In Casa Grande I had made an appointment to get my solar panels installed, since Trecil was happy with his and was now in Tucson soaking up power for his electricity. It wasn’t a long drive, but I had to drive directly through downtown Phoenix. I always set the cruise control to 55 mph on the freeways, knowing I would hopefully never be in a hurry again. For the first time, I turned on the GPS and figured out how to plan a route. It did send me off a side road once, saying “Turn right here!” then frantically said “Make a U-turn as soon as possible!!” I had to laugh, since I couldn’t do anything quickly, and could certainly never back up or turn very sharply. By now I was covered with bruises and sore muscles from all the exertion and hard things to bonk into every time I turned around.
When I arrived in Casa Grande, I met Shar Andersen parked next to me in the boondock area, another solo woman from Alaska! This is a woman I am sure I will love forever. She was a full-timer for eight years, and is now living in Seward “off the grid” with her boyfriend, but still travels several months each year. She is incredibly creative, weaves baskets, beads gourds, makes quilts, takes photographs, and is endlessly curious about everything. She sells her wares at gift shows and through shops, seemingly never sits still for long. Her motor home was a revelation, the first I’d seen that was a real home, decorated with crafts and beloved mementos.
That week my solar panels were installed by Marvin Braun of Precision RV, along with a quick-release propane connection for my catalytic Wave 3 heater. I had him use six-gauge wire so that in the future I can install more solar panels without having to upgrade the wiring or the controller.
Shar soon left for her sales appointments, and I started a gallery of photos of solo women hooking up their motor homes and tow vehicles. These women are so great!
My friend Chris from Quartzsite soon arrived to get his solar panels installed too. I enjoyed having him here, and thankfully he helped me with my next project. My old RV had a small 12-volt television and a VHS tape player, but unfortunately I couldn’t get any television reception since it was analog. I decided that if I bought a small digital converter that used a transformer to step down to under 12 volts, I should be able to cut off the transformer and put on a 12-volt plug and it might work. I got started working on this before I really learned how well Lazy Dazes are made. I could get the television out of the form-fitting hole in the cabinets, but couldn’t manage the recorder since it was bolted onto a metal frame FROM THE BACK! Chris figured out that the screws had hex fittings and somehow he managed to get them out. We worked together and with no little effort got it all put back together with the rewired digital converter, and it worked! Suddenly I could get more than 20 channels! I could never have done this by myself, and really will have to learn to ask for help more often. Sadly I was much too busy to take any pictures.
But here is a lovely photo of sunrise over my new home Far Niente (“without a care”) at my campsite at RoVers Roost SKP Co-op in Casa Grande…
One of the Solo Sisters soon showed up and I spent time with Carol. We went shopping, ate out, and drove out to see the Casa Grande Ruins. Pictures from there will be in an online album, will post the link later. One day we went to the huge Gem and Fossil Show in Tucson where I was blown away by the gorgeous onyx.
Meantime my solar panels are charging away, and the managers of the Co-op let me stay in boondocking to be sure everything was working correctly while the installer repair guy was nearby, before I would take off on my own again.
Just before leaving Casa Grande, I finally found a drop-down receiver at Norris RV! It cost more than $100, but will drop my motor home hitch a couple of inches so the connection is more level with the car. After I installed it, I decided to fasten both hitches on with key locks so they could remain permanently and the tow bars wouldn’t have to be re-attached every time any more. When Chris was helping me to leave, he noticed that the electric cable was a little tight, but I didn’t think much of it. Sure enough, by the time I arrived at the next stop, it had pulled apart and worn halfway through. Fortunately I was able to re-wire and extend it about ten inches, cover it with cable casing and tape the whole thing, and it has worked perfectly ever since.