Hooking Up 

Thursday 30th April 2020 
by Matt 
 
Hooking Up

Life is very different up here in Boise, ID - not least because for the first time in almost four months we finally have hookups!

Life in Boise

Often when we "move house", especially if we move a longer distance, it takes some time to get used to our new location. Last week's mammoth 900 mile drive brought us out of the Arizona desert and up to our new home in Boise, ID.

Our Longest Ever Travel Day

Ordinarily we try not to travel more than 200 miles in a day, but sometimes it doesn't work out that way - like yesterday's 900 mile journey!

Our Longest Ever Travel Day

We're camping here next to our good friend Cortni, also known as The Flipping Nomad, outside of her shop near Boise, ID. For the past couple months, we haven't had any neighbors at all and now we're overshadowed by the stunning Ultimate Montana.

That being said, if we have to have neighbors then we could do far worse - it's a pretty cool rig to look out at!

Ultimate Montana Outdoors RV
Our Outdoors RV is very much overshadowed by the very impressive Ultimate Montana!

It's taken us a few days to get used to our new home. The weather is much cooler and nowhere near as dry as that which we had become accustomed to in Arizona - much more comfortable!

Not only have we changed timezone, but being further north has made the days longer too. Sunrise is about an hour later, but sunset is an hour and a half later. Our schedule of going to bed at 9pm doesn't work so well when the sun doesn't set until 8:45pm! We're still trying to work that one out!

There are also new noises to contend with - birds chirping loudly, noises from nearby businesses and road noise. Nothing too crazy, but it all takes a little getting used to after the silence of the remote desert boondocking we've been doing.

Landing in Boise also put an end to our boondocking streak - in the end we managed 114 days of boondocking!

100 Days of Boondocking

Yesterday marked 100 days in our RV since we last had hookups - we'll share how we did it and our top tips for boondocking off-grid.

100 Days of Boondocking

I must admit, it's really nice to have hookups. While we enjoy the challenge of managing our limited resources when boondocking, it's nice to be able to relax and just not think about how much electricity or water we're using. We're able to shower every day and we're using every drop of hot water in our tank each time!

Outdoors RV Hookupss
Our rig hasn't looked like this in almost 4 months - nice to finally have hookups though!

We've limited our shore power input to 15A so we don't pull too much current through the hookup we have access to, but our Victron MultiPlus 3000 will assist with power from the batteries if we need more power - e.g. to run the electric water heater and electric kettle at the same time.

RV Electrical Upgrade: Part 2 – Battle Born Lithium Batteries & Victron Inverter

In Part 2 of our series on upgrading the electrical system in our RV, we're going to be jumping straight in with the biggest components - the Battle Born Lithium batteries and a new Victron MultiPlus inverter / charger . We'll also be laying the groundwork needed for installing the remainder of the system later on in the series too.

RV Electrical Upgrade: Part 2 – Battle Born Lithium Batteries & Victron Inverter

Our solar panels will still charge our batteries when they drop below 100%, but even with the 15A limit on our shore power, the batteries don't get used much. One of the things I'd like to experiment with while we're here is to see what we can do to use the solar as much as possible - we might as well, right?

RV Solar: Part 4 - Adding More Capacity

Sooner or later, you may find yourself wanting to add more capacity to your RV's solar system. For us it happened sooner, but not for the reason we expected!

RV Solar: Part 4 - Adding More Capacity

Truck battery

If you've been following our blog you may remember a month or so ago I noticed our truck battery was getting a little low. At the time I thought it might have just been from sitting idle, but it was draining too fast for that. I suspected I had a parasitic load somewhere but ruled that out.

Check Your Battery

If like us you're sheltering in place, you probably aren't driving as much as usual - but don't forget to check your vehicle's battery!

Check Your Battery

In the end I resigned myself to the notion that our 4 year old truck battery might be reaching the end of its life. I don't really want to replace it while we're sitting in one place, so instead I've put it on life support - a battery tender.

When we were boondocking we could only power the battery tender during the day since it needs the inverter on and we turn that off overnight. But now we have shore power I can leave it running 24/7.

Battery Tender F-150
It's only a low current battery tender, but I'm still surprised it took almost 4 days for our batteries to register as full!

Even after our mammoth drive (which should have given the battery plenty of charge), it took the battery tender almost 4 days to give me the green light that the battery is fully charged. I think a new battery is in our future...!

Amazon deliveries

Living in an RV means we don't have lots of space to accumulate "stuff". My Amazon addiction from before we hit the road has been kept involuntarily in check as a result.

But my maker-brain is always thinking of new mods and enhancements for the RV, and often that means buying bits and pieces - usually nothing too large.

Down near Quartzsite, AZ there was nowhere convenient nearby to have an Amazon delivery shipped for free, and the shelter-in-place order made it even harder. So the last time we put in an Amazon order was mid-February.

Until now.

Now we have an address and we can receive deliveries again - so we've been catching up! Unfortunately Amazon's delivery scheduling seems to be all over the place. The 2-day guaranteed shipping is gone, and our orders are being spread out across multiple deliveries stretching out anything up to 3 weeks.

Fortunately nothing we've ordered is time critical, and getting things every few days is better than nothing. Actually, several orders have had their delivery timelines updated bringing the delivery dates forward significantly. We'll just have to wait and see I guess!

Self isolation

Having arrived from out of state, we're obliged to remain in self isolation for 14 days after arrival. We knew to expect this, and given the general guidance around travel and sheltering-in-place, it's not a big deal for us. In fact, it's really just more of what we were doing down in Arizona!

We're not in danger of running out of supplies any time soon - the big grocery shop we did in Blythe, CA over two weeks ago means we still have plenty of food in the fridge and freezer, let alone our pantry!

Grocery Shopping - Quarantine Style

While we're trying to avoid traveling as much as possible, the inevitable finally happened - it was time to go grocery shopping.

Grocery Shopping - Quarantine Style

Plus, now we have friends nearby, if we needed something then it's nice to know we're not alone.

Bonus YouTube video

We've been continuing to work through our backlog of videos and blog posts, using content we filmed months ago, long before the lockdown happened. In fact, we're making so much progress that this week we were able to put out a bonus video this week!

YouTube Video Player
360° video - Million Dollar Highway drive with RV (Colorado)

If you haven't seen it, be sure to check it out - it's a very cool 360° video that you can scroll around while watching us drive along the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado while towing our trailer last July.

Remodel ideas

We're also working on a big upcoming project - a major remodeling effort inside our RV. It's something we've been planning for a few months but weren't sure when exactly we'd find time to do it. Since we can't travel at the moment, it's a perfect time to work on our RV!

Our overall plan is a major overhaul inside the RV to help it feel brighter and give us more usable space. We plan to repaint inside, rip out our dinette and replace it with a custom-built ergonomic workspace and a few more changes. No more spoilers though - stay tuned and we'll be sharing more as it happens.

Ultimate Montana Flipping Nomad
Will we be able to create the Ultimate Outdoors RV?

Since our friend Cortni is something of a pro at these things, we bribed her with popcorn to give us some advice. We're really excited with the plans now, and once our self isolation is over and we can safely visit some local stores, Diana and I can start tackling the project!

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