Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Homesteading Texas State Parks

We started down the road on our big off-grid adventure and boy, is it a learning experience. Have you ever heard the saying, "a bad day fishing is better than a good day working"? Well, even though everything is not going according to our plans, we are still having a great time! 

We hooked a battery up to an inverter in the tiny trailer homestead, for power on the road, but we are still working the bugs out of the system. That is to say, it was working as planned, until a repair necessitated my plugging the multi-tool into the inverter to cut a steel bar, thus draining the battery with no way to recharge. I had contemplated using the truck to recharge said battery, but am still looking into the feasibility of that. Something about alternators giving out and batteries blowing up, anyway, beyond my current diy comprehension.

We did make it to Balmorhea State Park in Texas, after an unplugged night at a rest area, where we parked at a lovely site with water and electric, for only $14 a night. I plugged in the trickle charger and charged up the battery. I had it on the wrong setting, though, so the following night, we had about 1 hour of battery power before it died. After consulting the instructions for the charger, I put it on the correct setting and when we reached our water and electric site in Goose Island State Park, Texas, I charged it up all the way. Still have not tested to see how long it will last, as we have been running the heater every night with the cooler than normal temps in Texas. We have also been spending a lot of time on this slow travel adventure, visiting friends in the area and I have not wanted to leave the tiny vintage trailer unattended while on battery power just yet.

The Texas State Park system is wonderful. For $70 a year (less for seniors and disabled) you can get a pass which will grant you free entry to all the parks and a few discount nights on camping. Most of the campgrounds have a number of sites with water and electric and the settings we have been in have been spectacular. Of course, right now the campgrounds are not crowded, except on the weekends. The 2 campgrounds we have been in have also had free showers and very clean bathrooms...cleaner than an RV park we stayed in. We had very bad wifi reception at the campsites but not too far away we could park and get good wifi with the hotspot. The ups and downs of including the internet in your simple living plan.

Susie is turning out to be quite the camper. She enjoys the tie-out, loves hiking with us on the leash and is very well behaved. Mr. Cuddles kept slipping out of his harness. I discussed this with one of our neighbors at Goose Island and she described a harness style her mother had gotten for her cat, which was nearly impossible for the cat to slip out of. We found one at the next PetCo we stopped at and it has been a sanity saver. Sadly for Mr. Cuddles, he will no longer get to enjoy his leisurely jaunts through the brambles, while laughing at us humans getting cut up, trying to catch him.

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