make piles. I might make an effort to target my biggest items to make some room. I really would prefer two trailers there. But that's not possible. One for the dump, one for metal scrap, and then really I need an area for donating and selling too. The deeper I get into this, the less "keep" even feels like an option.

As it is now I need to use my van. A van load, one I can get together in a day or two, usually isn't worth the price of a trip to the dump. Unless I just go throw away crazy. Maybe.

Back to work for 11 days after tomorrow. For now I'll go watch another episode of Hoarders. Haha.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hello, I'm Drive-by Andy

Hey everyone. Do you remember me? It's been a while.

The snow is finally melted and gone. I'm pretty sure for good for this year.

I haven't exercised in a while. Before I stopped I was to the point where I could run for 28 minutes straight. Pretty crazy. A multitude of things made me stop. Too many people at the gym suddenly. My feet/heels being in pain. Getting home too late. Simply being burnt out. I still have my membership, I'd like to think I'll get back soon.

Through some events at work I've been picking up extra hours on one of my days off every week. I'm also kind-of-maybe-technically the Assistant Manager now. Complicates the issues a bit. Anyway so now every other week I have 3 days off in a row, but the week in between I only end up with one day off. So in a span of 11 days I have one day off, and that's starting to get to me. I end up dreading the next long stretch as soon as the current one is over.

The van is falling apart. The exhaust is horrendously loud. I decided to buy a junkyard transmission for my old car and am in the process of trying to get that swapped in. If everything goes as planned I will be retiring the van when the time comes. I don't think I'm even going to try to sell it, I'll just scrap it.

I watched Hoarders for the the first time the other night. It's on Amazon Prime now. I'm not as bad as the people on the show, but I would say I'm definitely a bit of a hoarder. The show has really opened my eyes to some things. It all came together at the right time for me too. My plan is/was to move into the motorhome soonish. But I still have too much stuff everywhere. My parents house/yard, and storage. Which, by the way, my storage price has gone up $20 in the last 6 months, so now it's a pretty ridiculous amount every month.

I want to get rid of a large majority of it. I always have, but it's difficult for me. I'm starting to though. My standards for 'things to keep' have gone way up. I'm throwing things away that I would normally keep, or that I have kept for years. It feels great.

I've just finally realized that it, ALL OF IT, is the cause of so much in my life. My inability to do anything. My constantly feeling like I should be doing something else with my time. The most successful times in my life were when I didn't have all of this emotional, mental, and physical CLUTTER. If I ever want to move forward, if I ever want to be free and do what I want with life again, I need to let this crap go.

It's still a long road. I have a lot of stuff to sort, because I'm not at the point where I can just throw it all away without even looking at it. But I'm happy with where I am with it. I gave away some chairs to a coworker that I was keeping for sentimental reasons. Now they're being used and my coworker is happy to have them. They took up way too much space in storage. I plan to get rid of my washer and dryer soon. That will be a lot of space freed up. I'm pretty sure I'm ready to throw out my old couch. Lots of sentimental value there.

The weight and financial cost of it all is simply too much finally. That's a good thing.

Have less, do more, be more. All of these things are tethers, keeping me in this place in life when I could be rolling in my motorhome witnessing beautiful landscapes, lives, and moments.

The cost of a life fulfilled, happy, and free. That's worth it.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Go Away, Winter.

With no temperatures even above 20 degrees for the foreseeable future I'm getting a bit bummed. I'm feeling pretty inspired and motivated about so many things in my life right now and then to have this persistent winter that just won't give up is horrible. I've shoveled out the motorhome several times now, but it's still stuck where it's at. I don't think it'll be that hard to get it to get out of the little hole it's in but in reality it's stuck right now. I tried again yesterday and the tires just spin.

It did warm up for about two days last week and that's when I first shoveled all around it so that things would hopefully melt more. I also got out the ladder and uncovered the solar panels again and chipped off the layer of ice on them. Not that there's much sun to be had, but anything is better than nothing.

I'm still going to the gym and working on the C25K program. I'm on week 5 now, which is one of the hardest weeks both physically and definitely mentally. After tomorrow night I will officially be half way through the program and well on my way to being able to run!

During week 3 of the program I did actually start to lose weight. My scale isn't great but probably about 5lbs. Week 4 saw most of that weight come back for whatever reason. Now this morning I weighed myself and I was pretty solidly down the 5lbs again. Like I've said before weight loss isn't really my focus right now, but I'll definitely take what I can get of it.

So yeah! Winter can go away now and other than that things are looking good for 2014.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Couch To 5K (C25K) Running Program

This is some of what I was talking about in my last post, and so far posting and video wise I've done nothing. I wanted to really keep track of my thoughts and obstacles through all of this and make some good posts and videos. So far, I've fallen incredibly short. I haven't been sure if I wanted to post them here or somewhere else, but here it goes.

Around the first of the year I shaved off my beard. I've had it to some capacity since the end of 2011. Having a clean shaven face after so long revealed that I have quite a fat face. Haha. On a base level, who cares. I'm okay with who I am and how much I weigh (290lbs). However, deep down I've wanted to lose some weight like most everyone.

For the first time ever I joined a gym. I've never gone to a gym, ever. It took me two weeks to finally get up the courage to walk into one and sign up. I planned on going that first night but I had to go BUY GYM CLOTHES first. Ugh. In the end I just bought some pants and shoes. With those, I drove over to the gym. Sat out in the parking lot for a while. Chickened out and went home. I'm pretty sure I did this the next night too.

I did end up going within that first week. I go on my way home from work. It's right along my way home and is, mostly, convenient for me. So far I haven't skipped out on any of the days I really plan to go to keep with my C25K program. There's been a number of days when there's been a few too many people in there for me and I really want to just leave without ever going in. I'm overcoming that fear. I'm trying to feel more comfortable, feel like it's MY gym. Like I have every right to be there too.

One big thing I've had to keep telling myself, and truly know in my heart, to keep this going is that I'm doing this for me. I'm the only one that's going to do it! For me. Nobody in that gym is going to do it for me. What they're doing or thinking or not thinking doesn't mean anything to me. Broaden the picture and nobody in my life is going to do it for me either. I have to be the one to make the effort, the plans, and climb over the obstacles.

So anyway, the C25K program is an interval training program that slowly builds up your endurance over a 9 week program. At the end of the 9 weeks, you should be able to run a 5k. I've done this program twice before. The first time getting to week 5 before giving it up. The last time too many things were against me and I didn't get very far I don't think. This time, I'm going to complete the program. Even if it takes me 12 weeks instead of 9. Or 100. I'm currently on week 3 with one running day left to go. So far so good.

I'm not focusing on weight loss, or eating healthy, or anything right now. Which, for the record neither of those things is happening. For now I'm interested in building up my endurance, getting into the HABIT of going to the gym, and I will worry about the rest later on.

Monday, January 27, 2014

First Metal Detecting Find!

It's still snowing. And it's down right cold around here. Last week I did a little metal detecting under the pine trees not far from the house because the snow is much shallower there. The ground, of course, is absolutely frozen as well but it's diggable with a little effort.

My first find, luckily, was a 1920 Wheat Penny! Pure luck. The next one a few feet away was a 1977. And then I found a 2001 dime. With the extreme cold and frozen ground that's probably about all the digging I'll be doing until things thaw.

I did give into my impulses though and I bought a Garrett Ace 250 metal detector. The things I found above were with the first detector I bought off of craigslist. It was and still is a perfectly capable detector.

Some other things in the works. Not necessarily related to RVing or anything really. I think I'm planning to do a video series on this, possibly some blog posts, but I will do delayed publishing with them. In case things fall apart too quickly so I can just pretend it never happened and never post them. Mwahaha.

Oh yeah! Almost forgot to mention that I did my first attempt at Coin Roll Hunting today too. I found $40 worth of half dollars at one of the local banks. I didn't find anything worth anything or notable in any way. I'll probably keep doing that now and then though. It's like playing the lotto but you almost never lose money. My kind of odds, plus I like the idea of scratch off tickets but you can end up losing too much with them.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Metal Detector FEVER

I've gone through this phase in the past, but boy do I sure have it for metal detecting lately. I've spent a lot of time watching MD videos on YouTube and whatnot. Haha. Here it is the middle of winter and I can't possibly do anything if I wanted to. I actually bought a metal detector off craigslist the other day. He was selling two, the one I really wanted was already sold and in a moment of haste I bought his other one. I'm sure it will work fine to start with, but I plan to upgrade fairly quickly later on. Then, I just couldn't let it go about getting a pin pointer too. So I just ordered one of those from Amazon. Ugh. After this I need to stop spending money on things.

Hopefully by the time the ground thaws out I'll still be interested in this. Har har. I bought some cheap knock-off GoPro mounts too. Head and Chest. That should get me going. I plan to build my own mounts for any other purposes.

I have fanciful and possibly unrealistic visions of living a different life this year. Truly balancing work and life, which I am horrible at. As my van falls into worse condition, the motorhome starts looking better, or at least comparable. So I want to take it on many adventures on my days off. Hopefully when I can get 2 or more days off in a row I'll take it out and spend the days hiking,  kayaking, geocaching, and metal detecting. I want to start seriously doing YouTube videos myself too. RVing/Vandwelling and metal detecting and general outdoor adventures.

So there's that. Now if only I could go metal detecting.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year and The American Dream

First of all, Happy New Year. I am optimistic about it. As everyone always is. Which is why I usually avoid the whole topic of a new year and avoid all the clichés.

I have plenty to be thankful for and optimistic about.

My job is going well. It's not where I want to be, and I definitely don't want to make it a career. Sadly, that's the direction it's headed. However, with the recent raise I can push back my flighty feelings for a bit longer.

My business is doing okay. I own an internet business if I've never mentioned it. I've been running it for 10 years. The last time I profited as much as I did from last month was exactly two years ago. It's still not much, but it's a few steps in the right direction and I hope to continue the momentum. Ultimately I want to get back to being self-employed and self-sufficient. Not necessarily from the internet, but I don't mind how it happens.

I filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 2 years and 9 months ago. Since then I've ignored all things credit. I am now getting back on track to rebuild my credit. I've been approved for a secured credit card and already sent them my deposit so now I'm just waiting for the card to arrive. I'm considering seeing what my secured card options are through my bank also.

All of this brings me to The American Dream. It slightly depresses me how all of the above makes me feel GOOD. I am happy, I am proud, I am content by being a responsible, respectable person in society's eyes. And yet, I know not much of that truly matters. Still, it makes me think about the future. What my next options are, where I'm going from here.

It's amazing how my thoughts start floating towards a house, a better car, things that cost money, time, and freedom.