Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bluegrass and Solar

(Chuck) There is a bluegrass music circuit in this area and for some time we have wanted to find time to enjoy the music. Blythe, Quartzsite, and Parker each have a Bluegrass festival and we have missed all of them. The last one is Parker and the week after it many of the musicians gather at Plomosa Road north of Q and seem to thoroughly enjoy themselves gathering in informal jam sessions. It is a special treat to be able to wander through the gatherings and listen to the music. We stayed three nights and it was a good time. I am sure that we will find time next year to spend a few days at one of the main festivals.

Six months ago we were preparing for this adventure and one of the things that I wanted to experience was to “ go to Quartzsite” I didn’t know for sure what that meant, however I knew that it was a chance to be out in the desert and that you lived out there without campground hookups. That did not bother me a lot, because I knew that we could manage the fresh water and the waste water. I bought a small quiet Honda generator and installed an extra battery in the rig. We did very well at Q, although it was necessary to run the generator and even then you never fully charge the batteries unless you are willing to run it for hours at a time. The solution is to follow the lead of the seasoned veterans who proudly say “I live off the grid.” By conserving the water use your holding tanks will last you several weeks between dumps. Fresh water can be hauled in with portable tanks or jugs. The electricity is the big deal. We made the big leap and my buddy Jerry Hurley is proud of me. Jerry and Nancy have been doing this for many years and he seemed pretty happy when I announced that we had an appointment to install solar panels on our rig. We chose a modest approach and installed two Kyocera 130 Watt panels. We have room for one more when it is necessary. A 1000 watt inverter is installed to power the entertainment system and the office area. This will give us more opportunity to enjoy those out of the way areas.

One thing that we have learned in the last three months is that there is great opportunity to live out on the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and other public lands. It is quiet and peaceful. You will find the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. There are almost unlimited areas to hike and enjoy. The sacrifices are few and the rewards are many.

With the instillation of the solar complete we called our newest best buds “the Hurleys” and met them by Blythe and spent the next three days at their favorite spot in the desert trying out the new solar system. We had another great time laughing and enjoying ourselves.

We have now moved back to Yuma for a few days. We will spend time here with my parents and then move on slowly to the East.

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