December 30, 2014 at 8:11 am #33158
Hello, all… I’ve not been on the forum a lot lately, as I’d lost my job some 7 months ago. Long story short, sold my house for a tidy profit. Ok, for an obscene profit… LOL.
With two little girls who love going to the swimming pool, and the house was very luxurious for our needs. I had a nice garage with a lot of shop equipment in it, all that stuff. But…. it’s just STUFF. Our neighborhood was starting to decline, illegals were starting to be more noticeable, and our quiet little corner of the world was suddenly not so… attractive. Losing my job (self-inflicted mistake on my part, being brutally honest here), was a shock, but the silver lining is that it compelled us to reconsider our options. We could have lasted another 6-8 months before we burned through the last of our money trying to stay in the McMansion, or we could cash out.
We needed a fall-back position, QUICK.
In the back of my head, I’ve been considering a Class A motorhome as a SHTF bug-out vehicle/shelter, so this seemed the time to make the move. As to why I decided on a diesel-pusher motorhome, the power, fuel-mileage and insanely long life-span of diesels made the decision fairly easy. While there is considerable debate between whether an RV would be a good SHTF vehicle, the reality is that I can’t afford a “bug-out location,” my family and most of my friends live in that happy cocoon of denial about SHTF probabilities, and so I have no nearby support network to speak of. We’re on our own, in other words. So, with little ones, we had to have the most comfortable vehicle (or shelter) available. It also had to be as *big* as we could afford to reasonably get, as the shelter will “get smaller” the longer we’re in it, starting each other eyeball to eyeball…
Based on these criteria, I bought an early 90’s 36′ diesel-pusher motorhome that appeared to be in very good shape, for $20K. [Pic of identical model to mine attached.] I expected to put in another $10K getting it all up to snuff, but getting everything done to top-notch quality actually ran up the total price to nearly $40k. That included going through every system on the motorhome (less the engine and transmission) with a fine-toothed comb, testing everything and replacing anything that wasn’t *perfect.* It also included my going through the entire electrical system, installing new DC power cabling, invertor and new gel-cell batteries that doubled the power storage capacity. Resealed the roof and all the windows, interior repairs, tires, alignment…. the list of repairs was literally five pages long. The motorhome is Beaver Patriot, pretty much the top-of-the-line back when built… solid cabinetry, well-insulated, the build quality, even 20 years later, is nothing short of superb. The age required some repairs, new floors, and some extraneous repairs (toilet, faucets, etc.), but I didn’t want to move my family into a rattle-trap, with leaks, smells or any other problems.
So with everything done, we moved into the RV. A garage full of… crap… wouldn’t fit into the motorhome, obviously. Nor would the furniture, stacks of books, our library of DVDs, all that other **** that people acquire over time. We had a garage sale… actually, several of them. Total take while keeping the most important stuff (weapons, other high-priority prep gear) netted $3K. Guys, if you want to really make money off of stuff that you’re thinking of throwing out, hand the job off to your wife. Women- from my VERY limited understanding of women in general- seem to have the ability to get OTHER women to actually shell out money for stuff that’d look perfectly at home at the bottom of a dumpster. Knitted doilies, plastic flowers and flowerpots, a painting that looks like somebody vomited on it? Your wife will convince someone to buy it. Same gig with the furniture, extra cars…
We got rid of almost everything. It’s AMAZING how much crap we acquire… useless, STUPID stuff. It reminded me of that movie Fight Club, and this quote:
Tyler Durden: Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy **** we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.
So we got rid of a lot of excess baggage. Some stuff in storage, been in the RV for 3 months. Will go to what I’ve quickly discovered especially with regard to SHTF situations, bugging out, and so on.
Sorry if I was too long-winded.
Attachments:You must be logged in to view attached files.December 30, 2014 at 10:25 am #33168
my personal SHTF was 2 divorces, literally had to take what I could carry and move into a grotty bedsit and start again.
British Survivalist.December 30, 2014 at 11:02 am #33174
URBAN ASSAULT VEHICLE
"ROGUE ELECTRICIAN" Hoping to be around to re-energize the New World.....
Cogito, ergo armatus sum
Attachments:You must be logged in to view attached files.December 30, 2014 at 1:08 pm #33176
Breathial, I give you credit for being brave enough to make such a radical change in your life. Most of us would have tried to recreate what we already had. I suspect I’d of tried to put a lot of the “stuff” into storage somewhere. A question for you. Have you been living in a campground or are you on the move?December 30, 2014 at 1:43 pm #33179
Thanks for sharing your story here Breathial!
It was tough period for you, and it is still hard, but most important is that you adapted and you act.
Life is going on, keep pushing.December 30, 2014 at 2:21 pm #33181
Great to have you here on the forum Breathial, please post all the good and bad experiences you have had with this move. I think that all of this will help you in a real SHTF time.December 30, 2014 at 3:19 pm #33186
Yeah, Breathial! It’s good to make your escape. What’s your plan?December 30, 2014 at 3:33 pm #33188
Your move to a motorhome is certainly a radical change, and one that should prepare you well for what lies ahead! I commend your courage!December 30, 2014 at 6:23 pm #33206
The motorhome is a great idea for a SHTF times where you can move anywhere. There is some dangers to a motorhome that you need to think about. The biggest danger is an EMP attack which would make the motorhome not work or move. But an EMP does the same to a house and all vehicles. The other dangers are that you would need to find somewhere away from all cities to park it in a SHTF times.
One of the problems with a motorhome is where to store a year of food and need to find a river or water supply. Remember to store water filters, good ones.December 30, 2014 at 6:33 pm #33207
Moving all of your stuff into a motorhome seems like a simple exercise, right? And what you can’t carry in the motorhome, you put on a trailer and tow behind the motorhome…? Uh, NO.
Lessons learned so far:
1. RVs are designed to be used for a few days or few weeks. There is NO WAY you’ll have enough storage to carry around everything you need. Blankets and bedding will fill a couple of large cabinets. Even more will be taken for clothes, coats, shoes and other gear. If you’re packing for a weekend getaway, it’s good. If you’re going to LIVE in it, for REAL? No, never enough room, no matter what you do.
2. Food storage and refrigeration in any RV is minimal. Again, enough for a short time, but NO way you’ll have enough room for any serious preps. With a family of four, we’re having to make a grocery run every 3-4 days.
3. No matter how carefully you check out your RV, you will run into problems exactly like you would on a house, but they happen with *greater* frequency than you will see in a house, because you have everyone using the same shower, or toilet or whatever. The other RV people I’ve met have told me it takes 1-2 YEARS to work all the kinks out a new unit, even when under warranty!
4. Don’t think you can simply hook up a trailer to haul your extra gear/supplies/fuel behind your RV. Motorhomes are bloody HEAVY, and they’re always close to their maximum weight capabilities (with full water tank, personal goodies, etc.) that there is little margin for adding on a substantial trailer. To put it in perspective, I’d like to tow my car behind my rig, but the car weighs 4000 pounds, a car trailer 2800 pounds, and I have only 5000 available. I’d LIKE to tow a 10,000# trailer with my car AND fuel, but that’s just not possible.
5. Having 100 gallons worth of fresh water and fuel can go a long way, if you’re very careful. The water can be stretched out at least 2-3 weeks, maybe more depending on how strict you are on consumption. Average fuel consumption is 10 MPG, if we stay at 50-55 MPH. Going up to an average speed of 60, will increase fuel consumption to 9.2 MPG. The price of driving something with all the aerodynamic properties of a brick.December 30, 2014 at 6:56 pm #33209
Breathial, I had a feeling this would be a problem. Well you have time to look at what solutions are available.
Do you have an family member that would lend you an area in there yard to add a storage container of some type?
Maybe you can find somewhere out of the city that would lease a small area to put a container to store can foods and other items.
I think you need to study this, there maybe many other options for you to look into.December 30, 2014 at 7:18 pm #33210
Sorry, I didn’t realize there’d be so many responses. First post went online at like 1AM, and waited until I got up to finish the second, without looking. So let me first address the questions, and then move on to other aspects of living the minimalist lifestyle we currently have.
Mountainbiker, we’ve been doing this for 3 months so far, 2 of them at campgrounds. While that’s NOT really “roughing it,” due to having power/water/sewer, the one month on the road so far has been my baseline on things like fuel mileage, water consumption, power storage, etc. Not a very good data set, I admit, just trying to put out the current data for others to think about. With regard to being stationary or on the move, I bought the RV with the idea that we’d be on the move a LOT. That’s just not realistic, because you still need to be somewhat close to your storage/supplies. We simply can’t carry all the coats and other creature-comforts like ventilation fans in the summer, heaters in the winter (Walmart sells fans and heaters that work VERY well, but are electrically very efficient, stretching out battery capabilities). There has been one… negative… experience being on the move, and hopefully I’ll get to it later.
Selco, the tough period was actually a couple of weeks ago. Frayed tempers, poor communication with my wife (originally from Rostov-On-Don, Russia), and she was on the ragged edge. Wanted to move back to Russia with the kids, get a divorce… and then the Ruble collapsed. Gave her plenty to think about, where we were able to work things out. The price for being cooped up in a little box. I used to be in the navy, working on submarines, so the small spaces don’t bother me. But they surely do for everyone else.
As to plans, the RV was the obvious solution for the short-term fallback position. My work is rather specialized, but requires me to be close to big cities (a mistake I learned too late). None of the companies I have been talking to for work are even in California, so I can’t lock my family and I into a lease of 6 months or a year…. If I got a new job next week, we’d be screwed. So this option allows us to have a decent lifestyle, the ability to play “vacation” with out little ones, and be ready to go for the next job. A new aspect in the mix, is that I’ve been talking to some companies who have been building in sparsely populated areas- Wyoming, parts of Texas, Virginia, etc., so I’ve been pushing hard for those locations. Would love to be out in country, while still making a decent salary.
The idea that we were brave or courageous to take this step, misses the point. We were in trouble. We took stock of what we had in cash, the on-paper value we had in our house, and analyzed current cash flows. We took a conservative approach, designed to hold out as long as possible with the remaining money available. It took a few days of phone calls to the local branch manager from Chase bank, to get the funds together so that I could cash it all out, but that’s exactly what I did… Though I felt a little ridiculous walking out of the bank with a bag full of money, like a character in a comedy.December 30, 2014 at 8:43 pm #33213
Living in an RV, electricity is of key importance. Having good batteries and a charging system are crucial. With a well-designed system is a top priority. Our system- with care- can support us for about 2 weeks. And while a nice RV hookup can keep you going indefinitely, even a 15 amp wall outlet can be enough.
But other consumables like propane and diesel are finite, so all efforts need to be made to supplement the electrical capacity. If you can get your refrigerator and creature comforts like heating off of propane and onto the electrical, the longer you’ll last. Future plans include a 1200 watt solar array which should keep our batteries charged even during heavy use (cold nights using electric heaters). With minimal use of propane we can stretch the standard propane tank to months.December 30, 2014 at 8:57 pm #33215
All the best in your next steps. Personal SHTF situations can be very challenging. Sounds like you are working the best plan you can under such fluid circumstances. You will be stronger for it.December 30, 2014 at 10:38 pm #33220
I think this reinforces a critical point. Breathial was forced into a SHTF situation, and found a solution that he thought worked for he and his family. Actually living in the situation revealed weaknesses in his solution. Things break, and when stressed they break more often.
How many preppers think they have their solution for SHTF locked down? Then reality hits, and the flaws to our solution show up. If you haven’t throughly tested your solution beforehand, finding out the flaws in a real SHTF situation can be dangerous if not downright fatal.
My constant worry is what am I missing. I know I don’t know it all. Thanks to this forum, and the people that populate it, I’ve been able to fill in some of the missing pieces.
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