Feb 132020

Castle Rock, WA to Pasco, WA (265 miles).

First here is a short peak into how close I am packed inside the car. Mostly Full RAV4

Welcome to Pasco, WA.

I chose to take the Columbia Gorge (I84) rather than going via I90 (over the aptly named Snoqualmie Pass) or near a similarly snow-covered Mt. Rainier. The change only added about twenty minutes to my trip. The Gorge is VERY windy, but I’d already had the trailer through winds before. It came through like a trouper. I’ve travelled the gorge many times. It has some beautiful scenery, including Multnomah Falls (where I proposed to my wife – see my poor snap but there are many better images online), the river, and many rock formations. In all the trip went by with no issues.

I’m camping at a Flying J Truckstop. Seems fine and after some questions it is unlikely I’ll be troubled here.

Ok, one disaster story prior to leaving. I keep the trailer in a pole barn both to protect it from the weather, and the marketing wrapper. So it is out of the ever-present PNW rain and wind. That is where I installed the solar panel. Since its installation I’ve used the trailer twice, once for a trip down this same said gorge to WagonCon in the Dalles, and on a personal camping trip with my son with no issues.

Prior to leaving on TGRT, I decided I needed to test out the new heating system so I pulled the trailer out and parked it in front of my house. That night I chose not to sleep in the trailer (I wasn’t feeling great) but the trailer remained parked out there. In the morning (feeling better) I went out to set things up to stay that night, only to find a wet spot on my bed and lightly dripping from the mounting screws I’d used to hold the solar panel. I realized that in my previous uses we hadn’t been rained on.

Frack and other dirty words. Moved my trailer back into my pole barn and let it dry before climbing back up. My sealing job seemed adequate (construction adhesive for extra holding power to the roof and silicon seal around the edges) but obviously wasn’t. Sooooo, I stripped it all off (no easy task), removed the solar panel and started thinking about how to fix it.
I picked up some roof repair caulking material from a local RV store. Laid down a thick layer (at least ¼” thick) between the solar panel and the roof. Put the solar panel back on and tightened it down (oozing all of that sealing goodness outward to form a good seal. And then to make sure, I covered the bolts, nuts and the whole of it with even more caulking material. I then waited for it to dry. And waited… and waited. Small quantities had firmed up but much of it hadn’t before I had to try to test again.

Time to sleep in my upgraded trailer for the first time. Got in and fired up the heater, kicked on my fan (to keep my feet warm and my head from baking), and waited. I will note that it was raining at this time. About an hour later I noticed moisture on the bolts on the inside. Panic ensued, until with good lighting I realized that the very warm air hitting the cold bolts caused the moisture in the air to condensate on them. As the bolts warmed, there was no more moisture.

Disaster averted, the trip could take place.

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 February 13, 2020  Uncategorized  Add comments