Nevada Sand Dune and Walker Lake

As stated before, we were shooed out of a couple national park spaces and after a couple weeks in the desert near the Big Dunes in Nevada in March 2020 (pandemic closures). We started to travel north expecting to be needed in Reno on the 24th to sign paperwork selling one of our rentals. We lost four buyers to job losses during the shutdown. That aside here are some of our favorite pictures from Nevada during our quarantine.

Big Dune, Nevada: horned lizard/horny toad
Big Dune, Nevada: Can you find the horned lizard!?
Big Dune, Nevada in March!!
Big Dune, Nevada: We didn’t get to play on the dunes but we did enjoy the views. We were taking the quarantine seriously, Andrew was furloughed and so we were watching our health and our spending (gas, possible injuries, etc). We will play next time!!
Walker Lake, Nevada: Sunrise
Walker Lake, Nevada: April full moon
Full moon close up
Walker Lake, Nevada
Walker Lake, Nevada: so many stunning skies
Walker Lake, Nevada: sunset
More sunset
Walker Lake, Nevada

Stinky Composting Toilet Suggestions

If you’re like us you invested in a composting toilet to save water. This toilet actually saves both fresh water and space for grey water if you’ve combined your RV black and grey tanks. Why on Earth would someone need to conserve water and keep urine in a plastic container and feces in a bucket to be turned several times a day!?! Well, to live for free (as in a couple to no dollars a day). In our case we do his often! Welcome to the full-time, when possible off grid RV Lifestyle.

We learned about this toilet from about four years ago and decided this was for us since we were also investing in solar panels and batteries to let us live without hook ups for extended periods. This toilet is actually a major reason we can live this way. The grey tank alone holds 35-45 gallons of water. That’s not enough for us to live for 2-3 weeks without needing a dump station since our fresh water tank holds 80 gallons. The solution was a composting toilet which freed up the black water tank (another 35-45 gallon tank) to be connected to the grey tank and provide plenty of grey water space. (Check YouTube for videos on how to do this; we did and Andrew found it to be simple and effective)

I love my toilet. We get to live how and where we want to. There are a few issues we’ve had though and here they are with the solutions that made the situations a touch to completely better.

First off, when it was windy and blowing in just the “wrong direction” we ended up smelling the air being vented from the compost (coconut coir and solids area) inside. This could be pretty unpleasant… One major time this was an issue was when driving! The vent didn’t face forward but straight down. The wind whipping by the end of the hose was enough to blow it back into the toilet and as a result into our RV home! Solution was to point the hose towards the back of the rig. This way as we traveled down the highway the wind was not forcing air back into the rig.

When we made this change we also extended the hose (through the cabinet under the living space) to reach from the passenger side to the driver side. This solved a second issue because our bathroom is on the passenger side. When sitting outside we are on the passenger side; that’s where the door and awning is after all. So the exhaust hose literally vented to where we were hanging out! Not pleasant. Now the hose vents to the driver side and that allows the smell to normally not affect us when we are outside.

Dryer sheet over vent hole.

Another issue related to venting is the strength of the fan. It’s not the most powerful and I find the compost to be most offensive after changing it out. For this reason we place a dryer sheet with a rubber band on the side without the fan to help keep the smells inside while allowing fresh air into the space to help the venting. This seriously cuts down on the odors in our home.

Finally, the urine buckets get some buildups on the sides that can be tricky to clean. We’ve tried the small stone shake, the dishwasher detergent soak, and honestly the best solution we’ve used is Goo Gone. A little bit of Good Gone with a little bit of water, give it a shake and let it soak turning the bucket so it soaks all the sides. Then dump and rinse. We don’t do this when needing to make use of pit toilets and whatnot as I don’t want to affect those so it’s a once every couple weeks thing we do when at an RV park to do laundry, empty grey tanks and get our fresh water before getting back out to a BLM or National Park.

So there you have a few examples of the toilet smell solutions, reality of RV living and the flexibility and creativity needed. Not everything about RV life is glamorous 😉

Meditation in this time…

This is an unusual time in our lives. If you’re like most people you’re locked down in your home or on your property and that can feel stressful and uncomfortable. There are many kinds of meditation techniques which you can try in addition to sitting on a pillow (although this is a great meditation, too). I’ll share some of my favorites!

My first and favorite go to is dance!!!! Literally. Put on your favorite music and dance. Slow swaying movements, jamming to pop, air punching, randomly flinging your body around, you name it. DO IT! Set time aside to dance every day. Even one song can make your body and mind feel sooo much better. Get your blood flowing and your lungs working.

Now, as you dance each day your focus can change. Your focus on yourself IS the meditation. At first you might be doing dance moves you’re familiar with or have done before. As days go by let yourself move in ways that are unfamiliar, rather than “look cool,” focus on “feel good,” and provide sensations in your joints and muscles. Notice what the movements are that feel good. Notice how different parts of your body feel. Notice if your feet move, hips move, are you only standing? Are your hands touching the floor? Are your knees? This is the meditation aspect of movement and dance! Notice how your body feels. Notice how your body wants to move. Do that!

Try closing your eyes. Dance with your eyes closed. Notice how your movements change. How do your emotions change? What are your emotions like before dancing? During? When different music plays? When you move in certain ways? After?

Play and enjoy the privacy and space of the quarantine! Try it with without music. Try it in a room alone. Try it with your kids. Dance with your cat and dog. If you have outdoor space, dance inside and out. Build this as a meditation practice that will last you long after the quarantine is over.