We decided to make a few changes/upgrades to the Bear. These past few weeks have found us camping in RV shop garages and parking lots getting our “wish list” projects completed. I can’t tell you how excited I am with these upgrades!!
We’ve known from the very beginning that we wanted solar panels. Our love of camping in the wilderness, rather than in full hook-up campgrounds, required that we run our generator 4 to 5 hours a day to charge the batteries whenever we camped “off the grid”. The Bear needs a lot of electricity, especially because of our residential refrigerator.
So our first stop was AM Solar in Springfield, Oregon. Before I share our new solar panel configuration, I want to talk about our batteries. We bought 4 new wet-cell batteries at the beginning of the year, but we decided to go ahead and replace them with 4 of the large L16 Lifeline AGM batteries (400 amps each).
We weren’t sure how much solar power we should install. But we knew that we didn’t want to worry about power all the time. So we met with “Marvelous Marvin” of Precision RV and put together a configuration that meets (and exceeds) our needs.
Our installation included 8 solar panels with 160 watts per panel for a total of 1280 watts. Yeah!
Has all this power gone to our heads? You bet it has! We’re amped! We freely run the coffeemaker, watch TV, use the microwave, hairdryer, fans, computer, printer, etc. … all without batting an eye. These are some of the things that people in normal houses don’t even think about, and now we don’t have to think twice either. We haven’t used the tilt bars yet, because we haven’t had to ‘work’ for the sun. We’re at 100% before lunch and stay there all day no matter what we’re running. We LOVE our solar power!
Our next stop was Elite RV Repair and Remodel in Harrisburg, Oregon. We had a list of little (and one not-so-little) fix-it items that took a couple of days to complete. Then we got to the fun stuff … my office remodel. Up til now, I’ve used the dinette tabletop for my computer, and it’s all wrong. I end up with a back ache and a neck ache and tingling arms. I’ve spent two years mulling about what type of remodel to do and where to do it. I was thinking about remodeling the dinette booth into a desk/dining combo. Mike convinced me that I should use the space that was being occupied by the love seat/jack knife bed. And he was so right!
My Ekornes Stressless Chair is soooo comfortable. It even comes in sizes, so I got the one that’s perfect for me!
We also had sturdy new shelves built for our cabinets. The cabinets above and below the large TV are too wide to have such a thin shelf. They sagged!
I couldn’t resist using the old shelf for some extra storage capabilities. We turned it over so it arches, rather than sags, and put some light stuff up there.
Marty, Eric and Mark at Elite RV Repair and Restoration in Harrisburg, Oregon are the greatest!
Another fun little thing we did was install a Hella fan. We had 12 Hella fans throughout our sailboat and we loved them. Sometimes all you need is a little air blowing on you. This fan articulates in any direction and we had the perfect spot for one. The Bear came with a wall light that had a broken light socket. We never used that light anyway so we didn’t bother to repair it. Replacing it with the fan made a lot more sense for us.
Next stop, Henderson’s Line-up in Grants Pass, Oregon for a Road Performance Assessment. We had them install new Koni FSD Shocks, Safe-T-Plus Steering Control, Motion Control Units, and upgrade our air dryer system. Mike really likes the improved control and I love the smooth, comfortable ride.
So, that’s it, folks. Pretty close to everything on our RV wish list. We’re very grateful that we get to live this lifestyle in such comfort.