54 Days of Boondocking

I am just under a week shy of completing one solid month of boondocking! I’m doing one night on FHU and then it’s back off the grid I go.

Boondocking for so long didn’t seem realistic when I first started as I had so many troubles with my electrical setup. But I persevered in my troubleshooting and have been rewarded with a 12V system I now only need to monitor as it is adequate and functioning well for my needs.

That said, I’m not sure I would still be here on the beach had I not been able to borrow that generator at the beginning of February or if L and B hadn’t installed a new continuous duty solenoid in the motorhome engine compartment. It really does take the proverbial village…

I’ve got my power usage down to a routine now. I charge my computer in the morning and leave it plugged in for the entire afternoon. It still consumes a few amps at full charge, but it’s a fraction of what it needs to charge, so I’m able to charge the house batteries fully by dinner time, and I have a fully charged computer for the evening.

I don’t leave the computer plugged in in the evening because of the enormous voltage drop due to undersized wiring that I still need to correct. If I leave it plugged in, I don’t have enough voltage to even run an LED light without it flickering.

Now that I know that the wiring is undersized, I can manage my 12V use so that the system doesn’t get over loaded and the DC charger doesn’t get hot, so there are no fire concerns. I am eager to beef up the wiring, but it’s going to be a costly job and there are other upgrades in line first.

If it’s sunny out, I can use 120V items, like the printer and vacuum cleaner without a second thought. If like yesterday, it is overcast, then I need to shut some things down (usually unplugging the computer is enough) or run the engine to get the added voltage boost.

As for plumbing, the holding tanks haven’t been a problem. I could likely go a couple more weeks.

I am sorely missing having water in my on board tank, but have conceded that my 10-gallon water heater means that having instant hot water while boondocking is a wasteful luxury. Having a navy shower is no better than bathing in a basin. So, really, hauling and heating water is always going to be in my boondocking future when I am not somewhere that I can fill up regularly.

I do so desperately miss my long hot evening showers as they were my transition time to bedtime. I need to find access to showers the next time I’m off the grid this long. When I had my house and the plumbing was off in the dead of winter, I’d just go to the gym. I need to find an equally suitable setup on the road. The RV park where I am going does have showers, but I’d have to pay an extra $5 per day to access them. Much as I love my showers, they are not worth that much!

When I started reading about RVing back in 2008, I thought of all the things I would have to give up, and the first that came to mind was my daily shower. I can’t even remember the rest, but the showers hold true. That’s really the only concession I make when off the grid. Otherwise, I am living a more electrically-mindful version of my normal routine and I don’t feel deprived in the least.

Finally, boondocking is infinitely superior to staying in an RV park with all its restrictions!

Blog Widget by LinkWithinShare on Facebook
If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

6 Comments

  • Where are you boondocking ? Last year I spent many days on Magnolia Beach. Then I would go back to Padre Island.

  • That’s where I am, Magnolia Beach!

  • To shower I turn my electric water heater on for 10 minutes then turn it off and take my shower using just hot water which is actually the right temperature so I don’t lose any mixing it. But, I like my showers in the morning so my system has time to recover that electricity during the day. I do only shower if the forecast is for sun, though. Otherwise I just sponge bathe by heating 3 oz of water for 30 seconds in my microwave then wetting my washcloth with that. I don’t use soap during my sponge bath so I don’t have to rinse. Before we went full-time I couldn’t have imagined bathing in 3 oz of water. 🙂

  • Linda, how big is your water heater? It seems that I have an unusually big hot water tank. I use Andy Baird’s thermometre method (http://www.andybaird.com/Eureka/pages/showering.htm#water-heater-therm) to tell me when my water is hot, and it definitely takes longer than 10 minutes. I don’t get the idea of showering in the morning. Why get into bed dirty? *shudders* 🙂

  • My water heater is only 2 1/2 gallons so 10 minutes is plenty to heat it and I never get long showers. I rarely do anything that actually gets me dirty but if I do I shower during the day. The real reason I shower in the morning is that I can’t stand going to bed with my hair wet and I don’t want to use power to dry it.

  • At 2.5 gallons, it’s worth heating the water. But 10 gallons, nope!

Got anything to say? Go ahead and leave a comment!