People often ask me about all sorts of stuff regarding the RV…here’s a list of things that I’ve found to be pretty much ESSENTIAL to our way of life and happiness while on the road.

FYI, all of these links are to Amazon, where I purchased everything. I earn a small commission if you use my links and order either these products or anything else from Amazon within 2 days or so after clicking through my links. Plus, Amazon just has really good deals on stuff and I spent MANY MANY HOURS scouring/researching for these products that I use. So if you buy using these links, you’ll be helping us out with gas money! Thanks!

Solar:

* 200 watts of solar (and EVERYTHING you need to get started) for under $300 – Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit
* I used to have a PWM controller but I got this more efficient MPPT one a couple months back – EPEVER MPPT 30A Solar Charge Controller

Electrical:

* I added two additional 6v batteries to my system; I can’t imagine life without the additional power – VMAX V6-225 6 Volt 225Ah
* 1500 watt pure sine inverter for turning DC into AC power while off grid – GoWISE Power PS1005 Pure SINE Wave Inverter 1500W Cont/3000W Peak
* A smaller 600 watt pure since inverter for the bedroom hardwired into the 12 volt system – GoWISE Power PS1001 Pure SINE Wave Inverter
* I used to have a fancy ammeter until it died…so now I have this, and it’s WAY better! – DC 12V Car Digital Voltmeter
* I replaced ALL my light fixtures with LED – MICTUNING 12V LED RV Ceiling Double Dome Light Fixture
* Inexpensive yet good vent fans – Hengs Industiries Heng’s 90046-CR Vortex II Fan
* 100 feet of black and red 8 AWG wire for misc wiring – 100 ft 8 AWG Wire
* I drive a LOT at night, so good LED headlights – OPT7 FluxBeam X V2 H1 LED Headlight Bulbs
* In fact, I even have a cheap 52″ lightbar that is AMAZING. I can’t stop fast, so I need to see far! Especially when I’m in the middle of nowhere – Nilight 52Inch 300W Spot Flood Combo LED
* Having lots of USB ports to charge various things is super handy. I hardwired this into the bedroom 12 volt system – 50W/10A 6-Ports USB Car Charger Adapter

Entertainment:

* I pulled out the old TVs and put in inexpensive smart LED tv’s that use FAR less power – 43″ Samsung LED TV and a 24 inch in the bedroom.
* We listen to a LOT of music and watch movies…good sound is a must have and we do not regret buying this one bit – Samsung HW-Q60R Harman Kardon 5.1 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer

Plumbing:

* We only have 33 gallons of fresh water, we gotta make every drop count – Oxygenics Fury Hand Held Sprayer
* Because of our small fresh water tank, I carry two of these in the trailer as well…it’s enough water to get us through in a pinch! – Reliance Products Desert Patrol 3 Gallon Rigid Water Container
* Pressure accumulator so my water pump cycles less and uses less power and lives longer – SHURFLO Black 182-200 Accumulator Tank

Misc:

* When parked in neighborhoods or anything, wifi can be hard…this gives me the ability to connect to wifi much further away and have my own network onboard – ALFA Network WiFi CampPro 2 Universal WiFi
* I SWEAR these are the best trailer tires, even rated for 81mph! – Carlisle Radial Trail HD Trailer Tire
* Super sweet folding rocking chair. Seriously – GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker Portable Folding Rocking Chair
* My dash cam runs 24/7 and gives me MUCH peace of mind – Transcend DrivePro 230 Dash Camera
* I’ve had to change tires in the dark and this is a great cheap worklight. Rechargable too! – STANLEY Rechargeable 1200 Lumen Lith-Ion LED Spotlight
* If you have the room to carry one, I’ve found this to be one of the best things; I buy gas at a cheap station and fill up later with it. – DuraMax Flo n’ Go 14-Gallon Rolling Gas Can

That about sums up the things I’ve found to be the most important! Thanks for reading and I hope these links help!

Here’s my wishlist of things that I really want for future upgrades as well: 4theriders Amazon Wish List

rvlife off grid

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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.
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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.

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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