Hey Tynan + co, care to give some tips to a fellow Rialta dweller on the general rules of staying out of harm/LEO's way on the streets of SF?
I just bought a 96 Rialta but am sweating these final details before I push off into the streets of SF. Quite appreciative for any feedback!
Bonus Points - Any good parking spots or tips? Feel free to message those to me privately, if you don't want Google to record and share them for the rest of time.
Yes, definitely get blackout curtains for night time.
I generally keep a low profile during the day, but there are people who set up chairs on the sidewalk and don't seem to be bothered more than anyone else.
I would just leave the vent on top open. It doesn't get hot at night.
The Rialta is surprisingly well insulated from sound from the inside. Loud music doesn't really even make it out. Wouldn't worry about that at all.
Remember that nothing bad really happens if you're caught. You get asked to move, so you move somewhere else and come back to your main spot in a week or two.
One more *key* tidbit I'll humbly ask of you... Any recommendation on good Bay Area mechanics that work on Rialtas?
From my creepin on HN, it looks like you had an engine replaced?
And, since we're at it, any suggestions on how to cover up that big AC unit hole in the back? I'm thinking of looking for a sunroof so I can look up at the stars (campingFeelings++). From your 2012 video, I noticed you tin roof'd over the area.
Tynan, do you have any tips on blackout curtains? I bought some good day-night shades from CampingWorld for my 95 FD Rialta, which mostly the night shades block light (except for the corner edges), but it is by no means light proof. Not sure the best way to blackout proof my rear window, side windows, kitchen window, as well as the front windshield and driver/passenger side windows so I can be stealth at night and have all my lights on without anybody outside being aware.
Thanks for the write up, this was an informative post :)
The previous owner of my Rialta had combination 100% blackout roller shade + velcro on one of the windows. I haven't scaled it to the other windows, but it seems like a good start.
I'm curious if Tynan's dual shades (featured in 2012 tour) are 100% blackout...
Also, I've seen this product name tossed around a few times on RV camping forums. But I'll admit... it looks kinda junky, IMO:
Finally, some quick Googling revealed this potential gem:
Just checked out the link for the Magic Blackout Blinds, those look pretty cool! That might work cutting custom sizes to perfectly fit each individual window. The only major downside I saw is that it says they only typically last 6-8 weeks, so would need to constantly buy more.
It also might be a bit of a pain to take down and put up the Magic Blackout Blinds every day, I was looking for a more permanent solution that could be mounted to the RV, but I will definately consider these.
Thanks for the link Josh!
In your tour videos, your shades are up and your windows are open. Is that normal for you? Or do you generally keep your shades and windows closed during the day, while inside? What about at night?
So you really don't find sound leakage as a risk? At night, do you play music, watch movies, have friends or lovers over? I'm terrified I'd be involved in any/some of those - not even to a crazy loud extent - but enough that someone directly next to my Rialta on the sidewalk could be tipped off to me being inside and that would lead to problems of some kind.
Finally, think it's worth keeping my Coleman AC unit in storage, if I ever plan to stop in ATX during the summer? :)
Thanks for the feedback. :bow_emoticon:
EDIT - One more for ya... 96 Rialta, double twin floor plan (unfortunately), 108k miles, lots of recent maintenance and otherwise good condition - $19k, before tax... good deal?
In sunlight people can't really see in with the shades up. I usually leave the kitchen window open during the day, too, to get airflow.
No sound leakage at all. Just try it... have someone go inside and talk and see if you can hear it outside.
I sold my air conditioner... you'll probably never reinstall it and it takes too much power anyways.
You'll be fine... just get out there and figure this stuff out. The first couple days will be a little nerve-wracking, but then it gets really comfortable.
That seems a bit expensive for the Rialta, mainly because of the miles. I'd want to get it down to $16-17k. But then again, I haven't seen this exact one and I don't know the market as well as I used to.
We just put together a video (pretty much with you in mind) to show our blackout curtain setup. They're not as clean-cut as blinds, but they work really well, are cheap, and they make the place seem more homey.
BTW, another thought — since I already have good Day/Night shades installed that I spent like $500 on from camping world, I wonder if I could do something similar but yet install over the existing blinds?
I had a good hard look at the windows in my Rialta last night, thinking about how I'll do this.
For the windshield, I'm thinking of a continuous strip of Velcro lining the top, and then perhaps a smaller magnet strip stuck along the dash. Affixing a curtain inside the awkward space between the dash and the windshield seems difficult, so I'm figuring maybe a magnet strip would be less difficult to deploy.
For the other windows, I noticed they have a metal frame, with a lip all around the frame where it recesses back a bit, before screwing into the wall. I'm wondering if I can find some combination of magnets to adhere to this, which would make for an easy, solid seal. Especially if I leave my stock shades in and place the blackout curtain between them and the window.
Then, my Rialta came with a blackout roller shade above the RV door that pulls down over that window, with pieces of velcro along the door frame that connect with the shade. That seems to work pretty well.
Not entirely sure about the back window, but it's big and should be pretty easy.
Good ideas :)
I have a roller shade for my RV door as well, but it's not blackout. Any idea what brand the blackout roller shade you have is, or where to find them?
Keep in mind that any kind of adhesive will most likely peel off after long exposure to high temperatures. I tried going the velcro route and it was constantly falling off. This was during the summer in southern california. I ended up just using grommet snaps and drilling them into the plastic. Now everything's very secure, and it's pretty easy to put up too.
Wow — so awesome thanks for making this video to help answer my questions about blackout curtains! I really love following your blog & videos; I can really identify with your story =)
One of these days when I'm migrating up north in my Rialta from SoCal I'd like to stop by the Bay Area and meet ya'll. Thanks for rocking it, and keep it up guys! :)
Ah Jason, we'll have to swap notes... I'm in SF and looking forward to spending some time in SoCal: LA and San Diego and any interesting points in between.
Absolutely :) I'll still be in SoCal the remainder of this month if you happen to be headed down this way soon. The weather is great in Fall/Winter, it's quite hot to do RV living during the summer in SoCal unless you have AC running during the day.
Off the top of my head, I would suggest checking out Little Tokyo (the arts district in Downtown Los Angeles) [if you like Ramen, definately check out a restaurant called Daikokuya; if you love good coffee check out my favorite coffee shop Demitasse], Laguna Beach (gorgeous beach, also some great state parks), Venice Beach, Malibu, San Diego, and Santa Barbara.
Not to scare you off in any way Josh, but here's the video of the crazy window experience I messaged you about. Stuff happens, but it's worth it.
Damn, that's nuts. Another one of life's crazy challenges...it's how we react to these challenges that show our fortitude. I'm glad to see that ya'll weren't physically hurt — especially with all that broken glass flying around! A $200 broken window is unfortunate, but it could have been much worse, so I'm glad to hear that you guys are back up and running within a week with a (somewhat) reasonable repair bill given what happened.
Just curious, what do you think it could have been that made the guy react like that; were you guys being super loud or what kind of noise were you guys making that might have made him go off like that? I don't see why someone would be that angry about noise unless it was in front of their house late at night (and even then)...and looking at that guy in the video, he didn't appear to be an angry property owner to me, just looked more like an insane drunk guy to me. Did the guy start out with smashing the window, or was there interaction before that?
For the future, you guys might want to consider getting a weapon for defense...a taser might be a good idea, a non-lethal way to handle any sorts of situations like these in the future; you never know if the next time could escalate farther past just a $200 broken window. I personally am looking at getting a tactical shotgun in the future, but two reasons I haven't already (#1: that's definitely a LAST step when your life is in imminent danger, otherwise you'll be the one behind bars if you brandish it; #2: ganja and guns are far from a friendly mix in the eyes of the law, ESPECIALLY in California). Was recently watching the Random Show with Tim Ferriss & Kevin Rose, and they highly recommended this taser (it's pricey, but might be a sound investment since you have a girl and a dog to protect): http://www.taser.com/products/self-defense-products/taser-x2-defender [has 2 cartridges, plus a laser to help aim, easy to operate]
And also, I'm not a big fan of the police either, I never call them — but I also wouldn't be worried about calling them just because you live in a RV; RVs are made for staying in for extended periods of time, it's not illegal to be out driving in the RV at night or be in a parking lot in the wee hours of the morning — they don't need to know that you guys are full-timers...
Either way — no matter what could have prompted his outburst, this guy was way out of line and needs to be taught that kind of violent behavior is not acceptable, otherwise someone else will be the victim of his temper.
Much love guys — Keep on fighting the good fight! =D
Who was the guy? The property owner, a crazy passerby?
What prompted him to approach you guys, to begin with? Like, why was he concerned you were there? How did it escalate to wanting to 'beat' you? Did he not just ask you to leave?
Where were you parked? What city? What zone - industrial, residential?
Sorry to hear about the experience, but glad you guys are alright and the window got fixed. I'm thinking of installing 360 degree cameras + a 24/7 video monitoring system of some kind + carrying a weapon, to be sure.
Thanks for the putting together the video and sharing.
I've been looking at weapons as well to defend my Rialta. Also, if World War 3 strikes I'd be prepared to Mad Max it, already have had the survival training at Burning Man, lol! :)
Here's some options I've found so far:
I don't think you could get an AOW in California, but it'd be cool if you can!
Interesting predicament you have there; the high population would make me want to have a firearm, but the law would keep me from it there. That and I don't believe California has the castle doctrine... that being said, does that apply to a vehicle/home?
You really couldn't go wrong with a Remington 870 in my opinion. It's a pump shotgun, you can get quite a few different barrels and they seem to be able to go through Hell and back! They also appear less threatening than a rifle or handgun to a lot of people. Regardless, it's California, so I'd do some serious research before buying and potentially using something on someone!
For what it's worth... The whole firearm issue kills me on living in an RV. I think it'd be nice to be free like that, but I wouldn't want to not have a few treasures from my collection with me and I'd hate to think about them being stolen and used for some nefarious purpose.
Yeah, the firearms in the RV coach is definitely a gray issue. A taser seems like the best legally sound defense mechanism to rely on for boondock RV living.
Yeah, the vehicle/home thing is very ambiguous, in my cursory review of things. We definitely operate in a gray area.
I'm even a bit questionable on the implications of being intoxicated above the legal driving limit, while in the coach of the vehicle. In normal cars, it seems a cop who was out to ruin your day could have the ability to cite you with a DUI, even if you're asleep in the backseat. Not sure how it all translates to RVs.
Yeah, I'm not 100% sure about this either. I love to party hard every so often, so would like to know more details.
I know when you're at an RV park or on private property such as a driveway, (i.e., hooked up to utilities) it's considered a home. If it's boondocked on the side of the road, it's definitely more of a gray area.
I know that as far as the vehicle goes, no liquor or open containers are supposed to be within arms reach of the drivers seat. That being said, being parked and in the back, not in the front, that would be a bit more iffy...to be safe, I'd say the keys should not be in the ignition and put away somewhere. I'm sure a cop wanting to hassle a person could make things difficult, but I'm not sure of any exact laws on this being that it is an RV.
Anyone have any more info or insight on this?
To follow up on this.... I settled on the Taser C2.
It has the ability to totally incapacitate someone for up to 30 seconds (that's a long time when you think about it). Check out the YouTube videos... 'totally incapacitate' means make someone stiff as a board for 30 seconds. That's good enough for me.
I also bought an 800+ lumen tactical flashlight. I settled on the Klarus XT11. At night, a blinding floodlight suddenly exposing you is a pretty startling and disarming thing. Hoping to use it as my main line of defense. It also has a mean bezeled edge designed for striking.
Together, I'm fairly confident I have enough of a defense arsenal to get me out of all but the worst scenarios, and that wouldn't invite any legal trouble.
California (and SF + LA areas, especially) is so ridiculously anti-guns that I think it would be more trouble than it's worth to carry around a firearm of any kind. Plus, you have to have them so secured in storage that readying them during a possible situation is impractical, which would ultimately leave you defenseless.
I like some of the taser products (that one you linked is amazing, but the price tag definitely shows it) and I think I'll just get one of those, and call it a day. It seems most get by fine on caution and good sense.
Tynan is a busy guy. If you feel like meeting a couple of people who live full time in their Rialta, we'd love to meet up and connect. We're mostly in the East Bay, although we'll be in the city over the weekend for Bluegrass fest. We would be happy to show you the solutions we've found for our issues, and talk to you about what it's really like dealing with cops/noise/etc. You can bet we had each and every one of those fears when we started out.
Ah, Christian, I've seen a couple of your videos (and love them - you have quite a knack for video production)!
Didn't realize you're in East Bay.
I'd love to connect with you guys. I'll PM you my contact info.
Hey Josh. Can't speak directly to your points on the Rialta since we're in a Minnie but it doesn't matter much. We actually have a ton of sound leakage inside to outside so we "try" and stay relatively quite at night depending where we're parked. If it's in a more neighborhoody spot we don't want to draw any added attention obviously. If it's in industrial, by the park (where there's plenty of traffic noise all hours) or not near a residence it doesn't seem to matter too much. That being said, once we're in for the night it's usually just to sleep or read so we're not making much noise anyways. Like everyone said, no matter what you do in the very beginning of street "camping" it can be kinda nerve wracking until you get used to it but that will pass and you'll find you can feel pretty comfortable just about anywhere (as long as it's not a sketchy area to begin with). We do have blackout curtains and I would definitely recommend having them to keep a low-pro during the evening/night.
We personally don't keep a low profile at all during the day, just live our lives as normal and come and go as we need to. We almost always keep the bedroom window open and have never had any issues with it. Will say the greatest purchase/upgade EVER (other than solar) was the maxxfan. it's seriously the single greatest addition I did to our rig. It has a setting to exhaust rather than just blow in like most fans so you can open your window, set the fan to exhaust, and it creates an incoming breeze for you. It also allows you to keep the vent open in the worst of rain storms. Hope you can find something helpful in all this. Enjoy!
When I first bought an RV to live in last year a lot of people thought that it was a phase I would quickly snap out of. Part of me thought the same thing. Would a move from a 2000 square foot condo to a 100 square foot RV be bearable?
As it turned out, it was more than bearable. I loved it. When I left the country to travel, I sold everything including the RV I loved so much. Seven months later, back in Austin and faced with the proposition of finding somewhere to live, the decision was simple.
I wanted another RV, and it had to be even smaller.
Brendan Baker, an MBA student at Oxford, created a phenomenal infographic (pdf) of our $1MM angel raise for AppMakr. Here's how to read it and what it means. Additionally, below is a 7 minute interview I did with Brendan going over the top points gleaned from the infographic.
Brendan followed our raise from before I even moved from DC to SF last summer. I made a few trips to SF as I began the raise process, and then moved to SF fulltime in July 2010. The raise was wrapped up by October 2010 (here's the party we had to celebrate!). The core of the raise happened over a 14 week period.
How to read the infographic: