Wednesday, February 15, 2017
We picked up the pace again and headed out for Zion. The Watchman campground is open, though it's the only one right now. I was worried about finding a spot. Zion is hugely popular, and during reservation season, is almost always 100% full. And while there are a lot of people here in the campground, we did find a space we fit into and are happy occupying.
Monday, February 13, 2017
Sunday, February 5, 2017
I got very excited to have electricity while camping, because I could use the hand mixer I brought with us for our trailer journeys. I've been making blueberry muffins and quick breads, but I had yet to make the leap to bread. I love kneading bread by hand, but I like room to groove. I got no groove in the trailer. Maybe a slight bebop, but no groove. I tried it any way. We do love a good homemade bread. The kids were super psyched to have a fresh loaf with dinner. Oh, and to melt the butter into it? Heaven on earth. I did re-learn, though, that my hand mixer isn't really meant for bread dough. So I probably could have been doing loaves all along, because so much of it I did by hand, I can't imagine that the first part is any more difficult by hand. I haven't done bread this way since before Bill and I got married--you forget details like this. And G wants to learn to make bread, because he'd like monkey bread for his birthday. Yum!!!
Our first longer stay at a campground was in Padre Island, where we had no electric (or any other) hookup. No problem, we've got solar panels. Know what solar panels require? Good sunlight. Know what Padre Island was missing whilst we were there? Good sunlight. We took our battery down LOW. And we were struggling to use anything at night. Even one light seemed to suck us dry. So we used our Luci lights (I LOVE those). By the time we left Padre Island, our battery was down to about 30%, and you're really not supposed to take it below 50%. Hmmm....
Since Padre Island, we've really avoided staying places without electrical hookups. Which is a shame, a lot of places are pretty expensive for the full hookup experience. It also keeps us out of a lot of national parks, especially ones with older campgrounds or that are somewhat isolated. We stayed at Guadalupe Mountains National Park in TX, but that was really only for three nights. Pretty sweet, price-wise ($8), but no hookups. We were pretty low battery-wise by the end of those three nights.
We've been sitting pretty at Hickiwan Trails for a couple weeks, so Bill decided it was time to test all our stuff and see what is really sucking our energy. Holy cow. Each lightbulb we had (incandescent) used 1.5 amps or so. Each bulb! Aside from our heater and our refrigerator's climate control, that's our biggest suck. I had ordered LEDs off Amazon, but I had sent them to my parents and we willpick them up in a few weeks when we're there for the annual ski trip. Except that from here, we want to go to Joshua Tree and Death Valley, both no hookups. Our campground managers had mentioned that you can get packages shipped here, so Bill talked to them to see what delivery times are like. We are now the proud owners and users of LEDs. Each of those bulbs uses .11 amps. That's right, we are now only using less than 10% of what we were using before. What a relief. We can now use four lights (or more) while cooking and eating, making sure we feel comfy and such, while still using less than we were struggling with before.
We've been running an experiment while we still have the hookup (and the ability to rescue ourselves), to go alone on solar. We've not been fully recharging during the days, but we went three nights and only got down to 50% on the battery. Yeah! Next step, more solar. We only have 100 watts or so of solar. I think we're going to double that before we leave my parents' house after the ski trip.