Tuesday, March 3, 2015

San Diego, The Salton Sea, Slab City and Solar Mike

     We spent three nights in the San Diego area at The Santee Lakes Regional park.  This park has lots of rv sights with full hook-ups and it isn't far from my daughters home.  We got to go out for dinner each night and got lots of good visiting in.
Rain over The Salton Sea

     When we left the SD area we headed east on I8 and at El Centro we turned north towards the Salton Sea where we spent 3 nights in the Salt Creek Primitive camping area.  We came to this area to boondock and try our new solar electric system.  This is when we learn that it wasn't working.  Not only that but the battery in the truck was dead as a door-nail. DEAD BATTERIES all around.  Not even enough power to run the 12 volt lights.  arrrggg  The ranger had come by every day to watch over us because two storms were going to be passing through.  On one of his visits he advised us that we might want to move to higher ground, which we were able to do but that was the last time the truck started.  So on monday morning, March 2, 2015 we call AAA for a jump and then drove into Brawley, CA where we went on a quest to fine a new Interstate battery for the truck.  I wanted and Interstate battery because that is what was in the truck.  I made many calls and went to the Interstate web site looking for a place in Brawley that sold Interstate brand and wasn't able to pin down a place.  OK never mind we'll settle for a NAPA battery instead. On our way to the NAPA store I couldn't make the turn into the parking lot so drove on past it for two blocks and was able to get this rig turned around and heading back to the NAPA store. While tuning back onto the street what should drive past us?  A big green Interstate Battery truck so I thought the best thing to do was to just follow him to where ever he was going.  And that's what we did.  Followed him to a tiny repair shop of a Mexican man who spoke almost no english but within about 10 minutes I was driving away with a new battery bought right off the mother truck and installed, all for $150.  I was a very happy camper.

White Pelicans huddled against the rain, one duck and some seagulls.

We then left Brawley headed back north on highway 111 towards Niland, CA. which we went on past going all the way to The Fountain of Youth Spa and RV Resort for the night.  We needed to plug in and also dump the holding tanks and fill up with fresh water.

Look, snow on the far mountains. 

This morning we got up and drove back to Niland to go on an adventure looking for Slab City and Salvation Mountain.

We came to Slab City to find Solar Mike and have him trouble-shoot our new solar system and fix it.  The first thing he found is that the old inverter in the rv had not been disconnected.  So my new panels were producing 7 amps and the old converter was using 11 amps just to keep itself going.  So off the top we were running a 4 amp deficit.  There by draining the batteries.  It was just a coincidence the truck battery died at the same time.  So we are sitting in Solar Mikes yard in Slab City while his dog barks at everyone and Mike and his gang works on our rig.  The first thing he did was disable the old inverter.  Now one of his crew is on the roof moving two of the old new panels so they won't be shaded by the roof vents or the air conditioner.  And hopefully those changes will get us up and running.

Here we are at Solar Mikes note Red Wagon isn't hooked up, 
Mom drove in behind me this morning.

We will stay out here at the Slabs for a day or two to make sure everything is working and if not we will come back and re-assess the situation. 

See you later.

Evie and Joy


  1. Good to hear the adventures don't involve estate sales.
    Great battery chasing story. If that ain't karma I don't know what it could be. That's a funny story....well, now it is.
    Solar Mike looks as though you were at his house. I would have been convinced of that if I saw chickens running around the yard.
    Hope you are staying charged.
    Didn't you get the panels installed down in Ukiah? Maybe you should call those goofballs in order to review their work. How about a review posted on Yelp?
    All is well here....tons of sun without a rain cloud in sight.....Drats.
    I'm starting to get a bit envious of your adventure.
    Where will you two head when the summer hits down there?
    Miss y'all.

    1. Thank you g-man. We don't know where we'll go. We will pick up some mail in Niland on Friday. After that we are free to go off into the wild-blue-yonder.

  2. Yik! Id it isn't one thing, it's 10 others! So glad you saw the truck & Solar Mike put your solar install to rights! We got our solar done at AM Solar in Eugene, Oregon & they did a first-rate job! I'm so glad the ranger was aware of your plight & kept tabs on you. Now that you've gotten that taken care of, the fun can begin! Take good care--safe & happy travels.