Wednesday, May 1, 2019

no biscuit for car


NO BISCUIT FOR CAR
For as long as you’ve known me, I am like a parrot with hemorrhoids, repeatedly squawking about getting rid of your car.  I’ve tried it from the Peak Oil angle, telling you that if we rely on imports for 70% of our oil ( less now, with fracking, only about 40%-but I trust you understand that will not last all that much longer ), a car is a huge vulnerability.  I’ve tried it from the Frugal Living angle, telling you that if you get rid of the car and rent, you can live on almost nothing.
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I tried coming at it from a prepping perspective, explaining that you could put all your savings into extra preps.  None of this matters to any of you, because you all make far more money than I do, and your clunker you fix yourself uses so little gas and requires so little insurance that the expense registers not at all.  So, not one to ever give up the fight, I’m going to try yet again, and try in vain yet another argument.  You will need practice, and your car dependency during a guerrilla war.  I don’t know if I’ll make a difference, but I must try.
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Getting by without a car is a skill, like anything else.  And all skills need to be practiced.  I didn’t start out immune from the Siren call of a car.  Like all teenagers, I lusted after a car because I thought it would get me laid ( it would have been cheaper to get weed, but what did I know at that age?  Hell, I thought the military was an escape rather than just another prison ).  But a car was more of a fantasy.  We lived out in the country, and it still wasn’t a requirement.
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Living out of town, on acreage, I had a lot of chores.  Not just inside, because my sister had too refined of sensibilities to do any more than a token amount of housework, but outside.  Good gravy, were there plenty of outside chores.  We boarded horses, so there was fence repair ( after installation.  It was an old abandoned quarry, and that dirt was HARD ), and horse crap.  There was the chicken coop, two orchards ( watering and mowing ), lawns and a garden.  I appreciate all that now, but not then.
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I had school, then homework, then chores and if the gods smiled at me, I could get some reading in there in my spare time.  TV was only an hour a night, so that wasn’t the time waster it is now.  Usually, as I had an entire world to read about, I half-assed school work and chores to free up more time.  But the LAST thing I had time for was working a job in town.  I had plenty of opportunities, and tried my hand here and there.  But I just didn’t have the time and especially not the inclination.
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Plus, I mainly tried to do all my chores on the weekdays so I could hang out with my buddies on the weekend.  I certainly didn’t want to do all that work, just so I could work in town those two days.  As a result, very early in life I decided that money just wasn’t all that important to me.  I had to work, that was a given.  How MUCH I had to work was under my control.  I also decided that since money wasn’t important, I got to enjoy the bonus of, more often than not, picking what kind of job.
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Choosing to forego a regular paycheck, I had to get into town the old fashion way.  I have no earthly idea how far away we lived, but it probably was twenty minutes of very fast pedaling.  Call it five to seven miles.  I was just past the city limits but the town sprawled out.  I still lusted after a car, and the last year and a half I had a motorcycle ( traded for the pick-up I was given in the divorce.  Stepdad wanted it after I left the nest ), but I certainly learned how to live without a motor vehicle.
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The military and its low pay taught me how insane relying on a taxi was, and I was in great shape so I walked, again, a lot.  Not the smartest idea sometimes, as I was almost jumped once and another time stuck in high crime downtown after bar closing time.  I still kept walking, although I got smarter about it.  There was the bus, but it had limited hours and routes.  At one time, the Air Force ( where we had housing ) decided to close the gate at the rear of the base after hours.
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The Army base was right down the road from there.  So, it was way too far to go to the front gate and loop around.  When we had to work the day shift, transportation became a problem because we needed to go in so early.  I got a moped for a time but the thing broke early and I returned it to the Rent-To-Own.  I did get a ride once in awhile, but that wasn’t always practical.  My solution?  Wearing an old T-shirt, I squeezed myself under the bottom of the closed gate, redressed and walked the short distance.
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Ah, military security during the Cold War.  I didn’t really ever return to a bike until later in life.  I walked a lot.  Hours at a time, no problem.  For the most trivial of reasons.  Once, I was living in Wyoming for the summer ( no way I was living there through the coming winter! ) and only working a waiter job ( WAY below minimum wage, and total crap tips ) for fifteen or twenty hours a week.  I wanted to treat myself, so I decided to go to the movies and watch the new James Bond.
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This was Cheyenne, and between me and the theatre was another Air Force base.  I must have walked two hours each way.  For a movie I can’t even remember.  In cowboy boots.  And I didn’t even care, much, about the walk.  It was just how I survived on low wages.  Because I simply didn’t care about money. That would come several years later when Future Baby Momma got here hooks into me.  Against my will.  I don’t think I even minded paying her all my money as much as I minded working jobs I hated, FOR that money. 
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Living without a car is easy.  It does take practice for the work-arounds and learning how to minimize your distances.  Mostly, it is having the proper mindset to get rid of the car.  Mine was easy and early.  But you certainly cannot go from pampered transportation to walking or biking, overnight.  There is a learning curve.  Not because it is hard but because you must learn how to make it easier.  Walking smarter rather than harder, as it were.  And I wouldn’t recommend walking.  Not with how today’s shoes are made. 
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It is cheaper to keep a bike running than it is replacing shoes.  But, all that and more tomorrow.
( .Y. )
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18 comments:

  1. "For as long as you’ve known me, I am like a parrot with hemorrhoids, repeatedly squawking about getting rid of your car.”


    What does a parrot with hemorrhoids say? Polly want some preparation H? (Okay, even I recognize in advance that wasn’t very funny :D )


    Unless you earn a ridiculously low income, not owning a car is less practical for most people (particularly in rural areas) than owning one. The hassle with car rental and public transportation, and having to walk or bike 20 miles anywhere, just isn’t a realistic solution. That’s why no one listens to you when it comes to this topic (No offense intended, just saying in general). Yes, you are right, in that someday the option to own a car will no longer be available. But no one reading this blog will still be alive when that time comes (I’m assuming that most readers here are middle aged dudes). I’d suggest that it’s rent free housing that should be strived for as the real difference maker on a low income. Yes, a car can be costly, particularly if it’s a newer model, and you take it to the mechanic for service. Motorcycles are really the way to go. The only problem is that you’d better have mad Evil Knievel like skills when riding one. That, and a life insurance policy if you have a family. But cost wise, a motorcycle is practically free to operate when compared to a car. For the minion that was inquiring about motorcycles the other day. They do make, and also offer plans (For those with craftsman skills) for teardrop trailers for motorcycles. I’ve even seen plans for one for a bicycle.



    “I lusted after a car because I thought it would get me laid ( it would have been cheaper to get weed, but what did I know at that age?”



    Yeah, but roofies insure that you get laid. At least that’s what my friend Mr Cosby told me :D

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    1. Mr. Cosby knows his way around date rape drugs. Although I would add that most White gals really do want his dark love stick, but are too afraid to say so. The roofie gives them an excuse :). I don't see gasoline as a long term trend, sorry. I still adhere strongly to the Olduvai Theory of collapse. Just a few more years to go of Happy Motoring ( or less, with fracking issues ). Granted, it is not absolutely mandatory to be THAT paranoid-I still grant Minion status if you disagree with my paranoia.

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    2. That’s why I tossed the motorcycle option out there Jim. Here in commiefornia, gas is already over $4 a gallon. So relatively soon, it will not necessarily be practical to own a full size car, but a motorcycle is still a valid option, and will be for many more years (Previous caveat about the dangers of said form of transportation, still valid of course). I really want to get a motorcycle, and have for many years now, but they undeniably scare the shit out of me. There’s a reason that they’re nicknamed “donor cycles” :D

      Oh, and I’m not totally convinced that Bill Cosby is guilty. I did see something more recently about one of the women being caught in a lie. I personally tend to think that he got “#metoo dogpiled on” myself, as with Weinstein.

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    3. The motorcycle option is location dependent. Here, I have little worry about riding on the road on my bicycle. I don't think it would be very smart anywhere in Cali. If I didn't get run over, I might be tackled by a homeless guy and get Hobo Raped. Cosby, yeah, most likely innocent. But, he is in our version of the Hole Of Calcutta. No hope for him. So he just becomes a meme we can laugh about. Not fair, or nice, but we are just barbarians here anyway.

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    4. As Anon said, out here in ruralville not having a vehicle is not reality. Thus, being the frugal dik I am, I have continuously sought the least expensive way to have a vehicle at my disposal. Remember though, any and all vehicles are losers regarding money, so it's imperative to find ways to make it less so. Recently I contacted Progressive and told them we drive less than 100 miles per month between 3 vehicles, so they gave us a discount. I did a Blue Book on my wife's newer ride and found out the replacement cost does not warrant the cost of the comprehensive and collision insurance so I dropped it.

      At 3 bux a gallon I find ways to do multiple things per trip as a necessity. Rarely to I fire up a vehicle to do 1 thing.

      Incidently, the rumor about gas going bad in a few months is bullshit. I fired up my truck last weekend for the first time since last August and it ran fine. Drove it about 5 miles with no issues. So, 8 months over the winter and the gas didn't seem to go bad. Same with my 2 cycle mixed chainsaw gas. 8 months old and works good in my chainsaw and blower.

      The hidden benefit to my method of not driving much is that when the day comes that driving is just too expensive I will have already mostly stopped using it. Saw a nice looking Kent brand cruiser model bike at walmart recently that had a decent seat and looked comfortable. Mountian bike styles put a lot of pressure on the arms and I don't need that. I like the wide tires on the cruiser. Oh yeah, it was about $118. I may get it. Anything over $100 is a major purchase so I have to ponder it for a few weeks. Call it the "Old Frugal Dood Syndrome".

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    5. It ain't Old Frugal Dude Syndrome. It is Tight Ass Syndrome. I know, I have it :)

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  2. An adult tri-cycle (folding if you like for easier storage - carrying inside at destination) is one way for extra carrying capacity. You can carry loads on two wheels, but your balance is for shit (Amiright Bison - you have waaaay more experience on that topic). For really for goat trail riding, but in these times, standard roads and sidewalks are navigable by a trike. That basket behind the seat makes a pretty good cargo shelf.

    https://www.industrialbicycles.com/truebicyclesfoldandgo.htm

    Shop for better prices or choices of vehicle. But for the older less active person, a trike to me makes sense. YMMV.

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    1. Once I get over 30 pounds on the back and about 15 pounds on the front rack, yeah, the thing wobbles like a drunk Irishman.

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  3. I pretty much locked myself into car life by living too far out of town . . , and getting married. . . and having kids. However I've sold my old motorcycle and my van. Just down to a tiny econocar. You do what you can. Hope to get back to living on a boat, at least part time. When you live on a boat you end up doing a lot of walking. Some people have bicycles, but they take a beating from the salt air. People who live on boats say their dingy is their car. I use a big 2 person kayak and paddle. Too cheap and lazy to keep an outboard going.

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    1. I'm sure outboard's are another victim of corporate consolidation and outsourcing, the quality declining along with sales.

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  4. I live on a farm, waaaaay out in the boonies (15min to 1 store county seat, 1hr to an actual town a county over).

    I do my own maintenance, and buy my cars for cash. I have maybe $4000 without gas in two vehicles, over the last 5 years. I can sell both and at least break even right now, but first I'm going to finish another project car or 2.

    There is no work close enough to bike to, and I think that distance as a buffer for civil unrest is an intelligent trade off for a small bit of income. The rule of 3's keeps me away from metro areas.

    Three days without water...
    They can't walk this far, and I'm well off the beaten path.
    To each his own.

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    1. Yeah, I think I'm an outlier on extra-low income.

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  5. I live on about 6 grand a year. My problem is I work half the year around 100 miles from my land, so I need the van for living in during the week. On the weekends I go camp on my land, and believe me you need the r and r. Because van living sucks. It might be ok if your traveling. But vanning in a large city while working, is hell. The other half the year I'm on my land and hardly even leave. The van just sits. Last year I used it 3 times in 5 months. Interviewed at a small town 30 miles away for a job. If hired I will get the endro and turn the van into a no tag or insurance, emergency hauler.

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    1. I can't imagine van living in the city. I did it once, but it was the Hippie Bread Van, and it was parked at the stepdaughters apartment. I had access to the shower but stayed in the van the rest of the time because of her screaming louder than the kids. No hassles from cops, but peeing in bottles and sweating buckets even under the tree was miserable enough.

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  6. When I was a wee Wilder, I learned from Pop Wilder - he always bought new cars.

    So I did, too. Then I wondered where all of my money went, and did the math, and found out that new cars were killing me. Since 1998, not a single new car - all used.

    Since I travel a few miles to work, I've not tried to go car-less, in fact I have N+1 cars - one more car than the number of licensed drivers who have to go to work/school, since my fleet averages over 100,000 miles.

    Most are old. Cheap plates. Cheap insurance. When we travel long distances we rent - you can get a rental for $20 a day.

    The rest of the money goes into scalp wax and FLIRs.

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  7. On the farm, we operate diesel equipment and old diesel trucks on used restaurant oil.

    Four days ago, we traveled from Eugene Oregon to Boise Idaho for an equipment auction. Fuel was us$2.59.99 a gallon. How do people afford that!

    In Boise, fuel was us$3.35.99 per gallon at a truck stop. I am astonished this mess is still standing. Pleased, happy to the point of delighted, but shocked.

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    re:
    "hobo raped"

    No thank you. I'm good.

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    1. I can't remember what diesel was back when gas was $4. Yeah, I know the dynamics have changed. Point being, I think we have a bit more to go before all the surcharges for delivery shock the whole system again. Glad I got most of my paper books delivered, after Amazon third party delivery went to $4. I'm sure it will be much worse soon. I'd get my ammo and other heavy stuff now, folks.

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