After travels: repairs and mods

Hatchback struts fail

After 9 years, the hydraulic struts on the hatchback lift gate failed.  I never realized how heavy the hatchback is!  Luckily, in the pile of wood that a family was selling after their camping trip was a perfect stick for temporarily holding up the lift gate.

I ordered replacement struts on Amazon, watched a You-Tube on how to replace them, and, once home, replaced the struts in about 5 minutes!  I was very proud of myself.

Addition to my solar setup.

My solar setup works great in sunny places where I can charge both 12 volt batteries from the panel on my car.  But all the campsites I had in August were very shady - so much that I had to move the car during the day to sunny place so that at least one 12v battery (the AGM in the back of the car) would get charged.  I hope that the trailer battery would charge up overnight from the AGM battery.  But, while I had plenty of power in the trailer, the house battery kept discharging to dangerously low levels.  

So, my next plan is to augment my solar set up with a 50w panel wired directly to the trailer battery for those shady days.  Hopefully, I'll get enough charge(even in the shade) to keep the house battery safe while still having the fully charged AGM to meet my power needs.

Playing the tourist in Portland

Historic Columbia River Scenic Byway
I had forgotten what a beautiful drive this is!  Begun in the early 1900's, this old highway winds it's way along the south side of the Columbia River through the forest passing by numerous waterfalls and along the cliffs with great views of the river.  Lunch under the Bridge of the Gods, or continue on to Hood River to continue the drive around Mt Hood and visiting wineries and fruit stands along the 'fruit loop'.

Bridal Veil Falls

View from Crown Point

And, no trip to the Gorge is complete without a visit to Bonneville Dam and the massive fish hatchery. Visiting the giant sturgeon (the biggest over 70 years old and something like 450 pounds!) is a step backward in time - sturgeon have been around for about 400 million years.

Chapman Elementary School - Vaux Swifts
Along their annual migration, many thousands of Vaux Swifts take a break in Portland during September.  They bed down in the schools chimney every night by the thousands!  And thousands of Portlanders gather every night to watch them roost.  Bring a picnic, watch the kids sled down the hill on cardboard, wait for the thousands of swifts to gather and swarm around, then funnel down into the school's chimney.  Quite a sight.


  1. Good for you fixing that hatchback and the swifts would be so cool to see (as would all the people watching them I suspect).


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