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Friday, August 8, 2014

Base of operations



One of the problems for a do-it-yourselfer is having a base of operations. Even something as simple as working on one's own car is banned. Fewer places allow a car to be jacked in a driveway while major work is done. We can't actually do anything on our property as that would lower the neighbor's values.

It's good to have a piece of land far enough away from neighbors. A little power tool noise won't bother anybody. A big pile of parts and materials won't be mistaken for junk. I find it's nice to live in a place where my car is currently up on ramps and there's a boat project in the driveway. No one will complain.

The big problem with a fixed base of operations is the fact that it can't run away. People from the city move close and start to complain. Zoning laws are passed. The tax man aways knows where to find you.

I met one man who was so upset with encroaching rules, regulations, fees, and taxes that he sold everything. He moved his family into a big 5th wheel and vowed to never own taxable property ever again. There are plenty of people living on the road full time, and not all of them are well off retired folks. There are families, young singles, and even poorer older people too.

Of course, you've got to keep your home in a running condition. If not, some “authority” will have it seized and scrapped. Paying garages to do all the work quickly gets expense. Doing the work yourself is cheaper -if you can get away with it. There are garages that rent space and tools, so that's sometimes an option. Now and then people haul all the parts and tools they need to some remote location and hope to fix the problem before asked to move on. It helps to have fiends to call on. Maybe you have a friend who'll let you use their property. If all your friends are also living the gypsy life, they can at least lend tools and hands. Being able to send someone out for more parts is a huge deal too.

During my sailing adventures I've met many people who've abandoned their land home for life on the water. At a minimum, they have to keep their boats up to Coast Guard standards. Over and over I've met people who've anchored for years in one place, only to find it turn unfriendly to live aboards as the political landscape changes. The best solution is having a boat ready to leave at a moments notice. That takes keeping it in good running condition.

How is that done? Not every boat job can be done while it's in the water. Many boats require a haul out at least once a year. That requires the equipment of a boat yard. At one time it was common to pay a small haul out fee, live on the boat in the yard, and then do the work yourself. Few places allow that now, especially in the developed world. If you have to pay for all the work, and find a place to live, it gets expensive real quick.

Dave Z is building a new boat to live on. He and Anke currently live on a home built boat. Finding a good place to build a boat is always an issue, especially when still living on one. You need a place that will let you live aboard while not so remote that it's impossible to get materials.

Dave's boats have some good features. They are built with common materials are are designed to be beached. It's possible to land the boat during high tide, do hull work, then float away on the next high tide. Now you don't need to build a boat of Dave's design. (though for some that might be exactly what to do) What you should do is learn from his example -simple boats, easily repaired, with the ability to be grounded.

My current base of operations, my dome home on a lake, is pretty sweet. I'm near water, in the woods, and can work on my projects without neighbors hassling me. However, the burdens of a fixed base of operations gets a little tougher every year. Income has not kept up with the demands of home ownership. Sometimes I feel the pinch, and during those times the gypsy life looks pretty good.

-Sixbears

16 comments:

  1. Very true.We camp on a lake a few times a year but over half the people live permently there.One couple we met rents their home and lives in a camper.Its 450 a month it includes power water sewer and cable.The house rent pays for it + some.they are free to travel and enjoy life on just base SS checks.

    PS Base SS is 726$ a month.ea.

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    1. Clever folks find ways to make it happen, even on a tight budget.

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  2. Wow! I knew there were some fairly restrictive rules in the US but they are more invasive than I ever realised.
    Hardly The Land Of The Free...

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    1. Some places are better than others. The US is a big country. However, the trend has not been good, even in my state, NH, who's motto is "Live free or die."

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  3. I am part of a very large family (around 50 people aunts uncles cousins ext.) We are mostly farmers who live in and around one small Midwestern town. We are seeing a lot of big city people(Chicago) trying to move in we mostly get along well with these folks until they try to force the big city crap on us. A small town can be a very cold place even in august when the population feels their way of life or liberties are threatened. Most city folk conform or move. CRANE OP

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    1. Now imagine thousands of city people moving into your small area in a short period of time. They all think and vote the same way. It's then no longer your town, it's there's. Things that were accepted for generations are no longer allowed.

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    2. That could happen but housing is in short supply and it takes land to build new homes. Most of the farmers around here wont sell any land. We tried to buy 7 acres next to our 120 of timber this land is an old cattle feed lot very run down.The owner would think about sellingl for 500,000 and we get along very well with him cant imagine the price if u are a stranger.
      CRANE OP

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    3. Good luck. Things can change fast. I went to a land auction and saw prices quickly jump to twice assessed value. Developer bought it, put in a road, divided lots and one house went up. Then the housing bubble burst and it pretty much went belly up. House sold recently at public auction. Could have been a bunch of them go in.

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    4. i love your blog have been following you for quite some time its nice to know there are people like my family all over the country.Please keep up the great blog and keep your powder dry. crane op

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    5. Thanks for the kind words. Glad you enjoy.

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  4. I have to compare an RV with a boat. The old saying goes that "a boat is a hole in the water that you pour money into". A motorhome is probably worse than a boat. I am finding that out. Mine has been in the shop since April.

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    1. As far as expenses go, my van has turned into a mini RV. The boat really hasn't been that bad of an expense.

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  5. Hi Sixbears,
    I love reading about your daily exploits and your passion to live your life in your own fasion. This latest post has had me read it a few times just to make sure that Iwasn`t getting the wrong message. I didn`t realise that the U.S. has become so restrictive in ordinary people day to day lives.What has happened to "The Land of the Free"?

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  6. Only our government thinks there is no inflation. Social Security is not looking as though there will be a COLA for next year. :-(

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    1. My firefighter pension went down 1000/year.

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