A Van and an Ebike

George S.

Well-Known Member


I live in a small town, maybe 20,000 folks, but housing is spread out so who knows that they are counting. When I got here, it was a bit run down. People moved old single wides out to $10,000 lots in ‘the valley’. Gee, now? They are developing the land just south of the old cheap areas into half acre lots, where they will build (minimum) 2500 square foot houses for around $350k, and up. We all sit around and ask who can buy these, but maybe it is money from other places.

If you are young, you are beyond screwed. Your screwedness has reached a level beyond infinity. I’m not ‘soft on achievement’, but everyone is not going to become a doctor or lawyer, the stuff that pays well. The remainder of gainful employment is some weird mix of gig economy, retail, service, warehouse worker, whatever. I don’t know how most starting rungs for work lead to paying off a $350k house. They say most people are not paying off their student loans, since Pando. There are 6 million people not paying rent, but there is some kind of eviction moratorium. That has to end. People say things will go back to normal. The prez sez that we are turning the corner. But, real world, a lot of people will be lucky to get a rather minimal job with no prospects. I see delivery drivers, food prep, stuff with no real future beyond the paycheck.

So basically, I see a lot of people who can afford some sort of van for living, and an ebike for transportation. I think big. I see an electric van with insulation that is comfortable, with a lot of solar, and public charge plugs if the sun does not cooperate. What’s the monthly payment? If the van is $50k and the term is 10 years, it might make the 30% rule for someone earning $14 an hour, full time. Then the only question is where to park it. I favor a parking rights rule. The streets are public. You can’t do a lot of stuff on a public street, but you can park, stay inside, and be reasonable about it. A nice van is a decent place to live. I know a guy who has lived in Seattle for years in a very small van. It’s a matter of how you take things. A lot of malls are in trouble. There is some parking. The van has to be able to handle real heat and real cold.

There is an argument for tiny houses, but they need fairly dedicated lots. There is parking in most places. Maybe some of it is ‘overnight’ but it is better than nothing. The problem with just building these large expensive houses is that one day you wake up and there is no place to house people who are essential to making your life work. They tried to remove the sales tax exemption on food here. Even in Utah where nobody fights ‘the man’ they turned that back. Hard. That has to be an object lesson for something.

The thing about ebikes is that they are very cheap transportation. If you can charge them, and solar is good for most needs, that’s about it. But it’s also a climate thing. People can ride in snow, but it takes a level of commitment. With real bike paths and snow clearance, or heated paths, it’s less of an issue. There has to be a real commitment to cheap transportation. California hasn’t gotten anywhere with basic housing. Housing and transport. I don’t know what vision of ebikes people are selling on these forums, but it’s not quite transport. When you start looking at these issues for minority communities, it’s staggering.

There is a government issue. What do you want from government? If you say it is all the market, great! But then you ask government to get rid of the guy in the van, who may be parked in front of your house? If you want a free for all, make sure you know what that means. We are well on out way to ‘No rules”, the free for all. If it happens it is going to be nasty as fu#@.

OK, so you are going to have all these people in these big houses, and the prices are going up, week by week, right now. And then you have, basically, everyone else. And these folks, ‘the rest’, are going to do....? People with basic incomes need an economy that works for them. That would be a major restructuring.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
...where they will build (minimum) 2500 square foot houses for around $350k, and up. We all sit around and ask who can buy these, but maybe it is money from other places.

Just a thought here. I am starting a company and have been looking to hire some engineers. What I went through was beyond sticker shock. What I learned was that the average salary for a brogrammer from Amazon or Google with five years of experience is over $300,000. If you have significant expertise in a specialty that is hot, like cryptography, security, machine learning, or computer vision that number might double.

Entry-level salaries for software people in the Seattle area are just below $200k.

So there is a pretty large contingent of twenty-somethings out there who are making salaries that normal people would associate with professional athletes, rock stars, and Hollywood people. And before you say this is just because of the cost of living in Seattle or San Francisco, I'd agree that is a little bit true but I've been contracting with this dev house in Indiana (Indiana!) where the kids doing the actual work are clearing $200k per year. You don't want to know what they are charging me.

So again, there are a lot of people out there making some major dinero, pandemic or no.
 

Cowlitz

Well-Known Member
Let me see, how to put this in a non political way. We are fed the line, you can do anything you want if you try hard. That's not true. You cannot live anywhere you want if you can't pay your bills. The only solution I see is to move to a less expensive place--I live in such a place except home prices are starting to creep up here. Unless you have the money, you cannot live comfortably in Jackson Hole, Port Townsend, Bozeman, Aspen, any ocean beach, etc.

Folks who provide services for cheap in such areas need to stop. Move away. That's the only way wages for yardwork, house cleaning, etc. will go up in our current state of the market.

I cringe at the youtube videos that tell how wonderful "van life" is. I lived in a travel trailer for a couple of years and winter was miserable. I had heat but the floor was freezing, the ceiling was too warm, and I had to plan my cooking so as to not have a lot of condensation. I'd wake up to see frost on the walls. It wasn't cozy or enjoyable for me. Get a lot of people doing "van life" and you'll get an increase in pressure on dispersed camping spots, and garbage. We are already seeing the increase in garbage here from folks camping irresponsibly. That'll bring in more regulations, which wreck it for those of us who are responsible campers.

The solution? I have none, other than stressing that only people who are wealthy can do certain things. Or get away with doing certain things. Life is not fair, especially now.
 

GypsyTreker

Well-Known Member
Well an eBike is part of the discussion. I do agree that an eBike in a liveable van might work better than a Wallmart pop tent and a shopping cart. I have actually been looking into a variation of van-life so my wife and I can continue to travel more while keeping two places for winter and summer use, the van and our Aliner allowing us to actually expand our "cruising" grounds. We have a residence in the mountains and in Fla, set up years ago when that sort of thing was affordable.

I am also of the opinion that with the high output alternators (100amp +) in most vans that solar is not as critical for charging eBike batteries. Investing in LiPo batteries ( rather than AGM ) and a good 2000w pure sine inverter tied into the vans charging system should handle daily needs at least. A folding 120w panel to help out might be a good idea.

The irony of the OP's post is that the same thing happening in affordable living areas being gentrified is going on in the Vanlife community. High earning tech workers that can do their jobs in a mobile setting are showing up in $100k adventure vans and impacting the local economy in what was once "cheap living" for low income retirees in older vans.

I, for one, being a 50's boomer, am really thankful to have experienced post world war America (USA) at its zenith.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
So basically, I see a lot of people who can afford some sort of van for living, and an ebike for transportation. I think big. I see an electric van with insulation that is comfortable, with a lot of solar, and public charge plugs if the sun does not cooperate. What’s the monthly payment? If the van is $50k and the term is 10 years, it might make the 30% rule for someone earning $14 an hour, full time. Then the only question is where to park it. I favor a parking rights rule. The streets are public. You can’t do a lot of stuff on a public street, but you can park, stay inside, and be reasonable about it. A nice van is a decent place to live. I know a guy who has lived in Seattle for years in a very small van. It’s a matter of how you take things. A lot of malls are in trouble. There is some parking. The van has to be able to handle real heat and real cold.

The thing about ebikes is that they are very cheap transportation. If you can charge them, and solar is good for most needs, that’s about it. But it’s also a climate thing. People can ride in snow, but it takes a level of commitment. With real bike paths and snow clearance, or heated paths, it’s less of an issue. There has to be a real commitment to cheap transportation. California hasn’t gotten anywhere with basic housing. Housing and transport. I don’t know what vision of ebikes people are selling on these forums, but it’s not quite transport. When you start looking at these issues for minority communities, it’s staggering.

Check out #VanLife... livin' the dream. ;) https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/04/24/vanlife-the-bohemian-social-media-movement

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john peck

Well-Known Member
Let me see, how to put this in a non political way. We are fed the line, you can do anything you want if you try hard. That's not true. You cannot live anywhere you want if you can't pay your bills. The only solution I see is to move to a less expensive place--I live in such a place except home prices are starting to creep up here. Unless you have the money, you cannot live comfortably in Jackson Hole, Port Townsend, Bozeman, Aspen, any ocean beach, etc.

Folks who provide services for cheap in such areas need to stop. Move away. That's the only way wages for yardwork, house cleaning, etc. will go up in our current state of the market.

I cringe at the youtube videos that tell how wonderful "van life" is. I lived in a travel trailer for a couple of years and winter was miserable. I had heat but the floor was freezing, the ceiling was too warm, and I had to plan my cooking so as to not have a lot of condensation. I'd wake up to see frost on the walls. It wasn't cozy or enjoyable for me. Get a lot of people doing "van life" and you'll get an increase in pressure on dispersed camping spots, and garbage. We are already seeing the increase in garbage here from folks camping irresponsibly. That'll bring in more regulations, which wreck it for those of us who are responsible campers.

The solution? I have none, other than stressing that only people who are wealthy can do certain things. Or get away with doing certain things. Life is not fair, especially now.
Having faced this situation on a number of occasions, thereś always a wikiup leanto, short on amenities but readily affordable. leave nothing
behind but footprints. I´ve spent half my life as a homeless nomad with no regrets of having fed the ´system´. I am now & always have been free.
 
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Nova Haibike

Well-Known Member
I know many people that use a regular bicycle for transportation. I commuted for years on one. Frankly, an e-bike is a luxury. Yes, it makes getting around easier. But if you haven't got $1000+, or can't afford to spend that kind of cash, well, there's nothing wrong with a regular old-and-used bike. The other upside to an old used bike is that it is less likely to get stolen, which is a huge problem in some places.
 

GypsyTreker

Well-Known Member
Having faced this situation on a number of occasions, thereś always a wikiup leanto, short on amenities but readily affordable. leave nothing
behind but footprints. I´ve spent half my life as a homeless nomad with no regrets of having fed the ´system´. I am now & always have been free.
There are levels on freedom. To my way of thinking your being "deliberate" puts you at the top of the heap. I have tried to convince my wife of 30 years to move west, claim our small piece of dirt and go off-grid, like we did over a quarter of century ago, while cruising. We both live a pretty simple but to her way of thinking a "convient and comfortable" lifestyle that she sees no reason to abandon. I, on the other hand, continue to daydream and revel in some of the innovative ideas on vans and Skoolie's. Of course some of those simple lifestyle vehicles with mods are pushing $60k and up. Damn....wheres that wikiup lean-to? :)
 

Dallant

Well-Known Member
Lots of “homesteaders” are clearly kidding themselves with romantic thoughts about the past and how great it was. Many go out to live this lifestyle having no clue of what they’re getting themselves into. These folks are just as hooked on modern technology and medicines as people living in your average small town and continue to use the internet, telephones, electricity, yada, yada. Off the grid? Please.
 
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Art Deco

Well-Known Member
There are levels on freedom. To my way of thinking your being "deliberate" puts you at the top of the heap. I have tried to convince my wife of 30 years to move west, claim our small piece of dirt and go off-grid, like we did over a quarter of century ago, while cruising. We both live a pretty simple but to her way of thinking a "convient and comfortable" lifestyle that she sees no reason to abandon. I, on the other hand, continue to daydream and revel in some of the innovative ideas on vans and Skoolie's. Of course some of those simple lifestyle vehicles with mods are pushing $60k and up. Damn....wheres that wikiup lean-to? :)
A Simple Lifestyle means it needs a quarter million dollars per year after it's been marketed and marked up . ;)
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Van closet and ebike pics. "Nope, it won't fit." I said that a lot when we were traveling in my van.
 

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GypsyTreker

Well-Known Member
Lots of “homesteaders” are clearly kidding themselves with romantic thoughts about the past and how great it was. Many go out to live this lifestyle having no clue of what they’re getting themselves into. These folks are just as hooked on modern technology and medicines as people living in your average small town and continue to use the internet, telephones, electricity, yada, yada. Off the grid? Please.
I agree some might see "homesteading" as some sort of escape, or movement, whatever. There are degrees, as with anything. I consider off-grid as being the one ( person) that produces what is normally billed if on-grid. There is nothing that says off-gridders can't have internet, cell phones or big screen TV's. That is where tech is allowing us to go. You may be confusing this approach to minimalist choices. Even then, it's a choice. Perhaps having had to do farmwork during the summer ( my wife grew up doing the same) would inform one to NOT want anything to do with "homesteading". I can relate, I would not be married if I was adamant in having her go off grid and rough it as a lifestyle. To her credit she did participate in my off-grid adventures for a few years but only because we agreed there would be and end-point. :)
 

GypsyTreker

Well-Known Member
Lots of “homesteaders” are clearly kidding themselves with romantic thoughts about the past and how great it was. Many go out to live this lifestyle having no clue of what they’re getting themselves into. These folks are just as hooked on modern technology and medicines as people living in your average small town and continue to use the internet, telephones, electricity, yada, yada. Off the grid? Please.
I agree some might see "homesteading" as some sort of escape, or movement, whatever. There are degrees, as with anything. I consider off-grid as being the one ( person) that produces what is normally billed if on-grid. There is nothing that says off-gridders can't have internet, cell phones or big screen TV's. That is where tech is allowing us to go. You may be confusing this approach to minimalist choices. Even then, it's a choice. Perhaps having had to do farmwork during the summer ( my wife grew up doing the same) would inform one to NOT want anything to do with "homesteading". I can relate, I would not be married if I was adamant in having her go off grid and rough it as a lifestyle. To her credit she did participate in my off-grid adventures for a few years but only because we agreed there would be and end-point. :)