Single Man Endures Cold Showers for Adventure

As I am sitting here in my bus, in the air conditioned bedroom, on my queen mattress, jamming out to Bob Dylan, running my little fridge and charging this laptop, I figured I could write a bit about what it takes to keep the interior of a Skoolie powered along the highways of America.

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I quickly came to realize there are a lot of highways throughout America, but I was not able to properly power the bus for many of those miles.
Ill post all the specifics and particulars about all the parts that were used in the conversion in a separate detailed post, but in this article ill try and keep it simple.

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To give you a better picture of my electric needs, I consider myself an outdoors-man. Trekking through the Appalachian Mountains, mountaineering, kayaking, camping, those all require very little electricity and power usage. I’m perfectly OK with that environment. Wet wipes. Simple meals. Pooping in interesting places. So in terms of that, I am living luxuriously on the bus. I always have light. Running water (although not usually hot). I am able to charge my Bluetooth speaker, iPod, and other devices. I have a toilet, a camp stove for cooking fabulous meals, and the ability to (sometimes) use my air conditioning.

So clearly, my electricity needs are different from others. I am a single guy, who bends the rules on cleanliness by a few days, so frequent hot showers become unnecessary. I do not bake, or cook fancy meals. I do not use an electric razor, coffee machine, microwave or television.

But even without all those energy suckers, I simply did not have enough power.

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The basics of my system:

I have 200 watt solar panels, which charge 4 6-volt golf batteries, which power the interior. These are separate batteries from the 3 that run the motor. I also have an isolator on the alternator, which charges all 7 batteries while the engine is running. I knew that 200 watts would not be enough, and it turned out to be entirely true. Someone told me that as a rule of thumb, you should have one 100 watt panel per battery. I would need at a minimum 200 more watts for my 4 batteries. I definitely need more solar and more batteries.

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In short, the batteries drained too fast, and were unable to always be fully charged. What that meant for me was, anything that needed a lot of power really fast, like the space heater, the hot plate, the water heater, I was unable to use those if I was not plugged in at a campground. So anytime I was off-grid, or parked along a street, I would have to take cold water showers, use my gas camp stove instead of my appliance hot plate, and simply put on more clothing to stay warm. The air conditioner has an energy saving mode, and if the batteries were fully charged, I would be able to comfortably use it. Otherwise, I was sweating like a pig in the 100+ degree Nevada/California weather. I usually did not keep anything in my mini fridge, in fear of not having enough power to keep it cold. I mostly snacked and ate less perishable items.

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Clearly, this is not reasonable to most people, especially families. When I am plugged in to power at an RV Campsite, the bus is the perfect tiny home. Warm showers, hot cooked meal, the electric fireplace is on. But to have that experience on the road, I would need to make a few changes. I am thinking about buying higher quality batteries. These were on the lower end of the price range. Also, I need a lot more solar power. Serious Skoolie owners, with their job related to their bus, usually have over 1000 watts of solar, and 8 or more batteries. All my appliances are energy efficient, so there is nothing to really change there.

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The whole point of this Bus Life is to downsize and live small. In the last few months I have been able to accomplish that. Ive adapted my life to live in a 189sq ft bus. I may not always have enough power, but ill take that any day, in order to be able to call the road my home.

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

 

 

 

 

Have a good one

Living in the Bus has allowed me plenty of time to be creative, to sit alone in my thoughts, listen to music, and write. I cannot wait until I can say that I am a writer. Its what I would love to spend my life doing. I never realized it was a passion of mine, until 2009 when I kept a journal of my Appalachian Trail hike. I wrote for most of the journey, and enjoyed it. Ive been keeping a journal of some sort on and off since then. In High School and College I dreaded starting papers, but once I was writing, I ended up with papers much longer than the requirement. I remember writing a paper about German Expressionism in Film, and the paper was supposed to be 13 pages. When I first read/heard about the assignment, I probably thought I should drop this German film class, that’s highly not do able. When I got into writing it, I believe I came out to 16 pages, with really not much material to cut. I really enjoyed the writing part. Not the idea of starting, not the idea of all the writing. Not the actual start of the writing process. The editing and revision was pretty fun, I don’t mind it that much. But the writing. Researching. I did enjoy all that.

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Anyhow, the past week I only left the bus a few times, for some work at the Bonsai Nursery, Goodwill shopping for neat little recycled arts and crafts. I have had plenty of opportunity to spend with myself, reading, writing, creating. Thinking and imagining. Hypothesizing. I would love to be a writer.

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One of the things that I have been thinking about for a long time, is these silly little things we say without even thinking about it.
Have a good day.
Have a good one.

Have a good day. I know its a nice gesture, and it shows something. It definitely comes in very useful in the Customer Service sector. But I don’t know what it truly brings across. Its a natural reaction at this point. Its almost an afterthought. It doesn’t mean anything. Some people are super enthusiastic when they say it, and I am sure they mean it. They want you to be so excited and happy and have the best day of your life. And its cool. Its awesome. If you’re excited and you mean it. You are genuine about it. Immediately after someone says “Have a good day,” the “you too” response comes too quick, without really listening. Its an automatic response to an automatic response almost.

Have a good one. You too.
A good one what? Im not even quite sure what it means?

Be genuine about what you say during your interactions. Or don’t say it. I have been wanting to use “Make it a great day” more. You are actively involved in making a better day. You’re not “having” some inherited experience, undergoing some transformation. You are making it a great day. Constructing. Creating. To cause happiness and positivity to exist and come about.

We are part of an overwhelming culture of “have a good one.” Not as creative as we could be in our daily interactions. Most people never create. That is not a curriculum taught or allowed in school anymore. They just do. Don’t think. Go on now, break your back for the next some odd 40 years and then retire with your 401k and none of your health. See you later. Yeah, have a good one. Thanks, you too.

You probably wont see that person later. Yeah, have a good one. A good one what? I am assuming day? Have a good day? You can’t tell me that? Cool man, thanks. You too. I wish you the same questionable nice gesture.

Anyhow, we can do better than that! Why don’t we upgrade the little words and sayings we use most often. Something that small could have a huge impact. In the way we think, the way we interact. The little social slices of our daily life. There are many of them. Let’s improve just a tiny bit of those little moments. Ive been thinking of saying “Make it a positive day.” We could use conscious, or mindful instead of positive. But I feel that’s not as generally applicable/acceptable everywhere. Everyone knows what positive is. There is positive and negative. 1. 0. Dead or alive. Great has no measure. It’s an amount above normal or average. What is normal? What’s a normal day, and what would make it great? It has nothing to offer. Having a positive day, I would assume that most everyone generally has an idea of what a positive day is compared to a negative one.

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Make it a positive day. Even saying Make it a great day. Make it a good day is giving yourself and the other person more value than Have a great day. If you don’t have it, it wont be great. But if you actively participate and MAKE it great, there’s something there. You took part in the creation of a better moment.

Lets actively participate in having better moments.
Make it a positive day everyone,
Skoolie Love