Saturday, November 15, 2014

Dreamers, Wannabes, Wafflers and BLOWHARDS!

Whoever that old soul was who came up with the saying "it takes all kinds" sure was right! I bought a Gulfstream AmeriLite 25' travel trailer a few weeks ago, with the plan being that when I am at last free to travel I will use the Ford E350 Cargo Van that I am slowly converting to a camper to do my travelling/living in, and in the spring return to my home base and spend 6 months of nice weather in the comfort of the travel trailer. Don't get me wrong, the STEALTH cargo camper was VERY comfortable these past 3 years, but alas, I turned 60 this past summer and I wanted something a little bigger, and a little nicer! And I had the money and thought--why the heck not!!! Its just money, I will get more...sometimes, it just seems to find me!!-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------..------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So.......I took a few pics of the STEALTH cargo camper and placed an ad on Craigslist to try to sell it. Even included the original 80 watt roof mounted solar panel, wrote a nice ad telling how I had paneled and carpeted and insulated I had camped in it all over the country, in total someone else who wanted to get away from it all , or turn it into a MAN CAVE, could do it with just $3000!!!
Well, the phone started ringing!! And emails started coming in!! Unfortunately, it is still setting here right next to the new Gulfstream, looking abandoned.....poor thing, no one wants me?? I had a guy drive 80 miles to look it over, offered me $2000. and not a penny more, I just laughed at him and told him to have a nice trip home! Then another guy came and wanted me to finance it for him.....uhhhhhhh no....then a couple showed up with cash in hand, 30 crisp $100 bills!!! The girl loved it, and started backing the truck up to hitch it up!!! But.....the male half of the couple started waffling on the deal, and I knew the girl was going to get mad.........they left after 3 hours of him trying to jew me down on the price, and her calling him every single cuss word I have ever heard in my life!! We got within $300 but I told him at that price I was keeping the solar panel.......needless to say they went home empty handed, and the STEALTH cargo camper still sits here, looking a little forlorn.......

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Solar upgrade

On the STEALTH trailer, I have 280 watts of solar and it has served me well nearly 4 years now. I have them wired into a really good MPPT charge controller, pumping free power into 2 Lifeline AGM 220 amp hours each 6 volt batteries, tied together for 1 big 12 volt battery. But for the van, I am going to experiment with a new 136 watt roll up flexible panel. It is 18 feet long and about 6 inches wide, and will connect it with 4 gauge wire to just 1 Optima yellow top AGM battery running the wire 1st thru another really good MPPT charge controller. This new flex panel CAN be glued to the van roof, but I'm not going to.....I want it to be truly portable, and if I want to park the van in the shade but use the panel to charge the battery, I can just roll it out in the sun.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I have decided not to put a wind turbine on the van, even though there is a new VAWT out now that is only 18" high, that I could mount maybe 2 of them to the roof of the van, but have decided against it, at least for now. I really think the 136 watt flex solar panel will supply me enough power. I'm not going to put a fridge in the van, and there will be no water pump in it either. Just don't think I will need that much power! These guys putting 800 or 1000 watts of solar panels on a van roof are just goofy in my opinion.......but if that's your thing and you have the money, go nuts!-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The weather here in central Illinois has been really "fall like" the past week.....cooling down overnight to the 50s, and warming to the 70s by late afternoon. The trees are starting to turn as well......winter will unfortunately be here before we know it. Predictions are its going to be as bad as and maybe worse than last year!---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Short post today..............

Cooler weather is here..............winter is coming!

I am having trouble getting posts up on the blog....not sure why, but just about ready to say the heck with it! Cooler weather has arrived here in central Illinois, the leaves are turning and the rains are more frequent the last few weeks......sure signs of whats coming---yup, old man winter is right around the corner! Forecasters say its going to be as bad as if not worse than last year...yuck! Last year was terrible, lots and lots of snow.....weeks upon weeks of bitter cold.....I dread whats coming. But I can't leave...I just can't leave mom here to more or less fend for herself! This is the one time I need to stay and help her, now that she is virtually alone. If I left, she would end up in a nursing home, and I shudder to think what that would do to her!! No...I must stay! My opportunity to hit the road will come soon enough.------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Have made very little progress on the van the last excuse other than just have not done any work on it. Lets see if this post will actually publish......

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Experiment

Last year, I bought a used 1 ton Ford E350 Super Duty cargo van, with the intention of turning it into a camper van that I could take off in and travel, but leave the STEALTH camper trailer at home in Illinois. You know, when the frost got on the pumpkins here in central Illinois, just load a few things into the van and lock up the trailer and head out for warmer temperatures. I had got it insulated really good with 1" sheets of insulation, put up some nice paneling, built a bed frame for a nice 8" thick twin size mattress, and built a nice cabinet with a 15" diameter sink, and laid down some nice thick carpet......then things got sidetracked!-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- My 88 year old stepfather passed away, in March, and threw a wrench in my plans to get the van conversion done.......I had to move my 93 year old mother to an apartment and get her settled in. I go in every morning and fix her breakfast, take her wherever she needs to go, keep her bills paid, do her shopping for her and just hang out with her most of the day, then return to the STEALTH camper trailer for the evening. Where I am parked, about 4 miles outside of town, I have a deal, a SWEET deal with a friend who owns the property.......he lets me park the camper here, hook up my 30amp power, and use his water/sewer/wifi, in exchange for a whopping $50.00 a month for electric, plus I mow his nearly 5 acres of grass and keep the place looking nice. Now, that is a SWEET deal!!! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Anyway, the van conversion really needs to get finished!!! Winter will be here again real soon, and the trusty Farmers Almanac says its going to be worse, WORSE than last year!!! And last year was a real BITCH of a winter!! Personally, I was OK.....I stayed snug as a bug in a rug inside the STEALTH camper trailer, with my electric blanket and electric heater and my trusty Coleman LP fired heater......there were days at a time I didn't even leave!! But this year, I have my mom to worry about....and since I'm the only child of the 6 that lives close by, it falls on me to take care of her. She won't be here forever, and the opportunity for me to hit the road will be waiting when moms time is done........but, need to get the van finished!!!!! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So, thats where I'm at. I don't have a lot left to do on the van interior, just a couple minor things. The solar power situation is still needing to be resolved....I'm considering bypassing it altogether and just buying a good Honda 2000 watt genset to top off the AGM deep cycle batteries every day, so I would have sufficient power to get through the night. I have all the solar equipment, as well as a roof rack for the van......BUT, I was thinking about using the roof for extra storage when I am travelling.......decisions decisions decisions..........

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Hey!!! I'm back!!! Really!!

Greetings to anyone who may be still checking in on this sorry excuse of a blog!!! Yes, it has been several months since I have posted anything....a lot has been going on, and I tried a few months ago to post but could not even get in to the blog.....anyway, somehow it let me in today, and I will return tomorrow with more details as to what is going on and where I am and what I am doing. Hope I can generate some followers!!