The Van That Couldn’t

“IKEA on Wheels”

After proclaiming my love for the Carado Banff yesterday, I was met with this snarky comment from a Facebook troll user.

Well… if I can buy two and half Banffs for the price of one Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL, sign me up and tell me where to pick up my hexagon assembly tool.

I can absolutely appreciate nice things, but I am also a practical person that doesn’t need all of the bells and whistles.

So… this brings me to the lavish purchase that I made about six months ago. Say hello to van experiment one…

I bought her six months for $800 somewhere in Tennessee. It was my intention to build out the inside and hit the road again with my trusty sidekick, Pat the Cat.

Oh… and the van was so fancy that you didn’t even need a key to start her. You just had to touch two wires together. 😀

So… what happened to the unnamed Dodge?

After six weeks of tinkering… removing seats, adding subfloor, insulating walls, and bloodying up myself on more than one occasion, I decide to send her own way. The new owner picked her up today. She sold for $400. 😐

It was a $400 loss (not including the additional items I purchased), but I learned in the process. I can do more “handy” stuff. So… well worth the expense. Now, I just need a tool belt. NOT! 😛

So… where am I going with this?

Well, if I was willing to make a 1994 Dodge Ram conversion van my home, then I definitely don’t need an induction cooktop and motorized awning. So… IKEA van… sign me up. Hmmm… what should I name her? HATTEFJÄLL?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Before the paperwork had even been signed on the cabin, I had already started to consider a new adventure. Say hello to the Carado Banff.

Nothing is set in stone at this point, but I am itching to get out on the road again, and the Banff is a worthy contender.

With my Mom and aunt in tow, I checked out and drove a 2018 Banff, and I was thoroughly impressed. Check out the interior pics…

This would be the perfect size for Patrick and I. It even has a toilet and shower. You can see it peeking out in the second and third pics above. Still, what I am most excited about is the 200 watts of solar power on the roof and lithium batteries installed in this little guy. If you add in VoltStart, I am practically in boondocking heaven. (VoltStart allows the engine to automatically start up to power up the batteries.)

This little nugget has practically everything I need… stove, refrigerator, microwave, solar, shower, toilet, gas heat, hot water, and air conditioning. The only thing missing is a backup camera, which I can easily install… or just buy a 2019 model with backup camera and GPS installed. Plus… VoltStart is available on some 2019 models. *swoon*

So… what happens next? Well, I need to make sure my impulsive little self isn’t jumping the gun here. I am going to make a final decision after the sale of the cabin has occurred. I signed the listing agreement yesterday, so the ball is just now starting to roll. The only issue I am finding is a covered garage in Downtown or Midtown (Atlanta) that can accommodate a vehicle 9’5″ tall.

What do you think of the Carado Banff?

Cabin Life

He’s baaaack.

Yup… it’s been almost 10 months, but I’m back. If you’ve not figured it out by now, I am a bit random. I tend to march to the beat of my own drum, and well… the beat tends to have a shelf life of about three to six months. Still, I keep finding my way back here to share, and boys and girls that is what has brought me here today.

After wrapping up My Scotty Adventure in May of 2017, my next undertaking began to emerge within a few months. I was going to buy a cabin… enjoy the outdoors… reconnect with my fellow man.

So… in October 2017, I purchased a cabin in Ellijay, Georgia.

She’s a beauty. I named her Cabin Casa or Casa Cabin (depending on how dyslexic I am feeling… or how many whiskey drinks I have had). She is secluded (2.5 acres, lots of trees), relaxing (hot tub, front porch rocking chairs), and simple (no air conditioning, simple furnishing).

I was committed to her and the new adventure. I built a fire pit and had a fire blazing most nights. I bought a chainsaw and chopped down many trees. I built a small fish pond to offer the critters a place to drink.

Casa Cabin has been good to me. Patrick and I spent almost every day in our rustic home for almost seven months. And now…

I have decided to move on. I have decided to sell the cabin. Why?

  • My life does not feel fulfilled standing still. I need movement.
  • My motivation was not entirely altruistic. Vague? Yes… and I will leave it at that.
  • I get more happiness with less. I do not need to own something to appreciate it. The cabin has become another thing… a thing I do not need… a thing I do not want to maintain.

I am back in my tiny home in Downtown, Atlanta.

I am starting to travel again.

Life is good.

Break the Twitch

young mobile phone users

It’s time to take a step back from the smartphone. Check out these stats from Break the Twitch.

  • The average person receives 63.5 notifications per day. [Telefonica, 2014]
  • 52% check their phones a few times per hour or more, whether there’s a notification or not. [Gallup, 2015)]
  • Meanwhile, 91% of millennials say they have a healthy relationship with tech, but still check their phones 150 times per day. [Qualtrics, 2017]
  • It’s not just millennials, though—52% of boomers use their phones during meal times, the highest percentage of any age group. [Nielsen, 2015]
  • U.S. users spend over 4 hours per day on mobile devices. [eMarketer, 2016]
  • During which, the average user touches, swipes, and taps their phone 2,617 times per day. [Dscout, 2016]
  • The average age when kids get their first cell phone is now just 10.3 years old. [Influence Central, 2016]
  • 74% of mobile users ages 18 – 34 report an urge to immediately pull out their phone, open an app when bored. [ComScore, 2017]
  • The creators of the Facebook “Like” button substantially limit their own social media usage, and the guy that literally wrote the book about designing addictive smartphone apps has his home internet shut off on an automatic timer every evening. [Guardian, 2017]

Wednesday Weeklies

Something that I’ve been doing since I came back to the US is writing out a list of novelties for myself each week. I call them my Weeklies, and on this list—I make mine on Wednesdays—I write down a recipe, a song, a place, a movie, and a non-standard task. By the following Wednesday, I aim to have cooked that recipe, learned to play that song, visited that location, watched that movie, and completed that task.

It’s a framework for newness. And it can take a little while to get used to, but if you find yourself in a rut or a repetitive spiral, you might consider making your own list, with your own you-shaped goals, to see if it helps you diversify your growth, as well.

Exile Lifestyle

Ponder This

Wow… it has been over three months since I posted.

Sure… a lot has happened over the past 100+ days. Still, I haven’t been in a sharing mood. I’m sure that will be changing soon, as I am in the process of buying a cabin. More details will follow soon.

I have been doing a lot of reading, and when I find an interesting tidbit I save it to my “Ponder This” file I have in Google Docs.

“Sharing is caring,” right? So… I will be posting these juicy little morsels and tagging them as tidbits.

Next post to follow in 3… 2…


Join in the excess with E*Trade

When the new E*Trade commercial begins to play, it shines a spotlight on excess and how ludicrous it is.

The company even tells us it is…


Unfortunately, the commercial ends with their new slogan, “Don’t Get Mad,” inviting us to become a part of the problem.


Tom Shadyac: Simplicity, Community and Happiness

Today I came across an interview with Tom Shadyac and his movie, I Am. I didn’t expect to have a connection with the director of such classics films (NOT!) as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Nutty Professor.

I have posted the full interview (two parts) at the bottom of the page. It is all good stuff, but If you don’t want to stare at your computer or phone for 30 minutes, I have pulled out the two pieces I like the most.

Tom talks about simplicity, community, wealth and happiness. (5 minutes, 30 seconds)

Tom wraps up the interview nicely with the message of his movie. (1 minutes, 41 seconds)

I haven’t seen I Am, but I plan on watching it soon. I also reserved his book, Life’s Operating Manual: With the Fear and Truth Dialogues, from the library.

Full Interview (1 of 2)

(2 of 2)

Stein Club (929 Peachtree Street)

Today I decided to dive into the former nightlife along Peachtree Street and discovered Stein Club.

newspaper article photo of owner, David Heany, in front on Stein Club (c. 1980)

“We’re Not Buckhead” the bar proudly proclaimed while keeping glasses filled at 929 Peachtree Street. The pub attracted a mix of hippies, bikers, artists and beer lovers.

Donna Brown, a former regular of the bar, recalled her days at the Peachtree tavern. “The Stein Club was probably the highest IQ bar in the world,” she said. “There were artists, there were writers, journalists and also ne’er-do-wells, but they had the combination of being well-read.”

intersection of Peachtree Street and 8th Street, facing north (c. 1978)
Stein Club linocut print from artist Katherine W. Linn
facing south toward Peachtree (c. 1998)

The Stein Club displayed a variety of steins around the bar. Regulars could even bring in their own mug to enjoy their favorite brew. According to former manager George Faulkner, “you used to be able to come in and bring one of your own steins. We’d put them in the cooler and when you can in to drink a beer, you could drink out of your very own stein.”

Another popular draw to the neighborhood bar was the juke box, offering a diverse selection of tunes from classical to current.

Proposed developments and high rent forced the midtown bar out of town. After one “last gasp”, Stein Club closed its doors on June 10, 2000.

“I just don’t know if we really improve things by tearing them down,” said former owner Chris Lautz. “With all of the lofts coming in around here, its going to look just like a suburb soon.

Within a year of closing, Stein Club was razed and construction began on Metropolis, ushering in the hi-rise condo craze on Peachtree Street.

The two, 21-story towers of Metropolis, would include 498 residential units and 40,000 square feet of retail space. Completed in 2002, the developer followed in rapid succession with new developments down the street, Spire (860 Peachtree Street) and Viewpoint (855 Peachtree Street), before the Great Recession hit.

Lautz, who owned the bar for its last 11 years, had hoped to open Stein Club II in Downtown near Castleberry Hill. Unfortunately, these plans never materialized, and Stein Club regulars were left to find a new watering hole.

Photo Credits: We Miss the Stein Club (Atlanta bar), Novare Group, Georgia State University Digital Collections, Linn Print Works