December 30th, 2019 – Out of Propane ALREADY??

Captain’s Log: City to Gritty

Today we had a strong dose of gritty. After 9 days in a nice hotel—it was a familiar, yet a rough adjustment going back off grid.

We ran out of fresh water + drinking water before we left, and it was a big reminder when we arrived back and saw we would be abstaining from drinks until the next day. Plus, it was freezing cold, so if we did have fresh water, it would have been frozen anyway.

Our mini catalytic heater managed to keep kitty warm and our plants alive!! Which is great! But it only kept a small area of our tiny space warm. Everything else not in range was frozen.

We had enough propane in our big tank to heat the rest of our trailer with the generator until about 2am. It was then, we realized we burned through our entire 500 gallon tank. The tank we hoped would last the winter was now empty.

So, it was extra blankets until morning, and took all day + trips to the hardware store to refill our old small tanks as a patch until we can get a large propane rig back up here to refill our big tank. Which may or may not happen with snow + ice conditions.

We’ve been determined to push through until our house is done, but today I had doubts. I know we’ll make it, but it doesn’t make it any easier boiling water to do dishes, heavily rationing electricity with our propane issue and going back to bathing once a week (I was a daily bather when on vacation haha).

Our lines are frozen, it’s cold outside and it’s doable, yet extra work to boil water every time we want warm or hot water, and transfer water to the bathroom for toilets or teeth brushing and just gritting it out until a random warm weather day. Winter camping is NOT glamorous. And it’s time to empty black water too—a FROZEN black water 💩 ❄️.

But, the generator is now back up and running thanks to a handy hubby, we have plenty of available drinking water again and our tiny home is starting to thaw out again. It’s times like this, you ONLY think about your current moment. No future crazy talk haha. Thinking into the future and imaging 10-14 more months is defeating. Thinking of the past at the hotel, or our old apartment is defeating. IT’S ONLY NOW THAT MATTERS. And right now, life is good. I just finished hot cornbread and soup and can’t wait to eat it! 😋💗🙌🏻💪🏼


  • Beau McMichael Hang in there! Your gorgeous forever home will be worth it!!
  • Katherine Davidson Frozen black water 🤮 nooooo… lets have a work play date soon!
  • Frankie McAdams Barlow I can’t imagine or I just don’t want to imagine ! At my age I rather have comfort!!!!
  • Active NowSummer Estella Lajoie Wow! You are so strong! Way to be positive and encouraging. 😊
  • Elisabeth Phelps Rogers 😂 I love your hand drawn home! Haha it’s fun to live vicariously through you, even though I have no desire to live where you’re at (I’m a lover of convenience, and I watch too many cabin-y horror movies) but it’s fun to fantasize 🤗
    • Rachel McCash Cronin Elisabeth Phelps Rogers hahaha we LOVE convenience too!! We are building a very modern contemporary cabin—higher ceilings, tons of windows, tons of skylights, white walls, spiral staircases and more. This RV set up is very much a temporary sacrifice for this dream. Our intention is to create an off-grid luxury set up with this first build. One step at a time, we’ll get there 🤪💪🏼
  • Nikki VanDuyn My parents live in their RV. While “home” on their property, they are on propane, solar power, and well water/septic. Could that be an option for you? Or is the house closer (and cheaper) to being built than needing to obtain solar power? 😊
    (I understand well water is NOT an option, in the mountains).
    • Rachel McCash Cronin Nikki VanDuyn we are drilling a well and installing a cistern as well! I believe our septic will be one of the first things installed. I don’t know if we will be able to use it during construction, but we will find out. Our home solar system is expensive haha so we only want to invest into that one and not build a separate for our trailer. But quality of life is important so who knows! Maybe we might dedicate funds but it’s a hard choice to invest in a temporary set up.
    • Nikki VanDuyn Oh, I get that! Good luck with all of it! I’m so happy you are able to do this!
  • Michael T Hoover You’re writing about this had me on edge! Great story and also a great lesson on living in the moment! You had me at “gritty!” Honestly that’s some exciting stuff, living on the edge!
  • Mel Allred I see some of the posts suggested this, but I’ll add my 2 cents. Supplemental power sources ie., wind, solar, water generator seem essential to complete off grid success. I do, however, love your continued improvement and courage to succeed. <3
    • Rachel McCash Cronin Mel Allred yes our cabin will have a very nice solar set up! We learned wind was very expensive (like $15k for one + integrating it into our set up). So we want to add wind, but not until much later. There are cheap solar/wind kits on amazon we may get for our trailer. We do have 2 solar panels already for our trailer. They just charge SOOOOO SLOW. We can charge our RV batteries in about 2-3 hours with the generator and on solar it’s a few days. We would need to build a much larger array for it to even help. Which we are honestly not interested in investing in something temporary. 50% of our income is going towards construction costs already haha
  • Brook Nuttall I remember when I was off-grid, we found that the refrigerator was acting as a heater, by not letting things freeze.

    Everywhere else was freezing and frozen except for the warm food in the fridge.

    Those who have lived in freezing conditions, including inside their home understand what I mean.