Change (or maybe not?)

Last day of work — late

I was not able to contemplate the end of a work era during my last day of work. I was too busy.  In fact, by the end of the day, I was rushing around like a maniac, trying to get everything done so I could head out as planned for a celebratory dinner with George.  I made it–just barely.  Now I have time to think about the monumental change from work to non-work. It feels very, very good.

Which is not to say that I did not enjoy my work–I did.  And I will miss my friends. But it will be so nice to be able to go, do, and say pretty much whatever (and wherever) I want.  And I am looking forward to a more leisurely pace.

First day of retirement

9 a.m.  I woke promptly this morning at my usual time.  I rolled over and slept another hour. What a sweet feeling not to have to pack too many things into too short a weekend.  I thought I might have trouble unwinding from my usual pace, but I am already quite unwound.

9:30 p.m.  Ha, that was a joke.  I am still wound up.  I ended up running around all day trying to get all of the last minute things done so that we can leave on Tuesday.  We took a couple of loads to storage, cleaned the truck interior, hauled stuff to the trailer, shopped, and continued to sort through things.

It was a lovely day at the trailer storage lot.

Sunshine in the living and dining area (without the table)

Sunshine in the living/dining area (without the table). You can see the decal on the trailer stored next door.

Our neighbor dog, Minnie, couldn’t figure out what we were doing.

IMG_1343Zoe is worn out. We will try to slow down tomorrow.

She is afraid we will pack her tennis ball.

She is afraid we will pack her tennis ball.

Sundogs

We have gone solar.  Finding the parts in Anchorage was a challenge, but the installation went without a hitch and the system appears to be working beautifully.  We haven’t seen any solar panels on Alaskan RVs and debated waiting until we got Outside for the install. But we decided to see if we could get it done in Anchorage and are glad we did. Everyone involved was enthusiastic and helpful and the work was completed faster than we expected.  How sweet is that?

We have three panels running down one side of the trailer roof.  The roof is rounded, giving the panels a slight natural tilt.  We did not want to have to manually tilt the panels (the less chores the better), but the permanent tilt means that we will have to keep the sun direction in mind when picking campsites.  We originally sized the system for two panels but decided to add a third so we could avoid the hassle of climbing a ladder to adjust the panel angles

panels

The wiring from the panels runs into the interior through the refrigerator vent and then along the underside to the MPPT charge controller.  The charge controller is neatly tucked into a panel under a closet on one side of our bed.  It regulates the voltage to keep the batteries from overcharging and lets us know the amount of power produced by the panels and the state of battery charge. On a sunny day it provides up to 15 amps for several hours, which is more than enough to charge the batteries.

controller

controller

A 600 watt pure sine wave inverter is installed in the matching panel on the other side of our bed. It takes 12 volt DC from the batteries and converts it to 120 volt AC, allowing us to keep our electronics charged and to power the TV while dry camping during football season.

inverter

inverter

Finally, we upgraded the batteries to two 6 volt AGMs wired in series, which are mounted on the same battery mounts as the previous ones, with an added custom cover to keep water from pooling.

George did a tremendous amount of research to see what would work best for our needs without breaking the bank.  It looks like the research paid off.  So far, we are impressed with how fast the panels charge the batteries, even without full sun.  Of course, it is way too early to tell how everything will work in the long run.  But, for now, I’m tickled with the idea that we can get our electric needs from the sun.  We are already plotting a home solar system for when we come in off the road.