En Route to Minneapolis

Minneapolis was victorious over Vancouver.  Mainly because I didn’t want to try to do that 3,000+ mile drive from Vancouver to Delaware all at once.

I’m in the middle of nowhere, Montana.  I’ve driven over 400 miles today, and I’m going to try to get another 300 or so in before setting up camp.  I’ve been averaging about 18mpg!

I’ll be in Minneapolis on Thursday.

 

Last Week in Seattle!

I’ve been on the road 16 weeks now.  I’ll be leaving Seattle in a week, most likely headed towards Minneapolis.  Still haven’t made up my mind 100% so it could still be Vancouver.

I’ve had an amazing time in Seattle.  Met a lot of cool people.  Some of the things I’ve done include a 12 mile hike to the top of a mountain, luxury box at both the Mariners and Seahawks game (thanks Brian), square dancing, space needle for free (thanks Eric), Seattle Underground Adult Tour, wakeboarding, visiting numerous bars/clubs, and even going to a mountain bike park under the freeway.

I’m going to be dog/apartment sitting for Brian this weekend, so it will be nice to live in an actual apartment for a few nights.  I’m excited about running potable water, the freezer, microwave, TV and high-speed (faster than 3g) internet.  All things I have been deprived of the last 16 weeks.

If I do decide to go to Minneapolis, I’ll embark on my 1,600 mile drive on Sunday, and see if I can make it there in 4 days.    400 miles a day shouldn’t be too bad.

Here are some random pictures from Seattle:

Wakeboarding on Lake Samammish

Mariners Game

View from the Space Needle

Seahawks game

 

In this post I made before I left on my trip, I’d mentioned I would land in Vancouver anywhere between June and September.  Its going to be closer to September, if at all.

I’ve really liked spending a full month in each city.  That feels like the right amount of time to allow myself to make an accurate judgment about the city.

I am running out of summer months, and need to be in Delaware in October for my cousin’s wedding.  I effectively have one more month (September) to spend somewhere between Seattle and Delaware.  I’ve narrowed it down to Vancouver, BC and Minneapolis.

Vancouver Pros:

  • I’ve never been to Canada before.  I think it would be fun to spend time in a different country.
  • Very international city.  Should be interesting to visit.
  • I’ve heard the nightlife is pretty good, as you only have to be 19 to go to the bars (not that it matters for an old 24 year-old like myself).
  • Canadians have funny accents.  (What are you talking aboot?)
  • Maybe I’ll meet the Sedin brothers or Ehrhoff. (Vancouver Canucks players… Hockey…)

Vancouver Cons:

  • Cell phone and 3g internet usage is going to be extremely expensive.  Sorting it out will be a pain.
  • Not exactly on the way to Delaware.  The drive from Vancouver to Delaware is going to be very long.

Minneapolis Pros:

  • Still in the USA, so cell phone, internet, currency, etc won’t be a problem.
  • Directly in the middle of the 3,000 mile route from Seattle to Delaware.  I could spend 3 days driving from Seattle to Minneapolis, and 3 days to Delaware, instead of 6 or 7 straight days from Vancouver to Delaware.
  • Maybe I’ll meet Slug (from Atmosphere… a rap group…)
  • Might not have a reason to go back to Minneapolis if I do skip it.

Minneapolis Cons:

  • Higher crime rate.
  • Not an interesting foreign country.

Minneapolis makes more sense logistically, however Vancouver seems a little more interesting to me.  As I mentioned, if I skip Minneapolis, I might never make it there in my journey.  However same goes for Vancouver.  If I were to equip myself with an acceptable phone and eventually do a Canadian tour, Vancouver is still really far out of the way in relation to the other Canadian cities.

I need to make a decision in the next few weeks.  Maybe I’ll visit Vancouver just for a weekend (because of the logistics) and then head off to Minneapolis for September.

Additional Minneapolis Pros:

  • Prince lives here, we got 10,000 lakes
  • the women are beautiful, to me they are
  • we’re not infested with pretentious movie stars
  • Got trees and vegetation in the city I stay
  • I can always find a parking space
  • The women outnumber the men two to one
  • Got parks and zoos and things to do with my son

Bonus points if you can guess what song that’s from.  (Hint, artist has already been mentioned in this post.)

In summation, please comment and help me decide where to spend September!

 

Hidden Benefits of RV Living

While the ability to go wherever the wind takes me is the most obvious benefit of living in an RV, there are a few other interesting bonuses that only other RVers realize.

  • You don’t lose stuff. There are only a few places it could be.  I never spend time looking for stuff anymore.
  • It takes 15 minutes to thoroughly clean my rig. Even if it is a total mess, takes me 15 minutes to organize everything, wipe counter tops, and even vacuum.
  • A sink full of dishes takes a few minutes to do. My sink is tiny and doesn’t hold a lot of dirty dishes.
  • Takes a few minutes to heat up. The rig is so small that it heats up very quickly when I turn the furnace on.
  • Nothing is out of my reach. Literally, from where ever I may be, everything is no more than one step away.
  • No bills. Rent? Nope.  Mortgage/property tax?  Nope.  Electricity?  Solar panels.  I’ll use about 5 gallon of gas a month (not including traveling between cities), and maybe 4 gallons of propane.
  • No mean neighbors. If I don’t like my neighbors, I just find a new spot to park.
  • Safety.  When I come home, I know that nobody is hiding inside, waiting for me to go to bed, because there are no places for a full-grown human to hide.  Furthermore, if someone enters, the alarm goes off.  Simple as that.
 

100 Day Update

Hard to believe, but I’ve been traveling for 100 days now.  I commuted into SF this morning exactly 100 days ago.  Looking back, it feels more like a few years than it does a few months.

Lets look back to a post I made 101 days ago: Trip Predictions.

  • Return Date:  Still have no idea, but June 28th, 2011 seems way too soon.  That’s less than a year away.  No way I’ll be back by then.
  • Lose 15lbs?  I’ve actually gained about 4lbs.  I actually go to the gym every day because it is way easier to shower at the gym then in the RV.
  • Hair grow to shoulders?  No.  It gets too hot with long hair, plus I look stupid with long hair.
  • Lose my mind?  Yes, but not in the way that I thought I would.  I thought it would be more of an isolation-driven insanity like in the movie Castaway, however I’ve actually been more social in the last 100 days than I ever have been in my life.  Its more of a “I’m going to try too many crazy things” sort of insanity.  So I guess it’s the good kind?
  • 92,315 miles on my rig?  I think I have about 81 or 82 thousand right now.
  • 40 of 50 states?  So far hit 3 states.
  • John: 16 1*s?  So far 31% of the way there.  Probably at 1,652 0*s out of your predicted 8,327 0*s.

Glad I went through with it.

Living in a motorhome and traveling the country has been much more enjoyable than I had anticipated.  Before leaving on my journey, I had bouts of doubts.  There were times when I questioned whether it was a good idea or not, and almost wanted to call it off a few times.

My first few days in SF were terrifying, and almost made me want to bail out.  I remember falling asleep my first night, parked on the side of the road in SF, listening to the cars whiz by, thinking “What have I got myself into?”.  I felt like I was in over my head and wanted to call the whole thing off.  I made the decision not to based on two reasons:

1.  Everyone would think I’m a total wimp.  I hate it when people talk about how they are going to do something really cool and then never follow through with it, so I didn’t want to feel like a hypocrite either.

2.  Even if I didn’t enjoy the trip, I would just man up and get it over with because I knew it would be an unparalleled growing experience.  I figured that worst case, the trip would suck, but at least I would come back a better man with so much more knowledge about the world.

Thankfully, I got settled in after a few days and really started enjoying my journey.

Life as a “Vagabond”

It is truly amazing being able to get an entirely new change of scenery once a month.  I feel like I am constantly doing new things and meeting new people.  Time feels like it goes by much slower when you are constantly faced with new experiences, and nothing ever becomes “routine”.  Like I said earlier, I can’t believe it has ONLY been 100 days.  Feels like a lot more.

I have changed a lot as a person in the last 100 days.  I’ve been forced into tons of new and awkward social situations, and learned a lot about making friends and meeting people.  I’ve also hung out with hundreds of different people, with much to learn from each individual.

The most difficult part is saying goodbye, but that feeling is slightly offset by the new opportunities to say hello.  When I left Portland, I was really sad to leave all the friendships I had fostered behind, but at the same time, I was excited to say hello to Seattle and encounter a whole new set of people and experiences.  It is really an emotionally roller-coaster.

What Now?

I’m still in Seattle and will be here through the end of August.  At that point, I’ll either go to Vancouver or Minneapolis for the month of September.  Currently leaning towards Vancouver, but been teetering back and fourth for some time now.

 

Bought a Car

SF and Portland were not hard to get around by bike/public transport.  Seattle is different.  Lots of hills, much larger area, and parking isn’t all that bad.

I’ll be here for a month, so I figured I’d buy a beater on day one and sell it right before I leave.  I figured people were pretty educated in Seattle, but Craigslist proved otherwise.

The first car I looked at was a 93 Altima.  The seller said everything was working when I asked specifically what wasn’t working.  When I hop in the drivers seat, I notice the speedo reads 35 when we are stopped.  3/4 windows didn’t work.  It was a 5-speed, and when I punched it, the RPMs would climb faster than we would (slipping clutch).  Quarter of a million miles, but “had a new engine recently”… yeah right.  I’ll pass.

I guess Craigslist is simply filled with idiots no matter where you are.

I lucked out and found a guy selling an 85 Thunderbird Turbo coupe for $1600.  His buyer flaked earlier that morning, and he was leaving town that afternoon so I had some negotiating power.  Picked it up for $800.  I made the offer and his girlfriend helped lobby for him to take it.  What a gal.

Now I’m mobile.  I can go wherever I please and get there in style.

 

Goodbye Portland!

I had an amazing time in Portland, but I’m finally headed to Seattle in the morning.

I’ll discuss Portland in more detail in a later post, but for now I just wanted to mention that this last month has been the time of my life.  I came up to Portland expecting nothing (estimated a short stay here since I didn’t know a soul in this town), but left with some incredible friendships and experiences.  What a surprise.

If Seattle is half as amazing as Portland was, it will be a great success.