The Beginning of the End

Another day, another wind storm. Such is life in Quartzsite — but not for very much longer.

It hit me yesterday. My trip from here to San Antonio will take about a week. Birgit and Tom prefer to avoid highways, which suits me fine, but requires a bit more time to travel, so call it two weeks from San Antonio to the Tampa area. I want to arrive there no later than March 16, when the Forgotten Angels campout starts. That means leaving here no later than February 23, which is exactly two weeks from today. It’s the beginning of the end of my winter season.

Part of the reason this snuck up on me is that I’m leaving Quartzsite unusually early, specifically to go to the campout in Florida. This is fine, but I’m glad didn’t realize this any later. Since Amazon seems to take about two weeks to deliver anything here, this means I’m done making orders. I have a couple of things still out there, which I’ll wait for. But then, I’m free to go.

There’s another sign that my days here are numbered. As a test, I haven’t plugged in my extra solar panel since the day I drove into town to pick up my Maxxair fan. I’m still getting a full recharge off the rooftop panels alone, something that hasn’t happened for the last few months. The days are once again long enough to give me a full charge through just the rooftop panels. I plugged the external panel into my trailer for a full day to top off its battery, then put it away for the foreseeable future. It’s served its purpose to get me through the winter. Except for the occasional trailer battery recharge, I won’t need it again until next winter.

Speaking of the trailer, I’ve turned it into a temporary workshop for the second roof vent install. I spent some time deep cleaning my old fan. I’m never going to have as much access to it as I do now, while it’s not installed in the van, so it was time to get it as clean as I could before putting it back in. It’s good to go, just as soon as I cut a new 14×14 hole in the roof and install the mounting hardware.

One great thing about Quartzsite is that I was able to simply run into town and buy some butyl tape and self-leveling lap sealant. These are essential to preventing leaks around the fan. When I installed the original fan, I had to order these on Amazon, because nowhere in or even near Columbia City, Indiana (where we finished the original build after the fire) had it in stock. Even RV stores didn’t have it, which is especially weird when you consider that pretty much all the major American RV manufacturers are in Indiana. But I had no trouble finding what I needed, and with an extra stop at the hardware store for a caulking gun (I’d borrowed one for the original install), I have everything I need for the job.

That’ll be my project for Saturday. Although I can work anytime I want, I still like to do at least most of my work on weekdays, and leave the weekends free to goof off a bit more. In this case, I won’t work Saturday and focus on the installation. I won’t need to divide my attention between tasks or attempt to work inside a construction zone. Temperatures should hit a high of around 70, perfect for applying the lap sealant. Nights shouldn’t dip below the high 40s, which is the low end of the cure temperature range for best results, so I should be good. It takes two days to cure to 80%, and overnight lows won’t dip below that until Tuesday, so Saturday is definitely my window of opportunity. I don’t think temperatures were quite this perfect for my original install, and it’s never leaked a drop.

This project is the last major thing I want to accomplish before leaving Quartzsite. Once it’s done, and the last couple of packages arrive, I’m good to go anytime. I haven’t picked a departure day yet, but it’ll probably be soon after these things happen. It’s easier to slow down my trip east than to make up lost time.

This is just amusing. It’s a screenshot from Adventure Van Man‘s latest video. Yes, that’s my motorcycle behind him! I rolled up and parked there while they were hanging out with people. Brian and Kelly went inside to make lunch, and I wandered off to visit a few other people I knew who were camping there. He shot this clip before I left, which is why my bike is there, but I’m not.

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