Author: KennyG

Boondocking in a Van

VanLife Boondocking in the Niagara Region

Boondocking in a Van
VanLife Boondocking

As Easter weekend in coming to a close, Michelle and I took Freddy out for a shake done cruise around the area.  We specifically were looking for experience in the area for VanLife Boondocking.  From our research, Ontario is not the place to boondock.  We started slowly, wanting to feel things out.  Friday had us head off to the local Walmart to purchase some of the much-needed items to make Freddy our comfortable home.  We found some great deals on bedding, pots and pans, and other items we felt were important.

VanLife Boondocking

After the shopping excursion, the rest of the day was spent setting things up.  Michelle had such a big smile on her face as we worked to bring our new home together.  Putting away things in places we feel would work, and to organise our tiny home on wheels.  We headed over to the Lowe’s parking lot right near the Starbucks Michelle works at, because she needed to go to work in the early evening.

Michelle wanted to nap before her shift, so we opened the roof vent, closed the curtains and crawled into bed.  No one seemed to notice us at the back of the parking lot.  Our first boondocking seemed to be working well!

Michelle’s shift was until 22:30, and it just so happened our home was just outside her work door.  It was perfect, out she came, climbed into Freddy and we drove off.  My first thought was to head down to the old Tallship near Jordan River to enjoy a sunrise over Lake Ontario.  It was late, and Michelle had to work in the morning so we thought better of it.  Instead, we headed down the QEW towards Fort Erie and decided to stay at the Flying J at exit 5.

Flying J Truck Stop – Boondocking Heaven!

Boondocking
VanLife Boondocking

Ok, I know a Truck stop is not really boondocking, but for a couple of newbies, it’s a great place to start.  Flying J’s have showers, laundries, Sani dumps ($10.00) as well as a restaurant if you’re tired of cooking. Oh, and they make a mean pizza!!

Once we arrived, the first words out of Michelle’s mouth was “Pizza Hun”, so we went in, used the Comfort Room, and I got Michelle and couple of slices of pizza.  Afterwards, we headed off to the parking lot to find our place to spend the night.  With it being a long weekend, there were so many good open spots for us. I decided to head way down to the back of the lot, near the Oil and Lube place and backed into the parking spot with our bedroom facing the highway.  We crawled into bed, and off to sleep, we went!  How I know Michelle had a good time, take a look at the smile on this ladies face!  Is there any doubt she loved the weekend of firsts!

 

Van Life in Leisure Travel Freedom!

Freedom Freddy

Van Life in Leisure Travel Freedom!
Freedom Freddy – The View from my Bedroom Window

As you know we are the proud owners of a Class B Motorhome.  Over the past week we have been having Freedom Freddy safetied and last night Michelle did a fantastic cleaning.  Last night we worked into the wee hours of the evening packing him up and getting things arranged.  This, in my opinion, is the most important part, as every little nook and cranny need to be utilised.

Freedom Freddy

Having a difficult time coming up with a good name for the Freedom, the task dropped into Michelle’s lap.  I know she hates it when I do that, but I am pretty easy going when it comes to these sort of things.  Plus she is the creative and talented one in this relationship so sucks to be her!  I think it was around 1 AM last night, lying in bed, she says, Freddy, yeah Freedom Freddy!  So, there we have it, a name is born!

The one last thing we needed to get to work for us was the insertion of the storage unit that had come as a free extra for Freddy.  This was going to be contentious as it turns out.  Everyone eager to help, a grinder and sledgehammer and about 5 hours of wasted time things just would not fit.  It’s funny as I remember as a child a square peg does not fit into a round hole, and a hammer does not make it work.

The View From My Bedroom Window

Freedom Freddy - The View from my Bedroom Window
Freedom Freddy – The View from my Bedroom Window

Being an avid photographer, everything I seem to think about is how can I put myself in a position to shoot more pictures.  So this will be something I will use to plan my Boondocking spots for our weekends.  We want to sleep to a stunning sunset or wake to a stunning sunrise.  That is the view we will be striving to find each weekend.  We are not so interested in looking out our window to the fenced-in yard but rather a huge expanse of heart-stopping scenery.

 

So as Life Goes

Since moving back closer to family, I notice one thing that is new to me.  The judgement, the looking down one’s nose at you for your decisions, wants or lifestyle.  It is very irritating for me, especially since I believe and live a life of no judgement.  I have to say though, with the continued judgement, and drunken ramblings it keeps me motivated to make this just one stop in a life-long need to journey.  It’s been 30 some odd years since living close to anyone, and I think I needed to journey back, but it is certainly time to journey on.

Freedom Freddy - The View from my Bedroom Window
Freedom Freddy – The View from my Bedroom Window

If you have an image you would like to share, by all means, send it through and we will feature your “View From My Bedroom Window” so people can see the beauty of the world.  Want to be critical, by all means, click the forward button, who needs closed minded people in your life.!

Enjoy!!

 

On the Hunt for a Class B Motorhome

On the Hunt for a Class B Motorhome

It’s been a long few weeks, I’ve been on the hunt for a class B motorhome.  Not just any Class B, but the one that Michelle and I can enter into our time to explore living in a van.   We have searched and searched but we have not had a lot of luck.  We have a modest budget which certainly does not help our search, but here are some of the examples available.

On the Hunt for a Class B Motorhome

On the Hunt for a Class B Motorhome
Sun’N Fun RV Centre; On the Hunt for a Class B Motorhome

The first class B we wanted to inspect was a 1987 van with about 90K KM on the engine.  Very very over priced and was for sale at an RV Center.  I was shocked on the poor customer service at the centre.  Having a 10 years experience in sales, I would have been spoken to by the shops’ owner if I handled any customers in the manner in which we were handled.  Though in the end, it really made no difference, as the van was not worth the $15,200.00 dollars they were asking for it, and there was no room to reduce that price.

The second Class B we looked at was the Diamond in the Rough.  For more detailed information about this van check out the post “The Diamond Certainly was Rough“.  Just a small review, the dry rot, water damage, spongy floor, and the leaking oil pan was the final straw.

1996 Leisure Travel Wide Body

We went today to inspect a 1996 Leisure Travel Wide Body class B in the Belleville area.  It is kind of ironic since I lived in Belleville for a few years when I was a teenager, and I always loved the area.  Last summer my friend Pat and I were down in this area shooting pictures for a weekend and actually drove past this gentleman’s house.   Bryn, my niece’s husband came along with me to help check this old girl out.  As soon we approached the driveway, I was almost 100 percent sure this was out girl.  She was looking great from the street.  She had great lines and a beautiful shape to her.  Not a speck of rust anywhere that I could find, which was very important.  Glenn, the current owner was very helpful giving me a tour of the all the compartments, and Bryn checked out the mechanics of the motorhome.

We took our time checking out each appliance, opened the awning, and took her for a test drive.  She ran so well, and the old Dodge van feeling was fantastic.  Once we returned to Glenn’s place, we headed down to the lake, so we could discuss what we were going to offer.  Glenn was asking $15,000.00 E-tested, but with no safety.  The tires would pass the safety but need replacing, so Bryn and I set a price we wanted, and I followed his lead.  My task was to sit there and just be quiet.  After some small talk, Bryn came in and offered $11,000.   Glenn thought for a minute and came back with $11,500.  I was happy to pay the $11.5 but to my amazement, Bryn stood his ground with $11 and that is where it stayed!

Our Hunt for a Class B Motorhome is Complete!!

On the Hunt for a Class B Motorhome
On the Hunt for a Class B Motorhome

Michelle and I are proud owners of a Leisure Travel Freedom Class B motorhome.   We will be taking possession next week.  We hope to be living in it full time by the end of April.  Check back in a couple of weeks and we will have a fantastic Vlog tour of our girl!

Zero Waste

Zero Waste

Have you heard of the Zero Waste movement?  I watched a video interview with Mailyne on the website Exploring Alternatives, and she is living a Zero Waste lifestyle.  Not too many years ago, I would have simply moved on to the next video in line.  However, recently I find that I am more and more inspired by people living an Alternate Lifestyle.  I am tired of the status norm, there must be more to life than what I see on TV,and what has become such and wasteful existence!

Zero Waste

Zero Waste as defined in Wikipedia “is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycle so that all products are reused.  No trash is sent to landfills or incinerators.  The process recommended is one similar to the way that resources are reused in nature.”

The reason I find Mailyne so inspirational is she actually embraces her beliefs and not just preaches them.   I can remember watching Al Gore’s documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” I was on the edge of my seat with each word he spoke.  Sadly this changed when I learned that he was flying around delivering his presentations on a private jet.  As we know the Carbon footprint is huge for this type of travel.   Please do not get me wrong, I still feel and believe in what Al Gore presented was fantastic!

Inspiration Found in Strange Places

Michelle and I have decided to embrace the Zero Waste lifestyle as well thanks mainly to Mailyne!  Since we are attempting to purchase and move into a Class B Motorhome, space will certainly be at a premium, so being Zero Waste will certainly be beneficial!  We use the recycle bags we purchased at Walmart and The Bulk Barn.  Michelle is working on some burlap sacks for veggies and various fresh items.  We will continue to reduce and reuse as the time goes by.  I only hope we can do as great a job as Mailyne!

Be sure to check out the links for Mailyne and Exploring Alternatives Webs site list above.  Check back, I think Michelle and I have found out Motorhome!!  Once we get it, we will do a Tour of the Motorhome on our upcoming YouTube channel.

 

 

 

The Diamond Certainly was Ruff

The Diamond Certainly was Ruff

The Diamond Certainly was Ruff
The Diamond Certainly was Ruff

Today was the day to go and check the Leisure Travel Class B motorhome that we found on Kijiji.  As we drove to Toronto the excitement began to build.  We spoke of the different additions or changes we would do to your new home.  As the turned the last corner, we saw her sitting there waiting for us to give the thumbs up!  We were prepared for a Camper Van being prepared for painting but there were far more surprises than painting preparations.   The Diamond Certainly was Ruff, the first ting we noticed right away there was a leak the roof vent.  The back cushions were soaking wet, as was the rug.  Things just continued to go downhill from there.

The Diamond Certainly was Ruff

Now to be fair, I was told the van was rough, dirty and was being prepared for a fresh paint job.  Michelle and I  can see past many things.  I mean, we both decided right away that all the carpet and material would need to be pulled out a redone.  Not a big deal really, I mean after all we want to make this motorhome our own.  But, when I started to inspect the propane tank for the rig, the handle was rusted in place, and there was nothing I was going to do to turn that handle.  I am pretty sure with that kind of corrosion, the tank will need to be replaced.  Major cost will be involved with that for sure.

The Diamond Certainly was Ruff
The Diamond Certainly was Ruff

The next major thing that jumped out to me was the giant puddle of oil on the ground under the rig.  This was certainly I did not want to see, I mean really what can cause that?  From there we took the old girl for a test drive and I noticed right away the brakes were pretty soft.  I mean so soft that I had to almost stand straight up to get her to stop.  I am also pretty sure that there was an issue with the transmission, and that is no cheap fix.  I had a tough time getting her to stay in “Drive” not good!

Where to go from there?!?

The Diamond Certainly was Ruff
The Diamond Certainly was Ruff

After some discussion, I made it pretty straight that I had concerns about the girl.  Cory was awesome about it, and I think in the end he understands.   I need to make sure about all else the vehicle we choose is sound mechanically.   We would love to hear your opinion what do you think, with what we spoke of above, would you buy the old girl?  What are your opinions on a Short Bus conversion for an RV?  Let us know in the comments area below, we would love to hear from you!!

A Diamond in the Ruff!

A Diamond in the Ruff

A Diamond in the Ruff!
A Diamond in the Ruff!

Camper Van Update; this week has been pretty stressful, trying to find a camper van, and decide how to deal with CRA.  I discovered on Monday it’s looking like I owe CRA an additional $6000.00 for 2016 taxes.  This will certainly cut into the budget we have for getting a camper van.  We have done a lot of soul-searching, do we or don’t we buy.  In the end, we have decided to go forward with moving into a van and following the Van Life.  We may have found our van! It’s certainly a Diamond in the Ruff, but we are hopeful!

A Diamond in the Ruff

A Diamond in the Ruff!
A Diamond in the Ruff!

This van was built in 1990, and there are some 143K kilometres on her to date. Our diamond is sitting at a body shop as we speak, awaiting a final painting.  The pictures do not show a beautiful move condition van.  But Michelle and I figure if everything is in working condition, then we can add the TLC that is needed to turn a van into our home for an extended stay!  The bed is in the back of the van, which is something we are wanting.  There are the other important items such as a toilet, fridge and stove.  We will need to install a Solar System, and shower if there is not one.

A Diamond in the Ruff!
A Diamond in the Ruff!

We will be going to see the Camper Van on Saturday afternoon after Michelle is finished working.  I think if we purchase the van we should name “A Diamond in the Ruff!”  The other option we have is a 10-year-old Airporter bus that is for sale at Niagara Air Bus.  She is a 20 seater and around 25 feet in length.  I have a couple of concerns.  First one is, that is a little long to try and stealth camp in an area where it is certainly not welcomed.  The second concern is how much money will it cost to convert to a livable camper.

Keep your fingers crossed and be sure to check back for our updates!