Sunday, April 18, 2021

Another Short Bit of Wandering

With vacinations out of the way, it was time to make a long weekend trip. I figured the distance was too long for an overnight, so I positioned to some BLM land just outside of the south entrance of Joshua Tree National Park for my first night. Found a spot just about the time the sun was setting, fixed dinner, and went to bed planning an early departure. 

The intent of the trip was to get caches in Orange, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara counties.

The next morning I left at 0'dark thirty to time my first Orange County cache at first light. I got a letterbox and a multi out of the way before stopping for a virtual at a Vietnam War Memorial.

I also picked up a challenge cache and a mystery cache before leaving Orange County.

My first stop in Los Angeles County was for a challenge cache. I picked up another challenge and a traditional that started with "X" to help me out with another challenge. I'd hoped to stop at the Getty Museum for an Earthcache, but Covid continues to make some things difficult.

I didn't "need" any caches in Ventura County because we'd picked up a few when we camped along the beach on an RV trip a few years ago. That didn't stop me from getting a beach picture just because I could.

'Sides that, there was a series of caches in a Bird Sanctuary that had caught my eye when I was planning the trip. I ended up doing three of them (a Wherigo, a challenge, and a multi) but cut my time short because I had already heard about construction and slow traffic on the way to Santa Barbara.

My first stop in Santa Barbara county was a bust for me. There was supposed to be a challenge cache somewhere near this burned out tree, but I was never successful in finding it.

I did manage to find a cache in one of the nicer areas of town and left before they could tow the Silver Subie. 

From Santa Barbara, I backtracked a ways and then headed east. Didn't find another challenge cache I wanted, but eventually ended up in an area with a bunch of hand made fake rocks that I wanted to check out. 

Home for the night was a boondock outside of Palmdale. 435 miles for the day and 3 new counties. It was only as I was doing this blog post that I realized I never logged a virtual and an earthcache that I visited, but now I've lost those notes. Oh, well - there will be others.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Better Late Than Never (or not??)

Last August
, I teased that there was one more significant Silver Subie mod, but I never got around to documenting it. Since then, I did a full engine overhaul, new clutch, new brakes, new radiator, etc.

I wasn't happy with depending on the car battery for overnight use, but I couldn't justify a dedicated "house" battery, or so I thought. Shortly after getting home from the weekend trip with the tent addition, I was "blessed" with a CPAP. Now I had an excuse! The CPAP provider was less than helpful about running it on batteries, so I reinvented the wheel, so to speak.

If it were just current uses for the Subie, I could have gone with a smaller battery, but I needed it to have enough capacity to support our annual river trip as well. My design criteria was to have enough capacity for the CPAP for 10 nights or to comfortably handle the computer and 12 volt fridge (one can dream, right?) in the Subie. 

I ended up selecting an LiFePo4 50 Ah battery from They import this battery for "house" battery applications in VW Vans. The physical size and weight were excellent, and the price was better than I would have expected.

I lose some space in the kitchen box, but that's a small price to pay for the convenience! 

The battery is charged from a Renogy 20Amp DC-DC Battery Charger. This provides the charge curve that the LiFePo4 battery needs. This charger lives under the driver's seat.

The charger can be turned on/off from a switch that fits into a blank spot on the console. Since I only use the battery on overnight trips, the charger is turned off for everyday use of the Subie.

With the car installation finished, I built a water (and sand) resistant box to house the battery and control panel.

It's one more thing that gets loaded in the canoe, but the system worked well and lets us do those extended float trips that we love. It's been a win-win solution.