Roaming Map, Right.....

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Trip Planning

I've been asked a few times, "How in the hell do you know where to go and how do you plan it"..
Close the eyes and throw some darts... heheh,  not too far from the truth. 

Basically, it's What/Where/When to you want to do something.  Need cooler, trees, ocean, warmth etc. so it's really what you want to do.

  • Paper Map Atlas.  I usually start with the individual states are nice but a nationwide one is helpful for X-country planning
  • Online maps with campsites and RV'er friendly.  
  • Truck Nav
    • I use Garmin, my "Arch Nemeses" (older model), there's a 770 unit that's been around that allows you to put in the Rig's dimension, LxWxH, etc which helps when planning more so in the EAST coast area with lower bridges etc.
    • I also use on a tablet, a back up, google maps as "Ms Garmin" can and will drop you at some point.  Also, unless you like dirt roads, there should be an option "no dirt roads" in the preferences for Garmin.  'Fastest Routing' is probably the best and you can, in Trip-wiz, stay off of main Hwy.  
    • Importing/transferring routes. You supposedly can down/upload routes in various formats, I've never had much luck.  My Garmin says there are "Too Many" way points but would be kewl if you could.
  • Destination - So once I have a final or intermediate location in mind, I'll break out the paper atlas/map and just see what's there and around in the area.  On the paper Atlas, I'll highlight the location and then look at the possible routeing to and from.
  • Roads - I like to travel the back roads and avoid the main Hwy if possible.  Know your rig's limitations, either size or power or whatever might keep you off certain roads and adjust the Nav and online app accordingly.  Ex: Height, 12.6 or 14' high as bridges might be lower.
  • Camping - Once I have a general routing, subject to change on a whim, I'll go to the online apps, put the routing in and then check out the camping spots.  You can set preferences for various campground 'Types', KOA or BLM and everything in-between.

    There are many ways to trip plan, these are just a few which I seem to keep coming back to.  If you want to Blog/Journalize the trips, good idea for those that like to keep track, there are many ways of doing it.  Here's a reference of what others find helpful

As noted, I use the paper atlas to highlight the various routes, put a To/From like Moab/Ely with a date.  I also do a Blog (Google Blogspot - it's free) and there are many other ways of doing that, Word Press is a popular one.
“I use a Map/Atlas in color marker pens with dates and routes traveled so I don’t do the same route all the time.  Typically, looking for back roads.

I ended up with the uMap system for free.  It was a little labor intensive at first but, once I got the routine down, it’s really quite simple.  I made a template in 'Note Pad - text doc'. It’s a pin map that’s customizable, with pop-up pictures, a GPS, and links.  I use the Google Albums to post the rest of my pictures.  Pins are changeable along with colors and layers.

On the pop-up, I put four pictures to remind me of the locations, comments, GPS, and then a link to a website or resource.  I can link to more photos in the Google gallery.  You can also do routing, and trips by months and years in layers – depending upon what you’re trying to do.  I used a tutorial that helped a lot.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

End of Season Recap - Mar 2018

Well, Winter is winding down and it sorta feels like the End of Year type of deal so from now on I'll consider the End, Mar/Apr, as End of RAY 2017 (Roaming Aimlessly Year)

Since it's been rather quiet this winter down here in South Western area, there isn't really much to report so this is more like a recap of Whining, upgrades and  projects on a Wish - To Do List.

I was able to meet up with some friends in the Palm Springs area for New Years, thanks to them it worked out and did visit the Air Museum which as fun.

I didn't make it to Death Valley for Christmas as I had planned.  I was planning on doing the Southern Half, south of Furnace Creek for Christmas, couldn't make it happen.

Last year and more so, the last 6 months have been tough and required a "Sit in one place" to ride it out.  Things are looking a little better now as writing this, but not out of the woods yet.

Luckily, I was able to camp with some Caravan friends which helped.  It's sort of a double edge sword in that I'm "Sitting" due to $$$ and they are wanting to travel around, go for dinners/lunches which I can't do....

So they offer to help, I feel guilty for accepting occasionally and don't want them to feel obligated in offering, so it's pretty much better if I'm off by myself than go through all that.  And then I get PO'd at myself for not being able to Go and Do things as I should be able to do.  So, looking forward to getting back on the road a little bit at a time.

I was planning on doing the Red Rock Balloon Fest in NM and they have one of those 'Rocky Monuments', Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness,  nearby.

(Balloons from Havasu, BBB Rally)

Meanwhile, working on projects and Wish List Items on Amazon so I will be prepared when and if able, but more to the point of not having to search all over again for things needed and recommended.

TRED PRO - Total Recovery & Extraction Device (Color: Green) - Pair (4X4 OFF-ROAD VEHICLE RECOVERY)
(Off road Extraction Device - put under tire in sand/snow/dirt etc)

Solar, continuing progress.
Now that the wiring and new controller have been up and running for a bit, I've not notice any major difference.  I am able to see just what is happening, but still run the Generator 1-3 hrs a day under clear skies and full sun.  I can, of course, turn everything OFF to get to 100% charge but what's the fun in that and I'm not willing to make that Lifestyle change yet, until I've exhausted all the mechanical stuff first.

Since I can't do the RV Parks, $$$, I do the 'Boonie Camping' which actually is much better.  Boonie camping is simply going out to locations without "Hookups" (Water/Power/Waste dumping) so either Solar or Generator is the only 'Power' solution.

Generators, of course require fuel, gas/propane too.  Solar is free as long as the sun is out.  Rainy days, a-hem, like the PNW, draw from your batteries, so having a good 'Battery Bank' is necessary.  If batteries drain then the Generator.

Solar:  Three phases

Phase 1:
The next project is the batteries and battery boxes..  I currently have 6 interstate Batteries,  6-volts in series/parallel 3 sets that should have been enough, but aren't.  Sooooo, with the Tax refund and a little more, I'll be replacing them with the Trojan T-105 6vt for 8 batteries, 4 sets in 2 battery boxes and the camper bin.
(edit: couldn't do it as it would stretch me $$$ again and I'm not ready to do that again, so got the Mattress instead)

The biggest expense are the Batteries themselves and found a decent price, $130 each WITH old core battery exchange, so you can see, it gets a little pricey.  Add to that, car batteries have what they call a "Core Charge' meaning you need to give them or any old batteries you happen to find, regardless of condition for a $25 credit.  If no battery, no credit, price is $155 each.  It's supposedly to encourage people to bing in the old batteries instead of dumping in water/desert etc as toxic waste.  So with that in mind, I'll be turning in the 6-Interstates and pay a Core Charge for the 2 additional new ones for a total of 8 batteries.

Now, why can't I just ADD the 2 new batteries to the existing 6 you ask... that was my question too.  Apparently in a solar setup, you need to have the same batteries and at approximately the same age to allow it work correctly.  Don't ask me why, but that's the overall consensus, so it's all or none.

Phase 2:
I expect Phase 1 to make a measurable difference but might need to do phase 2 by adding another 160 watt panel for a total of 640 watts to put it over the top.  This means a new panel, moving the TV antenna as it's causing a shadow on the panels and a new controller that is able to handle the additional watts/amps.  The one I have is an excellent one, but limited to 600 watts max (I was hoping that would have taken care of the power issues, but not).  Like the Batteries, the solar panels need to be the same. Hopefully I won't have to go there, it's a project for next year if I do.  But wait, there's more...

Phase 3:
This will be to install an Inverter for all power plugs in the camper.

"An inverter takes 12-volt DC power from your RV batteries and electronically changes it to 120-volt AC. ... They act as a battery charger when you're plugged into an electrical source or using the generator, and they invert stored DC battery power when no electrical source or generator power is available."

This will allow all 120v outlets in the camper to run off of solar/batteries. I currently have 600 watt pure sine inverter that runs the laptop/TV/chargers etc.  The goal is to run the Microwave.  Not the Air Condition as it's a whole different ball game and I've used it only once or twice in past 2.5 yrs - Padre Island, TX.

Then???  DONE !!!
That'll be the end of Solar and I'll have to make lifestyle changes to keep up if need be.  I still have the camper onboard Gen, Onan 2500 propane, hardly used as it's loud and burns propane and I'll still tote around the Honda 2000i, but hopefully need to use only on cloudy/rainy days.

I'll be done with Solar.. Finally and thank Gawd....

Travel plans:

So with limited "FFB"s (Fuel, Food, Beer) I'm limited on where and how fast I can roam around.

Last year I had the route from here to Calif coast, up the coast to Port Angeles, WA, ferry over to Vancouver Island, go up the West/East coast hitting all the inlets on the west side, ferry from Port Hardy to Powell River and the on toward Wells Gray Park, BC return trip as I did the rafting thing af few years ago, a lotta fun,
(That's me in the back, white helmet)
then over to Jasper down to Banff and back into WA.  I figured, at the time, since I couldn't do the big 'Mother of all trips', Alaska, Trans Canada highway, Newfoundland, St John's down through lower 48 states, that Vancouver would still make a good one.  Well, that didn't work out either.

Fort Amherst from Signal Hill
(By SingleIntegral - Photographed from Signal Hill, CC BY-SA 3.0, 

So, figure I'll just pick a state or two and roam around, like New Mexico, Colorado, or Utah checking out the various Boondocking locations and views.

Nothing set firm yet.

Additional Projects:

Next in the priorities of life is a foam mattress.  The original, 2.5 yrs now is cheap one and sags in the middle like sleeping across the Grand Canyon
(as noted above, got this instead of Battery Bank)

Then, WeBoost Cell Booster to start getting a better signal for internet, Verizon out in the boonies.  Most of the times, I can't get a strong signal (Cell phone or Data), this boosts it up anywhere from 2 to 3x... where coverage is minimal at best.

While I was foolishly hoping for a small income boost and settlement in March, it's been postponed as courts have a habit of doing, till maybe July.  At which time, after getting caught up with others, I'll look forward to possibly the following at least:

Chelan HB Tandem XL from AquaGlide

Rad Mini bike:
They are electric and can go apx 20 mph for 100+ miles per charge.  The mini is foldable making it easier to travel.  Has  baskets for carrying stuff too, like for the market/laundry etc.  Pretty clever and handy for getting around locally.

2018 RadMini Electric Folding Fat Bike
(foldable for traveling storage - same power as the Mtn Bike, just smaller)

Lotto time:

And there's a new player in town, buggy wise, the Polaris RS1...

Looks like a Fighter Jet.


It's sort of a cross between Nellie, XP 1000 2 seater 110hp.
(Nellie, RZR 1000 xp - Sourdough Trail, OR)

and Lil Nel, ACE 900, single seat apx 78hp.

(Li'l Nel  ACE 900)

It's a single seater much like the ACE 900 but on the frame of the bigger, wider buggy,RZR 1000 apx 110 hp, Nellie.


While I still prefer the Rock/Trail edition as it has two seats.

Why is that important? heheh, Gawd I don't really know at this point in life, but all along while growing up (some may argue that one) I've 'Planned' on supporting a 'SO, BFF, GF', whatever... so purchase-plan things in twos, so as not to leave them behind.  Now, while doesn't really apply anymore, I still like to be hopeful, heheh, yeah, I know,  I know...

and, of course, a trailer to go along with it.  While ideally, an Enclosed trailer

would be the best, an open trailer will work and is cheaper apx a 7x14' Tandem w/brakes,

The RS1 is cheaper of the two buggies and the $$$ difference would be for a trailer.  I put the plastic boxes along the front and side with storage/tools and stuff.  Like a lot of things, the cheapest parts are the 'Main item'.. it's the add-ons that get ya...

Anyway the above's are "Lotto Moments" and more than likely won't happen, but a dollar here and there for the lotto helps the odds a bit compared to not playing.
Don't count me out quite yet..

... and still high on the list is the truck bumper/winch set up...

Buckstop Bumper/Winch:

(Outback bumper)

I get a little nervous when out in the Boonies for fear of getting stuck and no cell service.

(Been there, done that one)

Even with Cell Service, Towing charges can run from some $500+ if you can even get them out there.  Winch, Track mats and a pull pal (anchor when there's nothing to tie a winch strap to anything like in the desert or beach.)

So, as you can see from my 'Whining' there is still a lot to do...
Last year has just been covering the FFB's... thus the "Sitting" at either location, picking up sights to and from.

Since I'm pretty much Aimless now,  there isn't a day that goes by without thinking of a buggy and getting back into the original planned retirement gig, so thought a Piano keyboard might help kill the boredom of just sitting...
Casio CTK2400 61- Key Portable Keyboard with USB
I've always wanted to learn the "Boogie Woogie / Honky Tonk" (just call me Knuckles O'Poole)style and a little casio keyboard is on the list too... maybe with luck eh??

Meanwhile, need to start trip planning now as leaving soon...... assuming the PNW has thawed out..


(Jump in and ride the Wild Waves)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Bend, OR to Gooseneck SP, UT

Main Gallery Pics

Goose Lake SP, OR
Burning Mann, NV
Pyramid Lake, NV
Berlin - Ichthyosaur SP, NV
Ward Mountain, NV
Sacramento Pass BLM, UT
Little Grand Canyon, UT
Goblin Valley SP, UT
Goosenecks SP, UT
Solar (bottom page)

So, not a whole lot happened since last post, just quiet times waiting for VA Appt.  Turns out, when I showed up for scheduled appt, the Doc was off/out and appt was Canx.  They did call, 2-hrs ahead but I was coming  out of the woods and had phone off as usual. Went to WY for the Eclipse and then back again (Prior Post).

Had appt, nothing of any major consequence.  As I tried to "List" all things that needed discussions via the VA Message system, it's a waste of time, no one reads it and they ask the same thing when you're in there along the lines of "Why are you here...."   So, a VA PCP change is in the wind.

Anyway, left the area and heading south.   Got a late start and ended up, taking it 'Easy' at Goose Lake SP, OR.  The goal was to hit the "Goblin Valley SP, UT" for Halloween, just to do it.  Sorta like doing Death Valley for Christmas, just sounded kewl.

I had planned on just staying 1 night, but this was like an "R & R" with power and water (dump station) and a nice green area, I splurged and stayed 3 nights.  It had been a long time, months, since I've had "Hookups" so it wasn't hard to suffer another two nights there....

Nothing special about the park, no view etc to Gawk at, but it's like being in a park, green grass and quiet.  Park was closing for Winter in a week or so.

Burning Man, I've often heard about the "Burning Man" thing, knew it was in NV somewhere, but no idea where (NW Corner of NV).   The actual 'Happening' was a few weeks prior.  Found it and wanted to take the 'Northern Access Route'  via Cedarville and Vya (actually, just south of Vya) to it.   It's hard to tell type of roads from google maps.  If you go to "Google Earth" and zoom in you can get a better idea if paved or dirt and the condition of it.  If there's a white stripe or dashes in the middle, it's paved.  If nothing then probably dirt and if wide, it's probably in good shape.

Turned out to be some 80+ miles of dirt road, not a bad one but around 40mph or so.  Could have gone faster, but 40mph seemed best speed.  Just take Gas...

Went by the area, was going to camp it, but just had rig washed and noted truck coming off the flats and felt, "Nope, I'll be Baaaack...." and pressed on to Gerlach, just south of it.

Running short of daylight, figured I'd hit Pyramid Lake, NV just to check it out.

On Reservation land and a little confusing on the set up/registrations.  Little sites on the bluff with 3-5 cabanas but signs saying you must be registered and have a sticker or whatever, purchase at the marina office further down the road.

Lake was nice and you can see why they happen to call it 'Pyramid Lake' as the hills on the East side do look like 2 pyramids.

Marina office was closed, had a box next to the little store there, but no Pricing info for the little Cabanas.  There was a hookup park just north of the office and pricing was for that.

I had to go inside an ask the clerk if he knew how much and how to register..  He wasn't sure, $10-15 he thought and you put the plain envelope into the box next to the door.

I figured $10 for a Dry spot and put info on check and envelope and popped it in.  Checks, usually will pay with a check not cash as cash is hard to find and might not have the exact change.  They, parks, don't give refunds nor change so while it's a PITA to write $5-$8 checks it's a lot easier.  I was planning on carrying around apx $100 in 5's 10's and 1's just for that but not happening yet, so checks are the preferred mode of payment.  Some parks will take credit cards, but most will not have that option.

Stayed one night and then pressed onward to the Berlin Fish Dinosaur thing, never heard of it.. Somewhere out there.

This was nice.  Never knew it was here and how that fish got "Stoned" Petrified up on this mountain  was intriguing... not really, just really weird knowing that it was all underwater at one time.

It's a nice out of the way campground with some older mining stuff around with tours when staffed, mostly on weekends.  The "Stoned Fishie" was closed but able to look in the windows for an idea.

Hard to see the outline, but guessing it's there, heheh and not a sham...

Campground was nice, good internet and some sites with a view.  Liked it.  Not suited for big rigs, but a smaller trailer would fit.

Stayed a few nights.

I wasn't in a hurry, just biding my time as Halloween was a few weeks off and I was running early.  I had SID so all was good.

Leaving there, I wanted to do the Crater along way, just East past Warm Springs.
Drove right past it, sigh...   Highway sign posted 'Entering' it, but next sign with arrow pointing straight down the road 9 miles or so.  Went the 9 miles saw another sign showing Entrance going the other way.  The trick is, that the sign was saying turn RT and then 9 miles to the Crater.  Oh well, next time...

Made it to Ward Mtn NFS, NV stayed there a few times before, some $2 night with the OGP and it's a nice campground, well maintained.  A few others were there, looked like one-niters...

I was having "Issues" with my Generator, Honda 2000i in blowing smoke on startup for about 3 minutes, so figured there was  a problem.  My Solar wasn't working as it should be so still needed the Gen to bring batteries up to par.

I had changed the oil, 10-40 was what I had, and after thinking I had to take it to a repair shop, Coil rope was ready to break/frayed too (ultimately, I just tied a knot past the Frayed part and still had enough  to start it) i did.  Repair shop appt was for next week, so stayed at Ward Mtn till then.

I also had to get my "Diesel Fuel Filters", 2 of them, changed as I was getting a warning light along with a 'Coolant low' light.  Found a RAM shop, made appt and took it in.  Some $350 of unexpected expense about cleaned me out.  It's something you have to do or would void a warranty somewhere and I was down to some 6% use left while heading out to Boonie country so had to do it.

Anyway, Gen fixer was very helpful but didn't really know much about them so he'd have to take it all apart and search.  After the Filter $$ expense, I couldn't finance a "Search n Repair" mission so thanked him and let it go.  It still worked and I would eventually get it to a Honda repair place.

After all that, time to move on, was planning on staying at the Kilns just south of Ely, NV, but too $$ now so basically just needed to get to destination with Boonie/Free camping along the way.

Revisited Sacramento Pass BLM, NV which is a great stop over.  Right off of Hwy 50, Loneliest Hwy etc, and not crowded at all.  I've stayed there a few days before, but good for a 'One nighter'.

Onward towards Little Grand Canyon and then to  Goblin, a week earlier  than I should be.

Along the way, I've been getting a Coolant Low Warning.  I had it checked at Ely with the Fuel filter change they said they filled it and I got some extra just in case.  The Mopar Coolant is the one recommended and has to be diluted 50% water.  I got some earlier, this was a continuing issue, from Wally's World and after discovered that you can't just use any ole coolant, has to be Mopar's (RAM) or your engine will clog up, blow up, send you to hell and back and then to the moon according to way they say in the manual.  Sigh...

Well, after they said they filled it, kept getting the warning.  Oh smart me, diluted the Mopar stuff, and started pouring in.  Filled that sucker up to the top...  Next stop, the dam thing was leaking again.  (happened on the previous fills too) so figured I had a bad leak, now where to find a RAM dealer out here enroute.

Found one, had them look at it, and they pointed out that the "Fill Line" was about halfway down the tube I was filling full aka 'Reservoir' and it was simply overflowing with the dripping, Gawd, sometimes I wonder how I get up in the morning.

So proceeded to Little Grand Canyon...  Looking forward to this one as I've never heard of a "Little GC" (aka The Wedge), found it on another Rv'er's post which is a good source for places to go.

... and, of course, another well maintained dirt road some 10+ miles or so.  Able to do apx 45-50mph so road wasn't that bad and oiled to keep dust down.

I read there were only a few "campsites" along the ridge, but there were a little more than a few, apx 10 or so depending upon rig.  I found one, comfortably on the other side of road, not the rim, just cause... and stayed there for a few days.

Great views, talk about a "Room with a View"... this had it, across the road.

Walked to the view point, whoa...nice...

Did take my Mtn Bike for a stroll around the area, mann, talk about outta shape here. yikes... but got around anyway.  All the more reason for a "Buggy"... would have actually been fun then.

It was a pretty active area, mostly day visitors and a few one-niters...

Started getting antsy and time to move on.  Had just enough fuel to get to destination and the longer I stayed on the road, the more $$ it would be, FFB's that is, so loaded up and headed for final destination, Goblin for an early Halloween..  I had wanted to try the San Rafael Bridge in the same area but that would have to wait till next time.

Made it to Goblin, still getting coolant low warning.  Got there just before closing, spoke with the rangers and got the pass.  (Warning, pass is only good for the day of purchase or dates.  Getting there late in day, get 1 day pass, is only good for the day you purchased it, not the next day) I asked where the free BLM camping was and proceeded back down a mile or so and headed for the hills...  cliff on the western side of highway.

Driving along the road, you'll see several dirt roads leading to the cliff/bluffs which is where you camp.  Several other campers there, so grabbed a spot and it had toilet tissue blowing/scattered all around like they had just left that day or so.

Uneven sites but doable.  SID was pretty much blocked due to the cliffs, so stayed one night only.

If doing it again, I would stay at the gravel parking area just after the turnoff to the main entrance to the park, some 8 miles before the gate/kiosk.

Park was pretty kewl even if it was still a week or so away from Halloween.  Big area, great for a kids playground, with luck (for them) they'd find their way back.

Stayed for about an hour or so then time to move on.

I wanted to to the infamous "Dangerous Highway - Moki dugway" and the Muley Point, but due to possible engine damage due to whatever the coolant was or wasn't doing, decided next time and headed into the Goosenecks SP, UT.  Been here before, so nothing new, nice views though.

By now, all I had left was a straight shot/run to the "Q" (Quartzsite, AZ)

Ran the Gauntlet and drove straight through.  I had some fellow RV'ers that were there and just figured, WTF Over, might as well get it over with and start Winter.

Long drive, some 8-hrs or so, but got there.

Wasn't sure where I'd head out to next, Padre Island, TX was looking good even after the Hurricanes so that might be a possible...

This has been a continuing "Issue" from original installation to the amount needed for my apparently told, "Power User" level.

Basically, I just run the TV/DISH/Antenna/Hard Drive and a Laptop.  No Coffee maker (French Press is used) or trying to run the Microwave.  AC is rarely used, only once if I recall..
So, what's up wid Dat..

I have:
3 x 160w solar panels
3 x sets of 6-volt batteries (2 black boxes and 1 set in camper)
2 Generators, Honda 2000i and OEM Onan propane in the camper

I feel I should have enough solar to not run the generator, Honda, at all.  But, here I am, in full sun and still need to crank it up 2-hrs morning and same at evening, off by 8-9pm for neighbors.

So, with that in mind, a fellow RV'er who has knowledge in this, offered, and I accepted, to take a closer look-see.  Turns out many issues, big ones were the gauge of wire used, batteries needed to be set up in Series-parallel and a better solar controller.  Small wires will create resistance and loss of power as will distance/length of wires.

I had the dealer install the solar and apparently didn't really know what all is involved.  Short version, I had to replace all the wiring, move the batteries closer together and to the controller, rewire the roof panels to controller with heavier gauge wire as with the batteries.

While it's working a little better, I still need another panel and set of batteries, actually replacing all sets, 8 batteries in all, with the Trojan T-125 series.  Wet cells as the dry/no maintenance ones are some $150 more, and that's way outta reach.

I keep bringing this all up, probably mentioned it before, to give a "Heads up" and make sure you get a professional to do the install.  Even with that, you'll get different opinions on what/how to do it.  My experience is to check around at several sources and look for the agreed set up.

On Wires, 
Bigger/thicker is Better and the gauges goes from small 22+ to large "0".
4/0 = 4 x 0000 gauge, real thick heavy wire.  The number '4' indicates the number of "0"s so 3/0 =000 gauge, bigger/thicker than 2/0 gauge.

Battery wire to controller and series connections can use 4 gauge or to be extra "Arrgghhh!" as Tim the Toolman, Allen would say, bigger, so I used 2 gauge.  Wires from panels to controller would be whatever shipped with the panel and using MC-4 connectors, waterproof and heavy enough for the power to route to the controller.    Previous installed wiring was about half of what it should have been and had been heating up, potential fire hazard.  Wire under sink was even thinner and would smoke and melt creating a real fire hazard.  They'd heat up, to hot to touch for an idea.  Lastly, make sure you "Over plan" on this as you don't want to have to come back and redo it all..

Anyway, all that to say, it's been a real $$$ expense trying to make it right.  Also changes the loading of boxes on the flatbed as the battery boxes moved from headboard area to the side right under camper batteries and controller.

Next step is to get another 160w panel and a battery box built, put the 2 sets in and wait till I can get the 3rd set for a total of 4 x 2 6-vt for a total of 8 6-volt batteries.  One set is in the camper where the normal batteries go.  Six volt batteries are the batt of choice as they're stronger, deeper power than a 12-volt one.

Now, with all that in mind, every time you move/change something, it affects something else like, if I have to unload the camper, how to make the connection for the outside batteries in the box along the side..

First thought was a 10' supplement cable with the quick connectors.  Keep the Battery Box on the truck.  Problem is the distance that the power has to travel decreases power etc.

Current thinking is to put small rollers on one end of long sturdy box, handle on the other end and slide them down the buggy ramp (under the flatbed) and use the winch to lower and pull them back up.  Too heavy for me to do it obviously.  Each battery is some 68lbs, EACH so 6 in the box would be.. some 408 lbs.
That's the current plan, subject to change on a whim.

And finally, regardless of who you get to set it up, plan for the next level so you won't have to reinvent it all...