The wind howls through the barren landscape of North Eastern Washington State, a rugged and unforgiving terrain that has claimed the dreams of many who dared to venture into its harsh embrace. But for a couple of adventurers Chad and Rhonda, the call of the wild was too strong to ignore. They left behind the comforts of modern living to embark on an off-grid adventure that would test their limits, challenge their ingenuity, and reward their courage with the sweet taste of freedom.
With a spirit of adventure and a deep desire to live life on their own terms, they set out on a journey that would take them far from the trappings of modern living. Their journey is an inspiration to others who long for a life of independence and self-sufficiency, and a reminder that sometimes, the road less traveled can lead to the most rewarding destinations.
Chad and Rhonda saw an opportunity to take control of their lives, to break free from the shackles of dependency and conformity, and to create a sustainable, self-sufficient oasis in the heart of nature’s raw power. Their journey began with a leap of faith, as they purchased a 20-acre parcel of land sight unseen. But when they arrived, they realized that it lacked the sunlight needed to operate solar during winter, a critical element for their off-grid dreams. “I knew this would make winters longer, roads harder to maintain, and would put additional stress on fuel supply to operate generators.”
Chad’s professional career in building material sales in Alaska gave him a wealth of knowledge about construction and the importance of location in building. “I was a building material supplier most of my professional career, primarily wholesale contractor sales in Alaska. While working with builders in AK, they helped me understand the importance of location of the build relative to sunlight, insulation techniques for extreme fluctuations and best methods of construction. While I had a lumber yard at my disposal, I built one of the first ICF (insulated concrete form) structures in Anchorage.”
So, Chad and Rhonda sold the land and acquired a 60-acre parcel that was perfect in every way, despite being more expensive. They called it Eagle Rest, inspired by the majestic bald eagle circling overhead, symbolizing the freedom they had found.
But finding the right location was only the first step. Next, they had to design and engineer their dream home from the ground up. “I designed and engineered the structure from the ground up with insulation and thermal bridging in mind. We built the footings using Form-A-Drain.”
“The 4′ stem wall is built out of Fox Block ICF, another great DIY system. I would have preferred building the entire structure out of ICF, but concrete was too hard to get to this location. We used a Canadian product known as Energy Wall to insulate the EXTERIOR walls and roof. This system goes over the exterior sheathing, which eliminates ALL thermal bridging. While we insulated the interiors with regular batt insulation, the exterior system provides performance that has been way better than imaginable.” The shell of their home remains warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
For power, they incorporated complete solar systems into their home, acquiring three solar trailers out of California. They didn’t know how much power they would provide but took a chance. As it turns out, one trailer is driving the entire house and well pump.
“The generator has not turned on for one week, the house has remained 69-71 degrees without any heat or cooling systems on and the temps have been in the upper 80s to low 90s; we are amazed because of the low/no cost of energy going into summer.”
“Knowing what we wanted out of this home, which is energy efficiency, all lights are LED, and all appliances are the best-performing appliances we could find.”
Winter was a test of their resolve, as they endured over 120″ of snow and constantly had to clear snow from the solar panels. But all in all, their home continued to function as planned. They used propane to supplement their energy needs, but in the height of winter, they never consumed more than $200 a month for fuel. Now, they are running solely on solar, and their generator will only turn on if their solar drops below 30%, which probably won’t happen until October or November at this point.
“While we miss our gentleman’s farm we had in Western Washington, we both love this new lifestyle; we are independent and have cut our home operating expenses by thousands of dollars annually.”
But their off-grid adventure isn’t just about energy efficiency. They are living their dream and loving the freedom that comes with it.
Off the Grid: Pursuit of Freedom in an Off-Grid Lifestyle
Living off the grid is not for the faint of heart. It requires grit, resilience, and a willingness to adapt to changing circumstances. But for those who are willing to take the plunge, the rewards are immeasurable. The freedom to live life on your own terms, to disconnect from the trappings of modern society, and to reconnect with nature is a gift that cannot be quantified. The couple’s experience is a testament to this. By living a life stripped of excess and distractions, they have rediscovered the joy of self-sufficiency and the value of true connection.
Their story is an inspiration to others who long to break free from the confines of the modern world and live a simpler, more fulfilling life. It reminds us that we are capable of more than we think and that true freedom can only be found when we are willing to step outside our comfort zones and embrace the unknown. So let this couple’s example be a beacon of hope and courage for those who dare to dream of a life lived on their own terms, free from the shackles of societal norms and expectations.