Saturday, January 5, 2013

We've Learned So Much -- Is it Time?

"Later never exists." - Anon.

In a few days we’ll be heading to Quartzsite.  It’s time for thousands of RVs to converge on thatrvs small desert town.  We’ve learned so much since the first time we were there a few years ago.  It was there that we were really introduced to boondocking for the very first time.  We were so sure we wouldn’t be able to adjust that we also booked a month at a local park at the same time we were staying on the BLM.  Actually, we weren’t sure we wanted to adjust.  After all, we couldn’t understand why folks would want to be without all the utilities if they had a choice.  We thought we were prepared though but we had a lot to learn.  What else could we need?  We had a generator.  It was one of those very noisy commercial generators but we didn’t know the difference.  That first time was definitely a major learning experience for us.  We had so much to learn and didn’t even realize it.

We were experienced RVers, experienced campers and even experienced boondockers … even though we had never called it that.  We had spent many nights boondocking in the past in tent trailers, travel trailers and 5th wheels. In those days we never carried a generator with us.  We didn’t figure we honda1really needed it.  Like I said we thought we were so experienced but really we had so much to learn and we learned by listening and watching others.

I’d love to say we caught on fast but that wouldn’t be the truth.  We adapted to the things we liked and fought the things we didn’t.  One of the hardest things was water conservation.  We could get the water.  It was cutting down on usage and the disposing of it that caused the problem.   We were reacquainted with GI showers and dishpans in the sinks.  Did we adjust?  Very reluctantly on the water bit.  dish

Eventually we ended up with a blueboy and a 45 gallon water bladder..  Eventually those two 12 volt batteries became four 6-volt batteries and then became six 6-volt batteries. We learned about inverters and tri-metrics, LED lights, water filters, propane heaters and the list goes on and on.  The loud generator became a Honda 1000 which eventually became a Honda 2000.  The 5th wheel became a motorhome.  The stand-up satellite antenna which could cause hours of antennafrustration became a mounted automatic satellite receiver.  Even Distant Networks was added to our list of necessities for TV programming..

Our AT&T air card continued to serve our internet needs most times but with it came a few other things including a cradlepoint router, a Wilson antenna and amplifier.  All these little things became a necessity for living off the grid.  Most everything we learned about cost money. Camping World became our favorite store and General Delivery our main address.   We did discover getting ready to boondock was not a cheap thing. 

We’ve learned about COEs, County Parks, special passes, Wal-Marts, Flying J’s and BLMs.  We’ve learned many things.  If they give a diploma for RV living, we should have earned it by now.  What more can we learn? 

What more can we do?  Is it time?  We still haven’t added solar.  Or, have we?    Terry spent the panelday running wire.  He said the hard part is done.  Tomorrow will mostly be spent finishing up with the charge controller and digital meter.  We have yet to get the mounts and the panels.   We’re hoping to tap the knowledge bank of other RVers on what we need since we’ve learned so much from them in the past. 

‘Tis life on the road.


  1. no matter how you travel or how you camp it is a learning curve for everyone!..good luck at Q! I am sure it will be a great time!

  2. Going Solar...WOW! Good Luck on the install, should be fun and a great addition to Boondocking. Wish we were joining the '08-09 gang this winter - we've pretty much lost touch with most of them....maybe next year. Have fun!

    1. Not with us you haven't. We're not letting our good friends hide that easily.

  3. Back in 07 we got a good deal at discount solar n Quartzsite. Just one 130 watt panel, 2 six volt batteries and a 1,200 watt inverter we can get by with almost no generator use. Lots better good deals on much larger panels now. We will be missing Q this year, just hanging out on the north shore of the gulf. Good luck with the solar.

  4. Always nice to learn new things, we would love to have solar on our rig someday.

  5. Jim and I figure we'll just move in with you guys when you get everything all set up. Looking forward to Q even if it's going to be cold.

  6. BUT do you have a toaster yet? hahaha

  7. Reading your post about all your learning experience is very interesting as it basically is the same as we did.
    If you are looking for a good efficient solar panel at a very good price I can get you one or even two if you like. I am about to order 235W panels from a company Sun Electronics in Miami. They are running about 320Dollars shipping included. We use 2 of them ourselves and have not even started our Generator ever since. They have an output of about 16amp. It will take about 6-7 days from order to get them. I have 5 panels on my list right now from folks over here. They are about 6x3ft. large. They have a 25 yrs. warranty on power output and 5 yrs on workmanship. It's the best deal I have dome across. If you want one, pls. let me know and we will even bring it up to Q-site. But you must act quick as we like to make this order the coming week.

  8. I'll just park next to you at Q and run my extension cord...

  9. Now I feel better about your offer to share your generator with me. I'm still hoping to not need it but my diesel furnace has become unreliable and my electric heater requires, of all things, electricity. I'm hoping to get the furnace fixed before I come. Hopefully you won't all be done and gone by the time I can do that.

  10. OMG OMG OMG !!!! You are getting Solar !! How exciting !!!! Can't wait to get all the details.

    I got mine last year and love it. Have not had to run the Generator not even once since to charge the batteries. Still need to run it for the Microwave, hair dryer etc. But that is not often and only for a few minutes. You'll wonder why you didn't get it sooner !!


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