Friday, December 26, 2008

After Christmas

Location, Home

Well, Christmas is over and we had a great day yesterday at Chelsea and Steve’s. We drove down in the rain and arrived about 10 AM. After a breakfast of egg strata, sausage, and a pull-a-part roll, we opened gifts. That took a couple of hours. Later we had a ham dinner prepared by Steve and Chelsea.

We watched the Lakers beat the Celtics on TV and came home around 7 PM to lots of wind. At least our power stayed on this time. Last week after a gust of wind passed through we lost our electricity for several hours.

We took down all the Christmas decorations today except for the outside lights. We have company coming for the next several days and then we will be gone for New Years so just decided to get it done.

I was checking my calendar for the past year to see how many days we have used the RV. In my mind it wasn’t very many compared to other years but further checking showed we had camped a total of 103 days. Not bad really. That’s almost 1/3 of the year. We also were gone from home for several other trips but with the car, not the RV.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Location, Home

Christmas Eve and all the little kiddies are waiting on Santa Claus. Well….. not quite. Around our house we have no little kids here any more. Just old folks, and one large dog. Actually son Craig’s dog Chloe. Chloe knows there is a large succulent bone somewhere in all those presents and her nose goes 100 mph when she gets a wiff of it.

A short message tonight.

May all who read this have a Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I'm being lazy

Location, Home

Ummm, what have I been doing this week? Not much. I did finish my Christmas shopping and wrapping a few days ago. And I dug out a small tree stump along our back fence. The rest of the time I have spent on the computer and reading. I am reading almost a pocket book a day. They are part of a series I have collected for some time and they are easy reads. Unfortunately, the next book in the series is no longer available so I may need to do a lot of hunting for it. I forgot where I bought most of the books as they had $2.50 stickers on them. Could have been at a used bookstore in Houston or Quartzsite, I just don’t remember.

I BBQ’ed chicken tonight for dinner along with steamed broccoli and a packaged pasta dish which made for a good dinner.

Clyda has been making cookies and fudge. I have helped myself to the cookies which are oatmeal with cranberries so they aren’t all bad but stayed away from the peanut butter with chocolate kisses on them. Cookies are my down fall.

It is supposed to start raining this evening and continue for the next four days. We can use the rain if it is a slow rain not a down pour. That would really hurt the burn areas. I bought a new rain gauge the other day. Our old one cracked from age.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

First big rain

Location, Home

Where the heck did the week go?

Clyda has been working on the Christmas cards and I have been updating and printing the address labels, plus other computer stuff. It seems to occupy lots of my time.

We had rain Sunday night which actually totaled 1.9 inches locally. I woke up several times during the night when it was really coming down. We had a few showers yesterday and today. So far, there hasn’t been any real problems in the fire areas. Let’s hope that continues as those folks have enough problems.

I mailed Christmas packages today and did a little shopping. We received several packages ourselves yesterday so all is falling into place for the holidays. Of course, the cards are coming in also. It is great to hear from family and friends.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Solar panel mounted

Location, Home

After a few setbacks with the solar panel mounts, and with son Craig’s help, I got the panel mounted and hooked into the system.

Craig made some stainless steel blocks which were drilled and tapped to act as captured nuts to which the mounting bolts were screwed into. I now have two panels with 245 watts of output. On a good sunny day with the panels oriented to the sun I could conceivably get 14 amps output. That should charge my batteries just fine.

When we bought the RV I had the idea of installing 2 solar panels with a good controller and 4 six volt golf cart batteries. Adding a 1500 to 2000 watt inverter would give us all the power we would ever need while boon docking without shore power. The next thing will be a new 20 amp solar controller. I will look at that while we are in Quartzsite this winter.

Re-reading the last post, I found a few typos, so I will correct them before I get emails about them.

Monday, December 8, 2008

New solar panel

Location, Home

I should have mentioned in my last post that the one movie I really enjoyed was Australia. It was like the old time epics we used to see.

I have been trying to buy another solar panel for the RV and had found one on the internet on Craig’s List. I agreed to the price but the seller was located south of Los Angeles but did make trips my way occasionally. On Saturday we arranged to meet on Sunday in Thousand Oaks, CA. It was about an hour and a half trip for both of us. I had taken an old car battery with me and my voltmeter and some clip leads to test the panel. The first one just didn’t check right so we tried another. It seemed ok but we only had weak sunshine as there was a lot of cloud cover, so it only put out about 2.2 amps. I accepted it and headed home.

This morning we had more sun so I tested the panel again and it now put out more than 4 amps so I guess it is ok. I need to do some work before I can install it on the RV. I need mounting holes drilled and I need some stainless steel lag screws to hold it down. The real problem may be getting some self leveling caulk to seal around the mounting brackets. Usually only RV repair facilities carry this stuff. It is available on-line if I want to order it.

I am working on our Christmas newsletter. It is always a problem to decide what to put in it and to find some meaningful pictures to use.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Back to reality

Location, Home

We arrived back home yesterday about 4:30 PM after spending a week in the Bay Area. The drive up was slow because of traffic but coming home was a breeze by comparison.

Besides eating too much, we shopped for bargains, visited Richmond and Point Richmond, and spent one night with friends Jack and Judy south of Ukiah, CA.

Something I never do is watch movies, at least hardly ever. I just don’t think much of the movies being made these days. However,……that being said, I did watch lots of movies this past week. Five or six I believe and enjoyed them all. Thanks Cindy and Gary.

Today it was back to reality! We got all the Christmas decorations down from the garage attic and put up the outside lights, put up the tree, which had a light problem (more on that later), decorated the tree, and more or less put up all the other decorations. As usual, we have way more decorations than we need. I suggested to Clyda that we could forgo all this if we sold the house and lived in the RV. No room there for “extras” which would be nice. Sigh…..I guess that won’t happen.

As to the “light problem”, I bought this tree with all the lights installed so all I do is plug it in. Alas, one half string didn’t work. It had multiple burned out bulbs which mystifies me. Craig helped me check some but we finally decided to turn that part of the tree to the wall and trouble shoot the problem after the holidays. The tree looks fine even with those lights out.

I am working on our travel plans for after the holidays. Part of those plans fell into place today with the arrival of an invitation for a 50th anniversary reception in Indio, CA in January. It will be our first stop for the winter.