This trip was all about getting our solar panels installed, spending Amelia’s birthday with her parental units, tax and dentist appointments. Then going out to Borrego Springs to test the solar panels and see how Sara does with life in the Airstream.
Boon docking is the same as dry camping. There are no hook ups, no water, and no toilets. And no crowds, which is great, but the best part is it’s free! When you are on the road, gas and camp fees are the two big expenses. So if you can work in some free boon docking nights it really helps to bring your expenses down.
Our boon docking spot in Borrego was in the Clark Dry Lake area. Verizon reception was good enough, which is important so I can work. Our closest neighbor was at least 250 yards away. People are very respectful of space out here. No one comes into your zone and tries to set up camp.
Airstream Orange County installed our solar system. Danny Galindo and his crew did an excellent job. Danny was extremely patient with my multiple phone calls and questions. He did a great job educating us. We went with a 160 watt panel, 2/6 volt Interstate deep cycle extreme batteries, and a 30 amp digital controller. The controller and panel are from Go Power by Carmanah.
We are completely sold on solar. What a great investment. Prior to solar we couldn’t make it four days before running out of power. Now with sunshine we can go on forever without a worry about power.
So now, it’s all about managing your water when boon docking. The fresh water tank is 39 gallons, grey water tank 37 gallons, black water 39 gallons. So do the math. We can add water to the fresh tank and still not over flow the black and gray if managed properly. One of the things I learned at the University of San Diego is cleanliness is next to godliness. So the Harris’ shower every day! And we were easily able to shower all eight nights. The water management tricks when boon docking are: we bring a 5 gallon jerry can of water to do the dishes outside, four 2.5 gallon jugs of water for drinking and cooking, a five gallon sun shower for Amelia to wash her hair daily, (I don’t have that issue!), and a few times we added a gallon to the fresh water just to be sure we didn’t run out during a shower! There’s a few more tricks but Amelia didn’t think it was appropriate that I tell the world, so ask me in private and I’ll tell you. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it’s not.
Sara did great, except when we left every morning for our daily exercise. She sleeps in her crate all night without a problem. In Mammoth, when we leave her in the condo she’s perfectly fine. And when we leave her in a crate in San Diego she cries for about 2 minutes, that’s all. But in the Airstream she just wails and wails once we crate her and close the door. Apparently one day she went on for 30 minutes. Our tact now is to not crate her during the day, but instead just let her sit in the Airstream. So far, her behavior is much improved.
On Friday, we had a little hiccup. Our water heater went out. I know, not exactly the end of the world. To make a long story short we woke up at the crack of dawn on Saturday and drove to Airstream Orange County. Danny solved the problem. It was a long day, but 11 hours after leaving Borrego we were setting up our boon docking spot in the Alabama Hills.
As usual, we will let the pictures tell the story.