Sunday, June 30, 2013

Irony of the Day

Before going out to experience the world, it's best to insulate oneself a little from the world. At least from the heat and cold.

I've started installing insulation in the RST.

Friday, June 28, 2013

So, backing up a little

The past week was crazy time. Casting one's excess material goods upon the world is liberating, but it still means a lot of schlepping. And some heavy lifting.

And the clock was ticking.

There were some keep-or-give/toss decisions I couldn't make. The immediate thing was to empty the house. Put the I-don't-knows in the van. Those choices can be made later.

The paperwork was completed today. The house is no longer mine. There is no "home" to return to.

I was in Denmark a few years ago. In my grandfather's birthplace. Standing on a bluff, looking out at the North Sea. He, and my ancestors from England, Scotland and Ireland probably looked out at the ocean, unable to see beyond the horizon, going by the reports of others and motivated by their dreams and ambitions and... they went.

Americans tend to be restless because we are descendants of restless people. My restlessness has been building (again) for several years. This is my leap of hope. Things will be better in my new world, right?

Ghosts in the Machine

The crossbars of the roof rack come with plastic end caps. But they don't fit snugly. I worry they might blow off somewhere. So, until I can find a good sticky glue that will remain sticky even after years of UV exposure, I'm leaving the caps off.

As a result, the crossbars act like large flutes. The wind blows across the open ends, producing low whistles that change in pitch and quality depending on speed and wind direction.

At times, the whistles sound like distant moans and murmurings. Voices of the spirits of the road and the wind, perhaps. Are they trying to tell me something important? Or are they just complaining.


Friday, June 21, 2013

What would you do?

Let's say you're a business owner, or just an employee in charge of shipping. And you want to maintain excellent customer relations. Okay? Got your head in that place?

Let's say a customer orders a bulky item and a couple of small items. Say it comes to $739.00. and the shipping from Arizona to North Carolina is $256.21 (because of the bulky item).

Let's say you send an email saying the order has been shipped. You even send a tracking number.

Let's say you find out from UPS that the shipping is actually $13.02 more than what you'd calculated. Oops.

Do you:

A. Find a way within the company to eat $13.02 in the name of customer satisfaction

B. Pay the extra $13.02 to UPS so the order can be on its way, but contact the customer, explain the error, apologize profusely, and invoice him for the extra shipping

C. Yank the order off the shipping dock and refund the customer's money. And claim you left messages about the $13.02 on the customer's phone.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bye, Ol' Blue

I turned in my leased Civic today. Things worked out so I had only one more payment to make. No sweat.

After washing and vacuuming it was looking quite sharp. It was as if it was putting its best face forward while begging, "You don't want to get rid of me, do you?"

Kid, I'm sure someone will buy you quickly and treat you like royalty. Me, I have to move on to a different phase of my life, and you can't come along.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Low High Low

I've been driving the Rolling Steel Tent (RST) around town, running errands and such, getting used to its mass and its handling characteristics. So far, so good.

The RST is getting better audio stuff installed today, so I'm back to driving the Civic. And it feels odd. Getting down into it instead of up into the van. Sitting close to the floor, legs forward, instead of sitting as if in an office chair. Everything inside the Civic exactly where I left it, but with a microscopic layer of neglect and loneliness.

But, man, the Civic handles so much better. Light, low center of gravity, rack-and-pinion steering...

I went to the Honda dealer to check on what I needed in order to do the end-of-lease turn in. (Almost nothing.) So I'll clean out the glove box, door pockets and trunk and give it a farewell run through the car wash. Then it's adios, amigo. You served me well.

Its spot in the driveway will be taken by a dumpster. Then the new owner's PODS. Both of which the RST can outmaneuver.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Success with less

It didn't require three extra people to lift the ladder rack from the van. My buddy Steve and I got it done. Now it's time to wash the roof.

What's the point of plans if you can't change them?

I wrote before about mounting a solar panel to the existing ladder rack. After studying it out for a while, I've decided to remove and sell that rack and replace it with something simpler. And lighter.

Now I just need the help of three tall people or a crane to lift off the rack without scratching the van.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Meet the Rolling Steel Tent

So, here it is. Impressive, huh?

A plain cargo van formerly used by a security systems company. Bare metal inside except for rubber floor covering. Some shelving that might be repurposed. A roof rack that will hold a solar panel.

Sixty square feet of home. Just add bed, stove, sink, fridge, porta-potty, clothing, food, supplies. Christensen Transport & Storage.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Almost Gone

A new life calls for a new blog.

I think Descartes said that. Joe Descartes, the guy who is always hanging out in front of the Smoothie Palace.

So, this is my new blog. The one various people asked me to create so I can report on my wandering life.

Wandering but not lost.

I hope.

I turn the house over to the new owner on June 28. By then I will have temporarily decamped to my friend Bryan's house in Lancaster, SC, where I'll finish outfitting my van.

Yes, a van. Like William Least Heat-Moon of Blue Highways fame. Only with solar power.

A van, like all the hippies and Dead Heads I never was. Only without the sex and drugs.

A van, because owning an RV, with all its mechanical complexity, is too much like owning a house. Too much to go wrong. Besides, the larger the vehicle, the fewer places I would be able to go. And stop.

So, stay tuned. And discuss the craziness of my decision amongst yourselves.