Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I read a story a while back, I think it was in the L.A. Times but could've been in the L.A. Chronicle. It was a great story about a young man who was a very talented bassist. As I recall, he got a college music degree and had tons of playing experience and was very talented and came to L.A. to try to make it as a studio musician.

It's a hard gig to try to make it as a hired gun studio musician. Working in and with the musician's union is a whole nuther thang, and then there is the matter that L.A. has been a magnet for the best and brightest musicians for decades. So not only is competition fierce amongst newcomers, they've also got to battle the old timers and current studio heros for gigs.

Apparently this guy was a pretty good bassist and was able to actually break into the tough world of doing studio gigs for big and want to be big stars, those who have label and sometimes big label funding.

I'm sketchy on his background, and on other details, but basically as many folks know, recording backing tracks for a major artist can take place at the musician's home, via digital tracks emailed to him or her, and then emailed back with the musicians tracks added for editing and mixing.

It's all very high tech, of course, and with wi-fi and not really a whole lot of equipment, one can have a major quality recording studio in the corner of an efficiency apartment.

Or in an RV.

Some recording is still done in actual brick and morter studios,but much is also done via electronic transmissions, with artists and musicians never meeting face to face (this wasn't unusual in studio gigs either) and literally being all over the world working on tracks.

So this guy (and I've tried to find the story and failed) soon realized that the work he was doing from his very high rent in terms of dollars but low rent in terms of neighborhood and standard of living apartment in a mediocre part of LA could be done anywhere where he could get a wi-fi connection.

Apparently he was a pretty good bassist and had gotten plenty of work after arriving on the scene and paying some dues. So he buys a Class C RV and takes off, living in National Parks and other nice locales. He said he'd travel for awhile until he found someplace he likes, he sets up shop there and might stay for a couple of days or a couple of months.

At the time of the story, he had recently upgraded to a much larger RV and actually had some dedicated area for his playing and recording. I suppose if you're making good money and are not a homeowner then you could afford a pretty dang nice big RV.

I have some friends that recently lost their home due to the wildfire last year, and since both were of early retirement age, decided to retire and buy an RV and see the nation. They might come back, or they might find a place they like better and rebuild their home there. I'm thinking chances are pretty good they'll find a nice place with cooler temps and more rain.

With two kids in school, and firmly entrenched in friends and activities and such, we couldn't do that right now, although the wife and I would love to do it. Sometimes, I wish we had done it when the kids were very little, pre-school or in grade school. But our life's been good the way we lived it. 

I've had a couple of friends over the years who've taken a sabbatical from work, never to return after touring the nation and settling in someplace cool. One family settled in Sonoma, California and then moved on to the Humbolt area and now lives further north along the coast.

Another ended up in the Pacific Northwest, after a stint somewhere near the Yukon in Canada. Living on a houseboat somewhere in the Seattle area.

The wife has been wanting an RV for quite some time. We've looked at tons of them and one day maybe we'll find the right one.
Frankly, I fear an RV, and being the dude charged with fixing stuff when it breaks.

I myself would prefer a large extended 4wd Quigley conversion van. A potty can be installed in a small bathroom in a custom van without losing a whole lot of room, and along with a sofa/bed combo and a few amenities, it's the perfect travel machine for a family. 

I think we'd still end up spending time in hotels on trips even if we had an RV, so why not get a van?

Thus my thinking that a well designed custom van could be just as comfortable on trips with room to stretch out in the rear and relax. All kinds of flat screen tv's and x boxes and playstations and such can be hooked up in several locations and I myself would like the 4wd for doing some camping in some really nice fishing spots accessible only via high clearance 4wd.

My design would involve four captains chairs, with the rear two having video monitors and game stations. A couch/bed in the rear. If the van is big enough, and there's no sense having one of these that isn't big enough, you can easily slide a restroom in one of the corners and that totally changes the picture of traveling.

What I would envision is a restroom whose empty space is collapsed when not in use and has an extendable module that would slide in and out to provide the extra space needed to occupy a restroom, and when closed the space taken up would be that of the facility and surrounding walls.

A Class C RV would be cheaper than a Quigley conversion in many cases, and the newer the RV the better as far as I'm concerned. Then comes the question of what type of used small vehicle to acquire to tow behind the RV for getting around when the RV is parked.

Maybe something like a used Tracker 4x4. Last spring, El Fisho Jr and I went on a trap shooting expedition and the guide was driving a Tracker and the 4wd did handle some pretty soggy stuff very well. I was impressed since it had street tires on it at how well it did.

There's lots of used 4x4's out there and that's the main contender since the whole point of RV'ing is to get into the outdoors away from RV camps and civilization, and use the 4x4 to further explore the area. It could be any kind of 4 door 4x4, from an SUV to a 4 door truck. The advantage of an SUV  is that it has more secured room to carry luggage for the trip and keep fishing gear handy for those impomptu roadside fishing stops.

Another SUV plus is that there are fishing rod racks that install on the headliner of the vehicle, allowing rigged rods to be slid under bungee cord type holders, and allowing for more or less fairly immediate use if a roadside fishing spot is found. Rigged and ready to go.

I've seen the same done in one of the long rooftop luggage carriers that take up half of a side of the roof of a vehicle. With rod racks made for the inside of the lift up lid and down below on the bottom of the carrier as well as tackle and wader storage, it also held a small stepladder to be better able to access it. Within minutes, you could be in or on or next to the water fishing.

If we go the canoe route, then I could have half of a rooftop carrier full of fishing gear. With the 12' plastic jonboat I'm strongly considering, there would not be room for the luggage carrier full of fishing gear.

You can still carry other gear under the upside down canoe or boat, particularly if you have a roof basket instead of or in addition to a standard roof rack.

One friend of mine carries a fold up picnic table with table and benches, with wheels on one end for easy movement. He carries it in the back of the Nissan 4 door 4wd pickup that is towed behind his big RV. When they settle in and set up the awning on the RV, they roll out the table for some relaxing and dining.

RV's have roof racks and under storage for stuff, but given the limited storage space for clothing and such inside RV's for a whole family, it'd be nice to throw a few suitcases full of clothing into the back of the towed vehicle, suitcases that can be rotated in and out with with dirty clothes so that good fishing time doesn't have to be wasted on a laundromat.

Plus, most RV's of the size we could afford don't have that much storage space underneath.

It's also a good place to keep clothing hung up if wrinkle free dry cleaned clothes are needed.

I figure the towed vehicle would need a roof rack to hold a canoe or small plastic jonboat. The boat motor whether electric or gas could be stowed under the RV.

I could easily carry a guitar, bass and small keyboard and do all kinds of musical recording via the Apple Garageband program. If pressed, I could construct a minimalist Roland Electronic drum set out of some smaller pads and a few aluminum rack tubes and basically have something that would fit in a small suitcase just a wee bit larger than a carry on suitcase when compacted. With a pop out dining area in an RV, that space becomes a drum jam area.

These are things I like to dream about. The reality is more likely we're anchored in our town, or a  town, for a long time to come. But nothing wrong with a little dreaming in case we win the lotto...

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