Saturday, January 24, 2009


Ah, boondocking in the desert... sunshine, wonderful temperatures, friends, plenty of leisure time, right? HA!

This photo shows but a fragment of the list of scheduled events in Boomerville (double-click the photo if you want to be able to read the activities). Some events start as early as 8:30 am, and they often go into the evening. And yes, that is a computer spreadsheet created to keep track of all of 'em!

During our first visit to "Boomerville at Q", we tried to do it all - meet everyone, go to most of the discussion groups and meetings. We wore ourselves out.

Last year, we relaxed, only attending the events/groups we were incredibly interested in... ahhhh, much better. This year, we are extremely picky about where we spend our time (like the Dopps earth-oven-pizza-party, second photo, or the "around the campfire" conga line, third photo), but as Membership Coordinators, we have business to conduct: applications to pass out and process, money to collect, Boomer decals to sell, emails to send... Odel practically fell onto the couch when we got home from happy hour this afternoon. But it is all good, and fun. We know so many of the Boomers now, and get to meet all the new ones.

One of the great things about boondocking (camping with no hookups) is the appreciation you gain for important things that we usually take completely for granted - particularly power and water. We generate our own power (we use a generator and 4 mightily powerful batteries, others use solar or even wind energy), so efficient management is a good thing... but we simply make more power when we need it.

Water is another story. We can carry 100 gallons of fresh water, and can store 100 gallons of "used" water. If we want to stay here a week, well, you do the math. It isn't very much water that we can use each day, is it? Over the years we have done this, we've learned lots of tricks for saving water - AND, equally important, our threshold of what we are willing to do to save water has lowered considerably.

This year, along with all the usual conservation measures - simple or pre-cooked meals, brush your teeth (we haven't given THAT up!) using water in a cup, wash the dishes just once a day, "navy" showers no more often than every other day (Odel and I can shower in a combined total of 5 gallons) - we have two new approaches to try.

I cut the tops off two one-gallon plastic water bottles. One is in the shower, and we used it to catch the 1/4 gallon of water that is otherwise wasted down the drain while we wait for the shower water to warm up. This perfectly clean, captured water can be used for cooking, tooth-brushing, or face-washing, so sits on the counter awaiting its fate.

The other container is in the kitchen sink. Whenever we rinse a cup or utensil, we capture the little bit of "dirty" water. Hand-washing water is captured in the same jug. This becomes toilet flushing water... after we use the toilet, we "flush" with water from the jug.

I found Odel's current limit on how far we can go with this when I poured the remains of my tea into the bathroom jug, turning the water a muddy brown. He couldn't take it - it looked too, too gross sitting in the toilet. What a lightweight. :)

The American Water Works Association estimates that American households use between 45 and 70 gallons of water PER PERSON PER DAY - 45 gallons being the number that can be reached with conservation measures. I'm here to tell ya' - those households haven't even begun to scratch the surface of true water conservation!

So boondocking makes me grateful... that I don't have to haul my water from a (possibly contaminated) well, pond or river, that I can heat my water with the flick of a switch or on a gas stove (rather than using fuel I carried from 3 miles away). I have light at night, again with the flick of a switch. These things would be magical to so many citizens of our world - boondocking reminds me of the magic.


  1. Great post, Laurie and something we should all pay closer attention to as the western drought continues.
    Question: What method do you use to get your name on the photos?
    Thanks too for sharing the photo of the activity board. WOW! looks like fun.

  2. Judy, I use Picasa 3 to "massage" my photos. When I have a photo cropped and sharpened for the blog, I use "export" to save a smaller version (640 pixels or less) for uploading to the blog. In the box that opens when exporting photos, there is a checkbox to "Add a watermark". Put a check in the box and type in the text. Voila!

  3. it sound like you are having fun
    miss Q we are in aransas pass for 6 weeks NS LOVE IT HERE

  4. I think everyone should have to live in an RV for a month and see how far using 45 gallons of water would take them. They'd find out real quick that it doesn't take much of anything to live happily. Speaking of saving on water...what about composting toilets?

    Hugs, Sharon & Ron

  5. Ohh, well that's easy. Thanks for the info and welcome back to Tucson!