Last Update: 11/29/2017

Wear Your Blaze Orange Safety Vest – Hunter's Aprowlin'!

deer on small boat wearing a blaze orange hunter safety vest
In lots a the country, it's deer and elk season, among others. That means hunters in the national forests and BLM land where vandwellers boondock. Wear blaze orange when you walk around. That's Vanholio's advice.

?? #Vanlife question? Contact Vanholio! direct !!

Construction worker in orange safety vest with reflective stripesSee, most hunters is smart'n skilled. They don't hunt near the roads and marked trails where they ain't supposed ta. And they'll make sure you're game and not some van life camper before shootin'.

But it ain't the good or average hunters ya gotta worry about. It's the drunk dumbasses. Wearing a blaze orange safety vest or whatever helps. Plus stickin' to marked roads and trails. But ain't no guarantees. But ya don't wanna be one of them victims we hear about every year.

Boston Terrier Construction in orange safety vest with reflective stripesHunters usually gotta wear 400 square inches or more of orange by regulation, is my understandin'. So that means plenty. An orange hat or ascot ain't gonna cut it. Go big or go home!

Vanholio just bought hisself a mesh orange safety vest with reflective stripes. Hunters don't get the kind with the reflection for obvious reasons. But I figure it'll double for walkin' roads in dark.

Thinkin' about gettin' a little dog orange safety vest with reflector stripes for Ms. Barkley, too. Sometimes I let her run off the leash. This'll protect her a bit from cars and hunters, plus make it easier to see her if she don't come when called.

If van life takes ya to the woods and fields, think about gettin' an orange blaze safety vest for yourself, your people, and your dogs.

Also See ...

Read More »

Last Update: 11/24/2017

Where to Get Free Water for Van Life

peeing statue of man in prague
Ya gotta fuel your piss pump, Boys and Girls. But where to fill your jugs with free water? When you're living in a van down by the river? Vanholio tells you how.

Now, this don't really apply to you fancy pants RV folks with your exclusive fuckin' Club Med RV parks and dump stations. You’re covered. This is for the rest of us living on the cheap and under the radar – van life

Ol' Vanholio don’t have a holdin' tank. He just has some plastic jugs, about 12 gallons worth all told. That’s enough for a week or two, dependin'. Maybe you’re the same?

Here’s some places Vanholio’s been lucky findin' water while driving all over the goddamn country.

Friends, Family, Work

Fillin' up your jugs when visiting friends or family, or at work, is the obvious option. Don’t leave their homes without water! Ever!

Campgrounds and RV Parks

Obviously, if you’re stayin' at a campground or RV park that has water, fill ‘er up. But just today, I noticed a city RV park in passing. I drove in, parked in a spot, filled up my jugs from the hookups, and left. Yes, courtesy would be to ask first, but I’d rather apologize later. And fuck payin'!

Public Parks

I’ve found water taps in city, county, state, and national parks. Don’t just limit yourself to faucets provided for drinkin', though. Three weeks ago, I parked by a city ball field to read a map. Lookin' around, I noticed that the bathrooms by the ball field had a regular, outside tap, probably there for a garden hose. Got a week's worth of water in 3 minutes!

Rest Stops

In some states, public rest stops have drinking water taps for fillin' jugs. Wyoming is really good about this.

Commercial Buildings

sillcock key
Some gas stations, grocery stores, and other businesses have water via regular outside taps. Take some on the sly or ask, as you see fit. Now, you'd think commercial buildings have taps outside, just like a house, but you'd be wrong. Most have special taps outside to prevent lowlifes like you and me from gettin' it. Even when you ask a clerk for permission, they don't even know how to work the tap. But Vanholio has the solution, thanks to super redditor Drummygummy: You just need a faucet / sillcock key (see photo at right). Now, Vanholio hasn't used one personally (yet), but the tech looks promising. All the preppers rave about them! (See the how-to video at bottom.)

Grocery Stores / Water Vending Machines

Supermarkets, dollar stores, and convenience stores in many parts of the USA have filtered-water vending machines that let you fill your own jugs for about $0.30 a gallon. If you can't get free, that's a better option than bottled water. In some parts a the country, filtered water vending machines are free-standing on corner lots.

Rest Rooms

Almost anywhere, including all the places above, you can walk into a public or store restroom with your jug and fill it up at the bathroom sink if they don't have a drinking water tap. How? Bring a cup or a funnel with hose to get the water from the faucet into the jug. Or do this #vanlife hack with a bottle!

Private Homes

I'd be careful about getting shot, 'specially in redneck country. But Vanholio has gone up to folk's houses and asked to fill up at the garden hose. Most folks oblige. You can offer to pay, but they won't usually let you.

Streams, Rivers, Lakes, Ponds

If you'll be camping literally down by the river, or by a creek or lake, why not filter your own water? Then you don't have to go huntin' for it. A decent water filter is a good investment if you're in wet place. Desert-dwellers need not apply.

Potable water is available free for van life all throughout the great ol' USA. Just get out of the consumer mentality and look around, dammit. Bottled water ain't any healthier than public water (except in Flint), and buying it sucks your wallet dry.

Gettin' mail on the road? Traveling Mailbox! (review)

Also See ...

Read More »

Last Update: 11/17/2017

Map of Walmarts Where Camping Is Allowed or NOT Allowed

screenshot of Dallas area map showing walmarts in green and red, which allow or don't allow camping, respectively.

If you're doin' #vanlife or crossin' cross country, you need this USA nationwide map of Walmarts. It shows which let you park overnight, and which don't.

This ain't Vanholio's map, and he makes no assurances of it's accuracy. It's made and maintained by Walmart Locator – and they do a damn good job, in my experience! (And they sell a print copy, too.)

Vanholio's found the Walmart Locator's site van life lifesaver a number of times, includin' when passin' through Dallas last week.

?? #Vanlife question? Contact Vanholio! direct !!

Cover of Walmart Locator print book directory
Print copy!
Now, in general, Walmart has a corporate policy lettin' travelers in vans and RVs – even cars – camp in their parking lots a night or two. But individual stores make exceptions based on local ordinance or area problems. So it's good to check ahead with the map.

It's also a good idea to call the store or visit Customer Service when ya get there, to be sure and as a courtesy.

And for God's sake, People, don't make an ass a yourselves! Don't make a mess. Don't set out your barbecue pit and foldin' chairs in the parkin' lot. Don't shit in the grass. Don't overstay yer welcome. DON'T MESS IT UP FOR THE REST OF US!!!

Also, if you got new intel on a particular store, let the Walmart Locator know, so they can spread the word to all the vanlifers, vandwellers, RVers, and the rest.

Also See ...

Read More »

Last Update: 11/14/2017

Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the Van

idiot girl is looking right down the barrel of a pistol!
Top question I get is: "Do you carry a gun?" Why!? Ya think van life is like livin' in Somalia or some shit? No, it ain't. And no, I don't. Here's 3 reasons why ...

?? #Vanlife question? Contact Vanholio! direct !!

3 Reasons I Don't Have a Gun for Van Life Self-Defense

1. Most Likely to Shoot Myself

Lookin' at the stats, my chances of dyin' by gunshot suicide are way, way higher than gettin' murdered by a stranger at my van. How much? More than 4500 times more likely!!!

Vanholio has a history of depression. Serious, lifelong depression. As a male, that ups his odds a blowin' his brains out to 1 in 14 (7%).

Flip side, murder by a stranger ain't as common as ya think. Chance of gettin' murdered is 1 in 18,989 (0.53%). But most a the time folks is killed by friends and family. Less than 30% a them murders is by strangers in pursuit of a crime. Reduces my odds a gettin' snuffed ta 1 in 63, 297 (0.16%).

Sure, I recognize that the numbers might boil down differently in my particular case in a particular situation. But 1 to 4500 that I'll blow my own brains out vs. otherwise gettin' murdered is a big, BIG fuckin' margin!!!

2. Probably Can't Shoot a Man Anyways

I seriously doubt my ability to use a gun effectively and wisely under combat stress. In other words, I'll probably either freeze up or miss.

Did you know that most folks can't shoot another human bein'? It ain't that easy. It goes against our nature.

Years a battlefield statistics back this up. It takes training to overcome our innate resistance to killin' and to be good with that gun in a fight.

Now, there's a tiny percent a folks that can kill without blinkin', no trainin' needed. But as Vanholio can't watch a man get kicked in the balls without flinchin', he probably ain't one a them.

Lt. Col. Dave Grossman covers a lot a the facts behind this in his now-classic book, "On Killing." Lindy Beige hits the highlights in the video at bottom.

Vanholio don't have that training to shoot good and shoot to kill. And as he don't like the loudness a guns, nor the expense, that ain't gonna change anytime soon.

3. Prefer Prevention Over Confrontation

Look, whether you carry a gun or not, surely you don't want trouble. You know the old sayin', "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Vanholio does a lot to avoid trouble in the first place. When alone, I park the van in somewhat hidden locations, if I can. I got a loud little dog with sharp ears. I avoid any peoples and situations that gets my hackles up. I take other measures, too.

The point is: Gun or no gun, in vanlife there's a lot you can do to avoid ever gettin' to that dangerous, final confrontation. The best way to win a gunfight is never to have a gunfight.
Read More »

Last Update: 11/10/2017

#Vanlife Hack – Filling Water Jugs at Bathroom Faucet

Holy shit, I just run into this hack by accident!  It solves a problem plaguing Vanholio! since he went OTR van life – how to fill tall jugs in a bathroom.

?? #Vanlife question? Contact Vanholio! direct !!

See, my water jugs are kinda tall. Too tall for fillin' in a bathroom faucet. Sometimes though, a bathroom faucet is the only free water around.

Don't come up too often, but when it does, I've thought of gettin' a funnel with tube to carry around. But that's money and takes up valuable storage room, which I ain't got much of.

What's in that photo is way smarter for van life. Using a plastic water bottle as a faucet extender. Used plastic bottles is almost always around.

Someone else is doin' it with a plastic Coke bottle in the video below. ... Designed by geniuses for idiots, goddammit!

Also See ...

Read More »

Last Update: 11/07/2017

Mix Peanut Butter in Your Ramen – No Seriously!

block of dry ramen dipped in peanut butter

Think chocolate and peanut butter are the fuckin' bomb? Then you’ll L-O-V-E hot ramen noodles mixed with PB. It’s cheap, fillin', nutritious, and delicious!

Instant ramen and peanut butter are the perfect combination for the vandweller, or any broke-ass, lazy motherfucker. Sound weird? If you’ve ever had Thai food, you’ll know that peanut butter in a savory dish is fuckin' awesome. Even better spicy!

?? #Vanlife question? Contact Vanholio! direct !!

How to Make Peanut Butter Ramen

  1. Boil water. Vanholio uses two 12 volt water boilers.
  2. Put  in your huge bowl or Big Bubba insulated mug:
    1. 2 ramen noodle blocks, broken into pieces to fit
    2. 1 ramen noodle seasoning packet (2 if you like it salty)
    3. Big glob (~3 T) of peanut butter
    4. Optional: add meat, dried veggies, boiled egg, or spices.
  3. Carefully pour in hot water.
  4. Cover with cap and gently shake to mix ingredients.
  5. Wait 3-5 minutes.
  6. Dig in!
This makes a hearty, 1100+ calorie meal that sticks to your ribs and warms your toes. And the cost of the noodles and peanut butter is only about $0.75!

Fuck 'Unhealthy'!

Now, some asshole out there is gonna to tell me that instant ramen ain’t good for you. There’s some pseudoscience bullshit making the rounds about how it don’t break down in your gut like fresh ramen, etc., etc. That’s a bunch of conspiracy crap. Of course it don't! The instant kinds are fried! Fat takes longer to digest.

Cover of book, Prison Ramen
Americans are just paranoid about food, food companies, and The Man. Sometimes that paranoia is misplaced, and this is one a them times.

True, instant ramen is white, enriched flour lightly fried in saturated plant fat (usually palm oil). Too much of that ain't as good for you as, say brown rice or kale (yuck!). Whole foods is always healthier. Duh!

But you can’t tell me that most restaurant or packaged foods – at 10X the price! – are any better than Vanholio’s magic recipe. This combo is a good balance of protein, carbs, and a mainly plant fats. By using one broth packet instead of two, the salt won’t pickle you. Add some veggies to round it out, or drink a V8. Then eat a goddamn apple for dessert. And stop worryin' so fuckin' much.

Instant ramen noodles and peanut butter is Vanholio’s go-to meal – easy to make, easy to clean up, filling, nutritious, tasty, and completely satisfying. Try it. Fall in love again.

Here's a hot chick cooking a fancier version of ramen and peanut butter with soy sauce and Sriracha hot sauce.

Read More »

Last Update: 11/03/2017

Vanholio FAILS Big Texan 72 oz Steak Challenge

Big Texan steak challenge t-shirt
Where's the beef? At the Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas. That 72 oz (2 kg) FREE steak challenge been callin' since I were a tot. Read on ta see how far I got ...

?? #Vanlife question? Contact Vanholio! direct !!

How the Big Texan Steak Challenge Works

They been runnin' this thing since the 60s. If you eat the 72 oz steak in an hour – plus roll, salad, shrimp, and baked potato! – the meal is free. Fail, and you pay $72.

But they's more rules: You can't leave the table, can't stand up, can't puke, no one can help you cut your food, you gotta sit at the challenge table, and more. Plus, you gotta sign death and publicity release forms before ya begin. THIS SHIT AIN'T NO JOKE!

In 50 years, thousands has won – but many thousands more has failed …

Why the Fuck Do Somethin' This STUPID?

Big Texan 72 oz steak with sides on table
Before ...
YOLO, Dude. Heard about this challenge since I were a tiny Vanholio. Always thought it was dumb. But it always called me, too, like a Siren song.

Then this last summer, I made a decision to live as if I were dying on Jan. 1, 2018. Wrote a post about it. Added some things to the list there, most a them more reasonable. But the Big Texan steak challenge made the cut. Fuck it!!!

How Far Did Vanholio Get in the Big Texan Challenge?

Big Texan steak dinner ... what was left
After ...
Vanholio sat there at that table for near 40 minutes. The crowd was cheerin' and takin' photos. Folks offered their blessins. Vanholio chewed and chewed and chewed …

Did ya know that 72 oz is a lot a fuckin' steak!? Goddammit, it weren't fun chewin' all that. The taste went away. The joy went away. I were sweatin'. I were stressin'. In the end, I came close to chuckin' it all up right there …

In the end, Vanholio ate 54.5 oz (1.5 kg) a steak and ALL the sides. Leavin' 17.5 oz (0.5 kg) a steak on the plate. So close, so close … :-(

Loser Consolation Prizes Awarded

But hey, I tried. Plus got that T-shirt at top and that pink boot cup in the photos! ... PLUS I got to puke my guts out about an hour later, so that was nice … YOLO!!!

Also See ...

Read More »