I was freezing when I woke up in the morning. I kicked on the furnace and it worked really well. We had had to eliminate one of the ducts yesterday to make room for the inverter, but the two remaining outlets provided plenty of heat. Billy’s improvised stopper worked solidly and no heat was moving past it to blow on the inverter.
The crew arrived at 8:00 and got busy finishing things up. I worked on gluing down the running boards for the cab which had come loose on the motorhome. Cleaned all the surfaces and used the 3M vhb tape to attach the rubber treads to the fiberglass steps. Holds amazingly well, you just have to be sure to set it exactly where you want it the first time out. When it’s down, it’s stuck. They are off by a few millimeters, but I don’t think anyone will notice but me.
Billy was finished with the install by 11:00 and I played around with the controllers. Mike came in and we set all the controls to the proper parameters for my batteries and charging system. The cigarette lighter outlet in the dash that runs off of the house batteries had gone dead. I might have blown it running the vacuum cleaner through it to clean up the sawdust. Billy couldn’t figure out how to get the fuse cover off and neither could I. @#&*ing engineers at Chevrolet. I ended up breaking the little tabs holding it down. Sure enough, the fuse was blown and we had none of the mini ones to replace it. My morning exercise in frustration.
Mike hires a lot of the young people around the slab to clean up the area and organize things and a few of them were coming and going and doing little projects. He’s a pretty well respected guy around the community. He and I studied the manuals and went over as much as we could about the system and how to use and maintain it then I paid him up and hit the road.
Toured around the slabs for a while but to be honest, not really my ball of cheese. Lots of free thinkers, musicians and artists but also bits of sketchiness. Lots of trash and abandoned stuff. Kind of a post-apocalyptic landscape, a mad max meets burning man sort of vibe. Drove out past the impromptu skate park on one slab and had a look at a couple of boondocking areas where I was considering spending the night. Stopped and had a look at Salvation Mountain, one man’s life work of artistic and spiritual expression. It has become a pretty well-known attraction. There were lots of tourist types sprinkled in among the hippies. In the end, I opted to head up the road a few miles and join the oldies at the Fountain of Youth RV park where I could get a hot shower and a home cooked meal.
Pulled in around 4:00 pm and got a few supplies at the store and checked out the hot mineral baths. Rode my bike around and checked out the gym and pool area. Got the RV all parked up and levelled then phoned home and talked to PJ for quite a while. Had a nice hot shower in the squeaky clean restroom complex. There are lots of seniors working around the park.
I get the impression that a lot of them get a break on rent for volunteering to keep the place up. Anyway, the place is clean, quiet and is a total monoculture of old white people. Everyone is exceedingly friendly and greets you as they pass by on the street. I walked down to the café and had my first plate of food that wasn’t a peanut butter sandwich since I left the house. Well showered and well fed, I retired to the motorhome at it’s barren spot in the gravel yard. Kind of like a giant parking lot. Not a peep of noise all night. Slept like a baby.
I got up the next morning and went for a hike around their little mini-city and then out into the desert. Followed a marked trail for a way and it came up to a little maze circle that I did a little walk around. They had little meditation signs along the path.I was surprised by the amount of wildlife that was moving around the rocky ground. Lots of birds and lizards. On the walk back up the hill to the dry camping area, I was amazed to come upon a large deer wandering through the park. I got a few pictures, then went back to the van and checked out the solar system. It seems to be charging well. I can see the change when clouds pass overhead and the number of amps going in drops dramatically. Played with the monitors a bit, learning what they can tell me. I wanted to be sure that the system was functioning properly before driving home to avoid another 3 hour commute to visit Solar Mike. Satisfied that things were working as they were supposed to, I packed everything up and made the journey home.