Great Western Loop - Creature Comforts Matter

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Before we left Las Vegas with Blue, there were some important criteria we felt had to be met in order to insure we’d be comfortable during out travels.

David had two major concerns. One was reliable transportation and so far, Blue has been awesome. He also wanted efficient and quality electrics and electronics. We wanted to be able to charge our laptops, iPads, rechargeable toothbrush, his rechargeable razor, camera batteries, etc. He did a stellar job at planning and implementing both and we’ve got all the power we need to be happy.

We both agreed that sleeping in a tent for a few months, whether on the ground or in cots, was not reasonable, so a comfy bed was essential. Granted, we’re having reservations about the Leesa now, but in general, we’ve been comfortable enough despite our griping. I mentioned early on that I’m not happy with a pee pot long term, so a composting toilet seemed a reasonable request (and has proven to be well worth the investment). We wanted reading lights and fans and we purchased rechargeable battery/USB powered versions of both with which we’re quite pleased.

Living without these comforts is fine for a weekend or even a week or two camping trip, but for an extended period of time, we knew we’d want all these things … and maybe more. By living and traveling in Blue for a couple months, we reckon we’d figure out what was important and what wasn’t.

There’s still lots to accomplish in Blue, but all in all, we were happy enough except for one little detail … morning coffee. I purchased a small Melitta drip coffeemaker and figured that would work just fine. Wrong! First of all, it requires getting up, starting the Coleman stove, boiling water and then once it’s made, it cools off almost immediately unless I decant it into a carafe. Too much work and way inconvenient on crisp mornings. So maybe a French press would work? Same issues with boiling water plus with limited water in many areas, the clean-up is a pain with all those grounds.

This was a creature comfort issue. Trust me when I say, this woman is not pleasant without her morning coffee. David … to the rescue. He did a little research on electric coffeemakers. We needed something that didn’t require lots of power, was easy to use and clean, kept the coffee hot for a reasonable time and wasn’t crazy expensive. He found just the thing for us … a Black & Decker 12-cup coffeemaker with a thermal, stainless steel insulated carafe that brews and then shuts off immediately. It was only 750 watts (~20 ah of our 315 ah 12v house batteries) with a brew time of 15 minutes. Our house battery bank dips from 96% to 92% after our morning brew.

So our morning scenario goes something like this. We prepare the coffee at night before heading off to bed and it sits on top of the fridge. When I get up for my morning pee, I turn on the inverter and start the coffee, then jump back into bed. Once the coffeemaker elicits its last brewing gasp and we hear it click off, David gets up and pours us each a cup of hot, delicious coffee in our thermal cups which we savor in bed while making our plans for the day. The rest is consumed once we’re up and about in the campground. We even drag the coffeemaker into our infrequent hotel rooms to avoid having to drink the anemic brew they usually serve.

Currently, the coffeemaker, along with filters, coffee and insulated cups, are stored in a Trader Joe’s plastic bag, secured with a bungee while we’re traveling. David has some ideas on better storage in the future, but for now, these creatures are sufficiently comforted.