Living with No Natural Gas – Showering in Cold Water

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.

About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"
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