Arrived in Little Rock, Arkansas today. We left yesterday around noon (a day late due to electric problems now fixed) and stayed the first night at a rest stop. Finally was able to test the water system and hot water heater by flushing out the antifreeze at the RV park we’re staying at. Everything seems to work and not leak. So far we haven’t had any problems except we almost ran out of gas. Only getting about 8 mpg if we drive over 60 mph. The trailer is really loaded to the gills and so is the truck. Heavy, heavy. Never had a chance to check out the weight beforehand, and don’t think I want to do it now. If I’m over the weight limits, there’s nothing I can do about it anyway. Just hope I don’t bust an axle.
November 16, 2008: The generator came this week, and I am certainly glad that I paid an extra $50 to have it delivered to the garage rather than “back of truck.” Like I was supposed to lift something weighing over 200 pounds off the back of a truck by myself? No way. It looks nice; wonder if it works? Put the wheels on so I can move it. Also got the decals for the truck. Will have to wait a while to put them on as instructions say over 55 degrees.
A much bigger problem than deciding what generator to buy was designing a solar system to go along with it. My friend Rick said I should let someone local and knowledgeable do it. Guess what, there isn’t anybody I can trust or who knows more than me. While I am quite willing to let an expert handle this, I also know that in some cases such as this, I better know what I’m doing myself. I had to educate myself about solar technology and what exactly I needed. Wasn’t easy. But when one digs and digs deeper not for oil in Alaska but for information online, the answers do come. Now I could have gone to a number of online solar retailers (I did peruse their packages) and just bought whatever they recommended, but without knowing what I was buying and why, I felt I was stupid and being at their mercy as to what I was about to buy. I was perhaps being foolish, but considering that I will be virtually on my own, I want to know why something doesn’t work and how to fix it.
So I did design a system and followed the advice of several experienced people. Wasn’t much different than the package systems offered by retailers, but at least I know that I’m not buying blind.
FYI, 260 watts of Kyocera solar, BZ MPPT500 charge controller, Xantrex RS2000 Inverter/charger, Unirac RV rack w/ title legs, and a whole bunch of other necessary stuff.
November 9th: With help from my daughter, an “official” name has been determined and a logo created. Decals have been ordered for the truck. Thanks for all of your suggestions. Maybe sometime in the distant future the name can be changed to Coco Palatio. For now the name fits, lol.
November 1, 2008: So I’ve been back in the states for a week now and have busy, busy. So much to do before the end of the year when my daugher, Elena, and I drive down to Belize. Yesterday I bought a travel trailer. Leslie gave her approval. A 2007 Jayco 19JTX.
Cost was $10k plus tax and stuff. I had previously found another trailer at the same price which is actually bigger than this one, but much of the space was devoted to the bedroom. This one has a sofa which is better than a big bed. Going to be sleeping alone anyway, lol.
Now I’ve got to equip it and figure out what to bring with me. First on the list is a generator. Thought that this would be relatively simple, NOT. The generators sold locally are of the Emergency type, not designed to be run on a regular basis. Of course the more commercially-rated type cost 3-4-5 times as much. Being completely off-grid, I need reliable power including solar panels. It gets very complicated.
Some pictures from the expedition.
October 22, 2008: The rain has finally stopped, and the water level in the rivers is going down. I can now cross the bridge towards Billy White, but the road just around the bend on the other side is under about three feet of water. 4WD vehicles are getting through, and I was tempted to try with my rental Jimmy. However, I was told that there were at least two more areas on the road that have even deeper water, so I gave up. Tomorrow should be better and by Friday probably passable, but that’s when I need to head to Belize City and apply for the retirement program and fly home. Bummer.
October 20th: Haven’t been able to getout of San Ignacio as the flooding is terrible. Worst in decades I’m told. I can almost see the roadway on the bridge as the water is receding, but no vehicles are allowed to cross yet. Maybe tomorrow. I’m perfectly safe but very bored.
October 16th: Currently it’s almost non-stop rain. Some bridges and low roads are under water. Hope it clears up soon as I’m anxious to get out to the property again. It is truly a magnificent piece of land. About 10 of the 15 acres is true rain forest which is actually unusual for these parts. Very beautiful now that much of the undergrowthhas been cleared. It’s also quite suited to divide into plots which I could sell as this land is above and behind the main house. Only 10 minutes away is Spanish Lookout which is a Mennonite community. There’s a big general store that sells everything from appliances to zucchini. Also several restaurants and Farm & Fleet type of stores with Big Boy Toys like tractors, shop tools, tires, electric, plumbing and appliances. There’s also an oil well and a wonderful ice cream parlor. No bars though.
October 12, 2008: Arrived in Belize. My builder took me out to the property. Met Jose, the caretaker who is living in the building such as it is with no power or running water. A latrine was made and rain water is collected for drinking. He has cleaned up the coconut grove considerably as well as part of the rain forest using a machete. Sleeps on the floor. Costs me $100 a month. Doesn’t speak English though.
This is my first post. I was told via email that the roof on the house in Belize was stolen. Later I learned that it was just the roof over the stairs that I planned on removing anyway. It seems that the locals think that this is abandoned property so anything goes. NOT! I will be hiring a caretaker to protect my ass(ets). No more pilfering of fruit and coconuts either.
This is from my builder: Phil, I took my farm crew over to clean and build a pit toilet today and tomorrow. I will buy a small water tank and a piece of gutter so we can catch water to drink, and then I will bring a man over to live and work. I will have to put a door on temporarilly so they can be safe. I will try to get a man with a woman. Have you walked around in the cahune walk behind the house? It is really beautiful. When you go past the house toward the river there is a ravine and a hill that has a gorgeous view of the river and the jungle around it. It is most unusual for the area, it reminds me of the rain forest that I grew up in. It would be excellent for a botanical garden, very unique. The house — to change out the post on this house is easy; we will take them out one at a time cast a pad and put them back in. If you want steel post I can have Midwest Steel cut them to the right size and weld a top and bottom plate on so they will be easy to install. For your information, pressure-treated pine lumber is $27.80 BZper2x3x10 foot and is imported from the U.S. So the lumber in this place is worth a small fortune. It’s just that this house has been added on to and changed by two previous owners. There is 2×4 scabbed together to make the center beam, the septic is under the original section of the building. When you get here we can go over everything. For now know that your place is in good hands, and I will do what it takes to get the job done.
October 6, 2008: All is good at the farm. I lucked out on the second guy I got for the farm, he is a worker, and is not afraid to stay, I took one of my rescue dogs out to be with him, shes an old pit bull. I will go and check on things at the farm tomorrow.