Laid off people turned Ex-Pats Living on the CHEAP?

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Super Suz, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. rawdog

    rawdog Been here awhile

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    Great post. I like your rig.

    I've also been thinking lately about being able to parse everything down to fit into a shipping container. There are some things that I don't want to get rid of, such as tools. Let's say I'm gone for a year or two, then return home to plan for another adventure. I don't want to re-invest money in things that I got rid of. So it would be good to always have the basics on hand for a household: minimal furniture, a bed, cookware. It would be great to fit all of this in a shipping container (maybe even a 20'?) and store it on a friend's property. It could then be loaded onto a truck and delivered to your next home.

    Yes, one could always get rid of all that stuff and live on less, but for me, it is also good to have some sort of familiar 'home' to return to.
  2. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    Thanks for all the compliments guys, but I don't want to clutter this thread with more chatter about my motorhome.

    That's exactly the situation I was in rawdog (my shipping container is full of tools and all the things that I will need again eventually). Whenever I find a piece of property that I want to build on, I'm going to put a simple roof and end-walls between two 40ft shipping containers to make a temporary workshop. It's highly likely that I'll end up using more shipping containers to build my white-trash palace, but I plan on incorporating a lot of salvage/surplus building materials. I'd like to buy a few more shipping containers, so I could store building materials in them for now, and then use them as building materials later. Oh, and on the topic of repurposing things: the way I've built Mah Deuce, I'll be able to drop the box off the back of the truck and replace it with a regular 12ft pickup bed. That will give me a shop, shelter, and a truck to haul building materials. The Giving Tree made a lasting impact on me...
  3. Bear Rider

    Bear Rider Been here awhile

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    Before you buy the property, check your zoning. Even some of the most out of the way places now have restrictions against the incorporation of shipping containers into a structure in that manner. If you do find such a place, you might want to get your roof up now so as to be grandfathered in in case the rules change while your gone.
  4. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    Thanks, I know exactly what you're talking about. Not going to build anywhere with any type of zoning restrictions like that.
  5. V8

    V8 _

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    I like this idea.
    I live in a apartment building (42 units,park across the street,surrounded by one and two family homes).So far so good.
    When I moved in here last October I also was thinking of a Plan B incase I wanted out of here. Small camper was on my short list,but you can't park one here. I ended up buying a 4x4 Pickup with a tow package used at a very good price. I figured I could always put a slide in camper on it if I wanted to go to Plan B. So for now I have a pickup that can tow close to 10,000 lbs. and a DRZ400 for fun and commuting.I will be using both of these for camping and riding trips starting very soon.
    I feel much more comfortable knowing that I have a Plan B.
  6. rawdog

    rawdog Been here awhile

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    I am always intrigued by shipping container homes. I've done a bunch of research and they can be as or more expensive to build than traditional construction.

    Lately I feel that to live on the cheap stateside, it would be cheaper to do so in a fifth wheel than to construct a shipping container home.
  7. mpanther

    mpanther KotW - Just Ride!

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    I am looking into building a container "Cabin" on the family property up in Washington.

    The advantage there is we only go up in the summer.
    Lock the thing up and no leaks. Plus Very secure.
    Not going to break in without power tools or a cutting torch.
  8. Super Suz

    Super Suz N00b with B00b

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    Holy Schmoly! Jesus, that's some serious planning and design.

    Off Grid and ready for the end of the world as we know it. Lots of people really respect that. The thing is, as you drive around out there, people are going to be so intrigued by your rig, you are going to get lots of visitors asking for a tour. I know I'd have a hard time keeping away and would be plenty nosey. :lol3

    The water purification system has been tested and retested?

    Wow.

    Your planning and arranging is just amazing. Yeah. More details and tidbits, please.

    Pics of the inside of that rig?



    Suz
  9. Cellar Yeti

    Cellar Yeti Adventure Yeti

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    I'm really interested in multi fuel vehicles. Been doing some research on them lately but it seems they only come in military vehicles. I love the idea of the flexibility...

    Rotapower the designed of a new revolutionary engine makes a multi fuel single piston engine that weighs 68lbs and creates 160 hp. How gnarly would it be if they beefed it up and made a 300-400 hp model?
  10. mpanther

    mpanther KotW - Just Ride!

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    Or just stuck it in a motorcycle.
  11. GoGo Gadget

    GoGo Gadget Long timer

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  12. Bear Rider

    Bear Rider Been here awhile

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    Don't hold your breath waiting for it to come on the market. These appear to be the same people who have been working on the Moller Air Car for thirty years.

    In software, it's called "vaporware".
  13. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    Diesel is cheaper than gasoline in Mexico ... something to factor in if you want to be an ex-pat or wanderer.

    For other countries you might want to do your own research.

    Personally, I'm a big fan of diesels especially for a motorhome application, but as the expression goes, your mileage may vary. :wink:
  14. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    That was because the Soviet and Eastern Euro economies tanked and the former Warsaw Pact nations practically had a fire sale.

    Don't be too surprised to see former US military items at fire sale prices in a few years. :evil


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  15. mpanther

    mpanther KotW - Just Ride!

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    Actually, they are doing there own thing.
    but the guy with the Air car wants their engine pretty bad.
    Just doesn't have the money to front the start-up costs of production.

    I always wondered what a rotory motor with modern tech could do.
  16. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    ->
    I think that's a really important distinction to make. There's a HUGE difference between a cabin and a proper house. I'm talking about building something waaay off-grid. A Swiss Family Robinson-style Ewok Village out in the middle of nowhere. Powered by Mah Deuce, and very modest/rugged. I think I could build a place like I have in mind for as little as $20,000-30,000 (including the land). For that kind of money, I could build a new cabin every few years if I can save all the money that I would have otherwise spent on rent/mortgage if I had a real house. The idea of having a few cabins that span the west-coast, from OR down to Baja is REALLY appealing to me...

    Thanks. It's been a lot of work, but I'm really happy with how it's turning out. Your comment about being ready for the end of the world is something that I get a lot. 'Normal' people think I'm nuts, but everybody loves it. The only people that creep me out are the bunker-building conspiracy theorists. They remind me of the guy that ran the army surplus store in Falling Down. "You're like me, man. You and me, we're the same." Fuck that. I'm really not preparing for the end of the world, or anything like that. Really.

    But it's something to consider. A big obnoxious military truck definitely makes a statement. People approach me everywhere I go, and I love talking to everyone it. There is a potential downside to building on a military platform: international travel. These military surplus vehicles aren't even really supposed to leave the United States, but you can apply for special permits to take them out of the country. From what I understand, it's not much of a problem, as long as you're planning on returning with the vehicle. I think they're just trying to cut down on the number of US military surplus vehicles that end up in military service in places where we'd rather not see these types of resources (for obvious reasons). But that's not even really my point. The thing I'm much more concerned about is how people in local communities are going to feel about seeing a vehicle like this rolling through their streets. I know that even here in the states, when we ride our dirtbikes into any of the one-pump gas station 'towns' that we come across out in the middle of bum-fuck-nowhere, people look at us like we're aliens. It's no wonder. We look like fucking storm troopers in our helmets and reflectives goggles and body armor and shit. I was talking to Wachs about that a long time ago, and he told me that a pair of Carhartts will go a long way to making people feel a little more comfortable (he was just using that as an example, talking about toning down our appearance in general). Sure enough. I think there's a lot to be said for adding a little bit of a whimsical flair to a vehicle like this, that might otherwise give people the wrong impression. Here's a good example of what I'm talking about. Who could be anything but curious (in a good way) about a motorhome with a Studebaker grafted onto the roof of it? But take that too far, and you're going to get hassled by the man.

    I'm getting ready to sand-blast the truck and trailer pretty soon, and when I do, I think the new paintjob will make a big difference in the impression that the rig will make on people. It's never going to be low-key, I just don't want it to look like I'm an invading army OR a traveling gypsy. And I've got an added consideration, that this is sort of a promotional vehicle. I'm documenting the build-up, and will be publishing a series of magazine articles about the project. And I'll be publishing a lot more content about this project on my website. Soon. I promise. Beyond that, I'm also concerned about the way that all of this is perceived by the people that I work with (because I'll be living and working out of this vehicle). Luckily I work in a field full of creative and eccentric people, so this hasn't been much of an issue. But there's a big difference between my rig, and say, a beat-up old Winnebago. As far as perceptions go, it's the difference between 'living the dream' and looking 'down and out'. Mah Deuce works for me, where an old junker would definitely work against me. So in that sense, this is an investment in my business/livelihood as much as it is a personal project.

    That brings me to an important point though: I really don't NEED any of this shit. A while ago, I was over at Metolius, where my buddy Jamie was helping me turn my queen-sized
    tempurpedic mattress into a futon
    and he introduced me to another employee there, who also lived in a truck. We started talking, and I was asking him about his setup. It's a late-model Toyota Tacoma with a regular camper-shell on the back of it. He's got a couple of deep-cycle batteries and a small invertor, a bedroll, a backpacking stove, a few gallons of water, and all his hang-gliding equipment. He lives out in the wilderness east of Bend, and comes into town to work a few days a week. Showers at the gym. Sounded like he was really happy with his whole situation. When he asked me when my project was going to be done, I immediately replied, "It's pretty much done as soon as we finish this mattress". At the time, I had only just barely finished all of the woodwork (cabinets and all that stuff) and there was no plumbing, heating, or electricity, but this guy made me feel like such a bitch.

    I spent about a month living in Mah Deuce with my dogs, up in Bend, after I moved out of my house. I was building the cabover rack at my friend's shop, and spent most nights just outside of town. Friends came out to visit me wherever I was camped. Kept my beer on ice in an old cooler, was cooking on a coleman campstove (also used to heat water for sponge-baths), washing my pots and pans in the river, falling asleep under the stars on the roof of Mah Deuce (it was summertime). It was great.

    Since I've been down at my parents' place, I've collected a lot more of the parts I needed, and I've done a bit more work on the truck. Got all of the general maintenance done, and now I feel pretty confident that it's mechanically sound. Rebuilt the axles and brakes, replaced the transfer-case, changed all the fluids, bought new tires and built new wheels. Also bought a new engine, along with a brand new cab and hardtop, and a bunch of other cool stuff. But mostly, I've just been working. Pimping myself out in order to make enough money to 'finish' my motorhome. The truth is, I won't ever really finish this project. I'll keep geeking-out on it until I move on to something else. I'm reaching a point now, where it doesn't really matter what's done and what's not. My trailer is basically a rolling workshop, and I can continue working on this thing wherever I take it. I'm sure my life will get more and more comfortable as I make further improvements (like installing a water-fountain in the center-console, and maybe a urinal?). This is just the kind of shit that I love to do. And I feel incredibly lucky that I've been able to spend my time in such frivolous pursuits. I could spend the rest of my life building a motorhome, and I have to remind myself of that from time-to-time. Believe it or not, this IS me restraining myself. My initial plan was to build something from scratch...

    No, the plumbing isn't even done yet. What I meant to say, is that all of the systems are redundant, several times over. So if one of the electric water-pumps fails, I'll have spares. If the whole electrical system goes down, I'll be able to use air-pressure (engine-mounted air-compressor) to generate water-pressure. If whole electrical system is down, and the engine isn't running, I'll be able to use a manual water-pump to draw water. Same thing goes for water purification, the electrical system, heating, and all the other 'critical' systems onboard.

    Don't have many pics of the interior as it site right now, but here's one.

    Unfortunately, you won't find many. These old engines don't make much power for their size and weight, but I just bought a brand new 5-ton multifuel engine for Mah Deuce. It's designated as an LDS465 (2.5-ton engine is called an LDT465). It's basically the same engine, but it's got a different cam profile, and oil-cooled pistons, and makes just a bit more power (about 200hp vs. 130hp). Honestly though, something like a Cummins 12-valve 6BT (the diesel engines that came in the older Dodge Ram trucks) would be a lot better choice for a vehicle like this. But I didn't want to give up the multifuel.
  17. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    I would be interested in seeing what sort of reaction you got from the Mexican authorities if you tried to take your truck Southbound. Back in the 80's they used to question motorcyclists that wore military-style boots although they have lightened up considerable since then ... at least around here.
  18. jesusgatos

    jesusgatos fishing with dynamite

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    From what I've read on Steel Soldiers (great resource for anyone interested in these vehicles), there seem to be a lot of people that have taken their trucks down into Mexico, and up into Canada, without any problems. I've had some gnarly experiences down there in our other trucks though, and I'm not trying to make myself a target. My adventures south of the border will probably be limited to traveling to/from a property where I might set up camp for a while. If I was planning on anything much beyond that, I'd probably be inclined to just buy another truck. Something more disposable. Buy an old beater off craigslist for a few thousand dollars, throw a camper on it, and call it done.
  19. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    Thanks for the info! :clap
  20. rthuey

    rthuey twist your wrist!!!

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    saw a mention of but no actual post for the unicat in the thread


    and don't forget the cult classic post apocalypse machine of all time