Weekend Update

Here’s another random update post. I’ve been working on a couple of articles about officially moving to Arizona, which I did last Thursday, while the successful process is fresh in my head. I haven’t kept up with day-to-day goings on, so let’s catch up a bit.

New and Old Friends

More and more people are arriving in Quartzsite. While only a few rigs were nearby when I got here a month ago, many are scattered around the area. Interestingly, almost no one has parked in our immediate area. (Do I stink?) Amy has moved on to Parker for job opportunities, so it’s just me and Yellow Wolf in our fairly large area, with plenty of room for others. I suppose as even more people arrive, the choice locations will fill up, and new people will move a bit closer to us. That’s when we’ll probably make some new friends.

I made a couple this past weekend. For over a year I’ve been chatting with Quinton online. He’s a genuine southern gentleman, also a full-timer, and also a motorcycle rider. He also had a Kawasaki KLR650 when we started talking, but he’s replaced it with a KLX250, which is smaller and more off-road capable. (Ironic, considering that I’m looking for better road manners in my next bike.) He arrived last week and took me out to lunch on Saturday. Chatting with him in person was exactly like chatting online. I love it when people turn out to be the same in real life as they do on the internet.

Afterward, he followed me back to camp and busted all but one of my stuck rear lug nuts loose on the van with his electric impact wrench. (I used to have one, but I lost it in the apartment fire.) That’s still preventing me from rotating my tires, but we’re very close, and will give it another try later.

Friday night I went to the taco and margarita party at the Lit Cactus, because tacos and margaritas. I plunked my chair down in the circle around the fire and ended up meeting Buckeye Kitty, who just happened to be sitting next to me. It’s unusual to meet another fellow traveler with cats (she has three), and we ended up chatting for quite a while. We’ve kept in touch, visited each other’s camps, and will most likely hang out again.

Yellow Wolf and I are also making travel plans. We’re both getting itchy feet, and have an open invitation to visit our friend Wayne, who camped with us last year, at his new place in Sierra Vista. He’d really like to “get the band back together” for Thanksgiving. Some people are already there, with at least one more on the way now. We’re going to go, too, though probably not for another week or so. I’ve never been to that part of Arizona, so it would be good to see a bit more of my new home state, as well as visit more friends.

The Great Rewiring

All of the parts finally came in that I needed to finish my latest electrical project, which I tackled on Saturday. I installed my new charge controller and moved my solar wiring from one all-in-one charger over to it. This way I’ll get the full 400+ watts of charging from my alternator anytime I’m driving, in addition to whatever solar is coming in from my rooftop panels.

Then I connected a new pair of solar charging cables to the all-in-one charger and ran it to the back of the van. When I’m not driving, I can plug in the giant 250-watt solar panel I picked up last week, giving me a grand total of 600 watts of charging — or so I thought. In reality, I’m not getting any charging from the additional panel. Nothing is broken or wired incorrectly. The big panel is sending a higher voltage than the all-in-one charger can handle, causing it to shut down and not charge my batteries at all. I hadn’t realized this would be a limitation when I bought the panel, which it now seems I can’t use after all.

This isn’t the end of the world. Of all places, Quartzsite, Arizona is an excellent place to sell a used solar panel. I’ll shop around town to see how much a panel that will give me the voltage I need will cost, and either buy one here or order one online. The good news is that’s the only thing I need to get the extra solar charging I want. All of my other changes to my van’s electrical system are working perfectly. The overvoltage warning wasn’t a bug, but a feature. Give it the proper voltage, and it’ll work fine. Plus, I’m still getting all the solar charging I need from just my rooftop solar panels. I won’t actually need more until the days get a bit shorter.

I haven’t done any more wiring in the trailer. I’m waiting for a cheap charge controller to arrive before I do that. It should be here soon on the fast boat from China. Both the van and the trailer will be able to use the same solar panel once that’s all done. I’m also figuring out exactly where I want to install outlets and the cheap power inverter that failed to run Starlink around the trailer, too.

That’s the news from this part of the desert. Work is calming down. Projects are coming together, mostly. The weather has been nice, mostly. Not much else to report right now.

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