Friday, December 6, 2019

Day 25, 26, 27 - Casa Grande, AZ

Wednesday - Continued to play around with the Sony DVD player/sound system. None of the provided remotes seemed to work. The optical audio cable work well including content with Dolby Prologic encoding. I reconnected the subwoofer and watched a movie (on cable) and the surround sound speakers and subwoofer work well in the space. More than enough volume to annoy the neighbors.

I used the sous vide to cook sweet potatoes. It came out pretty good, a whole lot better than boiling and more evenly cooked than baking.

Thursday - A few errands this morning and tried sous vide soft boiled eggs. Works alright but I think the Instant Pot works better. But, I couldn’t really follow the directions accurately. Two things I did could easily affected the result. They said to use the smallest container so the temperature could be brought back up quickly and use room temperature eggs. Both would result in slightly underdone results.

I’m at the pool again and at 71°F and sunny, it’s feeling really warm. Another volleyball game in progress the pool so I just used the jacuzzi for short periods. Cooled off at the other pool for a while.

Tonight’s sous vide experiment is burgers. 140° for 22 minutes according to the app. Then brown in a pan for a minute or so. It came out okay. I used turkey which has a whole lot more water than beef. But the texture was good and very evenly cooked.

I’ve always heard that the convection microwave doesn’t do a very good job. I tried making cookies and it did a pretty good job though the cooking time was longer. Nicely browned on the bottom. It is an appliance that is not boondocking friendly. I used it off of the generator and it draws a lot of power and takes a long time to preheat. But in a full hookup RV park, no problem.

Friday - While digging through a file box in the closet looking for the manual for the Magnum inverter/charger, I found an invoice from Ring Power in Lakeland, FL, a Caterpillar service shop, dated 7-2-19. In June, the RV was brought in by the previous owner due to low power and excessive smoke. The computer indicated low fuel pressure. The shop replaced the HEUI (Hydraulically activated Electronically controller Unit Injection system) pump and all six injectors to the tune of over $12k based on messages within the engine computer. After replacement, they tested the HEUI system and all of the injectors. So, it turns out that we have a new HEUI pump and injectors as of last July. They also installed the supplemental oil filter at the inlet to the HEUI pump. They also noted that they changed the engine oil and filters (oil and fuel) and added 8 gallons of oil. Now I know why there was so much oil in the crankcase.

I am spending most of the day waiting for deliveries. There is supposed to be an Arizona Propane truck driving around looking for people who need propane and I’m waiting for an Amazon Prime delivery vehicle. This is the first time I saw that getting it delivered by Amazon was an available option.

Propane gauge said 5/16 and he added 17 gallons to fill it to 80% of the tank capacity. So the tank holds approximately 23 gallons of propane. I just wasn’t able to find a convenient place to fill up the propane tank between Quartzsite and here so we paid a premium for delivery. Around 50% more. At the Pilot truck stop, we would have blocked in about 3 cars if we pulled up to the bulk propane tank.

The Amazon delivery truck came about 6pm. There have been numerous times when we needed a printer. Some RV parks have Internet computers and some even have printers. But since September, we haven’t been at a place with a functioning printer. I picked up this Canon G6020 multifunction printer and it has tanks of ink instead of ink cartridges. And it came with two extra bottles of black ink. The claim is over 6,000 pages per ink fill up. We’ll see how it works in real life. I have it in a cabinet above the washing machine. I just need to run an outlet strip into the cabinet. 

Monday, December 2, 2019

Days 23, 24 - Casa Grande, AZ

Monday - This is one of the reasons why I like RV parks. Or at least the ones with pools. And we are going to be in them for a while. After here, we will be staying in Needles, CA, through the holidays. This particular park has two pools but only one of them has a jacuzzi. It’s warm enough at 64°F and no wind which really does make a difference.

I finally got around to checking the propane. According to the gauge on the tank, we have ⅜ of a tank. So we used around 5/16th of a tank for the week in Quartzite. That would be about $30 of propane given how much we used the furnace, that’s not too bad. We filled with diesel after leaving Quartzsite having driven 58 miles. I was only able to get 14 gallons of diesel into the tank.

Tuesday - I went to the pool and from the comfort of the jacuzzi, watched a volleyball game already in progress. The only “project” was routing the audio from the front TV to the DVD player. Actually, it turned out to be an five SVD changer with an AM/FM receiver. The video-2 input had an optical audio input matching the optical audio output on the TV. Now, I may need to reinstall the sub-woofer which we removed a few months back...

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Day 22 - Casa Grande, AZ

We are back in Casa Grande and will be here for a couple of weeks. I was concerned about driving through Phoenix at the end of a holiday weekend. Phoenix turned out to be a non-issue primarily since I no longer needed to be concerned about the engine running hot. There was a terrible accident between Phoenix and Casa Grande involving at least six vehicles including a large horse trailer. Several really munched up vehicles by the time we went by. Traffic was tied up for over ten miles in both directions.

We are here again as it’s convenient. Bridget will be flying back to Fairbanks for several days and not having to move during that time is convenient. This is an Encore park which we have access to as we have the Trails Collection option with our Thousand Trails. I’m looking forward to the pool and jacuzzi again!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Day 21 - Quartzsite, AZ

I can’t believe that it’s already been three weeks since I was in Fairbanks. The days seem to pass quickly.

Last night, the temperature dropped into the high 30s (°F) and we ran both furnaces. The thermostats set to 66°F. At 8:30 in the morning, the SOC was at 60% and we had used 178 amp-hours from the batteries. RV furnaces do use a lot of power to operate the blower. One popular solution are the catalytic propane heaters. Most are radiant heaters and a few have fans to help circulate the heat. Since we have the animals loose, running something with an open flame doesn’t seem to be a good idea. More useable battery capacity may be a better option.

I had mentioned in yesterday’s post that we visited with a couple whom we had met in Alaska. He was upgrading his batteries from six six-volt Trojan T-105 golf cart batteries to three 12-volt LiFePO4 batteries. The 20-hour capacity of the 6 volt T-105 is 225ah so, when they were new, 675ah @12 vdc or 337ah useable for the bank of six batteries. The three LiFePO4 batteries have a total and useable capacity of 300ah. But going from 372lbs to under 90lbs is a huge weight savings. He is currently using a MorningStar Tristar MPPT solar charge controller and with custom programming, it can be used for these batteries.

At some point, I’m thinking that at least three LiFePO4 batteries may be a step in the right direction given our consumption. Especially if the Magnum inverter/charger can be configured appropriately. The real question is before or after solar...