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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  • Rae
    Once you have your solar set-up, you may want to consider heading to BLM land in the Southwest U.S.or the Slabs for the winter months where the cost to boondock is next to nothing. Checkout some other blogs like http://thebayfieldbunch.com/2011/03/its-time-to-get-big-wheels-rolling.html or http://kareninthewoods-kareninthewoods.blogspot.com/2011/03/vacation-prawns-on-barbie.html

    You would find lots of Canadians among the American crowd and you might find whole new avenues to write about. I believe you can spend up to 6 months in the U.S. before you have to return to Canada. Enjoy your blog!

  • I will look forward to your views on AM Solar. I always thought if I ever had solar panels installed I would have AM Solar do the work.

    Things are all relative. Tioga George claims that the US is restrictive of freedoms and that Mexico is a place of personal freedoms.

  • So glad you are enjoying the states and that your money is going further. Is gasoline the biggest difference? Sounds like food is lower here and some purchases. I’ll be circling Lake Superior all of August so traveling in Ontario so am curious what to be most aware of. I did work in Windsor commuting from Detroit area from 2005-2009 so am aware of some of the cost issues including fluctuating exchange rate.

    This Michigander is so hoping to get to Oregon in 2012 and I had forgotten AM Solar is there. I think I’ll have better idea by end of this camping season if as a part-timer I can justify a solar panel purchase and if so how many watts. My Class B can probably only hold one panel so I’ll need to carefully calculate. First thing I need to learn is how figure out how much is left on my two house batteries (the kind that use distilled water). Isn’t there a meter I could buy? I’d appreciate any insights.

  • Colleen, one of the biggest reasons I’m getting solar is to spend my winters boondocking in the southern US!

    The six month thing is a privilege, not a right. People keep telling me I can stay longer than two months on this trip, but my passport was stamped with the date I need to leave. So, I can’t count on being allowed in that long. Next year, I will try for six months, but plan for four.

    Martha, I haven’t been to Mexico yet, but I suspect what George knows. I am eager to try out Mexico, but now is definitely not the time to go!

    Karen, gas is much cheaper right now. About $3.67 a gallon vs. the $1.40 a litre in Canada. Filling my car in the US is about $36 and in Canada $56. For Miranda, that’s $180 vs $280!!! Food is also MUCH cheaper. I can eat out as much as I want for less than it would cost to prepare the meal in Canada.

    Andy Baird’s Eureka has really good info on battery use monitors.http://andybaird.com/travels/eureka/index.htm A really good resource for solar is Jack Mayer: http://www.jackdanmayer.com/rv_electrical_and_solar.htm Anything I have to say on the subject would be distorted quotes from these two, so I might as well send you straight to the source!

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