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Old 10-16-2015, 02:31 PM   #1
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2019 27' International
2014 25' International
2006 23' Safari SE
Fort Saunders , Wyoming
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,716
Boondocking Waste Water and Food Waste Disposal

I was not born on a mountaintop in Tennessee, but after living in a Forest Service cabin in NW Montana as a kid... may as well have been.

Forest Service cabins had a grey water disposal system. You put water in the sink. Use it and it would run outside through a hose. Today, maybe a septic system is provided as many Forest Service families are more likely to be content nearer a town and proper plumbing, propane, power and well water.

"Black Water" was the out house. Winter, Summer... any season.

NO bear ever found the Grey or Black water of any interest. It was the "Root Cellar", as I recall it being called, that needed sturdy doors. The out door john was not a target of a bear, raccoon or badger. Use the john, toss in some lye powder... done.

Flash forward to 2015. Many of these remote Forest Service cabins are in disrepair or torn down and hauled to the dump. These were not the "log cabin" you visualize from current living standards, but a frame with tar paper exterior for water proofing, tar shingle roof, single pane windows and a door with a latch for security. During the Summer and hot months you smelled the tar paper and at night the kerosene lantern to read by.

Bear and coyotes are attracted more by what you are "cooking". The scent travels for miles through the forest and prairies in the western USA. This scent is what brings in the hungry furry animals to your campsite.

We have attracted MORE bear at our former home next to the Front Range by cooking Salmon on the outdoor grill. Grilling meat or fish brought the bear. Baby diapers were found by neighbors to be very attractive to bear. Trash cans with food trimmings were found to be scent beacons to bear and mountain lion. House cats... were the preferred snacks for owls and mountain lions. A mountain lion might have several deer stacked under a pine tree or hanging, yet a BBQ is very tempting to visit.

But... Grey Water. Never. Anywhere I have camped or lived, other than green grass and healthy bushes.

We use mostly paper plates for meals to avoid using fresh water. When enough stainless ware is in need of sterilization... boil water and pour into a wash basin with some detergent. Wash, lightly rinse. I take the grey water and toss it somewhere down a gopher hole or onto the ground, away from the trailer.

The Missouri River... I consider a dangerous "grey water". We would say from one city to the down river city... sewer out, sewer in. The Yellowstone River in Montana... great water for washing self or utensils. Rainwater... any use.

I have had diarrhea not from water sources, but from restaurant's poor food handling. It is always the next day and 150 miles away it hits. You want to find the cook responsible and have him incarcerated with two week old hamburger to cook and eat as punishment. But I wander...

Pioneers and Off the Grid trailer campers have a lot in common then, and today. You burn scrap food in a pit, rather than store it in your trailer, outside in a bucket or piled up near by. There has been a cultural shift from Rural Smarts to Urban Ignorance in our Society. Not that I am a good example of anything, there are somethings we as a human, have lost over the generations... HOW to survive without the nice options of modern living.

Please. This is not saying that some "tree hugger" is not doing good. That is what saved many of the "old forests" on the west coast and the Rockies. But then the forest fires due to the dying older trees takes... everything out. Good can produce bad results later. I am as much a tree hugger and nature lover than someone chained to a tree, outside National Park protection. But, sometimes people gathered at a large gathering of 100 trailers get confused with those camped in small groups in the forest or prairies. One is a Town/Trailer Park, the other dispersed campsites. The vision of one or the other is blurred by not experience of camping Off the Grid.

The beautiful forest you see in many mountain mining areas were at one time... stumps. The lumber used to build the town and mine timbers. Nature cleans itself with FIRE. The Western States are now suffering by poor future management of forest and prairie due to pressure groups.

This is not a political argument. It is how I was brought up in the forests of Montana and Idaho. Lightening caused fires were the norm. Now... it is anyone's guess on a clear day with a new fire.

Relax. Sit back and consider what is true and what is... folk lore. Indians would set the prairie on fire so the Spring brought fresh grass for the Bison herds. Be skeptical of what I say, what you read and what you are told. There IS some logic to be gained. But experience is just scarce today.

Thank you and do step forward and get involved. Everyone's opinion and experience is welcomed. I am just from a different world and find myself surrounded by many people I cannot understand with city culture. My purpose is not to make friends, but to bring some issues out into the light.

Someday my soul will rest in peace. Until then... now is a great opportunity to have a discussion.
Human Bean
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Old 10-17-2015, 07:25 PM   #2
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2005 22' Interstate
san clemente , California
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 236
RAY-----THANK YOU for returning to the Forum after your "Sabbatical".

It is a PLEASURE to listen and read your thoughts and opinions on our culture, habits, and expectations. Our participation with you, Nancy, and everyone else was a highlight of our summer sojourn in our Interstate.

We are so looking forward to the Spring and Summer adventures BOONDOCKING and ROCKDOCKING with friends who GET IT. ed and jan
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Old 10-18-2015, 03:38 PM   #3
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FULL Grey / Black tanks... what to do?

Ed & Jan... a wonderful couple to have Off or On the Grid. We are pretty lucky to have strong willed women in our lives... and great cooks! Be prepared for a totally different environment on the 2016 Wyoming Adventure!

I was to post this onto another Thread, but I wanted not to appear heartless or boorish in doing so. Just another way to look at grey and/or black water disposal.

At a "High Density Campground" I would resist taking your grey water and bucketing it to the building with plumbing. Although many campsites may not have Full Hookups, I have never found one that did not have a centralized dump station away from the campground. When I say "never found one", well I do not find myself at such camping areas often and am far removed from being an expert in sewage hauling in my trailer. Nothing like finding pubic hairs in the sink when brushing my teeth... from shower water being dumped by a tote or bucket.

Quemado, NM had a Forest Service Campground. Pit restroom, no showers, no sinks... although scattered fresh water pumps at each site, and excellent well water to add. There was a dump station to service the 50 or so campsites in the area, was well marked used by RV's and Trailers. I would suspect that the tent campers tossed the grey water into the bushes, which in the small volumes they would have to dispose, I have no prejudice in that myself. No doubt a large septic system.

Near Woodland Park, Colorado many years ago the same situation. The dump station was outside the camping area along the paved county road.

Lake Meade National Recreation Area, Nevada. Restrooms, flushing toilets, sinks, no showers... a dump station in a common area. NO dishwashing. Same with those RV Parks west of Tucson, AZ.

Our trailer water is used for drinking and food preparation. Our shower has had minimal use. I cannot recall the last time our shower was used. My wife and I use the public shower, which is not up to our home living standards, but a shower is a shower. Same with the dry pit or flushing toilets. Washing dishes in the sink at most campgrounds is... posted. NO.

I have never caught a rash from a stool lid, nor planter's warts on my feet from a public shower. This is in the high density camping environment with trailers and tent campers. I have found that some campers have found the flushing mechanism on the side of the stool too complicated to operate... as well. Be a good samaritan and give human kind a... flush if possible. Those cleaning these facilities had better be getting the salary of the Park's management.

When I am in a campsite shower, I am not concerned by those coming in and out of the building. I usually leave my wallet and keys in the trailer with my wife... as there are a small percentage of thieves and opportunists anywhere. If someone sees my bare butt... so what. I try to be modest, but geez... most guys are not interested in looking at you drying off or using the urinal. I say most since I have to assume most guys my age really do not give a "toot".

The bashful probably had not spent a couple years in the US Military. That really cures anyone who is bashful. I have not seen any male with any extra stuff that I was not born with, yet. Not that I was too discriminating at the time.

I admit. My wife and I Boondock 90% of the time Off the Grid. If we were to use a Forest Service pit house to dump shower water... the pit house is not designed to handle a large volume of water. The "pumper vehicle" would not be able to make such frequent visits... unless you want to cover the costs.

At a low density campsite or hunter's camp... grey water is grass irrigation. Black... find a dump station if stored in your tank. You made the mess, you clean it up.

I return back to my youth of the Montana Forest Service days of the early 1950's. You mention "shower" or "grey water" or "black water" and I would have had no idea what to think. These Forest Service cabins had NO showers, no running water, no flushing toilet... no power until the later 1950's and we survived. Never gave it a second thought at a youngster what you had to do living in the National Forest. You knew. It was not until I was six or seven years old when we lived in Somers, Montana that had water and plumbing... maybe a tub. House used firewood to heat, and open windows to cool.

Those younger than 50 (?) might have never "roughed it enough" to be comfortable without all the pleasantries of a RV Park... UNLESS started by camping in a tent for a couple years. Given an Airstream trailer with everything one could ever need... and you are confused in simple logic???

You might want to try a real Trailer Camping Off the Grid experience with a group that have been doing this for years, just to get away from the RV Park mentality.

If you survive a couple days with a group of "real Off the Grid" Airstream campers... you just might figure it all out on your own. True Grit is not a cereal but an attitude. Some are born with "it" and others have to develop "it" over time, but when you have reached that point... then there is nothing sacred to avoid conversation. Some of 2016 Wyoming will be 100% Off the Grid. Some base camps... close to it... BUT you will find a confidence to push onward with a group that really do not mind getting away from the helpless, when 30amp power and Full Hookups are necessary to be comfortable.
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