Sunday, March 1, 2015

Family time and a Snow storm

We arrived at the ranch on Thursday, February 27. There was snow on the ground, but the roads were clear. There was much more snow in Mansfield than in the Springfield area. The weather forecast was for a cold first night. It got down to about 4 degrees. We were fine in the lodge at the ranch, but it took a while to get going on Friday morning.

I left the ranch about 11 AM to go get a few things done. I went to get the mail. We had not seen the mail in two months, but there was not a single bill. We did get all of the tax information I needed to submit my taxes to the CPA. I had a few other errands to run while I was out.

I have been wanting to begin to add solar to our rig for our time out west. I did a bunch of reading and found that as with most things you could spend a bunch of money. My plan was to make some small, but effective purchases now that could be added to a total solution in the future. I went by Missouri Solar and Wind in Seymour, MO. I was surprised to learn that they are the largest solar retail outlet in the country. And the good news is their prices are excellent. I went in and bought a 100W solar panel and a charge controller. Solar panels have come way down in price over the past few years. I also got brackets to mount the panel and 100 ft. of wire with pre-installed connectors. All of this for only $275. I have read about people spending as much as $8000 on a solar solution. That is certainly possible, but we have lived off of the grid for as long as three weeks and we know what we need to stay comfortable. I can't wait to test this out when we get to the Guadalupe Mountains NP in late March.

I got the taxes ready to submit and then we went over to Springfield to turn those in. We then went to the glasses store so that Kim could get some new glasses. She left hers at her Mom's. Phyllis will send them to us, but Kim wanted some new ones anyway.

I also went to Harbor Freight to buy a water pump. I wanted an auxiliary water pump to help us add water to the rig while we are boondocking. We have much more grey and black water capacity than we have fresh. This will also allow us to boondock longer. Last year we used jugs and poured it in by hand. That was a hassle. The pump was only $35, hopefully that will work well.

We need to be careful on our trips back to Missouri. They can get expensive.

We then went over to Brian and Shannon's for family game night. Brian fixed some very tasty home made chicken noodle soup. Here is a shot of the gang:

We played a Disney Video interactive trivia game. Needless to say Shannon killed us. She really needs to go on Jeopardy. Here is a shot of William with his bat that we bought him for Christmas:

We had fun with the family. We will see them all again before we head back south. 

We woke up Saturday morning to snow falling. It snowed all day! The temps were around 20 most of the day and it accumulated quickly. I would say that we got between 4 and 6 inches of fresh on top of the 4 to 6 inches of ice covered snow we had when we arrived. Then we got some freezing rain after that. We just stayed inside most of the day. Here are a couple of shots I got at mid-day. The snow is much deeper than this now.

I will try to get out and take a few more shots today to remind us why we don't want to be here with the rig this time of year. 

We have a number of things on the schedule this week. Wow, a schedule, not our normal relaxed way of life. We will endure the week and then get back to sunny and 75 ASAP. 

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