Car Living - Gonna give it a shot

I quit college, dont have a job, and am dreading the upcoming Iowa winter. I decided I’m going to pack up my truck and see the country, following the 60 degree weather, of course.

I’m wondering if anyone has tried this, and if they can give me some tips.

*I’m not opposed to dumpster diving.

Read a book called Into the Wild. It is about a guy named Chris McCandless who tried it.

I did it for three months in a car, traveling, another three months hitchhiking (traveling) and another three months in one city (Austin, Texas - 1979). Be strict with yourself about hygiene and diet and it’ll be OK. Don’t come to think of it as a permanent lifestyle.

Check in with us when you can.

Read Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Great book!

In fact, I’ll add, when you depart, have an endpoint in mind.

Good luck!

A friend of mine in high school, he was a dropout, lived in his car one winter. This was in Northern Michigan. He didn’t travel around. He parked at night at the place we worked. He slept with blankets in the back seat of a Chevy Bel Air (I think it was a Bel Air).

He rigged up two sticks. One stick had a notch in the end and reached the ignition key. The other stick reached the gas pedal. In those cold winter mornings, he would wake up, trying to stay under the covers as best as possible, he would turn the key with the notched stick, and play the gas with the other. Remember this is in the early seventies when cars still had carburetors and starting the car on a cold winter morning took some skill with the ignition/gas-pedal counterplay. He would let the car engine warm up till the inside temp warmed up, then he got dressed and came in to work, or went wherever for the day. But, he worked basically 7 days a week. So he usually just came into work.

I knew a guy in the 70s slept/lived in his truck-an old milk truck.Solid no window sides.

He’d sleep near the beach and use the ocean and the cold water showers rigged up near some of the hotels for bathing.Public bathrooms for tooth brushing and shaving.This was in Miami Beach,one of the few areas of the country where overnight in the elements sleeping won’t give you hypothermia.
He worked at some kind of pickup job,can’t remember what.

One thing to think about is staying in tourist areas.You won’t stick out in terms of the local passersby.In other locations you might invite a nightstick to the sleeping frame and a possible change in sleeping circumstance for the next 30 days or so.

Even in todays’PC world there’s some law enforcement elements that don’t take kindly to uninvited city guests.

Check out . Looks pretty comprehensive.

You’re cruel, Stccrd, very, very cruel…

Beats the back seat of a Volkswagen.

Caaaa—ar living is the life - for me!

If you intend to see the more rural parts of the country as opposed to the big cities and have the money, the $17 for a Delorme gazetteer (very detailed map) is worthy investment (even though you only get the maps of ONE state for that price).

In addition to the normal roads, it shows every fire road and trail and clearly delineates Nat’l forest land from private property. When I was out touring the country I would scan the map to find a fire road that would lead into the middle of nowhere and voila - you’ve found your cost-free residence for the night.

Is Into The Wild about that guy who went to Alaska and lived (and died) in an abandoned bus?

I don’t plan to be around cities…I will be visiting thrift shops and garage sales, then hocking the crap on ebay to get some money (free internet at libraries is commonplace nowadays isn’t it?), but the goal of the excursion will be to see nature, fish, hike, etc. Then I’ll be able to go back to my truck, decked out with a double sized mattress underneath a topper.

Just stay out of small towns with sheriffs.

It sounds romantic.

In a hitch-hiking way. I think I’ll give it a shot some time.

This girl I know decided to go to New Orleans with nothing but a bag of her personal clothes and stuff, very minimal. She pretty much bought a bus ticket and just went down there. Once there she went to a punk show and started hanging out with the first people she met. From then on she just mooched off of whoever would let her. As far as I know she is still traveling around with some band.

I don’t think her way is cool at all. I’m completely against living off of other people that way. Not only that, but it’s extremely dangerous. The girl isn’t too bright, so I don’t think she really thought about the consequences of going down there. Oh well, I guess if she’s happy that’s all that matters.

Good luck living in your car.

Here’s an informal poll for you guys:

Say I run into you on the streambank or boatramp or bait shop or something. I tell you my story about traveling the country and whatnot. As long as I’m not looking like a maniac, what percent of people would help me out, what percent would invite me for dinner and a shower, etc. How generous would you folks be to someone like me?

Wow… that’s quite adventurous! Oh My! How fascinating! Gosh I wish I had the gumption to do something like that. Well gotta run, see ya!

honestly if you asked for help I’d maybe give you acoupla bucks. If it were summer i’d point you in the direction of a fish cannery,they have decent bunkhouses and great food(I worked at one when I was about 18)

TheRochester (are you a Jack Benny fan?), when I made my excursions things were different in this country.

I enjoyed the beneficence of many to a degree you won’t find available today. After my hitchhiking days, I was favorably disposed towards aiding such, but by now it’s been many years (well, except for a couple who approached me in a parking lot a couple of months ago) since I picked up hitchers.

30-35 years ago, it was not all that unusual to expect to make a trans-continental trip by thumb. And enjoy some hospitality along the way.

Back in my Dad’s day, if you were feelin’ flush you got a bus ticket, otherwise thumbing a ride was the SOP way to move to Seattle or San Francisco. Well, you could hop a train.

Nowadays, I think you need to be wholly self-sufficient.

Good luck!