Posted on : 12:46 PM | By : Nic | In : cool stuff , preparedness , sustainability , voluntary simplicity
Good morning from the Albatross! It has now been a week and a half and I wanted to update you on some of the practical details of our camping adventure. The most important aspect of camping is something completely out of our control, and that is The Weather. The weeks leading up to March 1st, our departure day, were balmy (if wet) days that threatened the Winter Olympics. The weekdays were sunny t-shirt weather. The weekend John finally had time to work on the floor, it dropped below zero and snowed. It has gradually been warming up, but it is still 40 degrees and windy. Rule #1: Never rely on the weather.
So, to combat this, we wear many layers of clothing, I changed the baby's diaper under the blankets ("Look Rainn! We're in a tent!"), and I'm not really cooking much in my outdoor kitchen. This morning the sun peeped out so I used the opportunity to heat water on the camp stove to do some dishes and I made scrambled eggs. For dinner I will use one of my packs or ready-made organic soup. In a few weeks the weather will warm up significantly so I will be patient. For now I have a widget on my Mac that connects me to the Weather Channel with radar so I know what to prepare for, because the weather and temperature impacts every single thing I do and our plan for the day changes accordingly.
Which brings me to the technology we are using. John's iMac is at a friend's house which he can access through screen sharing using my Macbook Pro. We have wifi in the bus because we boosted the connection from the house with an Airport, but if we lose that connection or just need internet quickly, we use 3G tethering using the iPhone which gets pretty good connection speeds. We use the computers for work, and also for our bus plans which I will post soon.
The other interesting aspect is that I now know exactly how much water we use. We drink approximately 3 gallons of water per week, we use about 5 gallons for cleaning per week, and we take 3-4 showers. Those are family showers at the pool that last about 20 minutes. Shockingly, a shower uses about 2 gallons per minute, which means each shower is using 40 gallons. We also do 4 loads of laundry in a front load washer, which uses about 40 gallons per load. A toilet uses about 5 gallons per flush, and right now we are using a regular toilet and we flush it about 5-6 times per day, so about 30 gallons (when our RV toilet is in that will be much less). Our family total water usage for a week, with four people and a baby, and a dog, is then 318 gallons of water per week. Typically, a family of four uses about 1,750 gallons per week. It makes me think that the only way people will learn to save water is to just not have such free-for-all access to it. I feel like we have exactly how much we need to use and we're not scrimping on the water usage, and yet we are using 6 times less than the average family.
I think it takes a little geekiness to obsess over water usage the way I am right now, but when you have to carry it around in your arms you suddenly appreciate how much it really is. And my arms are tired!