Monday, July 29, 2019

Why A Different RV - Part 1

We spent part of the afternoon at Pioneer Park for a church picnic. The skies were threatening rain but only saw a couple of drops. On another note, I rode the Ural this morning as I'm still wary of the clutch throwout bearing as I don't know why the old one failed. I took the bearing our last night just to check if it was receiving oil and the whole assembly was full of oil. Maybe I shouldn't worry about it. After all, I'll need to start heading south in about three weeks and storing the Ural.

There have been more than a few inquiries about why we are switching from a 32' fifth-wheel trailer to a 41' diesel pusher motorcoach. The fifth wheel was purchased three years ago and was sort of a trial to see if we would enjoy traveling around with an RV. I have had numerous other RVs since the late 80s but never had anything that I would have wanted to spend much time in. They were an economical way to move back and forth from Alaska to the lower-48 but that was about it. The fifth wheel has around 300 ft2 of living space and sufficient tank capacity to try some boondocking. I added the solar panels, inverter, and batteries to improve its dry camping livability. Towing the 5th wheel is about as easy as it gets. Very stable, easy to back up, and setting up camp goes pretty fast.

Some of the problems with any type of trailer became apparent over the trips we’ve been taking. A one-ton crew cab truck with an 8' bed is not the most convenient vehicle to drive around in. Parking is always a challenge and the ride is pretty harsh due to the commercial tires and stiff suspension. Plus, it has a manual 6-speed transmission with a heavy-duty clutch. Not very convenient in downtown city traffic. But back in 2005, the only way to get an exhaust brake was with a manual transmission.

Last winter when it was getting near freezing, we were using a lot of propane to run the furnace. It became evident that the single pane windows and minimal insulation in the ceiling and floor were less than ideal. Compared to other RVs we were parked near, we were going through 3-4 times the propane and it wasn't even that cold. I had thought that all RVs were poorly insulated and burned a lot of propane. Not true.

After watching videos on the RV Love YouTube channel, I learned that used diesel pushers were reasonably priced and maybe a used class A was something we could consider. When new, these things are ridiculously expensive but they seem to depreciate fast. We started casually looking around while we were in Palm Springs as there was a small RV dealer next to the Thousand Trails RV park. Right off the bat, we saw one that seemed to be a good fit. We learned that units made around 2005 really were pretty reasonably priced. We shopped around a bit more when we were in Oregon and learned more.

I talked to a fellow UAF retiree, MichealS, who had recently picked up a used diesel pusher in AZ. He had many great suggestions including this book. It showed what features to look for and rated the different manufacturers but only went back to 2007. I had set 2008 as an upper threshold as I didn't want to deal with DEF or the other emission controls that were causing so many problems. Plus, price alone set an older threshold than that. I also started watching YouTube reviews of older motor coaches and ran into a dealer in Ringgold, GA, where the owner did video walkthroughs of many RVs on their lot. They only dealt in used RVs, the sales staff is all non-commission, and they have a no-haggle price policy. All things that appealed to me.

Bridget was looking on and there were quite a few rigs that also seemed like a good fit to what we were looking for and at slightly lower prices than a dealer. I was soured when trying to contact some of the sellers. Many would not respond to email sent through the RVTrader website. Some gave you the impression that you were bugging them. Many seemed to assume that if you were interested, you would just hop on a plane and maybe they would let you see it. If it was convenient. I think they were looking for local buyers only. One ended up calling Bridget a "tire-kicker" who was just wasting his time and costing him money (for the ad). No thank you. The dealer in GA stated that everything on their four-page checkout sheet (available for download from their website) works and the coach looked good in the video. And my interaction with Stephen, one of the sales staff, was very positive. I had asked about one of the Monaco coaches on their web site and he told me that it came from a northern climate and, in his opinion, had too much rust on the undercarriage. He wouldn't consider it. That behavior was welcome though unexpected.

I'll continue with the features we were shopping for in the next post.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Back Home

Still recuperating from the flights. The Atlanta-Seattle-Fairbanks flight wasn’t an overnighter but there was still a five-plus hour layover in Seattle. We didn’t opt for the Alaska Airlines Lounge but did find a relatively empty gate in the north concourse with plenty of seats with power outlets. The photo was taken in north GA at a lookout with a stunning view. I was playing around with the new photo editing interface on the iPad. I must admit that I like how it works. This is on the iOS 13 beta version.

This morning, I finally broke down and went to the clinic regarding my cough. The doctor prescribed some antibiotics and told me to use the inhaler that I still had from my cough last winter. He said it should open things up more. We have a couple of four-footed visitors this weekend. Gary and Stacy from Pau Hana Travels, the organizer of the Eklutna Lake Campout, flew to Utqiaġvik for the weekend and we (meaning Bridget) are watching their two dogs Sofi and Spirit.

We now get to try and figure out what I need to pack into the Prius for my road trip to Georgia. Some things are a given like the e-bikes, kayak, and tools. Other things like kitchen appliances, clothes, etc. aren’t so clear cut. I think the target date for picking up the RV will be near the end of August. We need to talk to the dealer and set a firm date so I can figure out when I need to leave here. It’s about 4k miles so ten days sounds about right. Google Maps says the trip is about 65 hours.

About the only things I plan to install initially on the new-to-us RV is a Victron BMV-712 battery monitor and the TPMS system from the truck. The battery monitor is similar to the Trimetric TM-2025-RV that I had installed in the 5th wheel. You disconnect all of the cables from the negative side of the battery bank and install a 500 amp shunt in series. This allows the meter to measure all the current running out of and into the battery. The additional feature that the Victron unit adds is Bluetooth connectivity. This means that the display doesn’t have to be mounted inside the coach. Just use a phone app to read the display. I suspect that eventually, it will be relocated inside somewhere but that can be done later. By knowing how much power we use on a regular basis, we can size the battery bank and solar accordingly. So, yes, there will be solar installed though not right away. 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Wandering Around GA

The Coca Cola Museum was right next to the Atlanta Aquarium but we didn’t have the time or energy to venture there. They did have this cool display which starts with an empty Coke bottle that gradually fills up. Not just as a graphic but more like an image with the fluid level bouncing its way up in the bottle. After it sits full for a while, it slowly drains. Kind of cool. There was some discussion about going to the Ferris wheel but we were still kind of wiped out from the trip.

On Wednesday, we drove into the mountains to the north to the town of Dahlonega. We went to the gold museum. I didn’t know that there was a gold rush in Georgia. After all the “easy” gold was found, many miners took off for the California gold rush leaving companies willing to invest a lot in underground mines to continue the search. We then headed into the mountains to this waterfall. This was taken using the long-exposure feature on the iPhone.We then went back into Dahlonega for a late lunch at the Bourbon Street Grill. Absolutely fantastic food. I’d say that it had better flavor than most of the meals I had in New Orleans.

We then rushed back to Chris and Lori’s place to pack up and head back to the airport. I had listed 7:00pm as the time the car would be returned. Our flight is at 6:35am tomorrow morning so I used my free night on to stay near the airport.

A huge thank you to Chris and Lori for the wonderful hospitality and generosity.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Georgia Aquarium

We have been staying with (former) motoblogger Lori and Chris at their home outside of Atlanta. This afternoon, we ventured downtown to the Atlanta Aquarium which is next to the convention center. Back in the 90’s I had volunteered for the Networld+Interop show to work on their network. It was a great learning experience working with many other volunteers from around the world. The picture is is a huge whale shark traveling with its entourage of smaller fish.

There was a puffin display within the Cold Water Quest section. One of several sections within the aquarium. They didn’t focus on just the local area like some other aquariums we’ve been to. We saw a dolphin show that highlighted how the dolphins were motivated to perform on command. Pretty interesting.

A large turtle in the Ocean Voyager exhibit. This is the same tank that had the whale sharks. There is a tube allowing visitors to walk along the bottom of the tank. Plus, for an extra fee, they would fit you with wet suits, mask, and snorkel for an up close and personal view.

Beluga whales in the cold water section. They looked bored and were regularly rubbing on the window and the rocks within the tank. I’m guessing that there isn’t much to do in there as this tank was smaller than the Ocean Voyager tank.

Chris, Lori and Bridget watching the seals. It has been great to see them again and to see the progress on the expedition vehicle. It looks incredible and much roomier than some other builds. It’s not like you can go to a dealer and pick up something like this. On Monday after our early morning arrival, Lori drove us to the RV dealer two hours north. It was nice not having to deal with Atlanta traffic when you are exhausted.

Last picture. Beautiful jellyfish in the Tropical section. The background color and lighting make this display look identical to others that we’ve seen during our travels. But no less striking.

The Georgia Aquarium was a fantastic place to visit. I wish I was feeling better. The cough is still hanging around. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

New-to-us RV

Well, the dealer wasn’t lying. It looked as good in-person as it did on their video. It checked off most of the boxes of what we were looking for plus a few more that I hadn’t thought of. It is a 2005 Mandalay 40E. Basically, a bus. 41.5’ long with a rear-engine Caterpillar turbo diesel. Allison six speed transmission, exhaust brake, air brakes, air suspension, 8 KW diesel generator (that’s in the drawer behind Bridget), almost three times the fresh water capacity of our 5th wheel for longer boondocking. Grey water capacity is about double. No solar but the batteries look new-ish and it does have a 2K inverter. Unfortunately, it’s a modified sine wave and not full sine wave.

Since this wasn’t one of the premium brands according to the Motorhome Comparison book, we were skeptical about how well it was constructed. It looks pretty good and the maple cabinets feel really solid. The slides and auto leveling system are hydraulic and are very smooth and quiet. All Corian counters, ceramic tile floors and brand new carpeting. 60k miles so it’s not been sitting unused and it looks like it was stored indoors based on the paint job. BTW, all those graphics are painted on not vinyl stickers like a lot of RVs. The 22.5” truck tires look to be in good shape with the front ones only two years old. The rear are 7 years old so will probably be changed sooner rather than later.  I forgot to take pictures when the slides were out but imagine about five more feet of open space. The rocker recliner Bridget is sitting on is leather and the couch is fabric. Opposing slides in both the living area and the rear bedroom.

Rear bedroom with the slides in. With the slides out, it’s about 3’ wider.  Most of the back wall is closet space plus a washer/dryer. There were two folding chairs under the bed for the dining table which extends another foot or so. Opposite the bed are more drawers, cabinets and another small TV. Speaking of TVs, there is yet another flat screen mounted on an arm in one of the storage compartments. Two of the basement storage compartments are the full 8’ width with one of them having a sliding tray that comes out of either side. Between the rear bedroom and the kitchen is the bathroom and a hallway along the drivers side.

The engine compartment. Maintenance items are pretty easy to get to and one of the features that I was looking for was the side radiator. Better cooling and no road debris blowing onto the towed car which, for now, will be our Prius V. Many diesel pushers have the radiator in the rear and the only way to get to the engine is through the bedroom floor. At least you can see the engine. My preference was for a Cummins but it was only a preference.

The instrument panel shows some differences from a car. The tach only goes to 3k rpm since “red line” is only 2400 rpm. Maximum torque (860 ft-lbs) is at 1440 rpm. There are two air systems labeled front and rear, one for the brakes and one for the suspension. It rides much, much smoother than the truck and you can barely hear the engine. The Hobbs meter (hour meter at the upper right) shows generator time at 545 hours which, I’m told, is about average for the mileage and low for the age. This suggests that this unit wasn’t “lived in” by a full-timer. In hot weather, you run the generator while traveling so you can run the two roof A/C units. The dash air just blows cool air on the driver and passenger but is too small to cool the interior.

The battery compartment looked a lot cleaner than expected. The four house batteries (6V golf cart) are on the left and the two engine batteries are on the right. The only immediate addition here will be a Victron battery monitor. Basically, the same function as the Trimetric monitor I installed in the 5th wheel except it has Bluetooth. The display does not “need” to be mounted inside as you can read it using a phone app.

According to the build sheet, with a full fuel tank (100 gallons), a full water tank (120 gallons), full propane (29 gallons), and two people, there is still 4400 lbs of load carrying capacity. We carry way less than that but it’s nice to have the headroom. Towing capacity drops to 8k if you are carrying max cargo. The Prius and tow dolly are much less than that.

The obvious question is why all this way to Georgia. The owner of the dealer, which is a small-ish family owned business, puts out a lot of YouTube videos showing their inventory. He mentioned that their sales staff does not work on commission and there is no dickering on the price. They are very selective on what rigs they purchase for sale.  I like the way that sounded. We’ll see how it works out...

Sunday, July 21, 2019

On the Road, Again...

Less than 24 hours from returning from Utqiaġvik, I am heading off again. Since there is very long (over six hour) layover in Seattle, we opted to try out the new Alaska Airlines lounge in the South Terminal. It has only been open a week. It has a great view of the runway, lots of comfy chairs, free food, and drinks. I had pancakes and veggie chili for lunch and a chicken salad for dinner. Plus a couple of “healthy” oatmeal raisin cookies. A latte in the afternoon as I thought that it may ease my throat. This cough and cold is lingering on. The next flight is a night flight arriving in Atlanta at 5:15 in the morning. Ugh… at least we have been partially upgraded. Something that Alaska Air calls “Premium Class”. Free drinks, a bit more legroom, and more snacks. It’s something.

South Terminal Alaska Air Lounge

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Golden Spike Reenactment

I flew back into Fairbanks this afternoon and we headed to Pioneer Park aka Alaskaland. They were having a reenactment of driving the golden spike for the Tanana Mine Railroad, a narrow-gauge railroad serving the Tanana Valley. Engine No. 1 has been completely restored and is the original steam engine for the railroad. The "golden spike" was made of brass and kind of slipped into a prepared hole in the wooden tie.

This reenactment was part of Golden Days here in Fairbanks which celebrated the towns mining background. This old car has been in the parade for as long as I've lived in Fairbanks. It smokes and stalls its way along the parade route but always starts and runs when needed. I didn't attend the parade as I was still sitting in the airport around that time.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Northern Beach

After the wind and the cold yesterday, this seems to be pretty nice. This is looking north from the BEO towards the NARL campus but the most notable thing (barely visible) is the radar dome located about a half-mile east of NARL.

The next two pictures are from the beach. The whale bones have been there a long time but I'm not sure what the concrete thing is. It wasn't there before. It really is a pretty nice day here though the temperature is still in the mid-40s (°F). I guess summer was a couple of weeks ago when the temperatures were into the mid-70s (°F).

No polar plunge for me. Not even tempted. The beach here isn't sandy but sort of gravel. Smaller than pea gravel. And, I believe that’s fog on the horizon.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Out on the BEO

It was kind of dreary out on the BEO (Barrow Environmental Observatory) today. This is the beginning of the boardwalk. I didn't have very far to go to check out the connection at the SledShed. In prior years, I had to venture quite a ways out and the nice boardwalk disappears into the water and mud in quite a few places.

Configured multiple radios including one that will need to be installed out on the BEO. Hopefully, UIC Science will be able to get it installed out there. They moved me into their newest housing unit that was recently remodeled.

There was a community science fair going on at the BARC so there must’ve been a hundred people running around the building this afternoon. They provided hamburgers and hot dogs and had a series of presentations scheduled this evening. Lots of people on the Internet so service is a little slow. This is just a view from the BARC looking north towards the NARL campus.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Up North, Again

I thought that the trip a couple of weeks ago to Utqiaġvik was the last one. I guess I assumed wrong. I’m sitting in the Deadhorse, AK, airport waiting for the next flight. There is a three hour layover. It is a warm 68°F here and I walked over to the hotel across the parking lot for a soft drink. What is nice is that there isn’t a trace of smoke. Nice, clean air.

I scheduled three full days to get anything and everything done to get the network transitioned to UIC Science and their chosen network provider, ACS. So, for now, I’m scheduled to fly back to Fairbanks on Saturday morning.

Yesterday evening, I tried to take the Ural out but the clutch was dragging again. I’m not sure if there is a problem or due to my removing the throw out bearing to look at it. I didn’t not check the clutch adjustment after reassembling it. But, I didn’t have an opportunity to check it as I had a ham radio board meeting last night.

Something unrelated to this is my iPad updated to the latest iOS beta and there is a noticeable change in the appearance. This is the home screen and you can now have widgets on the home screen. Android users have had this capability since inception but it is now available on the iPad only. Kind of cool...

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Ural Throw out Bearing

Felt good enough this afternoon to remove the throw out bearing on the Ural. As expected, it was pretty much toast. If you look closely, you can see one deformed ball from the ball bearing. Most of them fell on the floor when the pieces were removed. This assembly is located at the rear of the transmission and it engages the pressure plate by a rod running through the input shaft into the clutch. Just like the dry clutch on the BMW airheads.

There wasn't much oil there as it is supposed to be lubricated from the transmission. So I should check the transmission fluid level. I did lubricate the bearing and other components with assembly lube which is grease with a high moly content. It actually looks and feels like the Honda grease used on the transmission input shaft splines. I just happened to have a spare throw out bearing as I had ordered the whole assembly when I rebuilt the engine. The old throw out bearing still looked pristine so I used it over. Especially since it is very easy to access when needed. Such as now.

Later - Transmission oil level was fine. Test drive to the university and gas station was fine. Just like before. I still wonder why the bearing failed...

Monday afternoon - I went ahead and removed the throw out bearing again to make sure that it was getting oil from the transmission. Now that I know better, I didn't remove stuff (air cleaner housing, starter, battery, seat) to get access. I simply removed the pivot bolt and pulled out the bearing assembly. Maybe two minutes tops and that included getting out the tools. The bearing was awash in oil. Enough oil such that the assembly lube was partially washed out. So, it looks good for now but I still don't have any idea why the bearing failed...

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Smoke is Thinning

We have had a bit of rain over the last couple of days. Unfortunately, not a lot of rain and it did come with some wind, thunder, and lightning. I think it started a couple of more fires in southwest Alaska. There is a hint of blue sky overhead and this is the first time that we've seen the hills for most of the week. I've had a bad cold/cough for the last week and the smoke was not helping things at all. The rain also helped lower our miserably hot temperatures (my perspective). It is 73°F right now. I can deal with that.

My outstanding projects are finishing the porch, Ural clutch, and the rear fiberglass cap on the RV. A wonderful friend, Tim, offered to help me with the fiberglass as I had never done anything like that before. He said it's like a couple of hours a day and not a continuous block of time. I can probably finish the decking on the porch in a couple of days which includes sealing the cut ends of the board but would not include any benches or railing. The Ural clutch is probably not that difficult but it's kind of hard to justify spending the time. And, it’s looking like I may need to go back north again...

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Working on the Truck

Wednesday - Finally got the snowplow mount removed from the truck. Since it was originally installed by TrailerCraft, I didn’t have any installation documents. There were some weird things but I figured it out. The bumper and plastic trim needed to be removed and the intercooler needed to be either loosened to allow clearance for the bolts. Pneumatic impact tools are a wonderful thing when you are working on a project like this. Upon reassembly, I was able to re-install the tow hooks that had to be removed for the plow. I must admit, the tow hooks were missed as there are few places on the front of the truck to hook anything.

Thursday - The heavy smoke from the surrounding brush fires has made working on anything problematic. I had picked up a cold last week while on the camping trip and the smoke isn't helping anything. It's supposed to be raining this afternoon but that comes at a cost. The weather service is projecting wind and lightning, not a good thing

The new problem of the week is a problem with the Ural clutch. I mentioned last week that I needed to adjust the cable. Now, there is no amount of adjustment that can be done and just riding from town yesterday afternoon, I ended up getting home with basically no clutch. I think it is the release mechanism but I didn't feel like digging into it yesterday. Getting the plow mount ready to be delivered to the new owner was more important.

When driving to the coffee meetup, I noticed that the speedometer wasn't working and the ABS error light was on in the truck. I figured that I forgot to connect something somewhere. On the way home, I figured out that there was probably a fuse missing as I had simply removed the odd power connector for the snowplow. It turns out that it was plugged into the ABS control fuse and was tapping power off for the plow. It just needed switched power for its own control module. After inserting a 10 amp fuse, no more ABS light and the speedometer works again...

Monday, July 8, 2019

Smoky Drive to Healy

This morning, I took a leisurely drive down to Healy. Leisurely as I had the snowplow installed and the recommendation is around 45 mph. I ended up pulling onto the shoulder to let some cars and trucks pass but only needed to do that a couple of times. I dropped off the plow at their home and still need to remove the mount and wiring from the truck. They are planning on installing it on a Dodge as well but an earlier year. Hopefully, it's compatible. The return trip seemed much faster and the engine ran a bit cooler. I guess the plow was kind of blocking the radiator. The outside air temperature was indicating 130°F (it was only 75°F) since the sensor is next to the left headlight. Not much air flow. They are coming back into Fairbanks for the RAHI graduation as several of their students have been part of the program this summer.

I offered to deliver the plow to them as it is really the simplest way. And they happily agreed and said that my offer was completely unexpected. Otherwise, they would have to install the mount on their truck after I removed it from mine. If I needed to move the plow, I can't since the mount is removed. To me, delivery was simple enough and around a 200-mile round trip.

The smoke was pretty heavy for most of the trip and even though Healy is quite a bit south of the fires (I think), visibility was still limited. I thought about stopping at the Parks Monument but you could barely see the trees that were 1/4 mile away. No long views at all.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

‘Tis the Season

The season for fires. This was around 8 this morning. It wasn’t this bad last night but since there are multiple fires around us, the wind will always bring in smoke. The picture below is from the interactive map showing current fires around the state.

I still have some work to do on the Ural as I hadn’t done anything since returning from Dawson. Maybe time to do something...

Changing out the front brake pads is pretty straightforward. Remove a couple of small spring clips, pull two pins from the caliper, replace pads. Then put everything back. Maybe five minutes. I also readjusted the clutch cable as I had removed the slack at the lever end of the cable earlier since it was easier.

Tomorrow, I’m taking the snowplow down to Healy to deliver it to its new owner. It’ll be a slow trip down as you want to minimize bouncing. But maybe I’ll get out of the smoke. Since we aren’t really planning on spending much time around here when it’s snowing, the plow needed a better home. 

Friday, July 5, 2019

Campout Wrapup

We got decent solar while driving up to Eklutna Lake but there is lots of shading here at the group campground. We’ll see how we do tomorrow with the morning sun. Instant Pot pasta and microwave veggies. So, a heavy-ish load on our batteries. After dinner, it was 91%. We’ll see what it is tomorrow morning. Given the shading, I may need to run the generator in a couple of days. 

07/03 - This morning, the Trimetric monitor read 75%. This is with the cpap machine running all night and two cups of coffee in the morning. 

07/04 - Today, I ran the battery bank down to 69% before running the generator. And it has been charging at about 50-65 amps the whole time. I’ll stop at around 90% state of charge (SOC) as the charge rate drops to about 30 amps at that point. 

For the pot-luck this evening, I made “Killer Potato Salad” from Flo Lum’s Instant Pot cookbook. Very tasty (assuming you like shrimp and bacon). The cat was very attentive while it was being assembled. 

After one hour and fifty minutes of generator time, we were up to 91% SOC and the charge rate had dropped to 26 amps. 

Gary from Pau Hana Travels, one of the organizers of this get together, was running the generator on his diesel pusher and I had just a few questions about his setup. His batteries are 24VDC. He has two hybrid inverters to power both sides of the 50 amp breaker panel and multiple solar charge controllers. They are set to 24VDC (obviously). Two DC-DC converters are needed. The first is a 24-12VDC converter to operate the standard 12VDC systems on the RV. The second is a 12-24VDC converter for charging the batteries from the engine. I believe the current rating of the DC-DC converters is 70 amps with a claimed efficiency of 98%. The generator was switched to start and run off of the engine batteries instead of the house batteries. A completely separate solar system keeps the chassis batteries topped up. The way it is currently set up, only one of the hybrid inverters is set up to charge the batteries. The current set up is 65 amps. This could take 5-6 hours to charge the 500 amp-hour battery bank when it’s run down to 20%. I believe to use both inverters for charging requires only a software change. The maximum charge rate for the LiFePO4 batteries is 1C or in their case 500 amps. “C” is capacity. I believe that the max charge rate for lead acid is around 0.15C. 

I was really intrigued by his non-standard installation. He said that he would do a 24VDC system again. 

Lots of generators running as even those who have tons of solar aren’t able to charge their batteries due to the shade. Also, it’s 81°F and many are running their air conditioner(s). Our neighbor has an old class C with only one house battery. And a 110VAC only refrigerator so he is running his generator almost continuously during the day. Yesterday while we had visitors, he went out of his way to run it as little as possible but it is hot. It probably has the stock converter (battery charger) which means that it could take days to charge up the one battery and only 2 1/2 hours to discharge it while running off of the inverter. 

What I found interesting is that this couple was not alone having the idea of picking up an old RV just for their trip to AK. They were afraid of ruining their full-time living fifth wheel RV on the drive up. They believed all of the exaggerated myths and tales of broken frames, glass, tires, etc. They mentioned that next time, they would just bring their RV. 

There are also some who thought that the TOW highway was horrible and drove it at 10 mph. That makes for a long, dusty trip. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

 Minimal post due to non-existent bandwidth at the campground. We had a slight mishap. The trailer wheels dropped into a ditch and the corner of the rear cap caught. Fiberglass body damage.

We are here meeting a bunch (38 RVs) of people from an RV to Alaska FB group. We are meeting at the Eklutna Lake group campground. 

Monday, July 1, 2019

Free Lot-Docking - HH

We left Fairbanks around 10 or so. We weren’t quite sure where we would be stopping this evening. Originally I was thinking about one of the Denali viewpoints as they allow overnight parking (for a fee). I then proceeded to make a breakfast/brunch appointment with some good friends so we looked for something closer to Wasilla. I remembered there being a museum around here that was part of the Harvest Host program.

The Transportation Museum of Alaska is in Wasilla and they have room for several RVs in their overflow parking lot. While setting up, I remembered that I had forgotten an electric drill. I use the drill to raise and lower the rear stabilizers. So we’re not very stable today. I do have the hand crank and will use it tomorrow since we will be camping at one location for three nights. It was a longish 312 miles today.