Saturday, July 22, 2017

Off To Meet Our Cuban Friends

We are off to Brooks and LindaLee's in Shawnigan Lake today to meet our Cuban friends Roly and Christy who are visiting Vancouver Island. They have a full itinerary and will only be there for the one day (Sunday) but we are really happy to get the chance to  see them. I will have photos soon.

Here are Roly and Christy in their home in Santa Marta, Cuba:



Brooks' Birthday Party at Roly and Christy's house:

Friday, July 21, 2017

Rain!

We are finally getting a little rain up here! Not much but hopefully enough to make the forests a little safer and remove the campfire and burning ban.

But the part that I like best is a chance to test the new roof, gutters, skylights and rain chain! After an hour or so I am ready to declare everything working as expected!

EDIT: A leak has appeared behind one spot on the gutter where it makes a 90 degree turn. The problem may be in the roofing or in the gutter. I called the gutter guy and he will drop around later today to have a look.

EDIT 2: Well, the gutter guy came and found the problem. It is a shingle problem that he fixed by shoving a piece of flashing up under the shingle. It should hold it until we get the rest of the roof done.


The Leak:



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Trimming

The woman we hired to haul away the construction refuse is actually a professional gardener. Norma showed her around and arranged for her to come back today to do some trimming. I like her! She is not afraid to cut deep and she knows what she is doing. One particularly thorny tree that was taking over one of the patios is now almost completely gone and we got our patio back. Some other large bushes are no longer hanging over into the condo's yard next door and she has at least one truckload of trimmings ready to go and is nowhere near done yet! Lets see what she does with the roses that are growing up onto the roof!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Rain Chain Drain

We drilled about a hundred holes in two large planter buckets, sank them into the lawn and filled them with rocks from the beach. Hopefully they will drain into the sandy soil around them and handle all but the heaviest rainfalls. I anchored the rain chains to the bottom of the buckets so they will not blow around in the wind. Further modification "might" be required.



Thursday, July 13, 2017

Nothing to Do

Tinkering away. I used up some scraps of decking to replace the grungy old top of our old DIY cafe table in the garden. Then I went down and bought some more cedar boards and built a seating bench for the deck. It now has just about enough furniture.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Rain Chain Test!

Rain Chain! No, it's not raining, I'm cheating.


Monday, July 10, 2017

Gutters and Rain Chain!

At about ten this morning the gutter truck pulled up the driveway. They installed the new facia board, modified and replaced the existing gutter that Brooks Randle and C.J. Howie took down to build the porch. They then manufactured the new gutters for the porch, tied everything together and added the rain chain brackets.
Norma and I drove downtown and bought four four and a half foot sections of rain chain for the 8 - 9 foot height of the gutters, came home and attached them. We made up for the lack of rain with the garden hose and tested them. They work exactly as we hoped!
The gutter work and brackets cost $505 and the Rain Chain, $245 for $750 total.



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Night Shots

Beautiful!


A Day of Rest?

A day of rest! I returned $250 worth of unused hardware and stuff to Home Depot and then I tried out my $29 Harbor Freight belt sander on the deck rails and got my money's worth out of it right there!
The gutter guy came, took some measurements and will order the rain chain brackets for the gutter. He will do the job in two weeks.
Norma called a woman who does dump runs so she is busy loading up the pile of old shingles and construction leftovers that I can't burn.
Now, what was I doing? Oh yes, resting! 

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Reveal!

Two full ten hour days for Brooks and CJ and we are almost done, We are short two posts and the facia boards. Unfortunately all building supply stores except Home Depot were closed for the Canada Day weekend and they did not have a few things.

CJ connects the lighting. Norma and Brooks' very late night Internet purchase a couple of weeks ago. The Budget Director had no say in that one. 



Two posts and facia missing. The stairs will eventually be covered with cedar as well.

Juneau the Husky likes it! A great place to eat dinner!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Busy Day!

Today Brooks and his roofer friend C.J. got the roof framed and boarded. C.J. stayed up there until after seven nailing down roofing paper as there is a 20% chance of rain tonight and we don't want a 3 AM wake up call with rain coming through the roof! Tomorrow will be another busy day.







Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Whale Of A Time!

Two large whales have been sounding between our house and the tip of Quadra Island for the last half hour or so. They appear to be heading north but have stopped in the tide rip for the all-you-can-eat seafood buffet! Too far away for photos, all we can see is a periodic spray of water and then the large black hump as they dive after breathing.

They left after being surrounded and bothered by sightseeing boats.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Lazy Summer Days

Lazy days here on the coast! The weather has turned good again so there are sunny days to look forward to. Short pants weather here but not the severe heat our Arizona friends are facing, I can't imagine 120 degrees plus. We would be running the A/C 24/7!

Our niece Robin and George from Alberta dropped by on their big Harley for a surprise but always welcome visit a few days ago. They were headed for the Port Hardy - Prince Rupert ferry where George wanted to follow the Yellowhead Highway #16 back to Edmonton, visiting all the places he worked during his many years with the railroad. They spent a couple of days here while they determined the weather had changed for the worse in the north and they would be riding in the rain all the way. They made the decision to head back south to Victoria and the Port Angeles ferry to Washington State and back home that way. They are like us, no schedules, no reservations and no worries when plans change.

Brooks called to say his trip up to finish the porch would be delayed a week which is fine with us. We are still using the old concrete landing and stairs so a week delay is no problem.

Norma is working in her garden and I am getting a few odd jobs done around the place as well as catching up on my reading. Lazy summer days!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Victoria

We just returned after spending a couple of days in Victoria visiting Norma's 73 year old brother who had a stroke a few weeks ago. He is in the hospital facing the confusion of having other people making decisions for him. He has a good support group of friends but was happy to have contact with his sister.

We discovered to our shock that the affordable hotels we have used in the past are now in the $200 per night range! We called Norm and Liz who we knew and worked with back in our political years. We spent a few hours catching up with each other's lives and solving the world's problems and then spent the night in their guest room. It was a very pleasant night!

Sunday morning we went back to the hospital to check in with Willea again and to make sure the staff had Norma's contact information. After an hour or so we headed back home, stopping in Qualicum Beach for a feed of fish and chips on the beach. It is about a four hour drive each way.

We are now in relaxation mode for a day or two before getting back into the job jar. We do not know exactly when Brooks is going to come back up but when he does he is bringing a roofing friend with him as Brooks is not comfortable working that high up. Things will go a lot faster with some help.

When I showed Norm and Liz the photos of our project Norm said, "You are building a Longhouse!"

Friday, June 9, 2017

All For Now

Now we can see a bit of what it will look like. Brooks and LindaLee headed back home just after noon as they have to get back to real (paying) work tomorrow and everyone was pretty wiped out from handling those very heavy timbers. I was out of commission with my ankle but LL and Brooks got all the trusses cut and two of them raised. They will be back in a week or so with a worker to finish up. So far it is looking very good! We are so lucky to have Brooks and LindaLee who gave up their "weekend" to work up here!


Thursday, June 8, 2017

End Of The Day!

End of the day! Got a lot done but I do hold Brooks back. My 72 year old legs just do not move as fast any more. Basic framing done!





Started!

Plans are written in sand, not stone and that is a good thing! We got the two main uprights dug and cemented in last night. It will be just under 200 square feet and will have a solid roof with skylights! Today we attach to the house and get the framing started. We will be short a few pieces but they will be hidden so the difference between the "store bought" and Brooks' full dimension lumber will not be visible.
Oh yes, the material is Douglas Fir, not cedar. My mistake. But Brooks assures me that fir is a very good product for the job and will last longer than me! :)
The rain woke me up at 5:00 am. I will try to go back to sleep!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Porch Day!

Brooks is coming up today with a trailer full of cedar to frame our new front porch. It is going to get very busy around here! The "plan" is framing today, decking tomorrow and the roof next week. The roof is still being discussed. Norma wants an open, pergola style while Brooks is suggesting a closed, shingled style, extending the existing peak. That decision will be made tomorrow.

Before:


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Front Porch

Brooks just had a customer bail out of a project after the material was ordered and he is stuck with a trailer full of cedar that he thinks is enough to build a front porch on our house! He is bringing it up next week! 

The new porch will cover the small concrete landing and stairs currently at the front of the house and will extend out a bit and along under the living room window. It will have a pergola style roof and will be a great place to sit and enjoy a morning coffee or lunch!

Exciting times! I just have to pay his bill at the saw mill, buy the food and beer, pay for his gas and all the extra bits and pieces :). 

But we are getting a porch!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mazda Maintenance

Norma's 1998 Mazda 626 just keeps running and gets pretty much ignored maintenance wise. Oh, it gets oil changes, tires and whatever else it needs when something fails but it has never had a real tuneup and at 181,000 KM (112,000 Miles) still had it's original timing belt.

So a few days ago we decided to give it a treat and sent it in. Changing the timing belt involves getting inside the engine so as long as he was in there it made sense to change a couple of other things as well so with a tuneup it turned into a pretty big job.

The mechanic called at noon to say it was ready to be picked up and the bill was $1,120 CAN ($830 US). It runs the same as it did before but now it will be good for another couple of hundred thousand kilometers. Norma likes it but it's not my favorite car I have owned, that title probably belongs to my first car, a 1959 Volvo 144, the old fastback model I bought in 1963. the year I graduated and got my first full time job. It was a rally car, fun to drive and indestructible!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Solar Panel On!

Finished! I got a late start because I waited for Norma's lawn guy to arrive so he could pass the panel up to me on the roof. I thought of doing it with a rope but it could easily have swung into the side of the motorhome.

The aluminum brackets bolted on easily.
 Yup, lots of room beside the back panel.

Dave's bracket screwed in place on a bed of very soft, sticky butyl rubber. This will be covered with a good coating of Dicor self leveling sealant.

All done. The old panels really needed a cleaning!

All three panels wired in to the back of the controller. EDIT: I have now increased the size of the output wires shown to #10.

and back on the wall!

It is getting harder and harder to climb up and down and to work on my knees up there but I got it done in a couple of hours. The batteries are happily charging at 14.7 volts. Everything is good!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Continuing Solar Panel Install

Didn't get much accomplished on the panel today. My friend Dave had some two inch aluminum angle so I went over and we cut off a ten inch piece. Doris then invited me to stay for lunch on the deck which was delicious. I sure miss these former next door neighbors!

I cut the aluminum into four pieces and marked them and the sides of the panel for drilling. Norma then asked me to help her with a couple of gardening projects so that was as far as I got.

Check back tomorrow! Maybe photos.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Solar Panel Install, Part 1

So far, so good.
I decided to get a start on the new solar panel installation today even though I have no brackets to mount the panel to the roof. Tomorrow I will go downtown to buy some aluminum stock to cut and bend into right angle brackets.
I pushed two #10 wires up the conduit I installed in the fridge vent for the other two panels, climbed up to the roof, removed the vent cover and pulled enough wire to reach the spot where I will mount the new panel. The good news is, there is more than enough room to mount the panel without moving one of the older ones. What a relief!
Then I blind drilled a 1/2" hole through the metal bottom of the outside fridge enclosure to pass the wires into the solar controller beside the stairs. I will save that connection till last so I can check everything with the meter before making the final connections. The tough part is over!
Photos tomorrow.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Motorhome Parked!

Washed up and put away wet!
The motorhome is finally cleaned out, cleaned up and put away in it's parking spot. We are lucky to have room to park it on the property as most people have to rent parking for them. The house you see is our neighbour to the south. We are infringing about three feet onto his property but that area is unusable to him as it is only accessible from our property and contains his abandoned (and hopefully empty) oil tank. We make up for it by allowing them to extend their rear lawn right up to the back of my workshop, three feet or so on our side of the property line. Everyone is happy, it works out.

The dolly is in front of and partly under the motorhome and there is lots of room to park the two cars behind it, along with room for guests.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Solar Panel Arrived and New Dolly Lights!

They told me it would be two to six WEEKS. It was here in two DAYS!

I have to get the rig parked before I can install it and Norma wants to wash it first. I also have to buy some Aluminium stock or angle to make mounting brackets, Maybe on the weekend.

I did get inspired and installed some new LED running lights on the dolly so that job is done. The old ones were LED as well but I lost a lens off one.


Trump And The Dunning-Kruger Effect

This is Donald Trump to a "T"
The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein persons of low ability suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority derives from the metacognitive inability of low-ability people to recognize their ineptitude, without which they cannot accurately evaluate their actual competence.[1] - Wiki

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Another Solar Panel!

My friend Kevin emailed me with this great deal on a 100 watt monocrystalline (better than polycrystalline) Solar panel. This would even be a great deal in the USA as $150 CAN = $110 USA! Plus free shipping and no tax on solar it was too good to pass up!

I will now have 325 watts of solar feeding my four 6 volt golf cart batteries! Now my only problem is to find a place on the roof to mount it without moving one of the existing panels. When I installed them I gave no thought to future expansion!

Click to see sale

DC HOUSE 160W 12V Monocrystalline Photovoltaic PV Solar Panel Module 12V Battery Charging

EDIT: Sale is over. $220 now

Monday, May 15, 2017

Anik G1 Footprint

Further to yesterday's discussion. The future of Shaw Direct. Maybe not for a couple more years but eventually Snowbirds will start losing both HD and SD channels as programming is migrated to the new Anik G1 bird that Shaw Direct has contracted use of for 15 years, the expected lifetime of the satellite.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Shaw Direct Upgrade

I had a chat with one of the better CSR's at Shaw Direct the other day and came away a little better informed. First, they are slowly but steadily moving programming over to the third satellite that my current quad LNB dishes will not work with. I also learned that the older grey colored 500 series receivers will very soon be obsolete as they introduce compression into the programming. In the meantime, although not supporting use of their equipment while out of the country, they know many of their customers do this and are not going out of their way to stop it.

He also told me that when I will be forced to convert to the new three satellite LNB's they will only convert one dish for free. I have four dishes! Two on the house, one on the workshop for the motorhome where it is parked when not in use and one for the motorhome when we travel. This will be a problem when the time comes to change.

I am still unclear on how easy it will be to aim the new LNB dishes and if they will even be able to "see" the third satellite from down south. I have to do some research.

In the meantime I found someone selling two receivers (one 630 and one 600) on Craigslist for $125 total. I quickly responded and was the first of four people wanting them. I drove down to Courtenay to pick them up from a couple who had just given up their winter home in Yuma, AZ. He also gave me his dish which is the same older style as mine, but the smaller version. I got home, called Shaw Direct and got them both running. At the same time they turned off my two remaining 500 series receivers that are soon to stop working.

Now to do some research on the new LNB's!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Final election night totals:

Liberal 43, NDP 41, Green 3
Still many absentee votes to count and many Ridings could be overturned. Some, like our neighbouring Courtenay where the NDP won by only nine votes will be re-counted. This back and forth will go on for days.
We won in our riding by a substantial margin that will hold. I just wish there were many more.
If Green voters had of voted NDP it would have meant 16 more seats for the NDP and 16 fewer for the Liberals.
So what we have is a Minority Government with the Greens in the drivers seat. The Greens will never support the Liberals on the pipeline and tanker issues. Their members would revolt and the Party would fold. They may be tempted with the Speakers Chair or a Cabinet post and they may join the Liberals on economic issues as they have many times in the past but not on the environment.
British Columbia has always been hard left or hard right, there is no room for a wishy washy third party that can't make up its' mind which side of the fence it is on.



Monday, May 8, 2017

Final (Maybe) Battery Report

I turned the larger screen TV on at 5:30 PM last night and left it running on the inverter. Batteries were at 13 volts when I started. At 7:30 (2 hours later) I checked the batteries and they were at 12.8 volts which is 100% charge. At 9:30 (4 hours later) they were still at 12.5 volts or 80% charge! I hit the generator start button and the generator fired up without killing the inverter. This morning at 9:30 AM under a cloudy sky and drizzling rain the batteries had recovered to 13.2 volts with the solar panels. Things are exactly where I want them!

I might do the same test but with both TV's on. This would be when I want to watch a football game on one while Norma watches her stuff on the other.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Batteries, Day 2

I am very happy with my experiment today! At 5:30 the batteries read 13.7 volts as they were still getting a bit of a charge from the remaining sun. I turned on the smaller TV and it's satellite receiver and left it on for the 4 hour test period. The voltage dropped to 13 volts as soon as I turned on the TV. I left it on, tuned to CNN. Four hours later the batteries were reading 12.5 volts or 80% of full charge.

Last winter if we left a TV on for much more than two hours and tried to start the generator the start current for the generator would drag the battery voltage down so far the inverter would cut out. Tonight the inverter stayed on when I started the generator after running the TV for four hours!

Tomorrow I will see if the solar will recharge the batteries and then repeat the test with the bigger screen TV in the bedroom. Like I say, so far I am very pleased.

EDIT: I left the satellite receiver on all night (but not the TV) and when I checked at 10:30 AM the batteries were at 13.2 and by noon they were at 13.7. Very happy with this!

Battery Report

I let the batteries charge up all night the night before last and yesterday I unplugged the motorhome. It was a cloudy day but the voltage remained at 13.7 which told me they were getting some charge from the panels. I checked it again last night around 11 PM and they were sitting at 13 volts which was very good. There was nothing turned on in the motorhome, just the normal systems that always draw a little power.

I don't know what they dropped down to in the middle of the night but at 8 AM this morning they were being charged by the solar panels under a sunny sky at 14.4 volts!

Today I will connect the two TV's to their dish and turn them on for three or four hours tonight to see what they drag the voltage down to and to see how fast they recover tomorrow, whatever the weather is.

So far I am very happy.

Here are my rooftop panels. The new 100 watt panel is at the bottom and I should have mounted it further to the left (or right) to leave room for another one beside it. There still might be room, I will have to get up there and measure. As a commenter mentioned yesterday, solar costs in Canada are almost prohibitive. Last year I bought the new one At Canadian Tire for $199 Can ($145 US) but now they are back up to $550! I will wait for another sale or purchase and install it in the US where they are sometimes $110 US ($150 CAD) on Amazon.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Motorhome Battery Job

We bought two more six volt batteries in the US on the way home this year. I have not been happy with the battery system's ability to hold a charge. When boondocking we have been limited to only about three hours of TV at night before running the batteries down to 12.2 volts or 50% charge, the lowest you want to go without starting to damage the batteries. Adding two more would double the capacity.

Getting 12 volts out of two 6 volt batteries requires wiring them in series and that is how the original batteries are wired. What I had to do today was to wire the two new batteries in series as well giving me what amounts to two 12 volt batteries. These would be wired together in parallel to give 12 volts with twice the amp hours I had before. A simple series-parallel circuit. Simple. Right?

Then I cleared out the basement bin next to the side door and cut a piece of scrap 5/8 inch plywood to strengthen the floor. Norma had been using this bin to carry additional canned food so I knew it would bear the weight.

I then drove up to the local car audio shop where I bought a length of #4 power cable from their scrap bin and added a few connectors to my purchase. They charged me a very reasonable $10 for everything. I was happy.

I cut the cable into lengths for the positive and negative leads and soldered on the connectors. Red for + and blue for - and drilled a couple of holes in the side of the bin. I carefully measured voltages with my Fluke meter as I did not want a spark show when I made the final connection. Everything went well with no sparks!

I will let the batteries work together and equalize with the charger overnight and then tomorrow I will unplug the rig and start monitoring things closely making sure the two solar panels keep everything charged. If they can keep up in the current cloudy weather we are having then I have no doubt they will do well when we are down south. If necessary, I am prepared to add another 100 watt solar panel.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Voted!

Our provincial election is on May 9 but the Advance Voting was this weekend so we drove downtown and cast our ballots for the New Democratic Party candidate, Claire Travina. We are hoping the polls are correct for a change and the cursed "Liberal" Party will be thrown out of office. In Canada, the "Liberal" Party is on the right of the political spectrum and here in BC it is on the extreme right. We have suffered with them for too many years!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Taxes Done!

Taxes done! We saved a combined $800 by taking advantage of Income Sharing. Taxes NetFiled and money sent in. Copy of taxes sent to my Financial Advisor. Done for another year!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Taxes - First Look

I loaded everything into TurboTax and pushed the button. We owe $3000 between us. This is about what I expected. Neither of us has tax deducted at source with the exception of my Union Pension and my RIF (Retirement Income Fund) so we always owe. This amount will be reduced when the program files the returns and applies the Income Splitting to both forms. Just making a final check for anything I missed. It is nice to have a couple of days to do the taxes, it is usually a rush job to get it done before the deadline.

Plugged Tank

Our gray water tank has been plugged for the last few days of our trip and I thought I knew the problem - ME!

I thought it was OK to wash coffee grounds down the sink as long as we were hooked up to a sewer, the valve was open and I had the cold water tap running while I emptied the coffee basket. This is evidently not the case as when I opened the gray water valve I only got a few drops of water and a few wet coffee grounds! We conserved sink use until we got home and only had a quarter of a tank of grey water when we parked.

I had decided on a plan of action on the drive home and tackled the problem yesterday. I intended to give the tank and it's drain pipe a reverse flush.

I parked on the sloping driveway where a little grey water would do no harm, opened the grey water valve and sure enough only a few spoonfuls of water and a few coffee grounds came out. I got our garden hose that is hooked up to the high pressure (city) side of our house pressure reduction valve out and dragged it over. I wrapped a rag around the end to make a seal, jammed it in the outlet and held it in place as I released the water flow. Nothing seemed to happen! The seal was good as only a little water was dripping into the ground but otherwise, silence.

Suddenly I heard water gurgling and flowing into the grey tank! Whatever the blockage was, it was free now. I let a few gallons in and pulled the hose and rag out. Wow! A ton of dirty looking water came out and flowed down the driveway. A closer inspection showed a lot of coffee grounds in it. I repeated the maneuver a few times, getting more coffee grounds out every time. The last time, I let the tank fill to about 3/4 full before I released it to give it a really good flush. There were still coffee grounds but only a tablespoon full or so. The problem was solved without calling out the plumber and his "snake" which was going to be 'Plan B'!

Now to look at our taxes. Norma is sorting the several pounds of mail, looking for our tax information. This is going to be fun!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

HOME!!!

WE ARE HOME!!!
Got home to a spotless house thanks to Kelly, our house sitter. We are so lucky to have found her! Nothing to do except bring in some food from the motorhome, bring Norma's PVR into the house and RELAX for a couple of days.
There is a drainage problem but Kelly called our drainage "guy" and he came by this afternoon and has a solution planned. He says it will wait until the rain stops in a week or so. :(

Friday, April 21, 2017

We Made It!

We Made It!
Crossing the border at the Victoria ferry dock was easy as pie. How much did you spend? $1435. Any liquor? Yes, three full 750ml bottles and several partial bottles. Welcome back to Canada. That was it.
We drove the Malahat Highway to Brooks and went out for fish and chips with them, came home and watched some of the Edmonton Oilers hockey game but I went to bed before it was over.
We will spend today here and head home tomorrow. Our vacation is over! :)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Island Bound



Sitting in Port Angeles figuring out what we spent this winter. We are allowed $800 Canadian each and appear to be well under.
We have a reservation on the 2:00 PM Black Ball Ferry and should be at Brooks' by six or seven.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

United Airlines

What concerns and upsets me the most about the United Airlines incident is the actions of the police! What is next? You buy and pay for a new car and then the cops show up at your door, kick the shit out of you and take the car back to the dealer? What about a house? The realtor or previous owner sends the cops to drag you out of your house after you have bought it? Who are the police "Serving and Protecting" anyway? The public or their corporate masters?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sunshine And Solar Musings

We drove from Pendleton, Oregon to Hood River, OR today. We probably would have spent another night at the Wildhorse Casino if it were not for the $40 a night rates. I have no idea why a Casino would chase people away with high rares and few services, not even showers.
It was a beautiful, clear, sunny, warm morning and it got better as we approached the Columbia River and the left turn towards Portland. We stopped at the sometimes friendly and sometimes not so friendly Walmart in Hood River and parked right in front of the "No RV's", "No Overnight Parking" and "No Camping" signs and went in to ask if it was OK to park overnight. We were told yes, it was fine as long as we were gone in the morning. We will be.


Remember all the battery problems we had on the way down last year? I sure do. We replaced the two 6 volt batteries, the converter and then the batteries again!

We never boondocked after that so the new system was never put to the test. Two nights ago we overnighted in a Walmart and watched some TV. We had bought a new 26 inch TV that uses more power than the old one but with just the TV and Shaw Direct box on the battery steadily fell from 12.9 when it settled down after we parked to 12.4 a couple of hours later. and the amber warning light came on on my high tech battery monitor. Crap! It must also be noted that the weather was cloudy when we parked so the solar was of no help.

Today we are parked at another Walmart but under a bright sun and the battery monitor is jumping between 13.1 and 14 volts depending on whether there is a small cloud shading the panels or not.

I have two solar panels giving 225 total watts and two 6 volt batteries in series to make 12 volts.

I am thinking I might add two more 6 volt batteries in a series/parallel circuit to give me still 12 volts but double the amps. It will take a little longer to charge them but that should not be a problem. It will also add a couple of hundred pounds of weight to the right hand side but that is a fair trade off for the extra amperage.

Wow! The TV has been on for an hour and the voltage is currently at 13.94. The system I have now would be fine as long as we are in sunshine. But we are not always in sunshine. I am musing...

Friday, April 14, 2017

Wildhorse Casino

Wildhorse Casino Tally:
Norma - $60 in, $160 out :) :)
Croft - $40 in, $47 out :)