During the summer of 2010, I had a problem with the natural gas bill. I was behind and receiving threatening letters. It was during this time that the Awakening occurred and I began to hunger for the nomadic lifestyle. The gas company would not work with me on breaking the bills into payments. I suddenly had a brainstorm.
I don’t need natural gas! I won’t have it on the road!
So, much to our discomfort, I called the gas company and disconnected the natural gas. We lived for a month with no hot water. It was not the end of the world. Being summer in Iowa, it was quite warm. I showered at the local gym. After work, I would also strip naked and bathe (after closing the station, of course!).
Cooking was easy. With the help of a George Foreman grill, a rotisserie, a griddle, toaster oven, and a barbecue grill, cooking was a breeze. Meals were just as warm and tasty. I also learned that many of these devices are redundant. I am not going to take all of them with me!
Shortly after the one month period, I worked out a payment agreement with the gas company. It’s interesting how much more helpful they are after you say “Screw you, I don’t need you.” The gas is restored but the lessons are permanent.
Here is what I concluded: I do need some sort of hot water. Research taught me that there are several viable options. I can heat a pan of water on a burner inside the van. The downside is the limited quantity of hot water. I can build an engine coolant heated exchanger (downsize is limited temperature), or use a fancy propane powered tankless heater. Showering in a van is necessary as well as collecting and storing grey water (unless camping in the wilderness areas).
There were a plethora of lessons to be learned from this one exercise. Jamie was pissed off and called me a retard through most of the month, but watched and learned as each of us adapted to life with no hot water.