One desert town’s effort to conserve water

Tuesday, December 1

A cold morning at our camp near Blythe, California!  The crew and I bundle up and snuggle to keep warm.  I pull back the curtains to let the sunshine stream in.  The propane burners on the stove, turned on for cooking breakfast and perking the coffee, help, too.

P1080672I think it dipped into the high 20s earlier. 

By noon it’s much warmer — in the 60s, even warmer on the sunny side of the Best Little Trailer.  I’m outside puttering around, washing dishes, sweeping the blue mat, refilling the hummingbird feeder, and so on.  I place the camp chair with its back to the fiberglass and sit soaking up the warmth.  Bridget and Reggie in their doggie beds do the same.

After lunch we take off for town.

A typical errand run — dump trash at the bins on our way out of Midland LTVA, pick up a few items at K-Mart (containers for left-overs, a mixing bowl, a bunch of little stuff like pens), fill the water jugs at Miller Park, and buy groceries.

Wait just a minute, RVSue. . . “fill the water jugs at Miller Park” you say?

I pull up next to one of the three spigots and see this sign has been attached to each one:

P1080663(Later, back at camp, I research the water issue and discover that Blythe City Council turned off the water last winter.  Winter residents protested and it was turned back on.  Now it’s off again.)

This now-you-have-it-now-you-don’t situation illustrates the importance of not relying on what you read on my blog.  Use the information I provide as a guide and then confirm, confirm, confirm!

Change happens.

Boondocks I rave about deteriorate.  Facilities I suggest close down. Fees and rates I quote go up.  New rules appear.  Roads become impassable or too rough for RVs.  Water spigots are turned off.

Oh well, we need to find water somewhere. 

I notice the Valero gas station on Lovekin Boulevard (next to the interstate) has an air and water station, the kind you put coins in.  I pull in only to find a note attached.

“Out of order”

I end up filling our one-gallon jugs from a water vending machine outside Smart n’ Final -extra! (what a crazy name for a grocery store!).  Each gallon costs 30 cents.  There may be other water spigots in town that I don’t know about.  My guess is the pressure is on every business to turn off their water spigots.

There’s an irony in all this. 

RVers, many of whom rely on public water sources, are notorious for conserving water.  For instance, I wash the dishes in a basin, using a gallon or less of water, while homeowners may use a dishwasher or run a faucet indiscriminately.  I reuse the same dishwater to wash the desert dust off my feet.  Then, I use that water for a third purpose, such as washing the wheel wells on the BLT.

I’m not unique in this practice. 

I believe most, if not all, desert boondockers practice water conservation.

Anyway . . . I understand the point of view of the City Council.  Maybe people let their kids turn on the spigots and play in the water.  I don’t know.  Our water is precious and I applaud any efforts to conserve.

Today is the last day of our 14-day, LTVA permit.

I’m going to purchase another permit and stay put a while longer.  Our camp at Midland is quiet and private with no traffic, ATV or otherwise.  In a day or two, the weather will warm up.  I admit to a touch of hitch-itch, but it doesn’t make sense to move just for the sake of moving.

Before the winter is over, we will camp among the saguaros again.

sonoran-001Southern Arizona, January 2015

Oh, I didn’t finish!

We pass Carl’s Jr. on our way to and from Miller Park.  As a precautionary measure, I bring up the windows on the Perfect Tow Vehicle well before the unmistakable aroma of hamburgers on the grill can be detected by Reggie Man.  Whew!  We made it!

The book I’m reading now . . .

A Sailor of Austria: In Which, Without Really Intending to, Otto Prohaska Becomes Official War Hero No. 27 of the Habsburg Empire (The Otto Prohaska Novels)

“In this ironic, hilarious, and poignant story, Otto Prohaska is a submarine captain serving the almost-landlocked Austro-Hungarian Empire. He faces a host of unlikely circumstances, from petrol poisoning to exploding lavatories to trigger-happy Turks. All signs point to the total collapse of the bloated empire he serves, but Otto refuses to abandon the Habsburgs in their hour of need.”

At present the kindle edition is free!

The close of another day at our camp.

P1080659

What do you do to conserve water?

rvsue

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131 Responses to One desert town’s effort to conserve water

  1. Jan Z in MI says:

    Lucky 1 maybe?
    Will read and come back.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      CONGRATULATIONS, JAN Z IN MI! YOU ARE FIRST TODAY!

    • Jan Z in MI says:

      Well I read the story and really like that you are staying for a while with peace and quiet.
      We are still trying to sell house. 2 offers fell through with lender and we have a current offer that the lender has verified is very well qualified. The inspection is Saturday and we ae looking to close by January 15th. I sure hope this one goes through as we have been trying all year to sell and were just ready to take off market until spring when this offer came in. We sold most of our furniture in a large garage house sale in October so we had been setting in our RV lawn chairs to watch TV and that was just not comfortable so we went out and bought new recliners and decided they would go into storage with the other stuff we need to store.
      I hope by the time we get on the road we will not have trouble with water. We will probably head to Florida this winter as we just want to sit and rest for a while after all that’s gone on with house.
      I enjoy keeping up with you and hope our adventures are as interesting as yours are. I still haven’t convinced hubby to get a dog but I’m still working on it.
      Jan in MI for now.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Fantastic news, Jan! This sounds like a sale! Anyone who has had a house on the market for any length of time has a pretty good idea how anxious you are for this sale to go through. Best of luck!

        Thanks for sharing how you’ve prepared while waiting, as well as your winter plans.

  2. Cinandjules (NY) says:

    Hmm only one post listed and I read the entire blog!

    What a cutie all bundled up. Your site looks so comfy. In search of water…..a sign of the times!

    Stay warm and have a wonderful day! Thanks for sharing.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cinandjules (NY),

      Thank you. You have a wonderful day, too. BTW, you received another reply under the previous post.

  3. I just found out I can’t camp at most of the LTVA sites because my camper isn’t self-contained. Oh well, there seem to be plenty of other nice places. Seems like I always want to go where you’ve been because you make them sound so great!! Leaving Monday for AZ and I am beyond excited!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re right, JanisP. There are plenty of good camps to be found that aren’t LTVA and being self-contained isn’t required.

      You’re leaving from Georgia, I believe, going to Arizona. No wonder you are “beyond excited!”

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      I discovered that when I was in my little camper van (had a porta potti). At first I felt like I was missing out, but in real life I haven’t missed it a bit (even though with my current rig I could go to an LTVA). I’m sure the people there enjoy them, and I’m glad they exist, but there are SO many other places to camp in Arizona and nearby desert places. Come on out!

      We’ll leave the sunsets on for you 😀 😀

      • Linda says:

        So, would I not be allowed with my composting toilet?

        • Sidewinder Pen says:

          According to the BLM’s LTVA rules you need a minimum of a 10-gallon black (waste) tank. Smaller tanks, porta pottis, etc. are not considered self-contained. I don’t think composting toilets would qualify under their rules (they don’t compost the pee anyway, do they?).

          Certain LTVA’s would allow camping within 500 feet of the dump station (although I sure wouldn’t like that as it must be busy/crowded). See the notes below.

          I fully realize that it’s the human camper and not the type of toilet that makes one respect or not respect a campsite or the environment. I had a porta potti in my last rig and I certainly never dumped it on the ground – but these are just their rules. Luckily there are a jillion places to camp that are not LTVA’s. After my initial dismay that I would be “kept out” of the LTVA areas, I haven’t really given it another thought. I’ve just found so many other areas to camp in (even though I now have a >10 gallon black tank).

          This is an excerpt pasted from the rules:
          *********
          Self-Contained Vehicles

          a. In Pilot Knob, Midland, Tamarisk, and Hot Springs LTVAs, you may camp only in self-contained camping units. The La Posa, Imperial Dam, and Mule Mountain LTVAs are restricted to self-contained camping units, except within 500 feet of a vault or rest room.

          b. Self-contained camping units must have a permanent, affixed waste water holding tank of 10-gallon minimum capacity. BLM does not consider port-a-potty systems, systems that utilize portable holding tanks, or permanent holding tanks of less than 10-gallon capacity, to be self-contained.

          **********
          From here:

          http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/ca/pdf/elcentro.Par.98134.File.dat/LTVA_Supp_Rules.pdf

          • Sidewinder Pen says:

            PS: Just as an example of how much non-LTVA camping there is, look at ALL the amazing camping that RV Sue has done – including years of winters in the desert (mostly AZ) – and this is the first time she has stayed at an LTVA.

            If you are set on camping near Q, there are a number of 14-day BLM areas that do not have the waste tank requirement and are very close to the LTVA’s. I’ve stayed in one, “Road Runner BLM,” but there are quite a few others.

      • I’m almost on my way! Leaving Monday from GA.

  4. Teri LiveOak Fl says:

    I have a rain barrel for the garden. Do you have a lock on your trailer coupler? Can’t get over how cool the weather is there in the desert.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Teri LiveOak FL…. Remember when rain barrels were a common fixture at homes? Good idea…. and rainwater makes your hair super-soft, too.

  5. MollyLuvsRoadtrippin (Seattle) says:

    Hitch itch – that’s a fun new term for me, and I think I am going to have a BAD case by the time it warms up enough for me to begin the first proper season of northwest Casita camping. The recent test trip was definitely a success, but I found that if I can’t feel warm sitting 6 inches from a roaring camp fire then it is just too cold to camp. The Casita is snug and warm inside of course, but it simply isn’t as luxurious without an ever changing outdoor room to enjoy. Thank goodness I have your (mostly) warm desert sites to enjoy this winter – thank you RVSue!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, MollyLuvsRoadtrippin (Seattle),

      You have your recent “shakedown cruise” to remember through the winter, until your NW camping season begins. I agree… You’re going to develop a severe case of hitch-itch. Once you’ve been “out there” it can be tough to keep the Casita at home!

  6. Dave says:

    In the past there were 2 dump stations at Miller Park too. Talk about changes……

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Dave,

      Here’s a link to sanidumps page for Blythe. You can see that some of the dump stations have been crossed out.

  7. kgdan from Wapato, WA says:

    Not first but close enough ?. Hi, Sue! Very windy here in Laughlin today but sunny. Lot warmer than back home where it snowed today.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks for taking all the wind from us, Kathy and Gil. Perfect calm here, right now, hope it stays that way.

      I bet you’re glad you made it back to Gil, Thanksgiving leftovers, and no snow!

  8. Susan in Dallas says:

    Love that the hummingbird feeding is going well. Bet those little birds are wonderful to watch. I have low flow faucets in my bathroom and kitchen as well as a showerhead. When I bought a much needed new washing machine, I bought a front loader and besides using a lot less water it gets my clothes cleaner. My water bill was cut by more than one half. Win-win for me! Missing cow pictures! Guess you are not in grazing land.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Susan in Dallas,

      Good for you for taking measures to cut back on your water usage. It’s nice to be rewarded with a reduced water bill.

      Nope, no cows roaming around our camp. 🙂

  9. Renee Galligher says:

    Awwwk! Once again, I watch all morning, and the minute I step away . . . . !

  10. Jean in Southaven, MS says:

    It is colder there than here in the Memphis area. But seems that is going to change tonight. Going to get a frost tonight probably. Water problems are getting to be common everywhere. We are not restricted but we are asked to conserve. We get our water from an underground aquafer and we are using it up much faster than it can replenish. I saw a piece on one of the TV news shows that some towns in California have a problem with people who drive big water trucks come to those spigots and fill them up then sell the water to outlying ranchers and homeowners. Some of those towns have done like Bythe and removed the spigots to stop it.

    Love the picture of the Reg all bundled up. This area is very nice. I have heard of the LTVA’s and read about them but I have never read anything from anyone who actually stayed at one. This is all really good info for us hopefuls out here. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Glenda Laine says:

    Hey Sue, I’ve ?ade it to Quartzsite, & realized this is enough traveling for awhile so got the annual LTVA permit to hang in Q, go to Yuma, or whatever. The reason I’m mentioning it is because the LA Posa South section has free pittance water & dump stations. Got that taken care of before parking it near an 3 scape & another Casita. Come over & visit.

    • DesertGinger says:

      Hahaha! Good one! I can just see Sue hanging around quartzsite, especially this time of year. I promise you, that won’t happen.

    • Sue CleanerGreenerVegas says:

      Glenda, I took a look at your blog……Good for you learning to solo camp after the recent death of your husband.Keep on keepin on. Love to you on behalf of the blogorinos

  12. Piper n' Rusty / Az says:

    Great Post Sue and Reggie hiding in the nest to stay warm is cute,,,,, Now on saving water, my way,,, I buy a box of Huggies Wipes a month for washing me and my dishes, pots n’ pans,, And use water for con-sump-ion only,, I usually use 16 gallons in 16 days and No one has complained on what I smell like, that I know of,, and I don’t get sick neither,,,,, I do know from most folks that they like the smell of Garlic, Cinnamon, Clove and all the Spice’s I use daily,, And on the Morn we go into Town, I put on my “Old Spice” ,, You wouldn’t be here, if your Grandfather didn’t use it,,,,,,,,, have a great day and Hope you find Good H2O,,,, Give them babies of yours a Hug from us,, will ya,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, rusty

    • Piper n' Rusty / Az says:

      Oh, I also Carry enough water for Lady Piper and she doesn’t waste none of it,,,,,,,,,

  13. Renee Galligher says:

    I agree with you on RV’ers being conservationists. When we are out, I wipe off my dishes, then wash them in a dish pan that is sitting in the sink. I rinse by filling a little water in the sink. Rinse quickly. When that gets soapy, I refill. I use the same dishwater all day, then dump at the end of the night, out in the fire pit. When we shower, we catch the cold water (as it’s warming up) in a clean bucket. We take “Navy” showers, by wetting down, soaping up, then rinsing down again. The fresh water in the bucket is used for the toilet. We have a 75 gallon water capacity, including the 12 gallon water heater, so it goes a long way. We can be out dry camping for a week and still come home with a 1/3 of a tank.

    • Renee Galligher says:

      I forgot to add that we also take several gallon jugs of water for our dogs and a case of bottled water. This all helps to extend our resources.

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      Sounds like you have conserving down pat 🙂

      Just a side note: The 12-gallon water heater actually can’t “count” in your fresh water capacity (as in “75 gallon capacity, including the 12-gallon water heater), because it always has to refill. So you can’t “use” that water unless you drain the water heater to use the water and then don’t refill it; but that would not be normal practice.

      I only mention this because I see a number of RV’s list their usable water capacity this way (i.e. they add the capacity of the water heater to the capacity of the fresh water tank), but it’s not accurate. (It is, however, appropriate to count that 12-gallons as weight, as it is always carried along.)

      • Piper n' Rusty / Az says:

        Hi Pen, Our hot water heater is a pan of water on the stove,, Lol,,,,,,,,rusty

      • Renee says:

        Oh yes, thanks for pointing that out about the water heater not counting. I do know that and take that into consideration, but we are very conservative even to the point of placing about 3 gallons of water down the toilet before we leave and when going number 1, we don’t turn on the pump, only for the other. Then we have enough liquid in the black tank to digest correctly.

        • Sidewinder Pen says:

          Sounds like you have it down to an art.

          • Renee Galligher says:

            Maybe too much! My husband calls me the water police. We conserve so much that I now realize that if our kids and grandkids come with us, there is more than enough water to use for a week long trip.

            • Sidewinder Pen says:

              The main thing I noticed when transitioning back to land from boat living: On the boat I had foot pumps for water (kind of the water version of a treadle sewing machine). Of course when you are done, you just walk away and there is no water “running.” Well, back on land, I’d go to, say, wash my hands and then find myself just walking away with the faucet still turned on. LOL. Durned modern contraptions!

            • Renee says:

              That’s funny!

  14. Pam and Maya says:

    Well the pop-up had a 14 gallon water tank and I could make it last all week using many of the same techniques you do. Now that I’m back in the northeast I find I still have the habit which is good – even though water is much more plentiful it doesn’t mean you have to waste it! I read an article about the Colorado River, how many states depend on it for water and found it sad that it never makes it to the Gulf of Mexico – it’s all used up before it gets there!

    • Renee Galligher says:

      Good for you! I need to do that more at home. We have a tankless water heater and it takes a couple of minutes to warm up, I need to collect that water too and then use it for the dogs or plants.

  15. Sharon in MO says:

    What a beautiful sunset photo, Sue! Even when not camping, we try to conserve water at home by washing dishes by hand instead of using our dishwasher.

  16. Penny from Utah (and Baja) says:

    One way we conserve water = We use a 5-gallon garden sprayer as our shower. I can take a complete shower and wash my hair in one gallon of water. We boil some of the water so and put it back in so we have hot showers. Even though our Casita has a shower, we use the sprayer when we really need to conserve. We are headed down to Baja next month to spend 2 or 3 months on the beach. This is what we will use the whole time. (Note: We bought a new one just for this purpose. Don’t reuse an old one. You don’t want chemical residues in your shower)

    For the toilet, we have a turn-off valve. When we are in Baja we flush with well water, dish water, or ocean water.

    On conserving fuel. We have Sun Oven. I can even boil the water for my shower in it.
    I also just watched a video on their website on how to cook hardboiled eggs without water.

    We conserve water and fuel so we can stay out in our Utah desert or on the Baja beach as long as possible before having to make trek into a town (which can be quite a distance.)

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      I forgot to mention the garden sprayer. That’s a great one! I like how the pressure sort of “blows” the soap off in addition to the water rinsing it – makes it go a long way. And easy to make it hot in either the sun or with a bit of water from the stove.

      (AKA pesticide sprayer, although of course you want a “virgin” one for RV use.)

      You are almost like a boat down in Baja! (Flushing with salt water.) That can be a pain on a boat because the combination of salt water and (I guess it’s the) uric acid makes for a lot of build up in the plumbing hoses (like clogged arteries); but that’s not a problem for an RV toilet since it is typically just a straight chute.

    • MB from VA says:

      I’ve read about and seen some of the solar oven videos. What kind do you have? Does it take up a lot of space? What types of things do you generally use it to cook? I’m thinking that I can live without a lot of things but now and then it would be nice to have something warm from the oven. 🙂 Have a wonderful day out there! And thank you for any information you have time to share.

    • kgdan from Wapato, WA says:

      Was wondering if you have heard anything about camping these days at Gonzaga Bay, BC.? Remember we met you at Santispac? Which border crossing do you use?

      • Penny from Utah (and Baja) says:

        Hi,
        I was thinking about you and hoping you might reply.
        I’ve never been to Gonzaga Bay. Rich drove in 3 years ago. He says the best source of info is bajanomad.com. It’s a forum. You can ask there.

        We prefer the San Ysidro – next to Tijuana.

        When and where are you heading to? We plan to leave mid Jan and head for Los Frailes, stay there until the beginning of March or whenever it starts getting too hot, then start heading north.

        • kgdan from Wapato, WA says:

          Couple of months in Laughlin, NV. for now. Then unsure. We are thinking of east to visit friends & relatives in Phoenix & then to Roosevelt Lake for some fishing. But Baja still calls. Sold our Casita & have little bit bigger rig. Thanks for info.

  17. weather says:

    It’s precious to see the way you keep the little ones warm-what a sweet opening photo! I’m glad the temps there will be higher soon, staying inside waiting for the sun’s heat must feel confining for you and crew, especially for Reggie. Gosh, quite a hunt to fill your water jugs, that task is usually more easily accomplished. That was a good illustration to demonstrate your point about confirming information for ourselves.

    Being raised where water came from a well (first hand pumped in our yard then later with plumbing inside) I learned early to use it sparingly. One example is that I bathe in a shallow tub rather than shower. Three gallons vs. the seven to twenty plus most folks use. Another is that I don’t wash what I drive, if it gets muddy between rains or snowfalls, oh well, it’s a jeep. One practice I used to engage in was rinsing laundry more than once, I used far more soap when I was washing clothes soiled from jobs and other things. That’s no longer necessary as life is different now. When friends saw me wash dishes in the sink instead of getting a dishwasher they thought it was quaint. Funny how the old ways are often of such value. Speaking of those, do you know if your aunt received your hand written holiday message?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, weather… No, I haven’t heard about the letter to my aunt. I’m confident she will receive it. Nice of you to ask…

  18. Sidewinder Pen says:

    Water conservation is always an interesting topic.

    I use similar techniques to you. I developed the habits when on boats, plus living in cabins with no running water. You might be at sea for months (salt water) and no place to refill, so you make it last! But I can see you have developed the same habits on land 🙂

    I tend to use paper towels for napkins (select-a-size, plus sometimes I saw the roll in half so they end up as quarter sheets) and I use that meal’s napkin to “dry wipe” the dishes so they take less washing water. Then, like you, I use any non-gross water for it’s “next lower purpose” until it’s all gone (“non-gross” meaning obviously I don’t re-use greasy dishwater, etc.).

    Another habit left over from boating (because no water heater on boat) is that if I do need warm water for anything, I just heat up a bit on the stove. Many RV water heaters have a fair bit of piping between the heater and the faucet, so there is wastage waiting for hot water (not to mention heating 6 GALLONS when you may only need a quart or less). Of course you can save/re-use that “waiting” water if you do use a water heater, but I just eliminate the middle man and use the stove.

    Is that last sunset photo from Monday night by chance? If so, I recognize it! I’m a ways north of you but watched that same unusual “vortex shape” of clouds make a very pretty sunset on Monday.

  19. Hi Sue, we stopped using our dishwasher two years ago..such a waste of water. Our lawn looks awful and we are hoping for rain soon. We water our plants only once a week and shut off the faucet between plants. Of course my car is dirty for longer periods of time. I only take my car to the carwash, but they also use a lot of water so we end up paying either way. We use what is called a “Laundry Ball”, it does not use soap, just crystals that clean laundry. No soap, no rinse cycle. One laudry ball lasts 360 washes….Since we have had a laundry ball, used two and are now on our third. They sell them on Amazon (Hint for Sue). We are super concerned about the environment and the used water is safe for the environment. If you have some bad stains then we pre-treat with stain remover. But we have no dog in this fight…just saying it works for us.

    So that is what we do for water conservation at this time.

  20. Mick'nTN says:

    Water conservation > My brother, who was a facilities supervisor for a town in NY, told me the average water consumption per person is 2000 gallons per month. Before I retired I was using about 1200 g/mo. After I retired I reduced this to 600 g/mo. I shower less often, do laundry less often and shower with a friend (two 2 gallon buckets named Judy and Laura 🙂 ) which I use to flush the toilet.

  21. cateW says:

    Hi Sue and all,

    I was visiting a friend in California in October, and we were very careful with water. My friend was pleased that I already have good conservation habits: wet toothbrush in glass of fresh water, brush, use water from a glass to rinse brush & mouth instead of letting water run, the “Navy” shower routine of course. I’m not on the road yet but will make note of all the helpful ways to conserve water while dry camping that the blog comments have provided. Thanks everyone…a garden sprayer for a shower…what a novel idea!

    Wow…Sue! That sunset photo was fantastic…so beautiful. Wish I was back in AZ as its beginning to get winter chilly in Maine. One or two more years and I’m outta here!

    Goodnight little Reggie and sweet HRH…goodnight Sue…goodnight dear blogorinos…goodnight Rusty & Lady P, goodnight John Boy….ZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    CateW

  22. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    We are retired too, shower & wash hair every other day and wash by basin in between.
    No longer use a dishwasher. Wash dishes with a one of the sponge things where you put soap in the handle, dip in a pan for rinsing and re-soap, then set in the sink, rinse, drain, and refill for another dip, about a gallon each time. Drinking water is a refilled gallon jug to cool water and pour through the Brita pitcher. New washer is a water saver. It calculates the weight of the load and adds only enough water to wash.
    I pray for rain out west this winter, as they really need it, especially California. The farms and grape growers are in desperate need. Of course, it would be nice if Hollywood, would conserve as well. They preach all this stuff, but it does not apply to them. Still have to fill those pools and water the grass. Just disgusting! Sorry for the soap box.

  23. Pookie in SE Texas says:

    yep that Reggie sure looks comfy wrapped up in that blanket…
    reminds me of me……….HA!…it gets down to 68 and Im wrapped
    up like a mummy….
    we have 55 gal barrels catching rain from the roof and when they
    get full I put a lid on them to keep dirt, dust, bugs, etc out…..many
    uses round here for rain water……anyone that fishes can testify
    that our lakes dont stay as full as they should….
    chuck

    • Pookie in SE Texas says:

      I meant to add that we are on a water well here at the
      house but I try to use it as little as possible not so much
      to conserve water than to keep the in ground water pump
      going instead of over using it….I cannot afford to buy a
      new well pump on my social security checks….
      chuck

  24. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Hi, Sue,

    What a cute opening picture of little Reggie snuggled in the blankies! Your precautionary measures regarding Carl’s had me chuckling! A temper tantrum avoided – whew! 🙂

    To conserve water, I turn off the water when brushing my teeth, re-use non-greasy dishwater to water plants, and do laundry once a week when I have full loads. Also, I no longer water my grass (weeds!) only flower beds by hand…20 seconds for each plant. Using a sprinkler wasted too much water…no need to water the mulch!

    Thank you for the book recommendation. Do you get any credit for free downloads? I read “Slade House” by David Mitchell this past weekend in one afternoon. I highly recommend it! Bloggorinos, check out the description on Amazon. It is a twisty tale of a mysterious alley passageway to an erie mansion, with multiple characters and story lines that all are intertwined….I could not put it down!

    What a beautiful picture of the close of your day! I am glad that you decided to stay in the area for a while….it looks very calm and serene. I know the hummingbirds are happy too, with you feeding them! Sending you, Bridget, and Reggie warm hugs from me and Gracie pup! 🙂

    P.S. – I left you a note on the last post. 🙂

  25. I take a navy shower with a water-saving wand and wash dishes only once a day. Flushing with an RV toilet is really, really low flush and usually takes only a cup or two of water. All in all, I use about 8 gallons per day, not counting clothes washing which I do in a Laundromat about every 10 days–1-2 loads is typical.

    This article from the USGS says the average person (not household) uses 80-100 gallons per day. I am not as conservation-minded as Sue, but I do a lot better than the average person.

  26. Chris says:

    Thank you everyone for the water conservation tips. The rv park that I am currently living at turned off the water the beginning of November. I winterized my water system and am just getting by with bottled water. I had installed a composting toilet when I bought my 5th wheel last spring, so no problems there. It has been very mild here in Minnesota so far. We had snow the beginning of the week but 40’s are forecast for the coming weekend, so everything will probably melt. Yea!

    • Penny from Utah (and Baja) says:

      Which composing toilet did you install and how is it working?
      I’ve been thinking about one for our RV.

      • Chris says:

        I bought the Nature’s Head composting toilet. It is working well. I like that it doesn’t require water and that I don’t have dump a black tank.

        • Penny from Utah (and Baja) says:

          What kind of RV do you have?
          I have a Casita like Sue’s.
          Will it fit in there?
          Can you hook into the Casita venting system?
          It needs a fan. How did you do yours? We run strictly on solar. I see they have a solar powered fan.

          • Chris says:

            I have a 37 foot 5th wheel. The composting toilet fits into the same spot as the regular toilet did. They do offer 2 types of handles for spinning the waste, if space is limited. I ran the vent hose straight out the side of my trailer, but you can run it up or down, as well. They do offer a solar powered fan, I am hooked into one of the wires already in my rv.

        • Linda says:

          I have a C-Head composting toilet in my 16 Ft Scamp. Have not vented it yet, will be doing that when I get it back out in the spring.

  27. Sidewinder Pen says:

    nancy s,

    I (and I’m sure many of us) are thinking of you. Just wanted to let you know.

    Kidney stone/infection: Go aWAY! Yeah, you. Vamoose!

  28. Jordan says:

    Hi Sue,

    Love the sunset photo! Gorgeous! I’ve had some gorgeous moon-rises & sets where i am. Reggie sleeps like i do in my tearbaby on these cold nights – all wrapped up with just my nose sticking out!

    Since i don’t have any tanks & have to haul all my water in separate jugs i really have to conserve. For “showers” i use 2 cups of water which lasts me close to a month (yes i bathe daily) – i make my own all natural “bath wipes” & that’s all the water i need to whip up a batch. They are wonderful & i feel just as clean & refreshed as i would under water – plus they are great for my skin. I wash my hair with about a quart of water hopefully 2x a week (if the weather cooperates!). I made my own composting toilet so no water there, but i do use about a cup to rinse my pee jug out each day. I haven’t dirtied many dishes yet – been too cold & windy to cook much (my kitchen is outside) but i only use a couple of cups of water to wash when i do. A spray bottle with water does a great job of rinsing dishes too – you can even add a little distilled vinegar for disinfecting. I was going to make a weed sprayer shower, but really only needed it for washing my hair or rinsing off. It was a bit too much money & took up too much space for something i would only use occasionally so i just took the parts back to the store the other day. I am using a water bottle with a pop-up top instead & will try coloring the bottle black to help with warming up the water. I also drain the water from my cooler to use as “washing” water. Since i arrived in the desert just over 2 weeks ago, i haven’t yet had to refill my 5 gallon jug of washing water – thanks to the water from my cooler. I have had to get more drinking / cooking water, but not much since i’m not cooking. For these 2 weeks i’d say i have used maybe 15 gallons at the most. Still need to find ways to cut back more.

    • Linda says:

      Great info Jordan!

    • Krystina ~ Victory, Vermont says:

      I also use a spray bottle with a bit of detergent in it to spray my dishes or to wet a paper towel to clean the counter etc. As it is only me in the RV, I put toilet paper in a small trash can in the bathroom. I do not flush unless I “have” to. I drink bottled water and I do not have my hot water heater on. If I need hot water I boil it on the stove…ie…navy showers, etc. I am missing the road 🙁

  29. rvsueandcrew says:

    All these good ideas for conserving our precious water! I’m going to try the squirt bottle idea. I really am enjoying reading comments. Well, I always do!

    I don’t see the need for me to reply to each one, unless there’s a direct question. You have a good night. See you in the morning, blogorinos!

  30. Linda says:

    Hi Sue. Have been following you off and on for about a year. I will be heading out full time in a 16 foot Scamp next fall. Was wondering if you were originally from the southwest area? I will be headed to that area after stopping to visit family in the south and south east. Have never spent much time in the desert areas and am learning a lot from your posts! I will have three dogs with me, an Australian Shepherd that was born deaf and blind, and two Rat Terriers, one that was born deaf. Any suggestions on how to best avoid dangers for them would be greatly apreciated! I worry about rattlers (not afraid of snakes, just worried about the dogs) and scorpions (being a midwest girl, I have never lived by them at all!) Thanks!

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      Hi Linda,

      Since Sue’s turned in, I can say she has mentioned a number of times being from upstate New York, with some adult years lived in Florida and Georgia.

      I’ll let others – or Sue – address the dog questions since I haven’t had one in the SW.

      Fall is a nice time to head to the Southwest! (‘course fall is wonderful in many places 🙂 )

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Linda…. Pen is correct. I’m not from the SW. I didn’t see it until I bought the BLT and drove out here.

      As for rattlesnakes and scorpions, I don’t do anything differently with my dogs in that regard. I saw more snakes in my back yard in Georgia and Florida than I’ve seen in the Southwest. Of course, I do NOT camp in the SW when snakes are above ground and active…in the warm months and I do not take the dogs climbing around rocks. I do discourage them from poking their nose in holes in the ground wherever we are.

      I would assume your dogs, being deaf, are not the kind to run off, hither and yon, bouncing around… I can’t speak for that type of dog. Travel with the Bayfield Bunch’s Kelly and Al have their dog given shots against rattlesnake bites.

      No encounters with scorpions. I think I’ve seen one, maybe two, very little ones in three-going-on-four winters camping in the desert and those I might have seen elsewhere.

      I wrote all that to say this… Don’t worry!

      Oh, and thanks for following my blog and for commenting. You are a blogorino!

      • AlanOutandAbout - Pahrump says:

        Snakes will usually notice you long before you see them and will do whatever they can to avoid you. Scorpions are night creatures and seldom come out during the day. Now if you want a rude awakening go out at night with an UV light and you will see the little buggers everywhere. They glow in the light and you will see them.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Which explains why I never see them. When it’s dark outside, we’re inside, except for necessary potty runs and they’re quick.

      • Linda says:

        Thanks Sue and Sidewinder! My dogs of course will always be be on leashes or in a secure pen. The little deaf one would take off and explore any chance he got! Being blind and deaf, the Aussie explores everything with his nose. Glad to hear with all your time out you have not had issues. I am so looking forward to my full time travels. On water conservation, I love all the suggestions here!

  31. Garth Bacon says:

    Hi Sue,
    If you make it to the other side of the Salton Sea there is a free dump and water at this gas station. 33.279193, -115.966688
    Dumped and filled the water tank 2 days ago.
    Garth

  32. Joy Sutton says:

    Mercy! The weather. Colder there than here. Note the forecast looks better for the future. Was there frost?
    Noted the comments about the vet needs. Are there fleas and how do you handle that. Flea stuff has been very expensive for this summere , fall and now even winter. Two dogs outside abandoned by neighbor moving, Jake dog , and 2 cats plus we had to bomb the house twice has really amounted up . I won’t be able to afford it later on one income. Stressing . Had to finally resort to taking the whole crew to the vet because she refused to de flea cats without the whole regimen of shots etc. transporting them is a nightmare. They are terrified. Freaking and then the awe fullness of chemicals that are against my principles but so is an infestation of the bugs. I survived the ddt era so I suppose this too will pass but hate it.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Joy,

      No frost… It isn’t cold long enough and the air is dry. It doesn’t feel as cold. I haven’t put on a coat one time this season and I’m up and outside early every day.

      No fleas or ticks. I still marvel at that. None! It’s wonderful!

      I understand what you are going through. I battled fleas and ticks in Georgia and Florida… bombing the house, pills for my dogs and cat, daily “tick checks”. . . simply awful, especially for the dogs and cat.

  33. Lynn Brooks says:

    I try to catch the cold water in my shower while waiting for the hot water to come up – it’s about 2-gals a day!!! (Long standing habit from 5 years of full timing!)
    I use this water for my plants & to wash my dishes. I place the dishes in the dishwasher to dry. Rarely run the DW anymore!
    Lynn B. (Baltimore, MD)

  34. Robert NE oregon says:

    Save NOT to dirty water in a plastic 7 gallon Gerry can (a new replacement) for the old style lined 5 gallon metal military ones, they are about 7 to 14 bucks and use putting out campfires in camp or just radiator water for those unfortunate boil overs when your packing more trailer then your p/u can haul…You know the ones that purchased a 38 foot 7000 lb 3 axle camp trailer with two Quads sideways over the bed of the truck and a Harley strapped to the back of the trailer pulling it with a 1/2 ton Chevy short bed powered by a 350 CID that was tired before you left the house! LOL
    I carry fresh water with me in my semi and have stopped and helped those in the situation and could have sold 7 gallons for about 500 bucks. NOPE didn’t charge a thing, just gave it away and some advise. Most in this situation are young men (Hercules) with a young wife and two squally bally kids…………oh those were the days my friend. LMAO…..tee while thehee.
    My folks laughed and pointed out MOST divorces take place on the boat ramp while the wife is told to hold the ski boat (boat ramp, no dock, strong wind) and Hercules runs 2.5 miles to fetch the p/u and boat trailer while honey bunches sets sail for the other side of the lake while bobbing up and down from the bow drowning from every swell that almost drowns her while clinging to the bow and treading water…….GOOD TIMES! lol
    OOooops went on way to long, best use of water or not waste it, is to get a tarp and catch rain water when it rains in the desert, good clean water! Or even a plastic wash basin set out during rain season for dog water.

  35. DesertGinger says:

    Lot of great tips here. I too quit using dishwasher, and I don’t have one in AZ. Wash by hand with a small bowl of soapy water and a sponge, then when they are all washed, rinse all at once. I’m indulgent and don’t do navy showers, but generally only 2 or 3 a week. In between I’m like rusty and use baby wipes on any smelly bits and feet. No one has complained yet! I do laundry at the laundromat…generally one load a week. That wash ball is intriguing! I only drink bottled water. And I learned living in Ca that, when it comes to the toilet…yellow is mellow but brown must go down. Been living that way for years. I also like the garden spray idea. That’s very clever and I may try it next summer.

    Well, back to work! Love the great comments.

  36. Pamela K. says:

    I guess I don’t really do a whole lot of conserving of water…just the common sense things I was taught to do when I was younger. Stuff like only washing clothes when I have a full load to do. Not letting the kitchen faucet or bathroom faucet run while I take care of the tasks I need to do. I wet my hair, then turn the water off to lather up and wash it, turning it back on to rinse it and then wash me. I have a four place setting countertop dishwasher and I only run it when it is plum-full of dishes. When I wash my trailer I use large tubs, one of washing and one for rinsing it off (except for once in Spring and once in Fall when I clean it really good and wax shine it). I don’t have plants or flowers to water (wish I had a green thumb but I don’t). I buy bottled drinking water. Other than these little measures i don’t have much interactions with water much except to cook with it sometimes. Since I cook a lot of crock pot foods or steamer foods I guess that uses very little water. Oh, and my van goes to the no-touch car wash so that is measured use by them. I guess that’s really about it. On a scale of 1-10 I guess I do OK to measure my use.
    BTW, about that countertop dishwasher… I have a hand that simply does not grasp onto dishes well. The dishwasher became a real need instead of a nice-to-have item. Trust me on this, if I waited for Klemper to wash them by hand…it would be Leap Year again before he got around to it, LOL. He’s a saint but he’s not perfect, pretty darn close though. 😉

    • Pookie in SE Texas says:

      Pamela I see you buy bottled water….we do too here
      in Texas but some of these plastic bottles have a note
      written on the side that says something like you can
      sell the empty plastic bottle for 5 cents each in California
      and several other states…..I wonder if I saved up all my
      empty bottles it would be worth a trip out to Calif to sell
      them…..HA! I think about that everytime I take a bag full
      to the recycle plant and give them my empties…
      chuck

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      This isn’t directed at you specifically, Pamela. It’s just that your comment made me think of something.

      I won’t say I never buy bottled water, but I try not to. Just because the bottle waste is SO pervasive. It’s almost like no-one thinks you can drink out of, say, a canteen anymore! So we (collectively) go through ninety-jillion plastic bottles a day. Ugh.

      I do use gallon jugs to get water, but I only buy a few and then refill them over and over at water supply places. For drinking, I use a (beloved!) Hydro Flask. It’s a stainless “bottle” that comes in quite a few sizes and form factors, and as a side-bonus it’s insulated, so hot stays hot and cold stays deliciously cold. That’s all I drink out of. There are sippy type tops, or ones that screw on and you could carry the thing upside down next to your laptop with no fear of leaks. Or you can just drink out of it like a glass, open topped. Won’t break like glass; no waste like plastic.

      Side bonus is that a collection of plastic bottles is a huge space-waster in the trash, even when you crunch them down. And trash size is always a “thing.”

      I hope that didn’t sound self-righteous. I certainly do plenty of things that I can’t be proud of. But the proliferation of disposable plastic water bottles just gets to me.

      • Pookie in SE Texas says:

        sidewinder there is a cause for concern over plastic bottles
        and thats why I recycle mine even milk bottles and any other
        plastic I might empty………I usually go thru a case every
        2 months and take 2 or 3 garbage bags of plastic bottles to the
        center…….we would be better off without all the plastics in this
        world…..

  37. Pamela K. says:

    Water…
    I do admit, I waste water on my dog, LOL. Try as i might to hurry up washing her, she just wiggles way too much to get the job done in any kind of hurry. Once, done, she is dirty again in 5 minutes or less! Bath time, even in the dead heat of Summer is not her thing. I guess you could say she is a Water Hog and not a Water Dog.
    I am so ashamed…blaming my poor sweet pooch for being a Water Hog. I have reached I new low (hangs head now). Quiet, we won;t tell her, OK?!

  38. Pamela K. says:

    Sue,
    About that Water Conservation Sign…
    I wonder if there is a California Water Conservation Map hiding somewhere that maps out all the locations where the water is cut off or greatly restricted per the California Water Conservation Act. I think I will look up some more info about that. There might be one. Sort of like the moderate-to-low income CRA maps for bank lending issues. If there’s an “Act” and it deals with defined locations then there is a pretty good chance a map is issued defining the areas affected. I would be highly surprised if there wasn’t a map, downloadable database or CD showing these locations for all of California!

  39. Bob Wells says:

    Sue, if you go across the bridge into Arizona and get off at Exit 1 and go around the round-about you will go over the freeway and come down to the little town of Ehrenberg, AZ. The little store and laundromat directly in front of you is set up for boondockers. I boondock about 3 miles from it on the Flying J side of the freeway.

    He has a dump and water and it is very cheap. He may not charge anything for a few gallons. I usually get my water at Miller park and I’m really sorry to hear it’s closed for water (I’m still in Quartzsite, I move to Ehrenberg Friday).
    Bob

  40. Jan from Oregon says:

    There used to be a sink in the laundromat behind the Ford dealership. Deep enough to fill your gallon jugs.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Jan from Oregon. I appreciate the suggestion! There probably is one at the laundromat on the west side of town, too. I never thought about that.

  41. rvsueandcrew says:

    Hi, Mike… That’s called a “U-boat baptism” I learned. 🙂

  42. We conserve even when we have FHUs. As others have said, just because there is some, doesn’t mean we have to use it up. I use a detergent wand for washing dishes, then minimal water to rinse. Baby wipes for washing hands. The “off” button on the shower wand makes it easy to only use the bare minimum. Having lived in SoCal most of my life, I’ve always been pretty conservative with water – and raised my kids to do the same.

    • Renee says:

      Hey Jodee, we do too – conserve when we have hookups. Must be habit. We too use baby wipes and that sanitizing gel to clean our hands and avoiding water.

  43. BeckyIO says:

    Meanwhile, in Texas where I’m work-camping until just before Christmas we had over 5 inches of rain Thanksgiving weekend and I had lakefront property in the form of a mostly-submerged RV site for a while there. Luckily my Casita came through well, I did discover a leak at one of my windows though.

    If only Texas and Arizona could do an exchange for a while, although really Texas was under a drought for quite a while too and they do need this rain. The lakes around here are looking a lot better for it, this is the wettest year on record for the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

    Either way, I’m looking forward to my gig with Amazon getting done so I can try boondocking in the desert southwest for the very first time this winter. I want to camp near saguaros too!

    All the best to you and the crew Sue.

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      Hi Becky,

      I’ve enjoyed reading about your travels over the years. Great to see you here and happy to hear you are going to experience the SW this winter. It really is nice, and lots of boondocking!

      • BeckyIO says:

        I discovered Sue’s blog while I was in the research phase of full-timing, not sure I’d be in a Casita if it wasn’t for her. It’s just hard to find the time to comment sometimes but I drop in on occasion. Hopefully I’ll have more time to keep up with other RVer’s blogs after Amazon gets done, will be nice not to have a “job” for a while. 🙂

        Are you going to be in the SW this winter too Pen? Have a good winter wherever you end up.

        • Pamelab in Houston says:

          Sue and Becky – I follow you both and really appreciate the helpful information on the Casita life and all the photos. Thank you, both.
          Pamela

          • eliza says:

            Hi Becky – I follow your blog too, and it is fun to see you here. Thank you for all the helpful information and entertainment. And thanks again to Sue&crew

            • BeckyIO says:

              When Amazon gets rough Eliza and I need to remember what I’m working for I come here and read Sue’s adventures in the desert to remind me. 🙂 You’re welcome and I’m glad you’re finding IO helpful.

          • BeckyIO says:

            You’re very welcome Pam, I recognize your name from IO. 🙂

  44. Hi Marla! I thought I would be here waiting for you when you got here…lol. 🙂

  45. Hi Sue, I just got a “water bandit” off the amazon web site…look for it…anyway, for difficult water situations, I guess this thing works when you cannot connect because the threads have been stripped or removed….some say it is worth it to have for 5.00. Anyway, doing my christmas shopping…you will see…ha! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you very much, Shirlene, for going to Amazon from here. I bought one of those water bandits a few years ago. First time I used it the water pressure blew the thing apart. I hope it was defective and that yours works great for you!

      Yay for Christmas shopping! 🙂

      • Renee says:

        It’s actually called a water thief. We have one and it comes in handy when filling our tank using a spigot type of faucet – no threads.

  46. Dave says:

    It might help the water problem at Miller Park if they installed a security camera.

  47. Hi Sue!

    I’m so late to this party, but wanted to comment, too! It is disgusting how much water we waste every day (myself included), you realize how you can live on much less after boondocking for any amount of time and NEEDING to conserve. We have a 30 gallon fresh tank in our RV, and each time we camp I get better and better about stretching that water as far as it will go. Then I get home and fall back into old patterns. I told my husband I want to come up with some sort of system to completely recycle all the wasted water that usually goes down the drain (or roof). That will be my new project for 2016!

    OK, I’m off to read the next post….I’m almost caught up! Hope you are well!

  48. Sue CleanerGreenerVegas says:

    Just wondering… how did u make your own composting toilet?

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