Saturday, November 27, 2010

Morning from Hell

I woke up about 5:00 and it was COLD. Stayed in bed until 6:00 trying to get back to sleep and didn't have any luck so got up to 37 degrees in here. I turned on the light and computer and the inverter cut out because of low battery voltage so I went out and started the charger. It ran out of gas no sooner than I finally got it started. Added gas and started it again so I'd have power until the sun comes up for the solar panels to start charging. Then I came in and put water on for coffee and kept waiting for the water to get hot. I noticed it never did so looked and the burner had gone out, but no propane was coming out. I just changed bottles yesterday! Next I notice the CHECK light on the fridge is on and it isn't working. I thought OK... it isn't getting propane, but I tried the burner on the stove again and it light with no trouble. Put the water back on for coffee and tried to get the fridge to fire up again and it wouldn't. Low voltage on the trailer's battery that the fridge gets its control voltage from. Looks like I'll be running the generator today to charge up that battery.

I've been thinking something is up with the batteries lately because they just don't hold up at night, but I just had an epiphany. It is Winter, the days are shorter, the sun is further away, its not hitting the solar panels at the correct angle for maximum charging and batteries don't like cold. This all equates to either going to bed real early and staying off the computer or using anything that will drain the batteries much. Either that or get used to using the charger and generator more in the evenings to top off the batteries because the solar panels couldn't.

Now this brings up a conversation JustMe and I had yesterday when I went over to pick up the siding. It was about AMPS at Volts. A lot of people seem to think that if an appliance pulls 1 AMP at 120 volts it also pulls the same at 12 volts. That is far from the truth. If an appliance pulls 1 AMP at 120 volts then it will pull about ten times that at 12 volts. You also have the overhead of the inverter which further adds insult to injury. Take the DSL modem here. I wasn't having trouble with inverter cut outs at night until it was installed. That coupled with the shorter days, the sun being further away and the sun hitting the panels at the wrong angle all cause problems I didn't have in the summer. About the only way to offset that would be to add more solar panels, setup a sun tracking mechanism for the panels to follow the sun or start running the charger and generator to take up the slack. Of course as mentioned before I could start going to bed earlier and cut back on the computer use at night, but that doesn't really appeal to me.

BTW the sun is now up and the solar panels charging the single RV battery are working giving the fridge enough voltage to work off of so its now working again.

Just something else to think about before moving off grid.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkey Day Dinner @ The Legion

Ok Folks, for those of you who will be in the area there will be a Free Thanksgiving dinner served at the Legion Thursday at 3:00 PM. I'll be making the dressing so don't no body knock it! ;) As far as I know there will be at least 4 bloggers we all know besides myself. Would be nice to see more!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Another WiFi Dish

My neighbor down the hill brought his WiFi key up this morning and we spent the morning building him a WiFi dish like I've been using here for months. Its not to allow him to connect to me since my system wouldn't stand the extra load of me running a WiFi router along with the modem and still be able to do what I need to and want to do. He will see if he can get his Internet from the same source as I was. Problem there may be being out of the line of sight from the source.

I had the bottom to an old BBQ and it made a bang up dish with a little work. One more neighbor was also wanting to connect through me, but since that can't happen I guess we need to find another suitable dish for them to use. Will need to be larger because of the extra distance. Perhaps one of the large HughesNet dishes or maybe even a 4 foot dish. Line of sight shouldn't be a problem with this one. Only distance.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lost in Terlingua

Went in to SB this morning to take a shower and get supplies and found Frann at the BBMI cafe so had breakfast with her. Enjoyed the visit and the breakfast was plenty good as usual for there. She is wanting to introduce me to her neighbor Dale Wood who is an older ex-NASCAR driver so I was going to go to her place after my shower, but couldn't find it and got lost on the way. Guess I should have taken Laurie and the Horseshoe for good luck in finding her place. I've slept too many times since I was there last and it seemed to have changed some to. I did turn on one road that I thought was hers, but after driving for some time I decided that couldn't be it so turned around and went back to South County road. At that time I had a senior moment and turned left rather then right and drove about 4 miles looking for highway 170 and noticed the sun wasn't where it was supposed to be so turned around and went back. Once I hit 170 I said to heck with it since I was running low on gas and headed for the SB store for gas and the Cottonwood for other stuff before heading home.

I started thinking about what she had said about Dale saying his brother had restored an old Ford Bronco for him and then realized that I had already met him. He was the guy I met at the Cottonwood back when the Cobras were down here and he was also the guy that asked me if I'd sell the Falcon to him. He had told me he had a 66 Falcon Ranchero that he used to tow his race car with back many years ago. No wonder he knows Carrol Shelby!

Sorry I missed you Frann...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Got the Phone & DSL

I called BBT yesterday to find out why I was having to wait until Jan 6th to get it installed. The woman told me that it was ready to be hooked up and they had sent me the package to hook it up myself. :( I went to the mail box after that and sure enough there was a care package from BBT. When I got back I had to search through the dungeon to find some extra hardware I'd brought down here from Plano to hook it up and they failed to include the install CD in the package. I had to go to their site through the legion connection to download a program to install it. It works, but is little to NO better than the legion connection most of the time so  far so I guess I'll be spending a lot of time on my phone trying to get tech help to get the DSL working like its supposed to work. Oh well... I guess I am making some progress.

Two of my neighbors who can't get it are wanting to scab off of me, but no WiFi router is provided and the damn modem only has one connection. That would mean buying a high strength WiFi router and the added wattage to run it 24 hours a day so I'm going to have to do some thinking on that. It would also mean I would have to use the WiFi router to connect myself and I don't want to have to do that.

I ran the batteries down again last night because of one of my neighbors being here with his computer hooked up, I used the desktop computer some to try and get the DSL working and then I watched movies until the inverter dropped out about 11:45 last night. I said to heck with t and went to bed. Didn't run the charger until about 8:30 this morning and by that time the solar panels had started charging again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lucky Man

Most will remember Laurie. I put her up in the cabinet and forgot to do anything with her. As you can see from the picture of her she needs some re constructive surgery now. Today while I was taking a chicken carcass out to feed the coyotes I ran across the old horseshoe. I guess the good luck will catch up sooner or later, but maybe it already has? How much luckier can a person get having a great family and a lot of good friends.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The way we were

The Dungeon and I that is.

Its been a while since I updated this blog and I don't have much to update it with and no pictures at this time. I will post the picture of Allen and Ok Hwa Hare that I took when they stopped by on their way back to the DFW metroplex. Was good to see them again.

As far as the dungeon goes its real close to being back like it was when it was dropped off here. (Other than being full of most of my remaining worldly possessions.) The only thing remaining is the front I built for it and as soon as I have a need to that it will also be disassembled. I've started building on the new storage building with the material taken from the inside. Its starting to look like I may have to keep the dungeon for another month though because I will be just a little shy on material to finish it. Its also turned in to one of those one step forward and two steps back deals. JustMe stopped by this afternoon and renewed an offer of some used siding she has though so I may still be able to let the dungeon go to some other needy soul at the end of the month. I wish the next renter good luck with what ever they use it for.

Picture is of Allen and Ok Hwa just before they pulled out to go home. Pretty nice rig they have and I would love to have a little Broncho like the one he has. Maybe one of these days.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Droves & Droves

I think its safe to say the chili cook off is over. This morning 118 is as busy as most super highways with all the people headed north from the cook off. I hear the DPS troopers have been even worse this time and evidently harassment is foremost on their minds. They stopped my neighbor's wife yesterday when she was coming home from work at the BBMI. Worst than that she wasn't doing anything wrong, the car was totally legal and she is a preacher's wife. They made her stand between the cars while they searched her car. Now I ask... Where is the Probable Cause here? I'm not a big fan of the ACLU, but think they might actually be able to do some good in this case. So far I've seen NO troopers headed North just one more headed South. I figure since a lot of people hold over a few days to give the heat time to leave the area then the heat has decided to stick around to? From the information I got yesterday the troopers are headquartering at the Baptist Church in Study Butte? One woman and man said that was where most of the troopers were when they went by there.
State trooper headed south this morning. Night before last I saw one pull someone over on 118 out here.
Sort of reminds me of the Hippie days.
The red lines point out all of the vehicles headed North in that one picture
Its been like that all morning with drove after drove of people heading out.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Man's Got To Know His Limitations

Dirty Harry (Magnum Force 1973)

Limits of his equipment that is. NO Ladies I'm not talking about that kind of equipment! I'm talking Off Grid stuff!

The cables are here now and still its supposed to be Jan 6th before its installed (If not sooner???) Anyway the road in front of here is now fine powder and I have a new road coming in to the property which I plan to use to make a circular driveway out of. Its also fine powder. I felt for the guys operating the heavy equipment and they could easily win the program Dirty jobs because the dust was covering them. Don't know how much they make per hour, but I'd say it isn't enough!

Now for the limitations... I was up about 5:45 this morning and turned on the light and this computer. They were on about 15 minutes before the inverter shut down because of low voltage. That hasn't happened in like for ever, but it happened this morning. I went out about 6:15 and fired up the gas powered charger so I could get everything working again and it promptly ran out of gas so with flashlight in hand I hunted down the gas jug and added gas to it. Ran the charger for about 20 minutes and while that was running I came in and got on line. After the sun came up good I went out to investigate to see why that happened. It was evident right off the bat. All the dust from the construction had laid down a thick blanket of dust on the solar panels and they just hadn't gotten enough sunlight to make the power to keep the batteries up. That and there wasn't enough wind to generate enough power to keep the batteries up either. Of course me watching 3 movies yesterday using the laptop, 22 inch monitor and stereo for sound didn't help much either. That and playing the stereo for a couple of hours after that to listen to music on pretty well drained the batteries.

As a side note I made it to Study Butte early this morning to take care of business and get enough supplies to last me at least a week. I didn't see so much as one state trooper or Sheriff's deputy the whole time I was there. On the way home I did see a convoy of three sheriff's pickups headed south though. I suspect by now though there are troopers and deputies everywhere down there. At least now I can dodge all of that now.

Monday, November 1, 2010


First pictures... Target practice with Bigfoot. Shooters are Bigfoot, Bob Dawson, Jackie (Bigfoot's friend) and myself.

Then there's the old trailer stripped of the chicken wire cage and rotted out floor. I have my other storage cleaned out and turned in and will soon be gutting the dungeon to use the materials to build the new storage building. Hopefully I gan get the dungeon turned in by the 1st of next month.

Last two pictures... BBT has arrived across the road. Still don't know when it will be instilled because now they tell me it will be Jan 6th (If not before) Really something to go on there Eah?