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.


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.


Pismo Beach April 6, 2018

Filed under: Bobcat travels,Destinations,Stuff I carry — Sierrashadow @ 5:42 am
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I had to go to Long Beach to pick up three dogs so I decided to make a trip out of it. However the main road from my house to 99 south had a bridge wash out. I decided instead of a small detour I would make a more scenic detour through Yosemite. I managed to get a site a week in advance. This was a week before they closed it for flooding.


The Falls were flowing nicely due to the warmer weather we have been having.

Then I headed for the coast and through Cambria. Just north is the Elephant Seal Beach. I have visited this several times since retirement. Every time is slightly different. This time only the juveniles were around, molting and laying around. A little boring, but still worth the visit. I must get here in December for the male fights, but that is always a busy time of the year.

I stayed at Cerro Alto again. Cheaper than at the beach and for some reason all the sites at Morro Bay State were booked a month in advance. Then on to San Luis Obispo. I went to the mission but had to keep it quick. The street parking was crazy and I had very little change in my purse. But I saw enough. 

I stayed at Oceano campground at Pismo State beach. This is the only place on the California coast where you can drive on the beach. I decided not to, but there were full sized RV’s out there. The clouds were moving in, but it was still warm and blustery.

Movin’ on down the coast to El Capitan SB. #53 is a nice site that backs up to open space. But it is a loud campground in general and the train horn adds to the ambiance. The site wasn’t so level so I had to park sideways on the pad, but it worked.


These are the bins I have been using.


A better shot of how I transport the stool.


Not all that exciting, but very rejuvenating.


Coastal California trip February 1, 2018

Filed under: Bobcat travels,Modifications,Stuff I carry — Sierrashadow @ 2:17 am
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Sometimes this mountain dweller just needs to hear the surf. So I did a midweek trip to Capitola and Monterey. The beginning was a bit rocky because I spent two full days in the Apple store in Los Gatos. My laptop crashed while loading the new operating system. They had to flatten the hard drive twice but finally got it up and running. I lost about a months worth of data but that is my fault for not backing up more faithfully. $100 bucks for a second external hard drive would have been wise.

Once the trip really started it was lovely. The weather was just perfect. Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz.

Just a random pull out on Highway one before Big Sur.

The most beautiful place on earth, Julia Pheiffer Burns State Park. Too bad the shadow falls on McVey falls.

FYI – I stressed about getting a site at Veteran’s Park, a little known first come first served campground in Monterey. Let’s just say mid week in January, not a problem. I pulled in at ten a.m. and secured my spot, but even at 7:00 p.m. there were plenty. Capitola is a State Park on the reservation system, but even they had no problem adding a night to my reservation when I asked.

And for the mod fans, I needed batteries in my little red lantern which is neither little nor light, taking 4 D batteries (which nothing else in the camper does). I grabbed this funky light a friend got me as a joke. It is no joke! This thing puts out some serious light. I remembered I had seen a two pack at Ross Dress for Less (yes, you read that right) recently so I went to the one in Capitola and found them there. $8.99 for two. They take 3 AAA batteries which I carry a good supply of for headlamps, etc.

They come with two magnets on the back and I carry some tiny, tiny very powerful magnets.

By sandwiching the magnets on the outside of the window flap and the light on the inside they are securely up there in the bed area for nighttime reading. If you add little sticky back Velcro hook down the middle and they can hang off the loop strip around the top of the camper, or use screws as designed to mount (not in my camper – I keep it as pristine as possible).

Hand in ambient light.

Hand with light held 12 inches away, in mouth. Shadow of camera on fingers.



And they are small enough to tuck into stray corners for storage and travel. Unlike the lantern which never had a good “Home”. I stuck one of these right by the entrance door so that I can get light without stepping into the rig and doing the overhead lights. Works well when I need something out of the couch storage.

I do have overhead lighting in the ATC but my house battery had been abused before we got the solar installed and is not holding a full charge. If I run the heat too much, the fridge fails just before sunrise. So every bit of house battery I can conserve on these early winter nights helps.


Kitchen cabinet January 16, 2017

Filed under: Stuff I carry — Sierrashadow @ 8:46 pm
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I recently used my camper as a cheap motel for an early flight out of Sacramento to Atlanta. I stayed at Rancho Seco, a SMUD (utility company) recreation area. $20 a night is much cheaper than a motel room for sure. But it was raining cats and dogs, serious deluge. So I used my time to inventory and document.


My couch functions as my kitchen storage. The end closest to the door contains these things: 3 dish tubs, one for storing a variety of utensils and lids, the other two for washing dishes. Lift the tubs out and you get


2 cast iron skillets, stainless steel coffee pot with a Stanley mug/pot inside, a SS thermos for cooking oatmeal, etc. overnight, a small 2 pot set from Wal-mart, an ove-glove to lift hot cookware, a waterbottle with a Simple shower head attached to minimize water use while bathing or dishwashing, a turkey baster (new, not sure it will stay in, but something I cooked recently would have been easier if I had one, so…), the floral at the edge is a stainless steel BBQ grate, and the paper wrapped thing is that ax tool I bought at an  antique store. Need to wrap it because it is sharp.


I have 2 loaf pans and binder clips to create an oven like contraption on the stove. A juice jug for making orange juice from a can, two extra turnbuckles because you never know, a baggie of zip ties, a hank of rope, and the purple thing turns my Thermarest “headboard” into a chair. I have started leaving my chair at home sometimes since I so rarely break it out, but I want to have a back up in case. Under that is a cheap grill thing where you sandwich something in between the two wings and cook it over a fire. Haven’t used it yet, but you never know.

So standing on the ground, I can lean in and reach all this. The refrigerator is on the opposite side. I usually have to step up on the hitch step to reach inside, but don’t have to get all the way in.

I try to organize what I am going to need before I get out. The stove is mounted all the way on the front wall, so I have to get it out first. Then put the back couch cushion on top of the front one, so I can access the “kitchen”. Anything needed from the red ice chest staples pantry (critter proof) comes out, and if no picnic table the ironing board.


The other half of the couch is mostly battery. The Omaha steak box protects the connections to the solar charger and 12V outlet from shifting contents. 2 gallons of water, a syphon hose, a water bottle with a stainless steel cup on the bottom, my rain poncho, a small shovel for waste burial if boon docking, white face cloths for sanitation if no shower available. The blue pole is for sleeping on the floor with the couch seat cushions to level them since they have a wooden chunk permanently attached on the back. The couch as designed by ATC feels a little wobbly, so I would sleep on the floor if I couldn’t pop up for some reason (stealth). I may just pull the folding legs off the vertical couch pads since they keep the couch back from tilting back at a comfortable angle. I need to look at how they are attached.

No picture of the middle of the couch, but it has a bag with my snow chains (may move them to a turnbuckle area since they can get wet, but haven’t yet), a tarp and 4 tarp poles from an old “dining canopy” to create an awning if I stay in one place long enough to need one, and a bag of towels and emergency supplemental clothing.

So you can fit an awful lot in those couches. I did notice when I was pulling things out and inventorying that some of the screws holding the couch together at the floor level have pulled out. I guess it isn’t designed to withstand cargo shifting. The support in the center where the two couch cushions meet has also lost some screws and stability. Will need to reinforce that before I fall in. (Edit: when I took the ATC into the factory to have the solar mounted on the roof, they had to access this area for battery connections. They noticed the screws missing and beefed it up without being asked to. I just can’t say enough about the post purchase customer service provided by ATC. They are AMAZING!)


Organizing, again July 23, 2016

I spent some time in the Bobcat today fixing a few things that bugged me. And documenting.

This is how I keep my curtain hooked while in transit. It keeps the other end from coming off the hook and making me put my fat hand in a very small space. It also keeps the Campsite Occupied sign, my solar oven panels, and the little folding table I have there from sliding out. Win-win. Have you heard of a Copenhagen cooker. I love it. Currently $44 and well worth it. Takes up practically no space at all and provides options.


I got tired of having to look through all four tubs to find what I was looking for. I sorted them all into matched purposes, and labeled the fronts with big titles and tiny inventories. I know I will end up changing it, but at least it is a start.


I like putting my pillows here because they get just a little squished when I lower the top, but they do slide on the slick formica. So I had been using velcro and shoelaces, but it was starting to pull off the wall. So I bought some D rings on flaps that can be screwed in. I used the preexisting holes from the bed slide and it doesn’t impact that purpose at all.

IMG_4006   IMG_4007

In my solar post below, I never really got a good shot of the connection and the way the carabiner takes the weight off the connection. The previous post showed the connector, a carabiner and two bungie cord ends.

IMG_4012  IMG_3886



What the heck? May 9, 2016

Filed under: Stuff I carry — Sierrashadow @ 11:45 pm
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I found this in an antiques store for $25.  It has an ax, a hammer, pliers, hefty flat head screwdriver, wire strippers, an I guess the open end is for removing bolts. I needed a small hatchet so this was a score.

I just felt like updating the blog, since I haven’t gone anywhere. I took two weeks to help my parents through a surgery. Since I was gone I really didn’t feel I could be gone again so soon. Plus it seems like my volunteering calendar got really full this month.