Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Dave's Bizmo

Dave, age 59, is presenting Dave's Life this Wednesday morning, about his on-the-road lifestyle. His slides break it down into Motivation, Equipment, Infrastructure, Monthly Costs and so on. The lifestyle depends on having good telecommunications and maintenance skills.

Given the complexity of these rigs "if you're not mechanically adept, you're dead meat" -- even RV-driving grannies have to learn basic troubleshooting, often by consulting Internet user groups (there'll be one for every component). Schematics aren't necessarily available, and dealerships may have long waiting lists.

Dave avoids RV parks like the plague, uses GIS/GPS to locate suitable public lands (BLM, state, national forest, military -- or maybe a Wal-Mart parking lot). This land is your land, this land is my land. He pulls a trailer containing a Yamaha Mountain Max snowmobile (used mostly in the spring) and Suzuki DRZ400 dual sport motorcycle. The bizmo itself is a 33' Beaver Diesel Pusher motorhome. He's self-sufficient in terms of fuel, food, water, power, for weeks at a time. His utilities (fuel, satellite, insurance etc.) run about $825 a month, plus maybe $200 for food with an emphasis on fresh vegetables (Safeway a good source).

Before 2000, when GPS was deliberately inaccurate, Dave smashed his snowmobile on the side of Mount St. Helens, thinking he was on a trail he wasn't. Driving heavy equipment, alone, in desolate, erratic terrain, is highly dangerous. Dave rarely takes these unnecessary risks. He stores his camp sites, drive routes, other points of interest in GIS software. Given over two years of living this way full time, he's got a gold mine of information in his database. His photo diary, shared with a small group of subscribers, is likewise a valuable record of his adventures.