A Padre Island sunrise

Monday, July 25, 2016

Part 2 of What happened to Rob

Recap... The winter in Florida didn’t get past Van Horn Texas on I-10.
After 3 nights in a gas station parking lot, the last part of $500 in van parts THAT month spent (at the Napa parts store) I headed back to Washington state.

The van swap went well, I sold the oil burner (I used caps in the ad to say it used a gallon of oil every 300 miles and still had people ask me if it burned oil), got my act mostly together and hit the road.

The swap... I built a bed as wide as a cot & tall enough to store a milk crate under it. I left one of the middle rear stow-n-go seats in the van so I'd have a place to sit. I built a plywood stand to go where the front passenger seat That was for cooking.  

The 100w solar panel is on the roof (almost hidden), the two 122 amp hr 12v walmart batteries are in the hole where the rear stow-n-go seat would be if it was sill in the van.  A couple of LED lights are wired in, a few 12v outlets and a fuse panel is right next to the Tracer solar mppt controller. It works. FWIW it's hard to spend a rainy day inside as it's just small.

100w solar panel hidden in plain sight

I ended up moving the cooking to the rear with the hatch up and a piece of plywood for a kitchen counter that sits on the bed. When I can find another front passenger seat I plan to put it back where it belongs.

I went north, did some visiting and followed US 101 from where it ends (at I-5 in Olympia, WA). Around the Olympic peninsula then south towards Oregon.

There is a lot of country to see out that way.  I spent a night at a NP campground right next to the cliff listening to the waves, music to sleep by in my world! As a plus I have an America The Beautiful (over 62) pass so the camp was half price.

On a side note, I REALLY like dispersed camping, it's free if nothing else. I can deal with 1/2 price too.

This trip needed a new goal, Florida this winter was just not going to happen but I needed to put some location in my GPS.  Zanoni Missouri was my new goal for the GPS. 

Down the coast to Venice, then hang a left to visit an old internet friend (20+ years) I'd never met in person. Gene GeRue in southern Missouri. 

The SE Vandweller Get together

Then it was off to the Southeast Vandweller get together at the Raccoon creek wildlife management area in northern Alabama... Via Memphis Tennessee and a Dyer's deep fried cheeseburger on Beale St.

View from the front

Sitting around the fire

I had a goal & places to put in the GPS. A van I could live out of, with working AC, cruse control & getting over 20mpg. 

I was set!

The Tennessee River next to the GTG
I did  meet another couple of people at the SE GTG that I had known on the internet for years & years.
I have to admit that it's different knowing someone for over 20 years and having never met in person. Lot's talk over the years & it was someone I knew. Then I get to meet them in person, an old friend I'm seeing for the first time.


  1. I am impressed with your set-up. You can barely tell you have a solar panel on your roof...that is always a good thing.

    While I have not known a cyber friend as long as you have yours, it was a real pleasure getting to meet many bloggers in person.

    Happy trails!

  2. I put the info in my blog entry and still get a lot of questions already answered in the blog entry. Many folks do not pay any attention to what they read.