My journey has started off with a 2 1/2 day deluge. It’s perfect if you’re an inexperienced rig driver with an inkling for driving a 25 foot truck over curvy mountain roads with diminished visibility. It’s ideal if if you like sleeping with a wet dog. It’s a bonus when your back up camera becomes obscured by a cover of water and you have to turn a 25 foot rig around in a small parking lot. Lola, my canine copilot, didn’t come with backup assistance training.
The lessons of the road already loom large. Awareness requirements spike up. For example, I’ve reached my zenith in energy supply consciousness. My first five days have been at sites with no electrical supply. My house battery is too small to support many basic applications for much longer than a day. Lights are nice but if the energy supply is running low, conserving everywhere is paramount. Flashlights, lanterns, and candles are God’s gift to low power. My refrigerator runs on propane when I don’t have plug in power but it needs power from the battery for its electronic parts. The water pump that pressurizes the faucets and the toilet needs power from the battery. Message to self…when the battery gets to 1/2 power, charge it with the generator while I have the battery power to start it. In late June I’m having solar panels installed. The sun will become my filling station. I’ll add 2 1/2 times the battery capacity so I can avoid relegating myself to sites where big rigs are side by side with lawn chairs set up for their occupants to watch reality shows on outside TVs.
My rig didn’t include an attached ladder to reach the roof. The manufacturer may not have wanted me up there. Though climbing up on my 11 foot high roof doesn’t make OSHA’s list of safe practices, I’ve got awnings on both sides that need to have fallen tree debris removed from them before they are retracted back to the body of the rig. I haven’t figured out a way to accomplish this task without climbing atop the vehicle with my battery powered leaf blower. Not having an attached ladder may be the beginning of discovering a whole new world of impracticality.
Propane is another matter. I’ve mentioned that it is the power source for the refrigerator when there’s no electrical plug-in source. Whereas there are enough gas stations strategically placed to keep me full of driving fuel, propane suppliers are much farther apart and less easy to locate. Plugging my refrigerator in and forgetting about it is a luxury of my past. In spite of its inherent hazard, I’m beginning to understand why Ben Franklin took his kite outside in a thunderstorm with a key tied to its string.
Between the time I leave North Carolina on Friday and my solar installation in June, I’m going to stay at sites with electrical hook ups. It’s practical. It’s powerful.