Driving me crazy

OK, you might ask why a post about driving should be on a site supposed to be about living off the grid…..well, I guess it is because I have to tell SOMEBODY besides my wife. 🙂  And, heck, if some of these drivers out there have their way, I won’t be living anywhere….off the grid or on.


OK, I must rant now, a bit.  Let’s talk about the drivers I cannot stand, and if this applies to your driving, please take note.  (although I doubt the seriously bad drivers have any self-awareness or they would improve)

bad women drivers 2 Women: Cant drive with them, cant drive with em ...

1.  Tailgaters:  Somehow, I know the guy in the picture above has to be a tailgater and I bet they all dress funny, because they have NOT a lick of sense.  Here I am driving down the left lane (4-lane highway) and the traffic is brutal, OK?  So, I have nowhere to go…I can’t get over in the right lane because traffic is FULL.  Yet, here is Dumbass Dilbert two feet from my rear bumper.  I would seriously like to hit a switch and blow all four of his tires!  So, I finally get to a place where I can squeeze into the right lane so Dilbert can advance triumphantly to the next victim…and, so yes, he is now two feet from the next car in his way.  He will kill someone someday….I hope it is just him and no one else.  Then, there is Cretin Clarice behind me as I am in the right lane going the speed limit….or less, on rare occasions, but there are two more lanes on my left where Clarice could go to pass me, but no….she likes the serenity of being dangerously close to my rear bumper.  So, I slow down in hopes she will finally pass me.  Nope.  So, I slow wayyyyy down, because I am really very close to slamming on my brakes to teach her a life lesson.  Finally, she quits texting long enough to realize we are going 15 mph.  OK, I am exaggerating a bit, but you get the idea.  At times, I have had to pull totally over on the right shoulder to get rid of this brainless idiot.  I am guessing these folks have heard of the “2 second rule” to gauge safe distance, but cannot count that high.  Personally, I prefer 20 seconds, at least, but in heavy traffic try to maintain 3 seconds.

1008_the-modern-woman-bad-drivers-crankyhead-demotivational-poster ...

2.  Multitaskers.  OK, I will confess that I have looked at my phone while driving, for a second.  And, I apologize.  My wife has called my attention to this.  But, you have seen them.  They are killing themselves and others all around the country, right now.  Texting and whatever else.  Dangerous.  I aspire to never multi-task while driving again.

NJ Increases Fines For Drivers Hogging The Left Lane

3.  Lane hoggers.  These are the people who often create dangerous situations on the highway because they INSIST on driving in the passing lane (that is on the left in the USA)  even when there is room to get over.  They drive their particular speed in that left lane, and will not get over.  Arrogant and dangerous, because SOMEONE will finally get enough and go around them on the right, and then it gets bad.  MOVE IT OVER!!!  You are NOT the police and your attempts to make everyone drive YOUR speed is only going to potentially get you or someone else killed!  There is not excuse for tailgating, but these people have driven me to it.

Road rage and hogging the middle lane of the motorway were near the ...

4.  No caption necessary.  They should not have keys to a car.


5.  OK, I am nearly 68.  I know I can pass a driving test.  I know my reflexes are still good.  I can still see without glasses. (except for reading now dag nab it)  So, we can’t ban people from driving just because they are a certain age.  There are people out there over 70 who still drive very well.  And, we know there are people very young who cannot drive well enough to be out there.  So, what is the solution?  I have advocated for a long time that driving tests should include a simulator to test sight, hearing, and reflexes.  And, if you don’t pass you don’t legally drive!  I don’t care if it costs more, it would be worth it.  This way those who are older are tested and a family member doesn’t have the sad experience of finally telling an older loved one they cannot drive any longer.  A customer once asked me when I was in the auto business if we had dashboard magnification because he could not see his speedometer.  I nearly fainted.  I asked him if he could see cars, etc.  He indicated that he could see “shapes.”  I surreptitiously reported him and was told nothing could be done, unless he was caught driving erratically or in an accident.  Whaaaaaaa?

Cracks Down on Smoking While Driving, Should We Do The same?

6.  Smoking and driving.  Yes, I am a smoke Nazi.  I used to smoke and absolutely abhor the stench, now.  It should be illegal, just like texting and driving or drinking and driving.  Dangerous.

Bad Driver - funnydogsite.com

Oh, I could go on and on, but it is time to quit.  I would love to hear your comments on this one.

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Yes, we are what we eat.

View from the Man Cave. I have attached a video for anyone who might accidentally read this too young to have heard of Alley Oop.

At any rate, I wanted to share a life experience and, perhaps, might explain to my wife, once and for all, why I enjoy dark, intimate spaces. (OK, I can think of a couple of people who might read this and take that wrong.) It is just kind of joke around our house that I am a bit of a “cave man”, preferring lower ceilings and less light than is ‘normal.’


A couple of weeks ago, I decided to get serious about my eating habits. My two sons spoke glowingly of the Paleo eating plan. (I won’t use the word diet, because that word constitutes a short term solution in most minds.) It is called other things, e.g. primal, ancestral, etc., and there are varying viewpoints, but in simplest form, it is all about eating naturally, to the extent possible. It is NOT for herbivores. It is the carnivore’s dream. Meat. Lots of meat. Don’t hold the fat. Don’t cook with Canola Oil, use lard or bacon fat. Don’t have toast with the bacon and eggs, have some fruit or veggie. Sorry, my Italian friends, but pasta is passe. (sigh) good-bye to ice cream, but HELLO to an all-fruit blended delight. A little honey if you MUST have some sweetener.


Of course, mixed into all of this is the occasional cheat. A beer, a piece of pizza, maybe. My younger son tells me that when he does deviate, it does not sit well with his system.


This is not all about weight loss, although I am down about 8 pounds since I started a couple of weeks ago, as of this writing. It is about HEALTH. We have been told WRONG, I really believe. And, of course, please don’t take my word for it…check it out for yourself, and there are LOTS of good books about it. One my boys like is “The Paleo Solution, the original diet” by Robb Wolf. He is a biochemist and explains why those rolls, those potato chips, that milk, cereal…..isn’t good for you.


I really hope I stay with this eating plan. I believe I will be much healthier for it. And, I don’t think it is too late, even for a sexygenarian. (deliberate misspell grammar snobs)  For my part, so far, I feel sooooo much better, much more energy, I usually remember where I put things and made it all the way home today without asking for directions. Seriously, I really think (as my oldest son said yesterday) this is the REAL DEAL.


Whether it is weight loss, diabetes, heart health, whatever……farmers probably don’t like me for this, but……we are being POISONED on most of the inner aisles of the grocery store and some of the outer aisles. The ‘old’ low-fat BS your cardiologist may have told you about is very last century.


I am rambling more than I intended, but I am passionate about this. And, if I fall off this bandwagon, I hope somebody will remind me of my words. I do NOT think this is a fad. I think this is finally the TRUTH. There is a lot of money in gluten. There are a lot of cooks who cheat by poisoning us with MSG, tricking our little brains into thinking something tastes better than it does. I don’t think I will ever be a Paleo “purist” because I don’t think I can afford all grass-fed, no hormones, antibiotics, etc food. And, if you are a hunter…wild game is probably the top food on the list. BUT, I hope to be at least 80/20 on this plan, and I won’t rant about it, but if anyone is interested in progress, or how it is working, let me know.


My next lipid profile is set in 3 months. If it comes out like I think it will and the triglycerides are down, along with blood sugar, etc., I hope to say buh-bye to some pharmaceuticals.


Do yourself a favor. Check it out. Well, unless you get sickened thinking of eating like I did this morning at Golden Corral, with a HUGE omelet with everything except cheese, a huge slice of succulent ham, some sausage and bacon. Oh, and for dessert a really nice plate of pineapple, cantaloupe, strawberries and watermelon.



Thanks to my terrific (and very handsome, according to their wives) sons for turning the old man on to this.

Jeremy King

Nathan King

Oh, they are going to hate me for that one.  🙂  Eat well, my friends.

Update 2-28-14

I promised I would add an update to this post, since roughly 6 weeks have passed since I posted this.  I am in the process of reading “The Paleo Solution” by Robb Wolf, since I want to learn more.  People ask me questions about this eating plan, and I don’t have the scientific answer and am trying to increase my knowledge, but let me just give you a non-scientific update:  I am down about 13 pounds and counting.  My wife is down about a dozen pounds and wearing clothes she hadn’t worn for a while.


The difference between this eating plan….I won’t call it a diet, because of the negative connotations…..and ones I have tried in the past is that there is no deprivation.  Every time I tried a new diet, in the past, I enjoyed the weight loss, but hated the process.  Our typical eating has evolved to a daily omelette, either with bacon, sausage or ham, mushrooms, onions, spinach leaves.  For cooking fat, we either use bacon grease or coconut oil (my favorite)  We eat wonderful amounts of food.  For snacks, usually a handful of almonds, and occasional fresh fruit.  We really need to organize our dinners and get more creative, but recent entries have been spaghetti sauce served over spaghetti squash, taco seasoned ground beef over cooked cabbage, etc.  The bottom line is we have given up dairy and grains, and don’t plan to ever start, again.


My wife and I both feel better than we have in years.  My Total Gym workouts are intensifying, we look forward to exercise, etc.  It works.  If you want to feel better, try this plan.  Throw out all the garbage that so-called nutritionists and so-called doctors have been telling you about low fat high carb eating.  That diet is killing Americans!  Look around you!!


Just sayin’…..we love Paleo and consider it to be a lifestyle, now…..not a diet.  And lip-smackin’ good I tell ya.  I could go more into all the stuff involved, but won’t bore you with that.  I am not selling a book and this is not a pyramid scheme….just the fact that we know it works, have seen the evidence and expect things to just get better and better.  I will be happy to come back in here and eat crow if it does not.  Just no bread or rice with that, please.


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Remembering the day we lost JFK

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This morning I was watching the CBS Sunday morning show, all about John Kennedy, and it was mentioned about the effect his assassination had on a generation of young people just coming of age. My remembrances:

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My dad picked me up at school to go home for ‘dinner’ (we didn’t do lunch, then) and when he picked me up he said, “The President’s been shot.” I laughed because my Dad was known for his consistent sense of humor and joking manner. He said, “No, he really has been shot…” I remember the feeling of disbelief…..shock….and tears forming, as I have always been lachrymose. We went home and watched the events on TV….saw Walter Cronkite, with uncharacteristic emotion, state the President was dead.

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After getting back to school, in the hallway, some cretin….I still don’t remember who it was….came waltzing down the hallway, while I am getting books out of my locker, singsonging…..”They shot ol’ Kennedy, ol’ Kennedy is deader than a door bell…..” He was laughing. Something inside of me snapped (we were right across the hall from the Principal’s office) and I only remember grabbing him and ripping his shirt and telling him to get out of my sight. About the time, our Principal appeared in the doorway…a Principal who had a zero tolerance policy for any kind of fighting….locked eyes with me and almost imperceptibly nodded his understanding. (I found out, much later, he was a WWII hero and had seen horrific things in his life.)

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I next remember our math teacher handing out test papers. He stated, “These things happen, and we have to keep going on.” I am sure, in his mind, he meant well, but I never forgave him. It was a time when an adult should have faced us and talked about it. We needed some kind of understanding. America had just lost her innocence and we couldn’t have been more in shock if a family member had been killed.

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The Kennedy family was royalty. We were all caught up with the unprecedented and unPresidented charisma of this young President. We idolized him. We hadn’t gotten far enough, at that point, to develop any kind of political bias or much understanding. But, we knew he was our hero. He had stood up to the Russians during a time we had been raised to fear the Russians and had been lectured on what to do in the event of a nuclear attack. We knew where the designated fallout area was in the school. We lived under the fear…..and JFK had stood up to these bullies and made them remove those missiles from that little island off our shores.

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I have often wondered if our world would be very different today, if JFK had survived and lived to serve another term. JFK had announced he planned to get us out of Vietnam, about a month prior to his assassination. That may have been part of what got him killed, and we will probably never know the truth. And, of course, it is all speculative….but, it does make me wonder.

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Later…..MLK is killed…..RFK is killed…..the Manson murders….LSD….demonstrations…mayhem. America was never the same.

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We know that much of our public perspective of JFK was a creation of a brilliant strategy, started by JFK’s father and the man and the myth were quite different, but I still mourn his passing. And never completely got over it.download

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Ah, youth

I don’t know how long it has been the duty of young people to do what they can to piss off the older generation. Is it an American tradition? I am guessing that it started in this Country before WWII, but possibly not until after that war.

My observation is that it has gradually escalated, as the ability to shock became more and more difficult. Our generation had it easy. All we had to do was let our hair grow. First, with the infamous “DA”, short for “duck’s ass.” Many times it would be like a “flat top” with the sides oiled back to form the “DA.” Of course, when the Beatles invaded the USA with their horribly long hair, the curses of parents were heard loud around the land, and there is nothing like a cursing parent to give a child the incentive to fuel that rage. So, we listened to that horrible rock’n roll (the devil’s music) and grew our hair long. Mostly to piss off old people.

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Later, as we got used to the Beatles and long hair, the young needed something else. With my kids it was hip hop and head banging music. Of course, I tried the reverse psychology of acting like I liked it, so it might lose its luster. Before long I am humming AC/DC songs and reciting lyrics for NWA. I became an embarrassment to my children, so they kind of gave up and grew up before their dad did.


Then, as rap music became more and more hatefully evil, that became an easy one for kids to piss off older people. But, is it me, or has it had to become increasingly hateful in order to piss off the previous generation? I mean, we had the suggestive “Wake up little Suzy” and they have “U.E.O.N.O” a lovely tale of drugging a young girl to enable rape. Now, I may be old, but this pisses me off.

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However, the tattoos and piercings don’t piss me off. No, much of that just kind of makes me shake my head in wonder, and most times, just makes me kind of uncomfortable.

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I worry that in the future, what in the hell will toddlers of today be able to do to piss of today’s generation of parents who have pretty much seen it all? Can you imagine what the generation of people who were absolutely shocked by the gyrations of Elvis, and the Beatles’ long hair, think about idiots like Kanye? Oh, my, I must be old…….


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Of birds and people

I have had a wonderful summer, so far, although the beginning of it wasn’t so great with the fires in Colorado, the smoke, the wind, etc, but then we rolled into July and have had a good bit of rain and the air is clean, the dust settled, so life is good.

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One part of that existence has been bird watching. My wife got me into this, growing up in a family of bird lovers. I never thought I would really enjoy it…I mean a bird is a bird, right? But, enjoy it, I have. while sitting here this morning, I couldn’t help but wax philosophical about how birds are much like people in behavior.

black_capped_chickadee_7_chip Clark's Nutcracker

We have many species who come to the feeder, wait their turn and even try to clean up the stuff on the ground, so nothing is wasted. Some are prettier than others, but they all have different behaviors. Some can’t stand to see others feeding, even if they are not hungry.

A Broadtail gets some food

Certain species are so much like human subgroups. Take Blue Jays. They dress up colorfully and swoop in loudly, not waiting their turn. They will never share and bully any other birds which get in their way. And, if they know I am packing, they will not hang around. If I am not packing, they make a lot of noise and would take all the feed if they could.


Take Cowbirds. Please. They are too lazy to make their own nest and think other birds should do all the work and then they can just move in. There are some birds who will mess with a nest just so the birds who made it will leave. They don’t really want it, but sure don’t want to see other birds happy.


Some are shy, some are friendly and most are interesting. I admire the friendly ones who work hard and are polite. So, why do I need to go to town? Same stuff right here with the birds. Plus, I can run the ones off I don’t like. 🙂 And shoot the bullies.


Disclaimer:  Notice I did not mention any subgroups by name, ethnicity, religion, or political leanings.  It is up to the reader to use his or her own imagination.  I do not want any religious or political groups demonstrating or calling me.  That is for the birds.

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The Summer of ’13


OK, I want to start this by making you hungry.  My son told me about these quick and easy hash browns and I love ‘em!  Just add some hot water to the line in the carton, let ‘em sit for 12 minutes and they are ready to cook.  I think they come out great and it is really convenient for being up in the sticks.  I add onions because I like them and I cook them longer than the directions because I like them crispy.  Also, you can see I had to put some biscuits in the Sun Oven, because we just can’t get too many processed carbs, right?  To offset this huge carb intake, I ate some bacon and eggs, so hopefully that helped to get it healthy!


Naturally, I will spend some time here to burn those calories.  Studies have shown that at over 8000 feet altitude your body will burn more calories because your mind doesn’t work well.  Of course, most of these studies were done by overweight people.


Here is the bird sanctuary from a couple of angles.  If you look closely at my iPhone photos, you might be able to see the feeder and a couple of our birds who choose to dine here.  Normally, we see Finches, Nuthatches and Chickadees, but the Towhees like to come in and see what they can find on the ground.  Once you get past those “devil eyes” they are very likeable.  So far this summer I have seen some Mountain Bluebirds and Western Tanagers.  I have only seen one Clark’s Nutcracker.  The nasty old Bluejays try to come in and take over, but I have a special way of dealing with them.  I won’t go into detail for sensitive viewers


So, I did get busy and finish the trail I started last year down the mountain.  I made the trail in case any tenderfeet visitors come along and are afraid of getting lost on these vast 5 acres.  Happy trails to you!


Getting our home back into place this year was so much easier with the driveway alteration.  The water tanks sit in the “old” driveway.  I have been here a month and have only used about 200 gallons or so, including a daily shower.  It is amazing how little we need with some simple conservation.  If you look closely you might see the Dish Network antenna on the back of our rig.  It took a little engineering to get it mounted up there, but I kept having tree trouble with it on the ground.  Dish Network came out with a pay as you go program, which is nice, so we have news, weather and some entertainment for about 30 bucks a month.  I did have to buy the equipment, but got a good deal on the receiver on Amazon, and a good deal on the antenna through Ebay.  It is a known fact that I am a devoted shopper of “the deal.”


See, it just takes some “engineering.”  I have another word for it, but cannot use it for fear of NSA surveillance.

That's it, Sun!

The solar has been great, but we are getting a replacement controller from Morningstar since this one has kept us in the “float mode” a few times and this keeps the batteries from getting fully charged.  My thanks to my solar guru “Handy Bob” Shearer for his advice and assistance in keeping the system working properly.  And, for teaching us we can do just fine with 300W, with proper wiring and equipment.  His expert installation and advice have been invaluable.  If you want to find out all about living off the grid with solar, please check out his blog at handybobsolar.wordpress.com


I was very happy to find our deck built last year was in good shape.  Another thank you to my good friend Wayne for the great idea!  All I had to do was buy the lumber and do what Wayne told me to do and we got it built!  It is an awesome addition, especially, for cool summer mornings, drinking coffee (my wife’s drink of choice is Chai Tea) and watching the birds.  I highly recommend it to decrease blood pressure.  I rarely think about the disaster on Capitol Hill while sitting out here.

In the foreground (on the right picture) you can see our very expensive bird bath/fountain and the most interesting thing there, so far has been to see the male Broadtail Hummingbird taking his daily bath.  I hadn’t seen that before, but evidently this guy likes to spruce up for the Hummingladies.  Hey, if I could move like that, I wouldn’t have to spruce up.


Hidden in the trees is the privy.  We try to camouflage it so that we don’t offend those who deny that everyone has bodily functions.  Note to self:  It is easier to put this up when the wind isn’t blowing!


Last year we added the “Sea Biscuit” a sea container for storing our stuff for the winter.  In previous years we had to rent a storage unit in Alamosa and this addition made it oh, so much easier to get set up this year.  I had to run solo coming up here, because Mrs. King’s work required that she remain southward.  We got this unit from Gunbarrel Storage in Monte Vista and they were very nice people.  They even delivered the unit, and as you can see in the unloading picture, it was tricky for them, but they got it in here!


These photos were taken last night, one to the West and one to the East.  Two very large fires are burning out there too close for comfort.  The town of South Fork to the West is under evacuation and the town of Walsenburg to the East is under pre-evacuation, at this writing.  A sobering reminder to be careful and vigilant.  Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost homes around the State in this horrible fire summer of ’13.  Every day we are reminded of the beauty around us and how quickly it can turn into disaster.

I hope wherever you are, you are having a good summer and enjoying yourself.


By the way, I don’t wear a tie, but this summed up how I felt earlier, when I had gone through and put this blog together, but evidently forgot to save the draft, properly and it all disappeared.  Know the feeling?  But, I gathered myself, called friend Bob and got his sympathy, then went back in here and completed it. (I hope)

I must finish this, so I can start reading a book I just downloaded called “The Liberator” by Alex Kershaw.  A friend of mine, Bob Badger, read the book and noticed that the hero of the book, Felix Sparks, was a resident of my hometown of Delta, CO for some years and asked me if I knew him.  I mentioned to him that General Sparks’ daughter was in my class in grade school and that I had met him once, briefly.  I had no idea of the General’s WWII heroism, so I am anxious to read the book.  Check out Bob’s blog at bounderrv.wordpress.com.  It is all about gate guarding oil rigs in Texas.  He has some very interesting stories and insight.

Easy reading is damn hard writing.Nathaniel Hawthorne

Posted in Boondocking, Boondocking water management, Life on the Vista, mountain sex, rv boondocking, rving off the grid, Sawdust toilet, Solar power | 3 Comments

Power for the people! (Or just power trippin’)

It all starts here, naturally.  Something to capture those wonderful, free solar rays to start the process.  These panels came with our 5th wheel when it was new in 2000.  However, some terrific modifications to the system since then.  These are Siemans 75W panels.  Today you can buy higher wattage panels for much less than we paid.

We had 4 of these installed for a total of 300W.  Many people will tell you that is not enough for suitable use.  It is NOT enough…..UNLESS they are installed with big enough wire, a good controller, etc.  I will give a link to Handy Bob’s Blog, later where I learned about all this stuff.  If I were starting from scratch today, I would get higher wattage panels, simply because it doesn’t cost that much more to get them.  But, for now, we are doing just fine with these.

The panels are tilted primarily so rain water won’t pool on the panels and knock out the power to the panel.  I found out from Handy Bob that if just one tiny portion of the panel is shaded you lose the entire panel.  Many people don’t get the full value from panels because they are shaded by air conditioners etc.

My ingenious friend, Wayne, gave me this idea.  We were at a local metal recycling place and Wayne spotted these aluminum crutches.  I bought the crutches for about 5 bucks and with a hacksaw, hammer, and drill, made these brackets.  I wish I had his creative vision.  All I saw was some old useless crutches.  He saw these.  Cut a 6″ piece, hammer the ends flat (we also rounded some of the corners with a grinder) drill a hole and there you have it!

Later, I needed some longer ones for winter storage, so I could tilt one panel higher in case of snow and to keep the batteries from freezing.  Wayne came through again and spotted an aluminum mop handle at one of those flea market type stores.  I think this one was 4 bucks and I made some about 18″ long.  I can loan Wayne out for a price!

When Handy Bob upgraded our existing system to make it workable, this is the controller he recommended.  For our use, strictly summer, etc. he said it was the most bang for the buck.  It cost about $170 and is the TriStar TS-45.  Many will tell you that you need an MPPT Controller for $400-500 and for some people, it is worth it. The controller is the brains of all this system and, in simple terms, regulates the voltage to the batteries.  Ours is set to maximize the voltage for what the battery manufacturer recommends.  In our case, we sometimes “see” over 15V, but the actual is about 14.8.  I won’t get technical about that, because it is above my head, but will leave that to the experts. Handy Bob (I will include the link to his blog, I promise) is not out to get rich, but out to help people.  He is beyond reasonable and saved us a TON of money.

Incidentally, the wire he used to go from the panels to this controller, which should be mounted close to the batteries, was acquired from going to WalMart and buying some 50 foot jumper cables, snipping the ends and putting on new connections.  The cost was about $40, if memory serves, and would have cost 3 or 4 times that if we had bought the wire by itself.  BIG wire=getting the juice to the batteries.  Would you use a 1/8″  hose to water your lawn?  Well, some solar installers will put itsy bitsy teeny wiring so you have to buy more panels to get any juice there.  The wire that had been installed on our rig, initially, was laughable after our education from Handy Bob.  Do you get the impression I like Handy Bob’s work??

OK, we need to store what we borrowed from the sun and so we need some good batteries. I like these T-105 Trojan batteries.  They are wired so they are like two really big 12V batteries.  My first ones lasted over 10 years, which some people will tell you is impossible. All I know is they were still working and actually tested pretty darn good, even load testing, but I decided it was time and since we did all the good work to get the juice in here, I bought 4 new ones from a golf cart store for about $130 each exchange.  These are high capacity batteries designed for deep storage.

Handy bob will tell you that the system is not really complete without one of the Trimetric meters.  Having tried, before, without one, with an iffy system, I can tell you we love this meter.  A simple glance tells us what percentage we have left on our batteries.  So, if we are watching a good movie at 9:00 in the evening and don’t want to miss the ending, we can glance up there and see that we have the power to keep watching!  Normally our percentages run between 85%-95% depending on the time of day, the amount of sun that day, etc.  Yesterday we had early clouds, watched a movie (with surround sound) etc and I see we are at 89% right now, as we speak.  Easy pleasy.  We have never gone below about 75%, although I am sure we could.  I don’t think we would ever be comfortable going much below that, but we may just be trying to get another 10 years off our new batteries.

This meter will also show you your present amperage charge, etc., but usually, unless I am just curious, I leave it on the percentage and relax.

We use a 2000W heart inverter to power our AC appliances etc.   Handy Bob said it was fine, although I am sure if we had not had one he would have had us get a Magnum of some sort.

What can we run with this system??  It would be easier to say what we do NOT run.  We don’t run the air conditioner which is a major power hog.  And, thankfully, we do not need an air conditioner on Kings Vista.  We DO run the TV, the DVR, the surround sound, the microwave (judiciously), the hair dryer (judiciously), we charge 3 laptops, two iPhones, etc.  My wife works from here, so she has her laptop and iPhone going all day long.  I usually spend a fair amount of time on my laptop, as well.  Oh, and the electric toothbrushes, the ventilation fantastic fans run all night.  So, virtually all we need, power-wise, to live here 4 months in the summer is supplied by solar.

Well…..we do keep one of these handy.  Honestly, I think we could have done this whole summer without one, but we like the idea of not having to sacrifice.  So, if we have some cloudy days, or if we want to run a high power appliance for quite a while, we hook this guy up to our system.  With our built in charger on our rig, I can plug this in and charge our batteries quickly.  For $300 or so, I like this one.  I wish it were made in the good old USA, but unfortunately, it is Chinese.  They do seem to have a good support system here and it has worked flawlessly for about 3 years when we fire it up.  If we don’t need it, I will run it once in a while, just to keep it exercised.

Well, there you have it.  Please feel free to contact me, if I have left something out, but all you ever need to know about solar is found here:  http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/

Hey, the meter says 91%, the sun is high in the sky…..time for a movie!!

Posted in Boondocking, Solar power | 6 Comments