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Out on the Limb

On the One Hand...

Friday, April 08, 2005

KL, from My Meandering Thoughts, had the following questions about my previous post titled "Pros and Cons". She says:
"What about the fuel cost and maintenance cost between the two? Perhaps if you take these two into considerations and think about long terms, you might find that one is being cheaper than the other. Also, do you really have to put up such an elaborate tent while selling cards? You can just put a folding table and some folding chairs. And, I think you can usually put those inside a RV. Can't you?"
Thank you for the feedback, KL. Your comments help me think things through and put my plans to paper.

Fuel is a huge consideration. I currently commute 2 hours daily. This current necessity is simply unacceptable. Global warming is fact, not fiction as some would have us believe. The war in Iraq is about oil, and people are dying unnecessarily because of petroleum habits. My planned changes are, in part, a large step in the right direction towards the way my husband and I utilize energy. I’m hedging my bets on biodiesel...a renewable resource that burns clean (I’m told). See my biodiesel links for more info.

Please note that in my previous post I stated that “a portion of our bills” will be paid by selling prints on the weekends. The other portion will need to be gained by working temporary jobs...and least for starters. This will require an extra vehicle so that it is possible for my husband to work one job while I work another. Vehicles in either plan still need to have diesel engines so that we can use biodiesel fuel. So let’s look closer at the 2 options, taking both fuel and maintenance into consideration.

Plan A – RV home (with engine) towing a small gasoline-powered vehicle (2nd engine)
Plan B – 5th Wheel home being towed by a 1-ton pick-up (diesel engine)

Fuel considerations:
Both Plan A and B will require approximately the same quantity of fuel because we will be living in as small of a home as we can manage, whether it be RV or a 5th wheel. We will limit ourselves to as little belongings as possible with either home. Possibly, Plan A would weigh less because a small car weighs less than a 1-ton truck. But a small car would not have a diesel engine, and that "small" detail is contrary to our desire to be powered with vegetable oil.

On the other hand, the RV probably weighs more than the 5th wheel due to having an engine. This presumed extra weight would make up the difference of the car being lighter than the truck. Plan A weight = Plan B weight. Therefore, Plan B would be the more energy-conscious choice because biodiesel can be used exclusively.

Maintenance considerations:
Plan A with 2 engines will require less maintenance than Plan B with one engine.

A 10’x10’ canopy seems to be the standard size. It has 2 primary purposes which I don’t think we can logically do without. The canopy will keep the rain off my products; and it will keep the sun from reducing me to a crispy flake. The canopy we have already purchased weighs 50 lbs. and packs fairly tightly...looking like about 4 rolled sleeping bags placed end to end. So, yes...you are correct that hauling the weekend stuff to the vendor site could be done with any of the vehicles.

I’d love it if we could figure out a way to exist with the RV only; but we don’t enjoy the financial freedom to retire. We could easily corner ourselves into a financial nightmare if our week-end sales don't quite pay the bills and we then find ourselves with inadequate transportation to remain employed with temporary agencies. 30’ RV’s don’t do well downtown where the jobs are. Remaining employable is vital to our welfare. We are not getting any younger!

I’m very excited about biodiesel. Believe me...I will be placing LARGE SIGNS on our home and truck announcing this alternative energy source. Helping others see that these changes are possible is one of the reasons I’m blogging about this life adventure. Oh, and did I mention we are going solar?
Thanks again, KL, for your input. Many thanks also go to The Adventures of Tioga and George for the excellent information and advice we receive on a variety of topics.
posted by Deb, 5:53 PM


Deb, I finally got around to putting a link to Out On The limb on my site. Thanks.

I have had a long standing wish to be able to retire to an RV one day. During my driving across country, I met quite a few very nice retired couples who were spending time on the road. You really get a more accurate picture of a local culture when you aren't in the big cities.
commented by Blogger Justin, 4:20 PM  
I firmly agree with you about the conditions of our environment and the health our planet. A very sad story indeed :-(. Also, that Bush is after Iraq and probably Iran because of oil.

As far as my knowledge in bio-diesel goes is that it still produces carbon-dioxide gas (responsible for green house effect). But, the gas is eco-friendly in the sense that it's produced from bio-degradable materials (and thus no need of drilling, etc for oil and thus spoiling our world more); it's cheap and you don't need to rely on export of foreign oil and gas.

Question is can you get bio-diesel easily?
commented by Blogger KL, 5:08 PM  
I think we can get biodiesel relatively easily...but I expect availability to improve greatly by summer 2006, since some large processing plants are being built this summer.

www.biodiesel.org has a map showing retailers. The Midwest fares best, but I know of at least one local around here who runs his truck strickly on biodiesel (purchased from a local retailer in Everett).

Emission claims by NBB (National Biodiesel Board) are favorable. I'm going to want to hear plenty of opinions before I feel comfortable with the statistics I'm seeing.
commented by Blogger Deb, 6:14 PM  

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