Seekin' My World

Subaru Outback traveling, ATC Bobcat on Tacoma in the past

Heat in Outback October 12, 2019

Filed under: Stuff I carry,Subaru travels — Sierrashadow @ 7:31 pm

One of my serious concessions when selling the camper was losing out on heat. So far, it hasn’t been necessary, but the seasons are a changing.

So I bought a RV mattress pad that runs off a cigarette lighter. It was $90 on Amazon. Much more than a house model. And in retrospect may not have been the best choice.


The instructions make a big deal of pinning it to the mattress so it doesn’t bunch up and start a fire. I will have to improvise something to keep it taut, but can’t exactly pin it to an air pad.

But I didn’t want to risk running my battery down so I invested in a battery power pack that I hope will be enough to power it. It is the Enkeeo 222w and I got a really good deal from watching a Enigmatic Nomad review that included a discount code. So it was only $153.00 plus tax. It usually runs $220, but the code has expired, sorry.

According to the mattress specs it uses 12V on high. I don’t plan on running it all night or on high, just to keep the worst of the chill off. But I should be able to run it three hours on high, or all night on low.

But as you can see, this device has 110 plugs. I could saved about $50 by buying a regular house model but they don’t list the power draw, so I couldn’t do the calculations. It comes with an adapter that is a female ciggy receptacle.

This device comes with a charge by house (110), charge by car ciggy (12V), or charge by solar panels (MC4). So now I need to figure out where this will ride and recharge while driving. Plus fit in the snow chains we bought just in case.

This also has the possibility of running all kinds of accessories and even would have been handy in the PG&E outage we recently experienced. 24 hours without power, and we were luckier than most. Wouldn’t you know it arrived the day the power came back on and needed to be charged up.

Edit: So I got out the sewing machine today. I sewed a strip of fabric to both long sides, creating a tube for the air mattress to slide into. The wires were far enough from the edges to do this easily. Anyplace where the wires would overlap is separated by a 3.5 inch air pad. Even if my body compresses it slightly, it would not be on the edges, but in the center. I think this will be sufficient to keep it taut enough. The pictures show what will be on the bottom. The top is pure white mattress pad.

Double edit: used it one night in Bishop. On high it cooked me out in just ten minutes. On 2 it was just about perfect. Face and hands still get cold, but it works well, considering. I don’t know if the car charging the Enkeeo is going to work if it gets too depleted. I only ran it down one quarter, and 6 hours of driving didn’t bring it back to full charge. Need to research that more.


California Coastal trip October 4, 2019

Filed under: Destinations,Subaru travels — Sierrashadow @ 4:02 am

New Brighton State Beach is my favorite first stop. The next day I headed just a bit north to Wilder Ranch just north of Santa Cruz.

Like stepping back in time.

I stopped at Davenport Landing and Greyhound Rock. The pelicans were coming in for a landing. I got a little watercolor painting time in.

The next day I headed down to Monterey and got a site at Veterans Memorial Park. They have raised their rates to the same as state parks, so from now on I will probably go State parks to get a reservation. But it is nice to be right in Monterey.

Then I went to Carmel by the Sea and actually found a parking space right by the sea. What a lovely, although crowded beach.

Driving down Highway 1 is always so beautiful. There were still construction delays at the two big slides, but at least you can get through.

I always stop at the wildlife overlook near Hearst Castle. It was the juvenile males this time and they had switched to the upper beach. Nice time talking to the volunteer docent.

I did some painting at Morro Bay and got a site at MBSP, #100. I went to Taco Temple as recommended by some friends. It was delicious but odd.

Next day I wandered and stopped at the Dana adobe near Santa Maria. They have done an excellent job of restoration.

I went to Mission Santa Ynez to paint, and stopped in at my favorite ice cream shop ever.

I had reserved at Carpinteria. Closely packed sites with no privacy, but that is typical beach camping. C225, not great, but fine.

Off to visit family in Long Beach and San Diego.

Subaru camping is certainly not as comfortable as Bobcat camping, but I am finding that I spend so little time in camp it doesn’t much matter. I don’t know why I even bring cooking gear. I have yet to cook. It’s just a cheap hotel so I can travel more. And it gets twice the gas mileage as the Tacoma ATC. The reflectix window coverings work so well, I find myself getting ten hours sleep a night. I will need to figure out a heat solution if it gets much colder though. And I have to be a contortionist to get dressed and undressed. Keeps me limber!


New iPad and case August 2, 2019

Filed under: Stuff I carry — Sierrashadow @ 11:28 pm

Not exactly travel related, but I do like to document my progress. I needed to upgrade my iPad because the mini I was using would no longer download certain apps. So I sprung for the larger iPad Air. It’s a little hard to juggle but I will get used to it eventually. I did buy an interesting strap that helps.

But then there was the issue of how to protect it when I travel. The cases are quite expensive, and would interfere with using the smart keyboard which is a case in a way. I haven’t bought the Smart Keyboard yet, but they look flimsy.

I just happened to have a thrift store purchase that worked perfectly. I had bought it for $.50 months ago. It is an old DayTimer planner. I had to hacksaw and mangle the rivets out of the notebook rings, but it really wasn’t that difficult to do. It did not damage the case at all but I did run a strip of duct tape to tidy up the loose edges.

I can fit a composition book and a pen inside so it becomes a productive little office. Add some stamps.


395 trip July 6, 2019

Filed under: Non ATC Bobcat travels,Subaru travels — Sierrashadow @ 3:14 am

I went down to check on my mom in Long Beach and take care of a friend who had total knee replacement, so I returned by way of 395. It’s a pretty bleak landscape until you get to Lone Pine and there I found a campsite at Diaz Lake. Not the most scenic campground in the world but an oasis of water in the middle of the desert. But on July 4th at 11:00 a.m. you can’t be choosy. Unfortunately the sites are right on top of each other and I am hearing more foul language from the Marines next-door than I care to. Makes me miss being able to go farther a field with all the comforts of home in my camper. I did pack up the Subaru but with the bare minimum. Fortunately, I tossed in a tent at the last minute and so I set up the tent because I think it’s going to be a rather warm evening.

I went to Manzanar war relocation center. They have built some tarpaper barricks to represent what was once there. I kind of miss the ruins of 20 years ago. But the explanations and displays were very well done and I was humbled to see many Asians touring the site. Unfortunately very few Anglos. It was the perfect thing to do on the Fourth of July, contemplating freedom and its fragility.

I drove up to Big Pine where the world-famous Coppertop barbecue is. I waited in a very long line to get tri-tip meat. I can snack on that for quite a while.

Then I headed back to Diaz Lake, but I pulled over and did a little watercolor painting to kill time. Diaz Lake was certainly not quiet, between the fireworks, the Marines next door and the very loud amplified Mariachi music. But I still enjoyed being able to camp. I decided to set up the tent without the rain fly because I didn’t think sleeping in the car was such a good idea, given the campground. It was nice to see the fireworks overhead without having to get up and go out.

The next day was pretty much drive straight home with two stops to paint. I stopped for lunch at my favorite little lake near Tuolumne Meadows. I always have it to myself.

I bought this little backpacking chair at Walmart for $20. It is easy to set up, holds up to 250 pounds, and stows in little space. It isn’t super comfortable, but I don’t hang around in a chair much. The other chair I used was cumbersome to store in the Subaru. Actually, pulling out the ice chest to use as a stool was more comfortable.


There was something very restorative about seeing my mountains again. I kind of wish I had slept in the Subaru, but I was anxious to get home after being away so much.


Shakedown trip May 4, 2019

Filed under: Subaru travels — Sierrashadow @ 1:01 am

I enjoyed camping at Morro Bay

And El Capitan (just north of Santa Barbara)

I had a little trouble figuring out which direction to sleep. I opted for the head towards the seats, even though it is inclined up a bit rather than head towards the hatch, because it was too cramped at the shoulder elbow area. I spun around several times until I got it figured out.

I enjoyed a picnic lunch as usual without too much difficulty. I am going to miss the solar refer, I had to get ice twice and drain the water.

I discovered one flaw: the electric windows only work when the engine is running. I had brought window screening to make bug screens. I stitched the front of the pocket at home and pinned them at the site. Four super strong magnets make it secure.

I can hear the campground noise with the windows down, but the breeze was nice.

The cardboard window covers worked well but I will be switching to reflectix soon.


Subaru Outback April 29, 2019

Filed under: Subaru travels — Sierrashadow @ 5:01 pm

So a wonderful gentleman from Eugene Oregon came down and purchased my truck and camper combination. I was a little sad to see her go, but it was time. I hope he has many wonderful adventures and enjoys it as much as I did.

So the new travel vehicle is a Subaru Outback. I laid down in it to make sure I could sleep inside. The biggest thing I am having to work around is the lack of a heater. I plan to buy a 12V RV mattress pad heater. But I need to figure out how to recharge the battery. I don’t want to risk my starting battery. I am considering a Jackery Explorer Portable Power source.

But since it is spring I’m going to put all that on hold and go without. I am going down the coast to spend a couple days in Morro Bay and then go see my mom for a while.

We happened to have a large masonite board that I had my husband cut down for me. I used three underbed storage bins to contain my cooking gear, seasonal gear, and necessary clutter box. I tried using them under the board, but it made me a little claustrophobic to lay in there with my face quite that close to the ceiling (see my sad face). Back to the drawing board, and the big red ice chest has to go.

I put one of the boxes on the side, transferred the seasonal clothing (swimming suit to mittons and hats) into a zipper bag I had which was a lot easier to conform into tight spaces. I should probably keep that in the car all the time so I am prepared.

One ice chest had to move forward so the hatch could close. (Actually both moved forward, blue with sodas in front seat, silver with food items under my pillow.) But this configuration worked fairly well. I got rid of the board and just laid down a blanket on the rear portion that was a smidge lower than the seat back (wool incase it gets really cold). The 3.5″ pad evens out the differences.

Filled the footwell of the back seat passenger side with various soft sided luggage things and the silver ice chest. This is how close the head is to the back window and the feet are to the seat. But I ended up facing the other way. I needed more shoulder room.

There was one annoying bracket that could dig into my hip, so I padded it with a pool noodle portion wrapped in black duct tape. Simple. Easy to remove to raise and engage the seat back. And a chair and table ride on the bed for travel, but fit in the front seat well at nighttime.

For this trip I think I am going to plan to not take cooking gear and just focus on sleeping arrangements (who wants to cook when there are so many interesting restaurants to visit?). I will toss in a tent in case it just doesn’t work to sleep in the car. I will also take a roll of screening material so that I can work on making ventilation if it is too warm. I cut cardboard to fit each window for temporary window coverings, but will do Reflectix eventually.

So on goes the adventure.


Changin’ times March 16, 2019

Filed under: Bobcat travels — Sierrashadow @ 11:55 pm

It is with some sadness that I composed the following advertisement to sell my beloved camper and truck. I hurt my knee last summer and it just is too difficult to lift myself into the back and up to the bed repeatedly. By the end of a week my knee is screaming. This isn’t the end of my travels, I have other ideas up my sleeve, but it is time to let this version end. I know I will miss them. We had great times together and I know someone else will too.

2013 Toyota Tacoma DCLB – 2015 ATC Bobcat

 Toyota Tacoma

Double Cab model, full sized seating for 5

Long Bed (6 foot)

86,000 miles

Rock rails (bolted on)

Toyota factory camera removed from tailgate and mounted to bumper

Air bags to help suspension with extra weight. Remote control to change air pressure

Also including BakFlip; solid folding tonneau cover for truck bed

Snow chains included

Regularly serviced at dealership

Bobcat shell model

Factory installed heater, propane cabinet, couch, 100 W solar panel with 2 ciggy plugs, one Fantastic fan over bed and one vent over mid camper, two overhead lights, rear flood lights and amber porch light

Dometic 40 liter chest style compressor refrigerator

Ceiling built 2.5 inch added to flexible part, standing height inside 6’2”, but it also helps a lot with the sleeping area

Homemade curtains

Slight reoccurring mildew problem in the cabover ceiling (from condensation not a roof leak)

4 jacks for removing and storing camper

Asking $30,000

Located in Sonora California.