Power.. How do I keep it all juiced up and ready to go?

How does one manage as a full time car dweller without buried, covered and grounded wires; that wonderful Thomas Edison invention called electricity? The thoughts of full time car dwelling without having wall outlets was definitely daunting when I made the decision to hit the road full time in my car. Lap top, I pad, kindle, I phone, fan, light.. oh my! How would I keep it all juiced up with power and ready to go?

I researched a lot! You tube and asking questions in the various face book groups I am part of were my first attempt to figure it all out. The answers came one by one as I considered space in Serenity (my Acura Sedan) finances and ease of use.

You can watch my video on Serene and Simple Life channel if you like https://youtu.be/Nxs6iktMwVM

There are 3 main items I purchased and one gift to be able to maintain sufficient power for my devices mentioned above.

All my assorted items that require or give power!

1. Jackery- Lithium battery bank.. referred to as an ‘All in One’ plug and play.. 2 USB ports, an AC plug, 12 Volt, DC

Jackery ‘all in one’ plug and play

2. Jackery solar panel to go hand in hand with the Jackery.. a gift from my son.. Oh for the love of sunny days! It is a 50 watt panel. Over the course of 8 hours in full sunlight the Jackery battery bank can be fully charged. It also has a USB port built in. There are times I utilize a sunny day to not only charge my battery bank back up but to charge my I phone or portable battery bank as well. Voila! The sun does its thing and I have fully charged devices. I could never have imagined I’d be living in a time of solar energy let alone relying on and using it!

Powering up Jackery!

3. Anker brand battery bank.. consists of 2 USBs to be able to charge my phone 6-8 times. It’s very cool as there are 4 light up dots to see the level of charge capacity.

Anker battery bank

4. Best Tek brand inverter.. 300 Watt.. when on a long road trip I plug the inverter into my cigarette lighter.. then plug whatever needs charging into the inverter.. be it phone, battery bank, lap top, I pad, kindle or even Jackery. The inverter has one AC outlet for the lap top or Jackery and two USB ports.

Bestek 300 watt inverter

That’s it! Simple and easy to understand, space savers and ready in an instant to use anytime. It wasn’t always this simple. I had days when I would get twisted up on what’s what. Over all I have found that the more you use something the more accustomed and easier it gets. Life 101!

If you like; I’m an amazon influencer and receive a small percentage of what you purchase just by clicking on any one of the links or just shop here: https://amazon.com/shop/sereneandsimplelife You don’t even have to purchase the exact item(s). As long as you use one link Amazon will give us a reward for sharing. Thank you in advance too!

I encourage you to start with the bare minimums like I did if thoughts of power intimidates you. You can always add more power or solar to your rig as you go. We are in a fascinating era of many different options to meet your power needs. Go forth! Blessings in your day and power on!

smiles,

Linda

Food! Full time car dwelling.. How do I manage?

Are you able to imagine a life without modern appliances? A Gas One brand stove, soft side lunch bag, and 12V hot water pot have been my handy dandy ‘go to’s’ to replace the conveniences of a refrigerator, microwave, four burner stove with an oven.

The ‘Gas One’ two burner propane or butane stove is my ‘go to’ lifesaver when I’m settled in one location for more than a day. I’ve also cracked it open during an overnight stop at a rest area.

rest area cooking up some breakfast!
scrambled eggs with cheese and toast.. Yum!

The handy dandy compact lunch box sits in the coolest part of my ‘Serenity Sedan’; which is the front passenger seat floor. I’ve stored salad, eggs, cheese sticks and even my candy treats which of course would easily melt in the heat of the day.

handy and dandy!

I use the 12 V water pot for my instant coffee when I get up early to start traveling to my next destination. When it was a bit nippy out I would warm up Serenity for 10 minutes and heat up the water. 

handy and dandy 12 V hot water pot

I am an ‘Amazon Influencer’ if would like to take a look at my ‘go tos’. Amazon shares a portion of their proceeds with us who share products with you! Serene and Simple Life store link – https://amazon.com/shop/sereneandsimplelife

McDonalds has also been a go to for hot water. I hold on to one of their coffee cups and visit them for hot water or a refill when stealthing in the city.

What and how much food do I carry? Here are my fast, faster and fastest meals

1. Fast- noodle and rice packs where I add a can vegetable, tuna or chicken can to make a fast casserole of sorts😊

sampling of my pantry

2. Faster- CANS! Heat and eat- soups, Chef Boyardee, Stew, hash

3. Fastest- no refrigeration needed!- tuna, salmon packs (add lettuce) devil ham or chicken in a can, cheez whiz and crackers, peanut butter, Nutella

Quick and easy.. no refrigeration or stove required

I carry anywhere between 1-2 weeks of food with me. I also have lots of snacks to sustain me. Walnuts, granola, assorted crackers, raisins, power bars, fruit cups, beef sticks, and chips are some of my favorites. I definitely do not go hungry! Link to my you tube video ‘Short and Sweet Sat.- FOOD- https://youtu.be/j77rh3pOXD4

tasty drinks

I also enjoy shopping at Walmart after 7pm (usually) for their ready to eat, mark down salads.

SCORE!

I hit up fast food places when I’m traveling many miles in a day to reach my next destination. Burger King, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Chic Fil A.. I love em all and find it hard to decide where to go! I definitely like to switch it up.. As they say- variety is the spice of life..

Hope this ‘share’ has given you a taste of how you can survive and thrive living full time on the road or just simply anywhere!

smiles and joy,

Linda

Seasonal work camper.. 2 jobs.. 2 different experiences

It has been a whirlwind of activity; both work and play since mid May. I parked my home at Red Bridge campground on May 15 to work as a camp host on the Mt. loop in the Mt Baker- Snoqualmie National Forest. Little did I know this job that I had been anticipating and looking forward to would be short lived; 7 weeks to be exact. As a work camper I would have 2 jobs for the season and 2 way different experiences.

I landed the camp host job in January 2019 at ‘The big tent’ where 100’s of vendors from all over the country to sell their wares and many employers come to recruit people for summer jobs. Fun! California land management hired me to manage 14 campsites. https://www.clm-services.com/

My beautiful home was situated next to a beautiful crystal clear river.. Free! No rent! My kind of home. Way before May rolled around I visualized and got excited thinking about my surroundings.

million dollar view for free!

25 hours a week, $12 an hour.. my responsibilities included checking in guests who had reserved on line, collecting camp fees for the (4) walk-in sites, selling firewood, sprucing up the campsites once campers pulled out, reconciling the money collected each week with the manager and least favorite job.. cleaning 2 pit toilets 2-3 times a day. Check out the 5 week camp host series in the playlists of Serene and Simple life channel if you like.. Day ll – Sat. and wrapping up the weekend https://YouTu.be/f83V3YVhRfk

It was an exhilarating, fun and serene job. Definitely something I had never done before! I managed my own time clock (without the clock!), felt independent of bosses and free.. unlike most side jobs I’ve experienced in my life.. no one micromanaging me, telling me what to do or when.

I’d most likely do it all over again except after 7 short weeks the mice took over and ran me out of town.

God provided me a ‘back up’ plan back in January. I had met with HR from Ruby’s Inn In Bryce Canyon City. They offered me a job as their first car camper after convincing the board that this was the wave of the future.

Though it sounded great; my sense of loyalty kicked in as I had already accepted a job with California land management. Kara from HR told me to call her if it didn’t work out. Okay great; but I couldn’t imagine it not ‘working out!’

1150 miles away.. on my way to Utah! Though not so fast.. the manager of Ruby’s Inn General store where I would be working told me I could take my time and whenever I chose to arrive was cool by her!

With a much needed ‘regrouping’ time after the mouse escapade I decided to add 5 more National parks to my growing list of already visited. Mt Rainer was my first park as I exited Washington, next Glacier National Park in Montana, Grand Tetons, Wyoming; finishing off my 2 week vacation in Colorado; visiting Rocky Mountain and Mesa Verde National parks. Definitely a whirlwind of activity and sightseeing!

the contemporary sideways shot😊

I arrived in Bryce Canyon city on July 15.. a significant date.. 10 months full time on the road as a car dweller. 9am Monday morning I met with HR and filled out my paperwork. Tuesday morning started training for the ‘retail clerk’ position. Easy and fun.. retail and food service being my back up ‘make ends meet’ job for 45 years.

This second of the seasonal jobs was 40 hours a week, beautiful back drop with friendly, happy guests from all over the world. No mice.. awe.. very nice!

Here are the ‘Pros and Cons’ of 2 way different ‘seasonal jobs’ (on Serene and Simple life channel as well) https://YouTu.be/ADvrOJ-5Dj8

Camp host outside Granite Falls on the loop in the Snoqualmie National Forest and Retail Clerk at Ruby’s Inn Bryce Canyon National Park

PROS and Cons of both combined .. (reference camp host job first then retail clerk job second in bullets)

  • beautiful site.. next to a river.. serenity at it’s finest.. second job -nice site near restrooms and showers though not private
    $12 an hour with a free site as opposed to Ruby’s- $8 an hour with $100 a month taken out of paycheck for a site at Ruby’s Inn
    No WiFi or cell.. had to drive 17 miles for a signal.. rough on business as a digital nomad! Ruby’s- good WiFi and signal as well as places to hangout indoors (common area near pool) to do work
    My own boss, 25 hours a week scheduled however I chose, 40 hours a week at Ruby’s to make up for the loss in pay!
    Lots of responsibilities with money handling of guests, needed to answer ?’s and police vehicles coming in even if ‘off duty’ sign up.. Ruby’s- work 6:45am – 2:45pm – 8 hours then done for day!
    Rain rain and more rain first few weeks of both jobs.. difference was I was indoors working at Ruby’s
    Isolated.. made friends with campers then by myself majority of time vs new friends at Ruby’s could connect with socially a bit
    No showers.. $6 for 5 minutes, 17 miles away.. Ruby’s- 1 minute walk and free!
    Bathroom duty with 2 vault toilets 3 times a day.. gross! Ruby’s- easy salesperson job!
    Uniform that was men cut pants and tuck in dreary polo shirt vs Ruby’s- colorful t shirt and any bottoms (including jeans or shorts) of our choice
    Mice vs no mice!
  • The winner.. Ruby’s Inn
  • Moral of the story of ‘pros and cons’ list? Money isn’t everything!
  • Wishing you a ‘no money needed’ blessings and joy in your day😊
  • smiles and joy,
  • Linda
  • You tube channel ‘Serene and Simple Life’ mission and hope

    Millions are flocking to you tube.. both as subscribers and creators. It’s a platform to be heard, entertained, share knowledge, stay in touch and voice opinions. Serene and Simple life’s channel has a mission and hope.

    History- launched in September 2018, picked up momentum in early 2019 and took off in July 2019’when Bob Wells of cheap rv living interviewed me.. watch here https://youtu.be/EAep9J-U2IE

    Early on I contemplated what my message would be, what would I share and more importantly in how could God possibly use me to make a difference in other people’s lives living full time in my car. I knew I liked to talk to so I definitely had that going for me.https://youtube.com/sereneandsimplelife

    I gave it all to Him and He receives all the glory. To me nothing else really matters that to be of service to Him.

    At first the thoughts of a creating a channel made me very anxious. Opening up my car dwelling life for the world to see felt like a pressure to perform. Of course the devil is in the details as they say and certainly would not want me to build something for God’s kingdom.

    After a lot of thought and prayer I decided to ‘go for it’. I recognized through watching other car dwellers videos that there was a huge opportunity to make a difference. The challenges of negative and cruel comments would be real but I knew God would help me to forge ahead.. 140+ videos later.. that He has done!

    Serene and simple life birthed with very humble beginnings.. 1 subscriber then 2 then 10 then 100’s and now 1000’s. It was encouragement from a friend at Women’s Rubber Tramp Rendevous that I decided to keep going. Now 140+ videos later I feel God using me more each day.

    So what is my purpose and what am I trying to accomplish? My mission statement has 2 parts with 3 points in each – knowledge and fun – Watch here on you tube https://youtu.be/Ab26PmMtt8w

    Knowledge

    1. Empower you- get moving, baby steps, short walks, hikes, drives, unknown destinations.. however ‘get moving’ looks for you. Plugging in to the playlist – Travel Thursday’s is a good place to start.. I also want to empower you with facts- the how to’s, the Whys, the what’s.. topics I share in Sit and Share Sunday’s are relevant to the facts of living full time in my car as a gypsy nomad, traveling the country and living life with purpose and meaning. I desire to share my knowledge as I apply it- sharing with you how you can experience a life of serenity and simplicity as a minimalist.. full time mobile or living in ‘sticks and bricks’. You can actually take just about anything I share and apply it to your needs, wants; your life!
    2. Encourage you with positivity! The videos- Monday meaningful messages is a good place to start https://youtu.be/kTBHb_67sQI
    3. Excite you with the possibilities.. expressing to you- a. Life is short b. live in the moment c. today is all we have d. God is good
  • FUN! How do I want to accomplish that on my channel?
    1. travels.. so much to go, see and do
      time- in my nest, out of my nest- Serenity Sedan
      tidbits and trivia- life moments.. things I call a ‘SCORE’! new friends, unexpected blessings in my day for starters
  • ‘Trivia Tuesday’ videos (see playlists) is a good place to start for the sheer ‘FUN’ of Serene and Simple Life channel
  • Life is way to short to not have fun. In my past life I tended to be overly serious and needed to ‘lighten up’. I think my channel is giving me new opportunities to do that and perhaps ‘make up for lost time’ as they say😀
  • makeshift bowl with names for the one year anniversary drawing😀

    In closing, I know that not everything I say or post is going to enlighten or resonate with you. I do hope perhaps you will subscribe to Serene and Simple Life if you haven’t already. With the variety of topics I share I believe there is something helpful to empower ~ encourage ~ and excite you.

    just another one of my crazy storytelling moments😊

    My wish is for you to find blessings in your day and joy in the journey!

  • smiles and joy,
  • Linda
  • One year in.. heading east! Sedan is still serene!

    Where oh where has this last year gone since I took off to experience life as a gypsy-nomad; living full time in my car? It disappeared in a flash! All I know is I have saved $7200.00 that otherwise would have been ‘rent down the drain.’ One year in and now headed east. Acura Sedan is still serene.

    into the great unknown

    I have seen more and done more in the last 12 months than I’ve done in the last 12 years combined.. visited 11 states, 14 National parks, 4 national monuments, completed easy and moderate hikes providing great exercise,

    even in the snow.. very little..
    new hiking boots half way through the journey

    experienced breathtaking views all the while taking in fresh air and God’s masterpiece to feed my heart and soul.

    the first of 14 National Parks.. Joshua Tree in CA
    Arizona sunsets.. God’s gorgeous art work
    The first of the ‘mighty 5’ Zion National Park in Utah
    spectacular waterfalls in Boise, Idaho

    When not checking out new sights I’ve dropped in many city parks,

    my favorite! Wyoming!

    libraries and stopped in adorable small towns across the west.

    Leavenworth, WA.. bears, bears and more bears.. the friendly kind!

    beautiful Mukilteo
    Couer d’Alene

    Throughout my solo journey I’ve chit chatted with people from all over the country and world. I’ve shared my journey, received their ‘in awe’ .. good vibes.. ‘you go girl’ thoughts on what I’m doing. It is very rewarding to learn about and hear other’s stories as well.

    It has been a year full of unexpected blessings and rewards.

    Serenity Sedan and I along with my co-pilot Andy bear

    Andy.. named from the old hymn.. ‘and He’ walks with me ‘and-He’ talks with me..

    are on our way to the far north east tip of the USA.. 2700 miles from Utah to Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. God willing; with Him as my navigator perhaps we will stop in Nebraska, Iowa and Michigan along the way.

    I don’t know for sure but I have this gut feeling this may be my last extended trip with Serenity. Not because she is nearing her lifespan but that God has a new vehicle in mind for me as I continue this nomad journey. She is climbing close to 200,000 miles; putting on 14,000 new miles since our launch September 15, 2018.

    I’m still asking God for direction and a decision as I consider the purchase of an SUV to head out into year two. Serenity has been good to me; no mechanical challenges or repairs thus far. Super comfortable and reliant.. I want to have her to call ‘home’ for just a little longer.

    God knows! We’ll see where and how we go into the great unknown 2020.

    Wishing you new experiences.. people, places, memories to call your own in your upcoming year!☀️💛

    smiles and joy,

    Linda

    The mice have moved in!😩

    Asleep in my car; awakened at 2am to the sound of scratching. What the heck?; I said to myself. Figured it had to be outside Serenity; tried to ignore it and headed back to la la land.. At 5am I was at my wits end and just couldn’t take it anymore! Popped open my trunk and went outside to take a look; hoping to ‘rule out’ the noise was coming from inside my home.. oh no!.. one lone mouse, looking so innocent was sitting on top of my dressing room tent in my packed full trunk. The mouse or ‘mice’ had moved in and at my home in WA 6 weeks after I had started a new seasonal job as a camp host .

    Carefully I grabbed the folded up circular tent to try to remove him (or her🤔) without disrupting his morning serenity with no avail. This smart (or dumb) critter ran deeper into my garage (trunk) to fend for his life. Good idea as this would be the beginning of my waging war on the unwelcome guests.

    I then opened the hood of my home and sure enough him or his brother had made their way from the back to the front. My new camping friends came over and started poking him with a stick. Round and round throughout the maze of wires he ran.

    Next I emptied my garage so that should he or his family appear I would have better sight to conquer and of course there would be less hiding places for them! Yes; that same evening I came to learn there was a family but how many still remained unknown. There were 2 or 3 scurrying around; seeming to be lost! Their home was a deep enclosed hole not the wide open forest they were more accustomed to. No food, no wate; what was their plan?!

    I researched getting rid of mice for hours. bounce dryer sheets, peppermint oil on cotton balls, a couple rodent botanical packs I still had from my launch to AZ.. for this moment in time?? Traps were set; given to me by my manager. In addition I was loaned a National Forest trap to wage war. You can search on you tube to see exactly what I’m referring to and how to make one yourself if ever you need to! My wonderful neighbor also plugged up the vent inside the trunk (where they most likely entered) with foil. Not a tasty product for critters to gnaw through!😳

    The first night of the invasion I slept in a tent that had been given to me by the company I was working for as part of my home set up for the season. It was definitely a ‘God send’ as I was very squeamish to be inside ‘Serenity Sedan’.. no serenity!

    a temporary home away from home 😊

    The next morning I awoke early to pop open the trunk again and see what I could see. OMG.. a beautifully constructed nest from twigs, leaves and blue threads built on the floor of the garage (trunk😊) the size of a big serving platter! That was their plan.. procreation! Yes; and some of the family in plain sight. Instinctively I grabbed my ‘picker’ that I use for tidying up the campsites that was leaning up against a huge tree. Got em! Got 2! How many more?

    Over the course of the next day and a half.. 6 captured.. dead or alive! I slept in my tent one night, Serenity the next.. then tent then Serenity.. back and forth between 2 homes to sleep (or not). Finally no noise, no more unwelcome tenants! Praise God.

    I located an Acura dealer about 60 miles away. It was important for my sanity (or what was left of it) to have a professional access the damage and find out where the ‘blue threads’ in their home had come from. The manager of sales was shocked to hear they had set up home in my trunk. In his 20 years of work he had known them to get under the hood but not the trunk. He reassured me that he had never experienced people dealing with them in their cab. No damage done! The manager thought the blue threads had most likely had come from inside the seats. I’m still not convinced as the day my neighbor found the vent in the trunk he dismantled all the soundproof wall backing and found no evidence of mice destruction. Oh well; to this day the mystery remains.

    Mr Acura manager commented if I could just stick it out for another week or 2 that WA was coming up on their finest weather of the entire year. The rain would cease (maybe a condition prone to mice?) 70 daytime, 50’s at night.. Heavenly temps for a car dweller for sure.

    I really was looking forward to ‘perfect weather’. With a lot of prayers and contemplation I decided to arm Serenity with every weapon I knew possible and see how things would look in a week. I purchased solar lights to encase Serenity, set her wheels on huge black trash bags (apparently they don’t like the feel of plastic) along with the above mentioned items.. I was ready for any and all attacks! Watch video here to grasp the set up I did.. https://youtu.be/ZhajyP7yhF4

    Unfortunately, throughout the next week and a half war broke out.. 40+ pesties no longer with us. Each morning I woke up to what I called a ‘war zone’. The first job of the day was mouse clean up and re establishing the traps for the next go round. My serene and simple life was diminishing rapidly. With no end in sight I asked God- ‘what now?.. what next’?

    On the following consecutive days off I went to the quaint town of Leavenworth to contemplate and rest in God’s peace. https://youtu.be/MusKxBfOv3Q

    I also visited another campground where there was a camp host position open to see if it might be a more desirable location.. away from water like I currently was stationed. It didn’t feel any less invasive. After all..the forest are these crazy critters home and us humans are the true invaders😩.

    God revealed to me it was time to pack it up and leave. It’s hard to explain but I felt the ‘peace that passes all understanding’.

    Off to Utah I headed for another job after a 2 week sabbatical to regroup and refresh my soul.. Although there are mice to be found wherever you roam I had not dealt with any intrusion in 10 months on the road prior to WA.

    This story ends with no mice in the 8 weeks at my second seasonal job.

    new home lot

    Thank you Jesus! Praising Him from whom all blessings flow.

    Wishing you a mouse free life and/or future.

    smiles and joy,

    Linda

    Staying put.. how do I cope?

    As kids wrapped up school the 2nd and 3rd week of June I decided it was time to stay put at my campsite home on my days off.

    My home at Red Bridge campground

    One of the guests here at the campground said the crowds would be massive at the hot spots in WA; like the National parks.

    Until then I had been taking off for extended road trips.. utilizing every moment I had till I needed to be back on the job. Sometimes I would take off Tuesday evening after a short day of work and return early am on Friday to gear up for a busy weekend. I enjoyed the memories made and now I am savoring the quickly passing summer months as I moved on to Utah for another seasonal job.

    The days got long outdoors when staying put. They definitely were long when I lived the house or apartment life. When boredom or loneliness creeps in I find errands to run. I’m constantly needing to fill my business orders in a timely manner. Here in Utah I work inside a store so the outdoors is a new treat!

    I had a routine of sorts to while away the passing hours while in WA. I took smaller over nite day trips to fill time. Google voice is my friend to find local ‘parks near me’. I love a store bought salad at a picnic table!

    Marked down salad from Walmart.. my favorite 💛

    In addition I have been working on crocheting afghans for Christmas gifts and keeping up with crocheting a couple beanies per week to give to some homeless shelters at Christmas time. I love sitting on my camp chair or at the picnic table to work at my new hobby.

    ❤️ my new hobby.. very relaxing😊

    Staying put in one location with the closest internet and cell connection over 17 miles away had its challenges as well as its perks. At my job now in Utah I have WiFi and cell! Like anything in life; you choose how you want it to turn out; good or bad; barring unexpected circumstances.

    I asked God to ‘slow down the train’ in my life with what I feel I need to do and accomplish. Staying put at the camp host job has definitely helped me to let go of the need to always feel like I should be going somewhere or doing something. Long time coming! I’m grateful for these days of doing nothing or at least ‘next to nothing’😊

    My wish for you is that you too can enjoy the ‘doing nothing’ parts of life and be content in nature and in the quiet moments of life.

    smiles and joy,

    Linda