Thursday, November 13, 2014

Road ready -nearly

The veggie van just had a wheel alignment. For once, it was just a matter of adjustment -not very expensive at all. I could take the van on a long trip right now and it should function just fine. It's about time.

The current van modification project is a 105 watt solar panel to be mounted on the roof. That will charge a deep cycle battery that's totally separate from the van batteries. The idea is to have a power system that I can draw down without worrying about the van's starting batteries. The separate power system should make it easier to camp in places without services.

Companies sell mounting brackets for solar panels, but I wasn't too impressed by them. Maybe they work for mounting panels on the roof of a house. They looked a bit too flimsy for a vehicle mount that could go down the road at 80 mph. I decided to make my own brackets using 90 degree aluminum stock. While I was at it I decided to get plenty of stainless steel hardware to mount it. The van is almost 9 feet high. A panel mounted on top won't get visually inspected all that often. That's what decided me to spend the money to overbuild the brackets. Odds are that since it's out of sight it'll be out of mind. Loose brackets would not be noticed until the panel blew off the roof.

Unfortunately the predicted sunshine never happened. Instead of light rain clearing by afternoon, we got heavy rain and dense fog. Not the type of weather one would like to have to drill holes in a van's roof. Maybe tomorrow. At least I've got all the necessary parts.

Speaking of solar electric systems, the solar electric system on the Oday sailboat will bet moved over to the Ooze Goose homebuilt boat. Next year I can always buy a slightly bigger one for the Oday. Solar panel prices keep dropping. If you haven't priced them in the last couple of years you will be surprised on how much they've come down.

So the essential needs of the van are done and a goodly number of the wants will be wrapped up too. Once the boat trailer is squared away we'll be ready for travel. There should be plenty of time to do a bit more work on the little boat, but as it is right now it'll do the job.

After months of discouraging breakdowns, it's good to see the light at the end of the tunnel.



  1. Projects are two edged blades. It's great when they are finished and you see what you have accomplished. Getting them done can be a royal pain, though.

  2. I imagine you are ready to get south and warm. Safe travels. And when you get south may you have fair winds and calm seas.

    1. Thanks Momlady. I image that when January rolls around I'll be more than ready to leave.

  3. Let us hope that that light at the end of the tunnel isn't a train . . .

    1. I've met trains in that tunnel before. Let's hope indeed!