...and crafting a purposeful recovery

Month: February 2017


Finally…the rain has let up and I can reach Sparta without waders.  Although my work on the floors has continued, it has been sluggish due in large part to the foul weather.  It has been a bit demoralizing and dampening of spirit.  But, alas, with impeccable timing my daughter sent me a lovely, hand-crafted wallet as a gift.  It depicts a restored Spartan trailer in a bucolic setting and the words “Keep your eyes on the prize”.    Talk about a shot in the arm!  Let’s get back to work and let the sun shine in.  Thanks, Leslie.

Where form and function collide

As I continue to remove compromised sections of flooring, I am at a cross roads – the point where decisions must be made between authenticity and utility.  I have learned in this restoration process that Spartan trailers brought back to original condition (fixtures, design and interior appointments) are more highly esteemed by collectors and fetch much more money at resale.  Although resale is not a primary motivation of mine, value-added is a consideration as I proceed and I don’t want to do anything to Sparta that turns her into a white elephant (Have you ever seen some of these remodels with vinyl windows, cheesey wood paneling, exterior paint jobs, etc.?  Big mistake).  But at some point resale has to be tempered by what will work for me as I contemplate life in Sparta – esp. living off-grid.

This brings me to the subject of water – where to get it, where to store it, how to move it and how to recycle/remove it.  Spartan trailers were designed to be docked with access to shore power, fresh water and waste disposal.  I, on the other hand, intend to park Sparta on a remote piece of land in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with none of the above.  I will produce my own power, collect and store my own water and figure out what to do with it when I’m done.  So tearing up the bathroom floor has me wondering what to do about water storage tanks (fresh, gray and black) and the network of pipes connecting them.  There is also the question of moving the water (for example, the shower and sink water flow may require electric pumps.)  Energy conservation has to be factored in here to accommodate my largely solar-dependant lifestyle.  Without going into all the ruminations of my twisted mind, let me just share concisely what I am considering at this point:

  • Place shower and sink water storage tanks in the ceiling, utilizing gravity flow (possible pump-assist) and maybe using the roof to collect rain water flow (this would not be potable).
  • Install seperate fresh drinking water tank below kitchen with seperate tap and refillable from exterior inlet.
  • Install gray water tank to collect shower and sink runoff with exterior outlet for watering plants, etc.
  • Eliminate black water tank and install composting toilet.

There are lots of tank options for sale out there, both ready-made and custom.  Composting toilets are also a great option.

Water takes are available in many shapes and sizes


Bye-bye flush toilet.

With apologies to purists, at some point plastic become the most practical solution.