Browsing "Musings"
Mar 15, 2011 -

Why Eugene and Thinking Ahead

I’m in this general area of Oregon because Thursday morning I am having a 150 watt solar panel installed by the RV solar experts AM Solar. Even before I had a rig, I knew that I wanted my solar system to be installed by them. I didn’t want to say too much about this because of the number of kerfuffles since I left Abbotsford five weeks ago, but now I really do believe this project is a go!

Once I have the solar panel, I won’t need to plug in every few nights. Even in this soggy climate, I’m confident that with proper electrical management this solar panel will mean a great deal of freedom for me. It’s a lot of money at one time, but it will pay for itself quickly.

As to why I am in Eugene specifically, it’s that I have friends who were able to put me up with a 15A connection and access to a spigot to top off my fresh water tank. I am so grateful to them!

Climate notwithstanding, I am really enjoying Eugene. It reminds a lot of Ottawa, actually, and the neighbourhood where I’m staying is not unlike the grittier half of Sandy Hill and the Byward Market where I lived and worked during my university days in the late ’90’s. I can walk to all the services I need and the variety of restaurants is staggering.

Here are a few pictures that I’ve taken during my walks about the neighbourhood:

My appointment with AM Solar, located in nearby Springfield, is on Thursday, first thing, and not wanting to overstay my welcome, I will be heading out of town after. I’d like to do five to seven days on the Oregon coast, then start to work my way back to Canada. I’d have two weeks to get there, so there would be no rush.

Now that I’ve experienced life in the States, I cannot view my RVing life in the same manner as before. Everything has changed. I’ve crunched the numbers and I can do six months here for the cost of four months in Canada, and that includes health and vehicle insurance and an internet set up.

So, what does this mean? Well, I need to start earning more money in Canada and spending as little of it there as I can!

And I’ve decided not to return to Yukon this summer.

Instead, I’m going to go into Alberta, even if it means facing the brutal dregs of winter. I simply cannot afford to set up residence in BC. I want to get over the border and find work as close to the Montana border as possible.

Up until a few months ago, I just didn’t see myself being able to work for someone else again, but now I would welcome a steady stream of income. I could get that in Yukon, of course, but it’ll cost $1,500 to get up there, money I’d rather spend exploring this part of the US that is new to me.

I’ve been growing increasingly bitter about Canadian rules that dictate how I can live and now I have something else to focus on: enthusiasm for learning what I can do to conform to US laws so as to be allowed the continued privilege of vacationing here.


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Alberta, Canada, Electricity, Finances, Itineraries, Law and Government, Musings, Oregon, Personal, Scheming, Solar Panels, Technical, Travel, USA, Work, Yukon    4 Comments
Feb 8, 2011 -

Feeling ‘Off’

Once I got settled in with groceries and started on dinner, I realised that I was feeling really unsettled. I couldn’t figure out why because the feeling didn’t have anything to do with being in the States. And then it hit me.

This is the first time since landing in Dawson in June of ’09 that I don’t know what my next step is going to be. Once I got settled in Dawson, I knew what was next: a Vancouver Island winter then a second Klondike summer; the fall in Osoyoos then the RV show. I didn’t want to make any plans for after because I didn’t know what doors, if any, the show would open for me. The only certainty for me right now is that I have guaranteed jobs in the Yukon this summer if I need them. I’m sitting where I was at the end of April ’09, staring at a gaping unknown, only this time I don’t have anywhere near the financial safety net I had back then. I put everything I had into getting the seminar and book ready and there really is very little left with which to pick up the pieces. I have no regrets. I finally made my mark on the world, and is that not what we all want, to leave something meaningful behind?

Being in the States for a couple of months is going to stop the financial bleed and give me time to focus on something other than sheer survival. I’m at a lovely park that is costing me a third of what I was paying in Osoyoos. Plus, all the parks in Vancouver said that a ‘month’ is from the 1st to the 31st, so I would have paid for 30 days and only gotten 21 (still cheaper than daily or weekly rate) while the folks here assumed that wanting to stay ‘a month’ meant staying till the morning of March 8th. Groceries are also much, much cheaper. Gas prices are a joke. Even though I can’t technically work in the US, the laws are clear that I can continue with my existing contracts with non-US clients and I’m pretty sure it would be okay to work on another book so long as I don’t market it until I get back to Canada. So, I’m really in a good place to pause for a bit and figure out the next stage of this wondrous, crazy life of mine.

As I said in my seminar, I started from scratch when I hit the road and I have to be patient as I figure out how I’m going to make it. I remain committed to the open road and know that many fantastic adventures lie ahead. I’m just a little discombobulated right now from the adrenaline of the last week. Settling back into a semblance of a routine is going to help. So is knowing that I’m going to Seattle this weekend to meet up with a longtime blog reader/friend and that I won’t have to factor an hour’s wait at the border both ways ‘just in case’ in my schedule!

I’ll finish off with a few random pictures:

Miranda parked in Tradex overflow at sunset

Nee this morning, enjoying some rare sunshine

Washington sunset

Washington sunset, redux

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Cats, Finances, Musings, Personal, Why I Do This    9 Comments
Jan 16, 2011 -

How Much Space Do You Really Need

It’s a good thing that I’m just about done with the renos because I’m past due to get my life back.

The last year in Miranda hasn’t been all that pleasant. I’ve been in a constant state of flux as I’ve tried to stay organized while my house has been completely topsy turvy. The last month, with the library and loft inaccessible, was my breaking point. I need these renos done NOW so that I can put things away properly and get back on track with my home and business routines.

I just finished doing a major sweep through the rig, putting things in the room in which they belong even if I haven’t come up with a final plan for cabinet storage. Part of this project involved bringing anything reno related to the library. I’m going to do a major sort through everything before I begin work on the front room. I’m really pressed for time, there are exactly two weeks left before I’m slated to leave, but I am sorely tempted to just get this done. I’m pretty sure that if my tools and supplies are in order, I can get the library and kitchen finished in three days. One for prep and final carpentry, one for priming and a first coat of paint, and a second for the final paint job. I’m giving myself a Friday deadline to start the final push, otherwise I’ll let it go until the next time I’m paused. I don’t mind if curtains aren’t finished and if there are decorative touches, like recovering chairs, left, but I’d love to be able to put the tools and hardware back in the basement. At least, I know I won’t have any structural surprises with this part of the rig.

Since I really got into the renos and lost access to some spaces, Miranda’s size has been foremost on my mind. It doesn’t help that I’ve been reading blogs by people living in truly tiny rigs. It’s amazing how a hundred twenty-five square feet or so has gone from being tiny, to being more than I really need. How did that happen?! I’ve conceded that Miranda fits the ‘wanting a home’ part of my dream much more than the ‘having the freedom to travel’ part. But, oh, how I love her! This rig is truly special and made for me.

Now, no laughing at my lack of graphic skills, but here’s the current layout:

I hardly ever use the front room area. I suspect that I will once the renos are done and I refinish that lounge chair. But, for the way I’m currently living, I could really have a smaller rig without that front area, like so:

I would not be happy without my dressing room! That space has really spoiled me! But I really could do without the lounge area in the front since I watch movies in the study and usually read in bed. What the lounge area gives me is an out of the way spot for the litter box and a place to dry laundry. I do use it a lot more when I’m traveling, for some reason, but, truly, it’s space I don’t need.

I’m also thinking about my ‘stuff’ and have noticed that I am more aware of it than I ever have been in my life. I’m constantly questioning if something belongs in my home and if it doesn’t, out it goes! But I still find myself wondering how I wound up having so much and I know I have more editing to do, especially in the matter of my wardrobe. Since my rig isn’t stuffed to the gills, I’m favouring a more organic form of downsizing now whereby I hesitate to replace things unless I really use them and can get the replacement at little to no cost (like my breadmaker). This way, should the time come for me to go into an even smaller rig, I won’t have to contend with the guilt of getting rid of things I spent good money for.

But, first, I look forward to many years of comfortable living in my decadently spacious Miranda. 😀

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Homemaking, Musings, Organizing, Personal, Renovating    8 Comments