We don’t always bask in the sun when we are south, in fact it gets quite cool as soon as the sun goes down. Off goes the shorts, t-shirt’s and flip flops and on goes the long pants, bunny hugs, socks and shoes.
We have even been known to put on our winter jackets and a toque to watch the Super Bowl outside while we were in California a few years back.
This morning our phones were buzzing away, we have a weather freeze warning here in Yuma.
Guess today would be a good day for a pot of stew and fresh biscuits!
Even with these temps we can’t complain. Holy heck Batman, at least it’s not as cold as back home in Saskatchewan.
When we purchased our trailer, our intentions where to purchase a 5th wheel that we could head south where we could bask in the sun for the winter months. Staying in campgrounds or rv parks every-night was not on our priority list. We love to travel and see new places, some would say we get itchy feet! So dry camping only made sense to us. In order to drycamp/boondock for extended period of time, we would need to invest in Solar. We wanted to be self-sufficient and not rely on rv parks, campgrounds or a generator, so we invested in ourselves.
We did a lot of research and called everyone we knew with any knowledge on the subject, and Myron and I came up with our present system of: 690 watts of solar and 440 amp hours of battery.
This allows us to use our Instant Pot, Induction cook top, bread maker, coffee pot, basically everything with the exception of our A/C and Microwave (we do not use the microwave, it’s become our bread storage compartment)
12v 38.14 Amps 690 Watts wired in parallel.
2- 12v 9.37 Amp 170 Watts each
2- 12v 9.7 Amps 175 Watts each
Each panel is wired in parallel with #8 PV- Solar Wire (Sunlight and weather resistant), ran to a junction box.
(Prices have dropped lots since we purchased our first set of panels. You can now purchase high quality 200 watt panels, made in the USA, for $185.00 USD/ $240.00 CAD. So if you open your local weekly flyer and see solar panels from Canadian Tire or Harbour Freight don’t waste your money, they are a ripoff, more than 3x the price per watt and they do not compare.)
Installing roof junction box and drilling hole in our roof for the wire drop. This required precise measuring as we needed to make the drop directly into the wall between the kitchen and bathroom.
Myron had perfect alignment from the roof, directly in the wall, straight down to the electrical panel compartment.
# 4 Pv-Solar Wire was used to run from Junction box to Charge Controller. (Over kill? Maybe, but we didn’t want any voltage loss, and room for expansion)
This required team work, as this #4 PV (Solar) wire was heavy and very tricky to pull. Thanks for the help Tom!
Front storage compartment houses our 40 Amp Blue Sky MPPT charge controller with a 500 Amp Shunt that send a signal back to our Blue Sky IPN Pro-Remote.
Our battery bank is 440 AH, wired in series & parallel with 1/0 cable
4- 6v Golf Cart Batteries
2- Costco Interstate- 210 AH ea
2 – NAPA -230 AH ea
We installed a 1000 Watt pure Sine inverter with a remote and dedicated solar plugs.
I must say, I have one talented husband! Having solar has worked out great for us, as we invested in ourselves instead of the Rv parks and campgrounds!
We will have an update coming this winter, as we will are making a few changes to our system to make it more efficient.
October 26 – We must be excited for warmer weather, since we got an early start this morning from Idaho Falls, by early I am talking 8 AM!
We have another long day of driving, as Mesquite, NV is our overnight stop!
Every year driving through Salt Lake City is a challenge. It is always interesting to see what obstacle course they have come up on the I15 as they seem to always be doing construction. This year they did swerve lanes……… multiple swerve lanes!
If you look up ahead you will see these swerve lanes, yes it’s exactly as if you had to swerve to miss something on the road.
Now I’m talking 5 lanes of traffic, all doing 100 +km/hr or 62 mph and there were several of these along the way! Congratulations Salt Lake City, you always make the trip through exciting for us!
We have a video we will upload later with our drive through the mountains from St. George to Mesquite, NV. (Once I figure out how to do it 😉)
Washington, UtahLittlefield , Arizona Oak City, Utah
The Charge Wizard constantly monitors battery voltage and battery usage then selects one of the following four operating modes to properly charge and maintain the batteries. Since we mostly boondock (Dry Camping), we are able to charge our batteries up faster with the generator on those cloudy days.
to access the converter we had to removed the electrical panel,
then remove the kitchen drawers on the other side of the cabinet.
Not the easiest spot to get to in the Cougar 337FLS, this took team work.
Out with the old, and in with the new!
It also comes with a remote pendant that we can manually control the charger.
We decided that Yuma,AZ would be our next stop as there is so much to see and do in the area. We decided instead of staying out in the desert that we would blacktop camp at Cocopah Casino just south of Yuma. The casino will allow you to stay in their RV parking lot for $6.00/night or $35.00/ week. This is just blacktop camping with no hookups. They do have level sites, security that drives around, and daily garbage pick up.
A view from the RV parking lot looking at the casino.
The RV sites are wide enough to have your slides out and be able to park beside your rig.
Unfortunately we didn’t get to cross as much off our list as we had planned, we did however spent quite a bit of time at the Foothills Animal Hospital in Yuma. Our little Miss Bella ended up with stuvite bladder stones that required emergency surgery.
The surgery went great, Miss Bella is doing fantastic and has healed quite nicely.
We did manage to take in some Yuma history which I will post in another blog.
We are hoping to make it back to Yuma later this winter to cross more off our list.