Copyright 2013 John T. Reed

Further protecting myself from monetary instability, I got an Inter-Agency Senior Pass today. I actually got one in 2011 at the Grand Canyon, but I put it somewhere to make sure I did not lose it and now cannot find it.

No great loss. It only costs $10 for the rest of your life.

It is also no big deal, but it does get you discounts at federal parks. It is one of many little things you can do to make things go more smoothly when you are traveling abroad or trying to minimize cost during a financial emergency within the U.S.

How does that relate to monetary instability?

It appears to me that the lowest cost housing may be a pickup truck camper that you own free and clear. And one of the many places you can park them for free is in U.S. National Forests. I am going to rent one in Canada this month, and use it to explore both sides of the WA-Canadian border in the Vancouver-Abbotsford-Point Roberts-Sumas area. On the WA side is Mount Baker National Forest.

The pass actually works for “Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and US Fish & Wildlife Service sites charging entrance or standard amenity fees.”

In the event of a monetary stability crisis—high inflation or deflation—you may have trouble paying for a place to live. In the event of deflation, like the Great Depression, it is hard to pay the rent because you don’t have a job and hard to pay your mortgage for the same reason or because your pay went down but your mortgage payment did not.

In high inflation, you may not be able to afford the inflated rent or an ARM payment or the non-mortgage costs of owning a home like taxes, insurance, and so on. Even with rent control, you may find that you have to spend so much of your income on food and gasoline and so forth that not enough is left for rent.

In the Great Depression the iconic poor people image was the Okies fleeing Oklahoma for California in pickup trucks loaded with their worldly possessions. I think in the next financial crisis, that image will be the RV or pickup truck camper. RVs did not exist back in the 1930s. Trailers did but they were not widespread and maybe a rich people’s toy.

I will discus the pickup truck camper in later posts. For now I will just point out that some pickups can be converted to CNG fuel, the camper can be removed from the truck thereby allowing separate use of the truck as a truck and use of the camper as a house, the camper does not have to be registered and licensed like a trailer or self-propelled RV, they are quite small which makes them easier to maneuver and to find a place to park them, they probably get the best gas mileage among movable homes, and they have, to my surprise, everything including range, oven, shower, toilet, frige, sleeping for four or to six, dining table that seats five, kitchen sink, lavatory, TV, A/C, heater, generator. Of course, you can also gets all sorts of extras like solar collectors, awnings, slide-outs, etc. All of this fits in even a short-bed pick-up. I was amazed.

(I must comment on the most amazing mobile house I saw at the RV show: a Chalet XL 1938. It is a pop-up. But most pop-ups are like rag-top convertibles—essentially a wagon that you can put a tent on top of. The Chalet is like a hard-top convertible, which enables infinitely more climate control. Here is a review of it. I tried to find a video of it being changed from closed to set-up but could not find one. Go to an RV show and have them demonstrate it. Very cleverly designed.)

John T. Reed