How to Live Out of Your Car: Be A Renegade Camper

Names have been changed to protect the identities of the innocent.

On a rainy winter night I approached a mini-bus parked at a dirt field at the end of town. There were no signs of light inside and no other sounds besides water droplets bouncing off the fiberglass roof.  “Jack! You in there?” I called listening for any movement within. Then the hydraulic doors parted the way they’d down thousands of times before when the micro-bus was in use by the City of Bellflower.

“What are you up too?  Come on in.” Jack announced with excitement. He appreciates nothing more than visitors. A wave of heat hit my face as I climbed up the stairs and the mechanical doors closed behind. A propane heater in the back of the bus explained why Jack was hanging out in pajama shorts on this cold night.

“Dude, I was just cooking up a stir-fry. There’s plenty to go around.”

The bus’ seats were removed and a bed built in the back turning the vehicle into a mobile living quarters. Black cloth hung over the windows blocking any light from the outside and his two massive dogs returned to their bunks after they gave me a thorough sniffing.

Jack has lived out of vehicles longer than anyone else I’ve known and has the routine down to a science. His set up wasn’t always this luxurious. When I first met him he used to park a rusty white van at the river mouth where I surfed often. His dogs used to roam the area freely until the city started actively protecting the Snowy Plover, an endangered bird that lives in sand dunes of California. For years Jack parked his van there until his dog Duke ran up to a harbor patrol officer with a snowy plover hanging from the sides of his mouth.

“Since you are the guru of living out of vehicles I decided to ask you a few questions to write a story about how to save money by avoiding rent.”

Jack was actually a marine in his younger years. After camping for years in the jungles of Vietnam and killing numerous individuals all he wanted when he returned was to live a peaceful existence. He had some kids and tried to work a normal job, but had trouble taking orders from any kind of boss. With no rent he is able to live a comfortable existence working the occasional odd job in construction.

“What if someone was to live out of their vehicle and work a normal job. Theoretically they’d be able to stack some serious dough. Don’t you think?”

“Sure dude, I used to pay almost twenty thousand a year for rent in California.”

Jack handed me a beer as the stir fry sizzled before us his face turned serious and he went into the basics of how to live out of a vehicle.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Silhouette

MAN AND CACTUS- Southern Baja, Mexico

The German Biker Gang

Our HFJ news team was involved in a skirmish with an outlaw German Motorcycle Gang a few days ago. The group pulled up beside the news van blasting music by Prince from high wattage motorcycle speakers.  The man here with the glasses took a seat on the hood of the news vehicle and peered through the front window.  That was when our news team told them to shut down the music.  They said they wouldn’t turn off their music for anyone and that they would kick somebody’s ass if they have too.

Stand Up Paddleboarders Vs. Surfers at C-Street

Disclosure: Names have been changed to protect individuals at the scene of the crime

A Stand-Up Paddleboarder who goes by the name of “Shark” attacked a longboarder at C-Street on April 17, 2012.  Witnesses say it was a sunny mellow day, “everybody was having a good time” until a stand-up paddleboarder started getting a little greedy with waves.  The longboarder made a comment that offended “Shark.”   Witnesses say there was a skirmish and the longboarder was struck by Shark’s paddle. Continue reading

Alien Caveman

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In a dark land was born a hero, a defender of the universe, a revolutionary.  And this man beat to a different drum.  He spoke of engines that defied the laws of physics and generated their own energy through magnets.  He built a dredge that could turn the Himalayas to the Grand Canyon.  But most will remember this man as a phenomenal surfer who broke all the rules of surfing.  Some birds were meant to fly free.  Caveman navigated his sailboat from Santa Cruz Island to Ventura Harbor in Gail force winds and ten foot swell, some of the heaviest conditions I’ve seen to this day.  He taught me how to handle the boat in those particular seas, then departed to the cabin for a nap.  It was do or die and I quickly figured out what not to do.  About five minutes after he laid down, I broached so hard off the front of a swell he stuck his head out of the cabin and said, “You do that again and the mast will come down.”  then went back to sleep.  I didn’t do it again because he was telling the truth.

Journey to the Land of the Chumash: A Surf Tale -By Dancing Dear Man

I hid in “Pistachio” (The name of my camper) as a short lived but nonetheless heavy rain dripped through the surfboard rack modification I’d done to the roof.  More 5200 sealant would  definitely fix the problem.  I thought.  The rain ceased at sunset and I searched the area for wood to build a fire.  Songs that I hadn’t been able to remember for years flowed through my guitar before the campfire. Continue reading

Josh’s Barrel Photographed by Jeff Byrnes

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