“Across the nation, people are discovering just how much an RV can become a home. Full-timers have known this for ages, and snowbird RVers may spend months calling their RV “home.”
But a new breed of Americans is taking up RV living and, for them, it isn’t a life of sights on the road, visiting National Parks, nor spending a wonderful night around the campfire with new friends. For these RV dwellers, it’s $10-a-day to rent an RV on a back street, ducking police and angry neighbors, and fighting bedbugs and other vermin. These unfortunates are homeless people, in a strange, symbiotic relationship with a new breed of slumlords called Vehicle Ranchers.
Here’s how it works: A Rancher hits the abandoned vehicle auction where, for example, a broken-down RV can often be bought for as little as a dollar. He tows the dead rig out of the yard and onto a local street where he parks it. An advertisement on Craigslist offering a place to sleep out of the weather for $10 a night will soon put the “no vacancy” sign up.
In many areas, as long as the vehicle is moved every 72 hours, the Vehicle Rancher can keep the game going endlessly. Worst-case scenario, if the rig is impounded the Rancher will often just leave it alone until it goes back up for auction.”
Rent a dump that is full of vermin? Fleas and bedbugs and cockroaches? If you can’t lock the RV it has to be guarded by somebody 24-hours daily and if you are alone you are screwed. You can’t leave anything inside and what if squatters take over and you are unable to remove them when you return?
Avoid this scenario. Buy a vehicle you can live in before you become homeless. I view my long-bed pick-up with camper shell as a form of insurance. At least I have a place to stay out of the wind and rain and I can secure the entry from the inside to slow down intruders and I can lock the camper shell when I am gone.
I forego cable or satellite TV. The savings allows me to keep my truck in excellent shape to increase the odds it will always start and move and stop when I hit the brakes. If I was shopping for a new or used vehicle now I would look for a used well-maintained cargo van. These vehicles tend to be bought for commercial use nowadays. The van craze of the 70s and 80s has died off and the family-oriented mini-vans filled the void. I suppose a long-wheel-base mini-van with the seats removed would work but the interior space is less than a full-size cargo van.
Mini-vans are also dying off and the snowflakes and Generation Z and Millennials and others are now following the latest fad of bring cool by driving a dam SUV sport utility vehicle. None of those damn things would be a good portable home, in my old codger opinion. Better than a tent but get a larger vehicle to maximize living room, folks.