"Sili-Con Valley"? ahahaha....80-90hrs in a start-up...oh, man, why did you go for a startup.... "web crap", haha. Yes, all of it is crap, software engineering and all...I'd put so much of myself into this non-sense...and all of it is a waste of life trapped indoors and glued to a computer screen...and before you know, your life is wasted away and you're heading the Steve Jobs way... damn it. Yes, it's stupid to spend so much as they spend on rent in Bay area--but most tech jobs happen to be in these high-rent areas...so it's a catch-22. I almost broke my head trying to solve this little "problem" and so far the only answer seems to be: "career change".
I hear you about not getting a pickup if I want to sleep in Bay area. In Tahoe, everyone has a pick up and a shell on it, so it's normal...in fact, there's a very beat up trailer behind an old pickup with a shell, parked close to my place now, and people stay in it...no one bothers them, I think. In Bay Area, I guess they'll be thinking "dangerous drifters"...I heard of people not being rented a crap rental room cause they had a pickup and it was "weird" for Bay area! Not high end enough! So, yes, I was thinking about Astro or other cargo van, with a metal-grid door. Important thing one can install real restroom inside it, it's a big deal....
As to sleeping in Santa Cruz, I've seen a van with a sign "BEWARE OF DOG" there! One tough-looking van. I was going to put some business sign on the van but nothing to make it look like "expensive tools inside". I was hoping to find a land owner who'd let me sleep there for a fee, in Santa Cruz mountains... I've been willing to spend much more than 4K on a van, as don't want to have mechanical problems.
I'v slept in a car in rich neighborhoods like Los Altos (full of cops)--in fact slept in a car (regular, sedan) right near police station there...I found high end areas were the best in terms of safety and I'd drive in late, like 11pmm and park somewhere, where the house had tall fencing and distance from the street...or near public office on a small street, where street parking was allowed. And yes, whatever car it is, it's cheaper than rent there!
That's an awesome van setup in the picture...I wanted something like that and start putting things in, gradually...a restroom, a sink, may be an rv shower later, even...
Yes, I was thinking a lot about all these things, especially about the "restroom" part. Going to a public restroom will get you on the radar really fast, especially in the areas where I plan to be... I think once these cops noticed a "problem vehicle" they will watch you anywhere in the county (I heard of that). I've been harassed by the same cop in Marin county just cause I drove older car (regular sedan Toyota) even though I have kind of innocent look to me... the thing is they don't want anything but shiny new cars there (Sausalito area)...unless you're "help"--but after dark "help" better gets the hell out of their "perfect" neighborhoods gets back home to whatever Antioch they came from...
So, I'm leaning towards a van and to install real mini-restroom in it.
As to excitement ratio and renting a room....Huh, I'll tell you man I had some experience trying to rent a room there while being a student locally... I don't have perfect credit (nothing major, though, no evictions/bankruptcies) and my background isn't 100% crispy clean either. In Bay area it's going to be Hell renting a room with this kind of situation. They all want perfect people...or at least people of own nationality if you don't have perfection of credit....Another thing--I've been renting rooms in the US for 15 years....I had it with the crap that tends to come with this type of living situation and have no more patience for this. I've been assaulted and robbed in these "rooms" cause when you try to save $$...you get what you pay for...now, one can rent a nice room with nice roommates for high price...but these "nice" people in Silicone Valley want perfect credit (and you being from Standford as well). I'm tired of ghetto housing....rather be in a van, cause my tolerance for violent or crazy people in "rental rooms" run out (literally, I dealt with state mental hospital expats in the past). No more "rooms". I can do Airbnb (or hotel) rooms for 2 days a week....that's how much I can take.
I see what you mean by waking up next to *something* and not being able to take off immediately... this is something to consider...
Yeah, I probably should get a van and hopefully all-wheel/4WD, so the question will be which van simply will give me more MPG.
Transit Connect does sound like a great idea since great mpg.
As to what you mentioned, about whether I want to live in the city or do great outdoors... the thing is that with my current profession I'd have little choice other than to attend daily on-site work in Silicone Valley, so I'd have to be around these cities, whether I want it or not. Perhaps, I'd stay in official campground on some days, then, be on someone's private land paying them a fee another day, boondocking another day, sleeping in a city, in some residential street, next day--then taking a room for a night, etc, heading further away on weekends. By the way, "Hacker hostels" in Silicone Valley charge up to...$120/nigh for a SHARED room, where 8 other people sleep...yes, this is how bad the housing situation is there: huge housing shortage.
What you mentioned about establishment... I dk what they think--I know how this (stealth camping) is being persecuted, I've been against them for a while...I'd do my best to evade radar, well if they chase me off, may be it's time to relocate, as to move up North, where housing is more affordable.
As to why I chose Tioga...I guess cause I like driving through Tioga pass when I head out to Yosemite...:X
Laying in bed and realizing you need lip balm (etc), which is in the cab of the truck... getting partially dressed, finding your shoes, stumbling to the cab in the rain, realizing your doors are somehow locked and you don't have pants on... which is where the keys are. In a van all your sh#t is contained within the same walls.
In a van you only need 1 stereo system.
You can warm a van up on the way to your camp site.
If you have to crash at someone's house in the city, a van is way more incognegro. Drive/sleep and sleep/drive procedure is low key.
Fewer leaks in a van.
I know a guy who lived in his van in the LA area for 6 months, had a regular job, cooked almost every meal in his van, and had very few issues. NEVER would have worked in a truck.
Checked a transit the other day. Pretty small for my needs (2 crash pads, 2 dogs, a full rack, 2 ropes, and a small woman) but could definitely work for a single person with an occasional guest if you build it right. Just paint some delivery service logo on the side and park in industrial areas... pick something that nobody wants... like "Geriatric Sex Toy Delivery Service." As long as Locker isn't around, nobody will bother you.
Thanks everyone for the replies... I'm definitely convinced about the van now. If it was just going "outdoors" part, truck with a shell would work but possibly being in the city...I'm thinking to rent a van and try this out. (not one of the "Escape" camper vans haha.. Seen one in a parking lot here yesterday, that thing screams "I'm sleeping inside!")
The whole "getting out when it's cold and wet" and heading to the front of the truck or to the restroom will get old fast, I know, just like getting out of the tent when it's raining. The more I camped in the rain, the more I thought about how Indians lived here in bark shelters, without raingear....how tough it was to get around daily and stay warm, and I mean people lived in PNW as well, just like this. We're getting spoiled.