Sleeping Bag Temp…91 Degrees :)

Hey Everyone,

If you are new to my blog, I just want to say welcome. I started “Life in the Element” last August 13th 2012. For those that can’t count, it will be an awesome 6 months this February 13th. I can’t believe its already been half a year, time flies when your living life on the road. I wanted to update everyone with where I am at thus so far with my amazing Element.

Update:

1. Replaced damaged passenger window and got it re-tinted.
2. Installed factory OEM roof rack
3. Installed Thule cargo box
4. Just brought the Element in yesterday for a minor oil leak service at Honda dealer. It turns out that VTEC solenoid gasket was bad. Got it replaced and back on the road the same day 🙂

I can honestly say that “Life in the Element” has been a great journey thus far. No complaints from my department. As my blog title states, I recently recorded the temperature inside my sleeping bag overnight. It turns out my record temperature was 91 degrees…YEAH! The coldest its been in my Element was just below 32 degrees. My zero degree sleeping bag is amazing and performs very nicely.

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3 words…Got Bear Mace?

What a crazy morning it was this past Thursday. I can now official say that I had honor & privilege to test out my bear mace 🙂 Now, when you think of bear mace you think of defending your life from an actual bear attack. But in my case, I ended up defending myself from a car theft this past Thursday morning with a can of good old Grizzly Bear Mace. You might be wondering, what in the world? I know it sounds crazy, but at the moment it was either use bear mace or grab the loaded handgun.

When it was all said and done, I was thankful I ended up using my bear mace. This is how the story unfolded this past Thursday morning. While sleeping peacefully in my Element, I get awaken by what sounded like snow balls being thrown at the Element. I wake up and think to myself, what in the world is going on? It can’t be snowballs, its not even snowing outside. So I ignored that commotion and went back to sleep.

I get woken up the 2nd time to the same bounding on my Element. Now I am really thinking, what in the world is going on outside? Then I start to hear some voices outside like 2 or 3 people talking to themselves. My first thought leads me to believe that I have been spotted sleeping inside my Element. So I try to lay still and not move and see if these people will leave me alone and eventually fall sleep again.

I rudely get woken up again the 3 time by that same pounding I have been hearing earlier. This time, I had enough of this nonsense. My immediate thought at this point was to grab my bear mace. I reached over to my hiking pack and grabbed the mace out of the side pocket. I then took it out of its case the took the safety trigger guard off. I now was ready for whatever came my way. At this moment, I noticed a guy standing in front of my Element like 100 feet away. Then all of a sudden out of nowhere my passenger window comes crashing in. It happened so fast that my only response was to yell and squeeze the trigger.

Can you believe it, what are the chances of me using bear mace on a car theft? When the window came crashing in, I simply yelled; “Hey, what are you doing?” And at the same time, I squeezed my fire extinguisher sized Grizzly Bear Mace towards the face of my intruder. After I released my hold on the trigger, all I see out of the front windshield is the intruder running for his life. With the mace still in my hand, I waited to see if anything else was going to happen. At the same time, since I fired the mace at such a close distance I started to breath in the contents of the bear mace. I started coughing and my eyes started to tear up.

What a crazy morning! Once the coughing subsided, I jumped into my drives seat and started my car. I didn’t bother to get out of my Element to inspect the damage, but want to leave the scene in case the criminals wanted to retaliate. So I simply drove away to my sisters house. As I was driving away, all that I could think of is now I have to replace my window and clean up this awful mess and at the same time, it must really suck to be the guy that got maced in the face with Grizzly mace 🙂

So to make the long story short, I ended up driving that same morning to (Salem, Oregon) to pick up a used Honda Element window from a salvage yard for $85 bucks. The same night, I installed the window and cleaned up all the glass bits that got scattered all over the inside of the Element. Will I continue to do “Life in the Element?” You better believe it 🙂 Even after this whole incident, I will continue living in the Element.

Now a question for my followers & readers. What would you do in my situation, would you of grabbed the mace like I did or would you of grabbed the loaded gun?

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2013…Here I come!

What can I say…2013 is just around the corner and Life in the Element is still running strong 🙂  Here are some updates that have taken place just before the New Year. First of all, I am happy to say that I finally got around to getting my windows tinted. I took my Element to Ice Tech Window Tint in North Creek; paid $150 and got all of my windows tinted. These guys did a nice job for the price of $150 compared to other places I called that were wanting $400.

In regards to the cold weather, many people have been asking me how I keep warm at night? In response, I tell them its not cold when you got a zero degree down sleeping bag. The new sleeping bag has been performing awesome by keeping me toasty warm at night.

As of today, I decide to get rid of my storage unit that I have been holding some of my extra belongings. When I first started; Life in the Element on August 13th, I rented a storage unit to keep my stuff that I couldn’t fit into the Element. Throughout the months, I found myself rarely going back to the storage unit to grab my extra belongings. So I thought to myself, why should I continue to waste $80 for a storage unit when all that I need is right in the Element.

As of tomorrow, my goal is to get rid of everything in my storage unit and simply live off what I carry in my Honda Element. The longer I have lived in my Element, the more I realized that I don’t need much in order to survive from day to day. So today, I made a couple of trips to Goodwill to donate the rest of my belongings 🙂

Maintenance update: No more check engine light resetting 🙂 I was so tired of resetting my check engine light to the Element that it started to get on nerves. So I finally decided to spend the money and fix my Element. After spending about $1500 in maintenance fees, this is what I ended up fixing and changing:

1. Replaced head-gasket

2. Replaced front main seal

3. Replaced all 16 valves (8-intake/8-exhaust)

4. Performed a valve grind and resurface

5. Performed engine assembly lube and valve adjustment

Long story short, earlier this year I was having problems with my Element having a misfire in cylinder 3. I ended up finding out that cylinder 3 was running at 40 psi compression, where the rest of the cylinders were running at 180 psi compression. So I basically ended up rebuilding the top end of my motor to correct the problem. No more check engine light. As a result of fixing my Element, my mpg has gotten better and idling has returned to a smooth running idle.

Days are getting colder :)

As winter is just around the corner, days are becoming shorter and colder. Although temperatures are dropping in Seattle, I will continue Life in the Element throughout the winter. To prepare myself for winter conditions, my first concern is to keep warm during a peaceful nights rest.

As I returned to states from my vacation in Scotland, I soon found out that my summer sleeping bag did not keep me warm enough throughout the cold nights. So as a result, I ended up purchasing an REI Radiant Zero degree sleeping bag. It turns out that my new purchase provided me with a warm & cozy nights rest. I no longer wake up in the middle of the night, tossing & turning to keep warm.

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Going to Scotland :)

Well, what do you know……It has been 63 days and Life in The Element is still afloat. As of now, for the month of October, I have decided to take a little vacation down to Scotland. The Honda Element at the moment will be parked at my mothers house for the entire month of October. So from October 4th to October 29th, I will be traveling the beautiful country of Scotland. I will pick up “Life in The Element” when I return to states on October 29th. 

41 days and counting…..

I thought it would be best to update people on my current “Life In the Element” living status. It has been 41 days since my departure from studio into Element. In all reality, I can’t complain one bit about my current living conditions. I am extremely blessed to have a place to rest my head at night and the security and comfort of the Element. Most people who hear about my living status are somewhat excited and amazed I would try such a thing.

So I finally decided to revisit my mother and smooth things out a little better. Although my mother is still not super excited about my transition into the Element, I was able to reassure her that this experiment will not be forever and that things are going pretty smoothly in the Element. Like most parents, a parent will always have somewhat of a concern with such a drastic living change measure.

The Day my Mother Found Out

It has been 31 days since “Life In the Element” has taken off. It wasn’t until last Saturday the 8th of September, did my mother finally find out about me sleeping in the Element. When I first decided to start this experiment, I didn’t feel that it was necessary to tell my parents, since I knew what their response would be towards this crazy but simple plan. For the most part, I knew my mother wouldn’t understand why I have chosen to leave my perfectly good studio apartment to my mobile Honda Element. And besides, I am a grown adult with a life of my own.

Anyhow, my mother’s reaction to me sleeping in the Element ended up really devastating her. At one point in our conversation, she started to get emotional.  I tried explaining myself to her into why I decided to go this route, but things only got worse. Long story short, I had to cut the discussion short with my mother simply because I didn’t want her to over react. Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand that from a parents perspective this decision of mine can be pretty devastating to hear from a parent’s side and also not normal. So to make things better, I will pay my mother a visit and explain to her in detail why I decided to start “Life In the Element” and remind her that it won’t be forever.

Will I continue Life In the Element, even though my parents disagree with my simple decision to live a simple but basic life? As of now, I will continue my journey in the Element and see where it may take me.

 

Woke Up to the Sound of Little Dirt Bikes

I can’t believe it’s almost been a month since Life In the Element first launched. Yesterday, marked the 3rd official week, since I left my studio apartment in Lower Queen Anne. So far things are going really well, with no major craziness happening along this journey. Last night marks the first night my sleep was interrupted. I was awaken by the sound of little dirt bikes being stunted in an empty parking lot. At first, I was like what the heck is going on, why is a dirt bike being revved up in the mid of the night? So I poked my head up and noticed 2 guys riding very tiny little dirt bikes and performing some stunts with these small machines. Both guys had camcorders strapped to their helmets in hopes to capture their every moves.

Although, these guys didn’t know my whereabouts, I thought it would be best to pull out my iPhone 4S and film some footage of some crazy stunts with the little dirt bikes. I was able to capture some decent footage, with what little light was illuminating the empty parking lot. As I finished recording some stunts, I decided to get back to sleep for my 12-hr work shift that was awaiting my presence in the morning.

Maintenance Update

Well, it turns out that my Element needs a valve adjustments after spending a whole day in the shop. Apparently, the mechanic at Honda of Seattle says that my valves might be a little tight, thus giving me a check engine light for the Element’s system too rich & cylinder 3 misfire codes. With that being said, they wanted me to leave the Element for night so they can do the valve adjustment in the morning.

While getting this feedback, I had no intention in leaving my car overnight. That can’t happen, since I need a place to sleep for the night. So in the end, I decided it would be best to drop off the car Tuesday morning just before I start my 12-hr shift at the hospital.

Tomorrow will mark the 3rd week since I have been sleeping in the Honda Element. Although I don’t feel any different as a person, more and more people are finding out about my epic journey to live a simple but basic life. Just last night, more of my friends started to hear about my decision of doing life in the Element. It is only a matter of time when all my friends will find out about this journey that I have embarked upon just 3 weeks ago.

As more people begin to find out about my living status, I am beginning to get some criticism from some people, but at the same time most friends are supportive of my decision to live simple. Most people who hear about my life status change are in total disbelief and can’t fathom why I would do such a drastic life change.

It is my hope that as I continue to live Life In the Element people will start to understand why I have decided to life a simple life. As always, I encourage all my followers/readers to continue following me on my blog.

Element in Maintenance/Laundry Day

Today marks the 1st day my Honda Element goes in for some basic but simply maintenance at Honda of Seattle. I originally bought this Element back on July 6th with about 174k miles and now it has 177k miles. While driving the Element, I found out the Element has 3 issues to address:

1. Cylinder 3 misfire detected………already replaced spark plug/coil pack, issue still unknown?

2. System Too Rich (Bank 1)………most likely oxygen sensor gone bad

3. Rear suspension making rattling annoying sound when driving over bumps…….already replaced rear struts/shocks. Might be rear sway links?

Although I am having these 3 issues, the Element still drives and performs well. Today, I will be spending the day in Seattle simply waiting to hear from Honda of Seattle about the health of the Element.

On the flip side of things, today also marks the 2nd week since I started my journey “Life In the Element.” There is much to be thankful for and much to learn from this on going experience. Here are some things that I have been learning and experiencing:

1. Less time consumed in front of the computer/surfing the Internet. Using Internet only when needed. Spending more time being productive 🙂

2. Food is not being wasted or sitting in refrigerator. Simply only eating when I become hungry.

3. Thankful for a roof over my head and transportation that I can drive.

4. Appreciating the basics of everyday life, such as the simply blessing of: clean water, toilet, shower, food, clothing, etc.

As I continue to adventure through this experience in the Element, many people ask the question, “How long will you continue to do this?” My simply answer would be, “I don’t know.” Although, I don’t see myself doing this experiment forever, I haven’t yet established a given date to end my life in the Element. Until that day, I encourage my followers/viewers to continue and follow me as I live Life In the Element. You never know, you might learn something valuable or you might end up deciding to change something in your everyday life.