Last Update: 1/19/2018

What LA Federal Case Means for Vandwellers

cop writes ticket to van driver

No, it sure as hell didn't guarantee your rights to live in a van unmolested. Desertrain vs. City of Los Angeles only made the city rewrite their anti-vanlife ordinance. Now they fuck with LA vandwellers in new ways.

What Was Desertrain vs. City of Los Angeles About?

Los Angeles had an ordinance on the books since 1983 worded that it was illegal to live in your vehicle on LA city streets or city-owned parking lots.

In 2010, the city started getting a lot of complaints about folks living in their vehicles in residential and business districts who were making a mess. So the city started enforcing the ordinance.

A few cops went too far and fined folks who weren't doin' shit. Some were legally sleeping in their vans in private parking lots with permission. Some just looked homeless because they had lotsa personal belongings in the vehicle.

Homeless advocates helped a bunch a these cases come together and make a federal suit that ended up in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. (Read a lawyer's breakdown here.)

What Did the Ninth Circuit Court Decide?

It found the LA ordinance unconstitutionally vague. Basically, they thought the wording was too flimsy. No way cops or vandwellers could figure out what was and wasn't allowed.

Plus, the court found the LA cops were using the law as an excuse to harass anyone who looked like they lived in a van. And I'll add, looked like they was poor.

What Does the Court's Decision Mean for Vandwellers?

So we're cool now, right? No. The decision hardly meant shit for vanlife.

Cities can still make ordinances that you can't sleep in your vehicle or park too long wherever. Just like they can make you have plumping on a land and house you own outright.

That's what LA did. In 2016, they passed a new ordinance making it illegal to "live" overnight between 9 pm and 6 am in residential neighborhoods. They also made illegal to vandwell at any time "within one block, or 500 feet, of schools, pre-schools, daycare facilities, and parks." Think they got some rules about parkin' in fronta businesses, too.

Two other points:

  1. The Ninth Circuit Court's decision only applies in its district, which is basically West Coast.
  2. Redneck towns and asshole cops will still fuck with you. Might be illegal of 'em, but you got money and time to sue?

So … Is Living in Your Van Legal or Illegal?

As I wrote about in another post, living in your van is legal in principle. No law says ya gotta live in sticks'n'bricks. You're "free," so they say.

Federal land boondocking is still cool and easy. But cities? All kindsa petty ordinances and laws make everyday vanlife practices illegal in cities. It's fucked up and confusing if ya don't know the local laws. Just try dancin' around all them rules! Or if you're dealin' with asshole cops.

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Last Update: 1/15/2018

Newsflash – Starting an Online Business Is Hard

Here's a genius article: "Is the future of work necessarily glamorous? Digital nomads and ‘van life.'" The authors find vanlife entrepreneurs ain't makin' money.

Well ain't that a fuckin' shock! In the age of online work, digital nomads, vanlife, freelancing, and all the rest, most still struggle to start a business!

… many confessed that their activity was (until now) not really profitable, with their activities being financed through personal savings, family support or gift exchanges.

So these authors – fuckin' academics! – visited with digital nomads in a bunch a countries and all kindsa settings, and it turns out the young people aren't really makin' a livin'. That includes the vanlife bloggers.

Isn't vanlife lifestyle bloggin' supposed to be easy? Don't ya just take some cool shots of ya doin' yoga by a mountain lake, retro vanagon in the background, and the cash starts rollin' in?

Look, gettin' started in business has always been hard. Most fail. And when you're doin' something artistic, it's even harder. Suppliers always exceed the demand. I posted about this a couple weeks ago.

The authors conclude that it's still worth it to young graduates as some kinda learnin' experience. Well, sure. Takin' life by the nuts is always worth a try, especially when you're young and can make up your losses.

But only a dumbass thinks they'll just jump out there and make a million in vanlife blogging. Or any other kinda digital nomad business, for that matter.
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Last Update: 1/12/2018

What If You Only Had Six Months to Live?

van in the desert under the milky way

Vanholio ain't got much wisdom. But he's learned to ask hisself this question: If I only had six months to live, what would I do? Then I plan accordingly.

The power of that question come to me some years ago. I was going through a rough patch, a breakup with my ex. I'd always seen us together, growin' old. I didn't know what the fuck to do. Was totally fuckin' lost.
Then somehow, that question – What would I do if I only had six months to live? – came to me. The answer? Told myself I'd sell everything up, buy an RV, go sit my ass in Big Bend National Park, and write a novel. That was my guiding star.

After I moved out, I did something close. I stayed in my friend's country deer-hunting trailer for the summer. I wrote a crappy first draft of a novel. (It'll never see press. Trust me.) I was miserable after the breakup, but I was thrilled with how I was living.

That was a decade ago. And I went down some wrong paths since then. But that guiding star was always in my vision.

Today, the answer is almost the same: I'd travel and write. So I'm an OTR vandweller doing just that. It's a miracle life, this "living in a van down by the river."

What's *your* vision? What would *you* do if you only had six months to live?

Want to spend more time with family? Find a way to work less or maybe have longer vacations together, like going into teaching to have summers off.

Walk the Appalachian trail? Start backpacking on vacations and set aside money to take on the AP eventually.

Want to make sure your kids and SO have a house owned free and clear?
Prioritize your spending to pay that sucker off.

Want to work in your garden? Maybe look at going into market farming or community garden organizing.

In the real world, you might not bullseye your perfect vision. There's a whole lot of fuckin' considerations. But you can get damn close if you're honest about what you want.

What I found about getting into vandwelling and writing is that it wasn't that hard. Yes, I had to plan and make sacrifices. It took time to pull everything together. But the logistics flowed easier than expected once I set myself to reaching that star. It's bein' clear with yourself and makin' the fuckin' decision that's hard.

So I ask you: What would *you* do if you only had six months to live?

Cover of "All the Whores I Knowed Before" a book by Vanholio! For sale on Click through.

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Last Update: 1/09/2018

Made This Egg Salad Sandwich for ZERO DOLLARS, ZERO MESS!

closeup of egg salad sandwich

Two things to tell: 1. How to make a vanlife egg salad sandwich without no mess, and 2. How this particular sandwich's fixins cost me absolutely nothin'.

How to Make an Egg Salad Sandwich in the Van

Well, you *could* make it the usual way, in a bowl. But then you have to clean that shit out. No, this is better. Vanholio makes his up in a Ziploc bag!

ingredients for egg salad sandwich: bread, boiled eggs, mayonnaise packets, Ziploc
1. Gather your fixins. I usually do about 3 hard boiled eggs to 2 packets of mayo. Makes 2 sandwiches. But go to your taste.

hard boiled eggs broken up inside Ziploc
2. Put the fixins in the bag. Zip it closed so there ain't much air in there.Then gently work with your finders til ya get it as pasty as you like. Treat that huevo sack like it was your own, so as you don't pop it!

egg salad getting squeezed out of Ziploc onto bread
3. Cut or bite off one corner of the Ziploc. Then squeeze out the egg salad like it's frosting.

When you're done, just throw out the bag. Ain't hardly no cleanup, unless you made a mess with the eggshells.

How I Got These Egg Salad Fixins for FREE

Vanholio's been gettin' extra thrifty lately. It's that or get a real job ...

One thing I took up is usin' coupon apps on my smartphone. Two I tried so far and like are's app and Ibotta. Both let ya save digital coupons in the app. Then you redeem them by takin' a photo of your receipts.

(BTW, use this link to sign up for Ibotta, and you get a $10 signup bonus. Plus Vanholio gets a kickback. Or use this code when you sign up through the app: BTYJBXW)

They both got lots a good manufacturer coupons at Walmart and a ton a other grocery chains. But they also both got coupons on generic goods, like eggs, fruits and veggies, bread, etc.

Last week, had two generic Walmart coupons. One was for up to $2.50 in free eggs. I got 18 large eggs free. The other coupon was for $2.00 off any brand a sliced bread. I found a loaf a Walmart multigrain for $1.98, so that was free.

Email from showing rebate into PayPal account for items purchased

While I was there, I picked up two free mayo packets from the deli. I usually use mayo packets from Walmart or convenience stores so I don't have to worry about refridgeratin' a big jar.

Eggs, bread, and mayo all FREE! Well, I guess that Ziplock and season salt I used cost some, but I aint' complainin' none, I tell you what.
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Last Update: 1/04/2018

Goin'a Quartzsite? Oh Hell No!

It's that time a year again. Every RVer, rubber tramp, nomad, vandweller, and any other kinda vanlife scamp is showin' up at Quartzsite, AZ. But not Vanholio!

At my camp in New Mexico right now, I got four other rigs in view. That's four vanlife rigs too many! My prayer as I go to sleep is that they'll be gone in the mornin'. Either that, or I'll be dead. One's as good as the other.

Vanholio's a Loner ...

Like hell I wanna crowd up in some piece a shit bit a flat desert Arizona with four thousand or more! How's a man supposed to step outside and pee with all them folks around? Tell me that!

Vanholio didn't get inta this vanlife thing to mozy up with strangers – even strangers in vans. He's a hermit on wheels, yessir.

Goddammit, I never did go to Burning Man. And I never even went to Ft. Lauderdale or Padre as a youngun. I ain't fixin' to turn joiner now!

If I want to meet someone – anyone, even YOU – I'll do it one-on-one, where I can hear what the hell you're sayin' and look ya in the eye. And leave shortly if everythin' goes tits up.

'But I Wanna Go ..." You Say?

Mind you, I don't begrudge others their fun. If you're goin' to Quartzsite for the big RV show, Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, schoolie gathering, Escapees, or whatever, why, God bless ya. If it creams yer gravy, go for it. You can have my share.

OK, yes, Vanholio is an ornery ol' sorehead. Ain't I always told ya'll that? Ain't ya been listenin'? (Maybe not ...)

So to sum up what ain't worth botherin' over – I ain't showin' up in Quartzsite this month for no vanlife rendezvousness. Unless I change my mind.

Cover of "All the Whores I Knowed Before" a book by Vanholio! For sale on Click through.
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Last Update: 1/02/2018

Stuck on a Freezing New Year's Eve

Tire stuck in gravel
Sommabitch! Got stuck in stream gravel in Del Rio, Texas. Why does this shit happen to me? Has Vanholio got some kinda perverted talent for offroad driving? Like the time got myself stuck on a sand dune.

The sad part is it weren't even exactly offroad driving. Well, it was, but just for a second.

It was about 7:30 pm on New Year's Eve. Vanholio was headin' west, close to Del Rio. He was tired. It was foggy-misty and cold as fuck. He decided to check out this fishin' park near Sycamore Creek off US 277 in Del Rio. (It's a site I'd never explored but had marked on some time ago.)

I pulled in and saw a few picnic tables. But the paved drive kept on under the overpass. Wanted to see if there was campsites on the other side.

park road by Sycamore Creek, Del Rio, Texas
Gravel just past where you see
But just under the bridge, it turned to gravel and started down to the crick. Figured I'd better turn around. So I went to turn around one a the pillars. The gravel started feelin' soft.

Just as that thought came inta mind, I was stuck. Just like that. Front wheels diggin' down inta the gravel. Fuck!

Tweren't nothin' for it! It was dark, below freezin', and wet. Snow and sleet was potential. So I went to bed, figured I'd pick up at daylight.

Well, long story short, couldn't dig myself out. Too loose. Called AAA. Bein' New Year's Day, took the boys 'bout 3 hours to get there. No complaints, though. They ended up winchin' me out by a sideways angle.

US 277 overpass of Sycamore Creek, creek below and dark clouds
Cold day on Sycamore Creek
As I write this, Vanholio and Ms. Barkley are sittin' at Goodyear in Del Rio. The news ain't good. Alignment is out. Worse, the frame or somethin' is bent, and they can't do alignment till that's worked out!

How the fuck much is a second a poor decision gonna cost me! Godammit, fuck, fuck, fuck!!!

At least it's still driveable. I'll nurse her to Las Cruces, where Vanholio's got some business in a day or three. I'll find a body shop up there and do the deal.

Note to self: Don't drive when tired and/or at night and/or in poor visibility. Dumbass. USA, LLC

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