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Laundry Day: An Ode to Panties

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Yesterday Cheri and I went and did our laundry. Most people don’t like laundry day, but I especially hate it up here. The nearest laundry is 23 miles away, up the mountain. That wouldn’t be so bad but these are “mountain miles,” meaning there are constant curves and hills going up and down. Bad enough it took us an hour each way to drive it. Then when we got there it is in a RV park and there are only two washers and two driers, so you never know how long you are going to have to wait to even start your clothes. We were lucky this time, only one washer and one dryer were in use when we got there. Fortunately the machines don’t cost much ($1 to wash and $1.25 to dry) so we spent $11 on laundry for two people. Still pretty cheap! The only other choice is to go down to the “flatland” in Fresno but it is 60 miles away, 5000 feet below us and 20 degrees hotter than here. That isn’t an option!
This was the first time I washed clothes as a vandweller with a girlfriend. I don’t know if you know this or not, but men and women are different! “What do you mean separate whites from colors?”…“Wait a minute, we can get a lot more into that machine!”…“You want clean sheets? Why, all you do is sleep on them?” It was an interesting day!
I’m just kidding, Cheri is so perfect for me because she isn’t the typical “frilly” girl that has to have everything clean and perfect all the time. A little dirt doesn’t scare her. But she brings balance to me. I might never do laundry or take a bath if it wasn’t for her!
One of the differences between men and women is in our underwear. I have at least 30 pairs of “tidy whitees,” and I don’t change them every day. Every two or three days is fine with me. All of them are at least 5 years old and they all have holes and stretched elastic. They may have started their life as white, but not anymore! I like to think of them as “well broken-in!” I watched Cheri fold here panties, and I didn’t see a hole in any of them. I was actually kind of disappointed. She isn’t as perfect as I thought! But, it isn’t a deal-breaker, I still love her.
The problem was that Cheri didn’t know how hard it is to do laundry up here, so she didn’t bring the right clothes and didn’t stretch them out as far as she could have. A few weeks ago she had to order more panties. There aren’t any for sale on the mountain, and going down to the Valley to shop at Walmart isn’t an option. So she ordered them from Walmart and had them delivered to my Postal Express box. James and Kyndal were already headed to Fresno, so they picked them up for us. Oh glorious day when Cheri got new panties! Just kidding!!!
There is a moral to this long story. If you are going to be a boondocker, plan ahead to make your laundry last as long as possible: 1) Have plenty of clothes, especially the ones you use most like underwear. 2) Wear them longer between washings—most of us wash our clothes long before they are really dirty. Washing them too often costs you more time and money doing laundry, and I think it wears the clothes out faster. 3) Choose colors that don’t show dirt. I wear camouflage pants a lot because they don’t show dirt. I can wear them for weeks at a time and they still don’t look dirty. Cheri brought a crème colored pair of pants and, of course, she could never wear them. They would have been filthy after an hour! The first time Tony (her Yorkshire Terrier) jumped up on her lap she would have had to change them (she calls him her little “Swiffer Sweeper”.)
Well, that’s my Ode to Panties, I hope you enjoyed it. Bob


  1. dave

    I know for a fact you from the forum and one of your other sites that you are well versed in manual washing of clothes. But in case some of your readers aren’t, by manual washing you could save a little cash,get a little upper body workout and make those laundry days less of a pain. The breathing mobile washer and a 5 gallon bucket works for me, but a smaller sized bucket would also work. If you don’t want to buy a breathing mobile washer then a new toilet plunger with a hole cut in it also works well. I have two 5 gallon buckets, one has holes in the bottom of it and serves as my “drain” between washings. Put wet clothes in bucket with holes, other bucket on top and put some pressure on it (by sitting for instance), you can get most of the water out, negating or minimizing the most annoying part of handwashing: the wrining out of sopping wet clothes. Hang them up to let the trillion terrawatt dryer in the sky and the wind dry your clothes for you.

    • MichaelinOK

      Dan: Thanks for sharing the info. about how to do the “spinning” (or wringing) function when hand washing clothes. The additional bucket with holes in the bottom (and then placing another bucket on top and sitting on it) is a simple and great idea.
      And you’re right: Getting the extra water out before hang-drying clothes is often seen as the hardest partmost annoying aspect of hand-washing. You seem to have the solution.

      • Bob

        Michael, agreed, brilliant tip on wringing the clothes. It’s amazing how something that obvious can get missed. What other brilliant ideas are there that will make our live much better and they are just waiting for the right person to imagine them? Our imagination really is what separates us from the other animals. Bob

    • Bob

      Hi Dave, yes I have done my laundry in a 5 gallon bucket, and it works. To be honest it was more work than I wanted to do and I have only done it one time, Your idea of the 5 gallon bucket with holes as a wringer is brilliant!! That would have saved a lot of the work and may have changed my mind. This is the only time that doing laundry has been such a pain, usually it means a trip into town which is kind of a welcome thing. I have a love-hate relationship with civilization, when I am in it I can’t stand it and want out as fast as I can get out, but after a while away from it, I miss it again. So going to town to do laundry isn’t much of a burden for me, just here in the Sierra NF above Fresno. And I’m lucky to have enough money that I don’t have to worry about $5 a month for laundry. But I know people who do all their clothes in a 5 gallon bucket and can’t understand why i would ever go to a laundromat. We are all different, and that is a good thing!! Bob

  2. Cheryl

    Fun post……..
    I like the wonder washer idea. Just think too how fresh clothes smell when you hang them outdoors. Granted, yes a lot of work………undies are easy but the pants and shirts are hard…… should look for an old wringer washer and set it up to work manually……
    I agree on not changing clothes too often……what is the point? Sometimes if I get a food stain on my clothes I just pretend that I just did it and who knows any different lol undies should be changed daily but the other clothes…….naw
    I usually wear one of my two pair of going to town jeans and one of several t shirts….for going into public, but I have really raggy clothes I use for artwork, painting, cleaning and all that. I have a lot of clothes that just sit in the closet…..

    • Bob

      Thanks Cheryl. I’m on a one-man mission to change our societies ideas about cleanliness. I think we are just too obsessed with eliminating dirt from our lives. DIRT IS GOOD! There are another couple of problems with doing laundry by hand for a vandweeler: 1) Where do you get all the water it takes? 2) How do you hang clothes without attracting attention to yourself? If you live in a city, those are tough to get over. Even for me living in the forest getting the water means an extra trip into town for water since I don’t have any creeks nearby. I figure each load takes at least 8 gallons of water to wash and rinse. But hanging clothes is easy here. Bob

      • MichaelinOK

        Bob: While I agree that as a culture we have become far too indoor-oriented and artificial, I again want to remind us (and this time with reference to recent headlines) to keep in mind the legitimate reasons our ancestors have developed a distaste, even at times a visceral disgust, for “dirt” and, to some degree, a wariness with the outdoors, overall.
        Just this past week, and relatively close to you, in the California Sierras, two campers were diagnosed with a hentavirus that is transmitted by the dust of stirred-up deer mouse droppings…which are common in various outdoor situations. One camper died, and another is seriously ill. The way to prevent being infected? Official guidelines call for careful cleaning and hygiene of one’s living space, clothing, body, etc.
        Also this week, my part of the country–TX and OK–is battling a greatly increased rate of West Nile virus infections spread by mosquitoes (who earlier bit infected birds). Ten people have died in the Dallas area already this year from the disease, and we’ve had deaths in Oklahoma, too. Various local governments are considering an aerial spray campaign as a response. Obviously, though, staying indoors more is the basic and effective approach used by many to lower their risk.
        A third and final example relates to the continuing stories about serious, possibly life-altering, tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and more. And anyone with experience of such things knows that “seed ticks” (the very young) are so small as to be enormously difficult to spot with the naked eye. They infest many outdoor areas, and the way to minimize risk is to dress in light clothing so as to hope to see them, to minimize contact with “dirt” and brush and soil, and to bathe often.
        In many areas, a high percentage of mosquitoes and ticks and small rodents and deer and birds are infected with diseases harmful to humans. And because such creatures transmit these diseases either to “nature” and “dirt” or directly to us, being outdoors is far from the stroll in Eden that we would like it to be. And remaining vigilant about hygiene is not as obsessive or unreasonable as it sometimes seems.
        Again, on balance I think we humans do better with an exposure to the outdoors, and also when vigorously questioning our disdain for dirt. We need the vitamin D and other benefits of sunlight, we need the immunity afforded by some exposure to bacteria, and something in our spirits thrives in the sights, sounds, and smells of the primal environment. On the other hand, there are some very real reasons for the caution about dirt and the outdoors–and not only interesting evolutionary quirks. There are real and present dangers from the outdoors and its creatures and dirt, and in the usually harmless, but far too often for comfort harmFUL, dirt and outdoors.
        Not only do millions–yes millions–die from mosquito-borne malaria in other parts of the world (in part because they sleep partially exposed to the elements, and not in an indoor location with protection from insects), and suffer from various terrible and disfiguring diseases spread by flies and other of nature’s creatures, even here in the USA we are having Lyme disease infections increasing to (depending on estimates) tens of thousands of cases a year. And, again, there’s West Nile disease and others.
        So, as with many things in life, there is reason both for boldness and vigilance–and if the human species reflects some of each on a given matter, it’s often with good reason. Your confident embrace of nature and dirt is one very legitimate life instinct. It seems to me, though, that another legitimate life instinct is manifested in those who are more cautious of such things.

        • Bob

          Thanks for your very thoughtful and reasoned comment Michael. You give lots of food for thought. It’s pretty easy for me to give you a flippant-live a life of adventure answer, but you deserve much better than that. So I am writing a post today and i will basically respond to you in it. But let me summarize it in a sentence or two right now.
          When I choose this life, I did it with the deliberate knowledge that I would probably die younger because of it. I believe that more today than ever. And it is still worth it to me to trade some extra years of life for the incredible joy and pleasure I’ve found.
          In the book I just published, I had a disclaimer that kind of says it all. Here it is;
          Everything I am suggesting in this book is inherently riskier than living the “normal” American life. If you follow my advice, the possibility of your being hurt or running into trouble will dramatically increase.
          If you don’t want to live a riskier life, return this book to Amazon right now!
          If you keep this book, and follow my advice, you are choosing a life of adventure over a life of safety, security and comfort. You are taking your life into your own hands and living life on your own terms.
          I applaud you for your courage, but you must understand that you alone are responsible for the results of your choices and actions and I bear no responsibility for them at all.

          As always, we all have to find our own balance as we travel through life. None of us are right or wrong in our choices. The very best thing any of us can do is present our knowledge and experience to others so that we can each make a fully informed decision.
          Michael, thank you so much for your contribution, you have given us all a lot to think about! Bob

          • MichaelinOK

            You’re a good and gracious man, and that’s evident in, among other things, how you respond to comments that challenge your statements.
            I sympathize with the “quality over quantity” choice of lifestyle. I’ve made many unconventional life decisions so far, and hope to make many more, choosing what felt right to me instead of what was traditional or cautious wisdom.
            In my above long comment on this post I merely wanted to flesh out the other side of the argument when certain statements came across to me as being universal and objective claims.
            I continue to look forward to your generous and optimistic and wise posts.

          • glenn packer

            BOB I doubt a live of sunshine and fresh air will shorten your life. Lyme ticks are everywhere even in cites here in the east now. There is a whole interesting story about how lyme started but I wont bore your readers.
            Tip on washing t shirts or other light clothes stained mostly with sweat/light dirt.
            Soak in a little water and Ammonia mixed.agitate a little..soak a little while more then hang up. No rinse needed. The ammonia will evaporate quickly.

          • Bob

            That’s a very good tip Glenn, thanks so much!Bob

  3. MichaelinOK

    Bob: Thanks for the tip on camouflage pants. The vast majority of us, being civilians, have forgotten the original purpose of camouflage–which is to conceal. Of course, the main intent was to conceal the wearer from the enemy by helping the wearer visually blend in to the earthy environment, but it makes sense that the mixed earthtones would also conceal dirt and dust.

    • Bob

      Michael, I love my camo pants! They are tough, have huge pockets, and don’t show dirt. In some places they have a “social stigma” to them, but I don’t hang out in those places! In the desert and forest they are pretty acceptable. Even in some nicer society they are becoming the “in” thing, as long as you pay a fortune for them!! They work well for me. Bob

  4. John Lamb

    I’m surprised you don’t have a “Wonder Washer”!! I got one a few years ago thru Amazon and although it is little, it does a great job!! Can handle 4 or 5 shirts or 1 pair of jeans at a time, and as long as you don’t mind cranking it round and round, you’re all set!! No electric cord, and it drains really well……I don’t put quarters in those bandits anymore!

    • Bob

      Hi John, the bottom line is I am lazy and don’t want to do the work. Spending a few hours and $5 once a month at a laundromat is no big deal to me. I think it is because I procrastinate. When you do it by hand, you have to stay on top of it with weekly washing. Otherwise it builds up and becomes overwhelming. I’d rather just throw it in the hamper and take it once a month and put it all in one huge machine and get it over with. Boom, it’s done. For $5 that’s a luxury I will pay for. Bob

  5. CAE

    The Wonder Washer gets good reviews. Bob may want to give it a try and see if it’s worthy of product recommendation on his website. I think I’ll get one! Thanks for mentioning it!

    • Bob

      If you get one, I am offically appointing you as the official reviewer of the Wonder Washer! I’d love to hear what you think! Bob

  6. karen shinabery

    Don’t let the word out about wearing your cloths so long…I own a self-service laundry, yes over washing will wear out your clothing ..but soil and dirt will also wear out the treads the hold everything together..Love you BLOG, say Hi to Cheri and give her an extra HUG from me, Karen

    • Bob

      Thanks for the “inside” scoop Karen. As in nearly everything in life, balance is the key. Wash too often, clothes wear out faster, wash too little, clothes wear out faster. Unfortunately, laziness often wins out for me and I tend to go a little too long. For most people Body odor keeps you from wearing clothes too long, but for some reason I have very little BO. there is no explanation, I just don’t have much smell. Or at least Cheri doesn’t complain too much and she gets LOTS of hugs from me. One more extra for you sounds great!! Bob

    • cheri

      Karen, I would love to have your beautiful clean laundromat up here. This place is amazing, mobs of tourists and residents and two washers and dryers. Bob gave me a great hug from you. He is right that he has little body odor but I just stink sometimes. GRIN I should have brought more clothes. They say love is blind but maybe it can’t smell either. Hugs to you and Bill. Cheri and Tony

  7. Marie Angeli

    Hi Bob,
    I’m loving your blog! I wanted to suggest the Wonder Washer as well. It’s pretty conservative on water, supposedly. Seems to be the general consensus. Anyway, thanks for the regular entries and all the good pics. I hope to get by to visit y’all sometime next year. Or maybe see you folks at RTR. Be good! Or not…

    • Bob

      Hi Marie, thanks for the kind words. To be fair I have never tried the Wonder Washer, but I do know people who love it. You are always welcome in our camp!! Bob

    • Bob

      Thanks for passing that along Dave. Those are some very good ideas! Bopb

  8. Sam

    Seems normal that the post with the most comments would have “panties” in the title. Wish we were there but it would take a lot of diesel from Bar Harbor, Maine.

    • Bob

      We would both love to see you guys again! If I remember right you didn’t think you were making it to the RTR next January, is that right? You will be greatly missed! Bob

  9. Aunt Meg

    funny post *grin*
    last little trip i did, stayed at state parks. they had showers. it was hot so most of my clothes were light weight. went into shower, turned it on, peeled off clothes, washed them out while i was doing shower. used shampoo. hung them on hooks in stall till i finished and dressed for bed. by then they had dripped good bit of water out. didn’t need to wring. hung them on back of front seats at night, most of them dry in morning. 1 or 2 weren’t so left them on seats while i drove. on the undie thing, have met many who solve this by not wearing any..*chuckle*

    • Bob

      No undies? How shocking! Just kidding! The washing them in the shower is a great idea. I have a friend who lives near me in the Sierra NF and she washes her clothes by going for a swim in the lake every day and taking her clothes in with her. It works really well for her. Necessity really is the mother of invention! Bob

  10. David Thoreau

    You could address the underwear / panties issue by not wearing any underwear. It’s very “European” I’m told. Love your blog and your CheapLiving websites. Keep up the good work.

    • Bob

      Your is the second vote for going “all natural.” I’m sure it works for some people, but I don’t think it would work for me. Although in many ways my life is very unconventional, in most ways i am pretty old-fashioned. Especially in underwear! Bob

  11. Judy

    It could be helpful to shake dust from those camo pants at the end of the day to help keep threads intact longer. I like to turn my jammies inside out and lay them in the sunshine awhile every morning…keeps them fresh longer. That would work w/ any article of clothing.

    • Bob

      Very good ideas Judy! I’ll start shaking them out every evening. It is very dusty everywhere I go so that might really help. Airing them out is also a good idea, especially for shirts since that is where most of our odor builds up. Wear them every-other day and hang them up in-between. My friend Steve has also taken to soaking them over-night in a 5 gallon bucket when they are getting a little too dirty. No soap or agitation, just soaking. Then he hangs them out to dry the next day. That might really extend the time between washings.
      Thanks for the good suggestions! Bob

  12. Rod

    Hello Bob. Great posts as always.
    You probably already do this but to make my underwear last longer between washes, I often alternate between two pairs or even 3 pairs –wearing one for the day while the others air out. I make exceptions for really strenuous days when I sweat heavily –those go to the laundry bin after one day.
    Thank you for all your great wisdom. I have plenty to learn yet so I am reading all I can.

    • Bob

      Hi Rod, that is a very good suggestion. I’m just not organized enough to do it. I’ve been intending to do it for my T shirts because they are so obvious that you wear them more than once. It seems like I could have a stack of seven T shirts and wear it once, take it off and put it on a separate stack, wear the second one, put it on the second stack, wear the third one and put it on the second stack–ans so on for the week. I’m not sure they would get to air out folded and stacked, but at least no one would know how long I was wearing them! I’ll give it a try and see how it works

  13. Cyrus Palmer

    I have it bad when it comes to laundry because of Jiu Jitsu. I have to wear a clean gi every night, sweaty old gis are disgusting and aren’t tolerated. I’m at the laundromat every few days.

    • Bob

      Cyrus, have you tried the 5 gallon bucket method of washing? It works really well for washing small loads at a time. The problem for you would be drying them afterwards, it would take several days hanging in the van. But with a very small load of a couple of gis a single quarter might dry them and only take 10 minutes. Most people I have talked to said their clothes were actually cleaner after washing them in a 5 gallon bucket. Bob

  14. Arlon

    I like to hike a lot and in West Texas that means dirty clothes. I’m usually close to a park with a shower and I’m another one that takes off my shoes and then gets in the shower. Wash with clothes on first then slowly start getting down to the skin. I never stay out too long but my clothes are usually getting washed as often as I am.. (-:}

    • Bob

      Very good idea Arlon! Along those lines, I have friends who go swimming in lakes and streams with their clothes on and scrub them for awhile then strip down to their bathing suits. Works well!

  15. Cardel

    A friend told me she goes to garage sales & buys cheap clothes to camp in & when they get too dirty she just throws them away. She only buys the 25cent items & on the last day people practically give clothes away to get rid of them. No laundramat for her.

    • Bob

      Another great tip Cardel! At the end of the most people with garage sales do NOT want to keep that stuff and giving it to you for free or almost nothing saves them taking it to the thrift store. Many times thrift stores will be so overhwhelmed with contributions they mark clothed down to next to nothing. Often they will let you fill a paper bag full for only a few dollars.
      i generally use my clothes till they are just rags. Then I cut them up and use them in place of paper towel, saving me one last bit of money!

  16. Tina

    I’ve been going through your site here and had to comment on this section. I’m not yet a van dweller, but obviously seriously planning on it. From doing a bit of camping and traveling with only a carry on, I did pick up great ideas when it comes to clothes.
    First of all, clothes that dry fast are important. You all ready mentioned clothes that hide dirt and throw away clothes.
    What really inspired me to post, however, was the subject on panties. For women, there is that great little invention called pantie liners to help in getting more than one day use and still being clean and feeling fresh. 🙂

    • Bob

      Thanks Tina, you taught me something new today!

  17. Phyllis

    WOW, GREAT BLOG SUBJECT, and I thought I was the only one who had such a horrible disdain for doing loads of laundry…I learned 40 or more years ago in France that wearing stylish long cotton skirts, black and brown maybe dark blue and some pretty prints, was the greatest thing, they can be worn so many many times without smelling or looking dirty. I have several skirts that are 30 or more years old, they still look nice, some still look new. I get many compliments on my wearing of skirts. Skirts are timeless fashion. I wear them everywhere, everyday, at home, camping too, hiking on a trail?? No problem, if I’m in brush (rarely), I just gather them up in front and carefully go about my way. In winter, I wear long underwear under my skirts. It’s all good!!
    I wash my skirts about every 3 or 4 months, usually soaking in cold water for a few hours, and they drip dry in under an hour here in Arizona; they usually will dry overnight in colder climates. I have enough easy care soft fabric tops and undies to last a month, and just barely fills one big washer. I sure like doing only one load of wash a every 4 or 5 weeks. I know I save many gallons of water, which is a precious resource here in Arizona. My whole life I’ve made a habit of buying 20 pairs of undies at one time, and as high a quality as I can afford. The last batch of underwear I bought in 1999, and I just replaced them in 2012. Cold water wash, LITTLE bit of soap, shake them out, lay somewhere handy, and air dry. Dryers kill underclothing, I dry very few things in a dryer. towels and dishrags only. I’ve laid my washer spinned cycle laundry throughout my van for a day or so now for many years. It works.
    I have lived in a few different very small villages in France for several years, and it was there where I learned how the French ladies keep clean, along with a spritz of a bit of perfume. A vandweller’s spray bottle bath comes close to the French bathing methods, which is a bowl of water and a rag and a chip of soap to wash the vitals.
    Bathing in village life is not an everyday thing due to having to haul heavy buckets of water from the village well. The tiny homes did not have running water or bathtubs. We did however, swim a couple times a week in our clothes. They do air dry quickly while you walk around. It was a comfortable way of life. I enjoyed it and I have continued that lifestyle for 40 years, and it works perfectly with my van lifestyle. Call me lazy, but I just don’t enjoy doing laundry.
    IMHO, I believe many people take cleanliness too far, and are smell phobic and fear others might detect a smell from them; some people even cause damage to their skin from bathing too frequently. As an RN, I’ve seen people who do, and who don’t bathe daily but do wash only the vitals, and there is no discernible difference in strength of “smell”. Believe me, I have asked nearly all of my patients how often they bathe as part of my skin assessment, comparing the answer to the condition of their skin. The answers would surprise many people. My observance of those who bathe daily will usually have much older looking and sometimes scaly dried out skin as soap and hot shower water will strip away natural oils that no lotions can ever really replace. I will admit that a good shower is very refreshing, but is in no way a replacement for a good daily sweat.
    Every person does have their own “smell”, whether they think they do or not. There is a difference between “smell” and “smell bad”. The people who report they shower once or twice a week, and wash their vital areas usually daily to every other day, do not “smell bad”. Many of the people who care for their hygiene in this way, I have found to be of European descent, and Latin as well.
    In any case, People need to accept people, and their unique “smells” as being natural and should not be considered to be offensive. This is a difficult thing to do when the media advertising pushed the fragrance onto people in so many ways. Body spray, perfumes, fabric softeners, fragrant laundry detergents, and so on, and so on. People in developed countries have a phobia regarding “smell”. Google “pheromone”, and decide if you need or want to wash them away.
    I can still smell in my mind the sweet smell of my Grandmother from when she used to hold me and hug me when I was little. Every animal (humans are animals too) also has a unique “smell”. During my late 20s, I had three giant blue and gold Macaw parrots, and each of them had their own unique smell. I could name each bird with my eyes closed just by their smell. I am sure that smell is used greatly in the animal kingdom to recognize each other.
    Lastly, for confessions, I do have gym wear. So when I am living in my Stick Home, I do have to do at least 3 loads of wash a month. And I will also admit, I do have some capris and pants/shorts, but wearing a skirt is usually first choice.
    Frugally living naturally,
    Phyllis Anne

    • Bob

      Phyllis, thank you for your great tips on clothing and washing. Those are all great tips. I couldn’t agree more that most Americans are way too obsessed with cleanliness. Dirt and odor are normal natural parts of being human and it’s a sad state of affairs when we live in terror of dirt or odors.
      When you get on the road, please drop by my camp and say hello!

      • Phyllis Anne

        You are too kind, and yes, I will someday stop for a day or so to visit with you, and hey, dinner treat is still on!! I’ve read so many of your blogs I almost feel I know you personally since your kindness and likeable nature comes across so well within your writings. You write quite well and I’ve enjoyed reading on your site.
        I’m hoping to get my solar project going before the end of the year after I pay down the dentist. Which means a fun trip to Flagstaff, which I plan on the trip lasting a week to ten days by taking the long way home just for fun. I might also trip on over to the Grand Canyon for a day or so since I’ve never been there.
        So sorry to hear about your broken arm (pretty sure it’s you, but I’ve read so many blogs lately). I hope you heal quickly. Broken bones are downright painful too.
        Phyllis Anne
        PS: I’ve never been told I smell bad. YAY! Just think of all the water American people could save if they weren’t so darned obsessed with getting rid of what is just their normal, unique and unoffensive “smell”.

  18. joe

    every survival blog i’ve read emphasizes cleanliness & good personal hygiene. a scratch can become infected, and medicine may not be available.
    body odor is not attractive, despite those who claim otherwise.

    • Bob

      Joe, you are so right! Ironically, I’m going through that right now. I got a burn on my calf and wasn’t careful with it and it was clearly infected. Fortunately I carry Amoxycillan I buy from Mexico for cheap and it cleared it right up. That was a wake up call on taking better care of wounds.
      I have the great good fortune of not having body odor. No matter what, I never smell. I know that sounds ridiculous, but even my girlfriend must admit it’s true–and she should know!

  19. Corinne Kramer

    Greetings all. I use a small waste bucket for 99% of my laundry which I do by hand. My fleece blankets I first vacuum real well with a very powerful hand vac from the self wash car washes. Then, I have a very simple solution (my own defintion of ‘dry cleaning.’) I mix in a medium size spray container. It smells ‘terrific,’ and you never need but a few drops of the detergent. I use very little water in my little $1 waste bucket from the dollar store, use a nice clean wash cloth, ring the cloth out real well, and go over my fleece blankets after they have been vacummed for .75 cents. They don’t get soaking wet, 5 gallon buckets aren’t really needed, drying time is within the hour or less, and they are fresh and clean and beautiful.
    With jeans, I turn them inside out and shake them real well, (when I’m in dirt I roll up the cuffs high). After I turn them inside out and they have been shaken real well, I use my spray container solution for the areas needed along with either my wash cloth for clothes or an old tooth brush. Then, I lightly spray the legs of the jeans with my cleaning solution, shake them out again and let them dry. 🙂 They smell nice, they are clean and fresh, not even wrinkled. I hang them in between pine trees when I’m in the forest, if not, then I dry them on the side of my Van or from the side view mirrors. I vowed to never look like the Clampets when driving down the highway. 🙂 Just me… 🙂 Lots of other great ideas for washing hair as well that looks like you just stepped out of the salon. Or, maybe even better. 🙂 I wash my socks and undies in my little bucket with a few drops of detergent, no problem. I wash my Van off with less than a half bucket, small waste bucket, of water and wipe it down. The water is black when I am done, but the Van is clean and the microfiber rag I use rings out most of the dirty water. It’s a clean Van 99% of the time. 🙂 Lots of fun survival ‘comforting’ stuff to discover… Thanks so much !

    • Bob

      Corrine, those are really good ideas, thanks for sharing them with us!
      It sounds like you have got the vandwelling life mastered!

  20. Corinne Kramer

    P.S. I had no idea that old photo of myself was on this site. 🙂 That photo is about 3 years old. Longer hair, same smile. 🙂
    Have a great day all!!!

    • Corinne

      …problem solved.

    • Bob

      Corinne, that’s the thing with the internet, your past is never behind you!

  21. Corinne

    Greetings again all. Pardon my abrupt sign off earlier but I was at the library and they only allow 60 minutes on their computers. Now I’m at another library. 🙂 Now, I can apologize to those with 5 gallon buckets. I was sharing what works for ‘me.’ That doesn’t always work for everyone else. “Forgive me.” 🙂 All the ideas here are quite remarkable and impressive.
    We all have different needs given what we have to work with. I have a small 2014 Mini Nissan Cargo Van. Perfect for my own needs. It’s just the right size for me, so I myself need to be careful with what I keep. I use very little and actually prefer it that way. It works for ‘me.’
    My favorite, one of my favorite movies, is “Jeremiah Johnson.” 🙂 I used to watch that movie over and over again when I had a television. I learned a lot by watching movies like that – and of course, John Wayne movies… True Grit.
    Thank you all for the ingenious ideas and I hope to meet some of you this coming winter in Arizona so we can share more ! It sounds like a bunch of fun to me…

    • Bob

      Corinne, I hope you are coming to the RTR! I’d love to meet you again and see your rig!

  22. Corinne

    Hi Bob, thanks bunches for the reply. With years of practice, along with as much humility as I could possibly muster, I’ve learned to leave the past where is belongs, behind me – ‘with love & forgiveness.’ “There’s only here, there’s only now.” (These are the Days) Not to get mushy. 🙂
    That comes from a beautiful song, by the way, by Van Morrison. “These are the Days.” The most beautiful acoustical guitar and lyrics, if you ever feel compelled to give it a listen. If not, that’s okay too. 🙂
    Thanks again for all that you do.

    • Bob

      Corinne, it sounds like you and I have been on a very similiar path and the days and nights only get brighter!
      We are very, very lucky people!

      • Corinne

        I couldn’t agree more Bob. We are very lucky…’blessed.’ We’ve never met but I’m looking forward to meeting who ever has the opportunity to show up! I enjoy sharing and learning. Like you, I also enjoy my own isolation ! 🙂 lol… There’s just something very peaceful and Spiritual about it. Don’t get me wrong, I love people, but how I reached this point is, I’m sure, why I appreciate the isolation so very much, with humble gratitude, daily. All the little discoveries along the way are real Treasure finds and I get the biggest kick out of them! Looking forward!

        • Bob

          We think a lot alike Corinne!

          • Corinne

            I know you are a very busy individual Bob, rightly so. Perhaps at some point we’ll get a chance to visit more in AZ. I look forward to meeting you along with a lot of the pleasant folks from this website and beyond.
            I have shoulder surgery September 30th and I’ve been invited to recuperate at a girlfriends house down south in Rancho Cucamonga – only a 4.5 hr. drive from Fresno. (We go back to the 9th grade!!) It turned out to be a convenient and very thoughtful invitation as I haven’t seen her in about 3 years and it’s a little over half way to Ehrenberg ! 🙂 If I get too claustrophobic, I can always go sleep in my Van in the parking lot!
            “May your interests be light, your days be bright, from the Light that shines from within.”

          • Bob

            Corrine, I really like Fresno, I was a campground host above it for 3 years so I passed through it many times.
            I’m looking forward to visiting with you in AZ this winter!

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