I've been lurking here for a year or so, mostly over on the Electrical
: Batteries, Generators & Solar
I am very impressed with, and have much respect for, the quality of writing, and the extent of the knowledge that members here so readily share.
I cannot claim to be a boat owner yet. My father owned a Monk 36' troller for 2 decades, and when I was young, had access to a 14 foot Mckee craft with a Suzuki 40 HP to tool around the back bays in NJ for fishing
clamming, and of course playing at the end of a tow rope
on various implements.
I am in my mid 40's now ,and have tried to keep life as simple as possible. A surfer since 11 years of age, I've always kept close to a large body of water
. My early 20's, I came into a modest sum of money
I did not deserve, and it took me a while to realize I was better off spending it travelling.
By the Spring of '98, I sold or gave away most everything, and put tools and surfboards and electronics
into a prepaid 5x10 storage
unit, and flew out of LAX, as I had been living in San Diego
for a few years by that time.
32 months later, a different man stepped foot back into LAX, having been south of the equator for most of that time. Mostly surfing, and travelling fairly shoestring style by Van, Sedan and hoste or busl through 8 and 10 month tours of South Africa
and New Zealand
, but with some Costa Rica
thrown in as well. Best thing I've ever done with my life but there is guilt and a lack of confidence for not having earned the money
which made it possible.
at upon my return, I bounced around the continental 48 for a few months visiting friends and family
, and then bought a Van with the last of the remaining undeserved inheritance in mid 2001.
This Van has taken me coast to coast at least 12 times since then, from as deep as the tip of Baja
to the Olympic Peninsula, and NJ to Florida
, and many points in between.
I have lived in, and from, this Van for most of the time in between, and most of that in San Diego
County with an inexpensive private level legal
parking spot, and with access to private bathroom facilities. I make my living as a finish carpenter
, doing mostly small jobs for friends acquaintances and referrals from them. I am still trying to accumulate as little as possible, without incurring debt, or even credit for that matter. I've no desire to own land or a stick and brick dwelling.
The Old Dodge van is now in very good mechanical shape, as the only original wearable parts
left on it are the rear leaf springs. I had the Engine
, and rear axle rebuilt by professionals, but I've done everything else myself. The Interior
is extremely comfortable with everything but a flush toilet or Shower
. It is a Miniature land yacht, and work van, workshop, and office, bedroom kitchen, Home and travelling freedom machine.
I don't like to admit this as I know how it appears to others, but I have no woman I need to keep happy, and no dependents to care for. I love the freedom I have, but living loveless is not always so easy to deal with either, and I figure as long as I am living on Wheels, I will be single
So it goes.
I also do not seem to be able to relate to most women who live in Southern California
, and am not really looking anymore. I really feel like an outsider here, and just accept that, as I am not a people person, nor gregarious. While I do live here, it does not really seem like I will for much longer. I expect to move on somewhere else when California's water
woes come to a head
. I've stayed out here for the weather
, and how convenient it is to be a surfer here. I do not think the waves are all that great here, and they are certainly overcrowded with lot of greedy people. But, they are consistent, and when I need to go surfing to clear my head
, there is usually something to ride, and since I am good on a longboard, I can have lots of fun even in small conditions.
Having a safe level legal
parking spot, the bathroom, and enough loyal clients makes it possible to live this simple life.
I am quite good with DC power, and hope to get better. I really enjoy optimizing system efficiency via proper ventilation and perhaps oversized wiring
. I love doing things right the first time and researching how to best accomplish that. Finances don't always allow that luxury.
I have 200 watts of Solar
on the Roof and a Vitrifrigo 12v compressor
Fridge that I never have to worry about. I basically live on no more than 65 amp hours nightly, averaging about 60% of that, on just 1 single
group 31 flooded battery
. I have another group 27 AGM battery
that I can also cycle at the turn of a Blue Seas 6007m manual switch, or 3, but usually it lives life as a fully charged engine
I do have easy access to 118vAC, yet still cycle the group 31 as much as possible, but I do not let it go more than a day or 2 without getting to float mode when the solar and alternator
cannot keep up with the loads. I prefer to use grid power as little as possible, and make my solar panels
earn their keep. I do use a Meanwell RSP-500-15 Adjustable Voltage Switching Power Supply as my grid powered battery charger
. It will provide upto 41 amps at any voltage between 13.12 and 19.23. I removed the miniature potentiometer on the circuit board and soldered wires to it for attaching a 10 turn 1k Ohm potentiometer for easy and precise voltage changes. Extra 60 and 80MM Noctua fans on the casing keep it cooler and quieter. Large extra heatsinks will soon be added to the aluminum
casing adjacent to the transistors to promote longevity.
I do equalize the flooded 31 at 16volts with it, but I can also accomplish 16V at the battery terminals by resetting my solar controller's voltage settings, if I have at least 6.5 amps of Sunlight for 2 hours coming in, after the battery reaches 'full' charge.
I've upgraded cabling from the alternator
and have seen as much as 110 amps from a 130 amp rated alternator. While I have a 400 watt PSW inverter
and an 800 watt MSW inverter
, I try to use them as little as possible in favor of DC to DC car adapters wherever possible. 45 amp anderson Powerpoles have replaced Ciggy plugs for devices over 4 amps.
Before I left travelling overseas, I had learned how to design and shape and laminate Surfboards, and also learned I did not want to do that for a living. After I returned, I learned from some friends (RIP, B.K.R) how to Build a Hollow Wood Surfboard, and in turn taught them everything I'd learned about properly shaping laminating and sanding
and finishing foam/fiberglass surfboards as well as their shape/design. I'd learned how to work with epoxy
, mostly System3 products, but more recently have been using less expensive surfboard specific epoxies for repairs
and for making Wooden fins. I have almost enough western red cedar to Build another HWS and hope to start this project
soon. I still am designing the shape in my mind, as it will be a shortboard to last me the rest of my days.
I still ride that first Hollow Cedar Shortboard I made, 13 years later, and I call it Old Faithful. I've made 6 other Hollow wood surfboards since and had to relearn that I do not want to try and earn a living making surfboards, and still own each board I made despite having built a few that I intended to sell. My most ridden HWsurfboard is a 9'7" traditional style soft railed single fin round pin longboard I built in the summer of 2003, which I try to surf traditionally, walking the board for perfect trim, saving the tail only modern style of surfing for my shortboard. We've shared many a blissful moment together, and I very much enjoy riding such a beautiful surfboard I made myself. It always gets a lot of comments and compliments and a bit more attention than I am comfortable with at times.
name of Sternwake, came to me one day when surfing, when I realized I had been unconsciously paddling hard to get initially acquire speed, than backing off a bit, then waiting for my own slight wake to catch up to me, and help propel me forward. Subtle adjustments of pressure to chest, stomach thighs and knees, and adjusting paddling effort and stroke length and depth
, allow me to harness and cultivate my own stern wake, to help keep a higher average paddling speed for less effort. Once I became aware of how I had been unconsciously doing this for years, I started figuring out ways to better utilize it and cultivate it, to catch more waves, and ride them better. Weighing 220 Lbs and riding a 25 LB stiff surfboard 9'7" long, allow me to create and harness my stern wake more than a lighterweight surfer could. I can often catch waves without even paddling by utilizing the buoyancy of my board and correct timing and often get compliments for how easy I make it look.
This woodworking of Hollow Wood Surfboards was among the first woodworking projects I've done, and have since, really taken to woodworking, and highly enjoy it. I really have been enjoying making cabinets or Bartops with exotic tropical hardwoods or other precision woodworking, but I've also had to earn the day's next meal or just keep a client happy via other, less desirable to employ skills, such as sheetrock or plumbing
, painting or refinishing of surfaces.
In 2006, I worked in a boatyard in San Diego for a few months, moving up quickly and learning
a lot, but the toxicity of the environment
, along with some other factors like the low pay, an arrogant corner cutting boss, and a long commute, signaled my end there, when I thought about it deeply while pushing a longboard, sanding
thickened vinylester resin, thickly applied to a one-off hull
In 2007 I drove to North Florida
for a few months, and did a lot of woodworking and refinishing on my uncles 65 ' aluminum
hulled sailboat. Afterwards I gutted my van again and rebuilt the interior
for more comfort and storage
and utility, adding the solar and compressor
fridge, then drove back to San Diego in 3 days. Then into Baja
the next day.
Up until early 2008, I used to spend several cumulative months a year, a few hours south of the border In Baja on the Pacific side, but then crystal meth infiltrated the small fishing
villages and ruined the vibe. Some of My Mexican friends went downhill quickly, lying and stealing from me and causing many other unpleasant experiences, and I've not returned since. I do miss Baja, but have not had the confidence to return.
Anyway, in the future I'd like travelling more round the US for a few months, earning and saving money, living simply from my van and then go travelling outside the US for extended periods. It would be great to have some woodworking, or perhaps DC electrical
jobs on boats or RV's to fund my travelling and life, in different parts
of the nation, living legally in my van somewhere. All while I search for a new home base, as Southern California
is not where I will remain for much longer for many reasons.
I'd really like helping a good honest person finish their woodworking, electrical or even Fiberglass
projects in return for pay and a safe legal parking spot, and perhaps a bathroom. I don't like urban camping, and try to avoid doing so, but I also have an aversion to paying for accommodation. When I do spend a night outside my van, I tend to worry somebody might break in and steal tools or my electronics
and generally invade my space. I call it Vanxiety.
I'd like to spend more times in places along the coasts, up to a little ways inland, to get a better feel for an area, compared to just driving slowly through on my way to point B from point A, wherever those might be.
One day I can see myself living in a modest boat, but as of yet, don't feel my boating
skills are adequate for what many of you are capable of, and my mini land yacht will have to suffice for now. I joined this forum because of the quality of knowledge here, and perhaps to make some contacts so I can learn more and deepen my skill Set and to earn an honest simple living, doing quality long lasting work, and continue living a simple life.
I've only contributed to 2 threads on the electrical forum so far regarding compressor fridges and ventilation, and will mostly be an observer/reader here, rather than a confrontational arguer. I am kind of a private and respectful individual, slightly reclusive, and do not do any traditional social networking like facebook, twitter, or instagram. For many of my lifelong friends, this is their primary means of staying in contact, and I feel a bit sad so be drifting apart because of my lack of facebooking, and the lost
art of a returned phone
I do tend to get too wordy when typing replies, but try and be thorough with the things I do have experience with.
Anyway, if you made it this far into my introduction
, thanks for reading, and I hope to perhaps one day be an asset to this forum.