Creature Comforts

Making Things a Little More “Normal.”

285_2879575Since I’m taking at least a week off to allow the tendons in my right elbow to heal, I worked on a couple of smaller projects that didn’t require very much gripping, pulling or tugging from my right hand.

 

 

 

 

Backstory

Before we left Ohio, I set up our Media Center to run on a Raspberry Pi connected to a 12TB NAS and a computer monitor. Shortly after we arrived, one of our cats nearly got himself sent to the nearest Chinese restaurant. Our cats have discovered that they like to hang out in the lofts in the cabin, and that the easiest way up there is where the ceiling meets the walls. There is a small gap that they can squeeze through to gain access.

One day, our dogs were harassing our cats (big surprise, right?) and Junior jumped up on the table that held our monitor so that he could escape to the loft. Since he was freaking out, he had a “gracefulness score” of about NEGATIVE 827. He knocked the monitor off the table and it landed right on a couple of my batteries, bTh-evil-cat-lilycracking the screen and rendering the monitor junk. Thankfully, one of our new neighbors had a spare that they could not use and gave it to us. I brought it home and set it up.

 

AND THE DAMNED CAT KNOCKED IT OFF AGAIN! 

This time, however, there was no damage.  In response, I got out my screw gun and fastened the monitor to the table, and installed a safety strap from the table to the wall. There’s no way that darned cat will do that again!

 

Surrounded By Sound

Since I am basically stuck in the house because I can’t work on physical projects and we’re out of cash, I decided to set up our SurroundSound system.  IMG_2195I dug out the receiver and speakers and got everything connected except for the rear speakers (since I have to run wires over the ceiling). As a test, we watched A.I. Artificial Intelligence last night. I like that movie quite a bit.  Honestly, though, my favorite character in the movie was the SuperToy, Teddy.

 

 

Printing and WiFi Hijinks

11Chad and lindas wacky network

Click image for larger version

In addition to the surround sound system, I dug out our HP Laserjet Pro CP1525nw color printer. Since it uses a fair amount of power, we will leave it turned off most of the time.  However, should we need to print something, we can fire it up and have it ready in only about a minute.

We now have Internet access available to all our Internet-capable devices. However, the rats nest of wires and levels of NAT would make even the most junior network engineers cry.

Since my Time Capsule is using its 2.4GHz band to talk to the neighbor’s router that uses Network Address Translation (NAT) (192.168.2.x/24), it can only supply the extended WiFi on the 5GHz band.  Unfortunately, of all our devices, only my MacBook Pro can receive 5GHz. So, I share that 5GHz to the ethernet port on my Mac and it does NAT (192.168.3.x/24) so that my media center and other ethernet connected devices can access the net. Then, I use Linda’s MacBook to share the ethernet connection back out via a 2.4GHz wireless band NAT (10.0.2.x/24) so that the iOS and other 2.4GHz-only wireless devices can get access.

For the iPads, iPhones and my e-reader, that’s THREE levels of NAT and generally more than one is considered a “bad idea.” However, this was the only way (with the tech I have on-hand) to get internet access to all of my devices.  This will certainly NOT be the final solution, but for now, it works for us since we usually just do browsing.

Posted in accomplished, funny, improvised technology | 2 Comments

Time For A Little R&R

Taking a Break

Well, it seems that it’s time for me to take a break from all the projects that I have going. I’ve taken the discomfort in my right elbow too far and now I need to lay off for a bit.

The Right Hand Didn’t Know What the Left was Doing

Last year, I started developing a pain in my left elbow that got worse when I was grasping things.  I thought it was just a little bit of tendonitis, until I finally had enough of the pain and went to see Dr. Steine at Beacon Orthopaedics in Cincinnati. It turned out that it was more than just tendonitis. An ultrasound of my elbow revealed that I had a partially detached ligament that was scarring up and causing the pain.

We decided to do a procedure called Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) to help the torn tendon heal. After two treatments and a few months of physical therapy, my left arm and grip were stronger than they ever were!  I can’t recommend the physicians at Beacon enough if you have a sports or bone injury.  They rock!

With all the extreme physical activity that I’ve been doing to turn our cabin from a shell into a home, I’ve managed to cause a similar injury in my right elbow. The pain is exactly the same as before, only this time, I don’t have any medical insurance to fall back on to have that procedure done again.

Effie, Brace Yourself!

IMG_2194Since the injury is exacerbated by gripping, pulling and tugging with the hand of the affected arm, I have to completely stop using my right hand for just about everything. Since my right hand is my dominant one, I decided that a reminder of the restriction would be a good idea. So, I am now wearing this wrist brace. It very effectively limits my ability to grasp anything, so I should be able to avoid gripping, pulling and tugging with it on.

I’ll need to avoid anything that can upset it for several days, probably a week. Then, I will start doing the physical therapy exercises that I was prescribed after my left elbow was operated on.

What Lies Ahead

I have always been extremely right-handed.  Sometimes I think that my left hand was included only so that I had bilateral symmetry. Learning to use my left hand for everything is going to be quite a challenge. I’ll also need to make sure that I don’t overdo it on the left side and reinjure it.

Thankfully, I’ve got our media center up and running, and due to a huge blessing from one of our neighbors, we have limited internet access in our cabin. This will give me time to do some research on upcoming projects, as well as take some more time to keep the blog updated with interesting observations and stories about our life out here.

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We Gonna Rock Onto …

Electric Avenue

Several people have asked questions about our electrical system. So, I figure I’d show you around a bit. But first let’s talk about philosophy a while.

Why Off The Grid?

Two power systems diverged
In the West Texas Desert.
And I, I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

We have the option of getting electric power from the local Rio Grande Electric Coop. However, Linda and I decided that we wanted to power our lives with solar panels. This created some very interesting choices for us and some drastic changes in the way we do things. Some people are under the mistaken impression that “going solar” is cheaper than being grid-tied. Au contraire mon frère, it’s more expensive in several ways.

In just about every way, being grid-tied is cheaper. Even when you consider the costs of having the power run to your house from the nearest pole. I have thousands of dollars tied up in our solar system, and it’s considered to be relatively small. Those of us who are grid-tied tend to become very wasteful of energy because it’s really cheap. If a plastic fork cost $5 instead of $0.05, you’d be very careful about just throwing it away after every meal, wouldn’t you? Well, power out here on our system is the same way.

So… Why Off The Grid?

Our lives were governed by schedules and by services that we had to pay for. Being tied to the electric grid represents that paradigm that we are trying to leave behind. So, we are prepared to sacrifice some of the creature comforts that the “old way” made so easy, because we felt that it was a trap. Since power is so cheap, you tend to accumulate those things that are wasteful. And, since you have such power-hungry devices and appliances, you can’t just “install solar” to power it. It’s another one of those cycles that are self-reinforcing. So, we decided to “rip the band-aid off” and go all solar and just be very, very, very energy-conscious.

The System

  • IMG_2162IMG_2159IMG_2160Four 230 watt of 24-volt solar panels (920w total)
  • Eight U.S. Battery 1800XC2 6v 208Ah batteries wired as 832Ah @ 12v
  • Midnight Solar Classic 150 Solar Charge Controller
  • Harbor Freight 12v 2000/4000w DC to AC Inverter
  • PowerMax 100A Battery Charger
  • 30A Automatic Transfer Switch
  • 3200w Electric Start Gasoline generator

Wow! You say? That’s a lot of power? Not really. Not compared to what most people use. Your power is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) I measure mine in watt-hours (Wh), which is a 1000-fold difference. When we lived in Ohio, we were paying $0.03 per kWh. So, if I used 100 kWh in a day, it only cost me $3. Here, I can budget only 2kWh per day. Trying to calculate the cost of that 2kWh is difficult since my energy is renewable – that cost goes down a little bit every day. But you can see that with only 2kWh per day available to me, I can’t just leave the lights on and use a 1kW microwave oven to make popcorn.

 

 

Lifestyle Changes

I was never a morning person. You’d have to peel me out of the bed and throw me into the shower every morning before work. Now, since electricity is so precious, we don’t stay up late anymore since that would mean using electric lights. So, we go to bed at dark. As a consequence, we wake up automatically at sunrise. I don’t need to set an alarm, and I jump right out of bed.

We try not to use electric power through the day, since we need that power to run our refrigerator and our CPAP machines at night. Just those two things will consume most of our battery budget for a day. The next morning, when the solar panels start making power we are able to use more energy, but need to stay mindful of our consumption so that the batteries can be recharged fully before the end of the day. Sure, we have the generator, but we consider that to be a fall-back option, and we will do everything within our power to avoid running the generator. It burns gasoline. If you have not noticed, that stuff is really expensive these days!

…And Then We’ll Take it Higher…

We eventually want to install a wind turbine in addition to the solar panels. Most of the time there is a breeze out here, and we could be making power around the clock with a wind turbine. We’ll need to construct a tower to install it on, ideally around 30 feet above the ground. However, most of the wind turbine installations in this area are in the 15-20 foot range, so we may elect to go with the lower height to save on cost and engineering complexity. There is some additional cost involved with setting up a turbine, too. We will need to get an additional charge controller that can handle the output of the turbine, and we will need to find a turbine that is right for the wind out here as well as our power needs. Once we have a turbine up, we can use more power since we can replenish it. We will also want to add a few more batteries to the system so that our capacity is a bit higher when we don’t have the solar or wind making power.

Posted in sustainable, alternative energy, off-grid | 1 Comment

The First Week

July 31, 2014 – August 7, 2014

Notable Events this Week

Flooring

installing linoleumWe went into town and bought a nice sheet of linoleum. Our new friends, Jim and Dee were kind enough to lend us their trailer so we could haul it and several packages of insulation. We quickly emptied out the cabin and installed the flooring, then started moving back in again.

 

 

Power

IMG_3264Before I put the insulation in, I needed to run the electrical wiring.  So, I drilled holes in the walls and ran the wires. Boy, did that make a mess! We are still collecting wood chips on our socks! Once that was done, I put up a few pieces of insulation and installed the “power board.” I mounted the inverter, breaker boxes, automatic transfer switch and solar charge controller. I drilled a hole in the wall and put a piece of conduit through it so I could pass the cables from the solar panels and the generator in order to hook them up

Insulation

After the power was up and running, I put up about half the insulation.  There is still quite a bit more to do, and since the cats like to jump up into the loft, they keep disturbing the vapor barrier.  We’re going to need to get the wallboard and ceilings up soon to prevent additional damage!

Agua Para Nosotros

water tankThanks again to Jim and Dee, we were given a lead on a used water tank. We stopped in and got a 2500 gallon tank for $800! Once again, Jim loaned us his trailer. We took it back to the house and were advised that we should strap it down to something until we get some water in it — They told us a story of clocking a neighbor’s tank rolling uphill at 25 MPH due to the wind!  So, I grabbed my ratchet straps and attached it to the telephone pole at the edge of the road. That won’t be its final location, but it will do for now!

Vinegaroon

IMG_2108We encountered a strange creature called a Vinegaroon. It’s a nocturnal insect-eating insect, and we saw one crawling around near the porch one night just after Tracey and Mark left. At first, I thought it was a scorpion due to its size and the way that it walked. But since it didn’t have the classic “scorpion tail,” I figured it must not be.  Apparently, these guys will use a defensive spray that has a strong vinegar odor (hence the name) and apparently is very uncomfortable if you get it in your eyes.

 

The New Tradition

linda first coffee sunriseThe morning after Tracey and Mark left, Linda and I started a new tradition of getting up and watching the sunrise over coffee. The first couple of days were rather cloudy, but we have gotten some really spectacular sunrises since. The pictures really can’t do it justice.

 

 

New Friends

10575917_10203590086206057_680418290_nIn our first week, we met Brie and Tee, whom we’ve been Facebook friends with for close to two years. It was nice to finally put some faces and voices to the names and messages we’ve exchanged over all this time.  Also, we met Jim and Dee. They were they ones who helped us get the cabin located on our property before we arrived. The people out here are friendly and eager to help us.  I think that we’ve got quite a good support group started, and I can’t wait to meet even more of the locals. Linda and I are planning to attend church on the 10th in Dell City. Hopefully we can meet some more people there, too.

Post Office

post office dell cityWe stopped by the Dell City post office to get our P.O. Box situated. This place is TINY! It’s just big enough for a single window and a wall full of PO boxes. We pair for 6 months in advance. Eventually, we will get a rural mailbox posted out at the edge of the road and we won’t have to drive 50 miles round trip to get our mail. So, we will probably only check it once a week when we are in town for other things. If you need our address to send us something, please contact us via email or Facebook so that we can get it to you.

It still feels like we are “roughing it.” I think that once we get some more shelves in here and get some running water from our water tank, it will feel a little more “normal.”

Posted in accomplished, alternative energy, catch up, frugal, homestead, improvised technology, off-grid, Personal Updates, sustainable | 4 Comments

Home, Home on the Range

Cincinnati to Texas, Day 5: Carlsbad, NM to Cornudas, TX (July 31, 2014)

Rumble in the Night

I had been fighting a headache ever since arriving, which I blamed on the altitude. When I have a nasty headache, I like to sit in the shower and let the water wash over my head.  It always seems to help. While I was in the shower, a very violent thunderstorm rolled in. I honestly have not experienced a thunderstorm this violent in a great number of years. The lightning was very close. The thunder literally made the building shake, as though we were in some kind of warzone. Thankfully, my headache abated, and I have little trouble sleeping through thunderstorms.

4 AM Again…NOT!

Because we didn’t need to drive all day long, we slept in!  We got up at about 6AM and started packing up our stuff. By this time, we were pretty good at getting all our stuff and our cats loaded into carriers. Because of the way the bed frames were constructed, it was pretty easy to wrangle all the cats into their carriers.  In fact, I sustained no injuries whatsoever!

Joining Forces

We met Tracey and Mark at their motel which was just outside Carlsbad Caverns. Since they were 20 miles west of us, we decided to meet them rather than having them come all the way back to Carlsbad to meet us at our room. The little “village” was very “touristy,” but it wasn’t very busy since we were there in the middle of the week during the hottest part of the year.

El Paso – Not the City

mountain passHoly Moly! We pulled up some pretty serious hills! When you combine the altitude with the weight we were pulling, we slowed down to around 25MPH at the worst of it.  It’s no wonder!  When we got to the highest point on the climb, we were at 5697 ft! Carlsbad is at about 3200 ft, so we climbed 2500 feet before we got to the top of the pass.

After we got over the pass, we headed down some pretty serious grades.  The western side of that pass is far steeper than when you are coming from Carlsbad.  If I were climbing that hill with this load, I might only be able to manage 15 MPH or even less. Since our property is at about 4200 feet, we had to shed 1500 feet before we arrived.  I’d say we lost most of it on that one hill.

Home again, Home again, Jiggity Jig

pulling into cabinAfter passing Salt Flat and the turnoff for Dell City, we finally reached the intersection of 62/180 and RM1111. About a mile after that, we arrived at the turnoff for our property. We turned into the dirt road and made our way to the fourth turn. This is our “street.” After cresting the hill, our little cabin came into view.

We pulled into the property and placed the trailer near the front entrance to the cabin. We had finally made it home.

Trip Statistics

Since we were unable to immediately refuel after arriving, I didn’t collect data on fuel economy for this leg of the trip.

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The Tourist Trap

Cincinnati to Texas, Day 4: Wichita Falls, TX to Carlsbad, NM (July 30, 2014)

4 AM Comes at the Same Time Every Day

Are you surprised? Yes, we got up at 4 AM again. We were really ready to leave Wichita Falls.  The section of town that we were staying in was a real dump. The parking area and the exterior of the building were awful. It’s clear that the highway flyovers they put in here killed the motel industry on this side of town. Strangely, the inside of the room was fairly nice, but you could tell that this motel had seen better days and that they were just polishing a turd.

A CATastrophe

IMG_3107

You’d think that after this many iterations, the cats would just gleefully jump into their carriers. HA! I had to turn the room upside down and inside out again so that I could wrangle Junior and Little Miss. Squeak, was pretty easy, I have to say.  I think he finally just gave up on the “resisting” idea.

 

Goodbye, Interstates!

Well, I-44 ends in Wichita Falls. From here on out, we will be taking U.S. and State routes to our new home. The driving has gone pretty well on the interstates. Frankly, I’m a little worried about taking highways. We loaded up the Jeep in the rain. I was rather annoyed about it. We stopped at a local convenient store to grab some drinks before we headed out. The clerk told me that the rain was very welcome since they were in a Level 5 drought, and that some businesses in the area had to shut down due to water shortages and restrictions.  I told her that we brought the rain with us from Ohio.

82, 82, 82…

IMG_2064We got on  US 82 in Wichita Falls and took it all the way to Carlsbad.  We really didn’t even have to watch too carefully for twists and turns in the road. It was all very well marked. There was little traffic, but plenty of passing zones for the few people that came up behind us on the way.

 

Getting Throttled

IMG_3173Once we got past Lubbock, we started climbing again.  These hills were not steep, but long. Some of them had to be 10 miles or more of a gentle slope. But hey, I was way overweight and now I’m climbing in elevation and my power levels are going down! I spent a lot of time with my foot on the floor just trying to maintain speed. And that’s when I got “the code.”

My check engine light sat there, illuminated. It was mocking me. We were coming into a town that had an O’Reilly Auto parts in it. So, I stopped and checked the code. It was complaining about the throttle position sensor and that it had “high input” for too long.  Considering that I had just spent the last 30 minutes with my foot on the floor, I figured it was just a fluke and cleared the code.

Welcome to Carlsbad. Yes, it’s 105F.

Wow. This is HOT. We arrived in Carlsbad around 2pm and it was HOT, HOT, HOT. The Jeep’s display said that it was 105F outside. After we checked into the room, we were absolutely exhausted.  We concluded that it was a combination of the long drive, the heat, and the altitude causing the extreme fatigue. After we rested for about an hour, I had to run out to get some more cat food. We slightly miscalculated how much we needed to have on-hand for the trip and the rest was packed away in the trailer.

When I got out of the Jeep at the store, I realized that while it was 105F out there, it was very, very dry. I looked at the weather app on my phone and it was 42% humidity.  Back in Cincinnati at that same time, it was reporting 75%. I realized that I wasn’t dying out here. Holy smokes! I was right! The dryness actually allows me to stay cool!

After fetching the cat food, we came back to the room and made contact with Tracey. It turns out that she was staying in a motel about 20 miles west of us, so we would get started in the morning and meet up with her there…and then make the final push to our property.

Trip Statistics (Final)

Day 4:

Miles Driven today: 400.0
Total Fuel Consumed:  51.79G
Total Fuel Expense: $178.45
Average Fuel Cost/gal: $3.3445
Average MPG: 7.72

 

Whole Trip So Far:

Miles Driven: 1464.8
Total Fuel Consumed:  189.36G
Total Fuel Expense: $638.48
Average Fuel Cost/gal: $3.372
Average MPG: 7.74

 

Posted in accomplished, Jeep, Personal Updates, Texas Trip | 1 Comment

The Lone Star State

Cincinnati to Texas, Day 3: Springfield, MO to Wichita Falls, TX (July 29, 2014)

4 AM…Again.

I finally was able to log a full 8 hours of sleep.  That made it a little bit easier to get my butt peeled out of the bed at 4AM. It’s a good thing, too.  We had a very long day ahead of us. I packed up everything but the cats and loaded it all into the Jeep. I’ve got a bit of a “system” going here.

Putting the Cat BACK in the Bag

Squeak knew what I was up to.  He ran away from me a little bit, but seemed to know that I was going to win in the end and just let me pick him up.  He complained a bit as I put him into the carrier, but it was pretty uneventful. Missy and Junior, however, were going to be a bit more of a challenge since they refused to run into the bathroom and be cornered. They kept running under the beds. I sent Linda and the dogs out to the Jeep and I started by turning the beds up on their sides, eliminating their hiding places.

And there they were, packed into the corner like a couple of surprised cockroaches.  When I moved toward them, they fled in different directions. Missy once again tried to get behind the dresser. I moved it a bit so that her only escape was in reverse and I was able to grab her and put her into her crate with little more fuss.

Junior was huddled in a corner. He growled and hissed at me. When I reached for him, He darted across the room, paying no attention to where he was going. He got trapped in the same wedge that missy did.  He struggled a bit, but I was able to load him up with no injuries to either him or me!

I will try to get some pictures of the process for tomorrow’s entry.  It really is rather comical.

Los Banditos Gasolinos

IMG_2040We headed out and got our coffee and then hit the road.  About 50 miles down the road, Linda signalled that she needed a potty stop. As a general rule, I don’t like to stop for only one reason.  Try to combine the things we need to do so that we don’t waste a lot of time stopping and starting. So, I decided to fuel up. I put 9.534 gallons in.

HEY WAIT! 52.5 miles divided by 9.534 gallons is 5.5 MPG. WTF! We have been averaging 8 MPG for this whole trip. If I had gone that distance at our average economy, I would have used 6.6 gallons.

OMG! Someone STOLE Three gallons of gas overnight! Geez! I probably would have given the people $10 for gas had they just asked me. What is this world coming to!

For the rest of the day, we never came anywhere close to that mileage…and we got the worst mileage of the trip today!

Oooooklahom-

IMG_3051Nah.  Not gonna do that. Everyone always quotes that musical when they drive through Oklahoma. As if it’s the only state that has wind sweeping down the plains?

We crossed into the state and could tell right away that the highway was a toll road because of the sparseness of exits and the general good condition of the highway.  One thing that concerned us was that the speed limit was set to 75 MPH with a minimum speed of 50 MPH. There were several times yesterday that we went below 50.  I set the cruise control for 6o MPH and we started truckin’.

Oklahoma’s toll roads are a little different from the ones I’m used to.  You pay a flat fee based on the number of axles you have (we have four) and if you get off at an exit, you get a partial refund of the toll. Strange, but I guess it works, right?

Breakdown!

Well, we finally had our first breakdown in the Jeep. Now, before you all go buying me AAA memberships, I’ll tell you that it was something that was a little iffy to begin with, and I was just hoping that it would make it to Texas before it failed. It was the brake light combination switch. This happened once before a few years ago when the factory original brake switch failed and started doing the same thing. So, I went over to AutoZone and bought one. It also came with a lifetime warranty.

The switch has multiple functions. It handles turning on the brake lights. It handles the shifter interlock that prevents you from moving out of Park without your foot on the brake. It also tells the cruise control computer when you touch the brake pedal so that it can cancel the cruise control.

The brake lights worked just fine. The shifter interlock is a nanny device and I have considered disabling it on more than one occasion, so I didn’t care that it wasn’t working for that.  However, being without cruise control for the remainder of the trip was NOT acceptable.

IMG_3057So, we got off the highway in Claremore, OK. We got fuel and made a potty stop. I also located an AutoZone. We drove over there and I removed the switch.  Thankfully, it required no tools, either. I went into the store and swapped it out for a new one and we were back on the road in no time with cruise control that was even more reliable than it was before.

 

Making the Grade(s)

IMG_2048Wow. I-44 in Oklahoma is hilly! We went up some hills that were very long.  The grade wasn’t horrible, but I think one of those hills must’ve been three miles long! Pulling the weight of our trailer up that hill slowed us waaaay down.  I had to manually downshift the transmission in several places to keep from falling below 50 MPH.  We just KNEW that some officious cop would swoop down out of nowhere and bust us for going 48 MPH or something.

 

Red Dirt Diaries

4225998009_514b1dddb6The earth in this section of Oklahoma is very, very red! Nothing compared to the beige/brown colors in Ohio or the tan colors of West Texas. So, Linda did a little research online. We discovered that the dirt is red because it’s got a lot of iron in it.  Basically, about 200 Million years ago, sediment was deposited by rivers in the area, and because it was fresh water, there was a lot of oxygen in the water. This caused the iron deposits in the sediment to rust as it accumulated. It eventually turned into shale and was worn away and mixed with the rest of the soil, giving it the characteristic red coloring.

 

Fort Sill

Just north of the Texas border on I-44 is Fort Sill.  This is the Army base that I went to for Basic Training back in 1993. While I wound up leaving the service after basic because of some medical issues, I have a lot of fond memories of that place. For me, it was one of the things I was looking forward to seeing again when we chose this route.

 

IMG_3075Then, when we were passing the exit for the main gate, I saw something. It keyed a memory in me that was 20 years old.  I had one of those bizarre movie-style flashbacks and remembered that this was the place that they took me to load me on a bus when they were sending me home.

Wow.

It was amazing, especially since I had not thought about that location at all (not even once) since I left there, and seeing that parking area just threw me into the Wayback Machine.

 

Lonely Road

IMG_2054Once we got on the final stretch of I-44 in Oklahoma, it was clear that this part was the red-headed stepchild of the toll road system in Oklahoma.  The road is sparsely travelled and is in terrible shape. Thankfully the work crews were out and actively fixing it. There were times when there were no other cars visible.  This is an Interstate! Wow.  I was really amazed.

 

We Made It! Well, Kinda.

IMG_3090We finally crossed into Texas!  I wish I could report that our journey was over, but we still need to cut across the top of Texas and into New Mexico so that we can meet Tracey and Mark at Carlsbad tomorrow evening. That’s another 350 miles! Then, we will cross into Texas for good and drive the final 100 miles to our new home.

 

Weigh Station

photo 2We finally made it to Wichita Falls, Texas! I had been wanting to get a final weigh of my trailer before we left Ohio so that I knew what I was hauling.  It’s a good thing I didn’t. We stopped at a scale here in Wichita Falls and I discovered that the trailer weighed about 8500lb! That’s 1500lb over the max weight for the trailer, and 3500lb more than the Jeep is rated to tow!  Oops.

Had I learned this prior to leaving, I probably would have unloaded some things and left them there.  I never would have discovered that the Jeep was able to tow that much weight, albeit with a (drastically) lowered top speed. I’m not gonna sweat it; it made it this far with no problems – I expect that it will do just fine for the remainder of the trip. I don’t plan to ever tow that much with the Jeep again, but it sure is nice to know that it can do it in a pinch.

 

Landing Pad

photo 1We found the Motel 6 in Wichita Falls.  Wow.  This place is a dump. However, it’s got a fridge to keep our stuff cold, and it’s got free wifi, two beds and working AC.  That’s all we need. We’re just here to sleep….and for me to write blog entries.

 

 

 

Trip Statistics

Day 3:

Miles Driven today: 434.8
Total Fuel Consumed:  60.59G
Total Fuel Expense: $200.72
Average Fuel Cost/gal: $3.312
Average MPG: 7.18

 

Whole Trip So Far:

Miles Driven: 1064.8
Total Fuel Consumed:  137.57G
Total Fuel Expense: $460.03
Average Fuel Cost/gal: $3.344
Average MPG: 7.74

Posted in FML, Jeep, pets, Texas Trip | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments