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Author Topic: Hello everyone! This is my story....  (Read 1049 times)

JosephGrey

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  • Posts: 15
    • Living On The Stealth
Hello everyone! This is my story....
« on: January 17, 2018, 02:40:54 PM »

Hello everyone.  I have posted in a couple of other areas of this forum already but never got around to posting here.

A little over two years ago I suffered a job change.  I had been a long time tele-worker for over eighteen years.  Every morning I would go from my bed to my coffee pot to my desk and work my day.  But an influx of middle managers from the banking industry changed how my office worked.  Telecommuters were suddenly lazy bums who watched TV all day.  The only way to tell if an employee was working was to walk by his/her cubical every day.  Everyone had to be in the office five days a week.

I live ninety miles away from my office and I try hard to be an environmentalist.  A daily commute just seemed wrong.  I have a few friends in the big city and I found a few more via couchsurfing.com.  I can be mildly entertaining once a month or so,  I had a few weekly couches and a revolving few others and I made it work. 

But you can all imagine how much fun this all was.  After a year I started looking into more permanent options for living cheap in a big city.  The answer came when I discovered Stealth Camping.  Taking the most common vehicle a city has, which is the white cargo van, and turning the inside into a camper. 

I am blogging this whole adventure as well, so if you are interested in more, follow the link in my signature at the bottom of this post. 

It has really been an amazing experience.  I feel like some of the stuff I have learned could be of benefit to all of you if you are thinking of remodeling your RVs. I have been living in my camper four nights a week since about March.  I am in a cold climate... Some would say brutal once I told them it got to -19F the other night. 

The most common questions;
Have you got a bathroom in there?
I have a composting toilet.  It separates urine into a container that gets about 1/4 full in a week of use. 

What about fresh water and gray water?
I have an eight gallon fresh water tank. Currently I have no gray water tank.  Normally I just drain gray water on to the ground.  --oh and normal is the amount of water to brush teeth and wash one fork.  I don't cook much in the van while stealth camping, I re-heat.

No shower?
I don't have a shower.  There are shower facilities at my employer and I am getting by.  By luck of the gene pool I am not a very sweaty guy.

You are parking in a city?  Are you crazy?!  What about crime?
My mental sanity has been questioned before.  But no, I don't believe I am crazy.  Certainly not to the point where I should be institutionalized anyway. The world is actually a much safer place than the TV news would have you believe.

Where do you park?
You know what, I park it anywhere I want to.  Around plumbing or electrical shops I fit right in. Little industrial parks inside of residential neighborhoods are perfect.  They are quite after hours and the police protection is great! If I want to go out some nights to catch some live entertainment at a bar or something I check for a hardware store close by.  Usually I find something and my hotel awaits after too many beers.  (Sadly that is only three these days :-( )

How do you heat it?
I have a 16,000 BTU Suburban RV furnace running on propane. 

Lights and other electronic stuff?
I have four Trojan T-105 deep cycle 6v batteries wired in series parallel to provide 450a/h of power.  A 1500 watt inverter and 540 watts of solar panels on the roof.

So there are the low hanging fruit anyway.  If you have more questions  ask them below or check out the blog for the whole story.  When you get there scroll back to January 2017 if you want to start at the beginning.  Otherwise you can pick up in the narrative where I am at which is building the frame to hold/disguise the solar panels.

--jg



Blogging my Stealth Camper build.  Check out the whole project at http://livingonthestealth.blogspot.com

jackiemac

  • Forum Staff
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  • Posts: 2953
Re: Hello everyone! This is my story....
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2018, 04:10:37 PM »
Hi and welcome to the forum. Wow what an interesting time you have been having. It's certainly different and I'm sure suits you. I'm going to check out your blog!!  Good to have you here.
Jackie n Steve - Happy Scottish Travellers

2017 Heartland Sundance 288rls
2016 Dodge Ram 2500 6.4L Hemi

Back home in Scotland awaiting May 2019

RedandSilver

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  • Posts: 1241
Re: Hello everyone! This is my story....
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2018, 04:56:37 PM »
Welcome.

It does blend in pretty well.

I'm not sure how many of us would want a unit that we couldn't stand up in - but different strokes for different folks
and if that works for you - that's all that matters.

I didn't see you mention using laundry mats as I assume sooner or later that would have to happen.

Good luck in your travels and hope everything works out for you as it's got to me cheaper than most of the RV's out there
and the ability to park it most anywhere is a real plus.  :)
2002 Rexhall Rose Air  Cummins 8.3  350hp
West MI Summer   Central FL Winter

edjunior

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  • Posts: 2121
  • Roman Forest, TX
Re: Hello everyone! This is my story....
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2018, 06:12:46 PM »
Welcome JG.  Wow...hats off to you.  That's about as minimalist as you can get while still maintaining a fair amount of comfort.  I applaud you.  Good luck to you.
Ed.....KF5INW
MSgt, USAF, Retired
2019 F-250 XLT, 6.7L PSD
2010 Forest River Wildcat 28RKBS
"I thought I was wrong once, but I was wrong!"

Tom and Margi

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  • Posts: 3198
Re: Hello everyone! This is my story....
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2018, 08:54:48 PM »
I guess I will be your lone detractor so far.  You lost me when you mentioned draining your grey water onto your urban parking place.  Those of us who have traveled in an RV for many, many years can absolutely guarantee that grey water STINKS.  Sometimes more than black water.  I would not like to have you parking (and draining) anywhere I might be parked, be it in a campground or a neighborhood.

JosephGrey

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  • Posts: 15
    • Living On The Stealth
Re: Hello everyone! This is my story....
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2018, 10:20:23 PM »
No, I totally get you.  When I am parked somewhere in a campground I put a bucket down to catch my gray water.  When I am urban parking I look at it like this;  If I didn't have the van, if I was standing in this parking space, could I ethically brush my teeth and spit the water onto the ground?  Of course I could.  If I was standing there and I got a plate of food, could I wash off my fork and/or spoon?  Yes, I feel like I could.  I apply those same principles when I am in the van.  I draw lines.  Would I wash a plate or bowl?  No.  That is over the line.

But here is another thing, back a few weeks ago I suffered from a bout of stupidity.  I go into it in more detail in the blog and I don't want to type it all out again here.  Admitting stupidity is bad enough once.  :-)  Suffice to say, I accidentally let the van freeze up.  My fresh water tank froze and if not for a lucky chance I would have frozen my pump.  Anyway, I thawed it out and drained it.  Since then I have been using a 20oz bottle of water as my fresh water supply.  It has lasted me two weeks and I have about a third left.  What I am saying is "scale".

To other topics and questions....

I lust after those Sprinter vans, where I could stand up.  They are about ten thousand over budget.  If there ever comes to be van version 2.0.0, maybe I will be able to afford one.

Yes, if I was traveling for a longer period I would have to think about laundry.   As it is I go home to a house every weekend.  A wife and three kids who miss my cooking and a Japanese mother-in-law upstairs.  A washer dryer in the basement.  Just like a real family.  I tell people I am only homeless five days a week.

What has really helped this project along is all the information out there about the Tiny House movement.  Granted those are more like 400sq/ft and I am 64 but....  ;-) 

--jg
Blogging my Stealth Camper build.  Check out the whole project at http://livingonthestealth.blogspot.com

VallAndMo

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  • Posts: 548
  • Vall and Mo, a married couple getting ready for FT
Re: Hello everyone! This is my story....
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2018, 03:30:56 AM »
Hello JG,

Impressive build and impressive story. I particularly like the guitars (2 of them!) hanging on the wall, and the huge (compared to your total area) amount of batteries and solar panels.

Kudos to you and best of luck, and if you can, please keep us here posted on any significant developments (like many here, I suspect, I'd love to follow your blog but simply don't have the time -- already spending too many hours a day reading internet stuff -- my RSS feed is already over 200 items a day).

Cheers,
--
   Vall.