We’ve survived an entire week of full time living on the bus! I’m happy to report that everything is going swimmingly and we are loving the new lifestyle. This post doesn’t have as many photos as I usually like, but I thought you might enjoy hearing how life is going.
Food & Cooking
I knew that cooking was going to be one of the biggest adjustments to bus life, but I had no way to gauge how big a deal it would be. Luckily we’re finding that it’s really quite similar to living at home!
Last Sunday I went to the grocery store and bought just as many groceries as I would for a “regular” week. I tried to get a good balance of fresh stuff and food that is “semi homemade” like parboiled rice, pasta sides, and simmer sauces – luckily this stuff usually tends to be shelf stable as well! The fridge and pantry are comfortably full: we definitely aren’t hurting for food storage space.
The actual process of cooking has been easy as well. One great thing about bus life is that we’re incredibly active outdoors, which makes me feel much better about tucking into a big bowl of pasta at the end of the day. So far we’ve had two pasta dinners, chicken chile verde soup (delicious!) and some braised pulled pork (also good, but not mind blowing.)
Another interesting thing to get used to is using our electric pressure cooker. On one hand it makes creating a meal that would generally take all day take less than an hour. On the other hand, it does suck quite a bit of power to create the hot, pressurized environment. Since we’re running on solar, it’s really important to keep track of our power usage throughout the day. It’s OK if I use a bunch of power in the morning because the sun can replenish the batteries throughout the day. It’s not ideal to use a bunch of power after the sun has gone down, because then we’ll be low for the rest of the night. Thus, I’ve started cooking our main meals in the middle of the day when I have better access to unlimited solar. I haven’t tried out the tiny oven yet, but I will soon.
Having grown up in California, Will and I are both pretty acquianted with watching our water usage and trying to conserve where we can, but living on the bus has brought a whole new meaning to water conservation! We’ve been trying very hard to stretch our 65 gallon tank as far as it will go. Last week we were able to do all of our dishes and coffee with no problems. I even took a short shower!
Speaking of shower, I should mention our hot water heater. I wasn’t sure how it would work, but this thing is a champ! It goes on for a few minutes, heats up 6 gallons of water hotter than I can stand, then keeps it hot for ages. Having hot water for dishes in a campground is such a luxury – I am so glad we sprung for the water heater!
On another note, we discovered early on that the water coming from our tanks doesn’t taste great. It’s perfectly acceptable to drink, but the flavor is plasticky. Instead we’ve decided to fill gallon jugs and store them in the fridge – not super ideal, but better than plastic flavoring.
As I mentioned, the solar is a tricky thing to keep track of. On a bright sunny day we are only limited to the amount of power that the panels can generate (which is a lot) so we can use electricity however we like. However, once the bus is shaded or the day turns cloudy, we have to start regulating our usage. The batteries don’t last as long as we thought they would, but we haven’t ever had a situtation where we needed power that we didn’t have.
Sleeping in the bus is awesome. The bed is comfortable, the fan keeps the air moving, the curtains block out most of the light. No problems here!
Work is the one thing that didn’t go as smoothly as it could have this week. We were using our wifiranger to connect to the campground wifi, which everyone had access to. It worked great at non-peak times, but when everybody and their brother were trying to stream netflix we had a hard time getting on. We broke down and bought a mifi yesterday to fill the wifi gaps when needed.
I’m happy to say that our level of activity has skyrocketed! In the past week we’ve ran, mountain biked, and explored the Elwha river with Hilde. We are SO happy to get to spend our free time adventuring rather than working on the bus! I can’t wait to share all of the stories and photos from our last few days.
Hilde is a happy dog. Living on the bus means lots of people to visit all the time, which she loves! It also means plenty of time spent out on the trails, one of her favorite activites. Though she has a huge, comfy dog bed, she still likes to sleep up on the couch at night… I’m glad that we went with the “hilde themed” IKEA slipcovers, because they hide the hair pretty well.
Speaking of hair, we have so much of it! We sweep out the bus at least once a day and we are both continually amazed at how much dust and dog hair accumulates throughout the day. Luckily we only have ~100 sq ft of floorspace, so sweeping the entire thing takes less than a minute.
We spent the first part of the week camped out at the lovely Elwha Dam RV Park, just outside of Port Angeles. At $24 / night for dry camping we had access to all of their facilities including bathrooms, showers, laundry, and wifi. The family that runs the park is very kind and welcoming, just the type of atmosphere we love! They even let us dump / fill our water tanks and top off our batteries from their shore power before we left, free of charge.
Our second parking spot was at the Tiger Mountain State Park, just outside of Issaquah, WA. There’s no campground, but the parking lot is more than enough for the bus! It was our first night camping outside of a campground and I think we were both a little nervous, but it worked out great. More on that later!
Phew! I thought this was going to be a short post but it got long. There you have it – life on the bus is good. It’s an adjustment, but we’re having a great time and can’t wait to see what else is in store!