Monday, December 29, 2008

Clean Drinking Water & Cheap Entertainment

I've been wanting to mention a couple of vehicle-living tips that have been on my mind lately regarding two topics that are totally unrelated. I don't feel like adding these tips into previous posts that were more similar, so I apologize if they seem a bit random here. Lots of different vehicle-dwelling tips have really gotten scattered throughout all my different blog posts, but hopefully everyone has discovered the "Search this Blog" box that is over on the right side of the screen. You can use that search box to find all of my posts that contain certain words & topics that you are curious about :)

Finding Clean Water to Drink

I drink a lot of water. And that may even be an understatement. I might go through a gallon per day, although I don't really keep track. Water, Green Tea, and Kombucha are all the beverages that I have been drinking. Occasionally I buy some 100% juice, but not very often, since it is so full of sugar. Anyway, water is always my beverage of choice, and it is very important for your water to be clear of bacteria, metals, and other disgusting things. It can get very expensive if you want to keep buying bottled water everywhere you go, plus that creates an excessive amount of waste when you keep throwing away all those bottles. For free, you can fill up your water bottles at many public drinking fountains, but the water quality often isn't very good. I have been quite discouraged many times in the past when I got water from a drinking fountain and it tasted absolutely disgusting. I do have an MSR MiniWorks EX Ceramic Water Filter, and you just screw it onto the top of a Nalgene bottle & hand-pump it in order to purify your drinking water. I don't actually use it that often, though, only really when I'm backpacking, because it can be pretty inconvenient. I usually just don't feel like using it, to be honest. My best friend has a different type of water purifier called a "SteriPen" that works by using UV Light. I haven't tried that method, but it has good reviews, and my friend seems to like hers. Another option, which will definitely kill all the bacteria in your water (although it won't get rid of any metals), is to put a few drops of GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) into your water. If you don't believe in the power of GSE, read this review of a woman who used it to drink from a waterfall on Kauai. There are lots of other positive reviews out there, along with the fact that I've occasionally used drops of GSE and never had any bad results.

THE BEST OPTION that I've found is just to keep a couple of gallon jugs inside your vehicle. You can take those into almost any grocery store or supermarket and fill them up at those purified/filtered water machines. The water that comes out of those machines is excellent quality, tastes great, you get to re-use your containers, and it is very inexpensive. I just walked over to Publix, yesterday, and filled up two of my gallon-jugs with clean water from the machine, and it only cost 60 cents total. It was only .30 per gallon. If you were to throw away your gallon jug and buy a brand new one every time you needed more water, it would cost you closer to 1.30 (instead of .30), and would create un-necessary waste. Those water machines are my favorite way to get fresh drinking water. No question about it. I'm not a big fan, however, of just letting my water hang out inside the plastic jugs for very long, (especially in a hot vehicle), because I don't want my water to absorb any nasty chemicals from the plastic. It might be a wise idea to transfer some of it into an aluminum, stainless steel, or BPA-free plastic bottle, which is what I tend to do. Those BPA-free plastic water bottles might be bad for your water, too, I'm not really sure, but I would like to think that they are somehow better than the regular plastic bottles. Here is a site about the BPA-free plastic hype, in case you are curious:

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/04/bpa-in-water.php

I know that glass isn't a good type of container to keep in your vehicle (since it could easily break & is heavier to lug around), but I believe glass to be the safest container to keep your water in. I actually have a medium-sized glass container inside my van that I do keep water in, despite what I have read. I think the author of the "Living In Cars" book didn't recommend carrying glass containers inside your vehicle, but I haven't had a problem with it yet. If I ever do break a glass bottle in my van, then I will re-consider. My glass bottle stays securely in place within my little refrigerator, so I don't worry about it breaking, and I don't worry about chemicals getting absorbed into the water.

Cheap Entertainment (Movies!!)

I really am quite often a home-body. Especially if I have gotten settled and used to parking somewhere for a while. I do get out and about a lot, but of course I like to stay "home" and hang out in my van some days, too. I don't watch many movies, but they can be pretty relaxing and a good way to get some cheap entertainment. They can also be a good form of evening entertainment when you are traveling.

I'm not talking about going out to the movie theatre, because I think that is just way too expensive. You can buy yourself a movie for the price of sitting inside a theatre. I've got a few different inexpensive ideas when it comes to watching movies... All you need is a laptop or portable DVD player inside your vehicle. I just use my laptop.

1. Rent a movie for free at a public library

2. Check-out a movie from a RedBox machine - You can find RedBox kiosks at many locations, all over the United States. I often see them when I first walk into Walmart. You can rent DVDs from them for 1.00 per night and return them to ANY RedBox kiosk location. Find their locations, movie selections, and read more about it at http://www.redbox.com/. Pretty neat set-up.

3. Garage Sale/Thrift Store - Pick up a cheap DVD there and then donate it to a library or another thrift store when you are done with it.

4. Blockbuster (.99 rentals) - This is my favorite option for renting movies, because as long as you have a Blockbuster Card, you can rent movies at ANY Blockbuster location. We just rented "The Postman" and "The Anchorman," (both Excellent movies) for only 99 cents each. They are due back tomorrow, just right down the road. Very convenient. And we don't even have an "account" at this particular Blockbuster. Isn't it nice to know that your very own Blockbuster card will work for you in any U.S. Blockbuster? Much cheaper than going to the theatre or lugging movies around with you that you have bought.

4 comments:

Reamus said...

Glass is good! It keeps things better than any other material.The ultimate recyclable material as well. Just use it like you do in the refrigerator or be sure it's secured.
After all, I need it to cook in my microwave...ha..all you need is three types of containers...lived for months that way.

Buy store brand vegetable juice. I started using it instead of citrus when I was on some goofy diet and its great. No sugar, very little or no sodium (V8 has lots of sodium, ugh)...umm Good!

baronmarsh said...

Hi,

About entertainment. The Cracker Barrel restaurant chain has, or use to have a free video rental program where you would leave a $5 deposit for each movie. The $5 is refunded when you return the movie to ANY of the Cracker Barrel stores.

I looked at their site to confirm their video program, but I couldn't. However, I did find that they have a reasaonable audio book rental program.

Here's the link: http://www.crackerbarrel.com/trip-booksaudio.cfm?doc_id=48

Take care.

The Traveler said...

Reamus - Great idea on the veggie juice, V8 is excellent for you. I used to buy those mini cans of it (low-sodium variety). I should start drinking it again.

baronmarsh - Neat! I had no idea that Cracker Barrel had anything like that. I'll check it out and maybe give them a call to ask about their old video program.

Additional Note - I just got a really nice email from a guy named Chris in the SF Bay Area. He mentioned a couple great tips:

1. About using glass containers:

"With respect to the potential hazards of glass containers, if you know how to knit, you could make canning jar cozies:

http://yarnnation.blogspot.com/2008/06/little-sir-and-little-knitting.html

If you wrapped the bottle in baggie/heat shrink plastic, then in a cozy, you wouldn't have to worry as much about it
breaking."

2. About water filtration:

"Have you seen the Berkey Stainless Purifying system? It's a gravity feed filtration system that uses ceramic filters.
You can get it in stainless steel, and thus avoid the potential risks of plasticizers:

http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/berkey_light_big_berkey_water_filter_british_berkefeld_portable_purifier.aspx

The Travel Berkey (1.5 gallon capacity) would probably be most suitable for a van dweller."

Thanks, Chris!! Will check those out.

Reamus said...

The Travel Berkey is a great idea!

I am sure Cracker Barrel has the books 'cause I get them when I can. Not sure they still, or all, have videos...never needed them