View From the Bugout Machine: A Half Century Van Dweller Story

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Published on the Doomstead Diner on December 3, 2015

Discuss this article at the Bugout Table inside the Diner

You can find out a lot more about Stealth Van living at Cheap RV Living

RE-BM-LadderRead Part 1 of View from the Bugout Machine

A few weeks ago, I decided to pick up on a series I started back in 2013, View from the Bugout Machine.  I let it lie fallow for a few Collapse Seasons, but in doing my usual Doom Surfing a while back I ran into a story about "Stealth Van" living.  Stealth Van Dwellers don't necessarily stay in RV Parks, they stay just about anywhere they can park for free in reasonable safety.

While there are of course challenges, there are also rewards for living this way.  #1 Reward is you get rid of that nasty rent or mortgage payment, which saves a LOT of money.  You also save on typical utility bills, although you still do have some costs with generating heat and electricity.  Beyond all that, you are Mobile!  You can go just about anywhere in North America if your passport is good from the Great White North or the Fascist States of America.

Following up on my research for the artcle, it led me to the CheapRVLiving website, which has its own Forum similar to the Forum of the Doomstead Diner.  We run on an SMF platform, they run on a MyBB platform, but they are not all that much different.

In order to research the article, I joined their forum and began participating in my usual fashion, which is to say I contribute a lot, and daily.  LOL.  Also, since my viewpoint is not mainstream, I tend to get napalmed by the Group Think crowd on any given website, and this occured fairly rapidly over there.  Inside around 3 weeks I got shit canned by Bob Wells, Admin of that website.  Well, not completely shit canned, I'm not banned (yet), but most of my posts there now don't make it past the moderation to see the light of  day.

Prior to any posting there at all, I asked Bob if he would like to do a Podcast, but he refused saying he was "too busy".  So I joined the forum which is pretty active to see if I could find anyone else who would be willing to talk.  The subject holds great interest for me, since I spent 7 years living Over the Road driving big rigs all over North America.  I also spent about a year all totalled of my own Stealth Van Dwelling on the streets of NYC after my divorce.  So I figured this was enough chops to be a part of their forum and discuss the topics with some experience.

Unfortunately, I was immediately viewed with suspicion by most of the regulars, and almost nobody would agree to doing a podcast.  They seemed to not like that I run a collapse website and that I would reveal all their "trade secrets" like what the best places for "boondocking" are and how they keep their valuables safe etc.

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Although it was almost nobody, that's not nobody, and 2 Van Dwellers did step up to the plate and told me they would do a podcast.  I recorded one of them last week with a REALLY experienced Van Dweller  with over 50 years of living this way.  Like me, he was a trucker for most of those years and it just made no sense for him to be paying for an apartment or McMansion when he was out driving so much.  For myself I didn't go that route except for the occasional camping trip with my car of the era, a 1987 Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon.  Mostly I either stayed in motels or with friends or relatives during my time off from driving.

Anyhow, in Part 1 of the podcast, we talk about energy and heating and cooking methods mostly.  Much more to come in future installments.

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VD's Stealth Van Floor Plan

Disclaimer: Due to the fact I spoke with VD on his Cell Phone, our volume levels are mismatched and the software I am using for editing doesn't allow me to fix that without completely cutting it apart and then reassembling it.  You can fix it while listening by lowering the volume when I am talking and raising it back up when VD is talking.

Hope you enjoy the chat, it's a remarkable tale of a lifetime on the road.

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