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.


6 Responses to “First Week Update: Extending my SF Stay”

  1. Therese says:

    Hey Tommy – I love what you are doing and I’m not surprised you stayed an extra week in SF. I was your age (22 or so, right) and you were like 4 when I showed up at your house in El Cerrito and stayed with you until I found a place in the city. SF is still my favorite city. Loved living there in my 20’s. Have fun and can’t wait to catch up with you here in Seattle!


  2. John Lorenz says:

    Tommy, I’m diggin’ your Blog and insight, good stuff for us peeps in the family / job lock-down mode. What about crusin’ the Rig out to Ocean Beach for a surf during the day ? then return to camp spot ? or drive to Marina Green to chill / look at the golden gate. The J streetcar is fun to take out to Church St. and down 30th where my Grandma use to live. Keep up the adventure, and head down to SB soon. I steer you back to the Hot Springs free camp area behind our mts. 1.5 hr drive down a fire road, great views w/creeks flowin’ JLO out

  3. disco daddy dan says:

    John Lorenz forwarded me your link- cool adventure, enjoy the freedom. I lived in a stationary RV for a year, loved it! One cooking tip, as you asked for it- hit up a thrift store and score a pressure cooker, as this will speed up cooking, be healthier for you, and save you a great deal on the propane use. I used to do a lot of pintos beans this way.

    Also the shower at the gym might be a good way to go.

    Ahhh, the open road……

  4. Tom says:

    Pressure cooker, eh? I’ll have to look into that. Showering at the gym is a good idea, however half of my workout is the bike ride back. Maybe if I found a closer gym, it could work out.

  5. Tom says:

    Thanks John!

    I rode out to Ocean Beach and saw a few other campers out there. Already got rid of the surfboards and wetsuit, but it would have been nice to hit the waves one more time. I’ll be headed to SB, but it won’t be until I’m returning up the coast from LA. Danny will be a foot taller than me by then, if he isn’t already!

  6. Alberta Lorenz says:

    Hi Tom,
    Glad it’s going well. Yep, the city is a great place. Fun place to be!
    Hope it’s all still good. Sounds like you’ll come through Sacto. Stop by for a meal!
    See you,
    Alberta (& Hermann, too)

Leave a Reply