Browsing "Campgrounds"
Mar 28, 2013 -

An External Replacement For the MacBook Pro Superdrive

I would like to once again thank all my readers who shop through my Amazon link. It never ceases to amaze me how such a small thing that costs you nothing makes such a huge difference to my bottom line.

The SuperDrive (DVD/CD reader and writer) on my Macbook Pro has been increasingly fussy and it has finally decided to stop recognizing any of my DVDs. Replacing a SuperDrive is not really a DIY project and it is very expensive to have it done by Apple. The recommendation is to replace it with an external drive.

Thanks to my Amazon commissions this month, I was able to go ahead and order one this week without even having to debate with myself whether I can live without a DVD player for the foreseeable future.

My first choice was no longer available, so I bought a Samsung Ultra Portable Slim DVD+/-RW USB External Drive, Black SE-218BB/RSBS.

It is very small, barely bigger than a DVD and about as thick as a DVD case. Best of all, it is powered by USB only, so I don’t need to run the inverter to use it. Installation was easy. I just plugged it into the computer, popped in a disc, and started watching a movie. My SuperDrive has not recognized that disc in years!

Getting this replacement was perfect timing since the movie Lincoln just came out on DVD, too, so I picked that up as well. So you can all guess what I’m doing tonight. 🙂

You can buy just about anything on Amazon, like paint to refinish the new cubbies you bought for the office. My Amazon commissions free up so much of my budget for other things. Thank you again to everyone who shops through my link.

In other news, the weather I’ve been experiencing in San Antonio apparently isn’t typical for this time of year. All I can say is that it has pretty much sucked for solar charging. I’m doing fine, but the forecast doesn’t give me hope of a full charge any time soon.

I just renewed for another six nights, taking me to noonish on the 4th of April. The weather up north is crappy, rent here is cheap ($5 a night), and I’m waiting for mail to come from Canada. Six more nights puts me at two nights past my original plan of two weeks, so I’m still on track with the original schedule. I’ll reevaluate next week. This is just such a good location. I feel so far from anywhere, but I’m less than five minutes from I-35.

A weekend-long project came in, so I’ll be pretty busy for the next few days, which suits me just fine since I had so much time off this week. I’ll try to remember to pop in with a proof of life at some point. 😉

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Boondocking/Dry camping, Campgrounds, Communications & Electronics, Computer, Countries, Technical, Texas, Travel, USA, Weather    No Comments
Mar 22, 2013 -

Out For a Hidden Valley Walk

The sun and heat just returned with a vengeance, so I headed out for a short walk to enjoy the good weather. It’s nice to be back in the rig where there is a lovely cool cross-breeze!

The landscapes and fauna here remind me of the Okanagan before the cold season sets in. Only the palms feel foreign. Most of the cacti here are on steroids, but I did see some impressive ones in the Okanagan, so they don’t make me ooh as much as I would have expected.

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Campgrounds, Countries, Texas, Travel, USA    10 Comments
Mar 19, 2013 -

A Different Sort of Boondocking

Today, I start boondocking in HOT weather. Thankfully, there is a nice breeze, so with the cross ventilation and roof hatches open, the rig is comfortable. The cats are fine and I put an ice cube in their water, which Neelix in particular appreciates (lick, lick, lick, lick).

It was a busy morning. I got up late (8:00), so by the time coffee and morning tasks were done, it was almost 9:00. I cleaned out the shoe cupboard, a task I didn’t feel capable of taking on yesterday. Then, I hauled out the crazy long garden hose and the tank wand washer to clean out the black tank. Then, I recleaned the toilet room. Note to self, hose down the tank BEFORE cleaning the toilet room! By the time all that was done and the rig was packed, it was about 11:30, so I headed up the hill where Teri was already waiting for me.

Here’s the rig in the FHU pull-thru spot:




You exit by driving over the grass. The spots are level!

I keep forgetting to show a repair I did to Miranda while on the beach. During my summer in Lethbridge (yes, almost two years ago already!) I broke the catch for the wet bay door.

One of the reasons I was so slow to replace it is that I knew I’d need putty to do it. When I picked up putty for the new window frame, I got a two-pack of catches at the same time.

So to recap, I broke the catch in 2011, bought a replacement a full year later in 2012, and replaced it about nine months after that in 2013. I tend not to do projects until they become pressing. 🙂

It was actually a difficult repair since I couldn’t reuse the existing screw holes but still had to position the catch to hold the door without impeding its opening all the while covering the existing screw holes. I also had to psych myself into making holes into the shell, even if they are well sealed. I used way more putty than necessary!


Now here’s the rig in the dry camping spot on the edge of a HUGE open field:



Teri was great about making sure I was happy with my spot. My requirements were full sun for the solar panel, nosing in so that my view in the back is the field, and a clear view from the office window. The spot she originally planned for me met none of those criteria.

The downside to this spot is that I had to put the passenger side on levelers and if it rains more than 1/2 inch, I have to move to a different location as this area will get very mushy. I was not put at the other location because it’s right by a busy road and the pads are super not level. I’m thus far happy with the spot, but suspect that I may need to back up a little to keep the solar panel happy.

For $5, I can use the laundry facilities ($1.50 to wash, $1.00 to dry; very reasonable) and the garbage dumpster. I am also allowed to run the engine if I need to (quiet generators are also okay). I have paid for 10 nights up front, so I’m definitely here till at least the 28th at noon.

I don’t know yet when I’ll be going into San Antonio. I have a social engagement Thursday and will likely be busy  tomorrow, so perhaps Friday. I can’t wait to see the Alamo!

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Black Tank, Boondocking/Dry camping, Campgrounds, Cats, Personal, Plumbing, Technical, Texas, Travel, USA, Weather    6 Comments