Surprise in the Mojave Desert. 

More of perk 4

Living in a van while working allows me to better understand the places my company sends me to work. While my coworkers live in hotels I’m out discovering this world. Every place has its own bit of history. It’s own secret that is well loved within its community. 
Mojave is no different. I found a nice lady on a web site I’ve decided to join. I wrote about it in my previous article. “New Friends In Many Places.” The Site is called Boondockers Welcome


I’m staying on her property for 7 nights. I work during the day. 1 day I was instructed to take off due to federal DOT hours of service. 
The lady I was staying with has one of her sons living in another house on her property. He takes care of her. 
This man invited me to go to the local Exotic Cat House with him. I thought exactly what you are thinking. Um, no thanks, it’s not really my thing. He laughed and replied “it’s not like that. They have a bunch of Lions, Lepards, Lynx and Tigers. They are all species that are going extinct. The place is trying to breed them and reintroduce them back into the wild.” It’s called EFBC’s Feline Conservation Center
Of course I had to take advantage. It was very cool. Surprisingly we were greeted by Peacocks as we entered the park. Very pretty!  
The place was small but had a lot of cats and there Habitats weren’t terrible. Especially knowing that it’s not a zoo. It operates mainly on donations and volunteers. They are just hoping to save some animals for future generations to know. 
Again I got to experience something most never would. I am very grateful to live in a van.

More of Perk 4

Having opportunitys to experience the secrets of the world. 

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New friends in many places. 

     With all of the traveling I do and all the trouble I deal with finding places to park. I decided to try out a website I have been watching for the last three months called Boondockers Welcome

     It’s based on the premise that RV owners host other RV owners at no expense. The registration costs $25 a year if you don’t host and $20 a year if you do. Once your signed up you have the opportunity to message, via the site, over 800 hosts throughout the world. Mainly in the United States. 

     Hosts describe what they have available. Parking, size, power, water, sewer, wifi, etc.. they also leave a bit of info so you can see what kind of people they may be. Picture are also available for most host places. 

     A bio is also required for guests so the host can get a feel if they are willing to entertain. 

     Then it’s all about the reviews. Hosts and guest get to build a reputation. The better the host the better discount they can earn for future years membership. The better the guest the more likely you will find a host. 

     I was a bit Leary because I don’t get to choose where I’m going. So I watched the map for a few months to see if it would even work for me. This week I decided that $25 could be spent in worse ways, so I took the plunge. 

     I Contacted the nearest host to my work site, 14 miles away. She ended up being an elderly lady that has a bit of property and a lot of life lived to share. It took about 24 hrs for her to respond and I had a place to park including power and water. To my surprise after arrival I was also offered WIFI at no expense. That wasn’t in the bio. 

        If it doesn’t work out the rest of the year, I’m sure this week will be worth the entire $25 fee alone. Thank you Boondockers Welcome and thank you to my knew friend Lois. 

The Struggle Can Be Real

When a person decides to live in a vehicle life can be turned upside down in an instant. There are so many things that can derail the sweet harmonic balance that life has when it’s simple. Like a mechanical failure. It’s nice that things are typically cheaper living on the road. If you choose the right vehicle. A breakdown will ultimately handicap you though. I am working in Los Angles California and my van has become ill. Sprinter owners listen up this article is for you. CHANGE THE HARMONIC BALLANCER PULLEY BEFORE 100,000 miles. My rig has 111,000 and I hear a little vibration under the hood. Now I’m a pretty crappy mechanic but I can and will turn wrenches a lot more than I want to admit. So I decide since my serpentine belt is wearing a bit I will change it and and check the pulleys to find which is vibrating. My guess is the idler pulley. I open the hood and it’s as tight as I remember. I can’t really see in well enough to figure out how to use the tensioner pulley. I know it’s a lot of pulling going on right now. If your not getting it bare with me. So after about an hour of talking with a complete stranger. Offering advise for no reason. I decide I gotta go. So I close the hood and leave the O’rileys auto parts store. New belt in the back instead of spinning in delight under my hood. In LA it’s illegal to live in your vehicle. Ya you can pitch a tent on the sidewalk but can’t live in your car, go figure. So I’m staying at a Camping World parking lot under my Good Sam membership about 18 miles (1 hour) from the job site. When I arrive at my pavement paradise I open the hood again and get some chain lube that I keep on hand for my Motorcycle chain. I was missing the bike pretty bad but glad to have the lube. I crawl under the motor and start spraying. The noise goes away WHALA. It’s a pulley for sure. Ok, good, easy fix. So I create an amazing meal and find some sleep hidden in the bed I keep inside the van. I get up in the morning, drive to work. No noise, awesome. I watch some You Tube and find out I need a tool (torques wrench) for the tensioner pulley. So after work back to O’rileys I go, buy the tool and as easy as landing on the moon the belt is off. Whew now for the squeaky wheel. As I say “the squeaky wheel gets… replaced!” But they are all great. I can’t check the Harmonic pulley though because it’s attached directly to the motor. So I wiggle and turn but the pulley doesn’t. So without the belt on I start the motor. To my surprise the rattle is still there CRAP! So it may not be a pulley. Now I’m thinking to my self am I going crazy? Has it always sounded like this? Am I just now noticing it? I climb under again and spray a real lubricating penetration spray on the harmonic pulley. It goes quite. Ok I flip the new belt on and ya baby back in business. Off to the parking lot of campers I go. Luckily that sleep was still hiding under my pillow. I woke, drove to work and the rattle was back. So Google I go. To read horror story after horror story of $6,000-$10,000 repair bills if this noisy pulley falls off. I guess it’s a for sure thing too. As well as a pretty good story about a guy that knew a lot more then me trying to change it himself on the road. Well needless to say I didn’t leave work that night. In fact I stayed for 3 more days working and trying to find a shop, $387 labor, the part $243, a tow $587 for 13 miles. WHAT! No way. So I looked into options. AAA wanted around $200 for 2 tows a year at 200 miles. My insurance doesn’t provide towing on the RV policy. Good to know now. Neither does the Verizon roadside assistance I have. So I called my Good Sam peeps. They told me that if I pay $89 for a new member deal I could get unlimited tows for unlimited miles to the nearest shop plus lockout, gas, tire, and road side mechanic. And it would be active in 24hrs from payment. Well cool I said while I busted out the crowbar and went to town on my wallet slipping my debit card out again. I had to find sleep two more nights anyway (my day job was not done). I was hoping that sleep was still hiding in my covers. As laid my self down to rest I found it in plenty. So now I get to leave my humble home to some strangers in a wild city while they muck around her inner workings. I hope they treat her with respect as she is a wonderful home. Luckily I get the opportunity to fly off to my vacation home and see my loving family while my home is being repaired. If I was a man living in his van at all times I can’t imagine where else this story would go from here. I hope it’s the end of this one so I bid you farewell and sleep tight.