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Group Organizer
Denver, CO
Post #: 8
Hey everyone, so I just had a very interesting weekend, Thursday went up to Red Rocks to do a little hiking and as I was headed back I got a call from one of my roommates... he said in a very sullen voice:
"Hey David, I just got home and discovered we had no power, and Excel left an interesting note on the door"
Apparently, the electric bill hasn't been paid since we moved in, and they wanted a whole lot of money... So I went and did what anyone reasonable American would do who needs some instant money on Saint Patrick's day, I went and bought a bottle of Irish whiskey and a scratch ticket...
Unsurprisingly, the scratch ticket was not a winner, so I realized it was going to be a couple days before paychecks came through, and we could get the power back on. So now it was time to act... I went upstairs grabbed some flashlights, a glowsitck, fashioned a chandler out of tealight candles. Next I went to the fridge and put most perishable foods from the fridge into the freezer.
I had some food cooking in my Crockpot that only got about halfway finished, which was quite disappointing, but we realized it could be finished outside on the grill. So we fired that bad boy up, had steak, potato's, and whiskey by candlelight. Day one was a relaxing evening.

Day One lessons learned: get more tealight candles and more propane.

Day two was a bit colder, it was the start of all the snow coming down... I work from home on my computer, so I got to take the day off... so I slept in. I broke out my mini camping stove and boiled some water to make some coffee, I make-shifted a french press, and enjoyed a tasty cup of strong hot coffee.
I had nothing to do really so I broke out some books and read a bit, My phone is very data intensive so I checked some e-mails, and then shut it off while it had a little bit of charge left, I have an emergency battery charger that I keep in my GHB, and it gave my phone about a 50% charge, luckily I do have a land line and a hard copy of all my phone numbers so I was still connected to my friends and family. I also had a solar weather radio/flashlight/phone charger, that did not work at all to charge my phone, but it did play some music to keep me company.
As it started to get colder I got some canned ravioli and put it on my stove, and cut up some cardboard and firewood and got the fireplace ready for later that night, My roommates came home with a big bottle of wine, a big Coleman stove, and some taco supplies so once again we ate well, had some good drink and conversation by the firelight.

Lessons learned from day 2: Get a backup cellphone that holds a charge longer than half a day, and a real french press.

Day three was cold... the gas was still on so we had hot water, but the fan to the heater couldn't click on so there was no heat circulating, I tried to make a mini wood fire again in my little stove to boil enough water for some coffee and oatmeal, and I kept smothering it out, and I ended up getting cold and frustrated...
So instead of waiting for my roommate to get his money together to pay off Excel, I transfered around what I could and payed off the balance. They said it could be another 24-48 hours before they got there to turn everything back on, so I chopped a bit more firewood, and then grumpily went to get some fast food. To my suprise though Excel within the next couple of hours, and had everthing back up and running. Honestly I was a little dissapointed, I was having fun with the experiment, but life must go on I suppose.

Lesson learned from day 3, it's amazing how something as simple as a hot cup of coffee can the difference between a good day and a bad day.

All in all, I think I had more fun then my 3 other roommates, though it would have been much less bareable with no hot water. It also reinforced the fact that I hate being dependent on a system that can fail... Just thought I would share...
A former member
Post #: 2
.....I know someone with a french press....
A former member
Post #: 3
sounds like a good training experience.
user 7217766
Denver, CO
Post #: 6
Try 7 days with no other option but a sponge bath and you're living/working in the desert!
That'll put a little perspective on things.

I'd like to know where I can find what the army calls "Lister Bags" - they're about a 50 gallon canvas bag with nozzles on the bottom. You fill it with H2O and the air circulating around it helps to keep the water cool enough to be palatable (thus you drink more). The huge opening on the top allows you to drop in a huge chunk of ice too which is nice. I've tried the Arvada Army Surplus but not the one up on Pecos yet. Anyone got a resource?

Sounds like it was a good test run for you though.
Curtis Quico R.
user 13369180
Denver, CO
Post #: 3
Sounds like a fun little dry-rehearsal.

other "lessons"...things I thought of.

Be sure to have extra batteries on hand.
Keep extra fuel for the stove...just in case.
We have one of those Coleman lamps that burns white gas and throws a lot of heat off. I'm going to get more fuel to keep. "Just in case"

We had a similar mini-non-event last year where I live, up in Genesee, close to Evergreen. The power went out in a spring blizzard and we had a few days sans power. I was the only guy in the building with camping stoves and lights, so I was MISTER POPULAR with the coffee etc. How right you are. A cup of joe, even without all the niceties like steamed milk etc that many of us are now used to, is a real treat.

So, for when TSHTF...stock up on coffee, filters, and a pot that can be used over a fire.

Interesting lesson from the book "One Second After" of the best "alternative currencies" after a major disaster is cigarrettes and bullets.

I found some solar showers that I bought, and that totally changed my perspective on camping. A good hot shower is important. Not so much maybe in cold weather when you're not sweating so much.

Great story, enjoyed the read.
user 43651062
Conifer, CO
Post #: 7
Next time, check the hardwired telephone jacks in the house. Even if you don't have any active service they still have power in the line. It's usually somewhere between 8v-34vDC, so all you'll need is a multimeter and power inverter and you have free power, albeit limited! If you do try it be VERY careful, you don't want to pull too much or you risk starting a fire by overheating the wires inside the walls!
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