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 $$$ and they are wanting to travel around, go for dinners/lunches which I can't do....
So they offer to help, I feel guilty for accepting occasionally and don't want them to feel obligated in offering, so it's pretty much better if I'm off by myself than go through all that. And then I get PO'd at myself for not being able to Go and Do things as I should be able to do. So, looking forward to getting back on the road a little bit at a time.
I was planning on doing the Red Rock Balloon Fest in NM and they have one of those 'Rocky Monuments', Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness, nearby.
|(Balloons from Havasu, BBB Rally)|
Meanwhile, working on projects and Wish List Items on Amazon so I will be prepared when and if able, but more to the point of not having to search all over again for things needed and recommended.
|(Off road Extraction Device - put under tire in sand/snow/dirt etc)|
Solar, continuing progress.
Now that the wiring and new controller have been up and running for a bit, I've not notice any major difference. I am able to see just what is happening, but still run the Generator 1-3 hrs a day under clear skies and full sun. I can, of course, turn everything OFF to get to 100% charge but what's the fun in that and I'm not willing to make that Lifestyle change yet, until I've exhausted all the mechanical stuff first.
Since I can't do the RV Parks, $$$, 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
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.
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...
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....
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)|
|(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.
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.
(foldable for traveling storage - same power as the Mtn Bike, just smaller)
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...
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...
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)|