Summer Travel Plans 2019

This post is geared more to the RV’ers than the Amateurs Radio ops

With the current price of fuel (was $1.23 a Litre when I was driving home last night) we have decided to hold off our purchase of a new (to us) rig.  There is no point making payments on a rig we can’t afford to move….

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This summer is still going to be a camping year with lots of time spent in our existing trailer but less time (and miles) in the truck getting there. 

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Living in Kingston (on the St. Lawrence River at the end of Lake Ontario) gives us many wonderful areas to camp in.  Between the St. Lawrence Parks Commission and the Ontario Parks we have many public parks within a 2 hour drive of home.

We also plan (after checking the Crown Land Map) want to try some boondocking later in the season. For more basic info on the topic try a Google search of Crown Land in <Province>

For my non camping followers “Boondocking” is a term that we use when we are camping out in the boonies on public land that is free to use.  There are no services but also no (or next to no) costs for the stay.  This is sometime refered to as dry camping

For my non-Canadian followers Crown Land is roughly the same as BLM Land in the States.  Depending on the designation of the land we have the option of staying for free on certain plots of land.  This is on a first come first served with no reservations (space and access could be limited)  and I believe (memory fail) that its either a 2 week or 4 week maximum stay. 

Not an issue as with our trailer we would have to move to a location where we could  dump our grey and black tanks and refill the fresh tank about every 7 days so…  It is something in the back of our minds for now.

Now back to the present.  At the end of April Erika (daughter) and myself will be taking the trailer out of storage and towing to a location where we will be giving it the once over, correcting anything that is not in order after the winter and giving it a good cleaning.  This will be done in anticipation of the shake down cruse for the new season planned for the end of May and the first couple weeks of June.

After that who knows???  At this time we have plans for most of September between the Amateur Radio camping trip for Chillycon in mid September followed by a potential season ending trip at the end of September … but depending on the weather we might try to make it to Riverside Cedars campground just east of Morrisburg Ontario  for the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend in mid October.  Liz and I  did that two years ago and really enjoyed it but we were glad our site had electricity as we did need the electric heater overnight.

Right now most of this is thinking out loud but the new (to us) rig will not be happening till we can figure out what the “static costs” will be along with the “camping costs”  At this time our “Static costs” are storage 75.00 and insurance 25.00 so in reality the trailer costs me a minimum of  $100.00 per month if it turns a wheel or not.

Now with a new rig (especially if its financed) you have the monthly payment, your insurance costs will be higher and you will still need to store it when not is use.  These factors could easily raise the static costs to over $500.00 per month without even turning a wheel.  I don’t want to own a camper that I can’t afford to travel in so…  Lets see what the price of fuel will be doing (my guess is rising) before we tie up major funds in a new rig.

Much more on this topic later but till then…

Safe Travels

Bob

Solar and Generator for the new season

Well seeing that the camper is in storage till the snow melts…  Its time to look on line and find some new toys for the old camper that will easily be relocated to the new camper after we return from the anticipated Newfoundland Tour in the summer of 2019.

The plan was (and actually still is) to get enough solar power to run the rig for extended periods of time while dry camping (boondocking).  The timetable would be that about every 7-10 days we would have to visit a campground for an overniter (groceries, dump and refill tanks as needed and a real shower) and then back to the boonies.

In addition to the solar setup I wanted to buy a larger generator.  The little 1.5kw Champion we have now is fantastic…. Easy on fuel and really quiet ….  BUT (you knew there had to be a but…) it does not have enough ooomph for all our power requirements.  A few more amps should we have the need to run the AC or a backup heater depending on the weather would be nice along with charging the house batteries should the need arise (cloudy week?)

After a little bit or internet searching (google and amazon can be your friend) I came up with the following:

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WARNING–> THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT OF THE PRODUCTS.  AFTER CHECKING PRICES AND FEATURES IT SEEMS LIKE IT WOULD WORK FOR ME.  DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT. DO YOUR OWN HOMEWORK AND BUY WHAT YOU THINK WOULD WORK FOR YOU.  

I AM NOT RECEIVING ANY COMPENSATION FOR MY MENTIONING OF THE FOLLOWING PRODUCTS NOR AM I ASKING FOR ANY COMPENSATION.

PRICE AND FEATURES ARE MY ONLY FACTORS IN SELECTING THE PRODUCTS AND LIKE I SAID…. I THINK IT WILL WORK FOR ME…. NOT FOR YOU…. FOR ME

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For the generator I have chosen the Champion 4000w/3500 running w Generator/inverter.  

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Its a name I trust and the prices seem comparable with other lines.  Its a little noisier than the same size inverters that are enclosed in plastic but according to its stats its the same DB as my current champion and as I mentioned earlier in this post ….  its pretty quiet.

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It also will be easy to chain up in the back of the truck as its the same style as my current Champion

Next time we talk power it will be Solar Power

Safe Travels

Bob

The “Tow Vehicle” remains on the road

This morning “The Dodge” and I returned to the Drive Clean Inspection station to re take our emissions test.  The first test was on Friday and it was a fail as I have had some electrical issues with the truck and the fix for that was removing the battery to clean all connections as it had needed a boost earlier in the week.  The cleaning worked as the truck is back starting as it should.  

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The downside to that is that the removing of the battery had also wiped the onboard computers memory so the data needed by the Drive Clean computer was not there.  They failed the first attempt as there was not enough data to check through…  They told me to drive it for a few days,  burn off some miles and then come back.

As the check engine light had been on, I had the  errorcodes read well before the test was due and knew that I had an issue with one cylinder occasionally miss firing along with a weak sealing gas cap.  Both would cause a fail.  

With the mileage on the truck approaching 500,000 kms I was not going to tear the engine apart to fix the issue so I started out as safely and cheaply as I could.  There is a popular fuel additive called “Sea Foam”.  YouTube users and backyard mechanics rave about its features and I have used it in the past to clean all the crap out of my Champion Generator when it got stored with gas that went stale and varnished…   I was not sure if it worked but the truck was idling better…

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The end result was that the truck passed with the help of a new gas cap and two cans of the wonder liquid Sea Foam and now the Ministry of Transportation for Ontario will let me renew my plates… 

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All this was done for a cash outlay of $50.00 plus the $17.50 cost of the re test.  (The first test was free)…

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Above map shows the Province of Newfoundland (VO1) in ham language

So whats next???  Well I guess its now decision time….  The original plan was to get a new (to us) truck in the spring to pull our anticipated new (to us) trailer and stay in Ontario rather than travel in the summer of 2019.   But as nothing was carved in stone the thought now is to head east to Newfoundland for the summer of 2019 which means no truck and trailer replacement till 2020.  As of right now (till she changes my mind again) is the plan.  But between now and Newfoundland some minor stuff like new tires along with some bondo on the rougher parts of the truck will be done. 

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Of course for this to happen it goes without saying that the trailer (the funny thing that follows the truck) must have a good winter in storage and be in good enough shape to make the trip.

More on our anticipated trip to the most Eastern Canadian Province will be coming up in the spring

Safe Travels

Bob