Monday, November 18, 2013

Adventure #4, 460 miles to AM Solar in Springfield Oregon

Boardman, Oregon RV Park was our first stop on Friday night. At $21 a night, it was a clean and beautiful place to unwind after the first 180 miles of our trip. We would prefer to boondock but I still don't have a way to pre-warm the engine so it's plug in sites until I can address that issue for winter time camping.We only had one hiccup when the primary headlight 12V breaker heated up and cut out in Kennewick WA. It was just a matter of tightening the contacts and it cooled  down. The secondary breakers that I had worked on previously performed flawlessly.

Candlelight breakfast was in order Saturday morning as we watched this beautiful sunrise.


After breakfast we jammed another 300 or so miles without many breaks. I really wanted to get to AM Solar first and set up house before heading out to the coast. The coach ran flawlessly and I was amazed to be actually passing people until I realized I was in Oregon and the speed limit was a bit lower here. Detoit 2 strokes like to run right up on the governor or around 1900 rpm on our bus. I damn near have to shift down to do 55 and not lug the engine. The Millenium Falcon likes to haul ass.

Greg and Deb set us up with a gorgeous view behind their business  fully furnished with ducks, geese, cormorants, nutria and wrestling squirrels. 

Sunday morning, Jess, George and I all headed for the ocean in our Jeep.

We're desert people so we're always amazed at so much green. 

Jess called this a "fur" tree.

Organic breakfast in Florence! Awesome.

George figured out he REALLY likes the beach.

Highway 101 was a complete jaw dropper. Most of the sweetest things we experienced that day never made it to a photo. There was just no way to capture it and fully enjoy it at the same time. 

South Beach Fish Market! Remember that. Excellent! After a great lunch we headed back East toward I5 and back to Springfield so I could start class in the morning. Jess left for home after I had started school Monday morning since her job doesn't allow time off during the school year. I was heart sick since it just happened to be our anniversary but I got through it  and switched gears to "learn stuff mode" and before I knew it, I was busy as frig!

AM Solar is the premier place to be if you're in the market for an ultra efficient solar charging system for your RV or off grid application. Greg Holder has been in the solar industry for 27 years and has been thinking outside of the box for a whole lot longer than that.

Greg and his wife Deb strive to be the very best and it was evident by looking around their facility.
I won't go into too much detail on what I learned in my five day class but I will tell you that it was worth every penny and more. I was also able to meet some pretty extraordinary fellow students from all over the map and I will be in touch with them down the road. 

The ride home was a bit lonely with no Jess or George so I set pedal to wood until she hit the governor and made that two stroke scream.  I made it all the way home in eight hours without any problems and got about 8 mpg. Great trip, great adventure, excellent education.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Driver side compartment stand on your head fest.

Well not exactly but it was a little precarious with my knee pads on and my ass hanging out in traffic. When we last worked on the headlights, the goal was to get proper voltage going. Often, when you fix one thing, you reveal new things that require attention. Tucked away in the drivers tool compartment, under where your feet go is quite a few maintenance items that until now have gone largely un-noticed. Although bright, the headlights were a little sketchy on when they would turn on or if and I suspected corrosion in the row of breakers in said tiny compartment.
(Click on any photo to enlarge)
Four headlights, four breakers or "Short Stops". Two of them I had already pulled down to replace. Moisture in this compartment was causing the connectors to rust and loose contact. Where am I going to find some new breakers on a Sunday?

Score! My friend had scrapped a couple fire trucks last year and I saved a bunch of the electrical panels and such so.....

The fire truck parts were higher quality with brass nuts so I was able to upgrade as well.

Here is the finished block of breakers. Each headlight gets it's own. High and low beam power is supplied through the bottom two wires and split via brass bars.

To finish up I gave it a chooch of NCP-2 to prevent any further corrosion.

much better

To top it all off, I had been looking for an original window wash jar for the inside of the compartment door when it occurred to me to think outside the jar. Stay tuned as things are about to get a little hectic as we set out for our first major trip to AM Solar in Springfield Oregon for their solar installation training workshop and hopefully install the heart of our new cutting edge SUPER SOLAR SYSTEM!!!