Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Oops, the Mistake’s on Us

Friday May 30, 2014
Somerset Service Plaza
Pennsylvania Turnpike



Final thoughts on the Solar Saga.

Greg Young came by this morning to bring us a receipt we could use for taxes and we were happy to be able to report that after boondocking for two nights in a row, everything is working fine.  We are all very relieved.  So this will be my last solar post.  I am pretty confident.  And as I close it out, I want to say that in spite of two weeks of difficulty getting all this set right, through the entire affair, Greg Young displayed an up beat attitude, accepted responsibility for making things right and demonstrated an honesty and integrity rare in the business world.  He is tireless and unflappable.  We wish him the best in his future endeavors.



Then we get a knock on the door.

It’s about 1:00 in the afternoon.  We think we have plenty of time to get everything packed up after lunch and be completely ready for a big get away early in the morning.  We plan a longer than usual drive to do some catch up on our route.  there is a rap rap on the door.  

David answers and the campground manager says “Check out time is Noon”.   Huh?   She tells us she has the site rented for tonight and that Greg only took it for us for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. 

Opps.  Looks like we misheard when he said “you’ve got the site to Friday”, we heard “through Friday”.  So we assure her we will be out of the site ASAP.   We are so totally not anywhere near packed up but we scramble and amazingly pull out 45 minutes later.  That is definitely a record for us.



Where are we going?



No idea.  Those of you on the road know that a Friday night is not the night to come rolling in anywhere and expect to find a site.

I’ve been caught off guard.  I have not even a sketchy plan.  A rare situation for me.

We go down the narrow windy road in the direction of the PA Turnpike.  We stop at an empty lot on a corner where we will turn right.   We put the car on the RV.  We pull across the road and fill up the tank at $3.799.  David picks up a freshly made chocolate peanut butter brownie for good luck.  We are on our way.




I look at what I had planned for tomorrow. 



It’s now nearly 3:00.  No way we can possibly make that destination in what is left of the day.  I decide we’ll drive until around sunset I start researching where that will get us and what might be there.  Thank goodness for internet on the road.



What is all this bouncing?

Speaking of the road,  it doesn’t seem nearly as nice as it did two weeks ago Friday when I commented on this blog that our drive on this same stretch was amazingly nice. I was surprised at the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  It seemed much better than I remembered. 

But not today!   In fact we are now bouncing quite seriously with these irregularities in the road.  I’m wondering if something has happened to our shocks or our suspension in the past two weeks.  This is the very same road we were on then.  I don’t see anyone else bouncing like this.  At some points, We slow down to 35 mph to stop the porpoise effect.  We certainly aren’t going to make good time this way.  Have any of you ever had this bouncing happen?   And if so, what was it?



In our rush to get out of the site, we totally forget about lunch.

We’ve had no lunch since we were working up to it when the knock came on the door.  So David snacks on sourdough pounder pretzels and an apple.  I have a few peanuts and a few peanut M&Ms.  I think he wins the nutrition contest.

About 5:30 we stop at a service plaza and have a Double R Bar Burger in honor of it being David’s favorite hamburger in his youth and Roy looking like my dad.  Or is it my dad who looked like Roy.   Anyway it is a carb overload.


The sun is sinking in the west.

On we drive.  UP over mountains, through tunnels.  The sun is in our eyes.   I’ve determined that if we want to stop before dark, Service Plaza 112 or exit 110 is the place.  After 200 miles, there it is.  We could drive further, we’re not really tired but we don’t want to drive in the dark and do want to get a VERY early start in the morning.  Hardly a PDD day but amazing for us given a start at 3:00 in the afternoon.


Should we ask permission?


We decide to just pull in among the 18 wheelers and spend the night at the service plaza which will save us the trouble of getting off and back on the turnpike and of looking for a Walmart/Cracker Barrel/whatever for a blacktop boondock.

So here we are.  We haven’t asked permission.  David is more concerned about this than I am.  My theory is “It is easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission”.  Hope nobody comes pounding on our door a second time today.

We do get a pretty nice sunset here in our asphalt boondocking site amid the tractor trailers idling and releasing those whooshing air sounds.  Boy they are a noisy bunch.

Wish us luck.  Hope we can sleep. 
Hope they don’t wake us up and ask us to move.

Who knows where we will be tomorrow.
But we’re on our way!

Crossing our Fingers

Thursday May 29, 2014
Brandywine Creek Campground
Glenmoore, Pennsylvania



Solar Update

We arrive back at Brandywine Creek Campground on Tuesday afternoon with all of the information David collected over 4 days at Shawnee State Park with low voltage and his discovery on Tuesday after we arrived of a grounding wire hanging down under the coach.  Only problem is, he didn’t know that was THE wire.  He thought it was one Greg had decided not to use.  Turns out that it was supposed to be attached to that infamous brass bolt that broke off due to being tightened too tight last week.  Greg and Jimmy, another electrician, arrive about 4:00 and they retrace what David has shown them.  The errant ground turns out to be the key to why nothing worked after we left here last time.  Plans are to rewire some things based on what David read in the manuals, saw in wiring diagrams and confirmed with Jack Mayer, a saint and solar guru, and with AM Solar with whom he talked several times.  The system is functional the way it has been wired, but it was not optimal and would lead to problems down the line that may not have shown up for some time.

We’re hoping all these together will put things to right so that we can take the plunge again at the end of the week and head back down the PA Turnpike for what we hope is the very last time.  

Our trip from Shawnee State Park back here was absolutely horrendous.  The turnpike going east is much much worse than it was going west.  $37.15 to have the coach almost bouncing off its chassis is not amusing.




I visit Whole Foods to stay out of the way.


whole foods


On Wednesday, while they are taking all 4 batteries out to be tested to insure no damage was done to them and doing the rewiring,  I manage to find a Whole Foods but have to drive 25 miles on the worst roads I’ve seen since I’ve been full timing.  Thankfully Ruby can handle these things better than Winnona. 

Pennsylvania wins the award hands down for the worst roads of any state I’ve travelled through.   It has just been marked off my list of places to ever return to other than driving I-81 through on my way to other places.  MAYBE.


whole foods 2


Whole Foods continues to be wonderful and I find all the things I love there including bulk spices where I buy an amount that will refill my dried oregano spice jar for $.08.  Yes you heard me right.  Not $2.59 which is the normal price for a jar of Oregano in most spice isles, but $.08 to refill my existing jar.  Not all Whole Foods have bulk spices but boy do I love them when they do.  As most of you know, I travel with half a dozen fresh herbs so I don’t use dried a lot but some recipes call for them.  If you don’t use them a lot, they can outlast their freshness shelf life so being able to replenish them inexpensively is great.  Thank you Whole Foods.   And thanks too for bulk Nutritional Yeast.   Everything is fresher and less expensive in bulk.


The Duckies become famous and take a dip.


Since I took the Duckie family portrait for Paul Dahl who gave a shout out to them on his blog, R Sanity RV Adventures, the other day, I thought I’d post if for those of you who may wonder what this “Duckie view” on our side bar is all about. 

The Duckie brothers and their adopted friend MWP (Mini Winnie the Pooh) ride on the dashboard and have the ‘out the front windshield’ view at all times.  They also get out into the water any time they can.  They particularly like the campsite at Brandywine Creek since the creek is right there and they can take a swim.  Actually MW isn’t much for swimming but he’ll go and watch.  David says he’s sitting on his tube but he has found that it doesn’t hold him up in the water.  For those interested in serious trivia, the story of the beach rescue of MWP can be found in this post from 2012.


gazing at the creek just beyond the rock borderIMG_3256

 swimming in the creek



No Cuyahoga National park for me this trip.

Unfortunately all this delay is resulting in our having to cancel our stop by the mystery National Park in Ohio.  I guess I’ll have to catch it later.  Actually it’s not quite so much of a loss as one would think since many of the trails and the Tow Path Bike route are closed or partially closed due to flooding according to their website.  Perhaps I can route us this way next time we go to Maine since we for sure will be coming up I-81 and not I-95 to do that.  And no more turnpikes!!

Isn’t this life style with its wonderful flexibility just simply fantastic!!





We visit The Coffee Cup diner.

On Thursday David chooses, as you would guess, to go out for breakfast as his reward for SO many hours spent troubleshooting this problem.   We are talking here about days of doing nothing but tracing wires and reading manuals.  This was a very hard won breakfast that’s for sure.  I find a place called The Coffee Cup which I think he will like.  It’s much more charming and clear than my pictures would lead you to believe.

When we get there it doesn’t look like much on the outside but on the inside it turns out to be one of those old fashioned diners he likes so well.  I get out my camera to take a picture of him going inside only to find that A) I have left the memory card in my computer and B) this Canon SX 50 has no internal memory which shocked me.  I’ve never had a digital that didn’t have some internal memory until this one.

So I use my HTC Rezound android phone camera and get another shock.  The pictures are terrible.  Seriously dreadful.  The thing only focuses about half the time.  My HTC Thunderbolt gave up the ghost a few months ago and I had an extended warranty.  I wanted to keep my unlimited data plan, so I used the warranty rather than upgrade.  But, what I didn’t know is that they would not replace the Thunderbolt with another Thunderbolt but only with the Rezound which I guess is a newer model but it is isn’t nearly the phone the Thunderbolt was in many ways including the camera.

I have put the pictures here just so David can remember it but boy are they appalling.  My apologies if they make your eyes cross.   That will be the last time I use this camera for pictures but I think you can read the menu.  Notice that in addition to scrapple, you can order Messes.  :-)











David may not be adventurous in a lot of things but he is when it comes to food.  He actually had scrapple for breakfast which is apparently a local favorite.  Eewww I tasted it and thought it was awful.

In the afternoon, I work on this post and David talks again to AM Solar to clarify some settings on the monitors.  Greg arrives 4:00 and installs overload protection and a disconnect switch for the inverter/charger to wrap up what we hope is the end of this 13 day “lesson on solar installations.”

We're hanging out here for Friday.  One more day to do some more boondocking over night and all day to make sure things continue working fine.  The weather has certainly not been very favorable to gathering solar power.  IF the weather tomorrow improves over the past 3 chilly, rainy days, we might to do some kayaking on nearby Marsh Creek State Park which has an enormous man made lake.  I’m not a fan of dams and wish we’d set the rivers and streams free.  I’d give up my paddling on them and any lake front views for similar things on the rivers and streams.  That is if they’d ask me to vote on it.

Right now, we plan to leave Saturday and have our fingers and toes crossed that everything is configured the way it should be for all systems to be GO on into infinity.   If not, we may just give up and head west to Oregon and drop in on AM Solar or happen to wander by Jack Mayer’s place. I think he’s in Colorado. HA!

Many have said “this too shall pass” and I’ve always told my daughter, “will you remember this in 5 years?”  We hope it has and that we don’t.

Day 10 in the Solar Fiasco

Monday May 26, 2014
Shawnee State Park
Schellsburg, PA



First,  how about some news that is not just about the solar mess.


Batteries for sale – big discount!




Due to our new AGMs, we now have 2 RV/Marine Deep Cycle 29 HM batteries with CA@ 32 degrees, 840, and CCA @ 0 degress (640) Reserve=210 for sale for a great price. They are nearly new. We got them in July of last year. Not even a year old. Sure hope someone will pick them up before we have to lug them to the next campsite and put them and the sign out in front of the coach.



Anybody have advice for funny toes??

One final note, on a totally different note, has anyone ever had a feeling like you hit your crazy bone only in your toes? It has happened several times recently but gone away.  But Friday night, I was laying down while talking to Carrie on the phone and when I got up I almost fell down from the pain which isn’t going away. I have to walk on my heel and the ball of my foot. Any ideas?

I had no problem on Thursday’s hike or after it. This began about 10:00 Friday night and continues. It’s better with shoes on than in bare feet which is a real bummer for me since bare feet are my preference anywhere I can and always around the house most of the time.

I’ve tried ice, Aleve and Topricin which worked so well on my trigger thumb.   They have helped some but they haven’t made it disappear.  

All suggestions or stories of similar strange electric sensations encouraged.


OK can’t avoid it any longer.


Today is Day 10 of this Fiasco.



In spite of having spent pretty much all day every day since we got here on Friday trying to figure out what in the world is wrong, everything is the same as it was.

Today David spent his time trying to figure out what is wired to what and if there is any clue there.  Due to space constraints, two of the batteries are under the steps and two are in the basement bin next door.  All the wires running from one battery to the other battery and from batteries to the solar charger and inverter/charger are a mass of wires going through walls and behind the steps where it is nearly impossible to see which wire is which.   There are multiple black wires, multiple red wires and multiple red and black wires.  He labeled everything he could.




He checked the manuals to verify the wiring of both the inverter and the solar charger.  The Tristar charger does not have a good electric schematic.   He went through the remote displays for each device and checked to make sure each was set appropriately for our batteries.   He made a list of the issues in question for both the settings and the wiring.








He took all connections off of each battery and tested them each individually.  They give the following readings:  the ones in the basement, 6.87 and 6,85, the ones under the steps, 6.36 and 6.35. He thinks they could use some equalizing but I think I want to ask AM Solar before we do anything.

We give up.  We’ve had advice from lots of very good people including Jack Mayer but because they cannot see what we are looking at and we cannot send them pictures of things under the coach, and in tiny black holes, we are unable to actually complete some of their suggestions.



So tomorrow we will turn around and go 177 miles back to where Greg Young is and stay as long as it takes him to make this entire system work like it should.  He is providing a spot for us back at the campground we just left.   I imagine this can be resolved eventually between him and AM Solar.

That means for those of you I have told we are coming to any spot at any time, all bets are off.  We do have reservations at a number of places where summer reservations are required and we will have to cancel them.

I just hope we are not spending our entire summer in mid Pennsylvania because of all this.

If you think I am an unhappy camper, you would be right.   Three trips over the Pennsylvania Turnpike was not on my summer fun list.



Memorial Day ended here at 3:00 PM check out time.  

I think we may be the only one left in the campground tonight. They were a very quiet group but  no smoldering fires tonight will be a great thing.



I’m sure the Duckies are disappointed not to have all the activity to watch.


Thanks to you all for hanging in with us and for your comments and suggestions. 
They are the only bright spots in many days.

Taking a Break

Saturday May 26 and Sunday May 27, 2014
Shawnee State Park
Schellsburg, PA




I think we’ve done nearly all we can do on this holiday week-end since we can’t get anyone at Winnebago on the phone or anyone to come out and look at it.   Isn’t it always a holiday week-end when something goes wrong?  In 2001 I broke my ankle on New Year’s weekend, in 2011 I broke it again on Labor Day week-end.  I think I’ll just skip all the holiday week-ends from now on thanks.




David spent all day yesterday trying to trace all the wires from our lights to figure out where the ground is missing or the short is occurring.  He printed out the electric wiring diagram from the Winnebago Website.  Thumbs up to Winnebago for keeping things on all their coaches, no matter how old, available to their owners.   He’s having to figure out which wires are new ones for the solar that Greg installed and which are original from Winnebago.



The problem here is in the DC electrical system and we don’t know what was done to cause this.  It looks as though the voltage on the batteries is good, they show full charge of 13+ volts.  We also know that if we turn on any DC load (light, water pump, etc) the voltage at the house DC breaker box drops  and we get low voltage codes on the refrigerator and the Powerline Energy Management system originally in the coach from Winnebago.  We also know that we may be losing voltage at the battery mode solenoid.  With the refrigerator running on AC or LP the available voltage at the DC breaker box is 10.5 to 11.1 volts which is clearly too low to begin with.  Wire tracing shows that the line in to the solenoid has full battery voltage and the line out, which gets relayed to the house, is 0.7 volts lower (with no load).  The 0.7 drop at the solenoid was measured when the refrigerator was off so we are assuming the extra voltage lost at the house DC breaker box is going to the refrigerator.

I know this is making your eyes cross as it does mine but I thought I’d put the details as we know them here in case anyone has an idea or a clue.  I must also acknowledge great email education and suggestions all day Saturday and into Sunday from Jack Mayer whom I consider to be a solar guru. 




While David worked, I kept notes for him and helped as I could, jiggling wires, handing him things.   I made dinner which we ate on what has become the tool table.

This low voltage is still giving us the worrisome flickering lights so the lights stay off which means flashlights after dark.  We are concerned about what other DC appliances might be or have been damaged by these low voltage days.  We will have had low voltage for a week at a minimum on Tuesday IF we can get it fixed then.   It is possible we could have residual trouble from this down the road.

We do have AC power and our LP stove for cooking so things are not impossible here.  We can charge up all those flashlight batteries for after dark! 





Greg Young has bent over backwards to try to fix this and to compensate us for our troubles.  At this point, I don’t think there is anything more we could ask of him.  He and we thought it was fixed when we drove away on Friday.   But something wasn’t right when we stopped for the night. 

We’re not sure what to do at this point.  It’s something in the DC electric.  We could go back and Greg would work on it until there was a resolution however long it takes. We could stay here and try to get the local RV Tech with 30 years experience to come look at it.  We could go on  down the PA turnpike  to Akron, Ohio which is a bigger city and may hopefully have a good Winnebago person or an excellent DC electrician.  Greg has said he will pay for whatever it takes to get us up and running.  He is definitely losing big time on this install but he is a very conscientious and honest businessman.  We are hoping we have no problems down the road, assuming we ever get there, and are a real fluke in his new mobile solar installation business.  I do greatly admire his upbeat can do attitude.

Of course none of this is AM Solar’s fault, they only supplied the parts.






So today, we have oatmeal pancakes for breakfast on our AC powered griddle.   With pure maple syrup, YUM!

Later, Jack Mayer emails some suggestions so we try them out. One requires that we turn off the chargers for half an hour and then  turn the inverter/charger back on to see if it goes into bulk charge as he thinks it should.  If so, then the problem is not the inverter.  He thinks we have a bad battery pulling everything down. Aside:  (Nancy Mills looks at Bill and says I told you it’s always the batteries)

Eventually,  we go for a hike to allow the charger to be off and to walk off the pancakes.  We take the Antler Trail which runs from the campground.   We think we have a more appropriate name for it


On our way we noticed that in this campground there seem to be no rules.  Everyone has clotheslines and hammocks hung from the trees.  Attaching things to trees is a no no almost every where we have been. 

We also see this popup not on the nice flat top of the graveled area of the campsite, in the foreground of this picture,  but pulled in under the trees. 

People park their cars on the grass.  We’ve seen no rangers at all since we’ve been here.   There is one campground host at the beginning of the 149 site campground.   

But we have also found these campers to be among the quietest and nicest of any holiday week-end campground we have ever been in.   There are lots of cars and tents per site but  no wild parties, seemingly no alcohol.  This has been very nice.


All long the entire trail are many many wild geraniums and more may apple.   Tis the season, tis the place.  They are in bloom everywhere.







It’s a nice cool path on what is becoming a warm Sunday morning.


We see quite a bit of Winter Cress also known as Yellow Rocket.   My pictures of in its early stages turn out blurry so I borrow this one so if you see it somewhere you’ll know what it is.

Winter Cress _ yellow rocket

I have better ones of the sweet white violet.


About half way around we come to a serious up hill hike through what appears to be a path mowed through the grasses between the woodland sections.   All along this path are giant ant hills.   Single and multiple groups of ant hills.  This picture doesn’t do justice to how big they are.  Where do those little fellas get all the makings for such a big place?



We think it should be called Large Anthill Trail instead of Lost Antler.





We return and turn on the inverter and get bizarre information from the batteries.  We send it to Jack.  None of this makes any sense to me.  As it gets dark, David is attempting to find out where the negative and positive leads from one compartment come out in one compartment.  We have learned from much experience that assuming is not a good idea.  No success.  Without good deal of difficulty and taking other things apart,  there appears to be no way to find this out.. 

SO here we are.
What’s up for tomorrow? 
We’re not sure.

What is making those lights flicker????

Thursday and Friday May 22 & May 23, 2014
Brandywine Creek Campground
Glenmoore, Pennsylvania



It’s a short night after our attempts to discover clues for what is wrong.  We don’t sleep so well.  David calls Greg in the morning to make sure he has gotten the information we uncovered in our late night investigations.


We’re moving.



  Greg says that we should come over to the campground where he is parked, about 17 miles from us, and he will take care of the fees for us to stay as long as necessary to figure this out.  We think this is a very responsible business practice.  He is trying very hard to make the customer happy. 

We arrive about 11:00 and Greg and a Master Electrician he has called in to help with this electrical mystery show up and start trying to trace the problem.

Speaking of problems, Greg has two other installs today and it looks like his parade is going to get rained on.  That’s a problem.  Panels are put on the roof with an airplane adhesive which requires 4 days of 50 degree + weather to seal. And probably no rain.

Looking on the bright side, that’s one way we were lucky. We had 4 of the 7 days this install has taken so far rain free. Not sure how that happened since rain has followed us all the way up the east coast and it looks like it’s going to hound us for the next week. Wonder what an Ohio National Park will be like in the rain?

For now, we have a lovely water front view of Brandywine Creek.




Problem found.


As you can know doubt intuit, I have run out of steam for all of this and take no pictures of the two of them trying to find the problem.    It takes a few hours hours but they find a problem in one of the grounds.  Of course it was the one in the back of the batteries that is only accessible from under the coach.  Once fixed, everything stops flickering and things are looking up.

Everything is fine for the rest of the day.  We go to bed very relieved.



Friday May 23

We’re ready for blast off – FINALLY!

We sure hope the two installs beginning tomorrow are pieces of cake for Greg. I know he must be very glad to see us hitting the road. Smile



We decide to take our chances with the Pennsylvania Turnpike since it shaves 25 miles off of the trip.

We are really pleasantly surprised to find that it is actually much much better than we remember it to be and far superior to most of the other roads we drove on in Pennsylvania.   Worth the $37.15 it cost us to go 176 miles.

We go through 3 amazing tunnels through the mountains and wonder how long ago these were blasted out.







We arrive at Shawnee State Park in Bedford Pennsylvania to find no one at the campground office.  Just go on in and find your spot I guess.  Thank goodness I made reservations back in March.  These crowds are something we are not used to.

First we have to take on water since all they have here is electric, also Thank Goodness.   This turns out to be the slowest water take on we have found.  45 minutes to put that many gallons into our water tank for the 3 nights we will be here.





Finally, we back into our site and get things leveled up.  The park is full, rigs on top of trailers on top of tents on top of 5th wheels.  It’s Memorial Day week-end and we’re just glad to have a site anywhere.  We’ll  lay low for the week-end and continue on toward that Federal Park in Ohio on Monday.  The duckies have a very busy view.




It’s later than we planned due to the long water fill,  putting the dolly in over flow parking and getting all set up.   More than ready to get started making dinner, we turn on the lights. 




The inverter monitor isn’t coming on AGAIN and the lights are flickering AGAIN and the refrigerator is complaining about low voltage AGAIN.    We are just ….well……back to where we were 3 days ago and so tired of this.

David fiddles with the magnum monitor, goes out and looks at the inverter, turns it off, turns it on and a hundred other things.  Finally he opens up the battery compartment and sees one of the brass bolts – brass?? really?? -  has broken off from securing one of the leads going to the shunt.  Was it tightened down too tightly??  The lead is hanging loose creating an open circuit. 

We call Greg.  He says just by pass the shunt.  David does as instructed but no dice, the flickering continues.  Seems like another ground problem.  But where this time? 

We make a trip to the hardware store 12 miles away looking for another brass bolt.  No dice.  Does it really have to be brass?  We call AM Solar who supplied this (what I now consider to be horrible) Magnum inverter/charger.  They are in Oregon.  It’s now after 6pm but that’s ok since in Oregon it’s only 3:00 PDT.   BUT, of course, on Friday they close at 1:00 PDT and they don’t work week-ends.   Hmmmmm  I sure never had a job that worked those hours.

We’re out of luck until Tuesday on the ‘does it have to be brass’ question.  We call Greg back.

Greg says he’ll send us another shunt.  Will that really fix a low voltage problem I wonder?  But if we can’t find a brass bolt we do have to fix the shunt problem and this is the only way.   It’s labor day week-end.  We can’t have anything delivered until Tuesday.  We won’t be here Tuesday.  We leave on Monday or should we again cancel our plans and stay here?  Or move on to a bigger metropolitan area in Ohio.

We are without lights again, with refrig problems again.  Until Tuesday.   

Nobody even gave me a hint putting solar on my rig was going to be SO difficult.   We are up until 1am testing everything we can think of and taking notes on what we find.    It just wasn’t supposed to work out this way. 

Solar Saga Days 4 and 5–another hike

Tuesday and Wednesday May 20 and 21, 2014
French Creek State Park Campground
Elverson, Pennsylvania




Since we do now have shore power, Greg comes back at 1:00 to discover mislabeled solar panel leads from the manufacturer on one panel.  Good grief, you can’ trust anyone.


Time for another hike!



I take another and longer hike.  I’m no help and I just worry.  I’ll finish the hike that got interrupted on Sunday. All of the pictures on this post are from that hike.

I go backwards so I’m doing the part I missed first and redoing the part I did.  Yesterday I was on the blue trail.  Today I do blue/green and green/yellow as well as the blue.




I start out on an even rockier path.  The trail is quite hilly. But it’s a lovely walk.


One man’s weed is another man’s flower and this dandelion looks like a golden sunburst to me.



Wild Azalea in bloom







Jack in the pulpit line the path.






This loop takes me by both lakes in the park. I arrive first at 22 acre Scott’s Run Lake where the bank is lined with fishermen and there are small boats of folks casting their lines.






The dam flows through an outlet channel into Scott’s Run which after the intrusion of the dam goes back to being a very lovely stream.











I’m really excited to find true Solomon’s Seal with it’s bells hanging down off the stalk and beneath the leaves.









False Solomon’s Seal has the same looking leaf and thus can trick you.  But its flower looks nothing like the bells and comes from the end of the stalk.












On I go past carpets of ferns and reach the main lake 68 acre Lake Hopewell.  I’m now on the opposite side from yesterday’s hike.






Just past the boat dock I come upon part of the disc golf course.  Sure wish we would have had time to play.   And to kayak the big lake for that matter.




On around the end of the lake I find a LARGE lake side swimming pool.  Good Grief.  This is some state park!  The pool is not open of course but since there is clean water in it, I’m imagining that it will be open for this coming memorial day week-end.






The smell of Wisteria is wonderful.




And then I come to the other side of the dam.  I’m almost to the point where I turned around yesterday and I see they are making a huge mess ripping the place up.  What is going on here?  Really large trees just hacked down.




Sunday (60)


Sunday (61)


Looks like they didn’t bring the boardwalk quite far enough.  I’m in sneakers not hiking boots so to avoid the  mud I walk the plank and some the other little boards and manage not to fall in.  





Carpets of bluets line the final segment of this trail.  I’ve walked 7.78 miles in 4 hours and I’m not really all that tired.  But my legs are ready for a rest.




I get back and everything is working but………..

Greg leaves at 6:30 with everything working but the battery monitoring module of the inverter/charger monitor. 

After calling the Magnum, he finds they sent him, a defective monitor.  At least he knows what the problem is. This is equipment problem #2 for today.  None of this throws him at all. He maintains his cheerful positive disposition. He just laughs. He’s learning a lot he says.  Magnum is sending another one over night. 


We decide to boondock. 



We decide to boondock tonight to see how things go so I go out and pull the plug. David turns this on and that on and this off and that off and checks to see what the inverter is doing in terms of voltage and amperage as he does. Things seem fine. We will have a lot more data when the battery monitoring kit is working. Hopefully that’s tomorrow.






Boondocking goes fine assuming that draining your batteries down to 50% when they are AGMs is OK.  It rains all night. In the morning it is cloudy but the panels are making some gain.  Even so, we plug the coach back in since we have paid for electric.  



Time for the monthly blood draw.


David sets out for his blood draw appointment in Pottstown about 13 miles away.  He has a CBC and CMP done every month to monitor how things are going.  The major myeloma test is only done every 3 months and this is not one of those months.  July is the next one and the two year anniversary of his stem cell transplant.   Today, he also has to pick up a prescription at CVS and get some vitamins.

I work on the blog, answer emails, comment on blogs, enter expenses, read – It’s raining out (are you surprised?),  what else can I do? 



Greg arrives at 1:00 with the new monitor.




Halleluiah, it works right out of the box, but then, he discovers it is only reading one pair of batteries.  Back on the phone to the company. Turns out to be an easy wiring fix but he has to make a run down to Lowe’s since he needs a longer wire.  This is no just run down the street deal.  The closest Lowes is 15 miles round trip.

Meanwhile the off and on power business over the past few days seems to be having an effect on our refrigerator display panel and the new LED lights in the ceiling which is now coming off and on and driving me crazy. 

We disconnect the fridge from everything hoping it hasn’t been damaged. We try to turn the lights out whenever Greg is disconnecting the power but we aren’t always successful even when I am here which hasn’t been all the time. 

Greg returns The install is finished but the flickering lights remain.   He patiently answers all of David’s questions before he leaves.   There is clearly some problem and we stay up until 1am trying to figure it out. 

Finally David tests the light sockets themselves and finds that the voltage is very low 7.5 amps actually.  Ok then, what causes low voltage?   A short somewhere?  A loose ground.

David emails Greg with all the information we have gained.   We are two plenty tired folks when we FINALLY hit the bed.

The answer to the question ‘will we be on the road as planned on Thursday is clearly no.  But this park is booked totally for the memorial day week-end Friday- Sunday so the plot thickens.

If I’d known it was going to be this much trouble, I’m not sure I’d have signed up.  I wonder if anyone else has ever had so many problems with a solar install.