Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A day of reflection

Shock, horror, I didn't work on the bus today. Instead, I considered a few options. The first was power and the second was plumbing. Finally I considered closets. Then as a bonus I also considered when I should move into my bus - completed or not.

Plumbing - ever since somebody recommended emptying the toilet bucket into a pot-bellied stove and simply incinerating the contents, I've been intrigued. My previous solution was to simply do the business in a bucket lined with a grocery bag and with cat lit in it t soak up moisture then to toss the bag into a nearby waste container. That, I gather, might be frowned on in certain areas but as is so often the case - nobody will really care anyway. The alternate solutions encountered so far are:
1. Dessication whereby the toilet waste is simply dried by passing forced air over the toilet tank contents. This apparently reduces the waste quantity by 90%. I must admit that I'm partial to this approach as it means a 55 gallon drum would have to be emptied or replaced about once a year. At $30 to replace the drum, it works out at 10 cents a day to use the toilet. That's something I can live with.
2. Incineration whereby the waste tank is heated by electricity or propane, boiling off the water and incinerating the contents. As with the pot bellied stove, I understand the odor given off may be disadvantageous. As this will be a propane free motorhome, it would have to be an electric incinerating toilet and those things are both expensive and consume sufficient electricity to warrant a generator.
3. The traditional black tank whereby water is used to wash the content out of the toilet into a black tank. The black tank is subsequently emptied in a rather unpleasant process.
As far as the rest of the plumbing is concerned, it's pretty simple - a cold water tank that feeds to the kitchen sink with a pressure pump. The kitchen water is not heated - no real need when there'll be a handy electric kettle in the kitchen. The shower water is heated via an instant hot water heater.
Effluent from the kitchen sink and the shower go into a grey tank with a drain cock left to allow the tank to drip gently. That way, water that really isn't dirty does not have to be dumped at an authorized dump.

Power - most motorhomes run off a combination of electricity and propane though some also use wood or coal stoves. There are arguments all ways and arguments against all ways.
1. Wood\coal stoves mean just about anything can be used as fuel from Jehovah's Witness's handouts to coal bought from a dealer or wood found in the street. The downside is everything will smell of smoke even though it (to me) is not unpleasant to smell woodsmoke. A downside that would worry me is the chance of nasties like Black Widows hiding in the wood.
2. Propane - a great heat source but rather apt to go boom when it's least expected or wanted. A propane tank is a potential bomb. Size doesn't matter because even a small tank bursting into flames or exploding is sufficient to spoil the rest of your life. It produces a lot of heat and though it can be used to run fridges and instant water heaters, its main use is in cooking. The downside aside from being explosive is that burning propane releases copious quantities of water. Thus everything becomes saturated rapidly.
3. Electricity - Convenient to use and unlikely to be problematic. Plenty of available appliances to use it, too. Downside is that it needs to be generated and there is the problem. Fuelled generators are costly to run. Solar panels are expensive and fragile and only work during daylight. Wind power is cheaper but the wind might not blow for days.
Many people have combinations using electricity for pretty much just entertainment. The plan for my motorhome is to be 100% electric.

Closets - The bedroom as it stands is 12 feet long and 7 feet wide. Plenty space to add a desk, a wardrobe and some cabinets. As it would probably be an excellent idea to be able to access the rear light clusters without dismantling things, the plan is to make the area enclosing the last window into a pair of storage closets - one of which will house my bicycle. That also allows a door to be installed such that I can enter through the rear door of the bus without revealing the contents of my bedroom as there will be a second door to go through.

Moving in - the jury is still out but as I have to give a month notice of moving. I can't wait for the whole bus to be ready. That could take a long time what with my being able only to work on it at weekends. The plan is to have it move-in ready as far as the bedroom goes by April 1st. On April 1st I will give the landlord their months notice and slowly start to move stuff into the bus. By April 21st I want to be fully moved in which gives me a week to clean my current apartment.

Plumbing and cooking facilities nor power need to be ready. 99% of my electrics recharge off my car USB sockets. I can use buckets of water or drinking and washing and another bucket as the toilet. The point is that moved in, I will not be paying rent and will be able to use my time more efficiently. Living in the bus, I don't have far to go to work on it. Right now my bus and my home are 15 miles apart.

Anyway, that's the plan and unless I come up with a better idea, the toilet will remain a bucket lined with a grocery bag with cat lit to absorb odor and moisture.

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