Gypsy Life

We’d like to applaud your research and final fitting out of your new van. We lived in our old VW van (no pop up) for six months hauling the bikes and cooler in and out, freezing while giving the catalytic heater a two minute burn with the door cracked, coming back from rides and showering in camp ground heads in cold water sinks, and thinking that there had to be a better way. We had built a sea going 32′ sailboat ten years prior to this adventure and moved aboard to go cruising. This involved a reevaluation of all of our systems, as our original design had been such as to accommodate function with shore power and anchored out. We had a nice corning glass stove for cooking with power, cold plate refrigeration powered by either a hydraulic motor running on engine power or electric shore. Perfect for that time but no good for long distance cruising–thus a total redesign. Having seen two propane explosions at sea this was not my preferred fuel–we stuck with a good kerosene stove–bit of a drag, but at that time a fuel readily available throughout the world. The lovely kerosene heater went deciding to use the stove for heat when needed. Showering usually consisted of sun shower heated sea water on deck, using Dawn detergent that makes good suds in salt water followed by desalting with minimum fresh water. We did keep the power water necessary to run the shower but had learned that a foot pump for galley and head saved huge amounts of fresh water–this the only disagreement I had with your configuration. I have been doing a recent time-motion-consumption study with respect to doing dishes in our house in Gunnison. I have a nice touch kitchen faucet that enables me to shut the water off and on with the touch of a finger. Just turning the water off after cleaning and item and placing it to drain and grabbing the next one adds up to almost 10 minutes of useless water running down the drain. We lived aboard and sailed for three years, but my wife never got over being seasick even after a week or so at sea. This wasn’t going to work, so we obtained a 29′ fifth wheel, no slide out, loaded bikes, boards, kayaks, snow shoes, etc. and took off. We’d done a lot of research on this puppy as well–plenty of water 60 gal, good head, good stand up shower, nice queen bed. We thought we might enjoy this for a year or two and it was very easy compared to life at sea, but we somehow ended up living in the 29′ Alpenlite for 22 years. Gunnison is great–mountain biking and wild flowers in the summer, back country skiing and snow shoeing in the winter. Happy this spring as calves drop–no problems so far–mothers look fine. Certainly enjoyed your talk at the Library and your books. Stay well and be sure to do something fun each day. Stay well

Hi Dick,
All I can say is WOW! Those are some amazing adventures!! I only wish you’d sent some pictures. I agree with you about a manual pump helping to conserve water. I’m working on some sort of water system right now for the Octabin (with these great blue barrels I recently scored), and am thinking of trying a manual or foot pump for that reason.
I try to do at least one fun thing every day, and also take the time to appreciate it… Thank you for the great advice and the great stories 🙂

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