"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Thursday, October 18, 2012

4-Wheeled Camels

Turn on the faucet and think no more about it.  Right?
Not so in many places.
Fairbanks has a number of "dry cabins" with no plumbing.
Basically, it is because they have been built on permafrost areas and 
one cannot bury lines and tanks into that kind of foundation.
For one, the warmth of the tank contents would melt the ground 
and the house would collapse and sink.
That would not be a good thing.

Then there are very lovely homes that have chosen not to drill a well.
Living in the hills often means a water source is very, very deep 
and drilling a well could be cost prohibitive.
And arsenic can contaminate the water source from the gold in those same hills.
And the water line from well to house could freeze solid in the bitter winters.
Lots of reasonable points for not having a well.
There are companies that go around and deliver water to homes.

Or, to provide a family with water,
a good number of Fairbanksans choose to haul their own water.
They carry large tanks in the trucks like this:

You see them everywhere.
Sometimes the water is sloshing out onto the road as they drive.
Once home, they empty the tank into a storage tank at the house.
All the plumbing works just fine from this basement tank.

These tanks are permanently placed in the trucks.
Reminded me of camels on wheels.

This pleasant fellow was in the parking lot of the post office.
I asked if I could take a picture of his water tank.
He tried to explain to me just WHY he carried this tank with him,
that it wasn't all that creative or novel, he'd chosen not to drill a well...
I listened politely and returned his smile.
But, honestly, to a woman who has always lived with a
dependable water source, this hauling stills fascinates me.
(And, I'll admit, tires me.)
No matter where we choose to put down roots,
some things are great and some...not so.
Just one more interesting thing we learn as we travel around
this globe.


  1. Alaska people are just a different sort, aren't they? Tough people!

  2. After hauling water in 5 gallon buckets for years and years I am so thankful for my well. You just do what you have to do.

  3. if they let it freeze they would have extra traction until spring