I woke up just a little while ago for what would have been the all too usual 3am extensional dread, a.k.a. I wasn’t kind to my stomach and now I have heartburn. However, since I’ve been going to bed by 9pm, that time is now 10:45pm. It feels less lonely in the universe.
It’s been a rather emotionally draining weekend. We chose to load up the rig, pick up kiddo, and head to the farm for a full off-grid systems check before Nashville. My daughter seems to have not fallen far from the tree, she becomes quite the little asshole once she’s been on a screen for a while.
She recently has had such an attitude, is unappreciative of everything, and nothing is good enough. She complained of “not doing anything with us” over the weekend but actively refused to join us when spending time together with family activities.
It puts me in a hard spot. I grew up completely consumed with technology. Wake up, computer, sleep, repeat, literally for most of my young adult, and adult life. This behavior most likely contributed to issues with Anxiety Disorder, self-esteem, and other issues.
But, also the reason why I’m as skillful in so many areas in life. Programming, car engine swaps, welding, solar, game mods, database engineering, and so on. Each time I instruct her to please do something away from the computer, I have a mirror placed up to myself. How did my mother survive?
At some point, though gaming wasn’t something I enjoyed anymore. I craved, ached to accomplish things in the real world. Interaction with other people, getting outside. Traveling, hiking, exploring.
Like today, and a segue into yet another project. We arrived home, kiddo went home around 5pm. I spent my time fabricating an extension to the truck rack to mount my massive 15dbi Omni antenna. Grinder, MIG Welder, paint, bingo. MIG welding outside, 23F, pitch black, striking arcs to see.
It was the first weekend fully on self-supplied power. We burned 4.8 Gallons of Propane to heat the RV to 65F, run the refrigerator, heat our water for two showers. Saturday night, we slept without a single generator charge event, the battery bank lasted until 8am!
I believe that we also burned ~6 gallons of gasoline for the generator and put 10 hours on the unit. The weekend was overcast and didn’t pull more than 225W/0.84kW on our best day.
I simulated heavy usage of all systems, such as heating the water for the duration of the weekend, leaving the heat on 65F mostly whenever we went out. Friday night, I intentionally drained the bank by 9pm to ensure the auto-generator system worked.
Under freezing winter weather, overcast skies, and moderate water usage, there shouldn’t be anything preventing us from boondocking five days a time under less than ideal (dare I say, worst case due to winter usage) conditions before needing to restock resources.
This is one heck of an accomplishment! With warmer temperatures, our only real limitation will be water resources.
Let’s calculate some costs.
- Propane is $2.99/Gallon for a refill, that’s $14.25.
- 6 gallons of Gasoline for the generator, $18.
- 10 Mpg for the 6.2L V8 tow vehicle, $34.62
So, that’s a weekend from Friday to Sunday for $66.87 – not counting wear and tear on equipment, maintenance, food.
That’s not bad at all, really. Our most expensive resource is gasoline to tow the rig with an abysmal 10Mpg of fuel economy.
“Top 10 Most Efficient Trucks: Towing a 7,000 Lbs Trailer on a 100-Mile Highway Loop”: 13.3 – 10.6, including Diesel. Suddenly, I don’t feel bad about getting a 6.2L V8 Petrol over a Diesel. Maintenance costs, more expensive fuel, and Diesel Exhaust Fluid spared.
If I could go back and change anything with the rig, it’d be getting a Class C motorhome instead of a truck+trailer. I would compromise for a 4×4 truck with a Lance slide-in camper, the largest one. In fact, I think that the Lance would be perfect for my current use cases in the real world, and afford adventure camping off-road.
Now that I no longer full-time RV, I really don’t need the space a 30′ Travel Trailer affords. I mean, space is nice. It’s just much to account for driving with the rig. Wide turns, idiots passing you constantly, backing up (although I am good at it). Efforts hitching and unhitching the trailer.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t have space for 800W of solar, bunking friends while traveling would be a bit harder. Space for two introverts to get introvert time without a separate room to go into would be challenging.
EDIT: An hour and a half later after getting distracted looking at Lance Campers..
Yeah.. They are tiny. Maybe not. I did really enjoy the 4 season package advertised. Dual pane windows and adequate insulation would be a huge improvement in my current rig.
The real question past the builds, project updates, and obsessing over battery charge curves, what now? It’s still winter. Average temperatures of 50F, then 70F are a month or two out. It’ll be another 3-4 months for outdoor swimming temperatures here in Indiana.
I want nothing more than traveling back up to France Park and hanging out on the beach on a warm day, worrying about sunburn. Riding the electric bike around the park. I mean ideally, I want more, much more. I think that if I could take off and spend the rest of the winter on sunny Sanibel Island, I would. I’d begin driving tomorrow.
Fat tire bike on the sand, holiday travelers dotting the shoreline. Maybe I’d even take that helicopter tour that I still have the certificate for.
State and National Parks are open to us now. Open fields and pull-offs from the side of the road. Independent, disconnected from the world.
…my daughter is undeniably her father’s child.