Yesterday I call Chip at Bakers RV Service in Elephant Butte.
I tell him I have a Casita which I tow with a Chevy Express van, I live in my Casita fulltime, and I want to be able to camp without electric hook-ups. After a few questions he suggests a “Go Power Solar and Inverter System.” Here’s what it includes:
- GP-RV-125 125-watt (7 amp) solar charging kit
- GP-SW1500-12 1500 Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter for AC power
- GP-PWR-25 digital regulator
- GP-SW-REMOTE Inverter on/off remote
- GP-DC-KIT3 DC Inverter Install Kit
- Easily expandable into a full-time system
- GP-TS Automatic 30 amp AC transfer switching kit
Chip arrives promptly at nine this morning.
He’s a big guy with an easy-going manner and what I call “southern manners.” We shake hands and the crew rushes to meet him, too.
He says, “Oh, you’ve got rat terriers!”
“Wow!” I respond. “I’m impressed. Most people don’t know that. They usually think Jack Russells.”
“Well,” he adds while petting Spike, “That’s because I’ve got a rat terrier myself.”
At that very moment I bond with Chip!
He looks over the exterior of the Casita, specifically the roof. There isn’t much room for panels what with the a/c unit, the fan, and the vents. Also the roof is curved. I mention that I’d like to have at least 200-watts and maybe it would be better to put the panels on the roof of the van. There’s a lot of flat surface there.
Chip suggests I have the panels mounted so they can be adjusted toward the sun.
“If you have them adjustable, it’s going to be hard for you to get up there to adjust them,” referring to the Casita’s roof. I agree. I also tell him I don’t like the idea of drilling holes in the fiberglass shell roof or even using special tape to mount the panels. Accomodations would also have to be made due to the curved roof.
Together we agree to put the panels on the PTV*.
Chip says he can make it so all I have to do is plug the PTV to the trailer. I may be able to adjust the panels without having to get the stepladder out. There are double doors on both sides of the PTV so if I open the doors and stand on the inside “step,” I may be able to adjust the panels from there. That would be great.
He suggests more than one battery in a box in the Casita’s interior . . . at the back, under the bed. (The outside-access battery compartment is only big enough for one battery.) I have a Liberty Deluxe model, so the wiring will go through the cabinet under the range and sink, then under the bench seat to get to the batteries at the back. The regulator will be mounted on the side of the fiberglass bench where it can be read easily. I’ll continue to report on this project as it progresses.
The crew and I are in our fourteenth day at Elephant Butte State Park.
The 21-day limit means we’re supposed to move the latter part of next week. That doesn’t give much time for Chip to get the parts in and finish the installation. We’ll figure out what to do when the time nears.
Coyote update: More sightings!
Yesterday as I drive the PTV back from the post office around 3:30, a coyote crosses the road up ahead. This is the road that goes to our campground. In fact, the coyote runs into the bushes that line the Desert Cove campground which is adjacent to our campground. The actual campsite he heads for is about 30 feet from the road.
As I pass I see a camper there with a man outside. These coyotes are very close by. They see us without us seeing them.
Then this morning around 7 o’clock as I walk the crew within our campground, I see a coyote trot across the road that leads to the campground. He gives us a quick glance as he passes us from left to right, carrying a rabbit in his mouth.
Fellow camper Bridget and I have a theory.
There are campers here (and some previously) who put food out for the rabbits. At least that’s what it looks like when you see six or seven rabbits eating out of a pink dish behind a campsite.
Where rabbits gather, coyotes will soon follow!
I’m disappointed that Bridget, Spike, and I have to keep within the confines of the campground for our frequent walks. My friend Bridget is still walking her Australian Shepherds down to the lake and also on the Luchini trail. I think she’s taking risks, but then her dogs aren’t little munchables like mine!
*PTV . . . Perfect Tow Vehicle!