Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Weekend Warrior becomes the Full-Timer, or the Real Journey Begins (06-16-2008)

Oh, starting in mid-April of 2008, I finally landed a job related to my college education, working as a Quality Assurance Engineer and Tester for the Intel Corporation up in Hillsboro, Oregon.

Up to this point, I'd been borrowing my fiance's mother's KIA to drive a couple days a week to cut down my gas bill, but I was still feeling the pinch burning over $200 a week in gas just to go to work, which was really negating the benefits of working the much higher paying job.

This worked okay, though, because of our work schedule. Four days a week we worked 9 hour shifts, then we only worked a half-day on Friday. This went on and all was well until June 14th, 2008 when the company announced that they were going to switch to a 8-5 shift, five days a week.


Here's a bit of history about the Hillsboro, Beaverton, Highway 26/Highway 217 corridor. It was built by Idiots whom decided that there'd NEVER be a big population boom out in the biggest Portland bedroom cities. So, they built the main north/south highway (Highway 217) with only two lanes going either direction, with ZERO space appropriated for future expansion.

The 1990s happened.

Washington County's population exploded as Intel and a great many other electronic companies built bigger and bigger campuses to meet the demand as personal computer technology began to evolve at a record pace and prices dropped making the personal computer more affordable for the masses.

The highways were NEVER expanded.

Their solution?

Add Ramp Signals.

This helped alleviate a little of the highway congestion, by transferring it onto the surface streets. So, now you had slow traffic on the highway, plus two mile long traffic backups waiting to get onto the highway.

Here's a figure for you. My commute was 50 miles. My average speed during the new commute was 25mph. It took Two Flipping Hours to drive 50 miles. Basically, an hour and a half to commute 25 miles, then the remaining 25 miles at posted speed limits in 30 minutes.

Gas is also approaching $4 a gallon, and there I sat idling and idling as I played the stop and go and stop and go game and Oh SHIT!! IDIOT!! game as people try to dart in and out of stopping distance.

Two weeks of this and I'd had enough.

I had pondered getting an apartment in the area for a while, however, your average 1-bedroom slum goes for $650 and above up in the Washington County area. Hell renting a single bedroom in a house goes for a minimum of $400 up there, Washington County, hell, all of Portland Metro is seriously over-priced.

I finally decided that the only other feasible option was to move into my trusty old KIT Kamper, which to this point had only been my Weekend Warrior camping rig.

This was all well and good, but I ran into the problem of Hillsboro not having any RV parks in the area. They, annoyingly so, don't have a Wal-Mart within 20 miles of the area either, which would have worked for doing a hybrid full-timing/commuting thing where I parking lot hopped each night for a few days, then came back down to Salem, restocked the water and what not, then went back up.

I posted my dilemma to my various forums that I belong to and received a plethora of suggestions, most of which repeated concepts I had already debated, but hadn't been feasible.

In the end, a fellow forum member gave me the contact information to his Father-in-Law to speak to them about staying out on their farm.

After work one of the days, I went out and spoke with Gary Duyck, owner of the Duyck's Peachy Pig Farm and was blessed to be allowed to stay on the farm.

So, my days as a full-timer officially began. I stayed with the Duyck's from June till a few days before Christmas that year, before needing to move on to a new location as there was no longer space for me to stay any longer at the farm.

The time I spent there was perhaps some of the most enjoyable days of my life, giving me in a sense the ability to revisit part of my childhood that was long long lost.

Gary and Sally Duyck reminded me a lot of my Great Uncle Marciel and his wife Doreen who kept and ran the family farm (4000 odd acres of Corn and Soy back in Illinois near Chebanse).

I never really got much of a chance to see my Great Aunt and Uncle or spend much time out on the farm before they passed, because of my family's separation of more than 2000 miles from our home state, I missed out alot on seeing my extended family as a kid.

May God always smile on the Duyck's and their Children and all their kin, they gave me back a part of my life that I had lost.

Weekend Camper I am no more, my home is where I park it now.


  1. I know this is being posted well after the fact but I really am enjoying reading your blog from the beginging to this point.

    I look forward to reading the rest as well. Congrats on becoming a fulltimer, I'm 15 years older than you and several years away from being able to make the transition. :)


  2. Thanks, a few more months and I'll have been doing the full-time gig in my camper for approximately two years.

    I enjoyed my time at Gary & Sally's, but I think I'm a fair bit happier when I'm parked now. For one, I no longer have to haul 30 gallons of black tank contents to a dump station once a month.