Monday, September 27, 2010

September 2010

Fall is here and we sure do have alot of leaves on the ground. Been at this campground for three months now and have really enjoyed our time here. It's still Rob myself and Brandon and of course the two dogs.
Brandon is in school in town and I am gearing up to re open the shop about a mile from the campground. Not really in a big hurry to re open, the economy is shit and from what I am hearing from the other shops, is that there just is not that much work out there. Although when I open this shop, it will just be me, no employees, I am thinking that it will be a bit of a tough go, also due to being out of the my area by about 12 miles. That won't help for sure.

The new shop has a place for the fiver, right between two buildings and even has a septic there. Waterline and hydro no problem. Shop is 2500 sq feet and the only problem is heating it as its old and in need of repair. What I want to do is rent this for the winter and make do, and then move to one of the other units there that are under construction. Real nice unit with infloor heating. So figuring if all works out well, maybe move into the new unit in the spring when hopefully it is completed. Also depending on whether I make any money or not this winter.

Now failing all of that, I can stay at this campground for the winter. I just have to move the fiver up too the front of the campground where there is access to water. 100 bucks a week plus the hydro and I am set for the winter. I have enough money to last me the winter, but will go into next spring with little funds. The problem is that I have to stay in this area due to the kid being in school and I really don't want to see him have to change schools at his age, 16.

I could go and work at a shop too, I am a little out there for driving back and forth though, maybe 4 day work week and 10 or 12 hours a day, but no one is hiring right now and if anything shops are just scraping by and trying to keep the guys they have working.

This recession, well I for one am sick of it, problem though, is that I figure it is just gonnna get worse. Don't know what is gonna happen in the States as they have a ton of problems and alot of people not working, never mind thier debt problems. Been reading how alot of very smart people are saying the dollar could collapse and a very good chance of a double dip recession.

All in all it does not look good. I am glad that I chose this lifestyle so many years ago and have lived a debt free life.

Off work now for 4 months and that is getting tiring too. Worked for so many years, that it is hard to just stop. I feel better and my lungs for the most part are cleaned out.

The fiver has been working good, and with the exception of the skirting, we are pretty much set for the winter. Once I figure where we will be, thats only about a days work. Figuring on 1/4 plywood cut to size to run around the fiver. My underbelly is sealed and heated via the furnace and last two years with no skirting we had no problems. Thinking of maybe a 250 pound propane tank if it is cheaper to refill due to a larger quantity. Did find a place about 12 miles north of here that will fill a 100 pounder for 65 bucks taxes in, that is cheap.

Also i tore out the living room carpeting and need to replace that, good job for this week.

Another item that I have been researching is preparedness, seems the gov down in the states is having a preparedness month, trying to get thier people aware that it is prudent to have some food and energy supplies on hand in case of a problem. I think that is good measures, and considering stocking up on food items, water and fuel for the genny. I try to keep a good supply of groceries and the freezer full but adding some more sure won't hurt. The cost of groceries is sure creeping up. One really has to shop wise these days as the money sure don't go far. I feed three guys and two german shepherds and it easily is 200.00 per week, although we eat well, a meat dinner everynight. Dogs are on a raw food diet, and one would think that this is expensive, but not. I say that and smoke at over 7 bucks for a pack of em. I did quit this past summer for a whole month, but damn back at it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Aug 2010

Been camping the last two months, paying monthly at a campground in Acton, very nice here, have a huge site with two firepits, lots of trees and nice landscaping. Great neighbours and weekends very little transient campers as we are in the seasonal section. Its my brother in law Rob and I and my kid too, Shane has been here for most of the summer too and some of his buddies, for the most part my campsite has been very busy with kids, also Jane and the grandbrats are here every other weekend. Kids meet other kids here, so at any one time you could have like 10 teenagers on the site. But overall the kids have been swell, good mixture from 12 to 18 years of age, all polite too.
I am back in my fiver, long story there. The truck camper deal i built is parked here in storage. Yea its better, way more room and a onboard washer dryer. Easier for the dogs too, they sleep with me so now we have a king size bed for the three of us to sleep on. Dogs have been good, but sense they are bored, they like being in a shop with lots of people around.
525 a month here, which is cheap compared to Rockwood at 1000 per month and other local campgrounds at 720 per month. Yup camping is not cheap. Hst came in July 1 and upped our month rate from 525 to 565. Thanks, i think this hst is just another tax grab and they needed a way to get a additional 8 points from gas and diesel sales.

So seriously thinking of renting a shop that is about a mile from this campground. 2500 square feet for around 2 grand per month. Has a spot for my trailer and a water line and septic is already there. My trailer will sit in between two buildings, out of the wind and real close to the shop. I have not secured the deal yet, but am close, mostly trying to figure out what day to start back to work. I have alot of people that are wanting me to do some work for them and waiting for me to re open. One guy wants to build a International tractor into a rv puller, and that will likely be my first big job and i may start that in around the middle of august.
the wife and kid got kicked out of our seasonal campground that we were at for 7 years, seems the kid had a party. Wife is living on her own now, and the kid is with me. Finally we are going our own ways and i could not be any happîer about that. If i take this shop, the kid can go to his high school here in Acton, that works out well for him. He can take all the courses he failed this last year, yea smart kid failing, more on this another day.
So big changes in my life lately, and overdue changes too. One thing i need to do is reconfigure my truck to haul my fiver again, yup, redo all the work that i just did this last spring, take the truck camper off and all that. So that will be a project this winter. Looks like it will be Rob me and the kid living at the shop for the winter. I might have Rob stay in the truck camper for sleeping and showering etc, see what pans out. roughing it, ha not really, but this year, i am going to spend some time setting it up for winter rv living, skirting the trailer and what not. Once the trailer is parked in its spot, i will not have to move it around like i had too last year. I will be able to hunker down and concentrate on making some money, and most importantly, guiding the kid as there is a number of items that he needs to address starting sept 1. I told him we are just gonna waste the summer away, take it easy or as he says, chill man.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


So here is the drivers side. Batteries and some extra room which i have now filled with a espar diesel heat system and fuel tank. heavy duty battery charger with time and a iota converter three stage battery charger, 45 amper. I use two 1000 watt inverters to supply all my power as they are cheap at 100 bucks a piece, and i can turn one off without affecting my main fridge. the beer fridge from a warm temp, turn it on and within two hours it will freeze a beer.

I went with the espar heating system as i also had a cold floor in the camper. I cut a hole close to the floor as a heating duct and this where the espar shoots out the heat, heats the floor very nice and warms the camper quick and easy, especially when it is minus 20 outside.

In the coldest weather it uses about 5 gallons a week of diesel which is very affordable considering I was using 40 pounds of propane a week. Also the heat is more uniform and remains a constant temp as the espar switches to a low setting to maintain the temp.

My doors in the camper that allow extra storage when you have the camper in the back of a pickup truck, well i enclose two of them so that i can have more storage. real handy for extra canned foods and stuff like that. My camper has alot of storage already, but more is better.

The Truck Camper

1993 Lance 10.5 Squire 8000, i bought last fall for 2500.00 off a older lady that used it as she travelled around with her horses to shows and stuff. Bought it for the kid and one day it will go back to him providing he smartens up, it will fit nicely on his truck that sits in storage again till he figures its time to smarten up and work with the people that are behind him. yea teenagers, time will tell.

I set the camper on my ford e 350 dually that i use to haul my fiver with. Powerstroke diesel with a chip, lots of power. I suspect this whole deal weighs in around 10000 pounds. Left the sleeper on for extra storage but had to cut the roof down to get the camper to sit where i wanted it to sit.
The above pic shows the camper with the side doors open, honda 3000 watt genny, snap on tool box, and the beer fridge, also in there is a two speakers tucked up under the camper and in the side compartment is the sony explod system with a separate amp for subwoofers. Sounds good and once your into the campsite, just unbolt the doors and they either lay down to have a nice big table or unhook the chains and they go right to the ground. Grab a beer and chair, turn on the radio and relax.

I had to build a 12 inch high platform for the camper to sit on in order to get clearence for the cab . This puts the camper a little high on the truck but after using and driving the whole unit, it feels very stable, probably due to the dually and extra wieght of the sleeper.

I use the sleeper for extra stuff to have around when travelling and camping but the big thing is a freezer. Yup a onboard chest freezer, and its full of different meats, frozen juices breads and southern comfort. This is the best thing to have when travelling and living fulltime whether in a fiver or truck camper. Can take advantage of deals at the grocery store and less spending in the shops close to campgrounds where it can tend to be expensive.

The outside beer fridge and freezer work off one of the inverters. 1000 watt inverter supplies the power from 4 crown 6 volt batteries. i can easily run 24 hours with this setup as long as i am frugal with the camper lights and what not. I should also say, the camper fridge inside is a home unit too and works off the 1000 watt inverter that supplies the camper power.

Been Awhile

I see i have not posted anything for quite awhile, been busy in the shop the last few months and actually made some money. But i closed the shop June 1 to take the summer off, i plan to open up again maybe in mid august. This time around, just me working in the shop as there is not enough work to warrant a payroll.

I moved into the truck camper back in Feb and have been customizing it over the last few months to my liking. I installed it on the truck that i use to haul my fiver as I had my fiver moved to our seasonal site and it will sit there till at least this fall.

The wife does not want to travel and that suits me fine, so it is basically my brother in law and I travelling the summer away. My 15 year old has been screwing up in school this last year and has to do summer school so he wont be available for extended camping trips.

So I have the summer off, wife is settled into our seasonal site and the kid can come out on weekends when he is not tied up with army cadets. I am also considering going on my own and the wife do her thing as threw the years we pretty much ended up doing our own thing anyhow. Getting close to 50 now, really appreciate my time alone and not with all the business of the wifes bullshit.

When i moved into the truck camper back in Feb, I decided to do everything on my own, yup shopping, cooking laundry and cleaning. You know what, it was the best thing that i could do. I am happier and more content and the peace and quiet is the big plus. I dont see any reason to go back. Matter of fact i camped at our seasonal site about a month ago and parked right beside my fiver, had the whole family over for dinner and even sat on my seasonal site with the wife and had a campfire.

this fall, the wife and kid are going to rent a apartment about 10 miles from our town so that he can go to the school that he wants to go to, i will likely remain in the truck camper but have the choice of going back into my fiver. The fiver is a pain in the ass though, levelling and 4 slides, big 40 foot unit fully equipped, nice unit, but i only ever used the bedroom and shower. With my truck camper i can get into the nice tent sites in local campgrounds where my fiver would never fit. Plus i can easily tow my boat if needed.

I really dont want to tow anything anymore, after so many years of towing i think i am finally done with it. I dont need alot of room and the last four or so months in the truck camper has confirmed to me that i am okay with it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Cold is Coming


I moved the trailer outside a few weeks back cause we got busy in the shop with work, needed more work room. But the weather overall the last couple of weeks has been warm, well warm for this time of year. Cold front is starting to move in and we got snow last night.

Here is the trailer outside the shop, I have it close enough to run a 20 amp service and a 50 foot water line to fill the onboard storage tank. It's working well except that we are right in the wind again.

I am glad that it is turning colder due to the ground will finally freeze up and we won't be tracking in mud into the trailer. I keep getting the forklift stuck right outside my overhead door due to mud and lots of it. I am doing a dump truck for a ashalt guy and he says about 1200 bucks will get the area outside my overhead door asphalted. He starts work in around March so that is high on my priority list for spring cleanup time. I did cleanup all oustide the shop door, I moved all my parts and junk to the back yard and piled it neatly.

I have been working on my little hauler truck a little here and there. I did find a used power chip programmer for my truck for 100 bucks, I installed it and what a difference in power. I have it set to level 2 which is insane for pulling a heavy load like my fiver, but its a guy thing and I had to see just how much this chip will make. Well with the trailer hooked up and on gravel, I can easily spin the tires, not bad, but hard on the truck never mind the tires. I am hoping for a increase in MPG too as alot of guys with the same setup say I should expect that. I got the flatbed part made already and the fuel inlet welded in, the electrical is done with a receptacle for the trailer and a terminal box mounted just behind the hitch where it is easily accessible if I have any electrical problems.

I will probably mount a small headache rack today. Something to sit behind the sleeper on the deck to protect it.

IHere is that Peterbilt from last fall that was white, we are expecting to finish this job tomorrow and kick it outta the shop. Its in the shop right now to paint the frame, then install the fuel tanks and tires. Finally done. The flatbed job is in the shop too, and we expect to get that out next week.

I put a ac unit into the truck camper last week. 13500 btu unit which is way overkill for such a small area. It went in easy as the camper was prewired for it. Fired it up and it shoots real good airflow. The kid and two of his buddies camped in there last night, his army cadet buddies, they have exams today at school and I found out this morning that they were up too 630 this morning, the wife got them outta the camper at 8 am, exams will be tough today ha.

Shop has been steady but seems like it takes a long time to get anything done. Impossible to collect money too, I don't think this year is going to be any better than last. Guys are getting stuff fixed but little money to spend.

With all this good weather this winter, collision work is way down, we are doing alot of welding work instead of usually doing collision work this time of year. Got a little dump truck job to do on a single axle, shorten the frame and mount a 10 foot dump box, the frame is done just waiting to get it sandblasted now. I painted the cab last Friday night and it turned out nice. Pics coming

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Slow progress

I got a few more things done to the truck,. Progress has been slow due to being busy with customer work in the shop. Anyways, got the terminal box done, and receptacle for the trailer plug, also the fuel inlet tube. I made a access plate over the fuel tank too. I added a Edge programmer to get a extra 60 horse out the powerstroke. It works good, the motor is more responsive and feels like it has extra power. Won't know for sure till I get it out on the highway with the fiver hooked.

Buddy dropped me off a real nice wiring harness, which we feed the whole rear end of the truck for all the lights, slick for sure. I am hoping this coming week to have some sort of sides welded on and rear lights installed.

Shop has been busy, here is a pic of that white Pete from last fall, just getting around to finishing it off, I painted the hood the other night as I was waiting for grille surround. Pete wanted close to two grand, aftermarket 600 bucks, big difference.

Pretty much booked this month for work, thats a good sign for the beginning of the year, maybe it is starting to turn around. At any rate I hope it sticks.

The kid made a island for the kitchen area in the fiver. Problem with our unit is the lack of counter space and we have a large kitchen, lots of floor space. So he made this in wood shop at school, brought it home and I stained it and then clear coated it, it looks pretty good and is at the right height too, wife is happy to have the extra counter space.

Were still camping in the shop, been inside since before the holidays. I figured to move the fiver inside to save on propane and fuel costs on the generator and seeing how business was not overy busy, might as well use the shop space. Now I am busy again and could use the space the fiver takes up but now that we are inside its nice and warm in the trailer without using a ton and a half of propane. We have no water today, no water on the property, so thats a bummer, I could go out and load up some water in one of my tanks, but once i do that the water will be back on, you know murphys law.

Theres a shot of the trailer in the shop, tucked into the corner. Were going through about a 100 pounder of propane every two weeks, alot better than one every three days.