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

Henry David Thoreau

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.



  1. Well, I can't say as we haven't had a solar install, but knowing us we'd have just as many problems :-). Keep the faith it will all work out. Can't help but wonder where you are tonight?? Your pictures are great though and it looks like a really nice park.

  2. I'm sorry you're having so much trouble with the install. Sounds like Greg is very conscientious though and along with David's help, I'm sure things will be working beautifully soon.

  3. Sorry Kevin isn't there to help! He has installed two sets of solar panels, if he installs another set does that make him certified as well? ;-)

    Looks like a lovely park, too bad it is totally booked this weekend, maybe someone will cancel. I love the flowers but I especially love the wild azalea.


  4. I swear you find he most beautiful places to stay!! Hope things are working by now....

  5. Here's hoping that everything begins working as it should. Can you imagine what would have happened had you done the install without testing everything, then leaving the area? Sounds like the installers are very good and trying to get all working for you.

  6. Oh my goodness this install is turning into a nightmare! We have held off getting solar because we don't want to spend the money on a rig that we may not have for many years. Fingers crossed everything falls in to place real soon...and that you ended up with a decent place to stay over the holiday!

  7. Oh good grief -- the solar saga continues. Hope the story ends well soon. At least that was a nice hike that got you away from it all for a while.

  8. OMG, all those absolutely colorful, and aromatic, flowers along your long hike which I recognized from long ago make me smile so big. Then I cringe at this long solar ordeal. Yet there has to be light at the end of the, tunnel, job. I absolutely HATE shorts in an RV.

  9. Lots of pretty spring flowers to keep your mind off the solar install. I hope that everything has been worked out and all is running smoothly now.

  10. Sorry things are being so difficult;o(( But according to your location photo, you have landed in a pretty park for the holiday. I don't think it matters where you go on Memorial Day...it will be packed. We were one of 5 campers here at Falls Lake which has about 150 sites. By 8pm, they were all filled:o( The first official camping weekend of the year is always crazy!!! Hope you find the low voltage issue and can move on and enjoy yourselves.

  11. Oh my. Looking forward to the last page of the story :) Glad you found a park for the weekend, it's going to be a crazy one here, highs in the 90's...

  12. Glad you found a place to hole up for the holiday weekend. Our quiet campground with 10 sites that are used full time turns it into a small village when you add in about 40 families and it rained last evening. Hope you get the electrical issues figured out soon. Your hike with all the wild flowers brought ba

  13. Sorry to hear about all the problems ... it sounds like a combination of parts issues and perhaps the inexperience of the installer plays into it a bit too. At least he seems to be sticking with it to solve the problems ... that's a good sign. I can't help but wonder if an upside down install of the one part you mentioned isn't playing into the issues. I know I've seen warnings about plugging in chargers upside down. But I am no technician.

    Our solar install went without a hitch ... just saying for the benefit of others considering solars that it's not always problematic. The few times we have used our solars, the batteries maintained their charge very well. In fact, when we returned after our 3.5-month vacation, the batteries were at full charge. Granted, we had killed everything that would have been a drain on them, but they didn't even lose the charge that batteries often lose when they are idle over time.

    1. That's what I suggested too Erin but right in the install instructions for the inverter/charger it says it can be installed upside down. Plus the problem now is a DC electric problem not the inverter. So glad your experience was good. Would love to know where you had it done and how many panels.

  14. I'm so sorry this has been such a nightmare for you. Hopefully nothing was damaged in the process and it can or already has been rectified. I see you are in a different campground, so I'm hoping that is good news.

    Lovely hike you took. I swear when I saw the picture of the wisteria I could smell the wonderful fragrance.

  15. Soar saga is right. I think you were lucky to find a site in a state park for this weekend. I've seen wisteria in bloom a couple of times, but never smelled it. I'm patiently waiting for the lilacs to bloom here. Maybe next week?

  16. Sherry, I think we can surely learn from you solar saga. But I sure hope things will work out fine in the long run. We are still on the fence about installing solar as we believe our boon docking will happen more out west than here. Good Luck.
    Im so glad you are labeling your wildflowers, I have a hard time identifying them.

  17. Mislabeled Solar Panel? When are these Chinese manufacturers going to learn English? Or do we need to learn Chinese.

    Don't feel too bad, Winnebago mislabeled my water valves on my previous motorhome, they were all backwards and I know nobody speaks Chinese at the Winnie factory.

  18. Thank goodness you are retired and have time to allow these fellows to figure things out. Being the first is always difficult but I am sure these guys are so appreciative of your willingness to help them out. While very frustrating for you two, I am sure the fellows are working hard to solve all your problems. Sounds like you are being very patient and understanding as they learn:)

  19. The wild Azaleas are gorgeous! beautiful walk…. bummer on the solar install.

  20. Oh Sherry, I am so sorry to hear that you have had so many challenges. Hopefully you are getting them all out of the way upfront and it will be smooth sailing from here. I can't believe how much you know about flowers and birds. Beautiful photos.

  21. Gorgeous flowers in the midst of a solar nightmare. I am impressed with Greg for keeping his cool and finding all the errors that were someone else's fault. How annoying not to have working, properly labeled parts. So much time wasted because of that. I am waiting for when this is all worked out! I am glad you are not having to pay for all the labor. I will admit to feeling sorry for Greg.


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