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July Vignettes

At the Secret Hideout

At the Secret Hideout

122 days here at the Secret Hideout. 

Been to the real grocery store 3x for a total of about $325.   Much of that was restocking some hard goods that had become depleted and refilling the freezer with protein.   One of the alt-blogs I visit issued a challenge to its’ readers yesterday with the encouragement to post the experience to the comments section.  The challenge was to unplug from the grid and leave the car in the driveway for 48 hrs. Hmmmm, alrighty then.  Lets’ see how this train wreck unfolds for the masses.  I always espouse bein’ ready to take care of your ownself and not leaving those preps to gather dust in the corner of the garage.  Pshaw! 48 hrs ain’t nuthin’!  Not even good Katrina practice!  Not by a longshot!

Well sir, I checked in just a bit ago to see how all o’ this was goin’ and it looks like some of the early ones to tap out were hard cases; no doubt!   One of ’em could not live without yogurt and the other said his GF would not allow him to be off social media for the weekend.  Oooooo lordy!   First off, I am not goin’ to be admittin’ my huevos got gone somewhere along the way and I have not bothered to find them.   I have refrained from posting my personal experience or opinions re: “Just where did you put your balls son???”  You gotta pick your fights I reckon.  This one ain’t winnable.

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One of the things the NO Princess Palace has that the Old Girl didn’t is this barrier cloth deal that covers the underside.  Both My Bro’s fivers has it too so I guess it is the new technology and I can see how it would be helpful as far as sealing up the underside.   It also restricts all good access to all the bottom guts of your RV which could be a problem if its’ own.  Well, the other day I noticed the front section of my underbelly, (not mine, the NPPs!),  was sagging something fierce.   I crawled under there and figured out it was full of water which is damned NO BUENO!!

Scratchin’ my head and trying to figure out the best avenue to cipher this out, I knew the water had to go.   Resisting the urge to gut the synthetic cloth side to side,  I sliced a conservative 6″ gash at the lowest point and hoped against hope raw sewage was not going to come spillin’ out.  The water luckily was clean with no odor so I could rule out the black tank and most likely the grey tank as well.  Whew!!! Both are right next to this section of the Palace.   Once the gallons of water rushed out,  the laceration dripped at a steady pace for the next few days.  My water pump was not bumping on and off when not in use so I knew it was not a pressurized fresh water leak.   The potable water tank is on the opposite end of the trailer and even though leaking water can travel some odd trails,  I pretty much guessed it wasn’t the potable water either.

There is always a logical process to go through when you are weedin’ out the most likely causes.  I filled the black tank full up,  no increase in the drippage.  Same same for the grey tank and potable water tank.  Hmmmmmm….. what else? What else?

Caulking the TV antenna

Caulking the TV antenna

Well, you see, we did have an unusually wet May and June.  Could I have a leak somewhere? I was up on the roof back in March pressure washing it and saw no evident problems but the fact is I had errant water coming from somewhere.  So up on the roof I go armed with two pieces of plywood to lay down to distribute my weight.  I didn’t need the plywood, the answer was right there at the top of the ladder.  Sometime in May I suspended my DISH service because of the funding shortfall and raised up my Wineguard roof antenna to grab up those free channels beamin’ out of Waco and Temple.  When the antenna was down, it covered up the fact the caulking had split and pulled away leaving a gaping crack.  Write this down:  Caulk don’t last forever when that Puckerbrush UV is bakin’ it day after miserable day.

Don't spare the Dicor.  More is better!

Don’t spare the Dicor. More is better!

I ordered up some Dicor 501LSW-1 Lap Sealant  X2 because a tube goes faster than you think. I already had a can of denatured alcohol to clean everything up and I ventured up to do the task on a sweltering afternoon this week.  The 15-20 minutes it took me to git ‘er done was about all I could stand up there with that sun reflecting back up off that white roof.  It was merciless and brutal and I definitely had wobble legs when I come down off the roof.

I figured while I had the step ladder deployed I might as well seal the front cap joint with some EternaBond White Roof Seal. I had done this to the Old Girl soon after I figured out what was up and what was down with an RV.  5 years later, the seal was still water tight.  I don’t care if you are just a weekend RVer, you need a roll of Eternabond somewhere at ready hand.  The role I fetched out of my sidebox was bought after I used every bit I had on hand to patch up the Old Girl after The Big Hails. Saved my ass then and I ordered up a new roll ASAP just so as to have it. There is no substitute!

We had a couple of good thunder showers after the repair work and the tupperware I got under the leak hole is still bone dry so I am figurin’  I sussed this one out correct looks like.

***********

Gettin’ the house in order to blow out of here somewhere around August 1.  As near as I can tell, it will be back to the oil patch.  If any of y’all hear ’bout a good gate comin’ up, drop me a line as I would appreciate it.

Solar rack

Solar rack

I am going to roll up the RENOGY® 250W monocrystalline Solar Panels and the MPPT TRACER 3215RN Solar Charge Controller  that is feedin’ the Palace and put them in storage here at the hideout.  No sense leavin’ them out in the elements if they ain’t workin’ every day.

OTOH,  My Bro’s Renogy 200W Mono Starter Kit is going to stay in place as that 5er is not going any place soon.  I have been testing it pretty thorough for the past month and I have to give the system a thumbs up.   He has a single Interstate SRM 24 battery for the house.  I set the thermostat on his Fan-Tastic Vent Fan with Thermostat on 85 and his fridge is running. He is under the shed and has the side windows open for ventilation as the rain never gets inside the shed that far. The fan usually comes on mid morning and runs well into the evening. With that kind of ventilation, the inside of his RV never smells musty or damp. Even on successive cloudy days, the battery has kept an acceptable charge.  The little Renogy kit is no frills but it has everything you need to add a solar array to your RV at a decent price.  It is a solid performer.

Low cost solar array rack deployed.

Low cost solar array rack deployed.

With all that being said,  I couldn’t blow out of here and leave the panels just layin’ on some landscape timbers and concrete blocks. I cobbled up a solar rack from some bits and pieces of PT wood off the junk pile and it turned out nifty.   I took two dog tie out stakes and a short cargo strap and anchored that sucker down so I am thinkin’ he is good to go.

BTW,  I had to go down to the local hardware and lay out $120 hard earned dollars for an Interstate SRM 24 for the Palace.  The one I had was 2 years old as it was new when I got the Palace.  I had to bite the bullet and spend money I don’t really have for the battery.  The old one had gotten so tired it would not hold charge through the night and it was playin’ hell with my fridge.   I will need a battery anyway when I head back to a gate, I was just hoping to put it off a bit longer.

Let me give all of y’all a bit of advice.  Anybody that has an RV has a house battery that is charged via a converter when you are hooked to shore power.   Most converters, especially on lower cost or older RVs, are single stage chargers.   Save your money on your house battery and buy one that is cheap.  These single stage chargers are gonna flat out burn up a battery in a year or two.  No way around it and they will burn up an expensive AGM battery just as quick as a cheap SLA.   If you have a smart charger, like a Progressive Dynamics 60 Amp Power Converter with Charge Wizard, spend the extra bucks on a good battery because they will last 2-3X longer.

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BBQ Smoked Meat Loaf   - 8lbs worth

BBQ Smoked Meat Loaf – 8lbs worth

One of the projects that has been completed is the pruning of all excess bowling equipment.  I am down to the lean and mean stage in that area.   Everything that remains has been wrung out and deemed acceptable.  All have passed the test on the 200 yd alley. Since I can’t be havin’ bowling equipment on board while I am sittin’ a gate, it has been parceled out here and there were it falls to hand  with little problem.   I am leaving a few pieces here and they will be dry but not cool and definitely subject to humidity.  I liberally applied the special bowlin’ ball juju juice and put ’em inside one of these ZCORR Anti Corrosion Bags along with some charged hi-cap accessories that drive the Schumers bat shit crazy and called it good.  These bags are good for five years and I feel confident the equipment will come out ready to rock just as good as when I put it away.

**********

I am working hard to fill the Danby Chest Freezer as it has been mightily depleted the last 4 months.  Since I never fire up the Propane Smoker unless it is chock full, I have added two pulled pork shoulders, two large smoked meat loaves and a dozen smoked chicken breasts to the little freezer over the past few weeks.  Just so’s you know, the ground beef that went into the meat loaves had been in a FoodSaver bag for 18 months with no deterioration I could see or taste.
It still ain’t full but we are gettin’ there.  Just as a matter of record, the Danby has been running happily on the solar panels and the Xantrex Inverter for the past 60 days. To hear tell it, some house fridges and freezers have problems running off an inverter but I have had none. If I had something besides those tired old batteries on my array I could run it ’round the clock.  As it is, I have a timer that shuts it off each morning between 0200 to 0900.  It still maintains 20 degrees or less and that works for me.

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It is what it is folks.  All of y’all take care.

 

End Note:  Gristle and Guts by Slim Bawb from the Gristle and Guts cd.

 

Grittin’ it out next to the women’s cuarto de bano.   Real world.         heh

 

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6 comments to July Vignettes

  • Kerry Jackson

    Hi Andy! I wanted to mention, only because of personal experience, that if you had water going into your underbelly, you might want to pull down one side of that underbelly and check to see if it has soaked your insulation. With the heat like it is, it wont dry out under there, it will just rot up and mold. Might not be an issue, but it is sure something you don’t want to have to do on a gate. Don’t ask me how I know that!! Hope you get a gate. Sitewatch might have something around then. You could always give Cole a call! He was looking a couple weeks back!! I will keep a look out!

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    • Andy

      Thanks Kerry,

      I will keep a watch out on the mold. I have been in touch with Cole.

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  • Joel

    ” . . . (not mine, the NPPs!) . . . ”

    Thanks for the clarification.

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  • Joel

    “One of the projects that has been completed is the pruning of all excess bowling equipment. I am down to the lean and mean stage in that area. Everything that remains has been wrung out and deemed acceptable.”

    Enough to hold off the Jade Helm 15 takeover of Texas, I trust.

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