RV for sale

While I haven’t written about it enough on here, I’ve had this lovely 2006 Roadtrek Adventurous RV in my possession for the last two and a half years, but it’s come time to move on.

It is a 2006 RV (2005 van) built in Canada by Roadtrek, on a van built by Mercedes in Germany and sold as a Freightliner in the US.  About a year ago, I had a new engine put in by Mercedes.

The van has 128,120 miles on it as of this post, and will likely have a few more by the time it is sold, although maybe not too many.  There are fewer than 5,000 miles on the rebuilt engine, which was installed last September (13 months ago) and has a warranty for 11 more months.

It is a full-featured RV with all the goodies.  It has a full kitchen and bathroom, with a “wet bath” consisting of a sink, toilet, and shower in one enclosed space.  It has a bed in the back which converts to a dinette where four people can sit down for a meal or a game.  Roadtrek calls it a “king” bed but it’s really about the size of a standard queen.  There are ample storage cabinets lining the roof of the van along the driver’s side and wrapping around over the bed area.  I replaced the old TV with a lightweight 20″ LCD computer monitor (widescreen HD) which can be used with a Chromecast or Fire Stick (not included, but I’d be happy to throw one in if you need it).  There is installed a WeBoost cell signal amplifier which, when powered on, usually adds about two bars of cell service for faster data and clearer calls, often from places where you can’t otherwise get a usable signal at all.

It has a ladder on the back and six roof-rack crossbars.  However, to accommodate the roof rack I had to remove the awning, which is included; you can take off the roof rack to put it back on, or if you’re creative you can probably figure out how to mount the awning on top of the rack.

There is no rooftop air conditioner.  A prior owner swapped it for a second vent fan, and I prefer this configuration as it allows me to have two DC-powered fans running on battery while parked, which you can’t do with an air conditioner that requires AC power.

The generator is present, but does not work.  I don’t know what is wrong with it.  It never mattered to me because it makes little difference to my style of camping. You can buy a new one for about $2500 online, or bring it to any Cummins/Onan dealer to see what’s wrong with it.

The stereo system has been upgraded to a Pioneer digital media unit with Bluetooth, USB, and aux input.  The speakers are upgraded front and rear.  It is pre-wired for a subwoofer, which I had previously mounted under a rear seat; I am open to negotiating it back into the deal but expect that most buyers won’t value it.

I am asking $30,000 for it, and willing to negotiate including what is included for a lower price; for example, I am willing to discount for removing the roof rack or the cellular booster, or reinstall the subwoofer for my asking price.  

 

 

The Biblical argument for Biden (from Facebook)

One of my Facebook friends, a Trump supporter, shared this meme on his Facebook page.  https://www.facebook.com/levi.hombrelibre/posts/4918530741506195

I made my usual snarky comments, then got this in response:

Here is my reply:

Sorry for the slow response, as is typical in Facebook “argument” I am being tasked to reply to a lazy meme with detailed research.  Oddly, a cursory Google search didn’t give me a lazy solution, because it seems few sincere Christians have previously endeavored to apply scripture to modern politics – only the insincere ones who reject Christ’s true teachings in favor of the Evangelical heresy.  

Anyway, the first thing is that Biden, unlike Trump, actually knows the Bible.  Here’s an article about Biden actually quoting scripture from memory, something Trump can’t do.  https://religionnews.com/2020/08/06/biden-quotes-bible-at-black-church-meeting-while-trump-says-his-rival-is-against-god/  While Trump loves doing photo ops with closed Bibles, willing to engage in violence against American citizens to make that happen, there’s no indication he’s ever actually opened a Bible – he wasn’t able to name a favorite verse, or book for that matter.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERUngQUCsyE 

Trump has also famously proclaimed that he doesn’t need God’s forgiveness, which is clear blasphemy and wholesale rejection of Christianity.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKLVIm7Q0IQ so in light of that, I’m pretty confused how any Christian could vote for Trump over a confirmed Catholic who quotes the Bible at campaign events.  Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”  Trump made it very clear that he is not saved by Jesus – he thinks he’s good enough on his own.  

But anyway, to what you asked for.  Let’s begin with 1 Timothy 2:1-2.  “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”  So, based on that, you should vote for the candidate who lives a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  That’s Biden, not Trump.  

Proverbs 29:2, “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.”  So, don’t vote for a wicked man – an adulterer who blasphemes God (see above) and is cruel to immigrants.  

Speaking of immigration, here are 22 verses on why you should reject Trump’s immigration policy if you are in fact a Christian (a claim I am less and less convinced of) https://sojo.net/22-bible-verses-welcoming-immigrants

Leviticus 19:34 “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

Leviticus 27:19 ‘Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.’

Matthew 25:37-45 

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

On “America First” we have Acts 10:34 – America is not special to God, and it is heresy to put it before other nations.  “Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”

The main issue that swung me from Republican to Democrat as a Christian was compassion, which admittedly is a pretty broad topic.  I gather it really from the whole penumbra of the New Testament, but you’re asking for specific verses, because I guess you don’t really see the Bible as a coherent whole, which I guess is fine if that’s how your faith works, so here’s a few verses.  For starters, perhaps my favorite verse, Matthew 22:39, with context from 34 through 40, “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

There is no compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, or patience to be found in Trump or any modern mainstream Republican candidate.  But it’s really not hard to find examples of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience from Biden.  https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnbaldoni/2020/08/20/how-empathy-defines-joe-biden/#48a2fcfd75cf

No response to that.  But then I went back up thread and realized I’d misread the comment.  He wasn’t asking for a Biblical argument for Biden, he was asking me to argue for Biden using the same cherry-picking of verses.  So, I followed up.

… I realize now I misread your comment.  I thought you were asking for a Biblical case for Biden, not for me to take this cherry-picked list hand selected to make an argument counter to the main thrust of the Bible and apply it to Biden.  Naturally, if you’re going to cherry-pick verses to invent your own religion in lieu of following Christ as a whole, it’s going to be hard for me to use that particular list to argue for a Christian over an anti-Christian autocrat.  But sure, I’ll indulge you.  

Pro-life: Trump is not pro-life.  He has endorsed policies forcing women to carry pregnancies to term, yes, but that is not truly pro life.  Here’s the full verse, ignoring the cherry picking that goes narrower even than a single verse:

There are six things the Lord hates,

seven that are detestable to him:

17haughty eyes,

a lying tongue,

hands that shed innocent blood,

18a heart that devises wicked schemes,

feet that are quick to rush into evil,

19a false witness who pours out lies

and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

So right here, in the FIRST verse you have cited, we have an indictment of Trump – God hates a lying tongue (Trump has told over 20,000 documented lies in his time in office, but even if you accept his backpedaling explanations on many of them, you can’t possibly deny that he’s a frequent liar).  And as to hands that shed innocent blood, Trump has pardoned and praised war heros, including one who was convicted of murdering a prisoner – THAT is “shedding innocent blood.”  God indeed detests shedding innocent blood.  That’s why Christians can’t vote for Trump.  Biden has never shed innocent blood; so on verse one, you need to vote for Biden.  

Verse two: Genesis 12:3.  Here as with the first verse, the meme author isn’t even quoting a verse in context; he’s adding his own interpretation to suit a narrative that is not Biblical.  Here’s the full verse:

3I will bless those who bless you,

and whoever curses you I will curse;

and all peoples on earth

will be blessed through you.”

Okay, so how would a sincere Christian interpret this verse?  I don’t know how a sincere follower of Christ would read into this a Biblical commandment to politically support every action of the modern Jewish state.  There are other verses I could bring in here about God only being with Israel when they behave in a Godly fashion, and from that explain that Israel as it behaves today is not worthy of the support of Christians.  Anyway, what this verse is really saying is that the People of God (NOT the political nation of Israel) will be blessed by God.  So, if we are to apply this verse to politics, we should vote for the candidate who speaks well of Christianity, the one who professes sincere faith in God, the one who humbly seeks forgiveness, and not the one who blasphemes.  That’s Biden.  

Third cited verse: Proverbs 22:7 “The rich rule over the poor,

and the borrower is slave to the lender.”

Okay.  Well as the meme author explains it, this verse should mean God is against debt.  In that case, we have to vote for Biden.  This one really isn’t at all ambiguous.  Trump has grown the National Debt more in three years than any past President did except in time of World War.  Even in his first two years, when America was at peace and prosperity, Trump and his budgets ran up record deficits and increased the national debt faster than his predecessors.  But also, look at the person themself.  Trump won’t release any info on his personal finances, but the one page of his tax history we have seen told us that he was at least a billion dollars in debt in the nineties, and we know from his personal lawyer and his bankers that he remains hundreds of millions if not billions in debt to foreign entities to this day.  Biden has released decades of tax returns, and he has a positive net-worth and has never taken out a billion-dollar loan; and while he was never directly in control of the national debt, he served in Congress during the only years it shrank in my lifetime, and served as VP during six years of shrinking federal deficits.  Biden is without a doubt the candidate to choose if you hate debt.  

Onward.  2 Thess 3:10.  “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.””  I don’t really see how that has much bearing on either candidate.  However, Biden voted for welfare reform in the 1990s, so if you were trying to argue that welfare somehow defies this verse, you would have to take Biden on his record on this issue and give him the vote.  Trump’s record on this verse?  He’s a trust fund baby who never worked a real job in his life, only gambling with inherited money.  There is no way to make a pro-Trump argument with this verse.

Pro-marriage: I won’t even get into the verse.  Both men have had multiple wives, but the details matter.  Trump has been divorced twice and has had documented affairs on all three wives, including his current one, and has admitted on-record to paying off mistresses to stay silent.  You cannot argue that Trump is pro-marriage, unless your definition of someone’s stance on marriage is based on how often they break the vows they take.  

Next point: government’s purpose is to reward good & punish evil – I’ve seen this argument elsewhere in neocon politics.  Again, this is one where we need to look at the whole reference given (Romans 13) and not just the meme author’s interpretation of it.  I think the meme author is trying to make a “law and order” or really, authoritarianism, argument here.  But this is the chapter that says:

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.”  This is an endorsement of “big government” and a contradiction of the Christian Right’s claim that government should be limited.  Point to Biden.  

“This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” Again, this verse favors taxation and government – point to the “tax and spend” liberals; point to Biden.  

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” Love one another?  Point to Biden.  Whoever loves others has fulfilled the law?  Point against Trump, who spews hate with every tweet.  

12The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” Do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh?  Point away from the adulterer.  Point to Biden.  

Finally, “I will vote based as close as I can on God’s word.”  Well, take this whole post for that one, along with my prior comment.  But let’s look at the full verse as well, in the interest of completeness.  “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  Okay.  In that case, I will reiterate my original point: ALL scripture.  Not just a cherry-picked listed with an anonymous author’s self-interested biased interpretation.  You have to look at the whole of scripture, particularly the words of Christ.  

My favorite passage of the words of Christ is Matthew 5.  I will only quote selected lines from it, not to cherry-pick but because you’ve probably already stopped reading based on the length of my comment anyway.  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  I would say if we were to take that verse at face value as an instruction on how to vote, we should vote for the less wealthy candidate.  Point to Biden.  

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  Did you catch the headline where Trump’s campaign took shots at Biden the other day for visiting his family’s grave while Trump golfed?  Biden has suffered tremendous loss in his life – most of his family in a car accident at the dawn of his senate career, and his decorated veteran son a few years ago.  Trump, when his brother died, posted pictures of himself smiling on the golf course.  

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.  I don’t think this one needs much explanation, but Trump is not known for being merciful.  Rather, he is known for building concentration camps for children whose only crime was being brought to America by parents seeking a better life.  

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  I’ve said it before, but Trump is not pure in heart; see my other comment for the video; he won’t even ask God for forgiveness.  

So I’ll leave you with that.  That is a short biblical case for why you, if you profess sincere faith in Jesus, should vote for Biden and not Trump.

Update at the apex of my 2020 cross-country road trip

2020 08 20

I feel kind of bad that I haven’t been blogging along the way on this trip. I’ve been updating Facebook and sometimes Twitter and Instagram, so see my personal social feeds for the blow-by-blow.

I’ve been on the road for a little over three weeks now, on a trip that will eventually encompass the whole month of August, nearly 10,000 miles, and I suppose around a dozen states – 13 so far, probably at least one or two more along the way. Jackson has swam in three Great Lakes and one ocean; he will hit the other ocean before the trip is over, and the other two Great Lakes when we get home if not before.

So why? I realize now I don’t need a reason. I don’t need to justify travel. My ultimate reasoning for this trip comes down to wanderlust. Many years ago I was inspired by the Johnny Cash song “I’ve Been Everywhere”, but I never really did anything about it. Honestly, I still haven’t – I haven’t been to most of the cities and small towns he names in that song – but at one point wide travel was a personal goal, one that just kind of fell by the wayside. When I first drove cross-country in 2005 and 2006, I had a laminated map that I drew on with a sharpie to illustrate the states I had been to, on that trip and in general, and if I hadn’t lost it in some move years ago I would’ve kept it going. I think I’d gotten to something like 22 states by the end of that trip, maybe more. By the beginning of this year, I’d been to 41; by the end of January, when business took me to the interior northwest for the first time, I’d gotten to 43. At that time I’d set a goal of hitting all 50 before turning 40, which would mean a trip to the remaining seven (including Alaska) this year. COVID-19 seemed to nix that plan… and then one day, controversially, I just decided to go anyway. While I care about the pandemic, I do not believe life should grind to a halt to wait it out.

This is not purely a mission to check off trivia facts about myself or numbers on a list. I don’t want to have visited all 50 states by age 40 just to say that I have. Honestly, it’s not that impressive – 40 years is a long time to wait for a trip that could be done in a year; a teenager could do it with their first beater car. No, it’s not an impressive achievement. It’s just a starting point. By visiting all 50 states, albeit many White briefly, I can get an idea of where I want to explore further. Now unfortunately in that sense the mission hasn’t been as productive as one might hope; I haven’t quite *ruled out* that many states. From this trip, frankly most of my stops have been worth further exploration down the line, but yes I think I can focus on fewer than half. Wyoming certainly merits more time exploring, and I think is my next mountain biking destination. Michigan is amazing for gravel biking, and I guess really just a general relaxing vacation. Washington and Idaho require more river exploration. The other states from this trip admittedly made less of a lasting impression, but nonetheless I will return at least briefly on future travels.

Another purpose of this trip was much less abstract: I was just going nuts staying in Buffalo, and I didn’t feel content to repeat my usual travels. Ohiopyle and surrounding areas have come to feel similarly stifling as Buffalo. North Carolina was similarly played out for me after spending most of last year in the area. The only option to satisfy my wanderlust was to go exploring.

Finally, this trip has been a voyage of self-discovery. Not in any profound way. I don’t think I’ve learned anything I didn’t already know; but I confirmed something I’d maybe forgotten, and verified something I’d come to doubt. I have learned that I am inherently a nomad. I am not, by my nature, meant to be in one place. None of the places I’ve been, as amazing as they have seemed to me, have rung out as a natural “home” in a particular sense. No place out here triggered in me a nesting impulse, a desire to stay put. To the contrary, the more I traveled, the more I wanted to travel; the more I found myself a visitor and a stranger, the more I realized that is all I’ve been anywhere, including Buffalo and even Long Island. I am, in a philosophical sense and obviously not to be confused with the sociological phenomenon, homeless. And that is fine. What I call home is merely an arbitrary choice and a practical arrangement, a place of convenience to leave behind the things I don’t need to travel with, a place to receive mail and pay taxes, and a place to cultivate an adequate sense of normalcy for the comfort of others. My home is not a true home in the emotional sense. I do not profoundly miss it. Yes, from time to time, I desire rest from the road, and the place is suitable for that; but only temporarily. I will not remain there indefinitely.

So there it is. Mission accomplished – I have learned more about who I am. I have not solved or settled anything, I remain unsettled and migratory, but I know that is my unavoidable nature. I will not fight it further. I will not try to civilize myself. I will not be domesticated. And I will live with the implications – the largest being that it will be even harder (though still not impossible) to find a suitable partner. Tinder it seems remains a joke – the last girl I talked to seemed promising, until she said, bitterly, “some of us have to work.” She didn’t care that I do – it’s not on her terms so it doesn’t count. She’s not for me, that’s fine. I’m open to suggestions if anyone knows a good dating platform for vagrants.

First RV trip, lessons and experiences

I realize I’ve fallen behind and this post really merits at least three posts on different topics.  So I guess I’ll just dump a lot of info into this one post, with the dates when I should’ve written them.

2/11/18 – After this Yosemite experience, it’s clear to me that I need to make some adjustments for my 37th year.  The first is that I definitely need to follow through and buy the RV, because it will enable me to take more trips like this and explore the national parks and forests.  Maybe it will help me meet new exciting people, too… maybe even women.

2/13/18 – I’m doing this!  On the plane right now to pick up a 2006 Roadtrek RS Adventurous class B RV!  It should be perfect for me and Jackson, and after some small modifications (roof rack and ladder) it’ll make a great shuttle vehicle.

(later that day) Mine!

RV
Here’s my Roadtrek at the dealership

2/15/18 – First trip in the RV, sort of.  Just the drive home from PA to Buffalo.  It’s an adequate experience so far, but boy is this thing scary to drive fast in.

3/12/18 Fuck it, I’m driving to Alabama.

3/15 Okay, first business trip in the RV has been an interesting experience.  The drive down was way slower than expected.  I definitely need a roof rack as the two kayaks in the back are really killing the interior space.

Turns out there’s virtually no chance of finding parking for even a class B anywhere near the work site, and the plumbing is still winterized, so the plan ended up being to stay at a hotel, board Jackson at a local vet, and take Uber rides to the hearing site from the hotel and back.  It worked out reasonably, except some issues with the Uber being late and more expensive than I’d hoped.  So was the bottle of bourbon I realized I should have in the van.  Note to self, don’t wait until Alabama to buy liquor.

3/16 The Ocoee is great!  But maybe I should’ve planned a little better.  Running out of propane in Birmingham en route to Tellico turned out to be terrible timing.  Thankfully it turns out Roadtrek installed an electric heater, and the campground had a power outlet available.  New rearview camera is a nice little upgrade.

3/19 I probably should’ve planned better.  Not enough paddling so far this trip, and it’s extra frustrating traveling around with two boats when I haven’t even used the bigger one.

3/21 Snow.  Ready to call the trip a bit of a bust after three days in a row of paddling plans falling through.  Electrical problems are mounting in the van, for some reason the rear battery isn’t charging even after installing the new battery.  Heading north.

 

3/22 Top Yough!  Yay!

Ramos & Ramos

I’m excited to announce that I have officially joined the practice of Ramos & Ramos, a thriving multi-practice firm, as their Social Security attorney.

Ramos & Ramos is “right sized” with four attorneys and a small but growing paralegal staff, and we operate in a shared space alongside solo attorneys Josh Dubs, Nicholas Hicks, and Philip Dabney.  This unique arrangement enables us to collectively cover just about every area of law that a private person may need: Ramos & Ramos has attorneys in personal injury, family law, real estate, and now Social Security; and our co-located colleagues together add wills trusts and estates, bankruptcy, criminal defense, and administrative law.