Last Week in San Francisco

My extended stay in San Francisco is coming to an end.  I’ll be leaving on Thursday, June 10 to continue my journey north.  My future destinations are as follows:

  • Sonoma, CA (Sonoma State University) – June 10 to June 16
  • Davis, CA – June 17 to June 23
  • Chico, CA – June 24 to June 30

These are a little further out, so the dates might not even be close.

  • Portland, OR – July 1 to July 14
  • Seattle, WA – July 15 to August 10
  • Minneapolis, MN – August 22 to September 15
  • Delaware – October

East Coast Winter Solution

Up until last night, I was worried about having to skip a lot of places on the East Coast because I won’t have enough time before winter rolls in.  Freezing weather is not conducive to living in an RV.

I have two potential solutions, both involve parking the RV long term for the winter.

  1. Spend the winter on the east coast in various month-long sublets.  I could do a month or so in Boston, New York, Philly, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, etc.  This would allow me to spend enough time on the East Coast, and not require me to do any back-tracking in the RV.  Once I finish traveling the area, I could just take my RV out of storage and continue south.
  2. Spend the winter in another country, preferably south of the equator.  I was thinking of visiting Africa, South America, and/or the South Pacific.  I could accomplish these travels during the winter and return in the spring to continue my RV trip.
 

Initially, I had planned to spend a week in San Francisco before making my way up north.  It has been three weeks and I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon.  Escape from San Francisco is going to be much more difficult than I thought.

“I swear, I’m not addicted.  I can leave anytime I want.  I just don’t want to yet”.

Living in an RV here is a piece of cake.  Finding parking, showering, eating, cleaning, and all other chores are much easier than I had anticipated.  I could easily spend months here at a time living in an RV without a problem.

My neighbor, Tynan, who has the same RV as me (much different mods though) has been living in his right here in the city for the last 8 months.  Its not like either of us can’t afford to live in a regular apartment; we just prefer the RV lifestyle.

I wasn’t the only one dressed as a weirdo for Bay to Breakers.

Hiked to Alamera Falls on a Tuesday with a fellow “Person of Leisure”

What Now?

My stay here in San Francisco has helped shape the future of my journey.  I like how I got to know the city as more of a resident than a tourist.  Visiting as a tourist is enjoyable, but how accurately does going to Alcatraz represent the life of a typical resident?

My best guess is that I’ll make my escape from SF sometime around the week of June 6th.  I’ll make some brief stops in various destinations along my way north, and then settle down for another solid month in Seattle.  Ideally, I’d spend the month of July in Seattle before venturing East.

 

I am Iron Man.

Its been a week and I am still in San Francisco.  Just had to move my rig from 8-10am for the street cleaning, so I locked down a great spot for another week.  I helped a fellow RVer jump start his rig to get out of there just in time this morning.

When I was initially planning my trip, I wanted to do about a week in each location, and hit 50 or so locations throughout the duration of my trip.  As my week progressed here in the city, I realized that I’d rather cut out some of the intermediate destinations so that I can spend more time in the important ones.  San Francisco is clearly a more important one, so I’m thinking of extending my stay here a little bit.

How I like City Living

I had always been skeptical about moving to the city.  I’ve lived in the suburbs all my life, and just hadn’t seen the appeal to big city living.  All I could see were the negatives; everything is more expensive, rent is high for most places, everything is cramped, driving and parking are a nightmare, crime is higher, there are lots of bums and loonies, etc.

It wasn’t until I moved out here that I realized what attracts people to the city.  There is always something to do, and you will never run out of new places to go,  new people to meet or new things to see.  I’ve already met a ton of new friends, done plenty of fun stuff, and visited places all over the city, something much harder to do when you live in the suburbs.

When I moved home with the folks in January of this year, I was debating moving to a place in the city or going on this trip.  I chose the trip because I didn’t yet realize how great it is to live in the city, and I also figured that if I got an RV and liked the city, I could stay there for as long as I want.  After spending a week here, I almost regret not just getting a place out here months ago.  I say almost because I want to go on this trip, and I know that the city will still be here when/if I return.

How I like RV Living

Living in the RV is actually not quite as difficult as I thought it would be.  I’ve adjusted quickly.  The key is to spend as little time in the rig as possible, and can easily be accomplished with the abundance of things to do here.

  • Electricity:  My 460watt solar panel system is doing great.  Even in the rain today, I was generating a substantial amount of electricity.
  • Refrigerator: Had a few intermittent problems which appear to be solved by having a more level spot.  The fridge is pretty sensitive to not being level.
  • Water: I actually ran out of water at the end of my shower on Saturday.  I haven’t been conserving as much as I can, so I think that the extra effort to conserve will go a long way.
  • Waste tanks:  My gray water tank actually filled up, causing the kitchen sink not to drain since there was nowhere for the water to go.  I’m going to build a system that discretely drains the gray water tank to the street, since the only thing that drains to the gray tank is the kitchen sink.
  • Propane:  Used just over a quarter tank in my first week.  The only things that run off propane are the fridge, stove and furnace.
  • Internet: Sometimes I pick up a stray wifi signal which provides free broadband for me.  When I can’t pick up a signal like that from my rig, I’ll go to any number of internet cafes a block away from me, or just use my cell phone for 3g.
  • Transportation: Riding my bike through the city is a rush, and is appropriate for most circumstances except for when it rains.  I’ve ridden the bus a few times also, which really isn’t bad at all.
  • Security: No suspicious activity to report so far.
  • Gym:  I did a free week at the 24 nearest me last week, and just signed up for a free week at the Golds Gym right next to the 24 that I used to go to.  A man approached me today and asked if I was gay.  When I said no, he said “What a disappointment!”.  I was flattered.  Both gyms are in the Castro.  I guess it makes sense.
  • Food:  I eat out a lot, which is easy to do in the city, but can get a little expensive.  In terms of eating in, the following are really the only things I keep in the rig: milk, deli meat, eggs, yogurt, cheese, bananas, oranges, bread, nuts, peanut butter and cereal.  Cooking is more difficult than normal living circumstances, so if anyone has ideas for easy foods to keep/make, please do let me know!
  • Health: My rig stays relatively warm, and isn’t too noisy to keep me up at night.  Since I’ve been biking around a ton and eating less, I am certain I’ll be losing weight.  At least I won’t feel guilty for eating fatty foods.
  • Shower:  Although my shower is efficient, it’s not as enjoyable as a real shower.  I have to constantly be concerned with water consumption, so long relaxing showers are out of the question.

Overall, I don’t mind living in the RV as much as I thought I would.  I actually enjoy it since it allows me to travel and go live different places which would be impossible in a regular house or apartment.

What Next?

Since I am enjoying spending time in the city, I’ve decided to stay here at least one more week.  I’d like to stay here longer, but I want to get on the road so I can visit all the places I want and still make it to Delaware by October for my cousin’s wedding.

In a week or two, I’ll be heading north to Sonoma, Davis and Chico for a little bit.

 

Trip Predictions


Just for fun, I’m going to make a few wild predictions about what will happen on my trip.  I’ll go through this post when/if I get back and compare to what actually happened.

  • I will return on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 4:45pm.  This is a totally random guess.
  • I’ll lose 15 lbs. I’m about 190 right now, and I predict that when I return, I’ll be at 175.
  • My hair will grow out to my shoulders. Just seems appropriate. Might also have a grizzly mountain man beard…
  • I will have lost my mind.  At times, I feel like I already have.  A friend pointed out that by the time I get back, I’ll have a “Wilson” (think Castaway).
  • I will have 92,315 miles on my rig.  Right now I have 79,651 miles.
  • I will have been through 40 out of 50 states. I figure I won’t successfully step foot in every state.  Alaska and Hawaii are likely going to be 2 of the 10 I’ll miss.
 

The first leg of my trip is pretty simple.  I’ll leave the Bay Area wandering north, with the northern-most destination being Vancouver, Canada.

The destinations I plan to hit along the way are:

San Francisco, CA

Sonoma, CA

Davis, CA

Sacramento, CA

Chico, CA

Humboldt, CA

(Random State parks along the way)

Eugene, OR

Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA

Ocean Park, WA

Seattle, WA

Vancouver, Canada

I should be leaving the Bay Area at the end of April, and I estimate that I will arrive in Vancouver, Canada anywhere between June and September.  I’ll get a better idea of timing once I’m on the road.

After arriving in Vancouver, I believe I’ll be heading east.  Maybe up to Calgary, or maybe through Montana and North or South Dakota.  Eventually I should end up in Minnesota, then continue east to Boston, then south along the east coast to Florida, then west along the southern US to So-Cal, then finally north back to the Bay Area.