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January 2021

February 2021

 

 

The month is half over and we are still waiting for the part to show up all the way from England, and naturally the delay is blamed on COVID!
 
During the down time we have kept busy with little jobs around the boat and perfecting our solar use!
Our boat is now compl…

Read more

Boat and RV December 14 (Free vs Paid)

Boat and RV

December 14, 2019

Conestoga Charlie is breaking with the general format today.

There are 22 photos and not in the order of travel but rather in the order of amenities.

I was reading a piece about a very bad commercial campground experience, qnd thinking back I remembered some…

Read more

July 2019

Boat and RV

July 1, 2019

Conestoga Charlie with general ramblings and more about our Solar experiment!

This is the second day in Cabin Creek which is really easy access off the I-90  Exit 63 and even comfortable for a class A! (GPS Lat 47.2933 Lon -121.2877)

Something that is troubling …

Read more

June 2019

Boat and RV

June 1, 2019

Conestoga Charlie here with two more files for new and potential owners. And if all works well they will be posted in order!?

New Owner File 3

Another aspect of purchase is learning how to operate all the systems.

Our dealer provided a “run through” of how it …

Read more

May 2019

Boat and RV

May 3, 2019

Conestoga Charlie and crew welcome the new members to our group.

The group is growing nicely and so far appears to be well balanced between Campers and Boaters.

Many travel by both so hopefully in the near future we will see more travel stories posted by our membe…

Read more

April 2019

Boat and RV

April 2, 2019

Conestoga Charlie heading south after Oklahoma City and visit to the Route 66 Museum.

Thankfully nothing but normal traffic problems on the way to friends in McKinney Texas.

With one stopover in Ardmore Oklahoma to mail a package we arrived on a nice sunny day w…

Read more

March 2019

Boat and RV

March 2, 2019

Conestoga Charlie sitting in Tucson still.

Today I am going to talk about money!

Not the green stuff we need for day to day living and travel, but the reserves we need for emergencies.

Most will carry a specified amount in a savings type of account that can b…

Read more

February 2019

Boat and RV

February 5, 2019

Conestoga Charlie back after a few days of intense packing!

One of the many things people say during our travels it how much they would enjoy the free lifestyle, however they also lament about how much stuff they have.

Those readers who are contemplating a mo…

Read more

January 2019

Boat and RV

January 1, 2019

A big welcome to 2019 from Conestoga Charlie and the crew of the Dawn Treader.

We wish to thank all the loyal readers for their encouragement and support.

Today’s special New Year’s Blog is a walk down memory lane.  It is a short picture story of the Odyssey i…

Read more

July 2018

Mystery Blog

Suggestions have been pouring in (well more like a trickle really) for the new name.

On July 4th it will be one whole month since we left our boat and headed up Interstate 75 with the Gulfstream BT Cruiser, a 23 foot Class C Motor Home.

During the last few weeks I have been com…

Read more

View older posts »

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Blog Posts

January 2021

February 2021

 

 

The month is half over and we are still waiting for the part to show up all the way from England, and naturally the delay is blamed on COVID!
 
During the down time we have kept busy with little jobs around the boat and perfecting our solar use!
Our boat is now compl…

Read more

Boat and RV December 14 (Free vs Paid)

Boat and RV

December 14, 2019

Conestoga Charlie is breaking with the general format today.

There are 22 photos and not in the order of travel but rather in the order of amenities.

I was reading a piece about a very bad commercial campground experience, qnd thinking back I remembered some…

Read more

July 2019

Boat and RV

July 1, 2019

Conestoga Charlie with general ramblings and more about our Solar experiment!

This is the second day in Cabin Creek which is really easy access off the I-90  Exit 63 and even comfortable for a class A! (GPS Lat 47.2933 Lon -121.2877)

Something that is troubling …

Read more

June 2019

Boat and RV

June 1, 2019

Conestoga Charlie here with two more files for new and potential owners. And if all works well they will be posted in order!?

New Owner File 3

Another aspect of purchase is learning how to operate all the systems.

Our dealer provided a “run through” of how it …

Read more

May 2019

Boat and RV

May 3, 2019

Conestoga Charlie and crew welcome the new members to our group.

The group is growing nicely and so far appears to be well balanced between Campers and Boaters.

Many travel by both so hopefully in the near future we will see more travel stories posted by our membe…

Read more

April 2019

Boat and RV

April 2, 2019

Conestoga Charlie heading south after Oklahoma City and visit to the Route 66 Museum.

Thankfully nothing but normal traffic problems on the way to friends in McKinney Texas.

With one stopover in Ardmore Oklahoma to mail a package we arrived on a nice sunny day w…

Read more

March 2019

Boat and RV

March 2, 2019

Conestoga Charlie sitting in Tucson still.

Today I am going to talk about money!

Not the green stuff we need for day to day living and travel, but the reserves we need for emergencies.

Most will carry a specified amount in a savings type of account that can b…

Read more

February 2019

Boat and RV

February 5, 2019

Conestoga Charlie back after a few days of intense packing!

One of the many things people say during our travels it how much they would enjoy the free lifestyle, however they also lament about how much stuff they have.

Those readers who are contemplating a mo…

Read more

January 2019

Boat and RV

January 1, 2019

A big welcome to 2019 from Conestoga Charlie and the crew of the Dawn Treader.

We wish to thank all the loyal readers for their encouragement and support.

Today’s special New Year’s Blog is a walk down memory lane.  It is a short picture story of the Odyssey i…

Read more

July 2018

Mystery Blog

Suggestions have been pouring in (well more like a trickle really) for the new name.

On July 4th it will be one whole month since we left our boat and headed up Interstate 75 with the Gulfstream BT Cruiser, a 23 foot Class C Motor Home.

During the last few weeks I have been com…

Read more

View older posts »

June 2019

Boat and RV

June 1, 2019

Conestoga Charlie here with two more files for new and potential owners. And if all works well they will be posted in order!?

New Owner File 3

Another aspect of purchase is learning how to operate all the systems.

Our dealer provided a “run through” of how it all worked.  Like oh really!

In our case the “Tour Guide” was lacking and the technician that was getting our motor home ready gave us better information.

Our first experience hooking up the city water and sewer in the campground went like this;

Water pressure regulator; check!

Sewer hose secured; check!

Buy special elbow for hose to be secure in pipe; check

Turn on water and watch water run down tire; check, no wait not check!

So wondering what the devil was going on now I took the panel off and discovered the hose to the plumbing was wrapped in plastic with a plug. Simple for a change, remove plug and reattach to hose outlet. No more leak.

So, add another thing that was missed in the “camp ready” repair check list at purchase.

Things are starting to remind us of the similar experience with our sailboat, learning after the fact!

All was well until we reached the next stop and we used the internal pump and watched water flow out the side of the motor home.

Turns out there is a check valve that is also defective, which is why the hose was plugged in the first place.

The most important thing is to learn what to ask and what to check. It is no fun to discover and repair things on the road where it is more expensive and inconvenient.

This is a partial list of things to run through especially for a used unit.

  1. Toilet, how does it flush? Does it?
  2. Fresh water tank and pump.
  3. City Water Hookup.
  4. Hot water heater, how does it ignite?
  5. Furnace, does it blow hot air?
  6. Shore Power connector. Is it in serviceable condition?
  7. Air Conditioner, does it blow cold air?
  8. Refrigerator, is it 2 or 3 way and does it work in all modes?
  9. House battery, is it serviceable and is it a true deep cycle battery. Ours was 2 years old and a combination Marine Start/Deep Cycle that was on the verge of dying.
  10. If it is equipped with a generator make sure all is working properly.
  11. Discover where the electrical power comes from. For example, in our motor home everything runs off the house battery, including generator starter. Nothing goes to the start battery so I fashioned a jumper connection from #10 wire and two clips. This allows the battery to be charged when parked for long periods.
  12. On many motor homes there is an emergency start switch that connects house batteries to start the engine, check out its operation! 

It is also a good idea to run through all these checks before signing the dotted line, and again before an extended trip.


Boat and RV

June 1, 2019

Conestoga Charlie here with to more chapters for new and potential RV owners.

Some things to look out for  (Part 3 above I hope )

New Owners File 4

Sitting in Tennessee waiting for our tyres (tires for the rest of us Americans...from Dawn :-)) to be replaced I was thinking about the differences between traveling on the sailboat and in the motor home.

Veteran RV’ers are aware of the issue but it’s worth repeating.
A big Class A that had near disaster due to blowout with 7 year old ones that looked almost new and caused over $100,000 damage to a $500,000+ Motor Coach because of a front one failing.
For our safety the shop is replaced all of ours.

That’s not much different than boating. Some friends aboard their boat intended to sail off to the Islands but had to return because of an overheating engine.
We, ourselves, had many unplanned expenses over the last 3 years.
We had planned a road trip earlier. However, Hurricane Irma destroyed our Volkswagen Westfailia.
The unplanned repairs on our sailboat is exactly what prompted us to buy the motor home that we did and from who.
We wanted to have trouble free travel for at least a year.
Most boat and RV owners are a handy lot and become quite good at improvising repairs however it is very discouraging to break down at the end of the driveway even more so 150 miles from anywhere!
Our choice was a 2004 Gulfstream BT Cruiser 23 which was old enough to be affordable and new enough to be reliable especially with the “camp ready" preparation by the dealer.
We chose also to sell our trusty 2007 Mustang especially after discovering all the complications and expense of having a tow vehicle.
There are a lot of things to consider if planning to have a tow car. On a boat it is a service dinghy and the RV world borrowed the term. There are a number of solutions and they need some serious shopping.
More on selection in the next episode!
Meanwhile enjoy some of the photos made along the way.

 


Boat and RV

June 2, 2019

Conestoga Charlie with installment 5 and 6 for new and potential owners.

New Owner File 5

The wonderful motor home experience we planned has yet to happen.

This is much the same for many live aboard boats.

This does not mean it has not been interesting and even fun.

It does serve as a caution to all potential owners who look forward to enjoyment and adventure out of-the-gate.

Dawn has such a positive demeanor and finds many things relatively funny, such as watching me get drenched because the water connection went nowhere!

Many a sailing journey has ended with one of the partners, upon landing, saying “I don’t care what you do with the boat, I’m flying home.”

Dawn and I have hardly been more than 37 feet apart for 7 years now.

Adapting to the motor home was not especially hard for us, as far as our personal relationship.

Selecting an RV is going to be as much about size as price.

Is it going to be used for occasional trips, or full time living?

How much personal space is going to be needed?

These are two important considerations that need an answer.

The last on size is that bigger is not always better. Maintenance and operating cost figure in as well.

Some campgrounds have limits on length, some roads are not passable for larger rigs, and some may even require special license to operate.

Some think it is wise to start small and work up. Long time cruisers Lin and Larry Pardey say “Go Simple and Go Now!” My first sailboat was 24 feet; first motor home is 23 feet.

Another consideration is to fold or not to fold!

The 23 foot has Jackknife sofa and fold down dinette for sleeping. Some in this size have a cab over bed. These require either making the beds or climbing up a ladder.

Sometimes that may become annoying for full time living.


Boat and RV

June 2, 2019

Conestoga Charlie with two more installments for new and potential Owners. It worked yesterday so will do the same to keep them in order. 

New Owner File 6

With the size and type of RV chosen it is time to head out.  For those not completing their homework assignments it will be a time of learning. Many new owners will find many questions that were not covered in the “run through.”

After the fact discoveries are the most inconvenient, especially for those starting with no prior experience.

In the showroom with all the glitz and verbose sales representatives much is glossed over. Knowing the right questions is the first step to avoid disappointment later.

Here is my list of concerns born of several years of tent camping, van camping, motor home, and living aboard sailboats:

I have noticed a trend to install propane generators aboard smaller diesel powered motor homes.

The same is true for Travel Trailers and 5th Wheels. It is not near as critical for the trailer set as many of them have much larger propane tanks (or twin tanks) however in the motor home the propane must be shared between cooking, heating and refrigerator and just could cause loss of refrigeration.

The other concern is that it seems a trend toward electrical dependence. This includes but not restricted to installing household refrigerators.

The latter, I believe, could be a cost cutting measure similar to what happened to sailboats in the 1980’s.

As cost escalated, those that could not cut cost died.

Quite frankly, using home refrigerators may save in the initial cost of construction keeping the MSRP low but will require higher cost in the long run as expensive inverters and constant generator use is required.

The standard 2 or 3 way propane refrigerator can run for weeks on the normal supply of propane where a house refrigerator can run maybe one or two days on battery.

I even saw one motor home with an induction stove!

This will make the buyer dependent on either the generator or commercial campgrounds with full hookups.

It will also render the RV just as useless as a home in an emergency when the power grid is down!

After Hurricane Irma we were out of power and water (Electric Powered Wells) for 4 days. Our sailboat not only survived but provided us with “normal” living conditions during that time.

Being self contained in either an RV or sailboat could be a life saver.

Earlier I mentioned installing an inverter to use battery to run AC powered accessories.

Some motor homes and Trailers are equipped with built in inverters. Ours was optional.

Today the use of computers and an internet connection is almost mandatory.


Boat to RV

June 3, 2019

Conestoga Charlie with the Monday addition for New and Potential RV owners.

One question that continues to appear is “where can we go?” That is part of the beauty of RV ownership. The answer is almost anywhere!

New Owner File 7

 

Out of the showroom into Scenic America, if traveling in a new RV hopefully all the right options have been chosen. If traveling in a used RV hopefully it came already properly equipped. Rarely have I agreed with the design team; however as in boats RV’s are going to be a compromise.

Choosing the first destination depends on preference, availability, and duration of the trip.

Overnight parking on the way is available at most Wal-Marts, Many Cracker Barrels, and several highway rest areas.

Extended stays can be found at https://freecampsites.net as well as other places on the Internet.

Many State and Federal Campgrounds are reasonably priced however; many are not “Full Service Campgrounds,” and lack electric and or sewer connections. Most will at least have a dump station and potable water. All will have details on the Internet.

This is where the rigs ability to survive will depend on how it is equipped.

We left Florida and were on the road for 12 months now and have only stayed in one rather economical Commercial Campground with full hookups at $25 per night.

For those planning to become full time, learning where all the free stuff is becomes important.

There are also membership plans such as Thousand Trails and others that offer use of the Campsites for a purchase and yearly fee.

Next episode I will discuss the modifications made to our motor home to allow more extended stays in wilderness campgrounds “Boondocking”
Also, by now the decision to have a tow vehicle has been decided.

We elected to forego a toad as it would cost more than the added gas to modify our car.

More on that next time.

 

 


Boat to RV

June 3, 2019

Good Monday morning from Conestoga Charlie, Continuing the new and potential RV owner discussion with some tips about use.

New Owner File 8

The discussions have been about the purchase of the RV of choice.

Now it’s time to delve in to using the RV.

The decision to tow a car or not, should be considered. The easiest would be a simple tow dolly as only the electrical hook up is the lights and turn signals. Tow bars require multiple hook ups to prevent battery discharge, damage to running gear and such.  Caution is needed when equipping to tow a vehicle long distances.

The first thing we found was that our motor home had one very weak battery for the house system. Our unit was bought used and the house battery was 1 year old. Most importantly it was a Marine Deep Cycle/Start type. These are designed to start outboard engines and are not correct for the intended use in an RV.

I have noticed that many trailers only have one as well. Having lived on a sailboat I knew that battery had to go!

It was replaced by 2 actual Deep Cycle Batteries that had 145 AH Capacity for a total of almost 300AH. (Note there is some confusion about this as those Marine batteries are labeled deep cycle but in reality are not true deep cycle but a combination and sealed.)

Some travel trailers do not have room for 2 batteries which is a shame.

This gave our motor home at least 3 days without using the generator. (Actually longer if computer use is limited)

Replacing all the light bulbs with LED is another must. Ours were standard auto bulbs.

Many new units already come equipped with LED lighting.

We also had an issue with water dripping from the water vent next to the filler so we got a small plug to use during travel. Removed when Parked!(See Photo)

There was still venting through the main filler cap.

The other addition was a 750 Watt Inverter. This was more than enough for our needs. The manual for our motor home indicated that there was an optional internal inverter available.

As noted, earlier trailers have propane powered generators or none! They also have more LP capacity than most motor homes. The trend has been to use LP generators in Diesel Powered Motor Homes, (Except for the big Class A’s) which not only gets expensive but limits the time in unimproved campgrounds. Using the LP for cooking, refrigeration, and occasional heating should enable the RV to survive for weeks in a wilderness campground (Boondocking).

Getting used to the limits of the RV of choice will be a continuing process and it is recommended for some short training trips with all the necessary supplies within easy access.

 


Boat and RV

June 4, 2019

Conestoga Charlie with the last 2 of the New and Potential owner files. In the last two a fairly realistic accounting of the cost is presented. Originally I had chosen a sailboat for economic reasons. As I told a fellow in my Nav. course I intend to go a long way and don’t want to run out of gas!

New Owner File 9

Off to tour in the RV. How does the cost line up really?

There are two considerations,. Is it a week end trip or an extended stay?

These will play out different in a cost analysis. I have tried to be conservative in the estimates.(However the cost are based on our actual experiences)

How about a week’s vacation at 300 miles away from home with 2 people.

With an RV estimated cost would be as follows; Gas @10 MPG, $160

             Campsite @$40, $200

             Food (for 2) $35 (No restaurant)

              Grand Total: $395

Taking the same trip by automobile the figures will look more like this:

             Gas@25 MPG, $65

             Motel Room @$70, $350

             Restaurant meals $150

             (This is figuring only 2 meals 

           Because most Motels and Hotels

           Provide free breakfast)                                                       

               Grand Total: $565

So with just estimating with pretty much real world figures from our journey it still is about $170 less, with more freedom.

I just can’t help injecting why we keep our boat here using the same figures less fuel cost the savings over an automobile trip is $535! ) No Campsite fees and little fuel cost when anchored off shore)

The next and last episode will cover our entire journey leaving June 4th, 2018 from Florida to October 1st, 2018 to Tucson Arizona.

This will also include the expenses we had for visiting attractions. I must warn everyone ahead of time that we have a rather extreme budget as we are on a fixed retirement income.

Next episode will be of interest to those who are contemplating full time RV life.

The Last of this series will give our actual cost for our trip up to this point.

One big advantage to traveling in an RV is the time and freedom to explore and discover local attractions.

I keep thinking of the movie If it’s Tuesday it must be Denmark, all about one of those whirlwind tours gone bad!

SE 5A

Newport



Boat and RV

June 4, 2019

Conestoga Charlie with the last in the New and Potential owners file. We kept meticulous accounts on our boat as well as in the motor home so the numbers reflect everything we spent. I realize this will be different for others as taste and resources vary as well.

There is a lot of detail but will be worth considering.   

New RV Owners

Episode 10

This is the last in the series. My hope is it is a reflection of everyday life for a full time lifestyle.

We left Florida June 4, 2018 so tomorrow will be a full year.

After surviving Hurricane Irma, last season we placed our boat in storage on land and bought a 23 foot class C motor home. Photos show boat and motor home comparison.

 In this episode the entire cost of the trip, starting from Port Charlotte Florida on June 4 2018, and stopping temporarily in Tucson Arizona on October 1, 2018, a trip lasting 4 months and covering 7323 Miles.

There were some months with less travel as we were guest at a friend’s in Thompson Falls Montana to help with home repairs.

For the purposes of this post we stopped in October as we had some family medical issues and was there for 3 months.

We stayed in our motor home during that time at a relative’s home. There were still the propane and food as well as gas for the Air Conditioning. We will again do a month by month and yearly total later.

These are real world numbers and we were a little surprised as we have had an eye toward being economical and attempted to keep the cost at a minimum!

This is the cost breakdown.

Gasoline (Actual average mileage 10.4)

June,          $958.63

July,            $268.13

August,       $523.65

September, $423.67

Total for Gasoline $2,174.08@7,323 Miles and 839 Gallons (Generator also uses the Gasoline)

Propane

June,         $21.96

July,           $11.23

August,      $31.83

September,$31.45

Total Propane $96.47

Groceries+(staples, supplies)

June,         $256.40

July,           $250.60

August,       $419.33

September, $358.28

Total Groceries, $1,284.66

Restaurant Meals

June,          $201.77 (7 times for 2)

July,            $113.56 (4 times for 2)

August,       $112.46 (5 times for 2)

September, $169.48 (5 times for 2)

Total Restaurant Cost $596.67

Attractions and Entertainment

June,          $98.99

July,            $54

August,       $7

September,$0

Total Entertainment $159.99

Total for the 119 Days $4,825.15 which works out to $40.13 per day. Our most expensive month was June as most was nearly nonstop travel to beat the heat.

I would like to add a note here directed to those who have an eye toward full time RV or Boat living.

The months of November and December have been more like normal life and less like touring.

Much of the cost such as gas and entertainment were much less than the average. There was only one major trip and one attraction during the last 2 months.

Actually it would be impractical to make a similar road trip in an automobile, however, for comparison, this is the guestimated cost.

Gasoline @25MPG

For the same 7323 Miles would be 293 Gallons @ Roughly $812

Motels @ $50 Per Night for 119 Nights

$5,950

Restaurant Meals

(I figured only 2 per day for 2 people as many motels feature “free “Breakfast! 238 Meals out @an average of $28.44 for a total of $6,769.16 for $615.37 per day!

Please note some cost may be slightly less or more depending on taste and selection however the grand total would be very close to $13,500

This works out to about $8,687 less them taking a road trip by RV. Even renting an RV may be marginally less. To get a feel for traveling in an RV I have purposely used lower price estimates, for example real world Motel Cost would average more than $50 and many fine dining restaurants would cost considerably more!

For those considering going Full Time the figures can be used to compare current living expenses.

I cannot help but add the cost of a similar trip on our sailboat

There would be very little fuel cost as the engine is used only for docking and some maneuvering around the bay.

For comparison during a recent trip we had to motor for 10 hours down the Intercostal Waterway and used around 12 gallons of diesel.

Basically only food and whatever entertainment would be the only cost for a rough total of only $1,881.33 which would leave a fair amount to spend for other things. One of our traditions is after a long passage (week or more) is to stay in a motel for a couple of nights and of course eat out.

I sincerely hope the series has been a help for those deciding to RV or not RV we have certainly learned many good points along our journey. I would like to add as a retired teacher our budget is most likely less than many readers.

f you missed any Episodes feel free to send a request to my Private Message also please visit our web pages

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/425536471285181/?ref=bookmark

Or

www.ourdawntreader.com 

Endeavour Saloon (pronounced Salon)

Endeavour Galley

Endeavour Head


Boat and RV

June 4, 2019

Today is the anniversary of the Grand Motor Home adventure. Conestoga Charlie and company (First Mate/Admiral Dawn) placed our sailboat in Hurricane Storage in Placida Florida and escaped North.

When we brought the boat to Port Charlotte Boatyard, the intent was to redo the bottom paint and have the transmission rebuilt as reverse was useless. In fact we almost had an accident at the Franklin Lock.

After 10hours motoring and anchoring overnight the engine developed a problem with the injector pump and filled the oil sump with diesel. We were towed to the boatyard. By the time it was all settled the hurricane season was starting along with the hot Florida weather.

Coupled with the fact that there was not proper electric in the boatyard to run Air Conditioning in the boatyard.

We had been on board our sailboat when the Eye Wall of Hurricane Irma passed over us for an hour and a half of 120+MPH winds and did not want a repeat.

Dawn was so determined that she bought a tent and air mattress and was going to load it and camping stove in the trunk of the Mustang Convertible and compiled a list of Northern Campgrounds.

Honestly we had little prospects and even less savings after a 3 year long fight to get the sailboat seaworthy, and thought all that was left was bottom paint.

Neither of us were strangers to camping however our Credit Union came to the rescue when we found a low mileage 2004

Gulfstream BT Cruiser 23 that was in pristine condition.

For no money down and payments less than our live-aboard fees we found ourselves heading north on Interstate 75!      

The intention was to return to the boat with our income tax return in February to repair the fuel injection pump however family medical problems kept us in Tucson Arizona, and then we volunteered to help friends in McKinney Texas with some serious stuff so hopefully soon we will be on the road again.

The good stuff is that along the way 2 books got published, the Mobile Odyssey group was born, and the blog evolved from Sailboat to Motor Home to Boat and RV.

There are 2 more books in the works but the stored sailboat is still on our minds as the new hurricane season approaches.

Travel Plans are still a question as we finish up in Texas.

We have already met many others on the way. Some like Craig Olson are like us have a boat and a motor home. They are based in Washington State and travel the winters, opposite of us, and we had the pleasure of spending time together in Tucson.

These incidents are just part of the joy of mobile living!   

Photos are from the beginning and end!   


Boat to RV

June 5, 2019

Conestoga Charlie with a re-visit to Old McKinney and a great Irish Pub the Celt.

The last few days I have republished a group of articles directed to new and potential RV owners.

Also a series of 3 articles aimed at the interest in solar power for boats and RV’s.

We are traveling again and life on the road seems different after being stationary for so long.

After running the series, it has been interesting reading various questions concerning recommendations for purchase of an RV.

Caution I am about to exaggerate: “We are considering buying a 4000 foot Class A or a 2000 foot Fifth wheel with Washer / Dryer Combination and full entertainment center.

Yes, yes I know this is a little out of line, but some are close.

It reminds me of what some sailing friends said, “Small Boat, Small Problems, Big Boat Big Problems.”

I understand people’s needs are much different, however sometimes it just seems that people over complicate when they claim they want to simplify their life.

I think the first question that one should settle is to honestly asses what is needed to enjoy the life chosen.

We all do it, wind up with attics and garages full of things that sometimes have not even been looked at for years.

We just finished cataloging stuff from some friends 59 years together. Unbelievable!

I myself had boxes I kept “In Case” that had been sealed for 20 years.

After early retirement I literally moved into a 19 foot kayak for a trip down the Missouri River, and remember the yard sale and all the stuff I had “discovered” that I never used!

My next home was a 24 foot sailboat so our 23 foot motor home does not seem so cramped now!

We do have to fold up our beds every day, and the Jackknife bed is not the most comfortable I’ve had but we manage.

I found great foam pad that rolls lup for storage on Amazon and if some readers have the same issue it is a Fomily Foam Bed Ridge Pad.

Our current sailboat is 37 feet and feels like a penthouse to us now.

The point of all this is that it is all relative; however the key to having small problems is keep irritants to the minimum!

Two Friends with 2 important pieces of advice: Go Simple, Go NOW! and Don’t Die at Your Desk!

   


Boat and RV

June 6, 2019

Conestoga Charlie in “the mood” so be forewarned if you offend easily ------ scroll on!

Yesterday I discussed how to make the jackknife bed livable for those of us with no options. (will repeat photo)

The beds must be folded up daily and the Jackknife bed is not the most comfortable I’ve had but we manage.

I found great foam pad that rolls up for storage on Amazon and if some readers have the same issue it is a Foamily Foam Bed Ridge Pad.

In Case you haven’t guessed we get ideas for this blog from reading posts in other groups as well as true to life occurrences as 2 days ago we had our 1 year anniversary of motor home full time travel.

In one group a guy was asking for recommendations on installing a household refrigerator on a 117 foot YACHT!

If you are as broke as we are you must wonder is he serious? A boat that size requires crew and money---lots of money.

Mind you I am a “If you have it use it any way you wish” however sort of makes me wonder how they got it in the first place!

The entire point is that “Bigger is Better” has permeated our society many times to our detriment.

In boating it’s referred to as 2 feet-itis, and don’t know the term for RV’s but the idea of just a little bigger is better than what I have! 

Much enjoyment is lost by not being content. (Note big difference between content and satisfied)

At any rate I will leave the rest to the Philosophers in the group as we motor North!


Boat and RV

June 8, 2019

Conestoga Charlie is at :

Ottawa State Fishing Lake

Lat 39.10891  Lon -97.572942

1067 Lake Dr. Minneapolis, Kansas

People are always complaining that locations are not given for campgrounds so I have included our current location.

This free campground is located just north of Wichita Kansas, and is quite pleasant with Pit Toilets and ample campsites. We arrived late Friday and had no problem getting a site.

There are two issues that seem to be concerning both the RV and Boating community.

For RV’s many of the Wal-Marts are posting “No Overnight Parking” signs, and locating anchorages for transient boats are becoming harder to find as many counties outlaw anchoring in their waters.

I believe these measures are an attempt to combat homeless issues.

Most people buy a boat or RV to travel not to squat in anchorages or parking lots.

However there are some very serious problems.

We have noticed (an cleaned up) trash thrown in the parking lots and it is not coming from people in RV’s but they get the credit.

People are able to find almost derelict boats, and anchoring any place they can.

Compounding the issue is there are many near derelict RV’s and Boats available for free or almost free so people are able to acquire and literally become squatters and when no longer livable they just abandon them for someone else to dispose.

There were 2 of these boats that were abandoned at our sailing club and of course it took months to clear them out.

Photo’s today are from our trek north from McKinney, Texas.

 

 


Boat and RV

June 9, 2019

Conestoga Charlie at  Ottawa State Fishing Lake with a special request from fellow campers.

A few days ago Dawn prepared pigs in a blanket a different way. (See Photo)

Dawn started out by preparing Crescent Roll dough.

Bread Machine Crescent roll recipe

Serving Size: 10 (Note: Dawn divided up the dough and froze portions enough for 2 then thaw and let rise as needed)

Ingredients:

Cooking Directions:

-------- ------------ -------------------------------- 

2 cup bread flour 

2 tablespoon sugar 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1/4 cup butter, or margarine -- softened 

1 tablespoon milk 

1 egg yolk -- plus water to 

measure 3/4 cup 

1 teaspoon active dry yeast 

butter; or margarine -- melted 

Place ingredients, except melted butter, in inner pot in order listed; let stand 5 minutes. Use DOUGH setting; press START. Dough will be completed in 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove dough from inner pot and place in greased bowl, turning to coat evenly. Cover and let rest in warm, draft-free place, 20-30 minutes. 

Punch down dough. On floured surface, roll dough to 10-inch round; brush with melted butter. Cut into 10 wedges. Roll up each wedge, starting at wide end; press points. Place, point-side down, on greased baking sheet and shape into crescents. Brush with remaining butter. **Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place, 20-30 minutes. Bake in 375-degree oven for 8-10 Minutes, or until golden brown.** 

=================================

I basically wrapped the hotdogs in the dough, **let the wrapped hotdogs rise** added shredded cheese on top and baked for 15-20 minutes or until they were golden brown. The cheese was added on top only because of an afterthought. Next time I will put the cheese inside with the hotdog and see how that does. I have also been thinking of chili and cheese in the hotdog. We also have a recipe on our Recipe page for Hotdog Reuben...Thinking about trying this Pig in the Blanket with the Reuben recipe.

We are also using our Solar Cell “In the Wild” for a real world test!

Photos are from our trip from Texas.

Chairy Orchard

Chairy Orchard

 

 


First I wish to thank Jeff Buck for contributing our header photo.

Second a welcome to all the new people. The administrators have had to do a little Troll Alert as some applicants did not appear to have legitimate profiles or did not actually show any indication of boat or RV ownership as well as not completing the questions.

We are not trying to be overly picky but wish to preserve the integrity of the group.

Boat and RV

June 10, 2019

Conestoga Charlie is still at Ottawa State Fishing Lake, 1067 Lake Dr. Minneapolis Kansas, Latitude 39.10891:  Longitude -97.572942 and all day yesterday there was no Internet or Phone Service. We were totally cut off from the world!

It was a complete day of peace and quiet as almost all the fishing campers have left.

Nobody called Dawn to fix their computer and at this writing not even sure if I will be able to post this. Last time this happened we were about 20 to 50 miles out to sea! 

The plan is to stay and enjoy the cool Kansas weather while it lasts and then decide which way to go. Last year at this time we were at the Museum of Automobiles in Morrilton, Arkansas.

When we started we had owned our motor home for 19 days, and there were things we wanted to do but had a deadline to be out of the boat storage yard, and June 4th was the beginning of our first year.

This started out as Sailboat to Motor Home and evolved to what it is now to accommodate all Boats, Travel Trailers and Fifth Wheels as well as vans and tents.

Any travel related subject is invited for comment.

Photos are from the Museum of Automobiles and more of the Chairy Tree in Denton Texas which is a big collection of chairs on a lot between homes, and leaving Texas to get here.


Boat and RV

June 11, 2019

Conestoga Charlie is still at Ottawa State Fishing Lake, Minnesota, Kansas.

We are staying as long as the weather is pleasant and we don’t need Air Conditioning.

We are also getting a chance to experiment with our Solar Panel Setup.

I have been writing about solar use and plan to add more of our real life experience to the information.

So for all the solar fans, here is the rundown.

Motor Home: Gulfstream BT Cruiser 23 foot.

Solar Panel: Renogy 100 Watt Solar Panel

Charge Regulator: Y&H 30 Amp PWM Solar Charge Regulator

Batteries: Two Duracel® Ultra Lead Acid 145AH Deep Cycle.

This setup was less than $200 without the batteries.

Yesterday’s Battery Voltage at the start 12.2. During the day peak at 13.2 and at sundown 12.8 Last night we had to run the generator because of clouds and a thunderstorm all day.

There is a lot of confusion surrounding using solar energy and also a lot of unnecessary spending however, as the commercial says “What’s in Your Wallet?” Because if your not careful there will be a lot less of it when finished!

Batteries are the heart of the system and another source of confusion.

Hopefully, this will be of some help.

There are 3 basic types in use, Starting, Marine, and Deep Cycle.

The basic construction is Lead Acid, AGM, and Lithium Ion.

What is next may be controversial however all comes from a long time of dealing with boats and RV’s.

Do not confuse “Marine Deep Cycle” batteries with true Deep Cycle batteries as they will not provide the staying power needed. In my opinion, AGM and Lithium are both over priced for the performance

Same is also true of Controllers.

The two main types are PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) and MPPT (Multiple Power Point Tracking) both will work, however PWM controllers are cheap and less efficient.

MPPT controllers are able to convert higher voltages & amperages into 14.4v and convert excess voltage into increased amperage for faster charging.

This should start enough arguments for now!

Photos today include the Canadian Geese that are here as well as the Solar set up.

Solar at Ottawa State Fishing Lake

Closeup of Battery Compartment and Connections

Dawn peeking - Ottawa State Fishing Lake, Minneapolis, Kansas


Boat and RV

June 12, 2019

 Conestoga Charlie with more of the solar experiment.

So for all the solar fans, here is the continuing rundown.

Yesterday was slightly cloudy.

Motor Home: Gulfstream BT Cruiser 23 foot.

Solar Panel: Renogy 100 Watt Solar Panel

Charge Regulator: Y&H 30 Amp PWM Solar Charge Regulator

Batteries: Duracel Ultra Lead Acid 145AH Deep Cycle.

This setup was less than $200 without the batteries.

Yesterday’s Battery Voltage at the start - 12.3.

During the day peak at 13.2 and at sundown 12.5

The charging got a late start as a wire pulled out of the controller and was not discovered for close to 2 hours.

An early evening rain shut it down at 4:30 (1630 Hours) with a final voltage of 12.5.

There is a lot unnecessary spending however, as the commercial says “What’s in Your Wallet?” Because if your not careful there will be a lot less of it when finished!

Yesterday I discussed Batteries. I’m using 2 simple Lead Acid 12 Volt Deep Cycle 145 AH that were purchased at Batteries plus Bulbs for $114 each!

(Same size –Group 24 Lithium Ion has only 75AH for $949 on sale at Amazon)

My Controller is a PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) which is the cheapest and less efficient.

Yes it would be nice to have 2 or 3 more panels and a more efficient MPPT Controller. (Multiple Power Point Tracking)

I am not a big fan of Lithium Ion or AGM as I believe they are over rated and overpriced. I got kicked out of a solar group for stating this, however conversations with manufacturing representatives and battery sales people have born me out on this.

Consider this: Average markup is 40% so if you live on commission what are you going to recommend? A product that gives you $40 or one that gives you $200? 

Bottom line is how to get up and running without a fortune and have things work.

How are things working so far for us and WHY?

Most important is conservation and monitoring electric use.

Today I see much more dependence on household current (110 AC) with many new RV’s equipped with regular home refrigerators, electric induction stoves and such! I read where people replace the 2 way gas absorption refrigerator because of cost. I believe in the long run it is actually false economy. Again I get a lot of argument about this.

However the proof is that we have been full time on the road now over a year and only recently added the solar capability. We have been camped about 5 days in a basic site with no facilities other than a pit toilet.

We have used the generator 2 times once for an hour to run the air conditioning (First day it was 91) and on the 3rd day as there were thunderstorms all day.

Before we got the solar panel we could go about 3 days of average use (2 computers and lights with LED bulbs) before running the generator and this was only done a few times because driving between locations took care of battery charging.

Today’s photos are from around the country during our travels.

Inside Lakota Tipi Akta Lakota Museum

Chamberlain, South Dakota


 

Boat and RV

June 13, 2019

 Conestoga Charlie with more of the solar experiment.

So for all the solar fans, here is the continuing rundown.

Motor Home: Gulfstream BT Cruiser 23 foot.

Solar Panel: Renogy 100 Watt Solar Panel

Charge Regulator: Y&H 30 Amp PWM Solar Charge Regulator

Batteries: Everyready Lead Acid 145AH Deep Cycle.

This setup was less than $200 without the batteries.

 

Today the discussion centers around how to use the power collected and a few terms necessary for understanding.

It is not necessary to involve the RV house wiring to be able to use the solar panel to run small accessories such as computers, coffee grinders, and phone chargers.

It is necessary to gain access to the battery leads. Our Inverter is mounted on the cabinet that also houses the master electrical fuse panel. (See Photo #1)

I simply removed the panel to provide access to the battery leads. Mine had a master disconnect switch and a ground bus terminal and led into the converter/charger. (Sorry I’m not taking the panel off again for photos!)

A lot depends on each RV design.  

 

Converter, Inverter, Whataverter!

Hopefully this will end confusion on the subject.

Three things are necessary, Batteries for storage, Solar Cells for Electric Generation, and an Inverter to convert 12 Volts Direct Current to 120 Volts Alternating Current.

Most RV’s and boats much of the accessories are designed to operate on 12 volts.

As boats and RV’s became more complex and other conveniences desired 120 Volts AC (House Current) was added.

Modern RV’s and boats have 2 separate electric systems. 

The shore power connection brings standard house current into the RV where it splits to outlets and a transformer and rectifier setup known as a converter!

This device reduces the 120 volts to 12 volts and converts it to Direct Current (Hence the name “converter”). This also provides charging for the house batteries.

The solar cells produce Direct Current for charging the batteries.

When the shore power is disconnected then there will no longer be the 120 Volt house current available.

Something is needed to produce the 120 volt AC for household accessories.

This device is called an Inverter, and will supply AC from batteries.

To fully understand the process AC (Alternating Current!) changes at a rate of 60 cycles per second.

There are 2 types of inverters, Pure Sine Wave and Modified Sine wave. The modified Sine wave type can damage sensitive electronic devices and some electric motors.

On my boat I have a 2000 Watt full Sine Wave inverter that is connected to the entire AC system, It also has an electrical panel with ON Off/ Breakers so I can easily disconnect the electric water heater and Battery Charger, the motor home doesn’t, they are all fused.

Because many things are automatic on RV’s such as switching to electric for water heater, refrigerator, and battery charger when plugged in to shore power, it would be essential to find away to bypass these accessories orthe inverter will overload and shut down--- or worse!

Our motor home inverter does not power any of the house circuits and has 2 standard outlets and 2 USB charging plugs, is rated at 750 Watts and cost $39.87 at Wall-Mart.

For over a year it has supplied all our AC needs.

Today’s Photos are some of our favorite spots.

Bakery Havre Beneath the Streets Montana

 


Boat and RV

June 14, 2019

Conestoga Charlie with the last post of the solar experiment.

After 6 days We managed to only run the generator twice, Once for the Air Conditioner (Was 91 the first day), and one day there was a Thunderstorms all day and did not want the battery to fall below 11.6 volts overnight.

Here is the rundown of our rig.

Motor Home: Gulfstream BT Cruiser 23 foot.

Solar Panel: Renogy 100 Watt Solar Panel

Charge Regulator: Y&H 30 Amp PWM Solar Charge Regulator

Batteries: Everyready Lead Acid 145AH Deep Cycle.

This setup was less than $200 without the batteries. The Batteries were purchased at Batteries Plus Bulbs in Fort Charlotte Florida May 25,2018

The final assessment:

  1. The 100 Watts was just enough to keep things going for 5 of the 6 days with a motor home or trailer equipped similar using propane for water heater, refrigerator, and cooking.
  2. For cloudy or rainy days more Wattage would be needed to bring the batteries back to full charge especially after a couple of days.
  3. Permanently mounting on the roof would be preferable as then charging would be convenient and usable when parked at rest stops or storage.
  4. It is quite possible that the 100 Watt panel could produce a better charge with a MPPT Controller. (Multiple Power Point Tracking) as they are able to  convert higher Voltages and Amperages to 14.4 Volts which provides faster charging and equalize the batteries.
  5. This is proof that to get up and running one does not need to spend a fortune but still conservation is a key!
  6. It would be good to assess the usage for each item with a device similar to the one shown. (Kill-A- Watt from Amazon)  

Photos include the last of our stay at Ottawa State Fishing Lake, 1067 Lake Dr. Minneapolis Kansas, Latitude 39.10891 -  Longitude -97.572942


Boat and RV

June 15, 2019

Conestoga Charlie with the summery of our solar experiment.

First off I wish to be totally clear. If you already have a system up and running, weather it is a 15 Watt trickle Charger to a 5,000 Watt system capable of running the Air Conditioning, this experiment was not intended to change what is working.

This was for the ones starting out who hopefully will avoid false trails. 

I also want to point out ours was a minimum system that would keep us running with minimum cost and use of the generator. People with similar goals will find it useful.  The series ran for 5 days and can also be found here https://www.facebook.com/groups/425536471285181/?ref=bookmarks

This is a rundown of what was used.

Motor Home: Gulfstream BT Cruiser 23 foot.

Solar Panel: Renogy 100 Watt Solar Panel

Charge Regulator: Y&H 30 Amp PWM Solar Charge Regulator

Inverter does not power any of the house circuits and has 2 standard outlets and 2 USB charging plugs, is rated at 750 Watts and cost $39.87 at Wall-Mart.

 

Batteries: Everyready Lead Acid 145AH Deep Cycle.

This setup was less than $200 without the batteries. The Batteries were purchased at Batteries Plus Bulbs in Fort Charlotte Florida (A National Chain) May 25,2018

The final assessment:

The 100 Watt panel kept our batteries at float (fully charged) soon after sunrise.

Overnight drop never fell below 12.2 volts.

2 days the generator was used. One day because of rain all day and another for Air Conditioning use!

The setup is portable and was put out every day which allowed optimum positioning for maximum solar collection.

Recommendations:

  1. It would be a lot more convenient to have roof mounting however at least 2 of the 100 Watt panels mostly because of possible shadowing and positions. 
  2. I would upgrade to a MPPT Controller (Multiple Power Point Tracking) for better charging rate.
  3. If funds are available a minimum of 400 watts should take care of almost any reasonable needs for average use.
  4. The Inverter was not connected to the house electrical system for simplicity as well as ease.  

 


Boat and RV

June 16, 2019

Conestoga Charlie with a Father’s Day wish to all!

On that note our travels led us through Concordia, Kansas which houses the National Orphan Train Complex.

From 1854 it was estimated that 30,000 Abandoned Children were living on the streets of New York City!

Charles Loring Brace founded the Children’s Aid Society in order to help these children, and developed a program that placed homeless children into homes throughout the country. The children were transported to their new homes on trains which were eventually labeled “orphan trains.”From 1854 to 1929 an estimated 250,000 orphaned, abandoned, and homeless children were placed throughout the United States and Canada during the Orphan Train Movement.

The first group of children went to Dowagiac, Michigan, in 1854, and the last official train ran to Texas in 1929.

As we walked around the town there were many statues of rescued orphans along with their life stories.

Many of these children had a much better life because of this movement.

It is also interesting to note who some of the original backers that contributed to this movement, they where the financial giants of the time. Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Carnegie, and the Gettys to name a few. 

When traveling North on Kansas 81 toward Interstate 80 it is a great stop and there are some free as well as paid campgrounds nearby.


Boat and RV

June 17, 2019

Conestoga Charlie at Petro for a laundry stop.

This also generated the subject of the day!

Also see the photo of our purpose and now I think we will see about a flag and perhaps patches ---- Maybe a club??

Many years ago (2006 to be exact) I was delivering a boat from Los Angeles, California, to Port Orchard, Washington, and were docked in Half Moon Bay, near San Francisco. 

We watched as the people aboard a 90 foot ketch were carefully lowering a Washer/Dryer combination down a front hatch that was just big enough to allow it to fit!!

Later talking to them we learned their plans were to continue up the coast to Canada then later head south eventually to Panama and then to Europe. There were 3 couples sharing the boat.

Basically, they explained that they had tired of Laundromats and had installed a 30 gallon per hour water maker to run the machine as well as provide fresh drinking water.

I must note here that the total investment at that point was a little over $750,000 and all 3 couples sold their homes to invest in the venture.

That was 13 years ago and I’ve often wondered how it all turned out.

How does this relate to those of us in RV land?

I have been reading in different RV groups where people are asking for recommendations for installing a washer/dryer in their RV?

I realize it is much different on land however there is much more than the cost and plumbing involved.

First, the lost space, then the extra water storage, and electrical use unless the use is limited to times in a full service RV Park!

All this must be calculated against any possible benefits, but for many of us it is simply not work the $12 for just over 2 weeks of laundry, and for us in our 23 foot Class C there is simply not room!

Photos Today are from around the Truck Stop and the boat delivery.


Boat and RV

June 18, 2019

Conestoga Charlie parked between new RV’s ready to be delivered.

For so many people the dream of a brand new RV, boat, car, or home is a driving force.

I remember back in my college days, wishing that I could afford a car that nobody had a chance to mess up.

Part of the problem was the type of cars I had as well as lack of income.

Today, sadly, that dream soon turns into a nightmare.  

There are so many stories floating around the Internet about new units that never get past the first trip without winding up in a shop for sometimes months of repairs.

The boating industry went through this in the '80’s and many did not survive. I had an Ericson 32 which sadly was one of the casualties. They refused to compromise quality for cost.

There seems to be a wall, economically speaking, where labor, and material cost exceed the ability to sell at an affordable price.

Also, as the workmanship continues on a downward spiral it appears that manufacturers are taking what I feel are unethical steps.

One such is a disclaimer in many contracts that essentially limits the use of the RV in question.

Many contracts now have a clause that voids the warranty if the RV is employed in full time use. (Potential buyers beware!)

One couple who had their home destroyed by Hurricane Michael bought a travel trailer and had it placed on their property to provide housing while they rebuilt their house. Sitting stationary it is literally falling apart and the manufacturer has avowed any responsibility because of “Over Use” and has failed to repair anything.

Check me if I’m wrong here but wouldn’t a Travel Trailer receive more stress being towed than just sitting?

Quite frankly considering the current crop, I think I will keep my 2004 Motor Home!

 


Boat and RV

June 19, 2019

Conestoga Charlie and company turn west at Interstate 80!

On the trek north there was a delightful camp at Ottawa State Fishing Lake, 1067 Lake Dr., Minneapolis, Kansas, Lat 39.10891  Long -97.572942 that allows a 14 day stay with only pit toilets.

Just off Interstate 80 (Exit 41 D then left on 34) in Aurora, Nebraska, is another little hideaway.

Streeter Park is easily found on Q street (34) the campsites run on donations and there is a dump station on site. (4 day limit)

When I started writing this the title was Sailboat to Motor Home because that is what we did.

The way we travel in the Motor Home is much the same as the way we traveled in the sailboat.

We would pick our sailing destination and determine “Way Points” along the way to Anchor and possibly take the dinghy to shore for supplies or tourist attractions.

Some over ocean trips require continued sailing with watches, however in the motor home we seldom continue after dark.

It is just so much nicer to stop have dinner and recover from the days stresses and start fresh in the morning usually after a leisurely cup of coffee. 

I suppose that is why I chose teaching as it allowed that kind of travel in the summers.

It sort of served as a reset button!

 


Boat and RV

June 22, 2019

Conestoga Charlie is at Streeter Park, Aurora, Nebraska.

After one of the longest lasting thunderstorms we have experienced since the hurricane on our boat, we will be walking into town to gather our mail.

We have used St. Brendan’s Isle mail forwarding since 2006 and up until now have had absolutely no issues either with St. Brendan’s Isle or the state of Florida.

However recent legislation by the state legislature have put some flies in the ointment.

We have used that address for everything in the past, Vehicle License, Driver’s License, Bank, and Credit Cards, and in short our residence.

We, like many of our readers, have no brick and mortar home, and it appears that our respective state governments are punishing us for it!

I have written to the state Governor, state Senate and Congress, as well as our two Federal Senators and would encourage my readers to do the same.

I realize some may be using a friend or relative’s address for the same purpose but many of us, myself included, do not have that option.

My brother lives in California and a reminder Florida has no state income tax, California does---- A big one!

Part of the problem is the Patriot Act, and the other part is how some interpret it, like my Stock Broker!

We live our lifestyle to have freedom and it appears our governments resent that.

Please join us in our fight as it takes little to write a letter but may have big results!

Photos today are in and around Aurora, Nebraska.

 


Boat and RV

June 23, 2019

Conestoga Charlie winding up the stay in Aurora.

Somehow we have a penchant for “accidentally” finding great happenings along our journeys!

It happened in Albuquerque, New Mexico as well as here.

We went to fill up at a Shell Gas Station close to where we stayed in Albuquerque, NM, and there was a Police Fair in the parking lot next to the station.

We came to Streeter Park in Aurora, Nebraska because the RV Park was not only on our way to Washington but looked really pleasant and allowed a 4 day stay.

The city was having its annual A'Rorn Days Celebration starting the first day of summer!

Many activities were within a comfortable walking distance from the park and we took advantage of the attractions.

There was a pole vaulting contest, car show, and oldies band, miniature golf in the street, as well as plenty of food wagons for a great selection. 

The RV amenities are tremendous and if you choose to visit - it is by donation.

We will be leaving this spot tomorrow to continue on to Washington State.

Some photos are from the Police fair as well as Aurora Nebraska!   


Boat and RV

June 24, 2018

Conestoga Charlie bids ado to Aurora Nebraska and will be heading west toward Washington. Along Interstate 80 with the next planned stop in Casper, Wyoming.

The stop in Aurora was one of the most pleasant stops along our route so far. It just happened to be the town's annual celebration and the festivities started last Thursday and ran through yesterday. Everything needed for a pleasant stay is located in Streeter Park.

Close by is a nice convenience store, public swimming pool ($4) which offers showers for $2, and a very comfortable walk will lead to the town square with some great restaurants and very friendly people. Just 20 miles east of York and about 6 miles north of I-80 and very much worth the side trip!

The RV Camp Sites have water and power as well as a free Dump Station.


Boat and RV

June 26, 2019

Conestoga Charlie and company passing through Wyoming on the trek North.

Through Nebraska the last two stops were at Fort Kearney, Nebraska, and Nebraska Arch.

The two are laess than 5 miles apart and it is suggested to g see Fort Kearney first as the displays in the Nebraska Arch will really tell the story much better.

This area of the Platt River became a central junction for wagon trains heading west. Admission is only $11

Across the bridge over the Platt River there is picnic areas and buffalo sculptures.

Outside is a Maze for fun and yes, we did!

 

Inside the Arch are the stories fo the 3 main trails to the west.

The stop at Sheridan Wyoming aloud a replacement for our BBQ. (see photos)

It is the same one that was bought a little over a year ago, and of course it was “improved” which was an increase in price from $19.95 to $24.95 but for a year’s worth of use is not terrible.


Boat and RV

June 30, 2019

Conestoga Charlie with the end of the month travel report.

Traveling across Montana and Idaho into Washington we have found 4 very nice free Campsites.

During our stay at Ottawa Fishing Lake (GPS Lat 39.10891 Lon -97,572942) we had the opportunity to use our solar system.

Streeter Park in Aurora Nebraska (GPS Lat 40.873058 Lon -98.002777)

Homestake Pass Campground in Montana (GPS Lat 45.926743 Lon -112.404753)  and lastly Cabin Creek Camp in Washington.(GPS Lat 47.2933 Lon -121.2877)

Our Solar experiment proved you can manage without spending a fortune or submitting to “Hi-Tech” High expense options.

However there will need to be some sacrifices made to do so. (See Photo 15!)

Our equipment line=up

Motor Home: 2004, Gulfstream BT Cruiser 23 foot.

Solar Panel: Renogy 100 Watt Solar Panel

Charge Regulator: Y&H 30 Amp PWM Solar Charge Regulator

Inverter has 2 standard outlets and 2 USB charging plugs, is rated at 750 Watts and cost $39.87 at Wall-Mart.

 

Batteries: Everyready Lead Acid 145AH Deep Cycle.

This setup was less than $200 without the batteries!

 For 6 days the 100 Watt panel kept our batteries at float (fully charged) soon after sunrise.

Overnight drop never fell below 12.2 volts.

2 days the generator was used. One day because of rain all day and another for Air Conditioning use!

The setup is portable and was put out every day which allowed optimum positioning for maximum solar collection.

Before any discussion gets started, Y/ES I know that a MPPT Controller and 2 or more panels or one larger one would be nice, but this set up will keep things running IF and this is a big IF excess electric use is curtailed.

If Boondocking on a budget is the goal this setup will work.

(Note I was removed and blocked from a “Solar Group” because I am not a fan of Lithium or over complicating things)

I read a lot about people using Home style refrigerators and other electric appliances.

In those cases much more expense and complication is going to be necessary.

In our year on the road our Dometic 2 way refrigerator has performed splendidly and the other items including a waffle iron are all  stove top which is also propane.

 

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