We left Back Country Solar in Cortez, CO and headed for the hills! Just a short drive away we were in the San Juan National Forest near Mancos, CO.
We unhooked our toad at the entrance and I, Kat, scouted for a boondocking spot in the Jeep. I met a super nice couple, Randy and Robin, who knew of the perfect spot. I called Mike who was rig sitting and said come on down the road. Boy, were they right!
For the first time boondocking with our new Zamp solar kit, this was the perfect spot. Beautiful Aspen trees circled this dandelion meadow.
We quickly set up camp so we can check out the sights.
The Long Way Down
Why Get Solar?
Staying in campgrounds or RV parks have their perks with full hook ups for water, electric and sewer. Some have pools and provide entertainment. Nice, right? Often times the sites are close together and privacy can be a concern. Sometimes we just want to get away from it all. Our motorhome has a 8000 watt Onan quiet generator built-in, however, they are comparing it to other generators. So in reality, it is not so quiet. While camping in a picturesque spot, no one wants to hear or smell a diesel generator.
What Type of Solar?
We looked at our power consumption. We have a residential refrigerator like the ones in a house, so our power need is high. Some RV refrigerators can run on propane or electric. Ours is only electric. Solar panels will not power A/C, hair dryers, or microwaves. If we want to use those things, we can turn on the generator. After many hours of research and reading countless reviews, we decided to go with the American made Zamp solar system. Our deluxe solar kit came with four 160 watt panels for a total of 640 watts. If we need to later on we can add two more 160 watt panels.
Who is going to install it?
Zamp Solar has many dealerships throughout the country. We just happen to be near one of their preferred dealers, Back Country Solar, in Cortez, Colorado. After emailing and talking with Joe, the owner, we felt he was going to do the job right.
We arrived at Back Country Solar on the evening of Wednesday, June 2, 2017. Joe didn't waste anytime figuring out the wiring. Within a few minutes he had his plan.
On Thursday, we chatted with his lovely wife and business partner, Julie while Joe began the installation. Joe dropped the wires behind our pantry pull-out cabinet. No wires in the slides or showing inside the motorhome. Our battery compartment is by the passenger door so he threaded the wires through our bays. The wiring took most of the day. By the late afternoon all 4 panels were installed. We were pulling in AMPs! Being powered by the sun is an amazing feeling. I'm not going to go into all the tech because Joe says it best. Check out the video of our installation on the Back Country Solar website. He, also, has great DIY videos for all kinds of Zamp systems. Joe and Julie are passionate about solar. Joe took his time to answer our many questions. I started to call him Professor Joe. :)
Friday morning, we said good bye to Joe and Julie to spend the weekend in the San Juan National Forest near Mancos, CO .
Mike & Kat
Kat left teaching after 18 years to travel throughout the USA with her husband, Mike, who is an engineer for a Power generation company.