Sunday, December 26, 2010

Are you off your rocker being off grid?

Not really. Its a matter of perspective. Financial perspective.

Back to the "Its not what you make, its what you don't spend" credo..I will try to address questions in separate posts that I have had to field from those that can think of no other way to do things than rely on all the automatic magic they have in their houses.

Tis nothing wrong with that magic, I go there when I have the opportunity or circumstance as I travel. I used it in my cabin. Full hook ups are nice, but I rarely have them. So even if flushed with cash, I can't use what isn't available.

Full hook up sites generally run 10-15 bucks more a day than dry sites. Dry sites are also generally better located in campgrounds, giving you a much nicer living space and experience.

The most common question I get is "Er, uhm, where do you poop?" This tiny rig has no *real* bathroom yet. It has a huge storage room that my shower and crapper are in tho. I don't have human sewage disposal at the pull of a valve like most other full timers do. Full hook ups do me no good anyway. Eventually, that will change as I have time to convert the room to a giant shower stall.

As for the other water...I use a porta potti. I don't have plans to install a toilet and black tank in this rig. "EWWWW" you say. You would be incorrect. A porta potti is no different in "action" than a toilet and remote holding tank. The only difference would be in how you dispose of the tanks, er, holdings.

A porta potti is a small scale version of a regular RV toilet and tank system. The difference is the location of the tank, and how its dumped. In a standard system. You sit on the throne, you "create", you flush with fresh water that comes from your main fresh water holding tank, and all your product is dropped into a "Black water" holding tank that you have added chemicals to to break down the waste and to keep it smelling like roses. It's most often below the floor and nestled into the trailer framework. In the circumstance of boondocking or without hook ups, when that tank is full, you have to haul your rig over to a dump station, hook up hoses, pull a valve and wait for it all to go away into a magic place where all poop goes to die. OR dump it into a Blue Boy and do exactly as one has to do with porta potti holdings.

With a porta potti, the same holds true for the use of the throne, (Sit, create, flush) except the black tank is directly below you. And it isn't as big. The porta potti has a fresh water holding tank for flushing on the top portion. You fill the tank manually when needed (Mine holds 5 gallons) and you use human power to flush.. Mine has a pressurization feature, you pump up the tank like you would a garden sprayer, and when you want to flush, you push a button and pressurized water flushes and cleans the bowl. Old skool Hi tech for a low tech item.

To send your creations to the black tank, you pull a valve on the front of the potti and it drops away. Close the valve. The valve is also the seal.. the gate between you and the evil stuff. Forget about it. Until...

The tank gets full. Here is the main difference .. I have to carry that tank to a disposal site. It isn't yucky, it doesn't smell, (The valve, remember?) and dumping it is frankly easier than it is with a fixed tank. The top half of the potti comes off, the 5 gallon black tank has a nice handle and pour spout, you carry it to the dump, rotate the spout to the hole that leads to the magic place, remove the cap and pour. Rinse. Done. No hoses to hook up, clean or store. AND.. back to the credo.. Same job accomplished with virtually less time involved, I didn't have to pay 15 extra bucks for the privilege of having the hole in my site. Nor did I have to move my rig or deal with a heavy large "Blue Boy" (A large portable holding tank) like I see all the big boys out here doing.. almost daily.

Out here in the BLM land, there are TWO magic places where poop goes to die. One has big pull thus, pressurized water and all the stuff that is really required for dumping big boy RV tanks. The other magic place is rarely used.. it is for porta pottis and blue boys only. I never have to wait in line to dump. Sometimes those big guys are 10 deep. I take my potti and SMALL (5 gallon) grey water blue boys and dump on my way into work. I don't really have to go out of my way.

Do the math.. it took longer to write all that drivel than it does to actually do the job. 6-7 minutes tops. So.. in the case of RVs and full hook ups...$15 a day x 7 days = $105. Divide that by 3, because full hook ups mean water, sewer and electric.. that equals $35 bucks a week to poop. I dump the potti AND my grey water twice a week, tops. (Mostly so I don't have to carry the full 40lbs of full tank) lets say, 15 minutes a week. $35 for 15 minutes worth of work comes out to $140 bucks an hour for that one simple job.

That # does drastically go down if you are renting monthly, I realize that. But remember, I don't have to pay traditional rent in this life choice. The only time I pay is when traveling to and from gigs.. so that # is very true in my circumstance.

As I age, this will become more difficult and eventually impossible for me to do. But I can take the 140 bucks an hour I have saved and pay someone else to do it then :-)

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