Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sun rise, set three times with Cocopah

We are still at the Cocopah Casino in Somerton, AZ.

We called the post office this morning, and they still do not have our mail. I'm getting a bit nervous, since it has been a full six days since it was sent, and Priority Mail is supposed to take around three. And, in this case, it does not even need to cross the Rockies.

They get another delivery around four, so we will call back then. Otherwise, we'll have to check after 10 tomorrow morning. In either case, we will use up our third night here with the Cocopah tribe. I'm really hoping we'll see it by then, since I don't really want to have to pony up for another three nights here.

The news about the mail left us with a quandary about water. We can't go another full day on what was left, even if we didn't shower. The toilet needs half a gallon per flush, and I need to do the dishes at least once a day. Besides, we really, really want showers.

We thought about trundling out in Odyssey to find water, but in this part of the state, we could end up driving ten miles each way. I briefly thought about stealthily sidling up to the old defunct casino building, as I'm sure there is a hose bib or two on it, but there is really no such thing as stealth when casinos are involved -- there are cameras and/or security personnel everywhere. So we went to the emergency backup plan.

Odyssey has two fresh water tanks. The large one, 135 gallons, is what we normally fill every week or two, and supplies all of our "wash" water: both sink faucets, the showers, and the toilet. A completely separate 43 gallon tank supplies all our drinking water, through a separate pump and little drinking water spigots at the kitchen and bathroom sinks. This is what we use to make coffee, brush our teeth, drink, make ice cubes, etc. Having separate systems like this allows us to fill the wash-water tank from sources that might be questionable to drink, for example municipal sources in Mexico.

The huge size of the drinking tank means we can go for well over a month without needing to find a clean drinking water source. A good two-stage filter on the output will filter out any algae or other growth in the tank, or any chlorine from the bleach we put in periodically to keep the tank critter-free. The 43 gallon size was not really a design goal, but was what fit well in the otherwise completely unusable space in the center of the thrust tower in the wet bay.

We had filled both tanks to the brim in El Centro before heading in to Mexico. I could have taken on wash water at Playa Bonita when we were there, but did not think we'd need it based on our projected arrival back here in Arizona. This morning our main tank was almost empty, but we still had over half our drinking water supply.

Connecting a short hose from the hose bib on the drinking water manifold allowed me to transfer that 20+ gallons into the main tank, which will give us at least another day's leeway on water. We first drew off what we'd need for coffee, drinking, and other needs through tomorrow morning.

Incidentally, not that you asked, we also have a mechanism to transfer water the other way in an emergency. This does not involve hoses, as the plumbing is permanently installed. Opening a valve allows water to flow from the wash tank through a ceramic filter and into the drinking tank. The ceramic filter, a Doulton Sterasyl, is extremely fine, and will filter out almost all microorganisms (99.999% cysts/cryptosporidia, 99.99% bacteria, and absolute filtration to 0.9 micron). This filter is only used when needed to make drinking water from unknown sources, rather than just being in-line all the time, because it only flows about a gallon a minute, and it has a lifetime capacity of just 1500 gallons. It is bacteriostatic, though, so we'll probably never need to replace it (we run perhaps 50-100 gallons through it per year).

So we're here for another night (at least), but we'll be showered, so you won't have to hold your nose while reading the blog.

1 comment:

  1. We had much the same problem with mail occasionally at our insistence our mail forwarder uses the delivery tracking which shows detail activity in times like yours. Enjoy your blog.


Share your comments on this post! We currently allow anyone to comment without registering. If you choose to use the "anonymous" option, please add your name or nickname to the bottom of your comment, within the main comment box. Getting feedback signed simply "anonymous" is kind of like having strangers shout things at us on the street: a bit disconcerting. Thanks!