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New to Trippin’ With StanleyNew to Trippin’ With Stanley Who is Stanley? Well, Stanley is our RV! He takes us all around the U.S. to taste delicious craft beers and meet new friends along the way. We work from the road, Brian is a graphic designer and I am a...

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Austin = hashtag epic, hashtag awesomeAustin = hashtag epic, hashtag awesome As I type this I sit on a beautiful outside patio on S Congress at a coffee bar called Jo's. I am surrounded by Mac Book Pros and I can almost see all the tweets swarming around my head. I am sure...

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Sedona I'm glad I got to knowya!Sedona I'm glad I got to knowya! Here are some pics from our time in Sedona. We stayed with our good friend Brenden and his girlfriend, Britta, in Cottonwood, about 20 minutes from Sedona and Jerome. They were the most excellent...

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Golfing and Hashing in PhoenixGolfing and Hashing in Phoenix We had plans to meet up with our Nu friends Bill and Debbie in Phoenix after we left our troubles in Tucson. Maria was able to convince Debbie that it would be a good idea for all of us to go golfing...

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B-C-YessB-C-Yess In between our stops in Quartzsite we made a detour to Tempe to visit my friend Kevin and enjoy a long weekend of sports. The main reason we wanted to be in the Phoenix area was that the BCS National Championship...

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9 years later… 5 months in…

Posted by msdesign21 | Posted in You trippin! | Posted on 18-01-2011

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I must say, 2011 has started off just grand. Sitting today in 80° weather in the middle of the desert is exactly what I signed up for. Even better, I’m sitting among new friends all with laptops in hand as they live the dream, working from… wherever! I think Sunday night has been the most incredible sunset yet and I had the pleasure to complete my night being entertained, shocked, fooled and amazed by our new carnie friends Alex and Charon, the sword-swallowing, fire breathing, Airstream travelin’ duo. There are some things that you just don’t expect will happen when you do a trip like this, and this just happened to be one of those nights, except it felt so incredibly perfect as one of those “you were meant to be right here at this very moment” kind of times. Quartzsite is a very unique place and I am starting to feel this lifestyle soak deep into my veins, as if to say, there is no turning back!!

So let me tell you a little about Quartzsite, Arizona. It is located about 2 hours west of Phoenix off I-10, with about 3,000 residents year round. Winter however, is a whole different story. As you immerse yourself in this lifestyle you quickly learn terms to describe what is really going on in this “off the grid” “underground” culture, snowbirds is one of those terms, Hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of people that make the yearly trek south to avoid the deathly sub 0°C temps and the horrifying, dare i even speak the word… “snow!”. It is like a plague to these people (these including me) and we spend many hours chuckling the New England states predicament while soaking in hot tubs under the palm trees or cheers-ing the sunset in shorts and 60° temps. But back to Quartzsite, which I like to call tent city.

There are tons of designated areas to park around here, the Road-Runner (mile marker 99) BLM (Bureau of Land Management) area allows parking for 14 days for free, and LTVA (Long-Term Visitor Areas) land has a few permit options, we paid $40 for 14 days, there is also an option for a winter season pass for $180. This includes unlimited water and dump access. Because of the thousands of acres to park at such cheap prices or in some cases free, it attracts many RVers. Well, that and the massive tent city that erects itself every January. Next week officially marks the opening of the RVers show, one huge-ass tent filled with every little RV gadget you could ever want or need (which by the way, you hardly ever need and rarely ever want). The big-ass tent is surrounded by thousands of other smaller tents, selling everything from rope to battery cables to rocks, gems and crystals. Lots of rocks, lots of crystals. We roamed a little last Saturday but quickly found ourselves belly up at Beer Belly bar, with stellar $2.50 drafts or $3.50 bottles, and not just the crap domestics either. It was a much better way to spend $10 than on some junk I didn’t really need. It is fun to look though.

The best thing about this area though, are the people we’ve met. A few days before we left Cali I randomly did a search for “young rvers” and found the NuRvers.com website. I maybe spent all of about 10 minutes on the site, in which I found a map where members could mark their location, found Debbie and Bill in AZ and found a forum exchange between Debbie and Kev talking about Quartzsite. Perfect, exactly where we are going through. Well, it turns out Kev started the site back in 2006, and is a programmer that works from the road, couldn’t be more timely and perfect meet-up for Brian and I to learn more about the ways of the working nomad. We talk genny’s and network connectivity and can almost certainly be found sipping drinks at happy hour, any hour of the day. At night we sit by the campfire, exchanging stories from the road, remembering the people we’ve met and how incredibly lucky we are to be in this world, doing whatever the hell we want, whenever the heck we want. Most common phrase out here: “what are you doing tomorrow?” the answer always “who knows!”.

So after 5 months I am really starting to feel more like a professional at this, even though many people we’ve met have been on the road for years longer, I feel like we are moving out of our “adolescence RV stage” moving onto “young adulthood”. Our goal is to spend less than $1500 this month (including our RV insurance pre-paid for the next 6 months at $475) and only pay to plug-in 3x this month. This is a huge improvement to our first month, paying to park nearly 20x and spending close to $4000. If you haven’t noticed yet I am incredibly open with information, especially when it comes to expenses. For most of you that know me, you know that the more you shouldn’t talk about a topic, the more I will probably want to talk about it. If anyone ever asks, I have no problem talking about our expenses. In fact, that is probably our most asked question: how do you afford this? My answer: Well, to start, it can be incredibly cheap if you want it to be. The only bills we have are insurance, phone and internet, we are some of the lucky few that didn’t run up our credit before we realized what the hell that meant. So there is that, and Brian works part-time from the road as a software/web-designer for a few clients. I started the trip thinking I would use $10,000 in savings and finally tapped into that just last month. So from my calculations, I have at least 6 more months from now until the funds run out.

Another common question we get is where do you want to settle. When we started the trip we thought, there are so many places to see and we have a lot of friends from college all over, so let’s visit them and see what’s good. Now when someone asks where are we going to end up the thought just plain scares me. I don’t want to end up anywhere is what I think. Why would I want to stay in one place, when we have the ability to go wherever! One of my favorite sayings from the trip: “the fun runs out when the funds run out” although now we are trying to not let that happen.

Another common question is: “What did you do with all your stuff?”
That’s an easy answer. We tried to sell most anything we could. Brian is a bit of a pack rat when it comes to picking up concert flyers or whatever so we actually held on to more than I wanted. The feeling of actually getting rid of all these “things” was a breath of fresh air. If it was up to me I would have got rid of everything except my shoes and a few other boxes of personal stuff, but after talking with my Dad (who was against all of this from the beginning) I decided to let my friends “borrow” our TV and bedroom set. That, and Brian’s parents were extremely generous with their basement space.

FAQ #3: “How did the dogs adjust?”
A. That question is not as easily answered, if only they could talk, I really do wonder what they would say. Sometimes I wonder if they realize how incredibly lucky they are to get to travel all over with us. They certainly get more exercise than they ever have before (me too). But I quickly realize how simple a dogs life is, and how little they probably think about anything. It is actually something I envy. I think they like being a duo, Buddha has always loved the car, pretty much sleeps all the time and Ernie is the same, usually sketched out and nervous about anything. I love camping spots like where we are now, I rarely ever leash them and can just let Ernie wonder around at his leisure. That’s what he likes doing best, so I’d like to think they adjusted just fine.

Other questions are simple:
Q. How much is it to fill up your gas tank?
A. Gas stations usually cap us at $75 or $100 so we just stop there. If we were completely empty it would probably cost around $150 to fill. Right now we are looking at gas prices around $2.96/gallon. From a recent FB poll, it would appear to be similar in the midwest.

Q. Do you have power if you aren’t plugged in? or we get the surprised: “You can use water?”
A. The answer is Yes! Two batteries in the back allow us to light Stanley up at night, run the water pump, we fill the water tank (which I am guessing is around 40 gallons) and will need to dump 1-2x every two weeks, we even have hot water, with a flick of a switch our propane tank heats water, can run the fridge, and I can even cook up some delicious meals. If we need to plug something in, run the coffee maker or watch TV, we either need to be plugged in or run our generator. We have an Onan genny built in, runs off our gas tank, with a start up switch above the stove, which will also recharge our batteries in the back (aka house batteries). My next acquisition might be solar. I am currently researching and trying to learn about how it all works to decide if we should take the leap. We’ve met plenty of people out here running solar and most all are advocates of the setup, it looks to be at least a $1000 start-up investment, which would at least allow us to charge our laptops and phones and keep the batteries happy. Our fellow rubbertramp, Brenden, has excellent posts on his solar setup at BlimpyB.com. I’m told that the big-ass RV tent will have solar panels, so I am planning to learn more in the next week or so. Solar Mike from the Slabs is also a great resource, although I didn’t really get the chance to meet him over our New Years holiday weekend, I did manage to score a business card.

Q. Do you meet a lot of weird people?
A. What’s “normal”?! You’d be surprised what makes up an RV park, not really what you are thinking, natty light holdin, one tooth missing, dirty hands and clothes, rather picture grandma and grandpa with stuffed animals in the window and decorations for any holiday and probably planters setup, maybe even a little white fence, smiling ear to ear.

If you are a fellow RVer share your FAQ’s, if you aren’t give us a question and we would be happy to answer. Thanks again for following!

(Oh yea, and I say 9 years later because Brian and I just celebrated our 9th anniversary last week. I can’t really say it only feels like yesterday that we were hanging out in the dorms because we have too many incredible memories since then, it feels like a lifetime ago! One great lifetime though, excited to see where the next 9 years take us.)

23 Feet…of awesome!

Posted by Brian | Posted in You trippin! | Posted on 22-12-2010

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While visiting a friend Katy in San Diego we discovered that one of her roommates had recently taken part in one month RV exucursion. The goal was to document people who make the conscious choice to live simply in order to pursue their outdoor passions. I think this trailer gives a good glimpse into the mobile life style.

23 Feet Trailer from Allie Bombach on Vimeo.

They are getting ready to start showing the film at film festivals this Spring and you can learn more about the trials and tribulations at their blog 23feet.org.

Old and Ugly!

Posted by msdesign21 | Posted in You trippin! | Posted on 29-07-2010

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Some people ask, what made you decide to go on this RV adventure? Well, the story goes like this…

The idea was born the last night KU played basketball in the March Madness tournament, March 19, 2010. I was so disappointed in what was a huge upset by Northern Iowa and that night a friend, Johny Arkin, was watching the game with us. (Check out his cool video blog at nevernorm.com) He was talking about his plans to purchase an RV over the summer and ride around for a few months. Well, I just thought that sounds like the coolest idea ever and so it was, come August when our lease was up, it was time to make the road our new home. Needless to say that was the only thing that could have made me feel better about that night. I redirected my attention from our poor performance to how in the hell do I find, afford, purchase and work a RV?!?!

The story gets a little better from here. I spent the following month researching all kinds of RVs on Craigslist. I learned about the A Class (big ASS motorhomes) B Class are the vans and C Class are the slightly larger ones with a van chassis (van in the front, house in the back) with a bed above the cab. I knew there was no way in hell I could call home and say, I bought a van and we are going to live in it for the next 6 months, and the big ass motorhomes kind of intimidated me, so I figured C Class was the way to go. Well, I looked and I looked, from Craigslist Topeka to Wichita to Omaha all the way to San Francisco. I pretty much scoured every large city west and every small city in the midwest. I got a really good idea of exactly what I wanted. There are many different layouts, some with couches, some with double beds in the back, even some with the toilet in the back with no door!! I also got a good idea of price range and knew I could look past a crappy interior if the mechanics were sound.

FF two more weeks… One day Brian and I were driving to softball practice and I was complaining that I couldn’t find anything in the area for us to just go look at to get a better idea of size. Then we literally came to a detour in the road, had to take a right and there it was, just sitting on the corner in a parking lot with a for sale sign and all. We called on it and it was pretty much go time from there. We had the mechanics all checked out and two-toothed Gary had told us about a known fix for the generator. Gare-Gare as i like to call him bought the 1999 Jayco three years prior for $27,000 and was originally asking for $14,000, which takes me back to the crappy interior comment. It sure was a mess! He was a smoker, everything was yellowed and covered in ugly laminate. We sure got what we asked for, something to flip with sound mechanics. I talked him down to $10,000 and the rest will be in the following posts.

For now, here are some ugly yellow glimpses of what we were dealing with…

The one nice thing in the RV are those two side chairs. They are super comfy and were surprisingly in good condition.

Here is an up-close look at the lovely pattern that was vomited all over the RV. First things first, that has GOT to go!

Dinette on the left…

Dinette on the right…

At some point there was a leak on the roof. But before we purchased and after we starting talking to Gare-Gare we had some pretty torrential storms with no new leaks. I think they were able to seal it up a long time ago but since Gare just let it sit for so long it stained the walls and blinds up pretty good.

Here is a little before and after for you on the blinds. I never knew smoking could make something so disgusting. Just think what your lungs must look like! Thank god for OxyClean and the many RV blogs I scoured to find that it cleans ANYTHING!

Here is a glimpse of the kitchen, and yes that is Gare-Gare hiding in the back there. Isn’t the laminate just to die for! Yeah, I about died thinking of staring at it for the next 6+ months.

Back in the bedroom, where (I’d like to think with Gare-Gare) NO magic happened.

Probably one of my favorite old shots of Stanley. I love the tiny baby jail above the blinds. I mean REALLY?! what the hell is that for and who the heck thought they should put that on a wall. GOT TO GO!

Fridge with an ice maker! And yes, one more shot of the lovely Gary.

Thanks for following!

That’s an RV!

Posted by Brian | Posted in You trippin! | Posted on 26-07-2010

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I’m sure we’ll met a couple Cousin Edie’s on our trip from here to wherever we end up.

Meet Stanley

Posted by Brian | Posted in You trippin! | Posted on 26-07-2010

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Height: 11’4″

Length: 28′

Width: 8′

Stanley was born in 1999, but is mature for his age. In his short time on this earth he has lived in California, Kansas, and places in between.