internet, sewage and water issues, weapon storage (forget about gun safes)… and the utter absence of privacy.”
INTERNET SERVICE: When mobile, internet access beyond your cell-phone is a difficult thing to obtain. I found AutoNet internet service, as an alternative to tying in to typical ISPs. Basically, AN allows you to access the net through cell-phone towers instead landlines or fiber, using 3G or 4G networks. Connections are relatively slow, but reliable enough to depend on for consistent service. My wife talks to her mother in Russia using Skype; that much bandwidth challenges the service, so while it isn’t ideal, it’s good enough for what we need. Data limitations before they throttle down bandwidth is 5GB/month for $50 flat fee… We use campground/freebie websites wherever possible to supplement our bandwidth usage.
SEWAGE AND WATER: Having 100 gallons of water onboard, plus 50 gallons of grey and black tanks, you would think your drinking-water needs are completely covered, right? Again, NO. The freshwater tank wont stay “fresh” for long; bacteria contaminate your tanks, making them taste strange (if not downright disgusting). Inline hose filters remove *some* contaminants and particulates, but unless you sterilize the tank consistently, it’s only a matter of time before it goes from being “clean” to being “suitable for showers and the toilets, but not drinkable.” After looking at several youtube videos on how to clean the tank, I’ll be trying to do so in the next few days, and we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, we use bottled water… which (like fuel) weighs a lot, and takes up a TON of space. Which leads right back to the logistical issues of a SHTF vehicle/shelter/location: YOU MUST SECURE FRESH WATER ASAP!!! This will take up more space, weigh more and be in more demand, than any other commodity you can think of. And honestly, I’m still trying to devise a plan to accommodate for this factor… there are a lot of theoretical “solutions” available, but applying common sense relegates all the theoretical solutions to irrelevance. Against, still working on it. For a short (<1 month) scenario, the on-board water will be sufficient, especially if supplemented with any bottled/canned drinks. Beyond that………? No meaningful answers, yet.
SEWAGE ISSUES: If you have an RV, you need to know how to dump your grey and black tanks quickly and smoothly, BEFORE a SHTF scenario (detailed instructions and demonstrations on youtube for your enjoyment- watch them, they’re VERY helpful). The steps are simple, but if you screw up, you can have stinky problems that last for quite a while (making an already stressful situation even MORE unhappy). Make sure you have all the hoses and gear in order (and in good repair). Understand all the controls and valves, when to use them and what they do. And understand that YOU DO NOT USE NORMAL TOILET PAPER IN AN RV TOILET. Do like they do in the old-country of Europe, throw the dirty paper in a trash basket (and use it as kindling/fire-starter later). The normal paper will clog the pipes and get stuck on the level sensors of your black tank, making life even more interesting than it already is… Don’t bother with the fancy RV black-tank treatment bottles; a bit of Pine-Sol actually does a BETTER job of keeping the odors down and helping to dissolve the contents of the black tank.
Finally, with regard to black tank storage, NEVER assume that your tank will last for “X” number of days. The usage and frequency of the toilet(s) will vary with the whims of the women under your care. One time it may take almost two weeks to fill the tank, next time, only four days (after which people start to complain when the “black” stuff starts moving UP instead of DOWN)…. yeah, this HAS happened to me already…..