Two and a half years ago if you would have asked me where I wanted to spend winter, I would have quickly said Florida, Southern California, or Arizona. Then I…
Two and a half years ago if you would have asked me where I wanted to spend winter, I would have quickly said Florida, Southern California, or Arizona. Then I spent a winter up in the in the mountains of Colorado and fell in love. Fell in love with snowboarding, the beauty of snowcapped mountains, the coziness of the RV, and, mostly, watching the boys passion and joy for snowboarding take off.
We spent last year in Florida waiting for Thing 3 to arrive. This year we were anxious to get back to mountains and prepared for a three part “Not All Birds Fly South” winter adventure.
Lake Tahoe, the second deepest lake in the United States, was the first stop of three.
Being the exciting adventures we are, we kicked off the New Year with a family game about American history and a bottle sparkling cider. The questions were so hard and the facts so obscure that we could only answer a few of them. I think we’ll stick with Uno. It’s easier and takes up less space.
The boys were excited to explore the different ski resorts using our Epic Passes. They were also excited to be old enough to be dropped off at the mountain after school. This is what I’d call a fun way to get in PE!
Brent’s brother, Garret, and his girlfriend, Kelly, came up for a few days. The boys and Brent went riding with them one day and Garret asked Kelly to marry him on top of the mountain. Classic “Go big or go home” Garret style.
We had high hopes for lots of snow but no such luck. Aside from the night we drove in (of course!), the temperatures were unseasonably warm and not a single storm passed through during our two week stay.
With the warm weather winter hiking was extra fun. One evening, Brent and I hiked a bit on the Tahoe Rim Trail with Thing 3.
We enjoyed a family hike on Eagle Falls trail. The older boys complained at first, as is customary, but once we were on the trail they went up ahead of us and seemingly forgot we were watching them. It was pure joy seeing them talk and laugh together. These are the moments I wish I could tattoo on my heart.
This guy’s smile has been melting my heart since 2000.
We spent and afternoon in Truckee meeting up and having pizza with an old college friend of mine.
After walking downtown Truckee, we headed over Donner Memorial State Park to learn about the Donner Party tragedy because, admit it, learning about people resorting to cannibalism to survive is fascinating.
It was a good two weeks and as much as we enjoy the snow, I have to admit I’d kinda like to see Tahoe in the summer and maybe we could swim in instead of walk on the lake!
Lake Tahoe at a Glance:
Where We Stayed:
Tahoe Valley Campground– The park was quiet (maybe because it’s off season), clean, and a great location within walking distance from stores and restaurants. It was about a 15 minutes drive to Heavenly Ski Resort.
Snowboarding at Heavenly Ski Resort
Hiking Eagle Falls Trail in Emerald Bay State Park
Donner Memorial State Park
Driving around the lake for the gorgeous views.
Where We Ate:
Best Pies Pizzaria in Truckee – We had the Best Pies Signature Pie and Pizzadilla. Both were really really good! The Pizzadilla is folded up like a quesadilla.
What’s not to love about solar power? Harvesting the power of the sun to provide electricity to run your RV appliances and electronics, without waste or pollution? Yes please! When we upgraded…
What’s not to love about solar power? Harvesting the power of the sun to provide electricity to run your RV appliances and electronics, without waste or pollution? Yes please!
RV Solar Power by Solarland USA
When we upgraded our RV one of the features we were most excited about was the residential refrigerator. While current models have gotten quite efficient, a full-size refrigerator will suck your RV battery dry pretty quickly. This may not be much of an issue when you are moving from park to park where electrical hookups are available to run your refrigerator and charge your batteries, but when we decided to set out on an epic road trip from Key West, FL to Anchorage, AK we realized we may not have that luxury at many points along the way. We got in touch with the good people at Solarland USA to see about trying out their Sun Wanderer RV solar kit and they were happy to oblige. They are an international company who have up until recently focused on the wholesale distribution of their products. Fortunately for us they are ramping up their retail marketing and they agreed to send us four 150W high efficiency panels, a portable 90W solar kit, two Blue Sky Solar Boost 3000i charge controllers, an IPN Pro Remote (which lets us monitor the current charge coming in, battery level as well as current being used), cables, and a cool solar lantern.
RV Solar Installation – DIY
On our way to Alaska, we stopped in Indiana to visit family where I set to work installing them with the help of my super handy brother-in-law Jeff. The panels are high quality and light-weight. We had the trailer wired pretty quickly, running the two sets of cables through the (unused) washing machine vent, down through a chase, into the underbelly storage area, and finally into the utility bay where we built a panel to mount the charge controllers next to the batteries. Wiring the charge controllers to the batteries was a little tricky as our battery bank is still a work-in-progress. We have two gell cell 12W batteries and two Trojan T-105 flooded acid 6V batteries. Since we had two charge controllers we were able to run the battery banks independently with the inverter running off the Trojans and our 12V house system running off the gel cells. Since this initial configuration, I have taken to running both charge controllers to the Trojans since out 12V demand is very low (most of our 12v lights are LED and the refrigerator runs off the inverter). The 90W portable solar charger has a built-in charge controller which allows us to Connect it directly to our gell cell batteries to keep them charged. With this setup, weather permitting. we can operate all our electrical systems, residential refrigerator, charge our laptops and mobile devices as well as our oldest son’s keyboard.
Solar panels in the Wild: Denali National Park, Alaska
The panels and charge controllers have held up great since our journey to Alaska. We are now looking forward to optimizing the system further so we can enjoy more ‘wild camping’ throughout the western United States. Future upgrades to the system will be to replace the two gell cell batteries with two more Trojan T-105’s so that we can run it as a single bank. Replace our 1000w inverter with a 3000w “whole house” model. Add 400w more PV panels to better accommodate my large screen iMac.
Who is eligible?
Anyone 18 years of age or older within the 50 United States of America
How Can I Win?
Entering to win using the widget above:
Mandatory: ‘Like’ Newschool Nomads and Solarland USA on Facebook (yes, you must like both to win)
Want a better chance at winning? Expand your interaction and receive additional entries
Leave a comment below and tell us how you’ll use your new portable solar charger (counts as 2 entries)
Tweet this Giveaway
Pin this Giveaway on Pinterest
So that’s 6 chances you have to win, plus an extra credit by leaving a comment below!
This contest runs from Wednesday 11/05/2014 to Wednesday 11/12/2014 at 11:59 pm EST (Eastern Standard Time). The winner will be announced on 11/13/2014 via private email, and shared with our friends on Newschool Nomads’ Facebook page.
The Fine (legal) Print:
You must be a human age 18 or older
You must be a Facebook fan of Newschool Nomads and Solarland USA to win.
Mandatory entry must be done first before additional entries are accepted.
The Winner will be contacted through Facebook and has 72 hours to respond before another applicant is selected.
You must enter the giveaway using the widget above (if you simply like NSN, SLUSA, etc on facebook you will NOT be entered)
Giveaway is NOT endorsed by Facebook or Twitter
All entries are verified.
Disclaimer: The products reviewed in this post were provided to us free of charge by Solarland USA. No other form of compensation was offered or accepted. All expressed opinions are our own.
This week started off with a Father’s Day celebration in Indiana at my Weewah’s house. Unlike for Mother’s Day we actually took pictures. Mama says that’s what happens when she…
This week started off with a Father’s Day celebration in Indiana at my Weewah’s house. Unlike for Mother’s Day we actually took pictures. Mama says that’s what happens when she takes most of the photos.
I was also initiated into the Father’s Day shirt tradition. Every each I have to make a shirt for my dad. My brothers had their own Father’s Day onsies when they were little too. Someday mama is going to begged Weewah to make a t-shirt quilt out of them. This year Thing 1 picked a mustache theme for everyone. I was glad I didn’t have to think about what I would put on mine.
Kisses from my big brother.
They thought it would be cute to make it look like I was balancing on my brother’s shoulders.