Old Diary

A check on our solar powered fridge

The first day’s results are in.

Yesterday morning I turned off the battery charging system from the power post here at the Corps of Engineers campsite.  That is an automatic function within the coach.  I have to consciously disable it because most people want their batteries to be charged when they plug into shore power.  In yesterday’s blog I mentioned that I wanted to monitor what happens when we rely solely upon the solar panels to power our new refrigerator.  Seeing as the fridge is powered off the same bank of batteries that power our house lights and some small appliances we’re really testing our over all battery capacity against our typical usage.

Yesterday was a nice sunny day.  By the end of the day, and after several days of severely overcast skies the batteries needed to be brought up to 100% charge.   At the end of the charging day we had a full 600 amp hours in the batteries.  And this morning — as the sun was coming up and the solar panels were about to start working again we still had 94% of our charge. I’m pretty happy with that result.  I will continue monitoring — specially on days with overcast skies — and on strings of days with overcast skies to thoroughly understand the ins-and-outs of the system now that we have a larger continuous load on the system, but I’m happy with the way things are working.

Chill Time

Monday, after two long days of driving, I didn’t accomplish much at all.  We mostly try not to drive two days in a a row but it’s not like we have a “policy” that we won’t do it.  It’s just a preference that we often abide by but don’t get too upset about when we don’t.

It’s interesting though that for various reasons being in Milwaukee seems to have been more ‘stressful’ than one might think.  We’re out of the city, back with nature and after several checks of my BP throughout the day yesterday my numbers are a good 10-15 numbers lower than they were holding steadily in Milwaukee.  We’re back in our kind of environment with the geese and deer and not nearly as many people and no truck backup alarms, and no tow trucks zooming through the parking lot and life is good once again.

The Sunrise Tuesday Morning.

The Sunrise Tuesday Morning.

For the first time in (probably) 3 1/2 months we didn’t get in the car and drive anywhere yesterday.  Even though I had a couple errands I want to run I decided to chill and do nothing.  I started (about 2 p.m.) and finished a James Patterson book,  caught up on computer backups, edited quite a few blog categories and tags — all stuff that I consider ‘doing nothing.’  Peaceful time at the computer, or sitting in the lounge chatting with my sweetheart.

Speaking of sweethearts…

The 21st (of December) is our 47th wedding anniversary.  We’ll be moving from Grenada to the Service Campground on the 20th — so that on the 21st we are stationary and we can just enjoy the day as ‘newlyweds.’ 🙂

Silas AL is not much of a metropolis — I need to get to the grocery before we leave Grenada to find something interesting for our anniversary dinner.  The last couple years we have tended to do restaurants for our anniversary evening but there appear to be only three restos of any sort in Silas AL so I’m going to arrive prepared!

Mrs P — one of my faithful readers — commented the other day about differences in cuisine between East and West (coasts).  And I have been thinking about that comment for a couple days.

One of the things we have noticed as we travel about is how much the grocery stores change from place to place.  I have commented a few times about various things:  corned beef hash, sausages and preserved meats, jelly/preserves, quality of veg/produce, etc. I’m sure I could make comments that would be taken as ‘profiling’ or racially biased but the fact of the matter is that one finds a different variety of product in local stores based upon what the local clientele will purchase.

And sometimes it’s not about different states or cities — sometimes it’s just about neighborhoods.  For example if you go to a grocery that says it’s an Asian grocery or the name of which is obviously Latino one is not surprised to find that the store carries ingredients unique to Asian or Latino cuisine.  But if you go to a Safeway, or Lion, or Sentry, of Jewel it’s easy to think that such differences don’t exist — or don’t exist within departments — but in fact they do.

While in S. Texas we had to learn to buy completely different cuts of beef and pork, and we found it very difficult to find lamb at all.  The cuts of beef were often much larger — intended for the outdoor grill as prime cuts of meat.  The same steaks that we might expect in Milwaukee simply were not to be found — A Porterhouse was extremely hard to find, but what I know as thin-sliced breakfast steaks were in abundance — whereas in Milwaukee not so much.  We have noted that in some areas of the country jams and jellies are found in abundance while in other areas you get the sort of standard grape/strawberry/apricot mix and not a lot more.  Ethnic foods are another telltale.  In some generic groceries there are multiple aisles filled with ethnic food — in others generic groceries you might be lucky to find 1/2 of 1 aisle devoted to ethnic foods.

If you go to a restaurant you’ll find far more standardized dining than if you visit a grocery — or at least so it seems to us.  Especially if you are one of those unimaginative eaters who love chain restaurants — for the thing about chain food is that they work very hard at giving you the exact same thing no matter where you are.  McDonalds has become the ‘taste’ leader — being the first chain to manage giving you the same cup of (admittedly mediocre) coffee no matter where you are.  Their reliance upon reverse osmosis filters (and subsequently their impact on other chains) has done a lot to remove the differences in restaurant coffee based on the local water supply.  Some of you may be young enough never to have tasted coffee made from highly sulphur water, or highly iron coffee but let me tell you, if you missed it, count yourselves lucky.  As terrible as McDonalds coffee might be, it’s infinitely better than coffees I’ve been served in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s in independent restaurants and truck stops.

Lemon Curd dundee orang marmaladeMy dad used to love visiting grocery stores while on roadtrips.  When I was young I never appreciated what he found there;  after we married and started traveling on our own I found myself doing the same thing and discovering the same delights as he.  I remember my first container of Dundee Orang Marmalade or Wilkins Lemon Curd.  The original containers — at least of the Dundee product didn’t even have a screw top lid or safety lid — they were covered with a piece of parchment tied in place with a little bit of string.  And they were outrageously intensely flavored — and we could not find them in Milwaukee.

In college I worked for Uncle August Sausage company and developed a taste for smoked meats.  When I first tasted the difference between fresh liver sausage and smoked Braunschweiger (same contents, but smoked) I was over the moon — my tastebuds woke up for the first time ever (or so it felt).  All of these differences to be found in an average grocery store — forget the idea of traveling the world for taste sensations — and we have done that as well.  One of the best meals I ever ate was in Carcassonne France, when I had a classic Cassoulet which is really nothing more than amped up baked beans — and yet the combination of circumstances and flavors hit a high note I have rarely repeated.  It doesn’t have to be fancy to be extraordinary.  Sometimes the simplest ingredients, honored and respected, produce the best flavors.

And at that, I’m going to get in the car and drive into Grenada to see what we can find for dinner.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

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Ambassador PLQ, Old Diary, RV Living, Travel

Downs and Ups

Can you tell from the title that there’s been a change in circumstance?

Norcold 1200 Refrigerator

This is what our Fridge looks like

It’s Friday morning and the repair story has changed a couple times since Wednesday evening.  Isn’t that always the way…!

We got  an update call on Thursday morning.  The part was supposed to arrive on Thursday at 11, and they were going to start on pulling the fridge out of it’s place and replacing the cooling core at 1 p.m.  — and they’d call to confirm.

The confirmation call never came.  I heard back from them late in the day to say that the part still hadn’t arrived but that they anticipated pulling us into the shop Friday morning (today) about 9 a.m.
If that holds we could have all our repairs completed by the end of the day on Friday.

Norcold Refrigerator Fire 1

Refrigerator fires are nothing to laugh about.

Norcold Refrigerator Fire 2

Refrigerator fires are nothing to laugh about.

That doesn’t mean we’ll leave Junction City Friday night, or even Saturday Morning.  In fact, the Svc Mgr sat down to talk about 3:30 in the afternoon to say that they usually like to let a new cooling core ‘cook’ for a good 24 hours before returning it to the owners.  With us staying in our coach that makes the burning in time a little dicey, and with the weekend upon us there was a question about just what our travel plans might be.

The two photos attached illustrate the  dangers of  overheated RV refrigerators.  We agreed with the Svc Mgr that we’d stay through the weekend, give the fridge 48 hours to burn in and stabilize on AC power — importantly enough — not on LP — and see how the repair works.  It’s not that they don’t trust their work but there is such a thing as ‘infant failure’ with replacement parts and we want to make sure we are really repaired and not have to spend more time at another shop.  Better safe a day later than sorry on time.

Norcold Refrigerator Cooling Core

A Norcold Cooling Core

Refrigerator fires aren’t all that UN-common.  These two are just examples of many RV refrigerator fires and it’s not a scenario we choose to visit!

The actual part being replaced is quite a chunk of  tubing and sheet metal.  It extends from the top of the fridge pretty much to the very bottom, and most of the width.  The job typically takes about 5 1/2 hours to complete so we’ll have time to do our re-provisioning while they are working on the coach.  After all, we’re nearly out of coffee beans and you can’t start on a long trip without coffee beans!

So, that’s our good news!

Friday (today)  is the day our daughter and SIL close on the sale of their house.  They made the physical move into their new place (with a few livability chores to be completed) and they are eagerly awaiting a smooth closing.  This will be the first time in … almost three years … when either we or they have not had a house in the process of being sold and it will be a relief for us all to be done with real estate uncertainties!

So — there you go.  That’s our day and our plan — (Revision A). Tomorrow may change; but we’ve always got a plan working, even if it’s “Just Hang Tight Until We Know More.”  Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow!

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Ambassador PLQ, Old Diary, Travel

It doesn’t pay to gloat

I’m getting my comeuppance!

It’s what I get for anticipating a repair and departure date:  a kick in the anticipated schedule.

Last evening before the Svc Manager went home he came over to check on our progress; we looked at a couple things together and considering that he was to be gone for the next 5 days he encouraged us to ask questions and make sure that we were happy with the finished job before leaving.

Based on that conversation I had a couple questions for the technicians working on our coach yesterday — and one question about our coach that I had not been able to find an answer for in the owners manual.

We talked about what he found about the refrigerator, and boy was I glad we did.  He pulled out his troubleshooting directions to show me the schematic for the version of the refrigerate we have.  He was pointing away and explaining why he re-wired the sensor circuit when I commented on the fact that OUR fridge matched diagram 10 which uses wiring schematic 6B, but he had been pointing to diagram 9 which uses wiring schematic 6A.  So, yesterday he had rewired the fridge over-temp sensor according to the wrong schematic and in fact he had not made any fridge repairs; now it was wired so that the over-temp sensor would not work properly; it had been right when we arrived here.  All of which caused a sudden flurry of activity and a brand new attempt to troubleshoot the recent overheat situation.

It turns out that our heating core is failing.  It  needs to be replaced, and our warranty will cover all $2380.00 worth of repair.  At present we are likely to be here in total a week — till Tuesday the 19th. (Though we won’t know for sure until tomorrow morning when we get a call from the Svc Mgr to tell us exactly when the parts will arrive.   The warranty is also covering the cost of the water pump repair; we lucked out with our warranty purchase this time.

The second question got me an answer I’ve been looking for (haphazardly) since taking delivery of our Ambassador.  PLQ cockpitOn my left side there’s a panel of rocker switches.  And the furthest back and furthest outboard is a rocker switch labeled:  ATC.  Nowhere have I found a reference to that switch — and it turns out  it’s an Automatic Traction Control — a feature of the Allison transmission which applies braking to one drive wheel in case it begins to spin, slowing it down to the same speed as the wheel still gripping.  Not sure I’ll ever use it — but nice to know what it is (the button).

See the Air Dump switch?

See the Air Dump switch?

We don't have 'automatic' leveling -- we have to do it ourselves.

We don’t have ‘automatic’ leveling — we have to do it ourselves.

There were two other items on our list:  a question about one of the slides — turns out my expectation was wrong — the slide is ok.  And another about our leveling system which we jointly concluded may have been happening because of something I was doing (should stop dropping the air in our airbags when we are leveling).  Always something new to learn.

So…. at the end of the day we moved from behind the shop where the technician has our coach up on the leveling jacks to the other end of the Travel Center parking lot where we are plugged in for 4 or 5 days.  Just knowing we are here for the next few days makes us feel a lot  better.  Knowing is always better than not knowing.

And so it is, as the sun sets gently in the Western sky…..

No, seriously…. thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow. 🙂

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Ambassador PLQ, Old Diary, Travel

My Liesure time reading…

Magnum RemoteMarvin (the solar tech) took me through our Solar Paces on Tuesday morning.  I now have 5 owners-manuals to read, two new remote sensing stations to consult and a big headache from trying to grasp everything in a single explanation.  (Not literally, but I can see myself a few months from now wondering, ‘Now what was it that Marvin told me about that….?’)

Even though all things electric scare me, my first reaction to seeing the whole kit and caboodle installed and operating is:  “This isn’t so bad.”  And the fact of the matter is that knowledge is power; so the more I learn the better it’ll be.

We have Seven of these on the roof.

We have Seven of these on the roof.

The panels occupy the rear of the coach — we could get a couple more on the roof if we chose.

The remotes are easy to program and the manuals contain fairly explicit directions.

true sine wave power

true sine wave power

With the new solar panels, we’ll have to do some things differently.  For example:  whenever the inverter senses the presence of ac power, by default the inverter will start the battery charging system.  What we’ll want to do is to turn that off and let the solar do it’s job, unless we’re parked in a place where the sun won’t hit the roof.  That means when we pull in to a site with ac power, or when we start up the generator. Just a little something to remember.

I also need to put power-strips in place, or switched 110V outlets.  The Lounge TV, BlueRay, DISH receiver, Satellite Dish module and the entertainment selector box all power-on whenever there is 110V power.  I won’t want them all to turn on all the time.  In short we’ll get smarter about our use of electricity just by living.

All of that happened before 10 a.m.  That’s when we left AM Solar.  About 10:30 the UPS man delivered our Sleep Comfort bed!

Travel_Center_1270x778Not knowing, we popped over to Guaranty and went over the repair items that needed evaluation / correction and as I write we know we’ll probably be here a couple days so we’re relaxing in the travel center  lounge.  Once the technicians install the fuse bypass we’ll be free to run some errands — including picking up our Sleep Number bed from AM Solar — it was delivered about 90 minutes after we left Springfield.  (Isn’t that always the way?)

We’ll be camping out on the premises here until we’re all wrapped up.  There are electrical hookups here at the travel center and there are also sites further on into town — behind the other RV service area in town.  They really are set up to make a good attempt at caring for their customers.    Like anywhere you hear good things and bad things about service departments, about dealerships, about any business you choose to patronize — but thus far all of our dealings with these people have had positive outcomes — whether or not it started out that way.

We chased back to AM Solar to pick up the bed. Chased back to Guaranty to check in with the mechanic at the end of his shift and find out what time we have to be ready in the morning.  (8 a.m.)

The Bed was assembled in less than an hour; I’m looking forward to our first night on it — may not be a perfect night’s sleep until we get the sleep number correct, but we have a good starting point from our session in the company store.

All in all I’m feeling better than I have in a couple weeks.  I like having the list of things to be taken care of down to 1 — the repairs here at Guaranty.  OUR life is just about back on track.  The kids close their house on Friday.  We should have adequate time to make the trip to Wisconsin — all is good.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

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Old Diary

Hot and Dry

Dateline:  Eugene, OR
It’s warm here and that’s ok

hot-thermometerWe acclimated to the cooler temps of Coastal Oregon,  now we return to the ‘real’ temperate world we have known all our lifetime.  I’m sure we’ll have some re-acclimatization to do. But there’s a bigger story than just temperature.  There’s the whole ‘thing’ about water.

Leaving the coast where water is ever present but not always ever accessible leads to other travel-plan-considerations.  Not the least of those is, will we find water there?

Water monitors are saying that California is having the worst recorded drought in their history. Where we had been — near Florence — we were at the tipping point between moderate drought and severe drought (there being two further steps ‘extreme’ and ‘exceptional’ drought beyond those). The drought statistics since 2011 have been very sobering, for those of us who have been paying attention.  I’m not going to chime in on global warming — I’m not sure our weather ‘yardstick’ is long enough to know that Momma Nature is up to as far as climate is concerned — but certainly the weather has been a changing.

Where to go, where to go...

Where to go, where to go…

Water is always someplace in our personal travel calculations.  Peg grew up in Toledo OH — Lake Erie being not far away.  I grew up in Milwuakee.  Together, we lived most of our married life in Milwaukee — on the Michigan Coast.  And for some years we were within 1 mile of the shoreline.  We walked along the shore as a matter of routine exercise. We talked along the shore as part of our major-decision-making-process.  The lake, water, was always in our life.

On the Coast, we have been near the water but the hills and the sand have kept us from walking along the salty fluid. Yet we were comforted by it’s proximity.  Water is usually part of our calculations about where to go and what to do.  We put up with the lack of water for a while — and then we seem to crave it again.  Or have we just convinced ourselves of that because our previous experience has just been a couple weeks here and a couple weeks there like most workers on vacation.  Now’s our chance to find out… but first a story.

Low Water Alarm

Evidently water is the karmic reason for our staying this past weekend.  I checked the pump house Sunday morning and guess what?  The Low Water alarm was on!  There’s a problem someplace here in the Siltcoos corridor and the tank is lower than it should be.

So, remember that phone I kept, just in case?  Well, call Da Boss on her weekend; call her assistant on his weekend; chase around on our last day in town trying unsuccessfully to find a water leak.  It turns out that Da Boss’ assistant did find the leak — we had enough water left in the 25,000 gal tank to service the campers who rely on this well and in the next couple days the pump will recover from the water lost during the leak and life for the staff will return to normal — just another major scare.

Glad to do it.  I’m here and I’m mostly packed up… Why not?

And yet…

not my circus not my monkey

It may be an old Polish saying (I AM POLISH by heritage you know) , but as much as this has been my mantra in recent months I hope to return to a more engaging frame of mind at some point soon.

 

It seems strange though.  We have not had that alarm activate in the 10 months we lived in the compound.  On our last day — there it goes.  Just keeping the adrenalin flowing for one more day.  A few hours of running around; a few hours of ‘feeling important’ because we were doing something important to the safety of a few hundred campers down the road;  a fitting end to our ‘giving back’ even if it did get all the wrong juices flowing all over again.

 

Drier for Us

Ed La Grone, the Lane County Sheriff who patrols the dunes out of our work center stopped by to warn us about forest fires along what he thought would be our route to see Peg’s brother.  Oregon is currently fighting two more fires — bringing the latest total to 14 here and more in Washington.  It was nice of him to think about us in that way.  Once again, it’s a testament to the caring nature of the people we have worked with here on the Forest and in Coastal Oregon.

We’ll be mostly away from water for the next few weeks.  And in the short term that’s OK.  But I have been thinking about how water will affect our travels long term.  Can we two really thrive away from a large body of water?  We have never tried.  But when we hear about droughts it makes me wonder.

desertWe have discussed between us the idea of RV’ing in the desert S.W.   And we ARE getting that solar installation which sort of pre-supposes that we’ll be in open, sparser populated areas with access to the sun. Sounds pretty much like desert to me!  We have yet to see how much time we really choose to spend away from large bodies of water!  I know folks who boondock in Colorado at higher elevations who enjoy the rivers and mountain springs.  There are tens of thousands who Boondock at Quartzite AZ yearly.   We, as a couple relatively new to this lifestyle  have yet to work out the details of where – exactly – we are going to go  in the long term once we are better equipped to live off the grid. That too is part of our Life Unscripted.

We are off the forest.  We have no volunteer gigs lined up.  We are free as a bird.  And it feels wonderful!  What the coming year will have in store  is a great mystery; just the sort of thing we were looking for when we started this adventure.  It’s going to take a while to start thinking new thoughts; in the quiet moments my mind still tends to wander back to ‘our’ volunteers, or little details about our life @ Siltcoos.  But gradually life will take over; one can’t expect to go from complete involvement to nothingness in two days.  But we made the start; and we’re on our way.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

P.S.:

  • We topped out at 93º today in Eugene/Springfield.
  • The trip over was uneventful — just like we like it.  We left Siltcoos about 10:00.
  • The coach is handling well. We have almost 200 miles on the most recent tank of fuel — We’ll have to figure out whether to fuel here when we leave, after we decide for sure on our route.  I did some route planning today but no firm decision yet.
  • We made our stop-off at the Reedsport office this morning.  With me waking up early lately,  we were there right at 8:00.  After answering all the really good questions and we were on our way out the parking lot before 9:00.
    I said my good-byes.
    Belva (otherwise known as Da Boss) gave us a little basket of Oregon goodies.
    Bob (her assistant) was particularly cordial and thanked us both effusively for our help.
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Old Diary

Solar Headache

We  made a safe trip to Springfield for our solar consultation on a beautiful day and we met some outstanding people.  None of which should suggest that armed with a potful of information and a basketful of installation options that we won’t have a headache for a couple days while trying to sort them all out and reach a conclusion about our Ambassador.

Outside AM Solar

Outside AM Solar

I’m super happy that we took the time to make the trip.  Our visit with Deb and Roger and Marvin  reinforces our preliminary conclusions about these being the people I want involved with making this big step into the future for Peggy and myself.

Lovely settings

Lovely settings

They were running a little late  and we arrived a little early  so we parked alongside a sweet little flower bed.  We had plenty of time to pet Sam (picture missing) — the 10 year old ‘shop dog’ who is a sweetie and nearing the end of his time with Greg and Deb. 2014061110341101  There was truly unusual flower blooming at the river’s edge and Deb made sure to encourage us to take a peak–  it’s not common in Oregon and I need to get out or flower book to see if I can’t find the name (she told us but I forgot) — when the flower first blooms it smells so much like rotting flesh that vulture will circle overhead for the first couple days of the bloom.

I don’t think there’s any doubt that we’re going to go ahead with an install but in addition to the sheer changeover to solar power there are also other upgrades relevant to the electrical system that I’m wondering about.

Magnum-MSOur coach currently has a Magnum 2012 modified sine wave inverter.  With the amount of electronics we have on board I’ve wondered for some time already whether that’s a component we should upgrade to pure sine wave.

lifelineThere are also questions about whether we want to upgrade batteries at this time.  AGM batteries would be a worthwhile improvement but they come at an added cost.  We could nurse these for a while and add the AGM’s  later down the road — of course who ever had batteries fail when you wanted them to fail and would we be able get them shipped to us wherever we might be at the time.

TS-MPPT-60SB3024There were other questions that came up:  about charge controllers.  Trimetric is a popular brand that a lot of RV’ers swear by.   If I understand  correctly it predates another controller by Blue Sky and our discussion went back and forth between the two for quite a while.  The Trimetric is only good up to 700 watts of solar power and whether we do it all now, or add some more panels later we are going to be using more than 700 watts of panels.  The advantage of the Blue Sky units is that they are daisy chain able — up to 70 controllers can be ganged together (not that anyone would ever end up with that much solar in an RV) But the point is that by using them you can exceed the Trimetric 700 watt limit, and you can do it with greater efficiency using narrower wire (none of which do I actually understand but I believe Marvin!)

We’re going to take a few days to make up our minds about what to do now, what to save for later — if anything  — and what future plans to plan for in spec’ing out this installation.  Currently we don’t have a roof mount satellite antenna.  Planning ahead now will give us some future options.

Let me explain…

OM160One of the advantages of working with someone who knows their business is the ability to think ahead.  We could use 5 of the 160 watt panels but doing so would limit any expansion to smaller sized panels and the smaller sized panels operate at a different voltage.  Combining panels at both voltages would effectively reduce the output of the higher capacity panels to that of the lower capacity ones.  In other words — while trying to upgrade using mixed panel sizes we’d lose the output of 2 panels.  Using the smaller size panels lets us put more watts up on the roof now AND allows us to retain the option for more panels later.

Ok — a lot of talk about solar.  More different stuff tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you then…

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Old Diary

Embracing My Environment

Yesterday we made that little trip to Bandon.  I would be remiss if I failed to show that I am gradually embracing our local environment.

I get a lot of questions from volunteers about Tsunami safety.  It turns out that the only areas that have Tsunami Evacuation Plans are incorporated areas with some form of municipal government.  And if there’s no government there’s no one to do the studies and come up with a plan for the population’s safety — I guess because it’s generally assumed that there IS NO population.  Some of our volunteers fall into the cracks between the plans.

That said, there’s always a plan:

2014060815143923Today being a Sunday  I decided that I was going to just chill.  That may sound like a simple thing, but I’m a guy who doesn’t chill very often.  There are family members who might say I don’t chill at all, but I beg to differ with them.  I just do it MY way.

While hanging out on the patio with a Campari and water we talked a little about boondocking, and about solar and about plans for the future.  Now that the temps are a little more reliably ‘warm’ we’ve finally started sitting out; and talking.  Call us wimps, but what’s the fun of sitting out in a lawn chair in your jacket.  Inside the RV with the windows cracked open we can still hear the critters and birds, we can still smell the glory of the forest.  But it’s been nice enough in recent weeks to enjoy being out there.

During the conversation I was thinking about some of the places we stopped on our way westward; about the scenes, the formations, and nature’s grand scale of things:  basically, about timing.the universe is large-2  Being human, we so often ‘judge’ what we see around us by our own standards, but our own standards are puny and relatively short-sighted.  And I can be among the worst because I’m incredibly impatient.

When we see something that is ‘new’ to us, it’s easy to assume that it really is ‘new.’  But a lot of the time we find that what is new to us has been going on for aeons, or generations and we just need to readjust our perspective.

There will be a “Big One” — a catastrophic earthquake.  There will be catastrophic Tsunamis — bigger than the ones that have threatened the NW coast in the past.   Mount St. Helens will erupt once again.  As will the Yellowstone volcano — and when it does the United States will never again be the same — the world will change when it happens.

Preparing for an event, and living through an event, are experiences unto themselves; completely different experiences.   I tend to spend a lot of time preparing. I’m not sure I know how do do things differently.  Planning is part of the fun. WE are in search of a more unscripted life and our discussions about solar energy are part of that pursuit.  We have a lot to learn about the subject and we’ll get a quick course on Wednesday.  But we may be 4 months away from the install — depending on several situations shaping up at the moment.  So, all we’re doing now is brainstorming.

My dad and mom -- this was after she came down with Uterine Cancer and about 2 years before she passed.

My dad and mom — this was after she came down with Uterine Cancer and about 2 years before she passed.

As we were sitting there talking Peg looked at me and said that when we sit outside like that it reminds her of my parents who did so quite often.  They were a good example to us of collaborative marriage.  There were many opinions of who ‘ran’ our family but none of them were very accurate because no one other than Peg and I got to see the two of them in their natural surroundings as we did.

We've always done a lot of

We’ve always done a lot of sitting in the yard, here’s my parents, with Kathryn (on the left) and Peggy in between Kathryn and my parents

I may be whacko but I think that one of the old and rare things in our society today is people who know each other well who are able to just sit and talk openly, without guards, without posturing.  This idea that you can know someone well enough to just be yourself is wonderful; but in a world where trust seems to have become such a crucial issue it’s rare and infrequent for people to be able to do what just comes naturally after 45 years together.  The fact that something seems rare can be deceptive.  The universe is huge and unusual and rare things happen every day!

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Ambassador PLQ, Old Diary

Have to get in a little drive in the Ambassador

The new new-to-us coach is getting to us.  I am wanting SO much to get in her and GO!

Our Ambassador parked in our site here on the Forest!

Our Ambassador parked in our site here on the Forest!

I’m not sure if this feeling qualifies as ‘hitch-itch’ or not but it’s eating me alive.  I found a solution though.  We’ve been talking about solar power and one of the best solar installers in the country is only 70 miles from here so we have a consultation appointment at AM Solar in another week.  Whether we schedule an install as soon as we have a firm quotation  (installations are actually being scheduled 6 weeks out)  or whether we wait until closer to our departure from OR, or even decide for some reason that we aren’t going to proceed — at least we’ll have a better idea of what is entailed, what we can expected, and how many $$$$ it’s going to cost.

It’ll be a few days before we have a report — as I say, the appointment if for a week from now. But I’m excited.  Partly to start moving forward on solar, but also just to get behind the wheel of the coach and see how she handles again.  Also there’s the issue of our Blue-Ox tow bar.  4420_1_lgWhen we picked the new coach up at Junction City we did not take our CR-V along, and without thinking I backed the coach into our site before measuring our ground clearance — so I don’t yet know whether I’ll need a spacer to get our Toad and  Coach at the right height for each other when it finally comes time to head out of here.

You may recall from a previous post that the receiver at the Honda needs to be level or 1″-4″ lower than the receiver at the Coach — for safety. Measurements are first order of the day.  The spacers are easily available but I think that we’ll be OK with what we already have.  It seems there’s never an end to the little details that accompany RV’ing.

our short jaunt

Our Short Jaunt

That said — the idea of finally being able to boondock — is exciting.  Journey did not have much reserve power even with new batteries and we didn’t want to push our luck too much.  Properly equipped I think we can have a lot of fun out in the wilderness — if I can convince Peg not to worry about something while we’re there.  :-\

Thanks for stopping by; I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

 

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