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TGIF ~ The Mobile Home as your BOV ~

(Wilderness/Urban Survival), (BOB/BOL/INCH/ETC), (Shelters)
Knuckle
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TGIF ~ The Mobile Home as your BOV ~

Postby Knuckle » Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:50 pm

I just read C5's comment that this topic should be a discussion in itself as it has so many factors to consider. I agree. C5 also stated that he has spent quite a few years in a one and he even posted a pic of his bus somewhere too. I too chose that path for a couple years and enjoyed seeing another "rolling brother" . There are many goods and bads and maybe the both of us can enlighten others as to what knowledge we came away with as we write.

So as not to break up other threads, I thought that maybe I'd just copy and paste some of my material from other links pertinent to this topic.

My RV is a 27 ft Class A much like that shown above. They sell cheap nowadays because most folks can't afford to drive them far. This is obvious when you go to purchase one. A 30 year old RV often has less than 50,000 km on it. Most just drive them to the nearest park and squat at a campsite as it is too expensive to travel in. And old ones are often is quite good shape as they were rarely used. I bought mine a few years back for $5000 and it had a $1000 hitch already installed, a 6.2 diesel engine and an Onan 4000 kw onboard generator to boot. And there were many to choose from....

Other RV Advantages:

* low mileage means drivetrain should be reliable
* RV's are already a complete organized home on wheels
* you get to carry more stuff for the longer haul
* you could go where it's known safe... instead of 1 bug out location, you have many choices
* you have a roof over loved ones heads
* you can hide prep items more easily
* many RVs carry 700 miles of fuel on board
* they all come with water tanks and propane tanks too
* and they can pull more junk if need be
* an older RV says" I'm poorer than flash over there with his shiney new one, rob him instead :D
* you can carry backup vehicles, from motorbikes to bicycles.
* relaxing on the roof gets you above the mosquitos radar.
* the roll out awning is soon your favorite option

Disadvantages:

- gas RV's get around 6 MPG while my diesel gets 10 MPG at 80 KPH
- you have to buy insurance on another vehicle
- you have to have a place to park something this huge
- today's gas with ethonal separates quickly so fuel additives are a must...diesel RV's best but hard to find
- those with long overhang after the rear axle bottom out on even minor inclines at just gas stations. This is why mine is only 27 ft long.
- longer RV's with overhang can't pull trailers or BOV as they get more a teeter-totter affect when driving.
- you have to dip into your life's savings just to gas these pigs up. Mine holds 500 liters of fuel!
- you won't be going over or around many road obstacles with an RV
- backing up, especially with a small trailer is a test of sheer will

The biggest point I like to express upon those who bug out is having multiple backup plans. Owning an RV gives you this. You don't have to quickly opt for just what you carry on your back. If your heading for Uncle Sam's place, you brought your own home along and he likely won't tire of you so quickly. There are just too many things that we need in our daily lives to not seriously consider an RV if you must even consider bugging out an option! I live in a isolated area where most would likely head for, yet an uncontrolled forest fire means having to leave here too. We lost over a million acres of forest back in 1980 and having fought fires then is my reminder to have a backup plan even here. The RV is my first choice for a BOV and your other fallback options should break down to according to what your pulling or carrying. I listed a variety below to allow you to figure that which you could apply to your present options.

Bug Out Vehicle: Your vehicle best suited to pull a trailer, carry fuel and supplies while traversing backroads and other obstacles to get to safer grounds. Should have a class 5 hitch, roofrack, box cap and be reliable.

Camper Trailer: a self-contained home whose size is limited by bugout vehicles towing capacity. Home comforts while hauling supplies. Should also have roofrack, ladder, hitch.

Enclosed Trailer:
keeps contents hidden. Extra storage with roofrack, side hooks and hitch racks. Size and capacity depends on tow vehicles limits. Can be towed by motorhome or bug-out vehicle.

Tent Trailer: a self-contained home providing essential needs while hauling supplies to a new local. Hides contents inside from prying eyes. Should have substantial roofrack to carry more. Towed by bug-out vehicle.

Storage Pod: enclosed, lockable, mounts on roofracks. Can be transferred to trailers, etc as needs required

Dirtbike: quiet reliable 4 stroke, 250-500 cc. Add rear rack, saddlebags, rifle mount bracket. Used for scouting resources economically. Stores in enclosed trailer.

Bicycles: mountain bike equipped with saddlebags, headlight, front and rear racks, hitch, and locks.

Bicycle Trailer:
consists of a light framework with removable wheels (for easy storage) which should be interchangeable to bicycles if so required. Fasteners for storage pod even. Can be pulled by hand if you are dumb enough to even lose your bicycle :roll:



Things to look for before you Purchase:

1/ Most of the older Class C (van type front ends) are aluminum sided. They tend to have oxidized corners(salt corrosion) that allow moisture in to rot the plywood beneath. I don't know how bad this can get in other provinces, but Ontario RV's do have this alot.

2/ Class A motorhomes ( those with a bus style front end) tend to have fiberglass siding. This manages to keep the moisture out alot better and thus, a far better chance of no wood rot.

3/ Get up on the roof and walk around. (If they won't let you, it's probably shot). Feel for soft spots underfoot. Look for possible leaks in the caulking seal and follow them further when looking inside cupboards and such for water damage. If the roof is soft, then there is likely worse damage below.

4/ Check for soft spots on the floor throughout the interior. A soft spot near the fridge is often caused by the fridge itself as many produce water when defrosting. The most common leaks are around the roof vents.

5/ Hook up a garden hose and run the water while filling the tanks. This will quickly show leaks in the joints and if the tanks leak too. Many leaks occur from folks doing a poor flush for proper winter storage.

6/ Check to see if there is any propane still in the tanks. If they are completely empty, there is a possibility that the system leaks as folks don't often use them and just leave them empty.

7/ Don't just accept that they run. You need to test drive them before you buy as repairs to the front end for proper steering can be expensive to fix.

8/ Check out the air ride suspension and see if it leaks down quickly. Many RV's have this feature and become floating boats that are hard to drive should this feature not work properly.

9/ Look close inside all exterior compartments for moisture damage and wood rot. Most RV's are made of wood framework and much is concealed well in the living space. Therefore potential problems are easier to spot as they leave more uncovered below.

10/ A musty smell when you first go in is a possible telltale that moisture exists and therefore wood rot is more likely.

This is a list of all the not so obvious things to look for. Don't forget to check that everything else functions such as fridge, furnace, etc, too. I hope some find this info useful when checking out their potential home on wheels.
Last edited by Knuckle on Tue Jan 13, 2015 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Knuckle
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The RV as your BOV

Postby Knuckle » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:55 pm

OK, that's a start! I hope folks will also paste other pertinent data regarding this subject so we can organize how readers could achieve maximum efficiency thru this option. C5 and myself may not agree on all issues as we are 2 different people but I do often note that we seem to have parallel opinions on many topics too.

LONG TERM LIVING:

Now seclusion is not for the socialite. If you plan on living in a RV for long periods, you might want to consider this factor a bit before you bank all on it. I take that C5's "shacky wacky" is cabin fever that I have felt too, especially when living secluded from others for too long. Yet it never takes long to realize that I also need some seclusion to keep others from influencing my frame of mind with gossip and other such crap of no importance. I don't know if C5 was single when he lived in his bus as I was. I found that sharing a 38 ft bus with a 130 lb Rottweiller was hard enough as he at least said nothing as we passed in the narrow isle. :D Meeting a member of the opposite sex in these same cramped quarters for more than a few days often kept me in a state of remaining single. :? I opted for this choice mainly because I wasn't good at tolerating crap from roommates over long periods of time when sharing a house. Many people you socialize with and view as fun and outgoing are often not so much fun when you live with them. Instead of continual arguing, I'm one would would rather just leave(it beat swinging and that somehow can become my 2nd option if they were male roommate). :( I mention this as I somehow concluded this thinking was somehow required criteria to live in a bus as I did. :lol: I could move my bus into a friends yard for little or no rent as I usually fixed their bikes, vehicles and equipment instead. When I tired of their company, I'd simply move on and thus remain friends too! I enjoyed this at the time because often other mutual acquaintances seemed to offer me their back yards too to get free work. Thus I often used the washer/dryer and didn't have to pay electric and other bills.

Winters were a challenge as everything freezes in you holding tanks. I ran a short hose wrapped in heater tape and insulated with foam for running water. A small baseboard heater kept it warm enough that pipes never froze at night. I spent much of my days otherwise working then a some job and wrenching on the side too. At night, I'd often just kick open the back door and take a leak while standing on the rear bumper ;). ( this will get the girls going....) :P

I never did the all out go hide in the bush routine with my bus. I lived on the outskirts of Calgary mostly and figured that I had a foot in both worlds somewhat. Most who knew me joked like I was a crazy bushman and it may have seemed that way to some city folk, but that is because they knew nothing outside of their city upbringing. It was simply my way of keeping a slower country lifestyle to relax in after tasting too much of the fast city pace. I think C5 did the bush thing far more than I when living in a bus.

Anyways, it was a great experience when I was young. I built the bus myself. I moved into a stripped bus and built everything day by day. Other bikers dropped by daily as some sort of routine to see how my supposed nomadic lifestyle was going. They'd jokingly criticize in public and compliment in private (as usual friends do) and most seemed silently envious but never enough to pursue this same path. I built 2 buses over the years and sold both in the end. I will maybe explain floorplan design later on if others wish to design their own.
Last edited by Knuckle on Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Knuckle
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Re: The Mobile Home as your BOV

Postby Knuckle » Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:25 pm

If one figures to have to travel rugged terrain in his great escape, a Bluebird school bus converted is still the way to go. They are built strong to protect children and their endurance is equivalent to that of a 4x4 if you wish to beat it high balling down pot-holed, washed out roads. I drove them while working in the bush and if a 4x4 was stuck in a bog hole and blocking the road, we'd bang hard into him directly from the rear without letting up on the gas to avoid walking for a skidder to get both of us out. This is why I built 2 RV's out of buses.

Yet I've opted for the RV now as it is simply much easier than starting over and building another. I have it set up for camping as that is why the wife agreed to get it. It is also an attractive option to invite the kids and friends to come visit and have a holiday at the same time. Meanwhile it doubles as a BOV, so if one had to evacuate, you can simply throw out that which you likely won't require.

Things I have done or will do to my RV are as follows:

Power & Items

- get everything working from furnace to backup generator
- change all light bulbs to led instead as they consume very little energy to drain the batteries.
- mount 2 deep cycle batteries as power backup with the usual starting battery on a circuit isolator to avoid draining with overuse.
- My TV is just a Walmart $100 RCA 19" monitor/TV which doubles as a security camera system ( and assists when backing RV up too) and mounts on a swivel near the drivers seat. I have a laptop base(broken screen removed) mounted under an overhead cupboard with Win7 & Linux OS's on it and tied into the monitor. This computer doubles as a DVD player and could even play Netflix if connected to the internet.
- I also have a satellite dish & receiver to mount someday
- stock up on various types of water/sewer connectors to rig connections as variety of ways along with heater tape
- stash at least 100 yards of HD electrical cord to carry power over long distance.


Food Supplies

- Sort and stock planned food supplies using containers that reseal while maximizing cupboard space. I use square epson salt containers as they have big mouths and a good seal.


(more to follow later)
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cernunnos5
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Re: The Mobile Home as your BOV

Postby cernunnos5 » Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:18 pm

Your second post about sums it up without me needing to add too much more...but I will once I have a bit more time and focus. It was a good and adventurous life...but too lonely to continue without doing extreme mental damage. A lot of fascinating girls came and went from my bed but I never found one willing to embrace that level of austerity for the long term. I've lived in a window van, a 25ft jayco trailer, a camper van, a 42 passenger bus, a few cabins, a motorhome and finally my beloved short bus where I built in everything I had learned from all the others. I eventually gave it away to a perfect stranger for free...and just walked away from my past when a better option presented itself.
More later
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cernunnos5
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Re: The Mobile Home as your BOV

Postby cernunnos5 » Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:41 pm

My lovely old girl... I sometimes miss her....but my new girl is way better
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Knuckle
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Re: The Mobile Home as your BOV

Postby Knuckle » Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:58 pm

cernunnos5 wrote:My lovely old girl... I sometimes miss her....but my new girl is way better


I love the bush guard as it is a decent moose rack as any. Neither of mine were short and I know you liked it but mine were crowded enough at 38 feet. I had an extended rear bumper on the 1st(71 Ford with a 312)to haul a bike and a full roof deck on the 2nd(73 Chev with a 327) which kept it way cooler inside.

Yer lucky to at least have pictures of her. Seems I'm still not much into picture taking but often wish I had been. The wife remembers them both (as we met when I lived in the first one)but with less enthusiasm. I love the olive drab paint but suspect it was hot and would likely attract attention and make authorities suspicious. Seems only proper that you have a bike too as we both must fit some sort of profile for this type of lifestyle.
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Goldie
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Re: The Mobile Home as your BOV

Postby Goldie » Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:03 pm

cernunnos5 wrote: A lot of fascinating girls came and went from my bed but I never found one willing to embrace that level of austerity for the long term.


Ladies ... check the photo , do you know this guy? Maybe you were one of the fascinating girls :lol:
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cernunnos5
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Re: The Mobile Home as your BOV

Postby cernunnos5 » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:17 am

Goldie wrote:
cernunnos5 wrote: A lot of fascinating girls came and went from my bed but I never found one willing to embrace that level of austerity for the long term.


Ladies ... check the photo , do you know this guy? Maybe you were one of the fascinating girls :lol:


Well, To be fully rounded...I have to admit there were some truly embarrassing biatches as well. It gets cold and lonely in those mountains. Crazy Lisa comes to mind. It was well worth the ridiculous winter hookup just for the song I wrote 2 days after with a smile.

"My woman left me. Took my ford and my dog. I'm sure gonna miss....that dog.
She was an old pit bull. Then again, so was the dog. I guess that's what I get for trying to drag some tail along.
She snarled and bit and whined but then again, don't get me wrong.
That also all applied to the dog." (I wont torcher you all with the rest of the song)

Now anyone that recognises the photo will have to wonder if they are the fascinating girl...or the embarrassing biatch.

The first thing you need to know about LIVING in an RV is that everything inside of them was built with RVing in mind...Not living in. It was made for a weekend or week in warm climate. Almost EVERYTHING in it DOES NOT WORK for extended or often, winter use. You may have to replace everything. Example. My first winter storm in a camper van in Calgary, I got off work, drove a distance away, parked and turned on the heater and gloried in my own brilliance that my survival strategy worked flawlessly. No rent. No long commute. No room mates. No one could track me.
The heat went out in the middle of the night. Damn. I better get that figured out in the morning but I had plenty of blankets. In the morning, I woke and went to start the van...Nothing...and the learning experience begins. The fan on the propane heater as well as the Sparker and thermostat all drew off the battery and on a cold night the fan used it all up. Short drives meant my battery was not charging. Once winter hit, that was always my biggest fear. It takes a lot of cranking power to start an old vehicle in the cold. Do it once or twice without a long drive to recharge it and you are stuck in the snow, often in the middle of no where or in places you cant wave down another car for a boost. I always charged a jumper box each day at work and charged the battery anywhere I could get away with it. Same problem with the propane fridge. Electric parts. I gave up on refrigeration. Most times, I lived without heat, only leaving candles going all the time to stave off the deep cold and burn off condensation from my breath. To start fixing the problem, I found a really old heater that I pulled out of a hunting trailer but it was pathetic for heat. Eventually, I got a quality propane BOAT heater and cut a hole in the roof for the exhaust chimney. Very Pricy. 600$. Well, that is my first lesson, Grasshoppers. More latter.

"...I seen a sasquatch once. Remember it to this hour. The first time that she stepped out of the shower..." Ah, crazy Lisa, mountain women.
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Re: The Mobile Home as your BOV

Postby Knuckle » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:44 pm

My first thoughts to you last C5 was ...WTF! :shock:

I too wrote a ditty along that same premiss of comparing the loss of a dog to that of a woman...maybe less personal though :lol:
(seems we walked alot of them same roads...)

A lot of adventures I had required outthinking bikers though.... once a backyard biker party happened where my bus was parked nearby. I'd found someone pretty to play with before bed (and was doing just that) when others decided that it would be innocent fun to light a fire under my toilet's holding tank. Bubbling crap and the smell of sh1t burning makes one not waste much time on dressing :? And I had to sleep elsewhere for a couple of nights as the bus needed to air itself too.

On a better note, I once parked my bus where a garden used to be. Rhubarb grew right beside my front wheel at the front door. I never ate any of this as that is also where both the dog and I took our morning piss. It's hard not to smile when someone who drops by starts chewing on a piece of rhubarb before I can tell them not to do that :D

Ahh, them bus stories! :lol: :lol:

PS: We'll have to start a lyrics section just to show how twisted one's thoughts can get when they spend too much time thinking.... 8-)
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cernunnos5
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Re: The Mobile Home as your BOV

Postby cernunnos5 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:14 am

I'm all typed out from a different project so I will keep this one short...but since I have a captive audience...

Trailers, specifically, but older class Cs as well, are really susceptible to dry rot. I had the floor rot out on mine, under the bed. A rat moved in through the hole which pointed out the problem. Trailers are hard to travel with. Best to just hire a tow truck for a few hundred dollars when you need to move it. I went through two vehicles. One lost breaks. The other burst into flames on a hill...and the clutch was toasted as well. Best to find a place for a trailer and just leave it there...then build a proper roof over it so water flows way over the edges and does not pool to find its way into cracks. Also, make sure you place it in full sunshine where the wind can get to it. Not tucked away beneath some trees. Ventilation is the key. Once its there...forget about using the toilet (Another topic). That space is now for shelving and storage of all your preps. Think about what you can rip out to make space for a proper wood stove. Not one of those pot belly stoves. There is a reason they call them 'Hippy Killers'. Condensation will be a problem in all of these rolling homes. Wood heat will dry out that moisture. Propane generally wont. That's enough for today. Stay tuned
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