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Today was a welcome start to a new week after a very long and frustrating weekend working on the camper floor. Anytime your working off the grid you need to keep in mind the type of power you will need (AC and/or DC) along with how much. This is because most off grid power systems are.. “off the grid” meaning they supply their own power. Usually this involves power from the sun by way of solar panels (solar power). In my case I only have 2 deep cycle batteries hooked up. Trying to run most modern good sized power tools are not possible due to my 1200 watt power inverter. A power inverter for those that are not familiar basically convert the 12v DC power from the batteries into 120v AC power to run most American appliances etc.
If you remember from previous episodes I had talked about doing a possible barter / trade for work to fix the camper floor. I was going to do some graphic design work in exchange for construction services to repair the floor. Well Friday the work began but the work was horrible! This is not an extradition.. if it were “ok” I would be fine with it. The work was that bad. Friday morning we were all out there and everyone was looking forward to getting this done. We were all optimistic. Unfortunately as soon as they got started my optimism quickly faded. They came out a couple of weeks before to get a good look at everything so they should have been prepared. They knew I would not be able to provide power for their power tools because this camper was “off the grid”. They asked several times about my power inverter and after a while I reluctantly agreed to let them try. Their power tools drew too many amps (too much power)! They used a skill saw until it went out.. then they used mine. They cut right into the support beams and went more than half way through on several. They screwed directly into a rotting wood support that was supposed to of been removed. They sprayed expandable foam all the way in and around the rotting wood support beam along the floor.
I left early afternoon on Friday because I was not feeling good and needed to get to work. Apparently I had to relearn my lesson and it turned out later that it was a mild case of heat exhaustion.. not cool! Before leaving the contractors assured me that the floor was going to be done that day. I left them with 3 simple instructions on Friday. 1. Close all the vents and windows. 2. Turn off the power inverter. 3. Lock up the camper. Well they did get 2 out of 3 lol. Returning the following day which was Saturday I went to see the progress and was extremely frustrated by the work done to the camper floor. To add insult to injury so to speak they left the vents and window open. It rained all day long on Saturday and when I arrived the in evening it was not a welcome site inside the camper. This was lightening and torrential downpours kind of rain. Rainwater was everywhere including all over the area where the floor was ripped up. It was pooled up in the exposed insulation and I was extremely upset! The sight of the horrible work in the form of hacked up 2 X 4 wood beams (the wrong materials), water everywhere, and screwed beams into rotting wood covered with spray foam insulation made me wonder exactly how in the world did I not listen to my gut!! It just goes to show you need to listen to your intuition. Anytime your looking for a contractor if you get one of those off feelings then listen to your gut. If you don’t you will pay for it in the long run. Anyway as you can tell it was a very long weekend. The new deadline for being off grid (moving) was counting down fast and time was running out.
I called the contractor and expressed my severe dissatisfaction with the work along with the fact that the camper was filled with pooling water. He then insisted on coming out to clean up the mess as a result of the vents being open through the rainstorms all day. Time passes pretty quickly while I was working in the camper and I hear a car driving down the path.. my “driveway”. Long story short their minivan got stuck in the mud which blocked me in causing me to be stuck. We were out there for about 3 hours trying to get unstuck with rain off and on. I ended up having to pay them for gas for a ride because both vehicles were stuck in the mud. Fast forward to Sunday and I had to pay them to tow my car out of the mess that they created. I have never had a problem being stuck in the mud on the property. At this point my off grid “driveway” was complete off road mud track that was no longer passable with my car. In the process of towing my car out they ripped a 6 inch gash in my car’s frame, popped the rear bumper out, and destroyed my driveway all at the ultra low cost of $30. Wow what a great deal! lol
At this point the camper floor was a wreck, my path / driveway was destroyed, my car was damaged, and I was given the opportunity to learn the lesson of heat exhaustion again. Can you tell why it was a rough last few days? So please learn from my crazy weekend! Stay cool, stay hydrated, listen to your gut, follow up on references, and stay safe out there because off the grid can indeed be an adventure! Today’s show of Off The Grid Podcast was recorded back in late June (new episodes being posted 5 days a week until up to date). Now is a good time for staying positive and optimistic because the real adventure of the off grid journey is just around the corner. 😉
Show notes from today’s Off The Grid Podcast
- Main lesson for today. Listen to your intuition and check references if you considering a contractor.
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