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
October 25, 2018- We managed to leave Milk River, Alberta by 9 am, which is actually quite good for us as we usually don’t get mobile till around oh around 10:00, lol!
This would be our first time crossing the USA border in warm weather and early in the morning, only to be welcomed to a mile long line up!
It took about an hour to get through the line up, but at least we had entertainment! What do you get when you have that many Canadian Snowbirds trying to head south at the same time? Some serious road rage! Wow, stay out of these rvers way heading south!
With our passports in hand, a few questions and we were officially across the border.
First stop was Shelby, MT for a quick stretch and doggie bathroom break.
Here are a few photos from yesterday as we made our way through Montana, it sure looks different from last year when we traveled down.
Just outside Shelby, MT
Highway view Cascade, MT
Crossing the Missouri River
Mile marker 222 – Wolf Creek
A friend of our recommend a different route off of I15 to avoid going through Butte, MT and the 2nd chain up area.
You turn off at Boulder, MT and head east on Montana’s 68 South for 31 miles. Turn right onto Montana 2 West for 6.5 Miles.
Turn left onto Montana 55 South for another 26 mile.
Turn right on Montana 41 into Dillion, MT.
Beautiful drive through cattle country, and newly paved highways!
We usual have 2 days of hard driving, then we slow down and smell the rose.
We made it to Idaho Fall, ID just in time to hit up Walmart for a few fridge groceries and of course a box of wine! 🍷 Hey I do have priorities!!
This past summer we had an unexpected visitor move into our Rv! We got the surprise one morning when we open up our cutlery drawer and surprise, something left us a turd!!
Yes, you guessed it, a fricken mouse!!
Grrr, now everything has to be completely cleaned and sanitized. These things creep me right out! Ok truth be told, I am scared shitless of them. Yes I know they are smaller than me, but nope not happening. I will scream like a little school girl, and I am not afraid to admit it.
Any plans Myron had that day were now put on the hold, as he now was on a search and destroy mission!
Aha, a section of our underbelly had come lose and allowed for a perfect entry point for the mouse to get in.
With traps set, it didn’t take long and snap…….. we caught the bugger!!!
We always knew it wasn’t a matter of if we would get a mouse, but a matter of when! We thought we had mouse proof our rig, but sometimes they just get in!
Not wanting them to ever get near our cutlery again. Myron came up with these sweet drawer covers.
He already had this clear heavy plastic material similiar to Lexan in his mobile shop, so he figured it would work perfect for the job.
Strong enough to hold my glass of wine!!
He used Velcro to temporarily hold them securely in place until we find the right fasteners.
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.