What is, a Vanadium Redox Flow Battery

Did you hear about the one where we invented a battery that could power a house for years and was charged by the sun? And then quietly gave that technology away. For the same reasons (I’m sure) that we shuttered/destroyed that first mass produced electric car.

Oops! Can’t have that! This would have shut down the gas/oil/coal business, so of course they got rid of it.

Our Cabin in the Woods

Forest Road 223, Lincoln National Forest

While the daily temperatures are soaring into the “hundos,” as my hipster young weatherman likes to say, it truly is refreshing to head up into the mountains and enjoy a dip into the 40s and 50s overnight. I especially like the high of the day being around 70. The Sacramento District of the Lincoln National forest is just over 100 miles away. This provides the perfect spot to get away from these smoking oven temperatures for the weekend. Having a trailer that provides all the amenities of a small cabin in conjunction with the free dispersed camping of the national forest helps. Its like we have that proverbial cabin in the woods wherever and whenever we want it to be. No point in owning property up there when you can have it for free.

Couple weeks ago we drove down Forest Road 223 and found this nice spot. There are dozens of equally nice spots along this stretch of forest road. Plenty of hiking opportunities or just set up a hammock and relax. Nothing like having a cold beer after a long hike, followed by a shower, grilling dinner, and ending the evening with a cigar and whisky next to a crackling fire.

On a side note, a quick look under the trailer verified my fix for the tunnel cover is holding as intended. The real test will be that interior Main Park Road at Big Bend Ranch State Park we’ll be hitting at year’s end.

Over The Road RV Repair – Tunnel Cover

We bought our Lance 1995 in 2015. The following year I noticed there was this tunnel cover that runs between the passenger and driver side between the axles. This cover protects a heating duct. This cover had worked its way loose. I also noticed why. Lance manufacturing became a bit skimpy when applying their self-drilling bolts. While they put a bolt every 6 inches or so along the front of the tunnel cover, they only used 3 bolts to cover the entire front of the tunnel cover.

My first fix was to tighten them back up and make a mental note to check it every trip. Over the years I got a bit lazy and ended up not checking it EVERY SINGLE TRIP. While we were out on our last trip, I noticed it was sagging again on the passenger side. Upon further inspection I also saw that the bracket had snapped on both the front and back sides of the passenger side. Time for a permanent fix.

We were at Morefield Campground, Mesa Verde National Park and a Walmart about 10 miles or so away. I picked up some self-drilling screws and some square brackets from the hardware department of Walmart and headed back to the campground.

I used the brackets on the 4 corners of the tunnel cover. Securing the cover to the frame of the trailer. I removed the existing screws and re-installed them a few inches over along the sides of the tunnel cover while adding a few more on the skimpy side. This cover is now rock solid.

New and existing brackets
New bracket installed over existing not-broken bracket
Lance getting skimpy on their screws. Should be 6 more.

2022 Summer Camping Trip

Mesa Verde Morefield Campground

This year’s Summer Camping Trip was the first big one coming off the heals of COVID-19. COVID didn’t stop us from the last couple years but it certainly had an impact on where we could or couldn’t go. I think the highest gas prices we saw were $5.56/gallon, but generally hovered around $5/gallon. It certainly could’ve been worse.

This year, the fires and droughts ended up being the big impacters preventing us from hitting a couple of the National Forests we had intended on spending a night or two in.

As usual, we didn’t need to fire up the generator one time. I always bring a little WEN 2000k inverter generator just in case. The trip I don’t bring it will be the one where my solar breaks down and I wish I had brought my genny.

Our first leg of the camping trip was supposed to be at Bluewater Lake State Park, New Mexico, but that plan was scrapped when a couple car wrecks along the I-40 between Albuquerque and Grants caused an over-26-mile line of dead-stopped traffic. People exited their vehicles and began tailgating. We decided to head east instead and spent the night at the Route 66 Casino RV Resort. That line of stopped traffic ended up lasting over 5 hours.

Route 66 RV Resort

2nd stop we were back on schedule at the Navajo National Monument. Navajo Nation still has high concentrations of COVID so not all of the park is back open. In the meantime, the Sunset View campground is free to stay at. There are over 30 sites to choose from. With a 24 foot trailer, we had several options to choose from. Anything over 24 feet and your options were limited to around a couple sites. There was a 28 foot limit, but there was one site where a 40 foot motorhome was able to back in and just fit.

Sunset View Campground, Navajo National Monument

3rd stop took us back to one of our favorites parks – Bryce Canyon National Park. The campground sucks. If you know me at all, I prefer to park in a forest away from other people. But if you want easy access to all of Bryce’s natural beauty, you put up with a lot of people. Spent several days on several hikes. I will say this, for a crowded campground, the park hosts do a phenomenal job in maintaining the thin line between order and chaos. Kudos to those hosts.

Just another gorgeous view of Bryce Canyon

Apparently, when I planned this trip back in January, I had planned a 1-night stop in between Bryce and the next big stop, Mesa Verde National Park. Between January and now, I forgot. I usually plan about 250 miles in between stops. When we left Bryce and plugged in the coordinates to Mesa Verde, I saw we had 396 miles. I gaped at that and said, “OK, let’s do this.” Once we arrived at Mesa Verde and checked in, the campground office informed me that my reservation was for the following day. They were able to accommodate the extra night. Mesa Verde is one our National Parks that is contracted out to resort companies. They handle the job well. I especially like how they give you a slip of paper with your check out date on it, and you find the site you want and claim it. With almost 300 sites, they rarely run full. Sites are well placed with plenty of room between most to trick you into thinking that you’re by yourself. We spent 5 days here and could have easily spent a few more. We did the longer hikes and visited most of the ruins.

Park services are amongst the best. Trash dumpsters are strategically placed and are numerous. The trash truck comes around every day to collect. We stayed in the dry camping loop. There are 2 dump stations with dumps each for a total of 4 choices. 1 fresh water source is available at each dump station. Many national parks could take lessons from the management of this campground. I’m looking at you Guadalupe National Park. The Campground General Store is amazing. Many shirts to choose from. Lots of camping groceries, ice, even liquor to keep you from having to go into the nearest town.

Give That Man an Honorary License

You hear about the man who with no flight experience who came into real trouble when the pilot of the Cessna he was in became incapacitated? He radioed the tower and they gave him a quick block of instruction and he landed the plane without incident. Give that man a license!