Archive for the 'Q&A' Category

What kind of van is that?

September 23rd, 2012

the beatstIt’s a rare beast, it is.

It’s a GMC Savana. There are lots of ’em out there.

It’s got AWD to keep us rolling instead of looking for a tow. That makes it ‘rare’… at least in some parts of the country.

The AWD is rounded out by positraction. Apparently, most of these rigs come with an open differential rather than posi. With posi and AWD, it drives like it’s on rails. Finding AWD with posi was already in the realm of ‘nice, but unlikely’.

It has the Pro package which gives it fancy pop out side panels. About as rare as AWD, but combined with AWD, a pretty odd duck to find.

the beast

It came with the Pro Plus package that added low power fluorescent lighting in 5 different places. We didn’t really care about this, but it’s proven itself to be a very nice addition. They’re bright enough to double as outdoor lighting.

The real kicker is that it’s got both AWD and Pro on a 2500, which gives it better hauling and towing capacity. And THAT makes it unobtainable. They don’t make ’em. And according to some, they never have. 2003 was the last year for AWD in a 2500 and I believe it was the first year for the Pro package.

It had less than 90k miles on a 10 year old van in very nearly perfect mechanical shape. The guy that ordered this one knew exactly what he wanted and he took good care of it.

At least up until the point when it had a couple of rocker panels smashed in and the doors banged up. That’s probably when he took it out and shot it. I’m not kidding… I’m just glad he used birdshot.

Posted in response to Judith’s comment

The Necessary Evil

November 11th, 2011

Over on our facebook page, Sean asked “Out of curiosity, where does the money to live come from? Even living inexpensively would seem to cost money, food, gas, repairs, etc..” I started to reply there, but it got way too long.

Hi Sean,

First, I have to ask: Do you work for the IRS?

Well, the money comes from a variety of places. We work camp on occasion. That usually gives us a few grand a year. Work camping, if you don’t know, is were your employer supplies your campsite and utilities in addition to paying you your regular wages. We also have a couple of websites, like, that generate ad revenue. Lastly, there are our savings. In our previous lives, while we had good careers and well paying jobs, we didn’t live lavishly. We were two renter DINKs. That left us with a decent cushion for this adventure.

Johnny Hiking Bryce Canyon, Utah

We save money on hair cuts, too!

Most of all, we live on the cheap! We don’t EVER pay for camping. On average, we have traveled about 12,000 miles a year. This year we have only driven around 6,000 miles. We cook all of our meals even down to making our own bread and yogurt. We try to average about $1000 in expenses a month. That’s everything, including auto and health insurance.

We try to do all of our own repairs. When the bottom of our camper fell off, it could have cost us several thousand to have an RV shop repair it. Instead, Johnny did it for less than $200. When our wheel bearings went out, we replaced them as well as the ball joints. However, we aren’t as brave as our friends over at Raven’s Roads. Unlike them, we didn’t rebuild our transmission while on the road, we bought a new one when ours gave up the ghost. We’re not that cool!

We could easily work camp year round, like our friends The Gypsies Townsend who never touch the blessed nest egg, and have plenty of left over cash, but we aren’t going that route. At the moment, we are enjoying lots of free time and working on web development in hopes of creating a sustainable lifestyle. Which, in all honesty, it isn’t at this moment. It’s getting there, though.

Even though I have a web log, I am a private person when it comes to money, sorry if my answer is a bit vague.

You’ve Got Mail

April 26th, 2011

An unusual mailbox in Miami, FL
I have always been a resident of Florida. I had always planned to be. That is, until I realized how much I could really be saving as a resident of South Dakota. Turns out, my car/house insurance could be cut in half. Neither Florida nor SD have state income tax or yearly vehicle inspections so that’s a wash, but it would cost half as much to register my truck each year in SD. Unfortunately, all the stuff we heard about health insurance being cheaper doesn’t seem to hold true. The prices were comparable to our current plans in Florida (which btw have gone up 50% in the last three year w/o any claims.).

We have been pretty happy with our current mail forwarding service. They are only $15/mo for up to five mailings a month whether they are scheduled or on demand. They discard all junk mail and only send us items that are first class or higher. We can also call and see what mail they have for us at any time of day. We are bit leery of switching to another. As far as I know, there are seven mail forwarding services to chose from. So, now we get to the true point of this post: Are any of our readers residents of South Dakota? Do any of you have experiences or opinions on the mail forwarding/residency services in South Dakota.

Ice Cream Social, And You’re Invited!

April 22nd, 2011

Come get social with us. We’re hanging out on Facebook and Twitter. We have been updating our Facebook page almost daily. Sorry, the ice cream is a lie.
Do you have a Facebook page or Twitter account? Please tell us about it.

Hitek Homeless on Facebook   Hitek Homeless on Twitter
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Lights in the sky

March 20th, 2009

FInally, I get to see the stars the way I remember them as a kid! Since we hit Texas a while back, we’ve been treated to some great night skies. You’ve really got to get away from the cities these days to enjoy the stars. The last couple of nights, outside of Quartzsite, AZ I’ve seen quite a few falling stars streak across the sky. However, none of them compare to our UFO sighting in Phoenix.

That’s right, I said ‘UFO’. Call in the media, the Air Force and my personal head shrinker. At least let me tell the story first though, OK? I’m sure there’s a rational explanation, but I haven’t figured it out yet.

So, we’re out for a stroll in the late evening. The moon is about half full and there are a few clouds in the sky. We’re not talking about a lot of clouds, just enough to create a sort of haze in front of the moon. The moon is at, perhaps, sixty degrees in the sky and backlighting a small cloud bank. At this point, I notice what initially seems to be a searchlight from the ground sweeping through this cloud bank. Then it hits me. The ‘searchlight’ is actually darkening the clouds rather than lighting them up. I say something insightful, such as “that’s weird” and Jenn notices it too. Over the next fifteen to twenty seconds, we watch it continue to arc through the cloud bank and disappear. We stay outside another five or ten minutes, occasionally glancing at the moon, but never notice a repeat of the phenomenon.

Now, common sense would indicate that any light shining up from the ground would work in the usual way and actually light things up instead of darken them. I would expect to see this sort of effect if there were an object between the moon and the clouds, but what sort of object is going to be that high up, rectangular shaped (at least the ‘visible’ portion), move in an arc, and be large enough to obscure light from the moon across the entire height of a cloud bank? Various things in space might fit the bill except for the size they’d have to be to actually be seen from the ground.

Ok, we were in the Phoenix area, which is a pretty large town, but we were on the outskirts. During the time of the sighting, the moon was out over the desert with not too much in the way of developed land in that direction. There is also a pretty large Air Force base in the area that was flying over and around us nearly constantly. So, it could have been anything and maybe nothing more sinister than an optical illusion caused by a ground based searchlight, which is what it most resembled. It’s been nagging at me off and on for a couple of weeks that I can’t come up with a better explanation. Any ideas?

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