Full-Time RVing and Carbon Footprints

Today I did some back-of-napkin math comparing carbon impact of RV life versus sticks-and-bricks life. I also found tons of really helpful details on Where-RV-Now?, which others will likely find more useful than what I’ve written here.

The Bad:

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Perhaps a more efficient combination. (flickr: Andrew Bone)

  • I didn’t know trucks have worse CO₂ emissions per passenger-mile than jet airliners.*
  • Add the trailer and it’s about twice as bad.
  • Replacement tires add a lot more to the carbon footprint than they would for an urban commuter.
  • A Class C motorhome (the kind with a van cab and a bed over the cab) towing a small car might have been smarter in hindsight.
* This changes if you have a big family in a heavy-duty diesel truck. I’m not going to put Athena’s paws on the scale to make this look better.

The Good:

  • No commuting!
  • RVers tend to use less day-to-day energy than traditional households.

The Great:

  • Any energy I avoid getting from the grid, be it from propane, a cheap generator, or an expensive solar rig, emits far less CO₂ than Colorado’s majority-coal grid.
  • Most of my appliances can run off of propane. (The propane heater also needs some electricity for the blower fan.) The only obvious consumption monster is the air conditioner.
  • I currently can charge all my gadgets except my laptop off of solar, and the next laptop will be able to charge off solar via USB-C.
 
It looks like I’m on target for a significantly lower overall carbon footprint unless I’m moving locations all the time. Again, this is back-of-napkin, and my qualified engineer friends will know a zillion inefficiencies that complicate this.
Also, the napkin is made from hemp.

Let’s Go!

This is the first post!

I’ve got a lot to say, but right now I’m not ready to talk about everything from the start. Soon I’ll write more with background details about how I decided to get into full-time RVing, how I settled on the trailer and tow vehicle I ended up buying, and what my plans are from here. For now, a brief rundown:

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I’m Zeke Weeks:

  • Single 28-year-old guy from Colorado.
  • Born in Boulder
  • Lived in Tempe, Arizona during High School
  • Went to college at Colorado State University
    • Business major, Computer Information Systems concentration, Spanish minor
  • When I was a kid, I made websites as a hobby.
  • As a teen, I got into blogging and have been writing about all kinds of things on ZekeWeeks.com ever since.
  • I now own a web consulting company. I do most of my work from home or wherever I’ve got an internet connection.
  • I’ve been living in Denver since 2012.

Athena IMG_7395.JPG

Athena’s a little rescue mutt who was born in February 2015.

She looks like a lab, but her DNA test says otherwise. Athena stopped growing at a medium-smallish size, is SUPER extroverted and friendly, and is a good wrestler.

The tow vehicle: “Barry”

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Barry is a 2012 Toyota Tundra CrewMax 4×4 Limited:

  • 5.7-liter V8 – 381HP, 401ft.-lb. torque (at sea level, at least…)
  • Rated to tow just shy of 10,000 lbs.
  • Gets about 15 miles per gallon in the city, 19 MPG on the highway, and 8.8MPG when towing my trailer.
  • BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires
  • Extendable towing mirrors
  • Aftermarket wheel flares & HID+Fluorescent Halo+LED running and tail lights
  • ARE camper shell
  • Ranch Hand Sport rear bumper
  • Tinted glass everywhere but the windshield
  • Everything but the tires was installed by the previous owner. This baby had everything I was planning to install after purchase ready to go! I bought Barry with 63,000 miles and in great shape.
  • Barry feels ridiculous driving through Denver’s cramped old neighborhood streets – the towing mirrors feel like huge ears sticking out the sides. This is how he got named after another Barry with big ears.

The Trailer: “Miles”

Miles is a 2013 Arctic Fox 25Y from Northwood RV Manufacturing.

  • 30 feet long from bumper to hitch
  • About 6,800 lbs. without anything inside or in the tanks
  • 10,000 lb. Gross Vehicle Weight Rating
  • Named after Miles, mascot for the Denver Broncos.
miles(photo credit: Jeffrey Beall on Flickr)

I’ll rave all about why I went to this trailer another time. I bought it used in California, camped there for my first week with it, and towed it back to Colorado.

Video: Parachuting into Drupal Crazy

This week I spoke at the DBUG Drupal meetup in Denver about an unglamorous but very important thing that comes up for any technologist: turning around applications that have, for one reason or another, left their users unhappy.

I also had no idea that DBUG meets in a TV studio and is broadcast live on public access TV and the web. Thankfully, my doctor has me on some really good blood pressure meds.

My talk covers some of the strategic, technical, and personal things that people can do to fall back in love with their Drupal applications again. (The non-technical aspects are really applicable to any software.)

(I start my talk at the 19 minute mark.)

I want to thank DBUG for inviting me, and Aten Design Group and Denver Open Media for their sponsorship and work to make this event happen.

Slides are at http://zeke.ws/DrupalParachuting .

Keep life priorities in balance: Check.

In my personal life, I’ve always been one to prefer spontaneity over structure; relaxation over regulation. For a long time, I’ve clung to that at home as a way to compensate for all the organization that’s crucial in my work. But this summer, I’ve been trying something more deliberate to keep a balanced daily life. Every day after work, I make sure to do a few things: Continue reading