Yesterday I took advantage of a break in California’s record-setting weather by spending some time in Sparta. I was happy to see that the pond surrounding her had receded and that the power was back on. Yes…two weeks ago, when I last braved a visit, the electricity was down. The solar system upon which I depend was out of juice – perhaps after an extended time without sunshine. As if to signal a change, the plum tree next to Sparta has begun to blossom. Is Spring here?
So, saw in hand, I tore up more floor in need of replacement. Part demolition and part exploration, this process is getting me much closer to several key decisions about Sparta – decisions involving power, fresh water storage, grey waste, future toilet needs and plumbing.
Between the trailer wheel wells, there is a section where the frame drops lower and the space between the bottom of the subfloor and the belly skin is nearly 10 inches. Elsewhere, that gap is closer to 6 inches. This, I’ve concluded, is an ideal location for fresh-water storage – a key issue because I will be “boondocking” and unsure as to the availability of H2O at Sparta’s future resting space. I will need at least 60 gallons of potable water. However, not all of that space is usable because my central heat ducting runs north/south along the entire length of Sparta. My partially exposed undercarriage now fully reveals my waste lines, venting pipes and twelve-volt power lines running stem to stern for navigations lights. So. based upon these revelations and with a desire to blend utility and future value, I have concluded the following:
- I will install three 21 gallon poly tanks in the space between the left wheel well (visible in the picture below) and the ducting to the right. They will be connected in tandem and will be for potable water only. I have found them online for $39 each plus $80 shipping totalling $200 on Ebay.
- I will reroute the gray water line connecting the shower and sinks and bypass the toilet. I will install a new black water waste line for the toilet dropping straight down to a discharge outlet. It will be capped. I will be using a composting toilet, but future owners may prefer a conventional toilet so I will leave that option in place with a toilet ring at floor level.
- I will install exterior inlets for fresh water to supply the three tanks on the exterior wall behind the kitchen.
- Gray water will be routed to an exterior outlet opposite the kitchen and I will most likely let it flow to an evaporation pond near a compost heap. Should a future owner want a gray water tank, they can install one from below through the belly skin. I don’t need one. Sparta will never be in a trailer park during my watch.
- I will install an outlet to receive shower water from a rain water collection system yet to be designed. Sparta’s roof seems a natural area to divert precipitation (with a few minor modifications) and it will flow to a 1,000 gallon exterior tank ($519, plus the cost of fittings, valves, pump, etc.)
- Shower and sink water will be heated with an on-demand propane system of modest capacity (military-esque showers).
- I will pull out the 12v navigation light wires and put them in a location with easier access.