Some people may not know what off-the-grid or off-grid means, so here it is --- The term off-the-grid or off-grid refers to living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on one or more public utilities.

Off-grid living is no longer a one room log cabin in the woods. It's energy independency. You don't have to rely on utility companies, you create your own power. Today, there are more than 180,000 off-grid homes in the US.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pros and Cons of Mountain Living...

12:05 pm - 84 degrees - hot and windy...

A large amount of literature exists that puts great emphasis on the alluring qualities of the mountain experience, and as a result the more “negative” aspects are often overlooked.  Most everything you do in daily life will naturally have some negative features associated with it, and life in these mystical hills is no exception.

Clear streams from every direction; clean, fresh mountain air; majestic valleys filled with rich fir trees; and a host of recreational activities through the summer and winter.  This is likely the picture many of you paint in your minds when you think of the mountains, but what about the negative?  Is there any?

In our opinion there are two – the really crazy weather and the gravel county road.

Winds in the mountains are unlike anything we have ever experienced.  To say that the trees dance in the wind is an understatement.  The trees really do flex and sway from the bottom up to the tips.  You would be amazed to see how far a tree can sway.  It takes a while to become accustomed to the high winds, with gusts over 60 mph.  We’ve gotten used to it now.  It’s not such a negative anymore...until you add rain to the mix.

Rain really is a good, it keeps everything lush and green and I love the sound of the rain on the metal roof.  Rain turns into a negative when you’re trying to unload a car full of kids and groceries and you get absolutely soaked to the bone in the process.  Since the winds like to swirl around the house, the rain comes from every possible direction.  After the rain, comes the fog; fog so thick that you cannot see anything out the windows but white mist.  Trying to drive the curvy, narrow mountain roads when you cannot see past the hood of your car can be a bit unnerving.

And of course we cannot forget the snow...which is usually on the ground for at least six months of the year.  Whether it’s a lot or a little, you will see snow.  Some years we have just a few inches (like 10-36 inches), and other years we have anywhere from 2-10 feet.  Unless you make plans far in advance of the snowfall, you will be repeatedly inconvenienced by the snow storms.  If you have a steep gravel driveway, as we do, you will be snowed in several times a season (which can be fun sometimes).  You can plow or blow gravel, but you lose gravel with each pass.  The snowfall is beautiful, treacherous, and inspiring.

Overall the weather isn’t sooo bad, mainly because we have gotten used to it. 

The county road on the other hand is a negative year round.  We drive 7 miles (one way) on a gravel/rock/dirt county road that is poorly (in some areas not at all) maintained.  Most days I drive this road several times – that’s 28 miles or more on a bad gravel road a day.  You can probably tell this is a sore subject with me and it is!  It is killing our rigs {click here} and putting a huge dent in our wallets – money that should be going towards the construction of our house.  

I don’t mind gravel roads, really I don’t.  I have even gotten used to swerving from side to side to avoid the numerous boulders sticking out of the road, the too-many–to-count tire swallowing potholes, or the metal culvert that is being unearthed.  I have gotten so used to it that it has become normal.  I am only reminded of it when we have people up and they comment on the horrible road conditions... or when my rig breaks and I almost go off the edge of the narrow road and down the steep hillside (which is what happened yesterday morning).
Here are just a few obstacles...

That darn county road is slowly (or maybe not so slowly) killing our rigs.  Yesterday morning I was on my down the mountain heading to take the kids to school, I was coming around a corner heading into another corner when my brakes and steering locked up.  This caused me to almost go off the edge of the road and down the very steep hillside, but somehow I managed to land in the ditch instead.  Yes, I had to sit there for a few minutes and calm down – it scared me so bad that I was in tears.  There is no cell coverage in that area, so I started the car just to see if I could make it the rest of the way down the mountain or if I had to sit there and wait for someone to come by and rescue me.  Somehow the kids and I made it down the mountain where I was able to call Tony, and somehow he was able to understand what I was trying to say in between sobs.  Handsome, handy husband to the rescue!  I love that man!!!

Over $400 dollars later (that was supposed to be a bathroom cabinet) my rig is back up and running. 

This is not normal wear and tear maintenance; this is flat out abuse from the poorly maintained county road.  Just one more speed bump in our off-grid mountain life...

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Just found your blog while searching off grid bathtub and can't wait to read all about your adventures. We recently moved into part of an old barn and are winterizing our less than 400 square feet. We do have one extension cord for electricity but that is all the luxury we got but we're happy! I'm looking forward to your bathing ideas and solutions, sponge baths ae getting chilly with no heat yet.



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