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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Water witch.....

  Early Tuesday morning the temperatures bottomed out at 32 degrees.....how long it was there I don't know.  We don't sleep with heaters running.....electrical, or gas.  As a result it can get quite cold inside the coach, and at 53 degrees it was.   That is the nature of the high desert where we are currently situated.  Comfortably warm during the day, and freezing at night.

After writing my blog post about Monday I went outside with my book and pretty much spent all day sitting in the warm sun reading, and enjoying the long views towards the Mogollon Rim.  This 'rim' forms the southern boundary of the Colorado Plateau and is some 4,000' higher in elevation that the land at its base.



Looking north toward the Mogollon Rim

I think I have mentioned previously that we are at about 3,500 feet elevation at our current location.  The thing I love best about this area is the long, unobstructed views in every direction.  We are totally off the grid here......no water source, no electrical plug, no sewer.  So, after 5 days 'boondocking' how are we doing water wise?

We came in with 150 gallons of fresh water (zero gallons in the gray, and 1 gallon in the black) and are down to 125 gallons half way through our 10 day stay here, so we are using a miserly 5 gallons per day to flush our toilet, take the odd shower, wash dishes, etc......that is 2.5 gallons per person, per day.....less than half of that goes through the toilet into the black tank.   To give you a little perspective the average American living in a 'sticks and bricks' home uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water per day.   How do we get by using so little?  Here is what we have learned......

Identify & monitor water usage: 
  • We installed an RO system a few years ago prior to beginning our travels.  For every gallon of purified water it produces there is at least 1 gallon of 'waste' water produced.  When we 'boondock' we turn off the RO system.  Once we know we will be without a city water source for an extended period of time we begin stock piling purified water.  TLE saves our milk cartons, cleans them thoroughly, and fills them with purified water from the RO system.  Naturally, living in an RV we have a limited amount of space to store this pre-filtered water, and eventually we will run out of it.  To guaranty a continuous source of purified water we also use a 'Zero Water Filter' system to supplement our purified water supply as needed.


'Zero Water Filter'
  • It's easy to blow through a lot of water unless you are aware of how much you are using.  To help us monitor our water usage in the kitchen we put a standard Rubbermaid wash basin in one of the sinks.  Once we are finished with this water then we take the basin outside and dump it in the desert.

 Rubbermaid wash basin
  • We always keep a little water in the bottom of our Dometic toilet to keep the gasket from drying out.  Instead of using the flush pedal to put water in after using the toilet we put water in a small cup on the bathroom sink and when done using the toilet we pour just enough in to cover the rubber gasket.  Using the flush pedal invariably puts way more water in than you need for this purpose, so using the cup to put the water in helps you minimize water usage for this purpose.  The whole key to how long you can 'boondock' is how much water you put into your black tank each day.  If we start out with an empty black tank, and can keep the amount of water going into the black tank at, or under 2 gallons per day we can go up to 20 days.

Just enough to cover the gasket
  • When showering we turn the shower on to wet ourselves down, then turn it off to soap up, and then turn it back on to rinse off.  Combined with using a Oxegenics showerhead we can take a shower using around 1/2 gallon of water, or less each.  Naturally, we don't take a shower every day when we are 'boondocking'.  It helps that we are 'boondocking' in a quite arid part of the country......it would be tougher in the deep south with higher humidity, no doubt.

Oxygenics showerhead

I hope the foregoing helps you a little bit in your quest to keep your water footprint small while 'boondocking'.

As I mentioned previously, we spent a good portion of the day outside reading and enjoying the views.  Around 3 pm TLE decided to take a hike down the dirt road to the Verde River and back up.....2 miles round trip, so I decided to keep her company by riding mountain bike down and up 3 times.  When I passed her going down for the 3rd time I knew she was going to make it back to the top before I finished my third 'lap', and she did.

Around 5:15 I turned on the Sea-B-Que to grill some filets, and by 5:45 we were dining on the finished product.

The 'Sea-B-Que'

I can still taste that medium rare filet mignon!

Nicely presented TLE!

We watched NCIS, NCIS N.O., and Person of Interest and were in bed a little after midnight!  Oh, by the way, we managed to get our batteries back to 100% Tuesday using only the solar panels.......nothing like a clear, coolish day to get that done!

Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

  1. Seeing the Mogollon Rim mentioned reminded me that there is a web site with maps of the Louis L'amour stories.

    http://www.louislamour.com/Maps/map_title_all.htm

    ReplyDelete