Recent posts

first attempt at DIY solar tilt

I mentioned before that I was going to try to find some way to safely tilt the portables for cheap. I ran into some problems, but this is where I am right n...

NSFW: Muffin ODs on MJ again

It happened again; Muffin got into some THC in the environment and overdosed. Reminder: THC is toxic to dogs.

errands, dashcam screencaps

I made another run into Santa Fe to pick up General Delivery and an amazon locker package and do some other errands.

philosphy of helping

Like everyone else, I have limited time and energy. So I pick my battles when it comes to helping. I weed out topics based on a number of filters:

efficient run into town

I’ve only been boondocking for a week but I needed to make a run into town. I got all this done in this order and was back in camp by noon:

strawberry test

A video popped up on my YT recommendations referring to a Strawberry Test. Some quick googling suggests it’s a series of questions from the Kokology: the Ga...

spring cleaning

I’m at a developed BLM campsite in NM that has trash pickup, pit toilet, picnic tables, etc. Rare treat! I try to stop here on the way north in the spring ...

reddit and self preservation

But first, an analogy. The RTR use to be meetup where Rubber Tramps (nomads) could Rendezvous and be around their peers for a bit. Then Bob blew up the RTR...

backchannel: a small car setup

From (a /r/urbancarliving thread](

errands in Alamogordo

There is a concept in poker called “optimal play”. Since you can’t control the cards you get you have to manage your choices to get, on average, the best ov...

backchannel - fixating on LiFePO4

One of my goals on /r/vandwellers is to get people to stop special pleading about LiFePO4 in general and LiFePO4 direct charging in particular.

foot drop

Ugh, new symptom, likely related to existing lumbar radiculopathy - “foot drop”.

boondocking resumed

I got my ducks in something resembling a row yesterday and departed El Paso this morning for the Alamogordo area.

new years day

I remember 2023 like it was yesterday.

2023 vanlife in review

This year was more tumultuous than usual. A couple things were literal once in a lifetime events.

MythTV moved to Pi4

The new-to-me (used off ebay) Raspi4 came in but I had to wait on the microHDMI to come in from Amazon. The 3A USB-C power supply is still floating out ther...

shore power

I have spent the past 1,941 days off-grid; I plugged into 15A shore power on Monday the 4th.

backchannel: solar generator hoop jumping

I am continually surprised/saddened at the amount of hoop jumping people put into these “convenient” power stations. “It’s so easy and no wiring is required...

data from the last 50 direct charging runs

Data from the last 50 alternator charging runs of my LiFePO4 bank (Alt 180A@14.2v, Battery Doctor VSR, 150Ah LFP). It’s mainly charged by solar but I’ve bee...

I bought propane

Normally this wouldn’t be worth mentioning but I last filled the 20lb tank in January. This suggests that cooking with excess solar power has reduced my pro...

winter plans

In April I wrote about using a more limited snowbirding loop to reduce expenses. This has worked so far, and my average monthly spend has been reduced.

first hard freeze pushes me along

The first hard freezes will be coming Sunday (23F, 24F, 24F) and a bit of snow is predicted. I’ll use this as my prompt to move further south.

working on the MythTV pi2

A while back I got MythTV running on the Pi2 again (I have a pi3 but the HDMI doesn’t work).

LiFePO4 float voltage experiments

I have generally been floating my 4S LiFePO4 bank at 13.4v since I got them. Ok, not really floating since Lithium doesn’t need to float:

cold front allows a return to SFE

Heavy rain was forecast in Los Alamos for the next few days (and lighter for the next week). Highs in the 60s. I needed to move (14d) so I could either scou...

makeshift shower

I have a full load of water that only needs to last the next 8-15 days, depending on the weather.

backchannel: panel voltage

This is from a thoughtful reply on reddit. The poster is replying to a low-information solar user and so has simplified his answer.

stress testing the power system

After yesterday’s stress I need some comfort food. So I’m making rice pudding and fried rice using slivers of the strip steak I had the other night.

mouse damage

The engine is cooling from a short, slow relo so will document a bit.

quick reprovision run into Los Alamos

I’d made a short relocation a few days ago to better handle the wind, so I wasn’t looking for a full relocation necessarily. 18d after the last reprovisioni...

rain catchment fails

There has been a bit of rain and I’d been trying to catch some with my usual angled setup. I caught some, enough to water the dog for a day or two. But win...

Contra Keelan

Not really contra Keelan, but some pushback on his video that is receiving exuberant praise.

backchannel - comments on solar advice

A reddit poster gave some solid advice to a beginner. I have a few thoughts that are not appropriate for that beginner’s consumption, but may be of use to pe...

a more modest snowbirding loop

I mentioned before that I am in a reset cycle, re-evaluting my needs and preferences. Part of this is a more modest (smaller) snowbirding loop that will

updated the virtual server

The virtual server that runs my stuff was on 2020-era Debian Stretch LTS. There were reports it was ok to go Stretch->Bullseye but I was skeered.

Visible moving users off proprietary cloud

Visible is Verizon-owned MVNO. For whatever reason Visible data used to route through some kind of cloud that Visible (or Verizon) maintained. Visible is d...

catching up

There’s been a lot going on.

EpEver Pair app

The prior epever app was functional but extremely clunky. Most annoyingly, it required manual refreshing rather than giving realtime data.

relo: Valentine to Ash Fork AZ

There were small moves in the interim, but the Big Move down the road happened yesterday. Temps were forecast into the low 80s so it was time to attain a bi...

Crozier BLM

Still in the general area, although a lack of planning on my part resulted in a run back to Kingman to do laundry and reprovision water.

daily cardio: stress testing Muffin

There was supposedly a geocache (Rattlesnake Wash, GCC8869) nearby and I thought I could guess which rock feature it was on/near. There were many DNF1 log...

A Muffin related scare

I’m a little bleary today, having stayed up half the night with a bizarrely sick animal. I’ll try to reconstruct the timeline and what I knew when.

replacing the Maxxfan motor

I installed a Maxxfan 7000-series roof vent in mid-2017 and have been brutalizing it ever since. I’d guess it runs 18hrs a day during that period.

Palm Canyon and relo to Kingman

Day 14 of our stay was arriving soon, and a temperature spike into the 80s helped provide motivation to go up in latitude and/or elevation.

backchannel: RebelBbatteries FAQ YT video

Full disclosure: I like the guy, I like the company, and I love my Rebel Batteries LFP. I have mentioned before that I think Aric shoots himself in the foo...

Sidewinder BLM panoramas

It got hot last week (near 90F) and I though we were going to be flushed northward and/or up in elevation. Temps dropped again and should remain comfortable...

relo to Holtville CA

Hit Yuma for showers and data downloads at the Planet Fitness. Then to the superwalmart and headed west back into Cali. Yes, Cali, but there is method to t...

weather forecasts and logistics

People who are already living in vehicles already know this stuff; I’m tipping my hand so the van-curious can see how I make decisions.

Tucson waypoint

November November was hectic and I am ready to do some in-place boondocking again. I steath camped in ELP for about a month. There are definite benefits to...

a visit to DFW for thanksgiving

I have been offline for the past week because I was in transit to and from DFW. Driving so much is unusual for me; I budget one tank of gas per month.

el paso miscellany

I am staging in El Paso waiting for temps to drop in northeast Texas, doing “home base errands”, and waiting for an eye exam on the 18th. I’m hoping I can s...

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

I’ve seen the signs before but haven’t ever seen this museum. I decided to come down off the hill a day before my van service; this would allow me to stage...

I was wrong: common vs separate port BMS

I’ve been following the development and use of LiFePO4 cells for a few years so I am aware of the major concepts. I haven’t been following BMS functionality...

Trinity site open house

It was a stressful 24 hours, logistically, but I was able to get to the Trinity site open house. Everything I own is with me in the van including a few thin...

backchannel: Renolgy MPPT clues

OP wants to know if s/he needs 20A or 30A controller for 260w of panel. I suggested 20A, as the maximal/theoretical output would be 20.4A.

fun with web commerce

In theory web commerce is low-touch with minimal transaction costs (in the economic sense). In practice computers do what middle-managagement idiots tell de...

planned relo: Santa Fe NM

This Taos stop was a holdover until temps dropped enough for comfort in Santa Fe. According to the 10-day forecast daily highs in SFe will drop to 80F by Su...

relocating Buena Vista to ???

I started low-grade preparation for tomorrow’s move. My Amazon pickup is near Alamosa, CO but is closed on Sundays. I’ll use Sunday to reprovision in Alamo...

remailer, cards, and packages

I’ve been using iPostal1 for mail forwarding since 2018. Mail comes in and you can see a pic of it; choose to trash it (free), scan it, shred it, or bundle...

and a little bit further now

I found a spot further down the road that was ~9000 so I broke camp and moved to the Gunnison San Isabel national forest.

on the move: south from Leadville

The weather forecasts weren’t clear beforehand, but it looks like by Wednesday temps will drop a bit. That’ll be welcome because I’ll be dropping in elevati...

plans: leaving Leadville

The weather is excellent but I’m running out of places in this area to stay on the right side of the 14d/25mi rule. Time to start thinking about moving.

general delivery trip into Leadville

My last trip of errands into Leadville was abortive because my forwarded package was floating around Denver somewhere. The package finally came in so I made ...

errands in Leadville

It’s pretty unusual for me to make a trip into town during a stay on public lands; today was an exception.

mushrooms after rain

Muffin and I walk in the woods a great deal and have observed a bounty of mushrooms. She likes to eat everything so I keep her at a distance from them when I...

rainy day movies

It’s been raining so much the past two weeks that Muffin and I burned through a ton of movies, streamies (?) and classic TV.

idea: a Great Loop in 2021-2022

Here I borrow the term Great Loop from sailing; it describes a circuit up the eastern seabord and back down the Mississippi River.

relo: Breckenridge back toward Leadville

Made coffee, breakfast, and broke down the minimal campsite. While I was retrieving the game camera (nothing fun to report) I saw something on a stump:

a week above Breckenridge

I haven’t been writing because I haven’t had any connectivity most of the time, and minimal connectivity when it does work.

mystery pint-sized station wagon

When I first scouted this spot I noticed a small white station wagon about 100’ away in a clump of trees. I didn’t see any camping gear set out or anyone aro...

rainy day

Today it is rainy and so evenly overcast I could not point to the sun even if you gave me a $20 to do so.

daily cardio geocache and turkey meat loaf

I’m running on limited power but it looked like I might be able to run the crockpot on LO (75w). I broke out a pound tube of Jennie-O ground turkey and star...

limping on solar

Until the new-new controller arrives I will be limping along on limited solar.

I might be on candid camera

It looked like the Amazon pkg was out for delivery in GJ, so I broke camp and headed toward town. Since I didn’t know when it would be delivered I decided t...

making panoramas with Hugin

I was cleaning out my phone storage (archiving to laptop) and saw a few pics that might work as panoramas. I started looking for some FOSS (Free / Open Sour...

bandwidth struggles and compy

Even though I am at 10k feet I am set back far enough on the mesa that my cell coverage is terrible; 0-2 bars of 3g right now. Even typing this on a termin...

carrying water

It was slightly cooler today due to overcast (77F instead of 81F) so I thought I might carry some water up from the creek. Unless I am forgetting something,...

Houston we have a meatloaf

I’ve been craving meatloaf and was curious about how it would work in the crockpot. Those factors plus a recent reprovisiong trip mean Happy Supper Time Exp...

daily cardio on the grand mesa

Last night on Muffin’s last potty break I thought I heard running water in the distance. I consulted Osmand+ offline maps and it said Whitewater Creek was ...

PVGIS modeling

I saw a post about the the EU’s off-grid solar modeling system and took it for a whirl.

virtual housekeeping

Temps have spiked a bit (77F right now) so I’m doing some virtual housekeeping.

relo away from heat Dominguez Escalante NCA

The heat in our impromptu spot was oppressive (high 80s) so we drove about an hour and gained about 2,500’ in the Dominguez - Escalante national conservation...

walking while the ground pork cooks

I’d bought everything for crockpot lasagna except I forgot the mozz. :-( So that will be pushed back and we will use the Italian sausage for regular pasta ...

rec center shower in Cortez

DC needed to go into town for bizness and while she was there she bird-dogged the rumors of a shower at the Cortez rec center.

putting spare panel to work

One of the rewards of having copious solar is the ability to share excess power with others. I’ve done this before by running an outdoor extension cord to a...

paracord tensioners

Eagle scout muscle memory leads me automatically to a tautline hitch for tensioning guywires but there are cases where a dedicated tensioner is easier.

1000 days in the van

I got tired of doing the math so a few months back I wrote a dinky shell script that calculates the number of days that have elapsed since X. I ran it today...

meet sadie

Sadie is a 15# Chihuahua-MinPin mix from Durango who has been adopted by DC.

Dogbowl run with thermometer

DC and I ran the first biscuit batches through the dogbowl oven (DBO hereafter) using the thermometer.

first run with the lab hotplate

I set up the MSW inverter, which was actually a 700w unit rather than 400w as I’d remembered. It’s been in storage in the “basement” for a long while.

ABQ to Cuba, NM

I stealthed in Albuquerque a couple days to take advantage of laundromats and pleasant weather. Tomorrow was forecast to be 85F though, which lit a fire und...

bread experiment #3

I am very happy with the existing bread, but did want to see if I could get it to rise more.

busy beaver / bread experiment #1

After I posted yesterday I started on the van cleanout. I got about 60% of it done, the underbed storage and passenger cabin area. This afternoon I’ll do t...

relo to Capitan, NM

It was staying in the mid-80s in the Las Cruces / ELP area, and was predicted to get into the 90s. It’s comfortable enough in the 80s with the cooler runnin...

solar upgrade success

In a welcome break from recent disasters the solar panel remove/replace went reasonably well. It took about 5 hours end to end and would have taken 4 if I h...

Power measurements from the evap cooler

I mentioned it in the previous post but hadn’t busted out the kill-a-watt at that time. The following values are as read from the KAW and do not include inv...

USAA continues to be great

I have come to value vendor communication/transparency more and more. Here’s a recent snipped from USAA auto:

Organ Mountains NM / pizza experiment

I got my immediate business done in ELP and withdrew to the Organ Mountains national monument north of Las Cruces, NM. They’ve made some changes since I was...

logistics of the solar upgrade

I met the Craigslist gentleman, who had what appeared to be at least 100 Trinasolar panels (SS250P-60) pulled from a solar farm. There’s not a lot you can d...

article: a heretic nitpicks Maine Sail

Maine Sail, writing at marinehowto and various forums, is one of the best resources on the ‘net on matters related to batteries and their charging. He has ...

return to El Paso

I am in El Paso for the 1st round of Covid-19 vaccination at the V.A. tomorrow morning. Even though my budget has taken a savage beating I had breakfast at...

March comes in like an (expensive) lion

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness... > >  **Charles Dickens, **A Tale of Tw...

snowbird intermission

My usual snowbird pattern is to stay follow 70-75deg F weather moving in shortest-practical distances at 14-day intervals. I haven’t updated recently becaus...

tax refund / goodwill run

I don’t know if I had mentioned this before, but my tax refund was direct deposited on the Feb 24th. That’s less than two weeks from the Feb 12 e-file date....

logistics: next move, packages, CA

My 14d would be up here in American Girl Mine on Sat the 6th, but the Traveling Vet referral came through, so I have an appointment in Yuma on the 4th. It’s...

Covid 500k

In spring 2020 I estimated in the blog that Covid-19 would kill 500k Americans in total. It was a crude number based on the US population at that moment, th...

American Girl Mine BLM

Stealthed in an industrial area last night, then got up and headed toward the nearest city park. Made coffee and took Muffin out for a morning walk.

Stealthing in Yuma

Got word from Amazon that my package is coming in today, so I packed up and left Kool Corner.

the big chill / knee update / osprey

As much as I’d like to credit good planning for being in mild weather, it’s more of a fluke based on average weather patterns. I’m in extreme SW Arizona in...

logistics: package forwarding

I generally prefer to receive packages by Amazon locker or General Delivery since there is no extra cost associated with those. Sometimes, as happened recen...

game camera / knee status

My knee (injured in a fall yesterday) started hurting more as the day went on, and it made it uncomfortable to sleep. No obvious swelling today, which I tak...

hilltop park bench

Yesterday I saw a UTV stop 5 hilltops to the north. He stayed for a few minutes so I got out the binos. The driver was out of the vehicle and inspecting wh...

on the turning away (pic heavy)

I mentioned before that I went beyond the main Kool Corner camping area and turned back because one of the tracks was washed out. Muffin and I walked up the...

daily cardio: Laguna Cemetery geocache

I loaded up C:Geo (android) with nearby caches and headed to the nearest one, located in the Laguna Cemetery. Cemeteries are some of my favorite cache locat...

daily cardio: hike to Sugarloaf

Inspired by Paul’s comment on yesterdays’ post, Muffin and I headed out to see what it was like between the campsite and Sugarloaf mountain.

logistics: kofa to yuma

I plan on staying in the greater Yuma area for 28 days, weather willing. To facilitate this I motored north to Quartzsite to do some errands and reprovision...

2020 taxes done / finances

I figured I’d be income tax-free for 2020, but I had forgotten that I got the Dec 2019 paycheck in early January. That pushed my total income for the year t...

backchannel: killing boat batteries

Saillors/cruisers typically have a pretty good handle on power, as their life may depend on it. This thread, though, reminds us that power fails come in boa...

planning relocation / bucket list check-off

Today I’ve been starting to think about the next relocation. I’ll be headed toward Yuma, both stealthing and boondocking. I have a package coming into an A...

fishing for chihuahuas

I heard a light thunk late yesterday afternoon while cooking dinner and thought a crow had landed on the panels. They do that sometimes. Muffin looked up f...

daily cardio: a hike eastward on King Rd

It rained all morning and Muffin was getting antsy. When it finally stopped we headed east on King Road, the graded dirt road that runs through the area.

daily cardio, saguaro measurement edition

The lower hill in the center has been calling me. It looked approachable from the relatively-gentle northwest side, which is the left slope in this pic:

the cake is a lie, charge controller edition

Note:  we are discussing charrging 2x 125Ah AGM in parallel, so C==250Ah.   Dealing in general principles here – the battery mfg should be able to provide mo...

desert rain

It started raining lightly yesterday, and rained lightly-but-steadily through the night. There was a flash-flood warning in Yuma, the biggest/nearest town. ...

logistics: Quartzsite to Kofa

I was ready to leave Plomosa Rd BLM in Q; it was sparse when I got there but I have been increasingly surrounded by groups Class A and 5ers with generators,...

preparing to move / bonus pics

Time isn’t up until the 20th, but as I’ve mentioned before I’d rather be in place away from people when the Inauguration occurs (“a Republic, if you can keep...

covid stimulus II / early relo?

Looks like I’m going to be in the large group of folks that won’t get the stimulus directly. For those of that don’t get it by Jan 15, apparently:

logistics: Shea Rd BLM to Dome Rock BLM

I would have gotten up earlier this morning to start the relo, but coyotes were having a party last night.  Which meant that Muffin didn’t sleep.  Which mean...

second stimulus and closed bank accounts

One of the reasons I held onto the Chase checking account as long as I did was to make deposit of any second stimulus easier. Judging that possibility to b...

life upgrade: turning off my phone

I have always had an uneasy relationship with the telephone.   To paraphase the famous historiographical quip, this says more about me than it does the telep...

bringing old Pi boxes back online

While I was in Wally World my devices were updating over their wifi (repeated in the van). Two of the devices were a Pi and Pi2 I brought back online. The Pi...

challenges: bandwidth, water, party people

A few days left here in Shea Rd.  My 28d cooling-off period for Quartzsite is up on the 5th.  The Q dump transfer station is open next week until the 6th, an...

three months on the new VPS

Just got my quarterly renewal notice for the linux Virtual Private Server so it’s time for a review. You may remember I was coming from one larger (512MB R...

predicting the sun’s path

Yesterday I badly misjudged when the sun would “set” behind the mesa to the south. Using the manual method I judged the sun would start to be hidden aroun...

full day of mounted + portable harvest

Today I will be planning and storing for the next move. which will happen tomorrow morning.   Since it will be a homebody day I will set the timer to go off ...

reconfigured the portables

I think I mentioned earlier that I have a 10A mppt that has been sitting idle.  It’s wired into the DIY converter project, but I haven’t been connected to sh...

logistics: planning next camping spot

Starting to think about the next move from Craggy Wash BLM outside Lake Havasu City to the next spot. I can’t return to Quartzsite until Jan 4th so I’ll need...

pics from a geocaching hike

Muffin and I found three geocaches yesterday. One of the benefits of geocaching is it forces you to explore areas you’ve been putting off. In this case tha...

short-but-strenuous hike

It’s gorgeous outside, 70deg F with a slight breeze.    Skies are mostly clear with some high, wispy cover at times.  After several days of medium overcast t...

giving up on /r/vandwellers

I’ve mentioned a couple of times that the /r/vandwellers subreddit has bloated beyond recognition, and beyond usability. This is largely a function of yout...

“urgent recall”

There is a known recall on the fan module on the PM (and PM City, IIRC).

logistics: Quartzsite to Lake Havasu City

I didn’t have to leave until the 8th, but I had two packages in the Amazon Locker in Havasu and I knew the lockers were full.    I gathered up the campsite (...

/r/vandwellers hits 1 million

I wrote in Sept 2019 that the vandwellers subreddit had ballooned to a half-million readers.    It recently went over 1 million:

ships of the desert, literal and figurative

Saudi nomads referred to their camels as “ships of the desert”, and there’s even a Quartzsite connection.  Hi Jolly (ie, “hajj Ali”,  hajj indicating one who...

fearful / curious

It is a common to hear the the van-curious say they are scared of  [fill in the blank].  I rarely get involved in these discussions because

theme juggling

sorry about the design change[s]. Trying out some themes to see what shows links reliably.


In the last week I’ve run across two people who seemed to be more interested in yammering on and parroting misinformation than in understanding the situation...

when does it make sense to add more panel?

Real scenario: a fellow had 2x 195w on PWM for 200Ah of AGM and pondered adding more panel if the 390w proved insufficient. IMO, 3x 195w is better than 2x ...

chirp via flatpak

“Debian testing” has remove python2, and chirp hasn’t been updated to use python3 yet.

hard freeze flushes me out to Q-town

For the second time in a few days I woke up to temps in the teens. It was 25F inside the van and the water system froze (no damage). From past experience t...

answer to yesterday’s quiz

The answer to yesterday’s quiz is in this reddit comment. Normally I’d just paste it here but there is reddit-specific markup and I am groggy. You don’t ...

hiking a horse trail / planning the next move

I heard honking the other day and looked over;  a guy was stuck in the road behind a herd of wild horses.  They didn’t pick up the pace and eventually ambled...

chilly and sunny

It was 34F inside the van this morning and there was ice on the outside of the windshield. Nice and toasty under the covers with Muffin but a coffee-deprive...

rain, rain, go away

Yes, it sometimes rains in desert. I got about 20 drops last night, and a few hundred drops this afternoon. It’s supposed to be cloudy with rain today and ...

thoughts on the new server

Y’all may remember the server that ran the bdp wordpress blog instance, personal website, the rvwiki and various other doodads was EOL by my virtual server p...

Tonapah to Pahrump via Rhyolite

Temps were going to drop into the teens in Tonapah so I planned to leave Friday (today). It will be about 15f warmer there, with highs in the 50s.

Sacrament, CA to Tonapah, NV

My objections to CA are a bit of a dead horse, so I won’t repeat them here.  The arctic blast has passed and it’s bearable in NV again. 

extended absorption followup / random pics

I last watered the batteries on Sept 18th and noticed no appreciable increase in water consumption.  I watered the batts again yesterday, and after six weeks...

downtown Roseville, CA

Roseville is one town over from Rocklin, and is indistinguishable to this outsider except for the civic branding. 

escaping an arctic blast

I’d been out of it for a couple days and didn’t see an approaching weather event. Temps tonight in northern Nevada are forecast into the teens and single-di...

camp visitors

The horses I mentioned before came in for their closeup:

magpies and golden eagles

There aren’t very many birds here in the desert sage, at least not  compared to the multitude on the shores and in the forests.  Not much to eat, I imagine. ...

daily cardio: can we see Reno proper?

The parts of Reno I can see from here are plain industrial and residential. I’ve been wondering if I could see the downtown/casino district from the next hi...

paying it forward with ammo brass

I’ve been picking up spent brass (in addition to other litter) when I camp. Partly to clean the place up, and also with the possibility of recycling the bra...

migration underway

First post upon returning to The image server and RVwiki are online on the new virtual. My personal website and a few other things I wasn’t u...

Reno overlook

This spot is fairly crapped out with spent ammo and litter, but it has some upsides:

planning next move

The forecast last week lied;  I got one sunny day instead of several.   My eyes prefer overcast days, as they are sensitive to bright lights.  But it’s bruta...

North Bend, OR & dying phone

I’m going to be in North Bend a few days.  I have a package coming in from Amazon and the forecast says the weather will be mild here for the near future.  I...

down the coast a bit: Waldport

The overall temperature situation is about the same, and the fire hazards have reduced somewhat:.  My location is about 40% down the coast from the top of th...

backchannel: isolator confusion

My claim:  “When the batteries are deeply discharged a plain solenoid will typically provide as much current as a 225Ah bank can accept (much more than 300w ...

misc. pictures

grab bag of pics that didn’t fit elsewhere:

the bigger picture

In this pic I am on the coast about midway down the image.  Air quality from PM2.5 here is 178 (unhealthy) but graded on a curve it seems great.  The other d...

skies continue to clear

Even though I cannot tell the difference with my eye/memory, the particulates must be clearing.  At 10:38am (two hours before solar noon) the solar is pullin...

south to Newport - Mormon winds

The smoke in the Lincoln City area was starting to get to me (stomach pains) so I checked the map to see where fires weren’t;  Newport looked workable.

Lincoln City, OR / historic wind event

Lincoln City is about 90mi down the coast from the Seaside area.   It would be the coolest spot in the area I could find for the next two weeks.

little 4-pin KIK

I took this pic a week ago and and I think I forgot to post it:

forest fires in the distance

The other day when I hiked to the nearby high points I noticed smoke in the distance to the east;  this appears to be the White River fire.  In this pic my s...

battery checkup

A few days ago I noted the tall conifers were impeding my ability to get a full charge on the SLAs.    I ended up setting Vfloat == Vabs to get more absorpti...

picked for orange belt: Master lock 150

The 150 is a 5-pin lock, and all 5 drivers at least are reported to be security pins.  I could definitely feel counter-rotation in there when picking on spoo...

Mea Culpa: my own battery charging

I grouse enough about the mistakes others make;  here’s how I am undercharging my own batteries and doing some amount of damage.

Found the water @ Trillium

The Trillium Bike Trail led off the south end of this general area, and had signs saying the Trillium campground was 1.5 miles away.  I made a couple assumpt...

Seaside to Portland

I decided to walk the beach in the morning before it got hot.  I’d walked by this statue many times without reading the sign;  Seaside claims to be the termi...

Instabridge soft-bricked my phone

I typically use Wifi Map to log and find passwords for publicly-available wifi (as one would find in restaurants).  I’d recently installed segment leader Ins...

portland heat

There’s a bit of a heatwave in the Portland area (100F) that was supposed to be my next stop.   Not a big deal for Texas but Oregonians don’t have A/C to cop...

backchannel: doubling down on the Renogy

My instinct here is that the gentleman made a rash claim, got called on it, and is now Just Saying Stuff without regard to the documentation or how solar MPP...

Hood River, OR via Baker City

I knew the stay in the Blue Mountains would be relatively short since a delayed package would pull me back to Baker City USPS.

picking lines on forest roads

Note:  this article is aimed at newcomers who haven’t driven on forest roads and are nervous about doing so.  They often wonder if 4x4 is necessary.   If you...

non-drivers and vanlife

There have been a recent rash of posts from young adults in /r/vandwellers saying stuff like this:

keeping powder dry in /r/vandwellers

Most of the questions posted to /r/vandwellers/ are dumbass, repetitive questions.  In deciding which ones to answer I try to assess why the dumbass question...

morning hike

Muffin and I took off on a little jaunt this morning before it got too hot.  The ambient temps won’t be too bad (likely low-to-mid-80s) but the sun at altitu...

Relo: near Susanville, OR

Up at just under 7,000’ it’s  20deg F cooler than in La Grande where I reprovisioned.  It rained off/on lightly, good for settling dust.   The same smelly li...

bricking a lock

Bricking in technical parlance means to unintentionally destroy something while working on it.   This typically involves unauthorized operation, firmware fla...

a step closer to booting Chase Bank

I’ve been edging away from Chase and toward Ally over the last year for many reasons.  The main one is that they have a non-negotiable $12/mo checking fee if...

backchannel: small appliances

What can I do to bulk up my system so as to support small appliances such as a 350w rice cooker and a 600w microwave?

WTF is that smell

Immediately after arriving in this NF I started smelling a weird, pungent odor.  it wasn’t entirely unpleasant, but rather sharp and not ignorable.  The clos...

backlog: covid-19 economics

After this contagion has passed, someone will calculate the $millions we spent to save each life at the margin. And someone will note that

“don’t pick at it”

I’ve been watching videos from The Lockpicking Lawyer for the past couple of years.  I like watching him work on interesting old (and new!) gear and enjoy hi...

botched relocation

I’d seen a forecast and knew that today (Saturday) was going to be hot.  I was going to be in the 90s where I was camped and high 90s in Boise proper.

local summit - Boise NF

Muffin and I took off to see if we could get to the top of the local summit, as seen in this pic:

tree damage

About a foot from the bottom of this tree is a ring of damage:

backchannel: doin’ it right

When I was camping in the snowy spot a group of young people hiked through.  Nice enough folks, with one guy who appeared to be something of a blowhard.  A b...

a walk to the west

Muffin and I went for a walk earlier today to the west;  this is the general direction looking from camp:

Frederick Douglass and the fourth of July

Frederick Douglass is one of the finest Americans who ever lived.  This speech is magnificent and is well worth the full read.   It reminds us of the gap bet...

AGM for weekenders

Off-grid charging AGM is challenging and expensive;  doing it as a weekender can be easier and less expensive since we can ward off battery-murdering sulfati...

idiot permanence

Object permanence is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, touched, smelled or sensed in any way. – wikip...

laptop cooling update

The thermal paste fix has made a huge difference.  I played Minecraft in 92F ambient the other day (hottest day in Twin Springs just before I bailed).  No is...

Boise national forest

This spot in Boise NF is on the way to Boise from Twin Falls.  There are relatively few trees in this forest;  I’ve seen about a dozen and most are in this c...

field mouse

I picked up a field mouse in the Twin Springs area.  I saw some of them running around on the ground.   About the size of a domestic mouse, but more intellig...

Twin Falls, ID

It was scheduled to rain last night, so I gathered up the campsite.  Since I was planning to head out in the next couple days anyhow, I topped off water from...

a walk to the west

I’ve been wanting to walk up the hill to the west but an attentive bull has been hanging around the last several days, trolling back and forth on this side o...

chirp, cranking up the Baofeng UV-5R

When I was reorganizing the van the other day I found the little dual-band transceiver and the charger.  The charger was DOA but the HT was fully charged.  I...

MiniDLNA + MythTV

You may remember I capture OTA TV signals with a MythTV install on Raspberry Pi ( Raspian).

walking near Twin Springs campground

Muffin was getting a little weird, which usually means she needs to burn some energy off.  We walked a ways up the road to see what was on the other side of ...

cleanup day, and Muffin’s buddy

I’ve been doing a van cleanout and re-organization since I have the time, the room, the cleaning water, good weather, and shelter to put everything under.

more about the water pump

Yesterday afternoon I was thinking about the best way to get, transport, and dispsense water from the pump.  Spigot bucket!

coming down the mountain

I  came off the mountain Monday when the snow let up.  Once again the front-wheel-drive Promaster was surefooted as a gazelle.

the play is on first

There is a baseball saying that “the play is on first base”.  This is a reference to there being more than one runner in play so which should be taken out (A...

private land island, planning next move

Doggo and I walked down the road a bit to see what was past the cattle pen.     In the treeline we saw a travel trailer (not unusual) with the tires removed ...

decanting propane

My stash of 1lb propane bottles was getting low, so I refilled them off the tank with the little adapter thingy.   It finally started to run out and it made ...

minimal size youtube videos

My previous approach to saving bandwidth on youtube videos was to request the lowest-resolution versions possible.

chilly morning

It got a little chilly last night, and I could tell it was cold this morning.   Muffin was sleeping close against me and I turned on the heating pad at some ...

cows, no cows

Muffin and I took a walk up the road yesterday.  Some cattle haulers had gone that way earlier (fast, kicking up massive dust) and I could hear cows bellowin...

Snowbird planning

Snowbirds follow good weather.   For me (and for now), that means daytime highs between 70-80deg F.

backchannel: vandwellers OBES

There is a thing in online forums called an Obligatory Brave Exit Speech (OBES), in which one stands in the doorway and explains why one is leaving.    This ...

mail delay, weekend moves, and weekenders

I emailed the mail forwarder to ask if the package actually shipped.   Quite coincidentally, tracking started working and the package showed up at the local ...

mail forwarding delay knock-on effects

I was scheduled to move on from the Cedar City area today (hitting the 14day limit).  So last week I asked the mail forwarder to bundle and send my mail - th...

stove maintenance

I mentioned a while back that  my beloved Dragonfly liquid fuel stove has a plugged fuel line.  I wrote MSR support and got a ticket number but no subsequent...

Covid-19 refugees

Folks displaced by the pandemic-inflected economic downturn are starting to pop up in /r/vandwellers.  It’s not a bad place for them to start figuring it out.

Silver linings, Covid-19 edition

I was thinking about some possible positive outcomes of the pandemic.  The effects may live on in our culture the way effects persisted in the culture of peo...

backchannel: catering to fools

from this reddit thread,  on a discussion of Glacier Park backcountry passes being cancelled because, among other things, rangers would not be present for se...

glutton for cardio

Dog and I turned back before reaching the summit the other day because the search was terminated.  It was a few days cooler today so we went back up.

cultural differences

Muffin and I walked to the other side of the hill yesterday to further survey the campsite area and beyond.

SAR, cardio

Around noon today a kid got separated from her family somewhere in this offroad area.  One of the family members walked into camp around 1220 and asked if I’...


April 11th fly-by

slight repositioning

Muffin and I were on a walk last evening and found a superior spot up the trail a bit.

new digs: BLM land outside Cedar City, UT

I wanted to leave my previous spot this morning around 9am.  I was packing up when I heard Muffin losing her doggie gourd outside.   A hot-air balloon had be...

Found On Road Dead

Muffin and I walked down into the canyon today for a dose of cardio:

the limbo bar is set at $12,400/yr

For 2020 the US federal income tax standard deduction is $12,400.   Folks who are earning (or withdrawing from retirement) $1000/mo or less in 2020 have effe...

Experiment: electric immersion cup heater

I picked up one of of these immersion heaters from Amazon.  I find myself needing to heat small amounts of water for tea, for bathing, etc.    It’s part of t...

holiday-delayed relo

I’m right at the end of my 14day full pull here in the Fort Pearce area.  Planned to pick up a package today and relocate but then realized it was a holiday…...

cooking with Pareto

The Pareto Principle is famously interpreted to mean that 20% of the people do 80% of the work.  More formally, it says that “roughly 80% of the effects come...

not dead - site transition

I’m in the process of moving the blog to so I will have more control over it.

backchannel: “not what I signed up for”

There have been a rash of vandwellers bailing out of the vans and into sticks-and-bricks housing.  This could be a wise move for urban stealthers but might b...

New spot near southern NV/UT border

I finished out my 14 days in my Pahrump and was ready for a warmer spot.  My mail package got in from El Paso, including my wildly overdue last paycheck.  It...

cold in Nevada today

Coming to the end of my stay in Pahrump.  My mail (including last state paycheck) should show up at the USPS today.

rain and water catchment

It’s been raining off and on for the 48hrs, keeping dog and I indoors and putting a damper on solar harvest.  Presently pulling in 91w .  That’s 16% of theor...

the joys of bureaucracy

My last day of work for the state was technically 12/31.  There were a few payments the agency would owe me.

scrypt mining back online

I’d taken my dinky scrypt miner offline in all the excitement of the transition to snowbirding.  I’d been running the (laughably outdated) gridseed blade 80-...

snowbirding has commenced

Crashed overnight in an I-10 rest stop south of Phoenix.  Woke up and it felt like the spiritual commencement of the adventure, even though it’s technically ...

site move

Wrestling with getting the site moved over to my own server.   We’ll see how it goes.

MythTV for nomads

I don’t have a TV in a normal sense, and haven’t for a few years.  I stopped watching tv and listening to radio in real time around 2005.  Downside is no, I ...

McDonald observatory

I’d driven past this observatory complex outside Ft. Davis a few times on my way elsewhere.  This time I decided to stop in.

odds and ends

These are little snippets that don’t warrant their own post.  I’ll probably start talking about trivial stuff like this in twitter, instead. (right side of t...

Looking back at Laredo (pics)

[caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”1280”] Muffin looks across the border at Nuevo Laredo[/caption]

Cultura beer garden

Muffin keeps tabs on outdoor Jenga players at Laredo’s finest craft beer joint. #hyenastyle

Lithium vs. flooded banks for beginners

Note:  for comparison purposes there’s a link in the text below to Trojan batteries on Amazon.  Buy them locally to get the best price.  There’s no shipping ...

Laredo, TX

I was in Laredo / Nuevo Laredo about 40 years ago with my parents.   I was actually heading south and had made to to the general Corpus Area when the 88% hum...

how I decided to retire

Note:  this post started as a comment reply but outgrew the limitations of the comment box.  The short version is I’m living off retirement funds until Socia...

“does it feel any different?”

I retired on Jan 1st, about a week ago.  The most common question so far is “does it feel any different?”  In my case it really doesn’t.

“does it feel any different?”

I retired on Jan 1st, about a week ago.  The most common question so far is “does it feel any different?”  In my case it really doesn’t.

D minus 1 - New Years Eve

Technically this is my last day of employment even though my last actual day of work was Dec 27th.  I turned off the alarms on my phone and am quite happy to...

backchannel: solar is a luxury

I generally don’t look at the username or other details of a poster’s presence when replying;  I stick to the “content of their [text] character[s]”, to para...

National Parks access pass

I’m more of a national monument guy than a national park guy since I like to boondock.  But a recent VA newsletter pointed out that the lifetime Access Pass ...

D minus 7 - christmas day

Hit the sack early last night.  I woke up with the standby phone ringing and spent the next few hours working a highway fatality.    Muffin remained crashed ...

D minus 8 - dental in Juarez

Ok, my numeration may be off.   Worked Sat and Sun so I am off yesterday and today.  Office holiday tomorrow and Thursday.  Friday will be my last day of wor...

“working from starbucks”

Every once in a while a reddit post illustrates how vandwellers can live.  Here’s one called Is this what they meant when they said “You’ll be working from S...

“working from starbucks”

Every once in a while a reddit post illustrates how vandwellers can live.  Here’s one called Is this what they meant when they said “You’ll be working from S...

2020 RTR

The event will be held at the La Paz County Fairground, which is half way between Parker, Arizona, and Quartzsite, Arizona. It’s very near the intersection w...

Article: Bogart on PWM controllers

Here are some thoughts on the PWM article from Bogart’s FAQ, with a focus on solar power for boondockers.  Ralph (owner of Bogart and author of the text belo...

PWM loves poly

[this is an old draft I’m going to publish]


ie, holiday dogs.  I like to be at the shelter on holidays.  It is quieter (good for me),  I can get more dogs walked (good for them), and the dogs are not a...


This stately creature is Canada, a mixed breed of some kind.  Back end looks like a GSD and the front end looks like a terrier or hound.  He was marked “cont...

backchannel: agm for vandwellers

Part of a response to a question I answered.  OP wanted advice on the short term only, and I’d overshared my thoughts on the long term.  I took it out and mo...

Capitan, NM and Smokey [the] Bear

Capitan is NE of Ruidoso, maybe a half-hour up the road.  I’d never been there but I had a 5-day stretch off and made the extra drive.

los perros

I’m going to have to start doing these the day I work with the beasties, b/c I can’t remember their names a week later…  mostly.  Good news is we got all the...

Sunday A.M: menudo and a cemetery walk

A cow-orker had recommended L&J for their menudo.  I’d been there one Saturday for lunch but was put off by the crowd and loud noise.*

overlooking White Sands

I was boondocking in the Sacramento mountains last month and took this pic.  The literal white sands are in the distance.

Article: Micro$oft on top of linux

Now I’ve started taking that idea more seriously — with a twist. Microsoft could replace Windows’ innards, the NT kernel, with a Linux kernel.

ScienceDaily: exotic physics phenomenon

I watch a site called ScienceDaily that reports on newly-published research.  Most days I can at least get the gist of the research.  This one has me complet...

young white men

…please get your shit together.  Hurting/killing non-aggressors is not ok.  It never has been.

wild animals, past and present

The past few weeks have been good for watching wild animals. A pair of skunks, lots of “least” chipmunks, ground squirrels (like prairie dogs), Albert’s squi...

replacement phone

I got my replacement phone in from eBay; it’s a workhorse and in great shape. 3GB RAM, quad core, 32GB internal and some kind of insano beyond-HD screen. $...

broken phone

[Note: I have no internet connection right now (Tuesday the 13th); this post was composeded offline in open source QTM and uploaded later.

the clowns keep coming

Yet another racist loon (infowars, flouride, etc) drives hundreds of miles to instigate sh!t in El Paso.

boondocking during the ELP shooting

I was escaping the ELP heat by camping in the forest outside Cloudcroft when the walmart shooting went down.  I have three SIMs  (tmo + verizon + att) and no...

personal record

For this 4-day weekend (courtesy of the 4x10 schedule) I sought out some higher elevation.   I am camped at 9600’, a personal record.

dogs of summer

Summer has officially started.   The dogs at the shelter are pretty comfortable.  Temps drop at night in the desert, cooling all the cinderblock buildings.  ...


Today at work we started 4x10 shifts (4 days x 10hrs/day), and added Saturdays.   The change is really good for me personally.

on cities and anti-RV laws

This is from a reddit thread where someone was expressing dismay at Flagstaff’s hostility to nomads.  This was my take, edited for this context:

little plastic flags

One of the more useful ideas I’ve come across in the last few years is Moral Foundations theory as described by Jonathan Haidt in The Righteous Mind.

tick issues fading

I’d written earlier about some lingering aftereffects Lyme disease.  Woke up the other day and realized that knee joint is back to only age-related pain.  :-...

tablets –> chromebook

I had two android tablets and traded them in for a used chromebook.   It’s worked out well.

springtime dogs

Once I was back up to snuff I headed out to the animal shelter.


I’ve been sidelined for a couple of weeks due to dental problems, specifically an abcessed tooth in my lower left jaw.  Not as much fun as it sounds.

Article: the affluent homeless

Johnson doesn't even have an apartment, actually. He rents a bed in a large room with other people who rent beds, for nights, weeks or months at a time, thro...

on the CTEK D250S charger and smartpass

The CTEK D250S-series charger is probably the most popular DC-DC (boosting) charger for vandwellers.  There are several reasons for this, I think:

bicycling in Juarez

I promised last time I would say more about a used bike I picked up. Here it is on the receiver hitch carrier.

Rosa’s Cantina

Yes, Rosa’s Cantina is (and was) a real place, although it didn’t exist in the Old West sense described in the famous song.

Rosa’s Cantina

Yes, Rosa’s Cantina is (and was) a real place, although it didn’t exist in the Old West sense described in the famous song.

stubborn walkers

There were only 4 housetrained dogs in the Large kennels, so I figured I’d get to some of the non-housetrained animals.

trusting salesmen

Salesmen are liars.    They can’t help it;  like the scorpion to who stings the frog crossing the river it’s their nature.

duolingo for learning Spanish

I’ve been using Duolingo, a free app, to learn survival Spanish.  I think it’s pretty good.  Luckily I am immersed in Spanish here in ELP, where folks routin...

Aztec cave trail

This morning I made a short hike into the Franklin mountains to the so-called Aztec Cave. Explorers found native artifacts in the alcoves and thought they we...

six months in the camper

Feb 14th was my six-month “vanniversary”.  There was a reddit post asking for van success stories.  My response wasn’t really what it was looking for but in ...

dog walking goal achieved

[caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”1280”] Saturn, a GSD mix[/caption]

fact check on the El Paso rally

[POTUS] again repeated false claims about crime in El Paso before and after a border fence was built, adding some new twists to his talking points. But he al...

Article: a good ad

I like the way the ad/sponsorship was placed in this article.  Simple, straightforward, clickable, and low bandwidth:

baby siamang?

Apparently siamangs exist and the El Paso zoo has inherited a baby one:

dogwalking: first outing

The animal handler shirt allows volunteers to take the beasties out for walks, etc.  I picked up a 6’ slip lead (the red one on the right) like the staff and...

pup bowl

I did some dogwalking on Superbowl Sunday.  Didn’t take many pics, but here are a couple.

CRVL: Thank U, next

I received another thoughtful reply from rvwandering, the only clueful mod at Cheap RV Living forum.  I understand his stated reasons (not presented here as ...

Amazon rewards card

I have a prime membership and get much of my stuff from Amazon.  They have delivery options and other features that fit well in the vanliving thang.

Yuma - prison and river hike

After downtown I hopped over to the site of the Yuma Territorial prison, since the warrant had long since expired.

Slab City

After the Salton Sea I headed a few miles away to Slab City (aka the Slabs), sometimes called the Last Free Place in America.

Palm Canyon (Kofa)

When I left the RTR I headed to the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. Camping in NWRs is similar to generic BLM land, but I really wanted to see Palm Canyon:

bee in my bonnet

I set up in the Organ Mountains - Desert Peaks national monument for the next couple of days.  We are on call due to weather threats in the far reaches of ou...

a tiring week or so

A few things going on.  None of them frustrating (because of my overall lowered stress level and flexibility offered by mobile living).  I might say frustrat...


Recently Amazon had a sale on 23andMe genetic ancestry kits.  I’d been kicking around the idea for a while and bit at the sale.

experiment: low end tuner/PVR

![31v57fjj5ol-_sy90]( knew the Myth setup would work, but right before I went FT I or...

watching the cowboys OTA

I watched the Cowboy game yesterday in the van.  The basic idea is my old laptop functions as a DVR, pulling OTA (over the air) programming from a OTA recive...


Here is a pic of the birds gathering to eat the bread I mentioned earlier:

I have a weekend!

I had to work last weekend so I am catching up on housekeeping this one:

Prediction: windows lite –> linux

At some point, Windows (or Windows Lite) will be a slick overlay on top of linux, the way MacOS is a beautiful layer on top of Darwin/BSD.  MS is already mov...

on principles

I read a blog comment recently.   Then I remarked on the incongruity of watching a self-described conservative argue against the principles of free trade and...

Thanksgiving 2018

Started the day early at the shelter, scooping poop and washing dog feedbowls.  Met this skinny, lovely pit.  Like many, she craved human interaction but was...

the dawgs of last weekend

This small dog was listed as part Rott but I think that’s not the case.  She’s too small, has a different head, etc.  Maybe part Manchester terrier, which wo...

Misc: packaging food for a tiny fridge

My  editing of the Big Bend scenario video is taking a long time due to my cluelessness and instability of the editor I picked.  Boo, openshot!  So in the me...

Bucket list: Big Bend

Big Bend has been #1 on my bucket list for a long time.  How can I have lived my whole life in Tx and never been here?

critter sitting: halloween edition

Previous weekends I’d been at the shelter after it opens to the public.  This Sunday I went in early to do some of the grunt work that happens behind the sce...

article: van-bashing

From 50 disappointing photos show what converted van living is really like, and article on Business Insider:

Side effect of solar + alternator charging

A few months I noticed something odd about my isolator charging system.    Then started to see a pattern.  Finally figured it out and wanted to share since t...

nitpicking FarOutRide’s solar power page

In this article I will address some thoughts I have on this rather good page on FarOutRide’s site.  I wouldn’t talk about it but it is getting a lot of fawni...

Marfa, then Fort Davis

Ok, changed my mind after the last post and stealth camped in Marfa.  I didn’t expect much, but didn’t want to be 20mi away and not go there.

Davis Mountains state park

I spent today in the Davis Mountains state park, a short distance from old Fort Davis.  Here’s the view from my “office”; on an overlook a little below 6000’...

kangaroo rat

When I was at the Organ Mountain[s] national monument I had the sliding door open after dark.   The interior light was throwing a bit of illumination on the ...


I bought some shadecloth before going FT and finally deployed it this weekend.

critter sitting: inaugural edition

I did my orientation at the local shelter last weekend, and did my first shift yesterday.  This task is called “critter sitter”, which means to sit with anim...

abused GC2s finally died

I’ve mentioned that a year ago I bought some used 6v (golf cart) batteries for basically core price. I limped along with them since then, but the last month...

Honeywell swamp cooler and a $100 mistake

![41jcgmfxl6l-_sy90]( before going FT I ordered a Honeywell CS071AE 176cfm evapora...

WITO, happy dog

I was at a city park this morning to make coffee and breakfast, and to walk. I was picking up what little litter there was with the grabber

the paracord abides

Before I left for ELP I bought a highly rated shaving bag off Amazon. It seemed fine until I used it the first time showering at planet fitness. The hanging ...


A couple of things I forgot to post recently.

Fort Brayard

I came down out of the forest on Sunday and walked/drive this military ghost town.

Gila national forest

Spent the long weekend on a trip to the Gila NF. There are cliff dwellings up there I wanted to see.

More from Lincoln NF

The trails were quite rocky. I might need boots with a stiffer sole to keep my feet from getting sore.

Gila national forest

Camped on this public lands over the weekend. 55deg right now at lunchtime.

NM: 8300’ USFS boondocking

This is my first weekend off from work at the new gig. Currently camping in a national forest in New Mexico at 8300’. I found another spot at 9300’ but there...

NM: 8300’ USFS boondocking

This is my first weekend off from work at the new gig. Currently camping in a national forest in New Mexico at 8300’. I found another spot at 9300’ but there...

run to the border

I should mention that my cooking spot from the last post was about 50yds from the border. Where I stealthed for the night was about 150yds from the border.

Day 2

Day 2 at work, and also 2nd workout at the gym.


There is a geocaching term “CITO”, which means Cache In Trash Out. You  bring a bag with you and carry out trash you find while geocaching.   For a few years...

breakfast at Gallegos

Made it el paso. The move into the van was easy; the move out of the house was tough.

last major item sold

Sold the beloved Honda NC700x to a really nice young man.   Gave away everything I had related to it, which was a lot.

Sudden FT

Good thing I started getting rid of stuff a year or two ago; I accepted a job with the same agency 700mi away.

Article: tiny homes in UT

Tiny homes tend to be smaller than 500 square feet and can be built on the ground or on wheels. They often consist of a loft bedroom, small bathroom, small k...

Verizon $5 3G apocalypse

A few days ago Verizon started shutting down flashed devices.  My wifi puck died on the first day of the apocalypse.  Even though my smartphone was still sho...

EL: Sunday, and the interview

I write this from a dispersed camping spot in the Organ Mountains - Desert Peaks National Monument.  At 6000ft it’s a few degrees cooler than El Paso at the ...

Road trip: El Paso

The interview is scheduled in El Paso on Monday, so I am on the way there now.  It’s 700mi from my sticks/bricks in NE Texas.

Installed the cruise control

Got around to installing the Rostra cruise control for the fullsize Promaster that I mentioned in an earlier post.

BDP map as of July 2018

I keep my “to do” list of places on a Google map layer.  This is what it looks like so far:

tiny Alpicool compressor fridges

In the last day or so I’ve run across a few instances of Trebor talking about the little Alpicool fridges.  They are tiny inside (15L, 20L, etc) but inexpens...

Cruise control - road trip to El Paso

A bunch of things are happening right now.  Might end up in a mad flurry/launch or just a blip on the radar.  Much thinking will be required.

Case study: 4 obstacles to vandwelling

This is an interesting case.  The poster has some of the usual beginner questions and misconceptions but she also has a laudable amount of self-awareness.  S...

overhead storage in PM

Note:  I originally tried to post this on CRVL, but the borked forum software has stopped parsing clickable thumbnails and displaying them.  So pasting the p...

tick sickness

I was recently brought low by a tick.  The V.A. started me on the CDC protocol for Lyme Disease on Monday night (Monday, June 3th).   We caught it early so h...

How MPPT works - video

Here is a MT50 display connected to a 4215BN mppt controller.  The controller is holding Float voltage (Vfloat).  Note that the screen we see here is stats o...

perfect storm of bad assumptions

It is easy to get burned out answering the same questions over and over.  It’s one of the reasons I started work on the RVwiki in general and the Gentle Intr...

forum sabbatical

I’m taking a break from the forums for a bit.  Couple of reasons:

work commute, competing plans

For the past 4 years I have lived about an hour away from work by choice.  I make city salary and enjoy rural quiet.

Backchannel: why bother

Sometimes I think the extra time I spend making precise posts is a waste of time – sometimes folks seem to willfully misunderstand.   Or maybe I’m on candid ...

tiny tiny rss, php7, mariadb

I had a virtual server instance that I hadn’t yet upgraded to the latest Debian stable (9/stretch).  There was a reason for this but I don’t remember what it...

Article: amortising RV internet

Here are poll results based on this question:  Would you pay extra for dependable, fast internet [at an RV park]?

WAG about CRVL’s mentor program

[Correction - It appears the downtime was an unplanned outage and the host/webmaster service is unwilling or unable to get it fixed. frater/jason]

WAG about CRVL’s mentor program

[Correction - It appears the downtime was an unplanned outage and the host/webmaster service is unwilling or unable to get it fixed. frater/jason]

In (faint) praise of the iPhone

I was assigned a work phone (boo!) and it was an iPhone 8 (boo!).  As much as it frustrates me with the “we know what’s best for you” apple approach, I do ha...

FGHOW - Frater going his own way

I’ve mentioned MGTOW on this blog a couple of times and wanted to throw out some hot takes on it.  I haven’t had any coffee yet so this might be stream of co...

Lesson learned: clothing and laundry

Reminder, relevant to this post:  the RTR outing, 13days OG (isn’t “off-grid” what the kidz mean when they say that? :-) was a test of my boondocking retirem...

Review: RV Boondocking Basics

[note:  just found this in my drafts from last year.  Going to push it out now in its unfinished state.]

CRVL matriarchy triggered

An entirely civil thread was closed by a mod because it chose rational discussion over the kneejerk White Knight approach Bob prefers.

working on the Chinese scooter

I plan on taking a lightweight scooter or dualsport bike with me when I hit the road.  My current road bike, a Honda NC700x, is too heavy at 500lb+.  I’d muc...

Lesson learned: water

The water situation went remarkably well, though I did have a few challenges.

Lesson learned: solar power and loads

For both personal and practical reasons my solar config was the most researched and planned part of my build.  It was time to see what she could do on a boon...

Lesson learned: RAM Promaster

This was the trip when I learned what it was like to live in the Promaster.   Did I make a good choice or an expensive mistake?

Winter RTR 2018: lessons learned

I’ve had time to think about and integrate some lessons learned from the Winter 2018 RTR.    It's time to start documenting those lessons.

Escape from RTR

Yesterday I started getting antsy about being around that many people. In today’s announcements Bob said BLM conservatively estimates 3000 folks attended so ...

RTR goals, seminar video

There are many reasons I wanted to physically attend the RTR.  Let’s see if I can put them in order during my first cuppa coffee:

Donor power fail: Yeti 150

I have a little power donation setup just inside the side entrance.  2x USB and a ciggy plug.  I figure folks with more advanced 12v outlets don’t need help....

Found a new spot, Stan, off-leash dog

Got up at daybreak, took a sink bath, and looked for a new place to camp.  Found a spot that might work:  full solar exposure (no saguaros throwing shade!), ...

Had to move from a secluded spot

[note:  I apologize for my grouchiness when I wrote this.   I went back and softened the most obnoxious part - frater/jason].

RTR Day -2 Monday = arrival

I don’t think I’m camped the furthest from main camp but it could be a tie.  :-)  GPS says I’m a quarter mile out to the south.  There’s a deep wash out visi...

Day 4 afternoon = Maricopa, BLM boondocking

Stopped by Maricopa to meet Mike (minivanmotoman on crvl) at his winter digs.  Had fun looking at his stable of motorcycles and discussing his van build.  I ...

Day 3, 6am = Tombstone and Benson

Got up early in Bisbee;  I needed to find a Walmart on the way to the RTR;  when I left the house at 0-dark-thirty that first night I’d swapped on some comfy...

Day 2, 9am = El Paso, TX

Took another break last night when I started yawning.  It really is a pleasant form of driving.  No more of that terrible deathmarch of trying to stay alert....

review: laundry in a bucket

based on this post, where we were discussing laundry options, including spin driers.  I had mentioned some YT videos wherein people used salad spinners for l...

backchannel: technical irrelevant answers

I have changed my posting behavior in several ways.  The most important way is now I usually only make one attempt to answer a question on a given thread, li...

VA cuts homeless program

The VA said it was essentially ending a special $460 million program that has dramatically reduced homelessness among chronically sick and vulnerable veteran...

Campervan: stage 1 complete

I just made a CRVL post about the camper hitting the first goal:  achieving functional campervan status.  It’s minimal and ugly but it works.   Could go out ...

Promaster low roof awesome for vandwellers

The Promaster high roof fares well compared to the competition.  It was my choice but I do see the charms in the the Transit high roof and (to a lesser exten...

Fulltiming while employed?

[This is based on a post on CRVL.  It sat as a draft for a long time.  No longer my current thinking but will publish it anyhow.]

discourse: Women’s RTR / Men’s RTR ban

Bob’s video of the RTR schedule has a lively comment section discussing the Women’s RTR.  Most of it is crap (male chauvinism, female SJW victimism) but ther...

discourse: Women’s RTR / Men’s RTR ban

Bob’s video of the RTR schedule has a lively comment section discussing the Women’s RTR.  Most of it is crap (male chauvinism, female SJW victimism) but ther...

CPY-2410 on the way

Right now mppt controller pricing looks something like this, using 10A as an example:


Caroline Winslow, 22, from Colorado, spent a summer turning her Ram Promaster into a cosy home, at a cost of around $7,000, which is the amount she received ...

backchannel: LYAHF and risk

I don't understand why he can't be named [on CRVL]. He is certainly exposed on the other forum.

trespass and assault at the build

The CRVL mods posted a thread about a sexual assault that is reported from the fall van build.  That thread pointed to a post in a Women’s Only thread.

Two ways to help people

There are at least two ways to help people:  rationally and compassionately.  There are people who can do both but most are mainly one or the other.  I talke...


One of the positive changes I’ve made in my life has been to distance myself from people whose behaviour I disapprove of. 


One of the positive changes I’ve made in my life has been to distance myself from people whose behaviour I disapprove of. 

backchannel: “dropping to bulk”

after Bulk (assuming no significant load) the controller is no longer [using] the Maximum power point (mpp).    It is [using] whatever sub-maximum po...

RVwiki: shallow-cycling

I’ve blogged about it a bit and made a forum post, but finally got around to making an RVwiki article about using the car’s starter battery with small solar ...

#nomadlife profiteers

I have heard that more money was made selling things to gold miners than was made by mining gold.

DC water heating FAIL

I’ve been planning on heating water as an opportunity load.  The intent is not so much to heat water (though that is a nice side effect).  I really mean to b...

Backchannel: workings of MPPT Controllers

Note:  the following is the text of a reply I wrote (then deleted) on CRVL. I replaced with something which I think will have more value for onlookers.

Backchannel: helping people

Update:  the Helping People thread was likely triggered by this post.  I thought the replies O.P. mentioned were clear and intended to help.

110vac installed

I’ve had the shore power port for a while but have only been feeding a power strip with it.   The residential wiring has also been pulled through the ceiling...

PM and Transit

A CRVL forum member PM’ed me some questions about both platforms they were test driving.  Here is my answer;  correct and critique where warranted: 

a little worried about RTR 2018

I was hoping that the announcement of the dates for the 2018 RTR would be forum-only and not on youtube.  Is it wrong to wish folks had to do a little readin...

craigsist score: R10 for $15

I snagged 3 R10 (2”) Dow XPS (blue Styrofoam) 8ft x 4ft sheets off craiglists.  $15/ea instead of $40/ea.  They are dirty but unused:

Cheap PWM as LVD/HVD

Yesterday I was thinking about needing a High Voltage Disconnect.  These are much harder to find than Low Voltage Disconnects, where are everywhere on amazon...

Shallow cycling at Vabs = 14.4v & 14.2v

The 20AH controller I ordered for the experiment came in first so that is the one I am using. It is is connected to some ancient HF 45W panels (3 x 15W in pa...

I hate humidity / oil change

Last night I was under the Promaster draining the motor oil and installing a Fumoto F106N quick drain valve. I chose the valve:

backchannel: browser image caching

I suggest that CRVL rules on not overquoting posts due to bandwidth restrictions are well-intentioned but poorly informed.  For example, text is incredibly “...

experiment: off-forum explication

I am an INTJ personality type.  Some aspects of this type mean I can be frustrating to others on forums and in real life.  I promise I’m not trying to frustr...

Article: Smoking in RV Campgrounds

“I’m sure a lot of people like to go camping to get closer to nature and immerse themselves in the sensory side of it. The smell of cigar smoke drifting thro...

learned helplessness

I mentioned before that I thought a gofundme given attention on CRVL would be the beginning of a deluge and a source of friction among existing members.

“How much water…”

AntiGroundhogDay posted a thread asking How much H2O do you need to boondock for a week?  Since the OP was asking for personal experience I will answer here ...

“How much water…”

AntiGroundhogDay posted a thread asking How much H2O do you need to boondock for a week?  Since the OP was asking for personal experience I will answer here ...

Maxxfan on backorder :-(

[I ordered a Maxxair 0007000K MaxxFan (remote, white) on June 2nd.  Just got an email from e-trailer about the order:

GC2 update

I mentioned earlier that I’d picked up some abused Duracell GC2 off craigslist for testing and for use as cores if it came to that.

used GC2 fail, more gear on the way

Took a chance on a pair of used Duracell GC2 6v batteries off craigslist.  I don’t have cores so I figured even if they were totally hosed I could use them a...

S&B power outage

Had a storm on Sunday morning and lost power for a few hours.

Born Free closes :-(

A dealer partner indicated that the company was on the verge of filing for bankruptcy; however, no cases had been filed as of this morning.

Engel (fridge) summer sweepstakes

I’d like a Sawafuji compressor fridge but they are srsly expensive.  Luckily Engel is having a sweepstakes with a monster prize:

$5 3G hack in the S&B

I’d read the Cheap RV Living forum’s Unlimited Verizon 3G $5 a month thread a few months back and it sounded like something I would like to explore.  After s...

Promaster insurance: 1500 vs 2500

[Backstory:  the Promaster’s cargo floor comes in 10’ and 12’ lengths.¹  The 10’ length is available in the lowest-run 1500 but to get the 12’ you have to ge...

got inside a Nissan NV2500

I was pretty sure I didn’t want an NV unless I got a screaming deal on it, but did want to give it a fair shake before dismissing it.

Finished the LiFePO4 megathread

Holy crap.  Finally finished the LiFePO4 thread over on the Cruisers & Sailing forum.  5,699 posts as of my last page load.  I started reading in mid-Feb...

shower thought: when to buy the camper

As I noted on CRVL forums I am starting to see used Promasters (some with a bit of warranty left) on the used market under the $20k mark.  Mostly 136” models...

RVwiki restoration

Over the last few days the RVwiki was modifed by spammers from eastern Europe.   It’s one of the disadvantages of crowdsourcing information (and my inattenti...

Letting go to move forward

I am aware there are things about Sticks & Bricks living that I will miss.   Not many, and they will be correctly jettisoned, but here they are:


I like keeping a passport up to date in the firesafe.   I’ve had one continually since I was in the Army in the 80s.

Article: Camping around Moab

"There is **no dispersed camping allowed on public lands in a 15- to 20-mile radius from Moab**," she said, adding that maps are available at the Moab Inform...

Article: off-road navigation with most things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—it’s easier to stay on top of where you are at all times than to suddenly realize you...

Chinese MPPT is a winner

I got in the EpSolar Tracer 1210A charge controller + MT50 monitor I ordered off eBay ($80 shipped).  It’s a great little piece of kit.  Substantial feeling ...

Promaster after my own heart

Winston in this thread on Promasterforum has his RV set up in some of the ways I’ve been thinking about.   Glad to see someone doing it so I can see how it l...

poor man’s converter

I’ve been trying to figure out a converter solution for my platform.  It would be used to charge the house batteries and run house 12v loads while hooked up ...

poor man’s converter

I’ve been trying to figure out a converter solution for my platform.  It would be used to charge the house batteries and run house 12v loads while hooked up ...

RVwiki: composting toilets

Tonight’s research project was an RVwiki entry on composting toilets.  The Nature’s Head model has been the main contender in my head so far but the C-Head i...

On track for military service buyback

The last chunk of my military service credit purchase will be complete on Aug 31, 2017.  In broad terms I purchased 1 year of military service credit in 2016...

Running the dealer gauntlet

I had a day off this “weekend” and was near civilization so I decided to get some time inside two of my shortlist van platforms:  the RAM Promaster and Ford ...

online banking

I’ve been threatening for years to open an account with an online-only bank.  I was trying to choose between Ally and Charles Schwab.  Schwab gets the nod fo...

daily progress: decluttering

I saw my delightful (and newlywed) daughter recently.  She was able to  and she was able to use:

Don’t be me: buffered RAM

I was a bit giddy after after wholly successful laptop upgrade and decided to upgrade/max the RAM in my arch linux desktop, too.

Don’t be me: buffered RAM

I was a bit giddy after after wholly successful laptop upgrade and decided to upgrade/max the RAM in my arch linux desktop, too.


I am currently working through the monster Ca&S LFP battery thread; after a couple of weeks I am well over 1000 posts in.  That’s maybe a third of the to...

Passport card

My passport has expired.  I am giving serious thought to renewing with a passport card rather than a passport book.

snowball –> 401k

I was paying off my credit cards at $1200/mo, plus any unused funds that might show up.

on crowdfunding

A few years ago I decided to restructure my charitable giving in order to increase effectiveness and reduce my stress.  Here is my approach:


I have a 16yo laptop that runs decently on lightweight linux (arch, openbox on debian) but it will not cut the mustard as a workstation.

estate sale gear

Picked up a couple more items for my list of gear.  Some of the stuff is new gear I will need, and some is downsized/rightsized/simplified gear that will fit...

Tethering a VS415PP on Verizon 3g

I bought a phone flashed with a grandfathered 3g unlimited plan from a private seller, who had in turn bought it from one of the [in]famous eBay device flash...

Shore power donor

[Edit:  the idea of minimizing wiring losses is central to this idea.  So central that, like a fish is unaware of water, I forgot to mention it at all.  Than...

Previous life: family living in a 24’ TT

When I was in the army I bought, unseen, a mid-70s Holiday Rambler to live in once I was discharged. I think it was 22 or 24’ and looked like the model shown...

Previous life: family living in a 24’ TT

When I was in the army I bought, unseen, a mid-70s Holiday Rambler to live in once I was discharged. I think it was 22 or 24’ and looked like the model shown...

resource frugality: ignore the timesucks

Dealing with time vortexes is an irretrievable waste of time.  In this case I am talking about time-sucking people online:  in forums, comments, reddit, what...

the Atlantic: RVs and the economy

...RV sales turn out to be a pretty good predictor too: When RV sales are doing well, the economy follows; when RV sales tank, the economy is soon to tank to...

increasing value of comp time

I was looking over my timecard at work and saw that I have about 4 months of sick/comp/vacation time accrued.


I paid off my credit card debt and now the only money I owe is on my Honda motorcycle.

Eva-Dry 12v adapter output

[caption id=”attachment_1899” align=”alignright” width=”160”][ Eva-Dry EDV-1100[/caption]

Winnebago courts millennials

"Winnebago is rebuilding itself, expanding its line and doubling down on smaller, sleeker and less expensive RVs that will appeal to younger buyers."

RV Talk Radio podcast v. minimalists

Rob is a fellow of strong opinions and he doesn’t mind putting other RVers down.  One of his favorite topics is defining who real RVers are and what the real...

making the most of intermittent internet

RV folks without mobile data plans (or outside of cell coverage) have to deal with brief periods of wifi access followed by long stretches of no connection. ...

like new

This van was listed as LIKE NEW on craigslist.  I think they may be exaggerating somewhat.

Walmart parking in Rapid Falls

A reminder to check with the WM manager and city laws.  I am a little disturbed by that “handshake agreement” angle.  What if they made a handshake agreement...

Paris: closing migrant camps

This isn’t exactly germane to American nomads, but I think the arguments against migrant camps there are similar to anti-RV laws in American cities.  Somethi...

RV insurance for full-timers

The Living the RV Dream podcast recently rebroadcast their RV Insurance episode.  It’s worth a listen.

SSONR (“Sonar”) club

There is a thread on CheapRVliving where folks discuss nomadic retirement on SS benefits only.  IMO, a nomadic retirement may be the best way to survive on S...

SSONR (“Sonar”) club

There is a thread on CheapRVliving where folks discuss nomadic retirement on SS benefits only.  IMO, a nomadic retirement may be the best way to survive on S...

Why not now?

When I attended the RV show recently I was asked by salesdroids (for their own purposes) why I am waiting for retirement.   There are a few reasons.

attachment to things

The other day I realized that if my house burned down I wouldn’t be devastated.

library eBook loans for nomads

Many (most?) public libraries have digital media collections that cardholders can use for free.  This includes ebooks in kindle or epub formats, audiobooks, ...

Winnebago to buy Grand Design for 500M

FOREST CITY — Winnebago Industries has entered into a agreement to buy Grand Design Recreational Vehicle Co., a manufacturer of towable RVs, for approximatel...

email bandwidth conservation

Email is something we take for granted until we can’t get it; then it’s a First World Crisis.  Luckily email can be extremely efficient because text is cheap...

Payday paydown for October

I work at a state agency where we get paid on the 1st of each month.  I pay (or schedule) all my bills that day so everything is done for the month.

pressure cookers for nomads

I can hear you already:  “Fieldmouse, you must be out of your mind!  Pressure cookers are big, heavy things that just take up space.”

Internet best practices: web security

Based on my reading of this thread RVers could use some clear information on how to minimize risk online.   Using that topic as a jumping off point I plan on...

Southwest RV show

I attended this show.  The best part was standing in the various models to see what I liked and didn’t like.

data hygiene

I have started to de-dupe and optimize my data (eBooks, music, Old Time Radio, documents).

durable goods

Since July when I started this blog, I have not purchased any durable (ie, non-consumable) goods that don’t fit the boondock plan.

trend: domestic travel increases

While airlines and overseas travel destination vacation sales are slumping, domestic travel and destinations appear to be on the rise. Along with this, RV re...


Monday I woke up and realized:

VA medical benefits are portable

Today I finally looked up whether or not Veterans Administration benefits are geographically portable.  Good news!

First RV dealer visit

There are 3-4 RV stealerships close to where I work.  I finally stopped in at one.  Would have done it earlier but I dread the hard sell.

BLM seeks public comment on Mojave Trail

A series of envisioning sessions will enable the public to provide comments on specific interests and concerns that will assist the BLM in the development of...

Article: SD Petrified Forest

At South Dakota’s Petrified Forest of the Black Hills, a museum open since 1929 near Rapid City, the earth has preserved a cypress swamp 120 million years ol...

$10 cordless drill

One of the tools I will need is a cordless drill. I keep seeing them at thrift stores but hadn’t picked one up yet.  Yesterday I was at a little thrift shop ...

4x4 vs. locking diff

I’ve had 4x4 vehicles before and am aware of the limitations of open diffs.

sent off the DD214

Emailed off my DD214 to get a quote for buying back my 3yrs, 9mos of army service. I was exited 3mos earlier than my 4yr enlistment as a cost reduction.

Poor man’s Wifi Ranger

Wifi Rangers are nice, and they are also $$$.  That kind of setup does a couple of things:

Poor man’s Wifi Ranger

Wifi Rangers are nice, and they are also $$$.  That kind of setup does a couple of things:

one or zero books

I used to love physical books.  At one point they were (by weight) my most significant posessions.