Wind and Rain and Solar

They call the wind Mariah

We’ve been in some wind on our journey. A snowstorm in Indiana with 30+ mph gusts hitting us sideways as we tried to drive the hell out of Indiana. On the bluffs overlooking the ocean in Oregon and California with 30 mph gale force winds and gusts up to 50mph. On Chimacum ridge of the Olympic peninsula with 60mph gusts. None of that prepared us for a windstorm in the mountains of Arizona.

The windstorm lasted for three days. It was unrelenting waves of wind that would drop off to about 5mph and then slowly build up until the camper vibrated. About three or four times an hour a truly severe one would come through. It would hit what was the normal cap and then a much strong wind would strike like a hammer blow. I have no idea what the windspeed of those blows was, but definitely more than the sixty I had experienced in the past. We weren’t in danger of being flipped, but we had to have the slide in, everything locked down, and we were largely trapped inside. It was so loud sleep was difficult. The first day and a half it was so dusty it looked like scenes from The Mummy. We had windows slightly open on the opposite side from the wind and yet everything was coated in a layer of grit. Late evening of the second-day rain, Tess, rolled in and stayed steady for about eight hours. The terrain soaked it up like an overly dry sponge, but the dust level was much reduced after that. In the future, we will take wind more seriously and get out of dodge.

The Solar is Joe?

Our plans originally involved a great deal of getting off the grid. World events thwarted that but are still what we see in our future. However; the solar setup was having issues and to Arizona, we came for upgrades and fixes. We had a faulty color panel, picture below, a faulty breaker, and two external panels that were a royal pain to use. As of yesterday, we are fully set up. In the below picture the 719W is our solar coming in, which includes about 150W from a new suitcase with stand. That is enough power that we don’t have to monitor energy consumption during the day even on rainy and cloudy days. Also, we added WIFI capabilities, can check the system from the web, and getting firmware updates all happens on its own. Today makes seven days off-grid, our longest ever, and we are hoping to hit thirteen before we leave. Our limiting factor is now our black tank.

The fun stuff

This part of Arizona is amazing. I love that this area has been so impacted by music. Every little town that Route 66 went through has kept it up so you can drive on it all over the place, and I am pretty sure Winslow wouldn’t have survived without the Eagles. There is far more to do and see than we will get done in our couple of weeks, but we shall return. Image gallery, the real reason people come to my blog, is below.

May peace find you.

Set My People Free

Our country called for our help and we did our civic duty. We halted our perpetual travels, accumulated a collection of masks, and got our vaccinations. That is all we can do for our fellow countryman. The current fluctuating closures looks to be the new normal for years to come, so off we go!

Night One: Snoqualmie Casino

We had originally intended to spend two weeks slowly travelling our way to Arizona for some solar repair and upgrades, but fate laughed at that. Four days of all day driving was called for instead. We are out of practice at all our traveling skills, but they will come back. We hopped a couple hours Wednesday night after I got off work and crashed in a casino parking lot. I didn’t get as many pictures in this area as I would have liked, because it was absolutely gorgeous.

Night Two: Grande Hot Springs

After our first long day of driving it was great to relax in some warm water. I don’t think this is a place we would come back to, but it was nice to have full plugins for one day on the trip so we were set for the next two days off the grid. We had become too accustomed to unlimited water and power. Working our way up to three weeks off grid soon.

Night Three: Remembering it is about the journey as much as the destination

For our third night Kendra had found this off grid boondocking spot at Sublett Reservoir in Idaho. This was very off grid. Seven miles of dirt road on which we passed a full size bulldozer pulling a columbine and saw no other traffic. As you can imagine, a dirt road that a full size bulldozer utilizes frequently has a vibration that will loosen fillings.

There was no cell reception, no power lines, no people, and amazing peace. This is where the joy of travelling returned to me and I remembered that we aren’t just going from point A to B, but getting the opportunity to really see this amazing land.

Night Four: Utah High Desert

As far as I know the place we stayed had no name. We just pulled off the road north of Kanab Utah and joined many other people doing the same. Looked like many of them had this as there destination and had setup for a long camp. Gorgeous views of the red cliffs and many dirt tracks that people used to ride bikes and four wheelers on. We might stay here a couple nights in the future as it had excellent cell reception too.

Landed: Flagstaff Arizona

So here we are four days and 1,500 miles later. Flagstaff is such a beautiful area. At 7,000 feet it is much cooler than most of the state, and it has a very interesting environment dominated by the local pines. It is sunny, not too hot, and smells like warm pine needles. Our spot has too much shade so we need to run generator some, but it has great hiking and a disc golf coarse I can walk to.

Many miles of hiking trails just the other side of Torta.

May peace find you.