Taking Care of Bits & Bobs…

So, we’ve been in Albuquerque for the past few days stocking up ravenously on food and pet supplies, meeting friends, eating out, planning our summer stops in Colorado (we’re spending practically all of July in the SW forests…oh yeah!) and basically just taking care, as the English would say, of various bits and bobs.

As things go, this got me thinking about other bits and bobs. So, although we’ve barely made Spring, I thought I would take the chance to update on a few items of which I’m sure you’ve been bursting with curiosity to know. Thus, with my mind psychically melded to yours, here we go:

Our solar is cranking

1/ Our Solar is Cranking – As our regular readers will know we installed 600 Watts of solar panels over winter and I promised an update. I’m happy to say it’s rockin’ and rollin’. On good sunny days our MPPT controller cranks out over 35 Amps (a nice boost) and we’re usually fully recharged before noon. During the day the system easily keeps up with our biggest usage and will happily chug along, maintaining the batteries at float even if we run TV and internet all day. We haven’t used the generator once since we started dry-camping and have no regrets or complaints.

2/ We’re Doing Fabulously on our Flip-Flop Barometer – Thanks to skill, guile or perhaps pure, dumb luck we’ve been tracking superbly well on our flip-flop barometer. The cold weather has lingered longer than expected in the North, which means our Southern route has been balmy and perfect for that 24-hour flip-flop wearing goal. So far we’ve managed to stay clear of the truly freezing and doing somewhat decently at not getting too uncomfortably hot (although we did blow through the 90’s in Texas). We’ve extended our New Mexico stay for exactly that reason, and hope to continue our perfect sockless “hot streak” through the summer. :)

Dog and beach heaven at Cape St. Blas, FL

3/ We’ve Become Doggie-Trend Spotters – It might be my superb animal instincts, but we were definitely onto something when we raved about The Forgotten Coast in Florida. Cape St. Blas just ranked one of top 10 Dog beaches for 2011 in the US and if it were up to me I’d put it in #1. In fact all the beaches we’ve raved about on the blog in the past year (Hunting Island, Cape St. Blas, Fort de Soto) are on this list. So, although we may be  out of touch most of the time in the boonies, we remain on the cutting edge of blog-breaking doggie news. You heard it here first!

It's still really dry out there

4/ It’s Still Really Dry in the entire SW – Our fire evacuation in the Davis Mountains, TX was just one of many fires that have been sweeping the entire SW this spring. Texas has had one of its worst wildfire season in years and New Mexico is also struggling with dry and windy conditions. While we were in the Gila Forest there were 3 active fires burning, and several National Forests in the Southern New Mexico area have been closed. Let’s hope we get some rain soon.

5/ Trailer Food is the Future  – We loved the food carts in Austin, TX and it turns out we’re not the only ones. Food trucks are fast becoming a US-wide trend and are out-stripping growth of regular restaurants. This trend is HOT and I predict it’ll keep going. Who doesn’t want access to innovative, inexpensive, gourmet food in a casual setting? Several cities now hold food truck festivals and food truck reviews, and they are proving serious competition to stix and brix restaurants.

The 'ol crack is still there

6/ Our “No Way I Can fix That” Windshield Crack is Holding – They say the story of the fish always gets longer in the retelling, and although our windshield story might have evolved creatively the crack, amazingly has not. It was 20″ when we got it and it’s still 20″, almost one year later. Kudos to Safelite and Montie from Wyoming. We still remember you.

7/ You Blog Readers are the Best – I’m a sentimental kinda gal, and although it’s a bit on the mushy side I have to say I love y’all for following the blog. You’re the reason I’m inspired to photograph and write each day and keep up with the posts.  Thanks to you we’ve surpassed 81,000 views and going strong. So, I thank you warmly for the support and invite each and every one of you for a chat and a drink anytime we’re close. Don’t be shy now!

That’s it folks. We’ll be wrapping up our time and heading back out into the boonies soon, but in the meantime rest assured we’ll be enjoying our stint in civilization to the fullest.

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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. says

    I get far more from following your blog than you can imagine. Thank you for writing. Hope I can get back on the road, soon. I don’t have to travel to Texas for Jack’s surgery, the surgeon is coming here. Keep your fingers crossed that we’ll have some more camping time, together.

    • libertatemamo says

      We’ll be thinking of you and keeping ALL our fingers and paws crossed for the surgery. Nina

  2. says

    Holy crap – 600 watts! Other than the TV and internet, what do you use all that output for? (It’s gotta be awesome to still have plenty of power in the winter when there’s less sunlight.)

    • libertatemamo says

      Hehe..yeah it’s alot of power. Apart from TV/internet we use the furnace at night (if chilly), and microwave to reheat stuff. The nice thing about alot of power is that we can run the furnace all night, log onto internet in the morning and not have to worry about getting fully charged that day. Also if the weather is partially cloudy or we’re in an area that doesn’t get full-day sun the system will still be pumping. We used to watch power closely when we first started, but feel pretty comfortable letting the system run now.

  3. jil mohr says

    hmmmmm wonder what we have will have to ask tom….glad we have been along for the ride and gladder we got to meet u….before i even knew you had a blog….

    until the next time …..

  4. says

    I loved this post, of course I love all your blog, but this catch-up was especially fun. You know, yours is definitely one of the best! I can’t wait to get back to the southeast with our motorhome and try out some of those fabulous dog friendly places in Florida. I love that part of Florida so much and am with so many beaches NOT dog friendly, I really appreciate knowing the ones that are. thanks, Nina

  5. Sandie Dixon says

    I love it when people summarize what they have been doing and posting the info that we really want to hear about. Stay in NM or southern CO for awhile yet. We’re in NW CO and it’s really rather chilly and rainy here.

    • libertatemamo says

      Sandie, It’s good advice! We’ve been watching the weather forecast for quite a while
      and are hoping it’ll be warmer by July for our arrival. We’ll be spending June here in NM.

  6. says

    I *love* your campsite reviews. We’re getting ready to head out for the summer and also plan to be in Colorado in July…perhaps we’ll cross paths!

    • libertatemamo says

      Oh excellent! I’ll do a blog post w/ our itinerary at some point so people can see
      if they’re close. We’ll be spending most of our time in S.CO this year, skirting
      around to Idaho from there.

  7. says

    Nina, I love your blog, and your writing. I am so inspired to spend alot of time in New Mexico now! And I love reading how a fellow doggie person deals with the 4-pawed set on the road. It really helps. Thanks!

  8. says

    Another great job! Thanks so much Nina for taking the time to write. I love the pictures. You always put a different slant on your surroundings. Enjoy Colorado. Look forward to reading about all your experiences.

    • libertatemamo says

      Yeah, I’m really looking forward to CO. Just hope it’ll warm up a tad before we arrive in July.
      We’ve got another month yet, so we’re keeping our paws crossed.

  9. Michelle says

    I’ve been enjoying your posts. Were currently planning our summer trip from Denver to Grand Canyon so I’ve been researching stops in CO along the way. I would love to see what you’ve come up with so far since you always seem to find some hidden gems.

    • libertatemamo says

      I’m working on a tour write-up for my next post. We’ve found what we think are some lovely Forest
      sites in Southern/Western CO and I’ll definitely share those.

  10. says

    I’m not sure if I wrote this before, Nina, but last year I went straight up through all the little towns in the middle of New Mexico. I stayed in Chama for a couple of weeks, exploring the area. The ride to Antonito is gorgeous-Cumbres Pass and the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad. There’s an elk preserve right near Chama-I stayed at Rio Chama Camground and Jack and I were able to walk into town. Jack loved the elk preserve-nothing but space to run and walk.
    After New Mexico, I took 160 over to Durango (like riding on top of the world) and went to Bayfield–lots of places for Jack to swim, i.e., Lemon Reservoir and a really great little place to eat right on the lake – it’s in my blog, if you care to look it up. Then I went on up to Silverton and had planned to come back through Colorado on my way home, but plans changed. Idaho is one of my favorite states–Stanley and the Sawtooths are absolutely beautiful and north from there. If you get up around Grainger take a ride to Stites or Ely City in your toad.
    Ah, let me quiet my hands, now. Memories flooding in. Enjoy.

    • libertatemamo says

      Oooo…thanks so much for sharing all those memories. Some fabulous extra ideas for us on our travel trip!
      We’ll be around Idaho and then maybe a little further north from there. Any campgrounds/forest sites
      you recommend in the area?

  11. says

    Sorry to hear you won’t be coming thru SE Arizona this year, but do wish you great travels as you head north. We are enjoying your posts & pics, wherever you are.

    • libertatemamo says

      You’re still on our list of folks to visit when we come into town :)
      We might make it out there on our way back down for winter…we’ll see.

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