Boondocking Computer

November 7th, 2011

My beast held up long enough for me to finally decide on a new laptop computer.  I have to admit, I could have picked one out sooner, but I was holding out for AMD to put a Llano A6 processor into a 11-13′ LCD laptop. It didn’t happen within the allotted time, so I ordered an ASUS Eee PC 1215B-PU17-BK. After much research, I believe it delivers the best ROI out of the laptops I compared.

1215B Pros:
8hrs+ battery life
40w power supply
Uses 6-11 Watt hours when idle (my current laptop is closer to 43w)
Uses 16-19 watt hours under load. (current one is closer to 70w)
Priced as low as $300

1215B Cons:
ASUS!
no spill proof keyboard
glossy screen

Johnny’s laptop, an ASUS EEE1005pe is a boondockers dream, but I cannot quite deal with a 10″ screen. If you can, you will be rewarded with up 14hrs (no joke!) of battery life with a 1hr recharge time at 40watts. It’s about as energy efficient as you can get. It’s perfect if you don’t do many CPU intensive tasks.

Anyway. My new laptop should be here this week. For some reason my $14.00 worth of “Amazon Standard Shipping” AKA SmartPost (bleh) is getting it from Kentucky to Colorado in nine days. Not exactly what I thought I was paying for, but it is what it is.

Once it gets here I get to experiment with operating systems. FreeBSD is what I prefer but there are still a lot of hoops to jump through to get it “mostly working” on a Eee PC. It appears that Linux has all the correct drivers, but I haven’t really used Linux since Slackware 7 and prefer FreeBSD. Hopefully, all will go well!

But It’s The Desert!

December 22nd, 2009

It snowed. And then it snowed some more. It snowed so much that Amazon/Integrity hired buses to bring in their staff from Reno. It was nice of them, but I wish they wouldn’t have called me at 1pm to let me know that they were going to do it.  I am not in Reno and the call woke me up a couple of hours earlier than I would normally get up. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I been able to go to sleep at my normal time, but we went to sleep a few hours later than scheduled. So, after 4 hours of sleep I awoke to this:

The snow is just starting. Fernley, NV
The start of the snow day in Fernley, NV

A light snowfall. I know. Its not a big deal. There isn’t much snow out there at all. Its about as much snow as I expect when there is snow forecast and usually its gone by the next afternoon. However, this was no ordinary snow day for us.

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Left For Dead In Joshua Tree NP

April 22nd, 2009

I got my taxes squared away. Unfortunately, Johnny was still doing his and seemed like he would be for hours. I wasn’t in any mood to lounge around the camper and decided it was time for some fun. So, I talked Johnny into unhooking the scooter for me and proceeded into Joshua Tree National Park. I wasn’t sure if we were going to drive in there before we left our boondocking area just outside of the park, and I wanted to see a damn Joshua Tree.

White Tank Campground - Joshua Tree NP

After working the scooter through the loose sand, I hit Cottonwood road and headed into the park. It was a pleasant ride, albeit slow. The first part was all up hill and the scooter was moving between 10 and 15mph. It was during this part of the trip that I realized I didn’t bring a jug of water. Not good. Once I made it up to the visitors center it sped up to about 30mph. From then on, it was smooth sailing. I stopped at all of the various markers and checked out some Ocotillo trees in bloom. I was lucky enough to see a rare purple aster that supposedly only grows in this area. The only wildlife I saw were a few lizards and a rabbit. No sheep for me… sigh. After a long ride in the Colorado desert, I finally made it in to the Mojave. I looked at my fuel gauge, but it hadn’t moved. I decided to go all of the way to White Tank Campground.

When I arrived there I was overcome by the scenery. The giant boulders surrounded by Joshua Trees were an awesome sight. I was so entranced I almost didn’t notice the time or my fuel gauge. I didn’t have a clock, but the sun was pretty low in the sky. The gauge read 3/4 tank. I thought, “Plenty of time and fuel, but I should head back.” I got to see a Joshua Tree! Too bad it took 30 miles.

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Life in the back of a truck (part 4)

April 9th, 2009

This is part of an ongoing series on what it’s like to live in a truck camper fulltime. You may read other articles here:

  1. Part One – The fulltime lifestyle
  2. Part Two – Why a truck camper?
  3. Part Three – Weights & Dealing with them
  4. Part Four – Boondocking resource conservation

Gordon recently posed a question over at the Truck Camper Magazine blog that seemed like a great idea for the next part of our Life in the back of a truck series. He’s curious just how long his readers can boondock and what tricks they use to manage it. I got a bit long winded, but here’s my response.

The resources we have to work with are:

  • 46 gallons of fresh water
  • ~300 amp hours of battery in 2 Trojan T-1275 12V batteries
  • 60 pounds of propane in 2 30# tanks
  • A Honda eu2000i generator
  • ~4.5 gallons of gasoline plus whatever is in the scooter and generator (up to around 2 gallons if both are full)

Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Still, we manage to do fairly well when we find a place we want to stay for a while. It takes a little effort to conserve resources, but we manage to live quite comfortably for up to a two week stretch without running out of anything or breaking out a military desert survival handbook. Just how do we make these resources last and what sacrifices does it take, you ask? Well, read on to get a taste of the Hitek Homeless lifestyle!

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