Sunday, July 29, 2018

Time to Recharge

It was that time to recharge the two Noco boosters I carry in my vehicles.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

70 Hour Sleep

I can sleep for 70 hours straight with this fan on my face on high.  I dig it.

It’s Here

Thursday, July 19, 2018

On A Roll

I’ve tried a couple more of the Mountain House meals; the breakfast skillet and the sweet and sour pork.  I’m happy to report both are “good enough” to be consumed again.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mountain House Fan

I tried the Pepper Steak today.  I liked it!  It could use a little hot sauce.  But I use hot sauce on everything.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Let There Be Light

Today was Amazon Prime day and I scored some Arlo remote lights.  I’m planning on using one to “protect” my golf cart when I’m not there.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Camera Crazy

I added two more cameras to my RV lot, one for the inside of the Airstream and one to keep an eye on the driveway.  I went a little camera crazy. I love the internet.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Turkey Dinner Casserole

Part of my disaster preparedness plan includes storing food in case of an emergency. This means that “prepper” type freeze dried food.  In a previous blog post I suggested you try some of these before you commit to storing it in your kit, because, to put it bluntly, some of the available options taste like dog poo.

After trying several brands I discovered one that I really like.  And by that I mean I’d eat it even if it wasn’t an emergency.  It’s called Mountain House.  They sell these nifty little pouches you add water to and a few minutes later you have a meal.  So far I have purchased two ten-packs of their chili mac.  I love chili mac.  And this one is not gourmet, but it’s not bad either, for a freeze dried food. 

Yesterday I tried their turkey casserole.  Not bad, not bad at all.  Thankfully I now have some variety in my disaster kit.  I’ve ordered several other flavors to try.  But for now, chili mac and turkey casserole are highly recommended. 

Open the pouch, pour 1 1/4 cups of boiling water, stir and wait 5 minutes.  Stir again and wait 4 minutes.  Enjoy.  A pouch makes two servings which I managed to eat by myself in one sitting.  I was stuffed. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

400 By A Hair

It was a tough choice, but I went against my Tim The Toolman Taylor instincts and went with the smaller unit.

The 400 weighs 17 lbs.  the 1000 weighs 40.  Plus it’s cheaper. 

Yes, it has less than half the capacity.  I’d rather buy 2 400s than lug around a 1000.  Plus the solar panel I will need is also smaller.  

Here’s a picture of both models side by side.  The fact that the 400 is smaller will make it more likely I will carry it with me to more places.  I’m hoping I did the right thing...

Monday, July 9, 2018

Decision Time

The 400 or the 1000?  By the time you add the solar panel (a Boulder 100 for the 400 and a Boulder 200 for the 1000) I’m at $900 vs $1700.


Choosing a Solution

I’ve narrowed down my choices to either the Goal Zero 400 Lithium or the 1000 Lithium.  Lithium is a better choice than AGM as the entire charge is usable without damaging the battery.  And the smallest lithium power stations are the 400 and 1000.  The 1400 and 3000 are nice but they are expensive and heavy.  I’m not made out of money and I’m not lugging 100lbs around.

The 400 costs $600 and the 1000 costs $1000.  The 1000 is on the outer limit of what I’d like to carry (40lbs) and it costs $400 more.  But it’s 1000 watt hours vs 400.  I’m not planning on running a ridge or an AC with this, but ideally I’d like to be able to run a fan all night and still have juice to charge my phones.

The 400 is the sweet spot in size and portability.  I’m just not sure 400 watt hours is enough.

And I’m afraid if I buy the 400, I’ll be kicking myself for not buying the 1000 as I run out of juice.


Sunday, July 8, 2018

Backup Power

We purchased an inverter generator last year during the hurricane season. We even got to use it one night.  While at the trailer, I’m fairly confident we can weather a storm or power outage of several days.  But I’m not so confident if I’m at home or somewhere else.   I live in a condo, so generators are not allwowed.  So I am looking for a solution where I can recharge my phones and iPads, and perhaps connect a small fan or appliance.

Enter the wonderful (and expensive) world of Goal Zero. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Satellite Phone

Last year during hurricane season we had to evacuate, and cellphone service was spotty.  I decided back then I wanted to buy a satellite phone.  It sounds like a weird thing to want, but I made it a part of my disaster preparedness plan.  

Well, come to find out these things are not cheap.  And selecting one, and the corresponding service plan, is not as easy as I’d thought it would be.  Here is what I learned.  

There are three service providers: Iridium, Globalstar, and Inmarsat.  Not to get too technical, but Iridium has the best global network.  It also has the most expensive phones and plans.  Of course they do. 

Well, I decided that I really didn’t need the phone to work in the north or south poles.  Florida would do.  So I looked at the other two. 

Between Globalstar and Inmarsat, Inmarsat has the cheapest plans to keep the phone “active”.  It’s called a North America plan and it covers, well, North America.  For $25/month you get... 10 minutes. 

10 minutes you say?  What can you do with 10 minutes?  Order a pizza and that’s about it.  After that it’s $1/minute.  Geez. 

Well, I thought about it.  This is not going to replace my cellphone.  This is for an emergency when there is no cellphone service.  So the chance I’ll NEED to use it is slim.  But if I need it, I’ll need it. If it’s an emergency $1/minute is a small price to pay to be able to communicate with someone.  And, after all, isn’t that the point of this exercise?

So having the phone “active” at all times (with minutes that don’t expire) will at least give me the option of making a call in an emergency.  I can add this to my “disaster preparedness” kit and feel better.   For $25/month.  Sigh. 

Inmarsat is the cheapest one out there.  The others are $35 and up.  With similar small minute plans. So don’t plan on calling your buddies and reminiscing about the good old days on this phone.  A quick call to loved ones to let them know you are OK, a quick call to the police or to emergency services.  That’s it. 

So when I went to buy the phone, they had a deal at  If I got the $45/month plan ($50 if I wanted a US based number), they’d sell me the phone for $300 less.  So for $20 more a month for 12 months ($240), they’d discount the phone $300.  After 12 months I can switch to the cheaper monthly plan. 

So I took the bait.   Gets here Monday. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Webcams Part 2

My second attempt was more successful. The Arlo Pro by Netgear works with the Verizon Jetpack. You need an extra piece - a network extender with an Ethernet port.  I already had a Netgear AC750, so I was good to go.  I’m getting two extra cameras because that’s how I roll.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Webcams Part 1

Ever since I kicked Frontier to the curb, I’ve been looking for a remote webcam solution I could use with my Verizon Jetpack.  I got a good deal on these Blink cameras.  Too bad they don’t work with the Jetpack.