Part timing without traveling - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-26-2008, 11:35 PM   #1
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Gas has surpassed 4 bucks a gallon in my territory.

I live 45 miles one way from work, now making my commute cost 15-18 bones a day. I suspect that by the end of the year (Or even sooner) it may be cheaper for me to park the Burro at an RV park paying a monthly rent, or rotate through local campgrounds closer to my place of employment during the week, (I can do this with my golden access pass for 5-7 bucks a day with no hook ups.. which is not a big deal to me) and come "home" on weekends.

This will reduce several costs, from utilities in my stick built house, to gas for the Jeep, not to mention reducing my commute time.

Has anyone ever done this? Whats the best way to deal with two residences.. (If you count a 17 footer as a residence )

Even though the reality of this making financial sense is not lost on me, it bugs me to have to do it, and it makes me concerned about using the trailer on weekends to "Camp", which is my # 1 recreational activity right now. Will I lose interest in my weekend house playing on wheels?

Do you lose your sense of "Home" for your stick built? Does it turn into just the weekend vacation house?

I have actually done similar things in past lives. I worked here in So Cal, and flew to the Northwest on weekends during a long term, long distance relationship. The "House" I went to on weekends was not my own tho, so this makes it somewhat different. I also worked in Seattle while maintaining an apt in Portland for a couple years. I stayed with my Dad during the week and commuted "home" on Friday nights, returning to Seattle at O dark thirty on Monday mornings. (I was a LOT younger then!) I also lived in my VW Bus in my work parking lot in Portland for a year during a time of 12 hour days during the week, and going back to my house in the gorge on weekends. There I had use of an unused lunch and bathroom area, so I had private shower, bath and cooking facilities of a traditional nature. (I also got a little differential to be on call like that)

This all seems so far into the past that I don't remember how I coped. I had planned to actually sell my house before giving up the cushy gig, and doing just this, without the weekend travel to the stick built for a couple years and then head out to the road. Selling a house right now is NOT a good idea financially.. so, I guess I have to find out how to manage cheap rent and mortgage simultaneously.

I guess I feel fortunate to have this option. I know a few co workers that set themselves up during the housing boom even farther out than I am that have few options right now.

Renting my house out is NOT an option.. rentals are a dime a dozen right now. I also don't want to give up the escape from "down the hill" on my free days.
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Old 04-26-2008, 11:40 PM   #2
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Treat your anchored home as a vacation home, to which you escape on weekends and holidays!
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Old 04-26-2008, 11:47 PM   #3
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Buy a real small commute car. Something you get good mileage on. 2nd hand.
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Old 04-27-2008, 12:00 AM   #4
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Unfortunately, there are two problems with that.

The last 12 miles of my commute home are straight up with no services. In the winter, this can be very dangerous should a mechanical issue arise. I knew when I bought this place that I would be faced with car payments to reduce my chances of that happening. Cash is not available to buy a low mileage one outright, and adding more car payments would only compound the problem.

I could trade in the Jeep and get a smaller car, but... it's hard to tow a trailer with a Honda Civic LOL!

I don't have room to park another car, thats why I reluctantly gave up the Element. A decision I am now regretting. When I had both the Jeep and the E, I actually used the Element more than the Jeep due to the gas consumption.

The 17 footer is my ticket to fulltiming. Giving it up is a poor choice for the future.

I have considered a Motorcycle again, however. I can't use it sometimes in the winter, but most of the time, it would be OK.
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Old 04-27-2008, 07:40 AM   #5
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Hmm, quite a conundrum... a few thoughts; if push comes to shove, you will lose a lot more selling your house in the present market than selling your trailer. If full-timing is still some time in the future, it might be possible to temporarily downsize your trailer. Or, a diesel Liberty, or better yet, an AWD Subaru would give you the winter driveability you require, better mileage, and still have more towability than an Element to downsize to a 14 or a light 16 foot trailer. Toyota Ravs are rumored to get mid-30's mpg Imperial and still have a 3500 pound tow rating. Within the next few years, small diesel SUV's will be here, so that you could pull that 17 ' trailer, and still get decent mileage. Gas is $!.25 a litre ($4.73/US gal) here in Winnipeg, and a recent bank prediction is for $2.20/litre ($8.38) within 4 years. It may be that the long term trailer solution for the less-than-affluent is a 50 mpg Toyota Corolla pulling a light 13' trailer.
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Old 04-27-2008, 08:03 AM   #6
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I gather telecommuting, carpooling, public transportation, and renting a room close to work are out. Around here we also have what they call "park-and-ride" parking lots where you would park your car during the day and take the bus for the rest of the trip to work. This is of course very location-dependant, but maybe a variation on that theme could be applied.
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Old 04-27-2008, 08:10 AM   #7
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I think your RV plan sounds like a good one, especially if you don't have to move the trailer around much. I guess my concern would be the pets. Are they going to be safe/happy in the trailer/trailer park?

I have two houses, but don't commute that often. (Just summers and Christmas in one, the rest of the time in the other.) I don't feel less at home in either one, though. They are very different. One has all the comforts of, well, home, and the other is reasonably primitive. But when I'm heading to one or the other after a long drive I still have a sense of coming home.

Bobbie
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Old 04-27-2008, 08:58 AM   #8
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I did this for 5 years in a Navy campground Monday night to Friday morning and my wife would come over from time to time. Things worked out well and we still like to camp. Taxes became a problem because our primary home is in VA and the Campground was in MD and MD wants TAX if you work and sleep in their state. Stay in a cardboard box or under a bridge even 1 night there and you must pay tax on your income. Go home to VA every night and the agreements between the 2 states and you only have to pay in VA. A real catch 22.
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Old 04-27-2008, 09:06 AM   #9
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Taxes became a problem because our primary home is in VA and the Campground was in MD and MD wants TAX if you work and sleep in their state.
That shouldn't be a problem for Gina until California slides into the ocean and LA becomes part of the island state of Western California. http://geology.com/articles/images/s...-fault-map.jpg
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Old 04-27-2008, 12:21 PM   #10
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I want to get away from So Cal, but not necessarily have it get away from me :-P

All the suggestions are good ones, but they don't necessarily work in this area. So Cal was not designed with public transport in mind. (Coming from a city that has one of the BEST public transportation systems in the US, this was an adjustment for me.. I used the bus/light rail for years and years)

Carpooling is possible, and it has been discussed with a few, but my work involves traveling between facilities, on an irregular schedule. This only makes part time pooling possible, and thats pretty ineffective.

I have broached the telecommuting subject and found that there is a small army of individuals that are also calling for it independently. "Corporate" is looking into it. It may very well happen. But there are legalities to hurdle over.

No, getting rid of the trailer is not a wise idea. It's a lifeline on so many levels.

I like Bobbys experience. She is doing as I am contemplating, but on a different schedule. Darwin, thats good info too. I won't be between states tho.. only counties...
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Old 04-27-2008, 02:46 PM   #11
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Hi Gina! You generated some interesting input here. We are holding good thoughts for corporate enlightment and a favorable decision on telecommuting. This would ease the burden of so many, starting with you.

Yeah, you gotta hold onto the McMansion, since you waited so long to find your dream rig, and it fits so well into your game plan to RV-it for those last few working years before "hitting the road". With your nest egg to cushion you, you'll have the best of all worlds. Take care, L 'n D
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Old 04-27-2008, 03:30 PM   #12
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Seems like each option has some negatives here. But, if it were me I wouldn't consider staying in the trailer during the week something that would diminish the fun in my "real" camping, but that is a very personal thing.

I would not trade away my 7-second commute to my shop, but that is just a circumstance that now has even greater benefits than before.

IF you do not want to give up your house, your trailer, etc. the option not really explored is a career change.
Doing something that does not require commuting is the ultimate solution but obviously a major and drastic change.

It's easy for me to say, being "retired" and all, but working from home would obviously solve the problems.
I have a son (programmer) who currently works for a Silicon Valley outfit and flies down there now and then on their tab to shake hands and so on. His attitude is that moving from Portland is non-negotiable, and they seem quite happy with that. Fortunately he has never had to apply for a job in his life (we should all be so lucky).

Wish I could come up with the unexpected bright idea, but I can't, so all I can suggest is maybe a trial period of putting the Burro in a convenient spot but not committing to a long-term situation that can't be quickly dropped (gotta treat the "kids" right though).
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Old 04-27-2008, 06:57 PM   #13
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Career change is definitely in the future. Personally, I have insurance issues to deal with still, so staying with Fender is a requirement at the moment. I have surpassed my "5 year mark" and am technically cured of my lung cancer now, but that landmark is still fresh and it will take a few more years for that to be morally credible and believable to the masses... such as future employers that don't understand that this is possible. Saying I "had" the cancer 8-10 years ago makes it easier for folks to believe its done with than a short 5 years is, especially with this type of cancer. (Offside... unfortunately, most of the world is uneducated on the subject and it is rare to find anyone that knows it's curable under certain circumstances, just like it's rare to find a breathing specimen of it) "Cured" means nothing when trying to purchase private insurance. No one will cover me for this condition.. only an HMO will through an employer, or through a state risk pool, and that is spendy premiums.

(I am not whining.. it's my own doing and I need to take my licks)

Those extra few years are going to be used to set myself up financially to go full time. I am still on schedule with that. Right now, being where I have been for nearly 1/4 century with all the benefits one would expect to go with that... it would not be smart to leave now.

Like most Americans, I still have the standard major financial obligation from better times.. the mortgage, the car payments, the CC bills..yada yada yada, so scaling down on income is also not an option right now. I know I am not alone...

Also, since I have so much seniority and am on the higher end of the financial obligation scale for my employer.. this makes me quite vulnerable if "downsizing" is required.. the trailer would be my lifeline if that happens. If nothing else went right, I would still have a roof over my head.. thats why getting rid of it is a bad idea.

I am working on arrangements for my animals. The cat is not an issue, he goes where I do and is happy and adaptable. Day care for the dogs is a must, and I have a few offers that need to be worked out. One is leaving them here with my neighbor during the week who could use a few extra dollars, another is a commercial day care, or a combo of both.... bringing them home with me on weekends.
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Old 04-27-2008, 07:29 PM   #14
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Don't most of the folks who live in Crestiline work off the mountain? If you could organize a carpool group to get you to work during the week and leave your Jeep at your worksite for travelling between jobsites then you could offset your transportation costs. You could then take your Jeep home on the weekends.

Another possibility is try to get your employer to provide an efficient vehicle for you to use while on the job. If they won't do that then your employer should reimburse you for transportation costs that you incur on the job. While this will not help you get off the mountain-- your greatest expense-- at least you won't be using your Jeep on the job. I also believe that work related travel expenses are tax deductible.

Finally, you might be able to get the County Board of Supervisors or the local transit authority to approve a few morning and evening shuttles up the mountain to a few select parking lots in some of the mountain communities like Lake Gregory and Lake Arrowhead. You could provide the push for a Park and Ride system servicing the mountain communities. It would take a lot of work generating petitions but it is not unheard of! As fuel prices go up, communities like yours are going to be hard hit. Recognizing that you are not alone in this hardship is the first step to getting a petition drive started. Communities will need to work together and pressure our local governments into finding solutions to the transportation and global warming crisis. You can be the driving force behind such an initiative! Go to the city council meetings and broach the subject. Talk to your local newspaper. Set up a website that interested parties in your area can contact you with regard to organizing carpools and a petition drive. Get the word out that while everyone in your community is suffering from the gas crunch, together you can find a solution.

Good luck!
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