This is my longest planned trip to date and my first trip with power (thanks to Ron and Lisa) and the first trip with rain in the forecast. In addition to all of the aforementioned firsts it is also my farthest trip thus far. I prepared pork tenderloin with rosemary in the crockpot on the drive.
As mentioned above the solar panel install in (nearly) complete. It is attached to the roof and gathering and storing energy but I do not have a functional meter as I purchased EpicSolar brand instead of Renogy (all other components are Renogy).
So I will have to replace the meter or the controller. I contacted both companies and EpicSolar offered my a refurbed meter for free (shipped from China). Renogy offered me 10% off. But since I’d like to keep all the components the same I will most likely purchase another controller.
Having said this the 12V adaptor I purchased has a simple readout to monitor the volts. It also has USB ports for changing my phone and various other devices.
The drive to the campsite was supposed to take about 4.5 hours avoiding highways, as is my habit. I stopped along the way and took an even more scenic route driving highway 98 along the coast. It was beautiful and I met a nice family in Carabelle.
I also stopped in Mexico Beach and took photos of a cute little chapel that I remembered.
Having learned my lesson last trip I started using Google maps instead of Apple Maps. It is a bit of a learning curve but in addition to that it just stopped working! So frustrating! I did a “phone-a-friend” (my son and his girlfriend) to get me on track and he gave me the advice to restart my phone. Thank God that worked and I was on my way again with navigation.
Interesting landmark at the road to the campsite.
I found the campsite and as is my habit I drove around the sites and scoped them out. There was one other lone camper already set up. The site I had reserved by the map was not in the same place as was posted at the campground…I went by the map. The posted campsite was in the middle of the loop and directly in front of the other camper. So, for privacy sake I selected the other site.
The Dead River runs by the campgrounds.
There are two and there is a day use area with a playground and a boat ramp that seems to get quite a bit of use. I saw numerous john boats head downriver Saturday morning and spoke with a couple of families coming back in. As always the little girls wanted to pet Daisy and she was more than happy to oblige.
Unfortunately, I am disappointed that people have the use of a free campground and find it difficult to clean up after themselves. The tent campground was particularly bad. I took a few moments to pickup a few things a deposit it in the nearby trash receptacles. Daisy and I walked around the campgrounds some more and gathered some firewood in case the forecast and gloomy sky did not hold true.
I ate a snack and cleaned up and tried to fashion some shelter in case of rain. I had purchased some folding tent poles to use with a tarp and tried to attach it to the side of the van by the rails but this did not work so well. I zip tied 2 tarps together (since ALL 3 of my tarps are the same size) and used bungee cords to secure them to the rails and the bottom of the wheel well and the cargo hitch.
The rain did come and it really poured. The tarp set up worked well and I cracked the windows since I have the wind deflectors. Of course I closed the moon roof. It was obvious it wasn’t going to let up and I did see an email that there was a flood warning for the parks. I decided that since it was late I would stick it out the night and leave the next morning… a day early.
I walked around a bit and ensured that the river was not rising too much and decided to back my van up to the picnic pavilion. I was able to have my chair and kitchen set up under the dry roof which was nice.
Another camper arrived later that night. They had a neat set up. They were just passing through and it was clear that they were not going to have a meal or coffee so I offered them some coffee. They were very appreciative and told me they were on their way to Oregon.
I prepared my crockpot beef stew, cleaned up and packed up and headed out. I took the scenic route home stopping in Port St. Joe and bought an inflatable kayak and in Carabelle to eat lunch and walk in the beach.
It rained all the way home and once I was able to read email I saw that the campground was closed due to tropical storm Alberto!
- Restart phone on a regular basis and/or buy a navigation device.
- Read email prior to taking the trip
- Buy and install Renogy controller (can I do it myself? :-0)
- Try out new kayak
- Pare down more stuff!
- Plan another trip (Georgia, Alabama?)
- Find back up navigation
- Cut reflectix/felt for back window