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.