GREAT SUCCESS!

Yesterday, as we were heading south on hwy 93 down eastern Nevada, the RV began to surge and stall. It threw a check engine light at me. Brianna retreived the OBDII reader for me while mid motion and I checked it out. It was the same code I got a month ago: P0191; Fuel Rail Pressure Sensor A Circuit Range / Performance.  Fuel pressure was all over the map…as high as 70psi and as low as 11psi.

obdii p9191
GAH!

40 miles from ANYWHERE I felt the first hiccup. 10 miles away, I was quietly wishing to just make it to the small town of Ely, NV. 4 miles away, I was already thinking about how I was going to have to unload my bike and ride the rest of the way into town to get parts. We were so low on fuel already as well, that I wouldn’t be able to run the generator in case it were too hot… I was pretty stressed out. It’s very rare that I feel so stressed.  I’m also pretty stoic about it, so when Bribri reads this after I’m done writing, she might even be surprised.

We made it into Ely, NV,  and into a parking lot next to Napa. I asked the manager if we could stay the night there as I was having RV issues. Thankfully, they agreed to let us stay the night.

This morning, at an earlier hour than I’d normally ever be up, I went into Napa Autoparts, spent $15 on parts and $17 on a specialty tool. I climbed under the RV while Bribri was still asleep and spent about 10 minutes of my time in order to *hopefully* fix the RV and get it running again.

It worked. The RV fired right up (minus the chassis battery that died on us yesterday as well…luckily I have an “emergency start” button) and with my OBDII reader, I was able to watch the fuel pressure in real time. 65psi. Yesssss!

I didn’t want to get too excited and post anything publicly too soon…but after 109 mile test drive while only half paying attention to the road and half paying attention to the fuel pressure readout at different throttle positions, all seemed to be in order. We’ve had such a string of bad luck this week with the double tire blowout and all that I never wanted to say outloud “I think I fixed it!” We all know how Murphy works and all….

Something as small and seemingly inconsequential as a fuel filter turned out to be the issue. Of all the things…a filter….

But that’s not the real catalyst for my post right now. We’re camped out in Cathedral Gorge right now. An area on Nevada I’ve ever been before. Just the short drive in from the highway told me that it’s going to be amazing here for the night. I’ve already got plans to fly my drone and all… But it’s hot outside right now. We’re inside with the AC cranked until it cools down some before we go for a hike in a little bit…


I can’t wait till it cools down.

We just watched the movie Free Solo. I’ve been wanting to watch it since I first heard of it’s release. I like to climb and boulder and such.  ELEVEN times during the movie, tears escaped my eyes. All for various reasons….and as I write this now, I’m fighting back the urge to cry.

I’ve rarely felt so insignificant in my life and my accomplishments than I do at this very moment. That’s not a “woe is me” by any means. In fact, it’s the exact opposite.  I aspire to achieve great things for myself and those I love.  I found Alex Hannold’s story to be truly inspiring. I neeeed to do more. I neeeed to strive higher. I neeeeed to go further.

I literally jumped up from laying on the floor watching that movie to writing. I was compelled to share what few scattered thoughts I have. Writing is cathartic for me. I almost never have a goal aside from putting my fingers on the keyboard and just letting it all hang out. I often don’t even edit what I write…I just get to feel me. To whomever reads the things I put down on  “paper” I halfway hope you understand. The other half of me just isn’t doing it for you. :)

spare change
Sometimes, this is just how ya gotta pay for things…

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It was close. Damn close. If it weren’t for Brianna saying “BRAKE BRAKE BRAKE!” I might not have braked and we very well may have plowed the car and truck in front of us.

I was cruising down the freeway in the slow lane. Traffic was moderate, but moving along at a reasonable pace. Suddenly, I see a “gator” on the road and it’s unavoidable. I can’t swerve in time to not run over this large piece of tire, so I hit it and yell “UNAVOIDABLE!” to Brianna.

It was a pretty hard slap under the RV, followed by a loud thump when it hit the trailer we were towing. I watched in my driver’s side view mirror as it spit out sideways into the lane to my left about 4 ft off the ground. I was fully expecting the car back there to hit it when it clicks that Brianna is yelling “BRAKE BRAKE BRAKE!”

I avert my eyes back forward and I’m doing about 60mph and the two vehicles in front of me are only doing about 10mph.

OH FUX.


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Last night, I’m parked in about a 4 acre desert lot next door to my friend’s apartment complex that we’re visiting at the edge of Tucson, AZ. It is mostly desert foliage and the likes with a few dirt spots for oversized parking. It’s completely unoccupied aside from a single vehicle that looks like it’s been parked there for weeks and has a tow-tag on it.

– Related post: How To Determine The Best Towing Company.

I wake up at approx 0130 to what sounds like footsteps outside my window. I perk up and so does the dog. Brianna wakes up as well. I peek out the windows into the moon lit night and see no one. There is a strange car though, parked about 4 feet from our bedroom window. Wtf? It’s occupied as well. We can hear whispers from inside. These dudes gonna steal gas or something? Why are they parked so close? And why are they parked in the actual weeds, lights out, hiding behind us?

I turn on the rv running lights (which are bright, and there’s a lot of em) and start the motor. The red glow from my tail lights is directly in this guy’s face. The driver of the car peeks his head out his open window, says “jesus…” and then closes the window. Ten minutes elapse, and they’re still there. Double wtf?

I put my big boy pants on and go outside and creep around the back between my RV and the trailer. As I approach the driver window, they notice me and I turn on my 500+ lumen tactical Streamlight directly into their faces. You know when you touch a snail’s eyeball, how it retracts back into their head? Well, they basically both do exactly that with their heads tucking into their bodies and their necks dissapearing completely as my bright ass light hits them right in the eyes.

The driver starts to open the door and fumbles as his walkie-talkie radio falls out of his lap. I immediately see that he’s also wearing a bullet proof vest. His radio has a mic attached to his shoulder. Otherwise, he’s in plain clothes.

“Can I help you, gentlemen?” I asked politely.

“Sheriff,” he says. His eyes still unfocused in the beam of my flashlight.

“Do you have any identification?” I asks, as he’s keeping both hands up where I can see them while flashing me his badge.

I lower my light from his eyes and point it at the ground as he retorts “Do you? You realized you’re parked off the street, right?” He started trying to flex on me verbally. Tired, and uninterested in making a scene, I reply “Alright. I just thought you guys were gonna try stealing gas or something from me. Have a good night. Be safe.”

I walked away—not the same direction I came out—without fully turning my back on them as I may have been imprinting. ;) They sat there until 3am before leaving, splitting into 2 cars, and going into the apt complex. Then I went back to sleep.

Weird stuff happens on the road.

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Brianna and I have been traveling full time in our RV since December of 2017. Nearly a year now. Before, I used to travel to the race track, wherever it may be, then turn around and come home when the event was over. Lather, rinse, repeat. 80+ times a year. “Home” back then was Reno for me. I spent as long or longer driving to and from events than the actual event some times. It’s a lot of driving. A lot of fuel. A lot of time basically wasted on travel where I could be doing something else. 1000 miles round trip to Utah. 1000 to Chuckwalla. 500 to Thunderhill. 1500 to The Ridge. Etc, etc, etc.

I’ve stayed here more than once in the Element.
honda element

Sometimes I’d just drive out into the middle of the desert…because why the hell not?
honda element mojave desert
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So, I’ve had a number of people ask me about my solar setup on the RV. Frankly, it’s not all that extravagant, but it’s probably the single best modification I’ve done to my RV so far. Not just bang-for-the-buck, but all out best thing I think anyone can do for their RV. If you are interested to go solar too, check out Enlyten Energy website

I had purchased 6v batteries for the RV, but I didn’t want to waste the two 12v batteries that the coach came with. They’re only 80ah batteries each, but they were brand new when we got the RV…and I’m a waste-not, want-not kinda guy…so I’ve still got the 12v batteries in there, nearly a year later.

Brianna and I spend most of our time off-grid and not plugged into power. In the last 9 months that we’ve had solar, we’ve put approximately 50 hours on the generator. 10 or 11 of those hours were over a 2 day span mid summer when we wanted AC and had no access to shore power.

We do normal things while on battery. We have lights on at night, listen to music ALL the time on the surround sound system, or we’ll watch movies and such. We run the blender for smoothies. We have vent fans and a stand alone 12v fan. You know, normal stuff.

I installed energy efficient EVERYTHING into the RV. The lights are all LED. Even both smart TVs are LED. One is even 40″…So we’ve got that going for us. I check the voltage very regularly, as I’m pretty OCD about stuff being charged…we usually end a night sitting right around 12 to 12.2 volts. We usually wake up to 14 to 14.3 volts.

Solar. Solar was the best thing we’ve done to the coach so far.

I spent $339 on a kit from Renology on Amazon. It had two 100 watt solar panels, the mounting hardware, screws, all the connectors and 10AWG wiring necessary, and a 30amp PWM solar controller.

renology 200w solar self install kit
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At the beginning of each month during the late fall and through winter, we go to Inde Motorsports Ranch for YCRS. Sometimes it ends up being a mad-dash to get there and get back to somewhere else…sometimes we get a few days to chill and explore. This trip to Inde happened to be the latter.

fj09 mt09 tracer inde motorsports ranch

I’m writing this while stopped at mile marker 2 in Arizona. We’re headed northwest to Las Vegas, but decided on one last stop in Arizona before we go to LV. We can ALLLMOST see the Hoover Dam from where we’re parked. It’s mostly quiet except for the freeway, which is in earshot. There’s no one else out here.

This is what my view looked like about an hour ago before the sun set to the west:

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We’ve had a great last couple of days exploring and riding. As we’ve got nearly 2 weeks of time to kill, we decided to come down the Washington and Oregon coastline, stopping in various places. We unloaded the bike a few times and explored the backroads and the likes…but the PNW weather isn’t always cooperative. It pretty much rained on us every time we rode. Meh.

But then we got back to CALIFORNIA! The sun has been shining and the temps have been magnificent! As much as I’m starting to dislike CA and it’s politics, it’s pretty damned hard to beat the motorcycle roads out here. I mean sure, there ARE great roads in other places…but nothing like we’ve got here in CA. At least not to the extent Cali has ’em.

I’ve done a little bit of riding in the Etna area before…but I hadn’t explored ALL the roads yet. This trip did not dissapoint.

On Weds, we boondocked somewhere along the eastern portion of highway 96. We got there in the afternoon, but still had plenty of time to unload the bike and ride 96, Scott Bar, and whatever that road is north of Seiad towards Oregon. :) All roads I’d previously not been on. And it was good.

thor four winds siesta fj09 tracer mt09 highway 96
Our camp for the night
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This last week has been a weird one, but ultimately a pretty fun one. We’d been staying in the greater Phoenix area for the last 3 weeks as we had a YCRS school that we were working at on Jan 6th and 7th…rather than leave and spend a bunch of money on fuel, we opted to hang out locally.

I made my first big “boo boo” while emptying out our holding tanks…I wrote about it on Facebook:

Jan 4th, 11:22pm
I made such a rookie move tonight while dumping holding tanks in the RV…
I didn’t secure the poop-shoot-tube into the dookie-hole in the ground properly… I popped the valve and EXPLOSION! Hahaha!
I flew backwards like a bandit in a western after catching both barrels to the chest, then ninja-cartwheeled back towards the valve and snapped it shut with only about 3-4 gallons on the deck.
Somehow, some way, nothing splashed on me and I didn’t even step in it.
I cleaned it all up with a nearby hose, flushed my tanks, topped off my water, then slunk off, knowing 100% of that was captured on CCTV and I’m gonna get laughed at tomorrow. #lifeontheroad

There are zero pics or video for proof…except the video the RV place probably has since saved and posted to youtube by now. Haha!

So anyways, we’ve been “Wallydocking” about 50% of the time so far… It’s a term I’ve heard being used to describe staying overnight in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Haha! It seems as tho they have a mostly nationwide policy to allow RV’s to stay in their lots overnight. It’s actually pretty convenient!

While walking Bijou, the @TinyTinaTurnerDog the other night, I came across an entirely new sight that brings my faith in humanity to an all time high. ;)

catheter bag at walmart wal-mart wallydocking

I mean, why not, right? Bleh.
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RVL; RV Life. ;)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. A lot of things have changed, including having bought an RV. :) I’ll be making posts about RV life on here now too. I hope you don’t mind! :D

rv coach boondock boondocking off grid
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