reflections on Cedar City

A couple things I forgot to mention earlier

Internet speed in Cedar City was crazy fast.  The walmart and laundramat both had some of the fastest broadband I’ve experienced.  I updated all my devices, up/downloaded everything that needed to be transferred.

Toilet paper and other essentials were about 75% stocked in Cedar City, the most I’ve seen since mid-March. Good to see.

Worker bees and many others were masked up.  The only place I saw no one masked up was at the NAPA auto parts store, where the clientele and workers were unmasked and seemed to be reveling in close social distances.  Seems like a self-limiting behavior to me.

backchannel: vandwellers OBES

There is a thing in online forums called an Obligatory Brave Exit Speech (OBES), in which one stands in the doorway and explains why one is leaving.    This one really isn’t like that (it’s not grandstanding), and contains some ideas worth discussing.

I am well and am currently holed up until the pandemic situation ends and I can get back on the road.

This is a reasonable reaction to Covid-19.  I don’t think it’s necessary but I find no fault.

In the current situation, it’s simply not a good time to be vandwelling, especially for beginners, and I see no reason to encourage people to do it now.

I disagree.  Vandwelling is an excellent way to take shelter both from economic hardship and from urban populations.  Continue reading “backchannel: vandwellers OBES”

a modest proposal, Covid-19 edition

inspired by reddit post The Case for Scaling Down the Economic Shutdown of Texas

we have not even come close to hitting our ICU bed cap that we increased in preparation and our overflow facilities are still very under utilized

Shower thought from a layman: since hospitalization is a lagging indicator, maybe communiities could tie public covid policy to percentage of bed cap utilization, say 50% for sake of discussion. Publish the bed utilization percentage where everyone can see it in near-real-time. Digital billboards, news, highway signs, included in traffic and weather reports.

If the community could keep bed utilization to 50% of cap by:

  • reducing transmission
  • improving overall health (reducing comorbidity)
  • increasing bed capacity
  • etc

then restrictions ease. Maybe outdoor groups can increase to 20. Maybe every-other-barstool or every-other-table guidelines. Maybe masks are not required.

If utilization goes back over 50% masks go back on and distancing requirements get stronger. Parks get cordoned off again.

It could offer public both the reality and the perception of control over their destiny.

Silver linings, Covid-19 edition

I was thinking about some possible positive outcomes of the pandemic.  The effects may live on in our culture the way effects persisted in the culture of people who lived through the Great Depression.

  1. more attention paid to emergency preparedness (prepare == actions taken beforehand)
  2. people and companies learn how telecommuting works for them.  Some will opt out, some will push for telecommuting after the restrictions are lifted.  I think there will be a net increase in telecommuting after the dust settles.
  3. more scratch cooking and less processed foods.  The selling out of yeast and flour suggests people are interested init.
  4. eating less reliance on factory meat.  Maybe folks eat more plants (OMG brussel sprouts!) , maybe backyard chickens get a boost
  5. more mindful use of resources like toilet paper.   I bet it’s not being wasted as much as before.
  6. comfort with reduced material standards of living, less spending for the sake of spending.  Living like our grandparents or great-grandparents did.
  7. increased discussion (hopefully reasoned) about the relationship of our federal and state govts to the people.
  8. increased awareness of the kinds of things that typically kill people when pandemics aren’t around


car insurance stimulufication

Last month you received a dividend as a USAA auto insurance policyholder. Based on a continued trend of reduced driving and fewer accident claims by members, USAA will return an additional $280 million through a second premium dividend. That brings the total returned to $800 million.

To make it easy, a 20% credit on a third month’s worth of premium will be applied to your auto and property insurance account in late May. There is no need to call or take any other action.

This is probably a smart business move;  people stuck at home might have been considering suspending their auto insurance on one or more vehicles.

Quite unrelated to the rebate described above, USAA has been exceptional in the 3 years I’ve used them.


backchannel: “not what I signed up for”

There have been a rash of vandwellers bailing out of the vans and into sticks-and-bricks housing.  This could be a wise move for urban stealthers but might be counterproductive for boondockers.

Here is the text of a reddit post I made in response:


This is about my choices/preferences and how they have aligned with the present situation. I am not talking about the choices of others.

I am a full-time boondockerI designed my van around continual 14-day offgrid excursions because that’s the most common length of stay on public lands, and I needed to retire on the cheap if I was going to retire early. It turns out 14 day solo excursions work nicely as serial self-quarantines whether one needs them or not. A boondocker might pick up the bug while reprovisioning, but has no one to pass it onto during incubation or illness.

My build has copious solar, more water than Continue reading “backchannel: “not what I signed up for””