Nov 30, 2010

Desert Boondocking at Q

This morning, Tuesday, we left Cattail Cove State Park in our rear view mirror and made the short 60 mile drive south to the Quartzsite area (just "The Q" to some). The day was cool and the wind was light... perfect for seeking out that "just-right" spot on the many acres of public land around here so we could practice our boondocking skills. Not sure how long we'll be here, but something on the order of 4 or 5 days feels right at this point.

I'm sure some are wondering how the bean soup turned out yesterday. Well, it was just about the best bean soup I've ever had. Dar loved it too. I love soup on cold winter days, and have gotten very creative in adding all sorts of things to even the most pedestrian canned soups in a pinch. But this "from scratch" soup was just excellent.

Oh, and my experiment to use food-oriented titles for blog posts was inconclusive. I think I'll just go back to using my normal naming conventions in the future. Let me just say that a number of readers were very upset with the "bait and switch" nature of those entries. I am sorry if you got all riled up over this.

Back to boondocking... We have 4 big lead-acid "house" batteries that, when new and running optimally, should provide us about 200 amp/hours of usable 12 volt power. But because they're almost 4 years old, have endured some abuse, and many charge/discharge cycles, we're lucky if we can get half that. In the next few months I'll probably find a set of replacements.

This battery power is critical for boondocking... and anytime we're NOT plugged into the grid. Our main draws on the power are for lighting, fridge controls, furnace controls and blowers, and, with the "inverter" turned on, any 120volt thing we'd like to run... TV, microwave, coffee pot (critical), and keeping our laptops charged and running. When it's cold outside (like it will be tonight), the blower on the furnace will need a big chunk of the 100 amp/hours we have available. So we pile extra blankets on the bed and keep the thermostat turned as low as we can.

We also have our new catalytic propane heater to try out. Since it uses NO battery power at all, it allows us to use our reduced battery power for other things. But because one needs to be cautious with any combustion heater, it won't be used overnight... while we're sleeping... but it should help take the chill off in the evening and warming the place up in the morning.

So, we'll see how it goes...

Beyond Branson; Pondering Future Travel

This past Tuesday, we moved from Branson to a very nice Corps of Engineer’s Park on Wappapello Lake.  We’re in the Redman Creek CG. This fac...