a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Grid-Free and Off The Beaten Path – a journey

by Jeannie Newell, Crested Butte, CO

With my 20/20 hindsight, I have seen a few things I would do differently for ‘off-grid’ living if I had to do it all over again.  I would definitely consider buying a second solar panel ($150 a piece) so I could plug in the fridge – we have a cooler / fridge that can be plugged in or not.  It would be easier than carting frozen water in milk jugs back and forth to the camper every other day.  This worked well in May, but July proved to be much more of a pain 😉

Also, I would have known that our handmade tarp based awning would be no match for the Colorado winds, and would have bought something more durable, because moving our wooden chairs and dog beds in and out of the camper during the daily rains is also a pain.  I might find a little something extra for storing things – the truck occasionally gets filled with crap that we don’t have room for in the camper, and so is annoyingly full when we are driving ourselves / our dogs / our recycling around.  Bigger waste water tank — we use a pretty small one, and dish water fills up the tank so fast, emptying it is a weekly job.  Bi-weekly would be nicer.  Its funny experiencing all of the reasons people sought to live more comfortably and conveniently in the first place.  Let’s see, I would buy  travel size bottles of shampoo & other toiletries, because I need to keep them in my backpack at all times and they can be re-filled by the bigger bottles as needed.  They can be kept for future travels, too!
I would have a back up toothbrush and deodorant.

Just some random thoughts about this so-far adventure that I hope will continue through September.

The summer is coming to an end here in Crested Butte. ‘The monsoons’ roll in this time of year, cooling things off.  The camper and truck have been getting nice ‘n dirty from muddy dog paws and just from mud in general!  I now have cows on my street.  Apparently ‘the cows come home’ – seriously – around this time of year.  They drive them here in trucks and drop them off!  sometimes we drive too fast around a bend in the road and get startled by a big mama cow standing in the middle of the road, hanging out.  I am bummed that I still ride my bike less, but at least I carpool with Michael, and I vow to live somewhere (even if it’s here, just in town) where I can bike everywhere.  I would still bike with toiletries and stuff, I think, just because.

Right now I really need some rest.  I’ve been working sooo much lately.  My sister and her friend, Patti, were up from Boulder this weekend and I was busy working a lot of that time.  Also, our little dog Django has been very sick this past week, and we are waiting to hear what the vet thinks about his condition.  Please send prayers and thoughts if you can…

Love and peace,


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