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Mar 17, 2013 -

Photos From My Last Day At the Beach

What a busy day it’s been on the beach as it’s the last day of March break. It’s been overcast (I didn’t get a full charge today) but very muggy, so all the windows and roof hatches have been open.

Late afternoon, I decided to walk the two miles (four miles round trip) to the saloon for a beer and a burger, forgetting that today is St Patrick’s Day. The saloon was full to bursting so I instead got my burger to go and ate it on a windy bench on the beach, about halfway to home so the food was still at an acceptable temperature. I just wish I could have had one last ice cold Dos Equis, ‘dressed’ with salt and lime (damn you L for introducing them to me, LOL).

It was a really nice walk except for the fact that there is no way to get to the Saloon but along the main road and it was very busy tonight with folks heading back to civilization.

I won’t miss the wind, but I will otherwise miss everything about this truly magical place. I am so blessed to have been able to spend time here. I have about 14 hours left before I pull out.

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Batteries, Boondocking/Dry camping, Cats, Countries, Electricity, Personal, Solar Panels, Technical, Texas, Travel, USA, Weather    6 Comments
Mar 17, 2013 -

54 Days of Boondocking

I am just under a week shy of completing one solid month of boondocking! I’m doing one night on FHU and then it’s back off the grid I go.

Boondocking for so long didn’t seem realistic when I first started as I had so many troubles with my electrical setup. But I persevered in my troubleshooting and have been rewarded with a 12V system I now only need to monitor as it is adequate and functioning well for my needs.

That said, I’m not sure I would still be here on the beach had I not been able to borrow that generator at the beginning of February or if L and B hadn’t installed a new continuous duty solenoid in the motorhome engine compartment. It really does take the proverbial village…

I’ve got my power usage down to a routine now. I charge my computer in the morning and leave it plugged in for the entire afternoon. It still consumes a few amps at full charge, but it’s a fraction of what it needs to charge, so I’m able to charge the house batteries fully by dinner time, and I have a fully charged computer for the evening.

I don’t leave the computer plugged in in the evening because of the enormous voltage drop due to undersized wiring that I still need to correct. If I leave it plugged in, I don’t have enough voltage to even run an LED light without it flickering.

Now that I know that the wiring is undersized, I can manage my 12V use so that the system doesn’t get over loaded and the DC charger doesn’t get hot, so there are no fire concerns. I am eager to beef up the wiring, but it’s going to be a costly job and there are other upgrades in line first.

If it’s sunny out, I can use 120V items, like the printer and vacuum cleaner without a second thought. If like yesterday, it is overcast, then I need to shut some things down (usually unplugging the computer is enough) or run the engine to get the added voltage boost.

As for plumbing, the holding tanks haven’t been a problem. I could likely go a couple more weeks.

I am sorely missing having water in my on board tank, but have conceded that my 10-gallon water heater means that having instant hot water while boondocking is a wasteful luxury. Having a navy shower is no better than bathing in a basin. So, really, hauling and heating water is always going to be in my boondocking future when I am not somewhere that I can fill up regularly.

I do so desperately miss my long hot evening showers as they were my transition time to bedtime. I need to find access to showers the next time I’m off the grid this long. When I had my house and the plumbing was off in the dead of winter, I’d just go to the gym. I need to find an equally suitable setup on the road. The RV park where I am going does have showers, but I’d have to pay an extra $5 per day to access them. Much as I love my showers, they are not worth that much!

When I started reading about RVing back in 2008, I thought of all the things I would have to give up, and the first that came to mind was my daily shower. I can’t even remember the rest, but the showers hold true. That’s really the only concession I make when off the grid. Otherwise, I am living a more electrically-mindful version of my normal routine and I don’t feel deprived in the least.

Finally, boondocking is infinitely superior to staying in an RV park with all its restrictions!

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Batteries, Battery Monitor, Black Tank, Boondocking/Dry camping, Communications & Electronics, Computer, Electricity, Fresh Water Tank, Generator, Grey Tank, Indoor Shower, Inverter, Plumbing, Solar Panels, Technical, Toilet, Travel    6 Comments
Mar 16, 2013 -

Last Weekend On the Beach :(

Friday was a much needed down day for me. The most exciting thing I did was drive into Port Lavaca to pick up my mail and some avocados.

I also checked out all the car washes and decided that none were convenient enough to get into with the rig for me to spend money at them. I really want a nice big wash area that I can pull in and out of without having to unhook. I’ll keep my eye out for such a place as I head out on the road, really needing to remove the salt spray from both vehicles and to buff out any rusty spots. Moya is also asking me for a wax job, so I really want to find a place where I can wash at my leisure.

When I got in, I spent the bulk of the rest of the day watching the DVDs that my friend had sent while cross-stitching and going for strolls along the beach to enjoy the crazy beautiful weather. What a tough life I lead! 😀

I have a weekend-long project to do, so my last couple of days on the beach will be sedate. I am sort of thinking of going to the saloon for a beer and dinner tonight, but am not particularly stuck on the idea.

The weather is slowly growing less pleasant as heavy clouds are rolling in and the wind is picking up, so Monday will definitely be a good day to get back on the road.

I play to roll out between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. I’ll be getting gas here on the beach as a final gesture of goodwill to the community. I did the math and it will be only $10 more for a fill here than in town, so it’s not a huge extra expense for me, plus the gas station is super convenient as you can pull in then circle around the building.

I will be detouring into Port Lavaca to get propane since I am completely out on board, do not want to have the fridge off for long, and the Port Lavaca propane place is super easy to get in and out of with a long rig even if the entrance is rutty.

After that, it will be about three hours to Van Ormy, just outside of San Antonio (I’ll be doing a post about the RV park once I’ve had a chance to check it out). I can check in as of 1PM and want to pull in as close to that as I can to get my full 22 hours on FHU!

Some of the chores planned for Monday afternoon and evening and Tuesday morning:

– hose down my black tank from inside with my high pressure hose attachment;

– vacuum the entire rig (the dust from the beach as been an insurmountable foe);

reshine the floors as the the sand I’ve been tracking in despite a mat has been very hard on them;

– give my batteries a good soak on shore power (I’ve been getting a full charge by late afternoon all week, so I’m not desperate for charging right now, thankfully!) and recharge anything that needs to be recharged.

Late Tuesday morning, I will move into the no service area.

I don’t have much to do to leave on Monday, so I won’t even think about departure until then beyond making sure there’s plenty of room in the back of the truck for the propane tank.

I’m ready, not eager, to go.

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Batteries, Black Tank, Boondocking/Dry camping, Campgrounds, Cleaning, Countries, Electricity, Itineraries, Maintenance & Repair, Personal, Plumbing, Preparations for Departure, Propane, Technical, Texas, Towing and Toad, Travel, USA, Weather    2 Comments
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