21 Years in a 1973 Dodge Van

Discussion in 'Camping/Outdoor Living' started by TwoDogs, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. Barbuchon

    Barbuchon Member

    nice set up man... you might don't wanna answer this... but I'll give a try... do you actually keep any weapons? What's your stories around this? I'm sure some shits happened... maybe not... but that would be kinda rare I guess.
  2. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs This space for rent.

    It's good to be armed when you're away from civilization. (Actually...it's probably better to be armed IN "civilization.") I've had run-ins with drunks out four-wheeling in the dead of night...but nothing serious. The thing about my van and the way that I look is that it seems to make people assume that I'm armed with everything short of a 50 cal. machinegun. I don't bother to try and convince them otherwise.

    I've always told people that if someone camps within a mile of me that I go and introduce myself, then inquire, "Say...are you people hiding out from the cops too?"
  3. stalk

    stalk Banned

    Hey twodogs,
    I plan on moving into a van soon.
    How do you keep clean?
    Are there rivers out there?
    I'm going to be starting out in california,
    and without friends showers
    I won't really know where to clean myself
    I'd like to get away from the city
    and go somewhere far away
    and beautiful
    where I can just bathe in the water........
  4. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs This space for rent.

    Solar shower bags are cheap and even in the winter (Here in AZ.) if the sun is shining they get pretty warm. I'm not too far from the Verde River here in Central AZ. There's a good 8 or 9 months of river bathing weather here. I use biodegradable soap and shampoo.

    The Southern and Central California coast, unfortunately, are primarily "occupied territories" as far as I'm concerned. There isn't much in the way of public land where you can go and camp for free. Northern CA. is better and in the Eastern part, like along 395, there's Nat'l Forest land where you won't get bothered.

    I'm still stuck on AZ. where a huge percentage of the land area is Public Land, whether it be Nat'l Forest or BLM. You can have it all...rivers, lakes, mountains or desert...whatever suits you. Sometimes, like where I'm situated, all these different terrains within a 50 mile radius. As I stated earlier in this thread...I've only had one run-in with a Forest Service Ranger in almost 22 years.
  5. stalk

    stalk Banned

    good idea.
    arizona sounds and looks beautiful, man.
    thank you
  6. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs This space for rent.

    New Mexico's really cool too. I'm planning a trip there for this Summer. A huge amount of Public Land there also.
  7. McLeodGanja

    McLeodGanja Banned

    Respect my man!

    You is 56 and I'm 35, which means you started living in a van when you were about my age. Funnily enough I have been thinking of doing the same thing, I am fed up living with people, who make too much noise, or in noisy neighbourhoods. I figure if I have a small house that has wheels on it I am therefore free to live where I please, more or less. I wonder if I will do this, I am currently working in Holland and saving some money so maybe at the end of it all I will buy myself a second hand van, they are pretty expensive though. Who knows maybe in 21 years I will be saying the same thing.

    Some guy at my work told me that there have been a couple of cases whereby people who live in vans in Holland got murdered as they lay sleeping, and robbed, so that kind of puts me off. Having a couple of dogs though is a good idea that would offer some protection against intruders.
  8. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs This space for rent.

    That happens everywhere. There'll always be tales of violence, but think about it...the stories of people being murdered in their beds is MUCH more common in "civilization." I think that you'll find that things like that happen more frequently when someone is hanging out close to a town or city. I rarely see other people out where I live because I'm pretty far out in the boonies. Criminals are generally lazy and their crimes are ones of opportunity. If you are way out there where no one expects to find people, you probably won't run into someone looking to take advantage of someone.

    You can't let fear keep you from doing what you want to do. If you do...then you've already lost the battle to be free.
  9. McLeodGanja

    McLeodGanja Banned

    Wise words indeed. I am going to live like this sometime in the future, when I have enough money behind me. I think in Holland, with it being so densely populated no opportune killer thief has to go far to find a camper van. It is not something I am so worried about though really. When I do it I will go back to Scotland I think anyway. You are right there are always stories, remember the couple who got murdered in the Australian out back a few years ago.
  10. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs This space for rent.

    Good luck to you. I hope that you do in fact give it a try. I couldn't live any other way now. Every day I see something that inspires me and puts me in total awe of the wonders of nature and the complex simplicity (oxymoronic, but true.) that ties everything together in this world.
  11. Barbuchon

    Barbuchon Member

    How's your romance life?
  12. McLeodGanja

    McLeodGanja Banned

    Good question.

    I kind of got inspired to do this after living in Holland for a couple of years, after experiencing about as many problems with and trying to find accomodation than I have ever experienced in my life 3 times over. I was living in squats a lot, and loads of the people I lived with had vans. Facing perpetual imminent eviction, work coming and going, I eventually thought fuck it why I don't I just save up and buy a bloody good van. It's cheaper than a house and it doesn't require static land.

    I do wonder though whether it might end up being a folly investment, what with the rising price of oil and that. I don't know I've heard lots of things, some people say there is plenty of oil, some say it's running out way faster than we think. I am inclined to think we might have a problem on our hands, owning t the sheer momentum with which we appear to be guzzling it up, and on an accelerating state.

    No diesel and your left with a tin house in the middle of nowhere.

    It is a realistic thing to consider though, isn't it? What if they started rationing it, could be a slight problem.

    It's a choice between that and an old bothy in the middle of the Highlands, kind of left with the same problem though.
  13. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs This space for rent.

    It was nonexistant for many years. Not because there weren't opportunities...I actually never followed up on many of them. I enjoyed the solitude after many years of playing head games with women just for a little bumping of the uglies. 3 years ago I got in touch with my sweetie from 1971 via the computer. She teaches college in California. We've been doing a long distance thing since then. She comes out here and spends a week or two every couple of months or I go see her. Sort of the best of both worlds. I still get my alone time and a bit of the other stuff too.

    You could get hit by a piece of space debris too. I'm not trying to be a smartass. There are a million reasons to do, or not to do what you want in this life. Me...I never look at the reasons not to live my life the way I want to live it. If we run out of oil...so be it. I'll deal with that problem when it arises.

    Today...I'm FREE!!!
  14. McLeodGanja

    McLeodGanja Banned

    I can relate to that a lot. My own space has become a lot more important to me than sowing my wild oats these days. I just can't be bothered with the whole dating nonsense and all that, it's bullshit.

    Oh don't worry. I have rarely ever had the sense to consider the consequences of my actions any longer than a day to come. Well, I exaggerate slightly.

    I once packed in a job I hated after three days, on an hourly rate of 27 UK pounds an hour, and ran away to India for six months, then came back an inherited about 1 year of misery and debt, stuck living with my parents for most of that time until they eventually got sick of me and bailed me out to Edinburgh.

    I don't regret it one bit though, I felt I had to do it, and I came back richer for the experience.
  15. Barbuchon

    Barbuchon Member

    What were your hardest times you had to deal with?
  16. sonik

    sonik Member

    Very cool stuff man, you ever hook up with other folk and do some caravaning?

    Ever been to Mexico?

    As for the oil thing it certainly won't be running out during any of our lifetimes. The price of it however....
  17. Barbuchon

    Barbuchon Member

    It's getting really expensive up here in Montreal. They say it's gonna be between 1,50$/l to 2,00$/l cdn by the end of spring. That change of price is gonna make considerable changes in our lifes...
  18. scatteredleaves

    scatteredleaves Smelly Hobo

    wow, twodogs, your thread is very inspiring!
    it looks like i will be getting a small school bus soon for free from the camp i work at (so excited). its a ford econoline f350, it looks like a 79 to me, but im not sure yet. im gonna take it for a spin today. its been well maintained over the years so i feel pretty good about it.
    id like to be on the road by august or so and maybe head south for the winter. the bus is in original form with seats and all and i have no experience with doing anything like a camper conversion. im so excited htough. any tips you have would be so much appreciated. can you tell me a bit more about insulation? the paneling in your van looks great. i dont know if it would be practical in my bus, but i live in canada, so its something id be interested in doing.
    id also love to have a little solar setup like yours, but thats another thing i dont have a clue about.
    what do you use for cooking?
    what kind of food do you keep on hand?
    where do you get your water/how fast do you go through it?
    what can you reccomend for someone who has next to no mechanical experience?
    is there any kind of work i should have done on my bus before i take it on the road?
    anything you could give tips on would be great :)
    thanks so much for posting this, you are inspiring many people.
  19. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs This space for rent.

    I think I need to expand on what I posted a bit so that I don't sound quite so misogynistic. First off...I grew up in the Sixties and therefore had my share of sexual experiences...and 14 other people's shares also. Good times. Prior to my deciding to live in a van in the boonies I was meeting women mostly in bars. There were no real quality relationships being gleaned there. Just a lot of hangovers and remorse when I woke up in the mornings. I quit drinking just before I bought the van and haven't had a drink since. 22 years and one month ago was my last.

    It seems that there are no shortage of women that find the Gypsy Life intriguing. It's just that it also seems that the women are a lot younger than I am. I find that there's not too much to talk about. I also think that as I get older that I find that I need more from a relationship than just sex.
  20. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs This space for rent.

    When I first moved into the van I didn't have two nickels to rub together. I did some Flea Markets and landscaping jobs to get by. I was paying my insurance by the month and I never missed a payment. It was odd...every single time I needed cash something came my way. I guess it really wasn't that hard a time afterall.
    On rare occasions I've caravanned with others. Usually as a tourguide for people I've met online.

    I've never taken the van to Mexico. It would take me days to put everything back in it's place if the van was searched.

    I rarely cook. I keep a lot of canned goods: chili, tuna, pasta of sorts and a lot of sardines and kippered herring. I make a lot of sandwiches, mostly. On rare occasions I build a fire and have hotdogs or hamburgers. If you are going to get a small bus, you'd probably have plenty of room for a Coleman stove. I just don't have the room to spare for a stove, pots, pans and dishes.

    For years I got my water from a spring but the drought has taken care of that. I fill up at the welding shop where I work the occasional weekend or at a friend's place in town. I have at times bought water from a water store or filled jugs at the machine at a supermarket. On average I go through about 7 gallons a week. At times I carry 22 gallons, sometimes 32 if I'm out prospecting.

    I would try and find a maintenance manual on the type of bus that you're getting if I were you. I would also try and have a friend that knows basic mechanics teach you those basics. Tune-up, oil changing, Fluid checks, lubing the suspension, steering linkage and u-joints, wheel removal and replacement in case of flats and all that good stuff. I would also have a mechanic that you trust give the entire thing a "once-over" and have everything that he feels needs to be done taken care of.

    I hope that this helps. I also hope that you do the road thing...it's a wonderful experience. If you ever make it down this way, give me a shout and I'll show you some Native American ruins and some views that'll knock your socks off.

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