day nine.

Spent a long night on the golf course last night and have to play hookie from school today – work can wait. Caught some fat bass on the course. I am a sucker for golf course ponds because trespassing makes it an x-game with a little more stealth involved. You would be surprised at how many more fish you catch when you are not suppose to be in the location. You are trying to not get caught so your stalking techniques are at there highest. If there are fish in these irrigation ponds they are usually big fat pigs that have never been fished. Not being fished is a plus and the eco disaster of the fertilizer from the course is plus number two. It gets into the ponds making the pond healthy with vegetation. From there the bugs eat and the frogs eat and so on and so forth. I like to hit them at night because… well… no golfers and I am trespassing. Granted, these fish might have a third eye and two tails but they are urban fish that are a hellava lot of fun to catch. With my mutual hate of golf and the land that it seems to waste, I sure love trespassing on one of those yuppie ponds. If most of the environmental laws were not written on a golf course, golf courses would probably not exist.

Today the toy went back to Jack and he is working on the couple of little addons for the trip. Jack had a few more ideas that he wants to throw in. He wanted to talk about it but I told him that I trust him and to go for it – to much other mess to worry about. Have to start trusting people again. Not everyone is out for a buck – most people enjoy the journey as much as I. He let me borrow his old Volvo wagon that is fun to drive. My new old toy truck is nothing but bad ass and turning quickly into my new home. No word from T-bone bout the Ford. He did tell me that he had a couple of his farmers and contractors to call and try to work up a deal.

Before playing my version of golf I put together the Craigslist pile and we’ll see how that goes. From all my furniture and tools to all my small appliances. Hope it sells. Also figuring out the garage sell thing with its own pile. It is hard to believe how much shit we collect in our lives. How much of this do we really need? Contacted a couple estate companies and they keep asking me “who died?” and my only answer is “I did and I’ll be born again”. I guess I need to lie or just tell them I want to sell all my junk. Until I find someone, I guess I have to play the Craigslist game.

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day eight.

Back to work and now I am thinking finances. This one is not completely figured out but there are some ideas. Everything must be sold. The big stuff is going on Craigslist and the rest is going to be a garage sale. Then there is the house. How I am going to move this anchor in this down market?  I accept that the house will not get what I have in it but man, I might loose a leg on this one. Also have to sell the ford. She is a great truck but she does not fit the demand of this trip. I hate to see her go but she will have to. The ford was bought from a farmers dealership outside of Auburn, maybe I could sell her there too. I’ll call T-bone to see what we can do. T-bone sold me the this truck and the one before it. Honest car men can be hard to find and he is one of them.

A couple of calls and all things lined up. T-bone is sending his son to pick up the ford and the house is going on the market to sell. All my accounts are working online and now I have a way to be mobile. The day is coming closer. I have figured that I can get a minimum of 3% per month on what ever money I put in. That should be around $1250.00 a month give or take and I should be able to live off that. It’ll be tight but I have most of what I need. Keep 10g in the bank account for the startup and for anything that can go wrong – try to always keep it there for Murphy. I have an idea of starting an online t-shirt store to see if I can get a little extra funds coming in that way – start setting that up so  it will be up and running when I leave. Odds and end jobs while traveling and maybe get some ins at fly shops or a coffee jerk, not to good to wash dishes, dig a ditch, hang drywall, or whatever.

I might have to call one of those estate companies to try to sell everything. Also been thinking of trying to auction off the house. Maybe Ebay? Options are out there but I need to know what they are.

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day seven.

Today is Sunday and I am playing Santa – making the list and checking it twice. I know it is the weekend but soon everyday will be the weekend.

First on the list is food and water. Easy Right? Pack the 2 burner multi-fuel coleman stove and the backpacker. Making this list brings up other things that I might forget so I guess I need a lantern also. Fit the fuel lantern to the stove and add one of those solar things as well. Get one of those shake-em up flashlights for the just in case and a couple of good head lamps. Light at night is now covered. A couple of different water filters for different situations. Those are a check from my backpacking days. 2 coolers, small and large. The small cooler for daily trips and driving and the large cooler for extended living. Check. Cook kit of some type with a couple of lexan plates plus utensils. Dutch oven for those days when I can use the fire. Coffee… have to have a coffee solution. Coffee Press is the easiest and easiest to clean. I have most of this, so we are good.

Shelter is easy. Tent, truck, sleeping bag and extra blankets. Clothes for hot to cold and street clothes to work in for those days when I need a little extra cash.

Navigation and where am I going. Do I really need one of those GPS things or can I go this the adventurous way? My vote is the adventurous way. You see more and meet more people. I have no problem with asking directions and it gives me a chance to stretch and meet. Hell, I cant get lost if I have no place to go. Plus I have the computer as backup. This reminds me, I need to get an inverter for the truck, a way to charge my laptop and cameras maybe a light at night. I’ll give Jack a call and see if he can install one that is not a part of my cigarette lighter. He has been a handy find and his excitement for this is as great as mine.

Camera. Again I am going simple but the artist in me – I need two. I will take my Nikon D90 with a 50mm f/1.4 lens and a 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 for those moments in the wild – That keeps it simple and should  take care of my artistic needs by keeping it real. A point and shoot – This thing needs to be tough, waterproof ready to take on the day. I am going back to my days of using my Pentax for this one but this is not my K1000 that I learned on, this is a great little Optio W90 which will go up to 20 feet under water, dust proof, shock resistant and so on. Check – just ordered it from amazon. I have the nikon now to see what this little pentax will do. Put the tripod on the list for just in case.

Communications – I am making this one easy and free. It might not be so easy on the travels but with all the free wi-fi that is presently available, that is my way of communications. My theory – this should work and for free. With laptop in tow, I’ll able to find a place to connect and connect if needed. Who needs phones in today’s world? I can plan routes and check for places to go. If I get a little lost, that is fine and a part of the journey. There will be no wi-fi in the woods but no phone either, this has more pluses than negatives when trying to fringe the grid. Set up a couple of good go to links for directions.  Laptop. I am sticking with my 13-inch Apple MacBook Pro. Maxed out with 8GB of ram and a 500GB hard drive. Small because the computer is now just a tool and my way to communicate. This is no longer my way to make a living. With the developer program from Apple for the iPhone apps, With IPhone simulator I have learned to use these on my macbook. Now I have all these useful apps on my macbook – one tool for one job. Plus, I already own it. It holds all my music, photos, books and so on. It works as a phone, what else would I need. While Jack is working that inverter, I’ll check on getting an iPod jack as well. The new mix tape is shuffle straight from iTunes. Thinking about this – I might keep my iPhone for the ease of the apps – I can always use it for an emergency call – but do I want another device?

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day six.

The new part of the family is a 1968 Toyota FJ55 LandCruiser converted to diesel that will also run vegetable oil. She is a beauty. Jack is probably as excited about my journey as I and actually wanted to give me the vehicle free of charge. “It is perfect – take it – give it the home it deserves.” I could not take a working truck from a perfect stranger. Leaving more than his asking price of cash on his kitchen table with a note of thanks. He also told me to contact him at any time if there are issues with the truck. He gave me all the ins and outs and a list of everything that can go wrong and probably will. There are some serious issues with using the vegetable oil but it is a great option for this trip. I never thought about using a nightly fish fry as a fuel but now I have that option. Who cares if I smell like a french fry? I will have to  spend a little time with her before I name her. She is a beautiful truck and has a personality all her own.

Jack Wittle is his name and he might be as much a gem as the truck that he has repurposed. His insight on the world just what I need at this point of a new life. He is a sage on his own journey – he just happens to be a great grease monkey slash tinkerer that lives like an old hippie. Just what I need.

The truck itself is in great shape with very little original rust. White and tan with leather seats. Hooked up with most of what I need with extra gas cans on the back and a roof rack almost boat ready.  I’ll be adding a rod tube or three and mounts for the kayak. We took out the back seating because I will not use it and Jack can use it in another build. The engine and undercarriage are both new and were found from a Canadian wreck. The wrecked vehicle was an European Toyota hilux that is not sold in the Americas so this thing was grey market to start. It being grey in the American market also dropped the price to near nothing which is why Jack had originally bought it. This breaks one of my major rules of making it easy to get parts but I reasoned that with the “we now live in an online world”. ADDED – Jack is great and will be a great support person. The hilux is the truck that everyone on the planet use but the Americans and now this American is driving the coolest one of them all. Jack put a conversion kit on this thing for using vegetable oil. This is an option that I would have never thought about but it is perfect for my future. This truck classifies as a “classic” truck so it will get around todays environmental laws of the state but from what I understand – it runs cleaner than most American vehicles and at around 30 mpg. I’ll be going further on my dollar.

I was originally thinking something that I can really work on if needed but this truck has “It” and “It” fits the bill. My other options were turning to the VW Micro Buses that are hard to drive and not the best off-road but they are a breeze to work on.

A little less anxiety today. Insurance issues taken care of and I now have a way to travel. $89 a month for health and insurance for the truck is $36 a month for liability only – Cant beat that.. Pretty cheap for todays standards. I havent left but now I’m excited. Now is the time to get the packing in order. ANd now time to remove all the “stuff”  Dreaming of tomorrow but making it happen today.

What do I need for a journey like this? What sort of checklist would you create?

What do we humans really need on a daily basis?  My guess is the basic answer of food, water, shelter,  communications, means of travel, finances and last but not least fishing equipment for any occasion – hopefully this is the easy one. It will be similar to the backpacking checklist from the days in scouts. Gotta keep it simple, gotta keep it cheap and gotta keep it sustainable. This has been a productive Saturday and the more days away from the office I can get, the better. Leaving is still not close but I do see an end game starting. I am thinking fishing tomorrow. OR, do I work right through?

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day five.

Friday and ready for the weekend. Last night – After casting to the squirrels and playing in the rain for about an hour, I went inside to research, shop and do what you do on the interweb. No time for screwing around or surfing… I am now on a mission and the decision made. Full steam ahead – the wheels are in motion. It made waking up this morning a little tough because I was up til four a.m.

On the truck research part, I might have hit the jackpot on the vehicle. There is an old hippie, Jack, that likes to tinker on old trucks and sell them on CraigsList. He is taking old vehicles and making them new again by rebuilding their chassis with modern components and updating the engines with a more planet friendly alternative. He has converted vehicles from old beats to modern glory and he is selling at a great price. After our phone call and a couple of emails back and forth, he wanted me to come over this afternoon to take at look at what he has.

Now this work of the daily grind is getting in my way of the dream. The closer I get – the more I’ll think of removing the grind and finding life again.

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day four.

Sudden anxiety over wellness and safety. Am I crazy or am I doing the right thing? Insurance is hard but I have figured out the health part. Price aint so bad at around 100 bucks a month. I’ll set that up so I can focus on living. Auto withdraw from the back account so I can be wherever managing everything online.

Now I have to figure out how I am going to travel – what to drive. My truck sucks the gas and the insurance is to high for the newer make and model. I need a beater that gets killer gas mileage and have to be able to go off-road  – still need to be able to fix any issues on my own. Old Reliable but with good gas mileage? I was thinking the Subaru wagon of my youth but they are not easy to work on and part suck to get. Jeeps would work but I prefer not to go down that road again. VW microbus is the easiest thing ever to work on but a bitch to drive but I would not take it to far off-road. Some of the new hybrid things but they are all small.  I am also thinking of something with a great online support or a great cult like forum. If I am outside the communication lines, I need to make my own.

This afternoon I’ll do some casting in the backyard to figure it all out. The rhythm and release helps find solutions. The small stuff and the big stuff. Dont sweat the small stuff but with changes like this everything is big stuff. Hell… at this point, it will be hard for me to pick the right rod to just cast for fun. Anxiety over all this is getting to me but passing every storm is always a blue sky. Am I making the right decision? Should I be off the grid or is now just a part of me? I need to get on the water soon.

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day three.

Wet fly still dry but change is coming, I can feel it. Reoccurring flashes of that yesterday sign “The daily grind” is wearing me down. The plans must start on how to get past this? “Away we go” is the day that I work toward today. In my head, the questions start and the planning begins. How hard could it be to just do what you love? “Very hard” due to responsibilities of life. So what is holding me back. The house is paid for and the bills minimal. If I leave and drop it all, what will happen? What about insurance? Man, that one is hard. Health and Car would both be bills that tie me back into this system of that daily grind. Taxes and car tags would be the other. Health insurance sort of keeps you in the state you live but I want to live in America, live on the road, not just a state. And some of the other “what ifs” that will occur on the journey.  What if I want to travel north into Canada or south into Mexico? I guess I need to update the passport. Figure out what I can online and the more I can do with laptop in tow the better. I can always find a free wi-fi spot. How will I separate from the world and still be tied in? Can I drop all ties?

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