the state of the vanhold

All these little things happen. Nothing big enough for a whole post, but little things.

Bro threw up on my 12v frying pan. It was yucky puke and it went all down in the electrical housing. I just threw it out. I was on my way to the big scary city and I figured I could find one there. But I couldn’t. It turns out there’s nary a twelve volt pan to be found in the whole state. I have trouble ordering things on the internet. My shipping address is always different from my billing address so that they think I’ve stolen my credit card. Finally I decided to just order it from Amazon and make a trip to my billing address when it got here. It still hasn’t gotten here and I haven’t been able to fry up any meat or eggs in weeks.

When I turned the van on yesterday there was suddenly a clicking noise. Click-click-click-click. Like a bad relay. Or solenoid. I can never keep them straight. When I turned the steering wheel it got worse. Clickclickclickclickclick. When I opened the door it stopped. I checked out my electrical diagram, looking for a relay in the steering wheel that was related to the door buzzer. Electrical diagrams are no fun. I decided that today would be the day. I’d rip open the steering column and go at things with my voltometer and find the problem. This morning when I started the van the clicking was magically gone. At first this made me nervous, but I checked it out and everything still works. So I think it was a relay going bad and now it’s gone bad but everything still works so it’s okay.

I got rid of two pairs of pants. One that was splattered with paint from the bus and finally sprung a few rips, and another that had blueberry stains. There has been a great unbalance in my jeans lately. See, normally I have one or two pairs of tight and sexy jeans with a touch of class for when I walk into a new strip club or when I’m hanging out in a town where my every appearance is an advertisement. Then I have a pair or two of bummy woodsy pants. I like them kinda loose, but not baggy. They feel sexy if they kinda swish around my hips. Lately tho, it’s all tight pants and no bummy pants. This is cause I couldn’t find any pants in the thrift stores this summer. So I finally resigned myself to paying $20 for a brand new pair of pants, but when I got to the store it turned out that brand new pants are more than $20. Except for the sexy tight ones. So I got a pair. Then I had two sexy tight jeans and two bummy sweat pants but no bummy jeans. Today I went to the labor day sale at the thrift store and got two pairs of bummy woodsy jeans. It’s great.

I’ve been inspired by all these stories of people who can open their back doors and sit on their beds to enjoy the river/ocean/whatever. I’ve also been inspired by Heather’s bamboo floors. The bookshelves are seeming a little less necessary, and I’m considering a whole new interior design. Except that my design is really good for winter. But I probably need to make more room for heat storage (and maybe production) too. So it’s confusing like that.

I got a sewing machine! It’s an old fashioned shuttle bobbin and I got it off eBay for like $30. It has some issues, but it basically works great. The thing I’m learning tho, is that you can take your sewing and sit anywhere and sew by hand and people think it’s cute and quaint. But if you haul out a hand crank sewing machine from the 1800’s and sit around sewing with it, it attracts a lot of attention that isn’t really good.

I hope this isn’t really boring for people who don’t live in vans.


  1. I don’t think I’ve ever told you how much your stories about living in the van truly rock my world. Many years ago, a friend and I had an adventure/road trip in a VW van for a couple of months, and she’s been gone for several years now and your stories bring back many happy memories.

  2. Hey, I love your site :smile:. Your writing takes me to places I’ve only imagined being. Thanks for the flashlight recommendation a few posts back. I’ve been waiting to find the right one, and I bought a few.

    Just out of curiosity, are you avoiding hooking up an ordinary electric skillet to a power inverter for a specific reason? I haven’t lived in a vehicle for any length of time, and I assume there’s a good reason not to do that, but I couldn’t think of what it might be.

  3. Molly, I’m glad. 😀

    Ethan… yeah, there’s a couple reasons. First of all a regular electric skillet that plugs into 110 volt uses like 800 watts, so you couldn’t use it with an inverter that just plugs into the cigarette lighter. I don’t have a house battery, and don’t feel like it would be worth the space to install one (I had one on the bus, which is how I learned how awful electric skillets are for electricity) but even if I did, an electric skillet wouldn’t be worth the electric drain. The 12v skillets don’t say how many watts they use, but it’s obviously a lot less.

  4. exactly! never boring…very important details for the future van wanderers of the world. Especially the part about outfitting for winter.
    how am i EVER going to fit herbs in a van???

  5. Oh yeah, I was just thinking volts, I forgot about watts. I hope your new 12v arrives soon! And to echo the other posters, these details aren’t boring at all. They help me make plans 🙂

  6. Put em in plastic bags and throw them in one of those rectangular kitty litter buckets that fits perfectly between the seats? That’s my current solution, and it doubles as a spot to sit.

  7. I’m always left laughing…NOT BORING AT ALL!…P.S the sleepy little Christian town is still rocking $…the redhead says Wyoming is really dead$ after the holiday, my car’s alternator started going out at Cheyenne and I didn’t get the wake up call until Miles City, Montana (8 hrs later) at which point, I called and found out our mechanic (1 hr from Miles City) was still in Denver on holiday 🙄 ….so i kept driving with lowlights on and promptly almost hit a mythically large buck in the middle of the interstate….It’s been crazy/ I think I will leave the car here and come to work the little big city with you 😎 🙂 …….You are never boring! I AM STILL LAUGHING!

  8. LOL Ashley, get up here! There’s a whole world for you to rock! (I think I might be taking off for a minute, but I’ll make it so we overlap).

  9. I always used a gas stove in my van-livin’ days. None of that fancy-schmancy electric crap for me. Of course, your 12v jobbie runs of energy you’ve already stored up, where as a gas would require more energy spent.
    I also kept a coffee can (with holes punched just above the bottom rim and just below the open top rim) for a twig-fire stove in a pinch. That’s like the one good thing I learned from the Boy Scouts. That, and… you know… “always be prepared” and shit.
    So what do you do for heat storage? Hot rocks? Hot water? A passive solar water kit that soaks sunlight off your roof? Wait, I guess you won’t have much sunlight in the winter.

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