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A day at the creek by my off grid solar camper

Article from: April 3rd, 2013


Today was creek day. That means washing clothes, getting water for the camper and cleaning up some dishes and an old cast iron pot. I used the truck today and loaded it up with everything I needed and drove down to the creek where it comes closer to the entrance of the property.

The creek is a couple thousand feet away from the off grid camper out in the forest. But the creek angles through the property and comes up close to the road near the entrance to the property.

I loaded up my 5 gallon bucket and toilet plunger to wash my clothes. I put my 30 gallon RV water tank on the back of the truck. I also had some dishes to take care of. And last but not least, I have a cast iron frying pan that was neglected during the winter and needed to be restored.

The first thing I did was to haul up a 5 gallon bucket full of creek water. I planned to somehow fill the 30 gallon water tank on the bed of the truck with a funnel. Well, that does not work out at all when you are alone. There is no-one to hold the funnel as I work. So I tried to pour the water from the bucket directly into a hose on the top of the water tank. That failed miserably as well.




I looked around the property and found an old piece of garden hose. After cleaning out the junk from it, it made a nice siphon. I put a 5 gallon bucket full of creek water on top of the water tank and used the garden hose to siphon the water into the 30 gallon water tank. This worked very well.

I was able to fill the large RV water tank with about 6 trips down to the creek and back with my 5 gallon bucket. It was a lot of work, but so is hand carrying 1 gallon water jugs back and forth all day.

Now it was time to wash my clothes by the creek. I have shown how I do this using my 5 gallon pail and a clean toilet plunger, so I will no go into details. If you have not yet seen it, you can do a search on my blog or videos and it should come up. I did about 4 loads of laundry by hand. This is faster and better than using a laundromat. You do not need to drive into town and you save money. And the best is that my clothes come out cleaner using this method. Plus you get a bit of exercise doing this.

I went into my landlady’s home with some 1 gallon water jugs to get some fresh well water for drinking. I still need some sort of filter for the camper so for now I will be hand carrying drinking water. The creek water will be for washing and bathing.



Then it was time to restore the lid to my dutch oven. It doubles as a frying pan. I had lost this last fall in the move when I left this property. I had some friends helping and we did a fast job of it. The cast iron pan was somehow left on the ground in the forest.

Luckily I found it underneath all the leaves. After dumping out the leaves and dirt (and an earthworm), I took it to the creek today to start the restoring process. That in itself is a separate article, so watch for it if you are interested in how to restore cast iron frying pans and cookware.

It took me the better part of the day to do my washing and water gathering by the creek today. By about 5:30 pm I was finally back to the camper with my truck. I had to find a way to get the water out of the tank on the bed of my truck and into my camper so I could have running water.

After searching around I found a larger piece of old garden hose that fit between my truck and the filler neck of my on board camper water tank. I fed one end of the hose into the filler neck and connected the other end of the hose to the water tank on my truck and let the water flow out. This worked very well and soon the tank on the truck was empty and I had about 30 gallons of water in my camper.

Next was to try my running water inside the camper.

I was a bit nervous at this point because things can fail with pressurized water.

I turned on the switch for the water pump and heard the pump kick in. I could hear water moving in the pipes. That was a good sign. Then I could hear water spraying somewhere inside my camper.

I ran to the end of the camper and saw water gushing out of the hose that went to my hot water heater tank, which I had removed a while back. I forgot about that. Then I had to run back and shut off the water pump.

I had a mess to clean up with water all over my camper floor.

I guess I will not have running water for a while. I need to save up some money for pipe fittings to plug off that hot water heater tank hose.

Oh, well, one day soon I will have running water. I was so close.

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Troy Reid


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